January 23, 2015

Blue Mitchell - The Thing To Do (1964)


1964 was a huge year for Blue Note's journey into the avant garde, but while Out To Lunch and Point Of Departure were picking up all sorts of new fans, the label hadn't forgotten the hard bop it was first successful with. Just because Eric Dolphy and Andrew Hill were tearing away boundaries in the jazz community doesn't mean the more traditional jazz wasn't sounding different. The hard bop artists were adopting even more styles into the already synthetic genre. This time it was bossa nova, boogaloo, and funk. Maybe you're already familiar with the ever so famous Sidewinder or Watermelon Man--that's what I'm talking about here. Low and behold this Blue Mitchell album is a cult classic and many regard it as just as good as the hits. Mellow and swinging hard bop, very inoffensive, but that's part of the charm here since the band nails down what they want to do. Blue Mitchell, even if he shines best under the guidance of Horace Silver, has a soft, nimble, and fun touch and is one of the best to ever touch the instrument. If your grandmother ever asks you to put something on, this would be a good choice!

Sample

The Thing To Do