Overlooked masterpiece with stunning sound
Tuesday, June 25, 2013
Impex is one of the best small audiophile reissue labels out there, and they've put out a masterful pressing of Blakey's overlooked second lineup of Jazz Messengers, featuring Jackie McLean among others. A sort of uber-text for the transitional genre of hard bop, this record mixes originals that gaze at the future of hard bop as well as standards that look to the past. There is no flash, as in the work of David, Adderley, Rollins and so forth - this is low key, even "punk rock" in its aesthetic. McLean is Tom Verlaine to Sonny Rollins' Jimmy Page. It is not surprsing that the jazz musicians from this era with more flash and "out there" playing retained reputations outside of the jazz world - while this lineup of Jazz Messengers is often overlooked. And the pressing, mixed by Kevin Gray et. al, from the original analogue masters in thick and glorious mono - absolutely stunning, unprocessed - one of the best 33 rpm reissues I've ever heard of this era of jazz.