The latest edition of the jazz supergroup the Blue Note All-Stars will release their debut album for the label, Our Point Of View, on 29 September. The group was formed in 2014 to celebrate Blue Note’s 75th anniversary.
The current line-up includes Robert Glasper on keyboards, Ambrose Akinmusire on trumpet, Marcus Strickland on tenor saxophone, Lionel Loueke on guitar, Derrick Hodge on bass and Kendrick Scott on drums. There are guest appearances on the album by two jazz giants who made their debuts at Blue Note, Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter.
The lead track from the album, ‘Second Light,’ is now available to stream.
All six members of the All-Stars are building their own catalogues at Blue Note, and have taken time off from their own schedules to collaborate on the 11-track, 90-minute record. There are originals by each musician alongside versions of two Shorter compositions, an 18-minute reading of ‘Witch Hunt’ (first heard on his 1965 Blue Note release Speak No Evil) and another of his ‘ Masquelero,’ on which Shorter himself guests on soprano saxophone and Hancock on piano.
The Grammy-winning Glasper produced the album with Blue Note president Don Was. “It’s showing how jazz can be relevant,” says Glasper. “The music itself should reflect the time period you’re in. That’s the way it’s always been. We all love the history of the music. We’re infatuated with the history of jazz, but none of us are held back by the history of jazz. I feel like we’re all making our own history now.”
He continues: “This is a band of open-minded, versatile musicians who are getting together for the love of the music. That can only equal great things. It’s pushing the threshold in trying to do the next thing and not looking back,” Was adds. “That to me epitomizes what Blue Note is all about.”
Drummer Kendrick Scott adds: “We are the young guys who are hoping to attain the mastery of the masters who laid the foundation at Blue Note. We’re trying to get there, and I think we’re on the right path…it’s all about expecting the unexpected which is the beauty of what we do.”
Says Marcus Strickland: “Everybody is a very in-the-moment kind of person. It definitely displays freedom at the highest.” Lionel Loueke notes: “We learn from each other. We challenge each other. No one’s close-minded. Everybody is open and going for the music. As long as you’re like that, the magic is going to happen.”
The album was recorded at Capitol Studios in Hollywood after the All-Stars played a handful of shows, following their 2014 debut at the Monterey Jazz Festival. Our Point of View is dedicated to the late Blue Note president Bruce Lundvall, who resurrected the dormant imprint in 1984 and helped restore its distinguished reputation.
Order Our Point Of View.