It's no secret that the music industry loves its anniversaries. From commemorating a certain Liverpool band's first appearance on U.S. television to the release of Eric Dolphy's squirrelly, spacious masterpiece "Out to Lunch," this year has already seen a few big ones.
Near the top of that list has to be the 75th anniversary of storied jazz label Blue Note Records. In addition to a recent New York City concert featuring label stars Jason Moran and Robert Glasper, the label will also be celebrated with an exhibition opening March 25 at the Grammy Museum, "Blue Note Records: The Finest in Jazz," which will feature artwork, photographs and more music artifacts. A Q&A with Blue Note head Don Was will open the exhibition March 25.
In more tangible news for jazz listeners nationwide, the label has also launched an ambitious re-release campaign of what it calls 100 essential albums. The effort includes remastered versions in all the expected digital formats, but more notably this time, due to a mini-resurgence in LP sales, vinyl versions as well.
The first batch also begins March 25 with Larry Young's "Unity," Wayne Shorter's "Speak No Evil," Art Blakey's "Free for All," John Coltrane's "Blue Train" and, appropriately, Dolphy's "Out to Lunch." A fresh batch of five more titles will continue every month from there, wrapping up in October 2015 as currently scheduled.
As could be expected, many of Blue Note's choices from its rich back catalog have seen a few recent vinyl editions already, including Andrew Hill's "Point of Departure," Dexter Gordon's "Go" and Herbie Hancock's "Maiden Voyage." Still, some selections from the label's recent output have never seen a vinyl release, such as Moran's debut, "Soundtrack to Human Motion," the Brian Blade Fellowship's "Perceptual," Terence Blanchard's "Flow" and Robert Glasper's "Double Booked," the album that first introduced his R&B-steeped project the Experiment.
Other highlights include welcome reissues of Medeski Martin and Wood's "Combustication," Lee Morgan's "Search for the New Land" and Hank Mobley's "Workout." Have a look at the full list on Blue Note's site and mark your calendars accordingly.