Legendary Blue Note Records tour coming to Seattle

  • By Sharon Wootton Special to The Herald
  • Tuesday, December 30, 2008 4:35pm
  • LifeGo-See-Do

Seventy years of the jazz label Blue Note Records is being celebrated by The Blue Note 7 with a 50-city North American tour, 10 Grammy nominations (including nods for Al Green, Joe Lovano and Cassandra Wilson) and a new album.

The Blue Note 7 performs at the Moore Theater in Seattle on Thursday.

On Jan. 13, “Mosaic: A Celebration of Blue Note Records” will be released, an eight-song collection of classic Blue Note repertoire reworked by the all-star septet to showcase the diverse style and moods of the label.

Blue Note was founded by German immigrants Alfred Lion and Frank Wolff, who wrote that the label was “designed to serve the uncompromising expressions of hot jazz or swing, in general.”

Originally an independent label and a force in the hard bop style of jazz (an extension of bebop and a mix of other influences), it is now owned by BMI Group. It was here that notables such as Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker and Thelonious Monk were able to record, as well as lesser-known but talented musicians.

Blue Note became one of the most successful independent labels of its time. It treated its musicians more respectfully than most labels, even paying them for pre-recording rehearsal time, and offered space for the avant garde, free jazz and fusion movements.

WaMu’s Last Harrah: The Nowhere Men, a Beatles tribute band, is holding a concert to raise funds for WaMu employees who lost their jobs because of the bank’s collapse.

Kellie Pickler: The ex-American Idol, NASCAR fan and winner of two 2008 Country Music Television awards (breakthrough video of the year, performance of the year) for “I Wonder,” is both country singer and TV personality. Her debut album, “Small Town Girl,” produced three songs on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs list: “I Wonder,” “Red High Heels” and “Things that Never Cross a Man’s Mind.”

Bill Ramsey: One of the Northwest’s best-known jazz musician (saxophone), composer and arranger celebrates his 80th birthday with Birth of Cool Nonet and the Ramsey/Kleeb Orchestra. He spent two years with the Count Basie’s Orchestra, has been in the bands of Quincy Jones, Cab Calloway and Benny Goodman. Ramsey is in the Seattle Jazz Hall of Fame.

Out and about: Guitarist Joseph Kinty emphasizes melodic lyrics in his passionate neo-soul, R&B and pop mix (Jan. 7, Triple Door) … Hammond B-3 organist Joey DeFrancesco helped jump-start a renewed interest in the Hammond with his skills and showmanship (Jan. 6-7, Jazz Alley) … Night Horse and Ancestors are two bands that share some musicians; Night Horse describes itself as a five-piece psychedelic doom metal ensemble (Jan. 7, Sunset, Seattle) …

Where to hear it

Blue Note 7. 7:30 p.m. Jan. 8, Moore Theater, 1932 Second Ave., Seattle; $28, $35; 206-628-0888.

WaMu’s Last Harrah. 7 p.m. Jan. 6, Triple Door, 216 Union St., Seattle; $15; 206-838-4333.

Kellie Pickler. 8 p.m. Jan. 8, Snoqualmie Casino, 37500 SE North Bend Way; $30-60; 425-443-4221.

Bill Ramsey. 7:30 p.m. Jan. 4, Tula’s Restaurant, 2214 Second Ave., Seattle; $15; 206-443-4221 (reservations recommended).

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