Another Stupid List: Favorite Blue Note Tracks

Shades of Redd Jazz VinylThis will be fun. Last night I had another one of those very pleasant listening sessions up in The Berkshires, fueled by a few beers, a few vapes and the knowledge that I could play my music as loud and late as I pleased with no neighbors or anyone else to complain. I was watching politics on television as I do so often these days, taking particular delight in the latest polls showing that the blowhard, maniac, crazy man at the top of the Republic ticket is in steep decline and, IMHO, may not even make it to election day without having some kind of collapse/mental breakdown, if, indeed, we could even tell the difference between a nervous breakdown and the behavior he exhibits every single day on the campaign trail. After a couple of hours of this I had enough and decided to enjoy some music.

It was a weird progression for me, starting with the Beatles because last weekend I had the good fortune to see a great Beatles cover band called the Fab Faux, whom I would highly recommend. But eventually I found my way to jazz, per usual, starting with Les McCann and Eddie Harris on “Compared to What,” then moving on to several Cannonball Adderley tracks and then “Giant Steps,” which never ceases to awe and inspire. Giant Steps is a tough act to follow so I put on another track that always blows me away, “Thespian,” the first song on side one of Shades of Redd, Blue Note 4045. Regular readers will know all too well that I have never owned an original pressing of Shades of Redd, but I do have two Japanese copies (one in each place of residence), both of which work quite well under any circumstances and particularly in circumstances abetted by the addition of controlled stimulants.

Anyway, I was thoroughly enjoying Thespian, the ensemble passages where they double the tempo, the great solos by Jackie McLean and Tina Brooks (what a loss) and the terrific team of Paul Chambers and Louis Hayes, both of whom were really young and incredibly talented at the time of this recording, when I got to thinking: “Is this actually my favorite Blue Note track?” And, of course, that thought led to this post, wherein I will attempt, pretty much off the top of my head, to list my 10 favorite Blue Note tracks. I will be honest and state  up front that I have a strong prejudice towards the swinging records that my dad played when I was growing up because they have been with me all of my life and have a special meaning because they always connect me to him in a positive way. So, I’m sure my list will turn out to be very pedestrian and perhaps somewhat predictable. But, then again, we all have our prejudices, don’t we? Here are mine:

  1. Thespian, Freddie Redd, Shades of Redd, Blue Note 4045
  2. Sister Sadie, Horace Silver, Blowin’ the Blues Away, Blue Note 4017
  3. Moanin’, Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers, Blue Note 4003
  4. Cristo Redentor, Donald Byrd, A New Perspective, Blue Note 4124
  5. Song for My Father, Horace Silver, Song For My Father, Blue Note 4185
  6. Moment’s Notice, John Coltrane, Blue Train, Blue Note 1577
  7. Backstage Sally, Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers, Buhaina’s Delight, Blue Note 4104
  8. Autumn Leaves, Cannonball Adderley, Somethin’ Else, Blue Note 1595
  9. Blue Bossa, Joe Henderson, Page One, Blue Note 4140
  10. Who Can I Turn To?, Dexter Gordon, Gettin’ Around, Blue Note 4204

Don’t shoot me for this. I know, no Mobley, Monk, Rollins, Donaldson, Hancock and many more. It’s my list, so I have to live with it. You can create your own, which, of course, you are all invited to do.


  • One of my all-time favorite Blue Note tracks (in fact, one of my all time favorites, period) – “It Never Entered My Mind,” Mile Davis 1502. x Caroline

  • I can’t resist listing a few tracks off the top of my head, but I’m sure this list would change almost daily if I was asked to do it again. Here are some in no particular order:

    1. The Natives Are Restless Tonight – Horace Silver – Song For My Father 4185
    2. Caravan – Lou Donaldson – Wailing With Lou 1545
    3. It Never Entered My Mind – Miles Davis – Volume 2 1502
    4. Double Exposure – Hank Mobley – Self-Titled 1568
    5. Deacon Joe – Duke Jordan – Flight to Jordan 4046
    6. Idle Moments – Grant Green – Idle Moments 4154
    7. The Surrey With The Fringe On Top – Sonny Rollins – Newk’s Time 4001
    8. The Way You Look Tonight – Johnny Griffin – A Blowing Session 1559
    9. Misterioso – Sonny Rollins – Volume 2 (with Monk and Horace Silver playing together!) 1558
    10. A Night In Tunisia – both versions from Lee Morgan – The Cooker 1578 and Sonny Rollins – Village Vanguard 1581

    Plus every track off of Hank Mobley’s Hank 1560…I could list another 10, but I’ll stop for now!

  • Talk about a poverty of riches!

    Incomplete — to say the least — and not in order of preference:

    Jackie McLean & Freddie Redd — “Who Killed Cock Robin” —

    Lee Morgan — “Ceora” —

    Joe Henderson — “Mode for Joe” —

    Grant Green — “Idle Moments” —

    Herbie Hancock — “The Maze” —

    Herbie Hancock — “Cantaloupe Island” —

    Blakey/Messengers — “Pensativa” —

    Pete La Roca/Joe Henderson — “Lazy Afternoon” —

    McCoy Tyner — “Passion Dance” —

    Freddie Hubbard — “You’re My Everything” —

    Wayne Shorter — “Speak No Evil” —

    Wayne Shorter — “Infant Eyes” —

    Booker Ervin/Woody Shaw — “Lynn’s Tune” —

    Sheila Jordan — “Laugh, Clown, Laugh —

    For starters.

  • Lest I forget:

    Hank Mobley — “Remember” —

  • Gregory the Fish

    I couldn’t list them in order, but without checking to see if I am forgetting any, off the top of my head, here are some favorites:

    Lou Donaldson – “Blues Walk”
    Horace Silver – “No Smokin'”
    Art Blakey – “Moanin'”
    Hank Mobley – “Mighty Moe and Joe”
    Jimmy Smith – “Caravan”

  • an impossible task, but here we go (without any comment or justification):

    Soft Winds – Jazz Messengers 1507
    Speak Low – Sonny Clark 1576
    Misterioso – Rollins/Monk 1558
    Minors’ Holiday – Kenny Dorham 5065
    Old Devil Moon – J.J. 5057
    Just one of those things – Lee Morgan 1578
    Dear Old Stockholm – Miles 5013
    Surrey with the fringe on top – Rollins 4001
    Autumn Leaves – Adderley 1595
    Moments Notice – Coltrane 1577

  • Ceora – Lee Morgan, Cornbread
    Boy, What A Night – Lee Morgan, The Sidewinder
    Zambia – Lee Morgan, Delightfulee
    Moment’s Notice – John Coltrane, Blue Train
    Little Johnny C – Johnny Coles, Little Johnny C
    Dexi – Horace Parlan, Back From The Gig
    Ruby My Dear – Thelonious Monk, Genius Of Modern Music, Vol. 1
    Calling Miss Khajida – Art Blakey, Indestructible
    Driftin’ – Herbie Hanock, Takin’ Off
    If Someone Had Told Me – Thad Jones, The Magnificent Thad Jones
    Night Dreamer – Wayne Shorter, Night Dreamer
    Blue Minor – Sonny Clark, Cool Struttin’

  • Many great choices; too many to list. I’ve always loved “thespian” too. I’ll just add one track that has always resonates deeply with me whenever I hear it:

    “Love and hate” from Jackie McLean’s “destination out” album.

  • I’m sorry, I love Art Blakey so much, my list would start with Art and end with Art. Although, Sonny Clark might crack that top 10…………………………

  • geoffrey wheeler

    Word has it should The Donald be elected President he is going to build his cabinet around his family–all of them. How ’bout a grandson as Secretary of State. He can work at home with his own private e-mail server!

  • Some favourites….not in order

    Amanda (Duke Pearson, Wahoo)
    Uh uh (Hank Mobley, Workout)
    Eclypso (Lee Morgan, Rumproller)
    La Mesha (Joe Henderson, Page One)
    Love for Sale (Dexter Gordon, Go)
    Tanya (Dexter Gordon, One flight up)
    Avila and Tequila, (Hank Mobley quartet)
    No room for squares (Hank Mobley, same)
    Free Form (Donald Byrd, same)
    Beyond all Limits (Larry Young, Unity)

  • Well Blakey’s Moanin’ is my favorite, but I’ll add a couple more that i didn’t see mentioned:

    Hat and Beard – Eric Dolphy’s Out to Lunch
    Just a Closer Walk with Thee – Grant Green’s Feelin’ the Spirit

  • Here’s 12 – In no particular order…

    Polka Dots & Moonbeams / Lou Donaldson
    Soul Lament / Kenny Burrell
    Riot / Herbie Hancock
    Love Song / Tony Williams (w/Shorter)
    Maiden Voyage / Bobby Hutchinson
    Midnight Special / Jimmy Smith (w/Turrentine & Burrell)
    Cantaloupe Island / Herbie Hancock
    Cyclic Episode / Sam Rivers
    Adams Apple / Wayne Shorter
    The Collector / Wayne Shorter
    Speak No Evil / Wayne Shorter
    Ain’t No Use / Sonny Clark

    Hey Al, let’s do favorite Prestige tracks at some point in the future.

  • Here’s 10 off the top’a my head, with only a vague sense of order, mostly 4100 series post-bop / avant garde:

    1 Eric Dolphy – Hat and Beard
    2 Jackie McLean – Love and Hate
    3 Andrew Hill – Cantarnos
    4 Thelonious Monk – Ruby My Dear
    5 Wayne Shorter – Deluge
    6 Art Blakey & Jazz Messengers – Down Under
    7 Grachan Moncur III – Air Raid
    8 Herbie Hancock – The Egg
    9 Grant Green – Idle Moments
    10 Bobby Hutcherson – Ghetto Lights

    Funny that while I’ve not heard most of the Blue Note catalogue yet (only seriously got into jazz end of last year) I still found it hard to narrow it down to ten! Will have to give some of the other selections here a try too …

  • Very tough exercise. I needed 20. And couldn’t order them, so here they are in catalog order:

    April in Paris – Thad Jones, The Magnificent Thad Jones, Blue Note 1527
    Afrodisia, Kenny Dorham, Afro-Cuban, Blue Note 1535
    Whisper Not – Lee Morgan, Volume 2, Blue Note 1541
    Blue Lights – Clifford Jordan, Blowing In From Chicago, Blue Note 1549
    Funk in Deep Freeze – Hank Mobley, Blue Note 1550
    Speak Low – Sonny Clark, Sonny’s Crib, Blue Note 1576
    Blue Train – John Coltrane, Blue Train, Blue Note 1577
    Love For Sale – Cannonball Adderley, Something Else, Blue Note 1595
    Asiatic Raes – Sonny Rollins, Newk’s Time, Blue Note 4001
    Gypsy Blue – Freddie Hubbard, Open Sesame, Blue Note 4040
    Good Old Soul – Tina Brooks, True Blue, Blue Note 4041
    Flight To Jordan – Duke Jordan, Flight to Jordan, Blue Note 4046
    Ghana – Donald Byrd, Byrd in Flight, Blue Note 4048
    Out of the Night – Joe Henderson, Page One, Blue Note 4140
    Love and Hate – Jackie McLean, Destination Out, Blue Note 4165
    Tanya – Dexter Gordon, One Flight Up, Blue Note 4176
    Speak No Evil – Wayne Shorter, Speak No Evil, Blue Note 4194
    Maiden Voyage – Herbie Hancock, Maiden Voyage, Blue Note 4195
    Lazy Afternoon – Pete LaRoca, Basra, Blue Note 4205
    Empathy – Duke Pearson, Sweet Honey Bee, Blue Note 4252

  • I must add my 20 favorites as well to this list:
    1. Doodlin – Horace Silver and the Messengers
    2. Don’t Get Too Hip- Hank Mobley
    3. Well You Needn’t – Miles Davis w/ Horace Silver
    4. Blue Rondo- Jackie McLean
    5. Wadin- Horace Parlan with the great George Tucker
    6. Strolling In – Lou Donaldson
    7. Visitation/ Paul Chambers and Coltrane
    8. Autumn Leaves- Cannonball Adderley /Miles
    9. Misterioso- Sonny Rollins w/ Monk and Silver
    10. Downstairs Blues Upstairs- Sam Rivers

    So many more I could name it these stay in rotation in the iPod and the car changer.

  • Hank Mobley – This I Dig Of You
    Donald Byrd – Bronze Dance
    Herbie Hancock – Oliloqui Valley
    Freddie Hubbard – Arietis
    Hank Mobley – Avila And Tequila
    Sonny Clark – Cool Struttin’
    Johnny Griffin – Mil Dew
    Milt Jackson – Bags’ Groove
    Grant Green – Idle Moments

    This was actually harder than I thought. Too many choices, too many styles.
    Freddie Redd – The Thespian

  • – Thelonious Monk- In walked Bud.
    Misterioso LP
    – Dexter Gordon- Cry me a river. Blows
    Hot and cool LP
    – Monica Zetterlund- Speak low. Make
    mine swedish style LP

  • Mostly from the Japanese previously unreleased material (the first three featuring Wayne Shorter):

    Lee Morgan — “Party Time” —

    Lou Donaldson — “Sweet Slumber” —

    Lee Morgan — “Blue Gardenia” (with Pepper Adams, no stranger in paradise) —

    Grant Green — “Ezz-Thetic” —

  • Inspiration:

    Horace Silver — “Silver’s Serenade” —

    leads to …

    Jack Wilson — “Frank’s Tune” (featuring Jackie McLean on the Frank Strozier original) —

  • Many of my favorites have already been mentioned ( Idle Moments, Blue Rondo, Funk In Deep Freeze, Thespian, Blue Minor and Moment’s Notice). Here are ten more
    Bud Powell – Bouncing With Bud
    Herbie Nichols – Lady Sings The Blues
    Thelonious Monk – Carolina Moon
    Jimmy Smith – Sweet Georgia Brown
    Dexter Gordon – Cheese Cake
    Jackie Mclean – Let Freedom Ring
    Horace Silver – Blowin’ The Blues Away
    Larry Young – Monk’s Dream
    Andrew Hill – Alfred
    Kenny Burrell – Saturday Night Blues

  • oops – that’s Jackie Mclean – Melody For Melonae from Let Freedom Ring

  • Hey everyone,

    Gregory the Fish here. I have a request that is a little odd, so feel free to say no to it.

    A buddy of mine who is also a colleague and a brilliant mathematician recently had a severe seizure and through a series of obscenely unlucky circumstances, was in a coma for two weeks due to the aftermath. He amazingly woke up and seems to be mentally sound and physically okay, but he has a tremendously long road ahead of him medically, and the bills are getting crazy, too. They have started a page for donations. The page is, and gave me their blessing to spread it around a bit. Even a single penny is very helpful.

    Thanks a bunch ya’ll. Sorry this is gloomy and not jazz-relaeted.

  • How about a sleeper? Joe Henderson on Freddie Roach “Brown Sugar”…dare say some of his best playing on any BN session.Joe enters the funk filled waters with a shark-like intensity.
    The obvious abound on Blue Note….how about some sleepers to send the folks back to the shelves scratching their heads….?

  • Joe Henderson Mode for Joe
    Cecil Taylor Unit Structures
    Don Cherry Complete Communion
    Sam Rivers Fuchsia Swing Song
    Jordan/Gilmore Evil Eye

  • Al, Rudolf – “Moment’s Notice”…my favorite song on Blue Train
    jrock – “The Natives Are Restless”…smoking tune!
    Joe – “Little Johnny C” is a hell of a cooker…it’s in my favorites. “Ruby My Dear” is a favorite of Monk’s but I prefer the Columbia recording.
    Michel – “No Room for Squares” is a favorite…Philly Joe shines on the drums.
    Thomas – “Blue Lights”, such a smokey version of this tune! I prefer it to Farmer & Gryce’s original recording for Prestige, which is amazing in its own right
    Marvin – “Doodlin” is a great tune
    Bas – “Oliloqui Valley” is up there…such a gentle sound, and yes, “Aretis”! Brilliant, giant, open sound on that track!

    Now for mine (I’m not the best at counting 😉

    Big John Patton, the entire “The Way I Feel” album
    Curtis Fuller, “A Lovely Way to Spend the Evening” (The Opener)
    Hank Mobley, “Touch and Go”/”Double Whammy” (Mobley/Byrd/Morgan 1540)
    Herbie Hancock, “Triangle” (Inventions & Dimensions)
    Horace Silver, “Horoscope” (Horace Silver Trio 5018/1520)
    Horace Silver, “To Whom It May Concern” (Horace Silver Quintet 5062/1518)
    Horace Silver, “You Happened My Way” (Finger Poppin)
    Horace Silver, “Lonely Woman” (Song for My Father)
    Johnny Coles, “Little Johnny C”/”Jano”/”So Sweet My Little Girl” (Little Johnny C)
    Lee Morgan, “Slightly Hep” (Lee Morgan Sextet 1541)
    Lee Morgan, “Since I Fell for You”/”All the Way” (Candy)
    Lee Morgan, “Melancholee” (Search for the New Land)
    Sonny Clark, “Come Rain or Come Shine” (Sonny’s Crib)

  • Al, What Blue Notes did your father have when you were younger?? Do tell!

  • To Rich DG Mono. The ones I remember most vividly are the ones mentioned here: A New Perspective, Moanin’, Song for My Father, Blowin’ the Blues Away, Buhaina’s Delight. He did not have Shades of Redd, unfortunately, nor anything that I can recall in the 1500 series. Not Blue Train, not Somethin’ Else. He had more Riverside’s than anything else — there was a store on 8th Street, Looney Tunes, where they had huge bargain bins filled with Riversides, and he loved to get the bargains. Lots of Cannonball, Wes and Bill Evans, among others.

  • Very cool! Was this Looney Tunes by any chance affiliated with the store in Boston of the same name? The store next to Berklee College of Music closed but I just found out that it reopened in Allston.

  • 1. Art Blakey. Moanin’
    2. Dexter Gordon. Who Can I Turn To
    3. Sonny Clark. Love Walked In

  • So very much fun to develop this list and also so VERY difficult. Even narrowing it down to a top 50 would be a Herculean task. I decided to eschew the real classic, classic ones (Maiden Voyage by Herbie Hancock Autumn Leaves off Something Else, Blue Train, Speak No Evil, all the Jazz Messengers lps and Song For My Father which are all so iconic and peerless that they sort of stand off in their own category) and after several enjoyable hours spent listening I arrived at the following list in no particular order of preference listed sequentially by catalogue number.

    Bud Powell Time Waits lp “Sub City” 1598
    Donald Byrd Fuego lp “Low Life” 4026
    Hank Mobley Soul Station lp “Remember” 4031
    Kenny Dorham Whistle Stop lp “Sunrise In Mexico” 4063
    Lee Morgan Search For The New Land lp ” Search For The New Land”4169
    Wayne Shorter JuJu lp “Mahjong” 4182
    Horace Silver Cape Verdean Blues lp “The African Queen” 4220
    Lee Morgan Cornbread lp “Ceora” 4222
    Joe Henderson Mode For Joe lp “Mode For Joe” 4227
    Bobby Hutcherson Dialogue lp “Head Start” 4231

    and to cheat just a bit # 11 is every single Blue Note cut that Sonny Rollins recorded.

    I also want to give a huge shout to a much later date that was only ever released on CD (horrors!! no vinyl??) and I refer to Time Lines by Andrew Hill which is simply stunning and an absolute masterpiece. Also need to mention how sad I was to learn of Bobby Hutcherson’s passing. I saw him many, many times and I don’t think that anyone previous to him nor anyone who will come after him will ever equal his talent especially on the gorgeous marimba works that he recorded.

    one last closing question to y’all. Has anyone bought any of the 75th Anniversary pressings and been as disappointed as I have been. The sound quality is diminished and almost every one of them I bought are laced with static and a remarkably large quantity of surface noise. The vinyl itself is already paper scuffed before I have even played it one time. I’m sticking with King and Toshiba from now on since I don’t have 750- 1 K to cough up for an LP.

    This was very fun Thanks. I liked the suggestion earlier given to try Prestiges next. Also Impulses (leaving Trane off in his own exclusive realm) could be interesting. Happy Fall to everyone and go out and gather some autumn leaves.
    Brian R Anderson

  • whoops!!! typo there on Bobby’s LP. Should be saying Happenings not Dialogue

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