How many record labels have a 70-year run? How many groups tour for 90 days straight? Celebrating the anniversary of the Blue Note label by reworking selections from its catalog, The Blue Note 7 launched its CD, Mosaic, with a 50-city tour in January. A lot of the travel has been by bus, and some of the cities are not large — Meridian, Norman, Sheboygan. But it's adding up to quite a story. All together, some 50,000 people have come out to see the band. And on Sunday night, the star-studded band played to a packed house at the Kennedy Center. You can hear the climax from the concert by clicking the audio link above.
They are Nicholas Payton, Steve Wilson and Ravi Coltrane on trumpet, alto/flute and tenor, respectively; Bill Charlap and Peter Bernstein on piano and guitar; and Peter Washington and Lewis Nash on bass and drums. After many miles, the vibe is harmonious and hard-working. On Sunday, Apr. 5, at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., the two sold-out shows featured totally different set lists.
Toward the end, Nash said, "No tribute to Blue Note records would be complete without honoring Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers," and then launched "Mosaic," a song from the early 1960s by Cedar Walton with blistering cymbals, struck from above and below. Almost everyone in the band took choruses, building toward the climactic solo. Art Blakey was known for his snare roll; Lewis got thunder with his bass-drum roll, right-foot-powered. Don't miss Charlap's glissando before the last chord. The audience cheered for two minutes.