We take a deep dive into the vaults of Blue Note Records, the independent label that helped put artists like Thelonious Monk, Art Blakey and Jimmy Smith on the map. Flagbearer of trad jazz, bebop and the cool school, Blue Note is still at it after 79 years and has expanded its wheelhouse to include vocalists like Norah Jones, Ryan Adams and Van Morrison. We talk with producer extraordinaire and Blue Note president Don Was about the label’s past and new directions. And we confab with record maven Michael Cuscuna about digging through Blue Note’s back catalog and giving life to unreleased and out-of-print masterpieces. Plus, we hear from Aaron Neville, Jason Moran and Lonnie Smith about their part in the legendary label’s history. It’s a parade of jazz, old and new, borrowed and blue… and then some!
Happy July Fourth! Add some sizzle to your backyard barbecue with hot licks from the stage as we road trip from New Orleans to Butte, Montana. We start off at Preservation Hall in the French Quarter for vocal fireworks from gospel quartet the Blind Boys of Alabama and Crescent City soul singer Irma Thomas, both backed by the mojo masters of Preservation Hall Jazz Band. Then we wind our way across the Great Plains to the Montana Folk Festival for a picnic of down home sounds by Western swing darlings the Quebe Sisters, Cajun accordionist Bruce Daigrepont, reggae veteran Clinton Fearon and rockabilly guitarist Albert Lee. From Big River to Big Sky, the music is really cooking and you’re cordially invited to tune in!
All songs in Hour 2 are live from the 2017 Montana Folk Festival, courtesy of Montana Public Radio.