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Midnight Blue Original recording reissued, Original recording remastered

4.7 out of 5 stars 101 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Original recording reissued, Original recording remastered, March 9, 1999
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Product Description

This release is part of a new series of Blue Note jazz masterpieces newly remastered using 24-bit technology by the original, legendary recording engineer, Rudy Van Gelder. Alfred Lion considered this his favorite production! Without piano, Burrell, Stanley Turrentine and company get a clean, open sound and a deep groove on such classic compositions as the title tune and "Chitlins Con Carne" (now a blues band staple). Includes 2 bonus tracks and extra photos!

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Kenny Burrell's music is a wonderful blend of elegance and conviction, musical inventiveness and thoughtful restraint. On this 1967 session, the guitarist is joined by regular associates--tenorist Stanley Turrentine, conga drummer Ray Barretto, bassist Major Holley, and drummer Bill English--and together they concentrate on the subtlest and deepest hues of the blues, combining strong rhythmic grooves with a feeling of late-night reflection. There's never a misstep or a superfluous note, from the funky Latin hit "Chitlins Con Carne" to Burrell's deeply felt solo "Soul Lament" and the concentrated swing of "Gee, Baby, Ain't I Good to You." The result is a masterpiece, and the 24-bit remastering by the original engineer, Rudy Van Gelder, adds to the spaciousness and intimacy that have always been hallmarks of the session. --Stuart Broomer
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (March 9, 1999)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Original recording reissued, Original recording remastered
  • Label: Blue Note
  • Run Time: 43 minutes
  • ASIN: B00000I41G
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (101 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #10,988 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
While this album is one of the greatest jazz guitar albums of all time, extremely poor mastering significantly detracts from the enjoyment it can bring the listener. Except for the two Monk titles, the RVG Edition is a seriously flawed series, especially the first batch that was released in '99, and Midnight Blue was among those. Excessive noise reduction has erased virtually all clues of air and ambiance, and they possess a hard glare. The glare is generally absent in releases after '99, but the other issues persist.

Another flaw in this series is that many of the titles are in mono when excellent stereo masters exist. Rudy Van Gelder recorded exclusively in mono prior to March '57, and stereo exclusively after October 30 1958. He only recorded in both formats during the time spanning those two dates. While some will rightfully argue that the mono master sounds best in some instances, the RVG series has many titles in it that were recorded after Oct. 30 1958 that are mono. No mono masters exist for these sessions, so these CD's are simply the stereo master folded down into one channel. What's the purpose of that?

Relief is Available: Most of the RVG Edition titles are available in an earlier US version and as a Japanese import here on Amazon. These sound dramatically better and actually give you a sense of stage depth and air around the instruments. They are also stereo when possible, and appropriate, and they lack the glare of the RVG Edition. So far, everything I've purchased that was released before 1999 in the US has been good, and all of the Japanese versions have been good. The imports are very pricey so you might want to get the older US versions through the Amazon Marketplace. I've purchased many of these for under $10 in "Like New" condition. To avoid problems, I recommend only dealing with sellers who have a positive rating of 98% or better. They don't generally misrepresent the condition, and they'll usually get it to you within 4 business days.
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Format: Audio CD
This recording, and "Midnight Blue" in particular, is the greatest expression of late-night "bluesy" jazz guitar playing I have ever heard in 35 years of listening. Kenny Burrell was, and is, the master of this style. His touch, tone and rhythmic placement of notes -- all are immaculate. He is joined by Stanley Turrentine on tenor, Ray Barretto on congas,Major Holley and Bill English -- a perfect group. Lots of mid-tempos and minor keys. Sometimes I listen to the "Midnight Blue" track over and over. I have transcribed most of it, chords and solo lines -- Fm7, Gm7, Abmaj7, Gm7, etc. It takes me to a different place and time. The recording is magnificent, as if the musicians are in your living room, you are lounging at your table 3 feet away, nursing a Tom Collins . . . It doesn't get any cooler.
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Format: Audio CD
As far as jazz guitar on Blue Note records goes, there are two names you must know: Grant Green and Kenny Burrell. And while Grant's discography for Blue Note is humungous, Kenny did much of his recording as a sideman. But the numbers are all irrelevant when you listen to this masterpiece -- seven tunes that reach deep, deep into the blues and achieve that wonderfully lazy, after hours groove.
The performances are all classic, from the Latin groove of "Chitlins con Carne", to the brisk swing of the title track, to the solo guitar of "Soul Lament". Stanley Turrentine's soulful saxophone playing is among his finest, and the bass/drums/conga rhythm section is impeccable at setting up a groove. And the leader provides tasty guitar playing that mixes bebop lines and bluesy feeling perfectly. As far as hearing some classic jazz guitar, Midnight Blue and Grant Green's Idle Moments album are a perfect start.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
After reading D. Allen's very helpful review, I decided to seek out the better version so I bought a CD that was a hybrid SACD. The album is just awesome, I can't stop listening to it and inspired me to start adding to my small jazz collection. Since the SACD is quite a bit more expensive I wondered just how much difference the mastering really makes, so I bought a used regular CD version to compare side by side. Let me just say, the difference is night and day. I have decent equipment to listen on, but I'd bet I could easily tell the difference even playing them in my car while riding down the highway.

D. Allen explained the difference well, I just want to add some info to help you get to the better mastered version which is worth every penny. The same reviews seem to be under both the CD and the SACD including D. Allen's but I'm sure he is only referring to the regular CD. I'll try to post pictures of the back of both so everyone can tell the difference, but the SACD says "Mastered for SACD by Kevin Gray and Steve Hoffman at AcousTech Mastering, Camarillo, California. The regular CD was remastered in 1998 by Rudy Van Gelder. The ASIN for the regular CD is B00000I41G and for the SACD it is B003UUFH5A.

And Thank you, D. Allen, for your review.
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Format: Audio CD
You'll never go back to silly, boring, 3-chord blues after hearing what Kenny Burrell can do. None of the songs here are really traditional blues at all, but there is a relaxed bluesy FEEL in these songs. Burrell has the most incredible guitar tone and his note placement is perfect. This music is both relaxed and low-key AND dramatic all at the same time. Listen to Soul Lament and then Midnight Blue and you'll feel it too. He's the best.
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