Sat, 6 July 2013
I can’t be alone in missing the experience of holding a phonograph record jacket in my hand, reading the detailed liner notes and enjoying the photos and other material those artists and their labels routinely put out before the digital era swept it all away. A number of jazz labels in particular were in the forefront of graphic design when it came to album jackets – I think of Blue Note and Impulse in particular. So much of that has gone the way of the phonograph and analog recording.
In an effort to revitalize their catalog, and not coincidentally, recreate that experience for the 21st century, Blue Note has teamed up with Groovebug to deliver a rich experience for both jazz aficionados and newcomers alike. The application they are offering provides an immersive way of discovering and enjoying classic jazz recordings from the legendary label. It features a deep catalogue of seminal tracks to stream and a wealth of interactive content from iconic Blue Note artists such as Wayne Shorter, Dexter Gordon and Art Blakey and since it works on your tablet, you can once again have the experience of holding a (virtual) record jacket in your hands while you listen.
Jeremiah Seraphine, CEO of Groovebug, said: “We designed the Blue Note by Groovebug iPhone and iPod touch experience from the ground up. It is important to our users to quickly play music, navigate with one hand, and still enjoy the immersive and visually stunning experience we achieved with the iPad app. We're excited to get this in front of jazz fans everywhere.”
Podcast 360 is my conversation with Jeremiah, as we “go down the rabbit hole”, as he puts it, discovering how the app works and can be enjoyed. Classic Blue Note recordings punctuate the conversation, including:
Freddie Hubbard – “The Melting Pot” from Blue Spirits. This track form a 1966 session was a CD extra to the Blue Spirits re-release. It features Hubbard on trumpet, Joe Henderson and Hosea Taylor on sax, Herbie Hancock on piano, Reggie Workman on bass and Elvin Jones on drums.
Joe Henderson - "Caribbean Fire Dance" from Mode for Joe. This 1966 recording was Henderson’s last as a leader for Blue Note, and has one of the all-time great lineups: Henderson on sax, Curtis Fuller on trombone, Lee Morgan on trumpet, Bobby Hutcherson on vibes, Cedar Walton on piano, Ron Carter on bass and Joe Chambers on drums.
Art Blakey & the Jazz Messengers – Title Track from The Freedom Rider. This was the final album for this particular group of Messengers – Wayne Shorter on sax, Lee Morgan on trumpet, Bobby Timmons on piano, Jymie Merritt on bass and the incomparable Blakey on drums.
Grant Green Sextet - "Sookie Sookie" from Alive!. This oft-sampled track from Green's only live album was recorded at the Cliche Lounge, Newark, NJ on August 15, 1970. The group is Claude Bartee on sax, Bill Bivens on vibes, Ronnie Foster on organ, Green on guitar, Idris Muhammad on drums and Joseph Armstrong on congas.
The Blue Note by Groovebug App is available for free exclusively on the App Store for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch at www.AppStore.com/bluenotebygroovebug. The initial download features 30-second clips of all the music contained in the app. For all of the app’s tracks a monthly subscription charge of $1.99/£1.49 via In-App Purchase is required