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Graffiti Blues

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Album Review

The fourth of five Mainstream sets led by Blue Mitchell (which has been reissued on CD) finds the flexible hard bop trumpeter joined by a soulful and funky rhythm section (either Joe Sample or Walter Bishop Jr. on keyboards, guitarist Freddie Robinson, electric bassist Darrell Clayborn and drummer Ray Pounds) and tenor saxophonist Herman Riley. The group plays three straight funky blues, including the title cut which features Don Bailey on harmonica, as well as a couple of basic Sample originals and a Mitchell ballad feature on "Alone Again, Naturally." Although not up to the same level as Blue Mitchell's earlier Blue Note dates, this accessible set does a good job of balancing worthwhile solos with catchy rhythms and has dated surprisingly well.

Biography

Born: March 13, 1930 in Miami, FL

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s

Owner of a direct, lightly swinging, somewhat plain-wrapped tone that fit right in with the Blue Note label's hard bop ethos of the 1960s, Blue Mitchell tends to be overlooked today perhaps because he never really stood out vividly from the crowd, despite his undeniable talent. After learning the trumpet in high school -- where he got his nickname -- he started touring in the early '50s with the R&B bands of Paul Williams, Earl Bostic, and Chuck Willis before returning to Miami and jazz. There, he...
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Graffiti Blues, Blue Mitchell
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