Blue Note Records
Donald Byrd - Slow Drag LP (Blue Note Tone Poet Series)
More than a dozen albums into his Blue Note tenure, Donald Byrd’s 1967 date Slow Drag would be one of the last pure hard bop sessions that the reliably brilliant trumpeter would cut before his music began evolving towards fusion. Byrd flies high on this highly gratifying set that finds it’s groove across a variety of feels fueled by the tremendous drumming of Billy Higgins. The quintet is rounded out by alto saxophonist Sonny Red, pianist Cedar Walton, and bassist Walter Booker, each of whom contribute original compositions to the set list. The album opens with Byrd’s loose-limbed titled track, an endlessly entertaining 10-minute groovefest that features Higgins’ scene-stealing adlibbed vocals. “Secret Love,” a 1950s hit for Doris Day, becomes a modal jazz vehicle that shifts easily into a bright swing before Booker and Walton’s “Book’s Bossa” introduces a bossa nova flavor to the proceedings. Red’s upbeat boogaloo number “Jelly Roll” lifts the energy at the start of Side 2 followed by Walton’s soulful jazz waltz “The Loner.” The album comes to a close with a showstopping performance of the ballad “My Ideal” that’s a showcase for Byrd’s dazzling melodicism.
Blue Note Tone Poet Series
The Tone Poet Audiophile Vinyl Reissue Series was born out of Blue Note President Don Was’ admiration for the exceptional audiophile Blue Note LP reissues presented by Music Matters. Was brought Joe Harley, a.k.a. the “Tone Poet,” on board to curate and supervise a series of reissues from the Blue Note family of labels.
Extreme attention to detail has been paid to getting these right in every conceivable way, from the jacket graphics and printing quality to superior LP mastering (direct from the master tapes) by Kevin Gray to superb 180g audiophile LP pressings by Record Technology Inc. Every aspect of these Tone Poet releases is done to the highest possible standard. It means that you will never find a superior version. This is IT.
This stereo Tone Poet Vinyl Edition was produced by Joe Harley, mastered by Kevin Gray (Cohearent Audio) from the original analog master tapes, pressed on 180g vinyl at Record Technology Inc. (RTI), and packaged in a deluxe gatefold tip-on jacket.
A1: Slow Drag
A2: Secret Love
A3: Book’s Bossa
B1: Jelly Roll
B2: The Loner
B3: My Ideal