Blue Note Records’ 70th anniversary is a big deal — big enough to get a group of major jazz artists, including trumpeter Nicholas Payton, saxophonists Ravi Coltrane and Steve Wilson, and pianist Bill Charlap to form the Blue Note 7 and set aside time to, not only record an album, but also commit to a 51-city tour of North America.
“It’s something that was attractive to everybody,” says Charlap, 42, who’s serving as the project’s musical director. “Everybody has mutual respect for each other. All the players are leaders in their own right but also consummate sidemen.
“Nobody is a young lion, but nobody is an elder statesman, either. We’ve all had experience being on many different sides of the fence, and I think the chemistry is right and the collective experience was attractive to everyone.”
Conceived by booking agent Jack Randall and released in January, “Mosaic: A Celebration of Blue Note
Records” features new takes on recordings made famous — and released on Blue Note — by McCoy Tyner, Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Horace Silver and others, arranged by the Blue Note 7 members and Charlap’s wife, fellow pianist Renee Moses. The group has “more than twice as much” in its live repertoire, and Charlap says talks are already under way for a second “Mosaic” volume.
“This (‘Mosaic’) could only be a snapshot,” Charlap explains. “My goal was to choose pieces that give a varied snapshot of the artists and composers on the label. There’s so much more music we can do — and that I think we will do over time.”
The Blue Note 7 perform at 8 p.m. Friday (March 13) at Orchestra Hall in the Max M. Fisher Music Center, 3711 Woodward Ave., Detroit. Tickets are $19-$99. Call (313) 576-5111 or visit www.detroitsymphony.com.
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