Format: LP, Vinyl
Blue Mitchell’s self titled 1971 album on Bob Shad’s Mainstream Records—often referred to as Soul Village—sees a reissue on Newland Records, a 180g package remastered by man in-demand Kevin Gray and pressed at the Pallas in Germany. The album features a tight core unit, comprised of Blue on trumpet, Walter Bishop Jr. on keys, Jimmy Forrest on tenor, Larry Gales on bass and Doug Sides on drums. The date was recorded in one take, telling of the quality of the musicians at Mitchell’s disposal, a short-lived quintet that lasted less than a year brought together after Blue’s move to Los Angeles from New York.
Standouts include the original Bishop Jr. composition Soul Village, featuring some muscular soloing from Blue and Forrest, a moody and distinctive Bishop Jr. arrangement that he re-recorded on his Black Jazz and Muse albums. Another key standout from the album is the Latin flavour of Mi Hermano, underlaid by laconic and assonant Rhodes voicings and compact, groovy bossa rhythms. Are You Real hits on similar rhythmical themes, Bishop Jr. keeping the melody together on acoustic piano while Blue hits one of his finest solos, a groovy number that keeps on giving. A strong album throughout, accentuated by Gales’ woody bass sound and the excellent musical pairing of Bishop Jr. and Mitchell.