La Roca, Pete: Basra (Blue Note 80) LP
In honor of Blue Note Records' 80th Anniversary, the legendary jazz label is launching the Blue Note 80 Vinyl Reissue Series. Distinct from the Tone Poet Audiophile Vinyl Reissue Series, this second series curated by Don Was and Cem Kurosman features 180g vinyl LP releases in standard packaging with albums spanning the many eras of the label's history presented by themes: Blue Note Debuts, Blue Grooves, Great Reid Miles Covers, Blue Note Live, and Blue Note Drummer Leaders.
Everything that drummer Pete La Roca did before making Basra was a prelude in his career, and all of his later accomplishments are anti-climatic in comparison with this album. In 1965 La Roca, a respected but somewhat obscure drummer gathered together an unbelievable quartet comprised of tenor saxophonist Joe Henderson, pianist Steve Kuhn and bassist Steve Swallow for the Basra album. This was the only time that this group ever played together yet they sound very much like a major band that had been performing this music for years. Henderson is in astounding form, inspiring the other musicians to create famous versions of "Lazy Afternoon," "Eiderdown" and "Malaguena," renditions that are not only memorable but became the definitive way to play these songs.
La Roca contributed three colorful originals that deserved to become standards while his very stimulating drumming helped to bring out the very best in the players. But it is Henderson who lifts Basra into the cosmos, making the album magical and one of the must-hear recordings of the mid-60s!
This Blue Note 80 Vinyl Edition is all-analog, mastered by Kevin Gray from the original master tapes, and pressed on 180g vinyl LP at Optimal.