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5 jazz albums that are celebrating their 50th year in 2020

Blog
5 jazz albums that are celebrating their 50th year in 2020

04.03.2020

Text: Ekin Sanaç
Translate: Yetkin Nural

Celebrating their 50th anniversary this year, here is a look at five albums from the year 1970 that have left their marks on jazz history. 

Miles Davis – Bitches Brew
Won a Grammy in Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album category in 1971, Bitches Brew is an epic album from a 41 year-old Miles Davis with a career over 20 years, delivering a masterwork of the approach that he started in his previous album, In A Silent Way. The foundation of Bitches Brew’s innovative fusion approach is built upon the rhythm section that consists of two basses and two to three drums, accompanied by two to three keyboards and a percussionist. Carrying a heavy Jimi Hendrix influence, Bitches Brew strays away from the traditional jazz approach with arrangements that are built on rock-based improvisations with striking form. This album did not only change the history of jazz, but also left a big mark on rock and funk musicians. 

Freddie Hubbard – Red Clay
Red Clay is the legendary trumpet player Freddie Hubbard’s first release from famous CTI Records after a series of releases from Blue Note and Columbia labels. Recorded in three consecutive days, Red Clay offers a unique musical narrative that conveys the explorations and adventures of Freddie Hubbard accompanied by Herbie Hancock, Ron Carter, Joe Henderson and Lenny White. Marking the beginnings of Hubbard’s trademark style with its groove based approach, Red Clay is gem of an album that has also influenced CTI’s vision in the following years as well as the jazz trumpet of the 70’s.

Stanley Turrentine – Sugar
Just like Freddie Hubbard’s Red Clay, Sugar is also the first CTI album from the saxophone master Stanley Turrentine, who has been creating glorious work in soul jazz genre since the 50’s, after a series of releases from Blue Note label. Recorded with stars like George Benson, Lonnie Liston Smith, Freddie Hubbard, Ron Carter, Butch Cornell and Billy Kaye; Sugar bundles up its audience in a warm world of soul and blues. This album is also known as the record that introduced Turrentine’s name to the mainstream.

Alice Coltrane – Journey in Satchidananda
The fourth album of Alice Coltrane’s discography takes its name and inspiration from the teachings of yoga guru Swami Satchidananda, who is known by the opening speech he gave at Woodstock in 1969. A student of Satchidananda, Alice Coltrane puts her harp and piano at the heart of the album and fuses jazz with African and Middle-Eastern influences as well as Indian music, in which she has a great interest. The names that accompany Coltrane in the album are Pharoah Sanders, Cecil McBee, Charlie Haden, Vishnu Wood, Majid Shabazz and Rashid Ali. This is a timeless album that eases its audience into the exciting paths of experimental jazz.

Bill Evans – Alone
Thought to be released in the early days of 1970, Alone is the first solo piano album from Bill Evans. Until his death in 1980, Evans met with audiences through his trio bringing together Scott La Faro on bass and Paul Motian on drums, as well as in various duo formations. Having won the award in Best Jazz Performance (Small Group or Soloist with Small Group) category in 13th Annual Grammy Awards, Alone gives jazz fans the opportunity to listen to Evans on his piano just by himself, and that is the reason why this album is so special. Requiring great attention while listening, Alone has the potential to offer a new experience and excitement in each listen.

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