Blue Mitchell: Polka Dots and Moonbeams


Polka Dots and Moonbeams


Blue Mitchell (trumpet)


Blue Soul (Riverside 30508)

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Blue Mitchell (trumpet), Curtis Fuller (trombone), Jimmy Heath (tenor sax), Wynton Kelly (piano), Sam Jones (bass), Philly Joe Jones (drums).

Composed by Jimmy Van Heusen & Johnny Burke


Recorded: New York, September, 1959


Rating: 84/100 (learn more)

Blue Mitchell assembled a stellar hard-bop band for his Blue Soul LP. But there is not much soul or bluesiness on this low-key ballad. Philly Joe Jones is very subdued and does little more than tap out the beat. Moreover, the arrangement comes across as formulaic, and makes one wonder whether this track might not have sounded better if (as with several other songs on Blue Soul) tenor and trombone had laid out. Mitchell offers up a lyrical improvisation that almost saves the day. The first 16 bars of his solo are the song's high point, but when the other horns enter at the bridge they dispel the mood that Mitchell has lovingly established. There are some fine moments here, but not enough to put this ballad on a list of essential Mitchell performances.

Reviewer: Ted Gioia

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