Florida-born trumpeter Blue Mitchell was one of the most popular players of the late 50s through to his death in 1979. His soulful tone made him the focal point of Horace Silver’s most successful quintet, which between 1958 and 1964 created a soul-jazz template many would copy. Alongside saxophonist Junior Cook, Mitchell provided a perfect expression of Silver’s deceptively complicated but exceedingly memorable tunes. When Silver disbanded the outfit, Blue Note wasted no time signing Mitchell. So began a solo career that saw him release a series of sought-after albums that were both complex and accessible. As jazz became increasingly unfashionable as the 1960s wore on, he made a couple of attempts at crossover recordings and entered the world of session playing, joining up with the Ray Charles Orchestra and later John Mayall. His career received a boost when he signed to Bob Shad’s Mainstream label in 1970. He debuted for the company with a largely acoustic jazz album that saw him working with saxophone great Jimmy Forrest, the originator of ‘Night Train’. The eponymous record fizzed with soul, buoyed by the contributions of pianist Walter Bishop Jr. Highlights include ‘Soul Village’ and the latin-flavoured ‘Mi Hermano’. From start to finish it is an amazing piece of work that led to five further albums for Mainstream over the next few years.