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Showing only albums and live's | Based on members ratings & JMA custom algorithm | 60 min. caching

SOFT MACHINE Third Album Cover Third
SOFT MACHINE
4.75 | 52 ratings
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YES Fragile Album Cover Fragile
YES
4.92 | 9 ratings
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SANTANA Caravanserai Album Cover Caravanserai
SANTANA
4.68 | 41 ratings
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PARLIAMENT Mothership Connection Album Cover Mothership Connection
PARLIAMENT
4.85 | 9 ratings
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CURTIS MAYFIELD Superfly Album Cover Superfly
CURTIS MAYFIELD
4.96 | 6 ratings
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KING CRIMSON Larks' Tongues In Aspic Album Cover Larks' Tongues In Aspic
KING CRIMSON
4.64 | 31 ratings
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STEVIE WONDER Innervisions Album Cover Innervisions
STEVIE WONDER
4.73 | 13 ratings
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JOHN ZORN Magick Album Cover Magick
JOHN ZORN
4.83 | 8 ratings
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STEELY DAN Aja Album Cover Aja
STEELY DAN
4.65 | 23 ratings
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FRANK ZAPPA The Grand Wazoo (The Mothers) Album Cover The Grand Wazoo (The Mothers)
FRANK ZAPPA
4.58 | 38 ratings
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MARTIN DENNY Exotica Album Cover Exotica
MARTIN DENNY
4.94 | 5 ratings
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JIMI HENDRIX Are You Experienced (Jimi Hendrix Experience) Album Cover Are You Experienced (Jimi Hendrix Experience)
JIMI HENDRIX
4.58 | 27 ratings
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Together
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CANDY DULFER
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The Complete Verve Singles
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JIMMY SMITH
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Hymns for Robots
Album
UNSCHOOLED
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London
Live album
SLOWLY ROLLING CAMERA
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ZAPPAtite: Frank Zappa’s Tastiest Tracks
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FRANK ZAPPA
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Reverence
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NATHAN EAST
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Jukebox Series #6
EP
OKKYUNG LEE
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Songs on Film: The Sequel
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JOE STILGOE
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Overflow
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EDWIN SANZ
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Nanaj
EP
JAPANSKI PREMIJERI
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Perkusije, gospodine!
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JAPANSKI PREMIJERI
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Silent Spills
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JESSICA PAVONE
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Some Need It Lonely
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OMAR RODRÍGUEZ-LÓPEZ
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Burn The Boat
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FINI BEARMAN
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Nom De Guerre Cabal
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OMAR RODRÍGUEZ-LÓPEZ
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The Eastcote Studios Session
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BORBETOMAGUS
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64:38 Radio Full Liv(f)e
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LIGHT COORPORATION
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The Dreaming Room [Special Edition]
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LAURA MVULA
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Port Bou
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ELLIOTT SHARP
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4Ever
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PRINCE
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The Ultimate Christmas Playlist
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BEEGIE ADAIR
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Snake Pit
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HARVEY MANDEL
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Sexsmith Swinghammer Songs
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LORI CULLEN
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Cage Street Memorial: The Pilgrimage
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CARLEEN ANDERSON
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Christmas
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VINCENT INGALA
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Back on Track
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CECILIA BERTOLINI
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Kogel Mogel
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SOT
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Live In Japan
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JAKE SHIMABUKURO
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Nashville Sessions
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JAKE SHIMABUKURO
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Til They Bang On The Door
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LUCY WOODWARD
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Bandzilla Rises!!!
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BANDZILLA
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The Big Wig
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ANDREAS SCHAERER
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Simply Christmas
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LESLIE ODOM JR
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New Day
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PHIL CASAGRANDE
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Missing You
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PHIL CASAGRANDE
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The Columbia Years 1968-1969
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BETTY DAVIS
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Old’s' Cool
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JAZZKANTINE
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Erwin Helfer Way
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ERWIN HELFER
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Remembering the Masters
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BARRELHOUSE CHUCK
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Sweetest Illusion: 3cd Deluxe Edition
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BASIA (BASIA TRZETRZELEWSKA)
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Zapopan
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OMAR RODRÍGUEZ-LÓPEZ
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Langen Ro
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GEIR SUNDSTØL
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57TH & 9TH
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STING
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Prankster Bride
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DE-PHAZZ
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Collection 1978-1993
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SADAO WATANABE
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SAMA ROU (Songs From My Soul)
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AMINA CLAUDINE MYERS
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Freeform Jazz
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UYAMA HIROTO
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Mass
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BOBBY PREVITE
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Ménage à Trois
Album
ENRICO PIERANUNZI
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Stories from Stompin' Willie
Album
PAUL JACKSON
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Sunlight / Feets Don't Fail Me Now
Boxset / Compilation
HERBIE HANCOCK
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California Christmas
Album
JESSY J
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Saxentric
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JIMI TENOR
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The Gift of Christmas
Album
BOB BALDWIN
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Unicornucopia
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SOME SOME UNICORN
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A Boat Upon Its Blood
Album
JASON SHARP
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Politika
Single
ZOE
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Play Date
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NANCY WRIGHT
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Day To Day Remixes
EP
SARATHY KORWAR
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Velcro Bird
Album
LEVERTON FOX
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The Surrender Of Time
Album
STEVE LAWSON
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Referendum
Album
STEVE LAWSON
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All Things
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SLOWLY ROLLING CAMERA
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21
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AKIRA JIMBO
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Dream Maps
Album
PHILIP CLEMO
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The Keys To Christmas
Album
JEFF COLLINS
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Polychoral
Live album
NATE WOOLEY
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The County Set
Album
DUCK BAKER
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Jazz Love
Album
LAURA FYGI
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Curse Go Back
Album
WILLIAM S. BURROUGHS
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Let Me Hang You
Album
WILLIAM S. BURROUGHS
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Blue Horizon / Island Breeze
Boxset / Compilation
ERIC GALE
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Weekly Mansions
Album
OMAR RODRÍGUEZ-LÓPEZ
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Infinity Drips
Album
OMAR RODRÍGUEZ-LÓPEZ
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Ice Age Paradise
Album
SIENNA DAHLEN
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Dream Cassette
Album
JOEL MILLER
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Polanski's 'Knife in the Water' Original Soundtrack
Boxset / Compilation
KRZYSZTOF KOMEDA
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Overflying
Album
CLAUDIO FILIPPINI
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Classic Albums Collection: 1957-1962
Boxset / Compilation
JOHN LEWIS
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ABUC
Album
ROBERTO FONSECA
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Live In England
Live album
FOCUS
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Dans Les Forets De Siberie
Album
IBRAHIM MAALOUF
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13
Album
SUPERSILENT
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Sir Nebula
Album
TAUK
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Textures
Album
NICHOLAS PAYTON
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The Egyptian Second Line
EP
NICHOLAS PAYTON
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Dub Sessions 1978-1985
Album
SLY AND ROBBIE
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In Winter
Album
KATIE MELUA
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28.2.12
Live album
KEIJI HAINO
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Dominic Lash & Angharad Davies : 5.5.16
Live album
DOMINIC LASH
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Sunkissed
Album
ASHLEIGH SMITH
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Red Sky
Album
MOON HOOCH
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Leslie Odom Jr
Album
LESLIE ODOM JR
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Earth, Invisible
Album
EARTH INVISIBLE
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EJ
Album
ERIC JOHNSON
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Violin Fantasy
Boxset / Compilation
JERRY GOODMAN
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Tillery
Album
TILLERY
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The Dreaming Room
Album
LAURA MVULA
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Scored Play Alongs
Album
STICK MEN
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Persuasion
Album
BRIAN SIMPSON
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The Westerlies
Album
THE WESTERLIES
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14.8.13
Live album
OKKYUNG LEE
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Nine
Album
CLUB DES BELUGAS
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Christmas With My Friends V
Album
NILS LANDGREN
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The Definitive Collection
Boxset / Compilation
GROVER WASHINGTON JR
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One Way Back
Album
PAUL BROWN
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Funk!
Album
BRIAN CULBERTSON
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Paths Become Lines
Album
SIRIUS QUARTET
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Cantos Invisíveis
Album
SÃO PAULO UNDERGROUND
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Je Dis Oui!
Album
PINK MARTINI
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Songs of Bacharach and Manzanero
Album
GABRIEL ESPINOSA
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The History Of Paul Hardcastle
Boxset / Compilation
PAUL HARDCASTLE
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Quadio (1969-1976)
Boxset / Compilation
CHICAGO
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Song Of Lahore
Album
THE SACHAL ENSEMBLE
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Cell Phone Bikini
Album
OMAR RODRÍGUEZ-LÓPEZ
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Free
Album
GUILLAUME PERRET & THE ELECTRIC EPIC
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Iridescent Clouds
Album
TAEKO KUNISHIMA
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Black Bombaim & Peter Brotzmann
Album
PETER BRÖTZMANN
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El Bien Y Mal Nos Une
Album
OMAR RODRÍGUEZ-LÓPEZ
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Grand White Silk
Album
TORUN ERIKSEN
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Groovin'
Album
PETER WHITE
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Big Boat
Album
PHISH
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The Spirit Lives
Album
SERGEY KURYOKHIN
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Lubatov
Live album
GARETH LUBBE AND SIMON NABATOV
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Arctor (with Samuel Hall)
Live album
JUAN SAIZ
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The Sound of the Caves
Album
JUAN SAIZ
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Zurich Concerts (15 Years Of Kontrabassduo Studer-Frey)
Live album
KONTRABASSDUO STUDER-FREY
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Spacebound Apes
Album
NEIL COWLEY
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The Dawn of Time
Album
VIRGIL DONATI
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Time Piece
Album
MISBEHAVIN'
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Blues Full Circle
Album
DUKE ROBILLARD
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Det Andre Rommet
Album
ERLEND APNESETH
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E.S.T. Symphony
Live album
ESBJÖRN SVENSSON TRIO (E.S.T.)
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The Evolution Suite
Live album
RICHARD SUSSMAN
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Music Is My Home
Album
RAPHAËL IMBERT
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Umbrella Mistress
Album
OMAR RODRÍGUEZ-LÓPEZ
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The 3 Generations Trio
Live album
TERRY RILEY
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The Sirius Mystery
Album
RUSSELL GUNN
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On My Own
Album
BEADY BELLE
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Out From The Cente
Album
BRUCE KATZ
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Ross Hammond and Vinny Golia
Album
ROSS HAMMOND
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The Third Bly de Blyant Album
Album
BLY DE BLYANT
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In My Room
Album
JACOB COLLIER
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The Sting Variations
Album
TIERNEY SUTTON
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Rumi Songs
Album
TRYGVE SEIM
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Ante Lucem
Live album
IRO HAARLA
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Disappearing Day
Album
PETER ELDRIDGE
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Bushman´s Fire
Live album
BUSHMAN'S REVENGE
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Second Nature
Album
MICHAEL LINGTON
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Il canto delle montagne
Album
THIERRY MAILLARD
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Ethnic Sounds
Album
THIERRY MAILLARD
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Commedia Dell’arte
Album
JOHN ZORN
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G
Album
GERALD ALBRIGHT
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Miniatures
Album
GLAUCO VENIER
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Unspoken
Album
CHUCK LOEB
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Archipelago
Album
MELODY PARKER
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Backbeat
Album
TOMMY SCHNELLER
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Frank Zappa for President
Album
FRANK ZAPPA
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Polka Remixed
EP
WOJTEK MAZOLEWSKI
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Metamorphosis
Album
THE SULTAN'S SWING
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Hallucinations
Album
JAZZFAKERS
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Sawdust and Spangles
Album
THE CLOGGZ
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Countdown
Album
PAUL TAYLOR
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Arañas en La Sombra
Album
OMAR RODRÍGUEZ-LÓPEZ
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08.09.13
Live album
MARGINAL CONSORT
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Blind Worms, Pious Swine
Album
OMAR RODRÍGUEZ-LÓPEZ
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Evening Tales
Album
SUSAN ALCORN
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Claude Tchamitchian Sextet : Traces
Album
CLAUDE TCHAMITCHIAN
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Brückenshlag
Album
LAJOS DUDÁS
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Strandebarm
Album
STEIN URHEIM
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A Place to Be
Album
JUSTIN SWADLING
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Jangadas
EP
GONÇALO ALMEIDA
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Day Breaks
Album
NORAH JONES
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Laguna Beach
Album
MARC ANTOINE
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The Tel-Star Sessions
Album
GOV'T MULE
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Joëlle Léandre / Théo Ceccaldi : Elastic
Live album
JOËLLE LÉANDRE
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Jazz For Idiots
Album
MACIEJ MALEŃCZUK
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Country For Old Men
Album
JOHN SCOFIELD
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Tranzience
Live album
ELLIOTT SHARP
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Ethos
Album
PATRICK YANDALL
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The Third Frontier
Album
UTOPIANISTI
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Black Paintings
Album
JEFF GUTHERY
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Selebeyone
Album
STEVE LEHMAN
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Charles Ruggiero Meets Laura Mace
Album
CHARLES RUGGIERO
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Bria
Album
BRIA SKONBERG
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Kaleidoscoped
Album
NEW ORLEANS SUSPECTS
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The Good Life
Album
TILL BRÖNNER
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Corazones
Album
OMAR RODRÍGUEZ-LÓPEZ
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Sacred Visions
Album
JOHN ZORN
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Summer Madness
Album
RICHARD ELLIOT
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Prog Noir
Album
STICK MEN
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Soulmate Another Love Story
Album
FRANK MCCOMB
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Now And Then
Album
IAN BRIGHTON
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BEATBoX SAX
Album
DEREK BROWN
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Electro Parables
Album
VOLCANO RADAR
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From The Law Offices Of
Album
LEVIN MINNEMAN RUDESS
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Deep Resonance
EP
MALA WALDRON
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Secular Hymns
Album
MADELEINE PEYROUX
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No White Shoes
Album
GABRIELA MARTINA
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Bloodmist : Sheen
Album
JEREMIAH CYMERMAN
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Lovers
Album
NELS CLINE
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Morning Sun
Album
GADI CAPLAN
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Talisman
Album
JAZZ Q PRAHA /JAZZ Q
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Soul Eyes
Album
KANDACE SPRINGS
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Quasar
Live album
VARIABLE GEOMETRY ORCHESTRA
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Snowmelt
Album
MARIUS NESET
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6 7 8 A O 11
Album
JOE BLESSETT
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Where I Left Off
Album
OLI SILK
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Collected
Boxset / Compilation
LEVEL 42
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The Reed Trumpet
Album
TORBEN SNEKKESTAD
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Plateau
Album
TORBEN SNEKKESTAD
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Winds of Mouth
Album
TORBEN SNEKKESTAD
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Rejoice! I'm Dead!
Album
GONG
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Loud Hailer
Album
JEFF BECK
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Journey to the Heart
Album
KEIKO MATSUI
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Singles: A + B Sides & Rarities
Boxset / Compilation
JOHNNY "GUITAR" WATSON
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Open The Curtains
Album
CAROL DUBOC
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Capital Punishment For Cars
Album
ANNE-MARIE GIØRTZ
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Gardens In My Mind
Album
JOANNA WALLFISCH
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Native Tongue II
Album
KAM FALK
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Sworn Virgins
Album
OMAR RODRÍGUEZ-LÓPEZ
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Aparat
Album
APARAT
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Sherwood at the Controls, Volume 2: 1985-1990
Boxset / Compilation
ADRIAN SHERWOOD
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Abduction
Album
YOJO
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The Life Of Reilly
Album
BRENDAN REILLY
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LOK 03 + 1 : Signals
Album
LOK 03
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Still Euge
Album
EUGE GROOVE
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Loaned Veil
Album
JASON RASO
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Objects in motion
Album
ANWKOZIK
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Everest / エヴェレスト
Album
TAKASHI KAKO
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Moments of Change
Album
THE JT PROJECT
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Rise Above
Album
BILL EVANS (SAX)
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Tony Hymas joue Leo Ferre
Album
TONY HYMAS
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Fluid To The Influence
Album
CHRIS ABRAHAMS
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Seven Storey Mountain V
Live album
NATE WOOLEY
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Leaving Everything Behind
Album
YELENA ECKEMOFF
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Times and Places
Album
SHAKATAK
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El Despertar Interior
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jazz related Music Reviews

FOCUS Focus II (aka Moving Waves)

Album · 1971 · Jazz Related Rock
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siLLy puPPy
Originally released as FOCUS II and re-released under the title MOVING WAVES, this was FOCUS' greatest moment in their entire career. The world went absolutely wild over the lead single “Hocus Pocus” which even hit the top 10 on the Billboard singles chart. An oddity it was in every way especially in the prog world. This song was a riff-driven proto-metal track that actually predicted the use of 80s metal techniques like using the Hungarian minor scale. The mix of this early hard rock with yodeling sessions is still an eclectic oddity even today. Unfortunately this song is an anomaly in the FOCUS canon as well since the rest of the album sounds absolutely nothing like it.

The next three tracks are average classically inspired tracks that really don't offer much and feel a little hokey since they insinuate grander things to come and kind of fizzle out. The title track is the worst on here with horrible vocals and it kind of reminds me of ELP. I wish they would have skipped this one and added another rocker to usher in the grand finale “Eruption.”

“Eruption” seems to be equally loved and disliked. I'm on the love-it side. This 23 minute long piece is a hard rock version of the tale of “Orpheus” and Jacopo Peri's opera “Euridice”. There are many meanderings and variations of a basic melody that repeats subtly throughout the entire piece. I can understand why some may think this is boring as it is repetitive at times. For me I find the subtle spiraling of variations to be interesting and really love the odd breaks and also the more rocking parts. The transitions are unpredictable and I find the melody very infectious which sustains my interest.

Because this album is so strange with two really strong tracks that take up most of the album time and the fact that the rest of the instrumentals are average with only one track that I truly dislike I think this just squeaks by for me as a 4 star album.

DAVE MATTHEWS BAND Crash

Album · 1996 · Jazz Related Rock
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VerticalUprising
To say that Dave Matthews Band is well known is an understatement. Approximately two decades after their formation, they had sold over 30 million record copies worldwide, and are one of if not the only group two have 6 consecutive albums hit number one on the Billboard chart. Whilst DMB is known for their most radio friendly material, like 'Crash Into Me', the band has a profound set of epic material on much of their early material. Believed to be the band's first stellar hit was that of 1996's Crash, an album with much to offer and little to take back.

Described mainly as part of the 'jam' band scene, Dave Matthews Band encompasses a handful of different genres into their live performances, the more prominent of these being jazz. Dave Matthews has stated in interviews that his jazz influence came from the likes of Abdullah Ibrahim and Miriam Makeba. While these artist's jazz aspects originate entirely from Matthew's preferred South African scene, these African influences aren't exactly prominent on Crash. Instead, there's a more warm-blooded, swaggery style of pseudo-jazz rock that brings elements from commercial pop rock to make a wonderful twist. The album, while not as profound as say Before These Crowded Streets (1998) with it's grandiose complexity, Crash has it's fair share.

Admittedly Crash is a primarily alternative rock release. There is a clear Barenaked Ladies or R.E.M., or even Phish influence on tracks like 'Say Goodbye' and '#41', especially when it comes to Matthew's guitar playing. These tracks sort of meld into each-other if they become to dull, which they entirely can, but being what the band is primarily known for, the pop-rock songs are played extremely well and are full of heart and emotion. But when the album hits more complex music, lord does it hit well. The beast that is 'Two Step' is perhaps one of the greatest songs to come out of the 1990's, with it's melodramatic tone, somber choruses, fantastic hooks, and of course that bari-sax! It's truly one of DMB's best and is of course my number one recommendation from the album. Now 'Two Step' is really the only song that goes all-out in the vein of progressive music but there are numerous aforementioned alt-rock slammers that are well-known- for good reason. '#41' blends eclecticism with flashy film-score emotional value to great affect. 'Crash Into Me' is by far the most well known song from the band's repertoire, and it's not bad. It's by far one of the more simple songs from the track list, but it's cheerful tone and playful lyrics are enough to make it notable. 'Proudest Monkey' is a very interesting song, clocking in at a whopping 9 minutes, but it hits numerous structural high points throughout it's run time. Imagine 'Crash Into Me', but longer, more improvisational, and more interesting lyrical quality. That's basically what the song is, and to someone like me that's greatly appreciated.

The greatest thing by far about Dave Matthews Band however is Dave Matthews' Band. This band has what I think to be some of the most talented musicians ever put on an album. Now personally I think soppy songs for them are a restriction of true perfection in the long-run, but I'm always happy with what I've got, as well as solace of more illustrious material in their near future after Crash. On board with Dave Matthews' throaty howl is electric guitar god Tim Reynolds (a highly underrated musician), Stefan Lessard on bass, and LeRoi Moore and Boyd Tinsley as the two-man orchestra between the violin and the horn section. My only partial complaint is Carter Beauford's drumming. To say he's bad would be a denial of reality but I can't help that think that on this album (and consecutive ones), he's way overdoing it. You're playing pop, man; keeping it simple creates catchier material, at least for me. Simple drum fills could easily keep a good balance with the material provided, but I suppose going overkill works just as well financial-wise. Granted it does get much more fitting on later albums, but for this the over-complexity just seems abnormal when sitting next to something like '#41'. Just a thought. Even with that though the band has such a wonderful, unspoken cohesion that just makes them play so well. It truly is one of the highlights of the band in general.

Crash, while slightly entry-tier for someone more willing to get into it's progenitors' material, is still a colorful, inspiring release. Slow down to check this Crash out.

TCHANGODEI Tchangodei And Steve Lacy ‎: The Wasp (Duo Live)

Live album · 1984 · Jazz Related Improv/Composition
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snobb
Pianist Tchangodei is a mysterious figure on French jazz scene. Born in former French colony of Dahomey (now-Benin) in late 50s,he emigrated to France.Self-taught piano player for decades, he is almost totally ignored by domestic jazz community, but regularly played with France-based expatriates like Archie Shepp,Steve Lacy,Mal Waldron or Japanese trumpeter Itaru Oki.

His playing techniques is intuitive minimalism based on some repetitive drones (closest example could be a renown Waldron "drones") and fast short separate passages. Probably such ignorance of any roots (doesn't matter is it jazz techniques or so influential in Europe classic background) led to Tchangodei almost underground status in France - there are a very few local artists who ever played with him together (Louis Sclavis and Henry Texier are two names and I can hardly recall any more).

Tchangodei lived (and probably still lives) in Lyon where he ran small bar (where he played every night himself) and releasing his recorded music predominantly on his own Volcanic label. All obscurities,his albums contains piano solo music and Tchangodei collaborative musicianship with Louis Sclavis,Archie Shepp,Steve Lacy and Mal Waldron,among others.

"The Wasp" is one of such recordings - live recorded Tchangodei Steve Lacy (on soprano) duo playing behind small but enthusiastic auditory, most probably at Tchangodei's bar in Lyon. There are no credits, but most probably at least part of compositions are Lacy's. Generally music sounds as not much correlated gig of saxist and pianist. Lacy (less explosive and dynamic than usual) plays his trademark vibrato-less soprano solos without paying much attention on what happens around. Tchangodei piano is busy but produces mostly series of very short passages. Sometimes sax and piano sounds mystically click together, more often all music remind quite chaotic soloing of two musicians where each of them doesn't care much about what happens around. Still Lacy doesn't dominate here and altogether it works not so terrible as it looks on paper.At least even experienced listener can hardly remember if he ever heard such a strange duo.

Unfortunately many earlier Tchangodei recordings have been never reissued on CDs (and original vinyl versions are obscure) so it's not an easy job to find them to listen. Starting from mid 90's his new music is released on CDs,so as rule is more accessible. Not of star level, Tchangodei is an interesting example of "non-systemic" improvising pianist with his own musical face.

FREDRIK THORDENDAL'S SPECIAL DEFECTS Sol Niger Within

Album · 1997 · Jazz Related Rock
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siLLy puPPy
Coming at ya with the complexity of a calculus equation on a physics exam in the rocket science department at MIT, the mastermind himself behind the extreme metal band Meshuggah unleashes his first solo outing to the world under the moniker FREDRIK THORDENDAL'S SPECIAL DEFECTS. Apparently not satisfied with the strangeness and angular extreme metal that Meshuggah delivers on a regular basis, THORDENDAL really lets it all loose on SOL NIGER WITHIN, which not only takes the jazz elements and high tech metal approach of Meshuggah but increases everything exponentially and adds all kinds of delicious ingredients to make one uniquely strange and satisfying edition in the world of djentology.

Some of this music itself doesn't sound too overly different than the jazz metal fusion that i have heard from Buckethead on occasion but on this release we get a lot of diverse elements that incorporate a djent based guitar riffage with shrieked black metal type vocals that remind me a bit of Cradle Of Filth's gothic take on the subgenre. Although the album is broken down into 29 tracks on the original release and include two extras on the 1999 re-release titled SOL NIGER WITHIN: Version 3.33 with a few changes like the organ missing, the album really comes off as one continuous track that morphs and evolves from one phase to another. The track listings are fairly unimportant as it really seems like they were randomly imposed on the musical flow.

While this is usually complimented to THORDENDAL as a solo project, this is in fact very much a conglomerate of musical talents that create some interesting avant-garde metal. Amongst others the most notable talents on board here include Morgan Ågren (drums) and Mats Öberg (keyboards) who were both performing with Frank Zappa at one point. Other non- metal instruments include the sax, church organ and yikaki, which is a long wooden instrument played by Australian Aborigines. While most tracks have their feet in the extreme metal world, some such as "Cosmic Vagina Dentata Organ" do not. This all church organ track was nixed from the 3:33 version for whatever reason. I own the first release and find the jettisoned track to be a very interesting intermission in the flow of the album.

While the subject of the lyrics involved seems to be based in the sci-fi world reminding me of the world of Voivod, there is an alien theme i detect going on here as well and the term SOL NIGER, which means the black sun, was referred to by alchemists to reflect the psyche's feeling tone under the frigid and unrelenting influence of the planet Saturn. Some tracks like "Sensorium Dei" are just sublime in how it utilizes strange mathematical timings with tripped out guitar solos and deftly balances silence with extreme noise. This is a highly recommended slice of avant-garde metal heaven if you are seeking the strange, unorthodox and built-by- intelligent-design world of FREDRIK THORDENDAL which utilizes philosophy, mathematical musical construction and all the extreme metal brutality you would expect from his output.

While i don't own the 3:33 version, i did find myself impressed enough with this album to check out the two extra tracks on this version for the sake of comparison. The two extra tracks are "Missing Time" which clocks in at 11:31 and "Ooo Baby Baby" which is only a mere 1:15. This version also emits "Painful Disruption" which is merely a 29 second freaky guitar frenzy that sounds like something Steve Vai would conjure up with a Zappa type of feel. "Missing Time" sounds more like a more recognizable jazz-fusion guitar piece with some narration about alien abductions. "Ooo Baby Baby" is a highly aggressive dent guitar assault that is short and to the point. It has a nice strange ending. Overall, i say stick to the original. The extra tracks are nice but i like the omitted ones more.

TRAFFIC Far From Home

Album · 1994 · Jazz Related Rock
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VerticalUprising
Traffic is by far one of my favorite bands of all time. The innovative music they cranked out in such an early stage of progressive rock was nigh unparalleled by many other bands. Traffic split up rather early in the seventies (in '74), but at the same time had released a studio album practically every year up to that point since their debut in 1967. The split couldn't be more appropriate. Traffic was releasing great material seemingly effortlessly, until that year with When The Eagle Flies, debatably their weakest album of the period. They went quiet for three decades until in 1994, they released a sudden comeback album out of the blue. This was none other than Far From Home, a haphazard assemblage of 90's pop rock and very vague progressive undertones. Was it as great as any of the classics? No, not really. Now you could say that with such an old band as Traffic, thinking that an album released thirty years after their golden era would be as great as when the band was young is wishful thinking. I don't believe that Far From Home should match any of their old albums in the slightest. To me, a comeback album is one that is more of a callback to old material, replicating it slightly but with other sounds and gadgets to make up for weak points. This is especially the case when an album is such a flash-fire like Far From Home was (the band released and nothing subsequently). But this didn't happen. FFH was a complete overhaul of Traffic's sound, demolishing the eclectic folk influence, the progressive construction, and any semblance of what made Traffic Traffic. If every element of the band was removed, then what exactly was left? Nothing particularly remarkable.

Far From Home, in layman's terms, is a glorified Steve Winwood solo album, the only difference being that drummer Jim Capaldi from the original lineup joined him on it. The album is over-saturated, much like Winwood's albums, with harmonized synth keyboards, slow echoing drumming, and soul backing vocals. To call Far From Home a prog record would be a stretch, but you could make a case for it. The album does have many Latin and salsa jazz influences, no matter how badly used they may be. Funnily enough this album features some of Traffic's longest tracks, which have little-to-no experimentation in them; this may be a trap for you if you're going into the album looking for some hardened progressive rock, so it's better to be aware. Winwood's vocals in their early stages were quiet, yet when required were able to belt out power notes. However after spending the 80's successful with just using the latter, Winwood's over-enthusiastic yell became the centerpiece of the vocal arrangements. Capaldi, who I know is a great drummer, is restricted within this genre with slow, linear drum patterns that rarely shift from their solid mold. Mick Dolan and Davy Spillane appear as newcomers to the band, on rhythm guitar and Uilleann pipes (a type of Irish bagpipe) respectively. Even with their presence though, it's undoubtedly primarily Capaldi and Winwood doing the work.

The album has some pretty good moments, the title track is stand-able and features one of those super-filtered guitar solos from Winwood at the end of the song. The tracks that I always come back to are that of 'Nowhere Is Their Freedom', a punchy film-score esque epic, and the wonderful closing instrumental 'Mozambique'. The other tracks are forgettable, but I wouldn't necessarily go so far as to say they wouldn't appeal to anybody because this music definitely still has an audience.

Far From Home is not a fantastic record. It has more ups than downs, and unfortunately isn't that great of a resurrection of such a classic band. Yet if you are open minded I'm sure this album would have it's fans. My two- cents don't mean anything in the wider picture. Happy listening.



To think of it, maybe Traffic needed a little more Mason after all. If anyone can do campy right, it's him.

jazz related movie reviews

KING CRIMSON Neal And Jack And Me

Movie · 2004 · Jazz Related Rock
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Sean Trane
This DVD will please many of the third Crimson phase fans combines two tours: the Beat tour and the Three Of A Perfect pair. Oddly enough, they are presented in a non- chronological order, but this is a very minor point. One of the things I was particularly uneasy about was Bruford's use of electronic percussions and drums and we get a load of those "things" and like all technology novelty, the risk is that it ages poorly and sadly here, it is the case. Another point I had not appreciated is the stage presence of Adrian Belew, which is clearly copied from David Byrne from his collaborations with The Talking Heads - I love the T Heads, but Belew's stage antics are too derivative and ill fitted for Crimson. There are a few tracks present twice and most notably the boring Mate Kusadai.

Strictly on the visual front, Crimson was clearly making efforts to look hip and appeal to a more new-wave-ish public. Those were the days! But I never said that they were good, either!

Among the bonuses, are a video clip and a few titbits, but sadly still missing is that mini- concert footage filmed for the Discipline release and them playing four tracks in front of a red curtain. I may be severe with my rating of this DVD but I am not a real fan of that era.

GONG Classic Rock Legends

Movie · 2000 · Jazz Related Rock
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seyo
This video contains live performances from 1990 Live on TV album. Four original members of GonG are present: Pip Pyle, Didier Malherbe, Gilli Smyth and an oddball-harlequin persona of the spiritus movens, Daevid Allen.

Performance is focused on their legendary Radio Gnome Invisible trilogy, with 3 starters from Camembert Electrique. Since I have no idea what GonG looked like on scene back in the early 1970s (that is, before I took a peek at several Youtube clips recently), I guess this DVD makes up a lot for that, the age of the performers notwithstanding.

In fact, seeing these unique art-performers in their senior age can just assure you how the music and art in general can surpass generations, years and ages if you wish. Musicianship is great, movie direction very good with several cameras shooting from different angles, while only the engagement of the dancers to invoke the mystical gnomey creatures may be seen as too over-stressed.

The finale presents perhaps too long goodbye with the extended "I Am You" jam, but when Daevid jumps down into the audience you can actually see the highly emotional and spiritual connection between the band and the people, done in an almost religious-like chanting. This is excellent video and should be seen by all those who have at least some knowledge of the Planet GonG trilogy repertoire!

BILL BRUFORD Bbc Rock Goes To College: Live 1979

Movie · 2006 · Jazz Related Rock
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Dick Heath
I remember seeing this originally on BBC 2 a few weeks after it was recorded in one of the canteens of Oxford Poly, and getting a mix of intense pleasure. In particular pleasure from the tour de force that Holdsworth had developed into (and screamed out at me on Feels Good To Me)and the unknown bass-wiz Jeff Berlin. But there was disappointment over Annette's contribution to the set - when her husky voice breathed sex at me on the album.

Now here from the Beeb's archives is the original 70's video quality footage as originally shown on 625 lines. The pleasure points remain, with some details emphasised. However the disappointment is worse, in particular there is a promise of something special as Peacock flounces on part way through the set, dressed as the fashion queen,(thereby drawing the contrast with the blokes in the band). However,again the expectation of something special evaporates quickly - the diva can't 'deave' live in sympathy with the music, the band i.e. her vocals are poor. Fortunately we don't have to suffer this for long and thank goodness for the skip button.

Yes this is a short recording*, and isn't there a missed opportunity here? One DVD burn (of a copy of a copy, etc.) of this gig I saw some years ago and suffering horribly from colour dropout, had the addition of two extra numbers by Bruford recorded off from the Old Grey Whistle Test - here with I think Neil Murray deputing for Jeff Berlin. Surely the Beeb could had offered these as well?

*Interesting to see another Rock Goes To College recording of Herbie Hancock & the Headhunters recorded at the now defuncted Chelsea College, that had resurfaced on BBC 4 2 years ago, was an hour long.

STING Bring On The Night

Movie · 2005 · Pop Jazz/Crossover
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Slartibartfast
The concept here is a documentary of a band forming, The Blue Turtles Band, rather than a band at their peak or breaking up. Fortunately it is heavier on the music than the documentary.

The first half takes place in a French countryside chateaux and consists of presentable songs from nine days of practice sessions for what was to be their first show. Everyone in the band seems to be having a good time. The chateaux provides nice a nice backdrop to the sessions. The second half is the show itself.

Since this was Sting's first post Police effort, there's a lot of reworked Police songs mixed in with tracks from the first album. It's sort of like the Police meets jazz with Andy Summers ejected so Sting could play guitar. The band line up is primarily younger jazz musicians that already had a good reputation for work they had done before hooking up with Sting.

There are interview excerpts between the songs. One of the more interesting ones was Miles Copeland, Sting's manager and Stewart's brother going on about negotiations with the rest of the band. He was extremely dismissive of the band in relation to Sting when it came to monetary compensation. I suspect that was more about himself getting a bigger piece of the pie than a reflection on Sting, although I do recall him guest appearing on a Saturday Night Live show with Steve Marting and Steve introducing him as Stin-gy.

I originally saw this one in a theater and was really pleased to see it released being reworked with "high definition digital anamorphic picture transfer and digitally remastered surround audio." It actually does look a little sharper than I recall and I think the orginal sound was just stereo.

BILL BRUFORD Bbc Rock Goes To College: Live 1979

Movie · 2006 · Jazz Related Rock
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Slartibartfast
This is incredible. I had the good fortune of seeing Bruford, unfortunately post Holdsworth, at the now defunct Atlanta Agora. I did get to catch Holdsworth touring for his I.O.U. album, but that's another story. My first pass through this concert really gave me the goosebumps.

It is unfortunate that this DVD is only 41 minutes, but the set list is excellent. Four tracks from Bruford's best album, One of a Kind. Annette Peacock even shows up for a couple of songs. I always thought that she didn't fit in well with this kind of music, but it's nice to see her all the same. I hope I'm wrong, but I don't think there's any live video out there of Alan Holdsworth, so seeing him in action is a special treat. One of the things I remember most from seeing Bruford was that at times Jeff Berlin's picking fingers were a blur and seeing him again live, I know I wasn't imagining it. Dave Stewart, or as I like to call him, The Dave Stewart, not that Eurythmics guy, is also a lot of fun to see in action. I noticed he had a music stand with no sheet music, but a synthesizer diagram, interesting. And then of course there's Bill. Those of you who may dislike his electronic drum work, I'm not one, will be happy to him playing strictly acoustic. What can I say? He's really one of best drummers around. The audio quality is excellent and sometimes the camera man crop off Holdsworth's left hand when I'd like to see it, but other than that, this is really nice for a concert captured in 1979.

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