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JOHN COLTRANE A Love Supreme Album Cover A Love Supreme
JOHN COLTRANE
4.82 | 88 ratings
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MILES DAVIS Kind of Blue Album Cover Kind of Blue
MILES DAVIS
4.81 | 119 ratings
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BILL EVANS (PIANO) Waltz for Debby Album Cover Waltz for Debby
BILL EVANS (PIANO)
4.93 | 12 ratings
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CHARLES MINGUS The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady Album Cover The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady
CHARLES MINGUS
4.78 | 66 ratings
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BILL EVANS (PIANO) Sunday at the Village Vanguard (aka Live At The Village Vanguard) Album Cover Sunday at the Village Vanguard (aka Live At The Village Vanguard)
BILL EVANS (PIANO)
4.87 | 14 ratings
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WES MONTGOMERY The Incredible Jazz Guitar of Wes Montgomery Album Cover The Incredible Jazz Guitar of Wes Montgomery
WES MONTGOMERY
4.88 | 10 ratings
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KEITH JARRETT The Köln Concert Album Cover The Köln Concert
KEITH JARRETT
4.73 | 32 ratings
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ESBJÖRN SVENSSON TRIO (E.S.T.) Live in Hamburg Album Cover Live in Hamburg
ESBJÖRN SVENSSON TRIO (E.S.T.)
4.94 | 7 ratings
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MILES DAVIS 'Round About Midnight (aka Miles Davis) Album Cover 'Round About Midnight (aka Miles Davis)
MILES DAVIS
4.72 | 38 ratings
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HERBIE HANCOCK Empyrean Isles Album Cover Empyrean Isles
HERBIE HANCOCK
4.75 | 23 ratings
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JOHN COLTRANE My Favorite Things Album Cover My Favorite Things
JOHN COLTRANE
4.71 | 46 ratings
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JOHN COLTRANE Blue Train Album Cover Blue Train
JOHN COLTRANE
4.69 | 55 ratings
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Like An Elegant Wine
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MASSIMO FARAÒ
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Seductive Fantasy
EP
SUN RA ARKESTRA UNDER THE DIRECTION OF MARSHALL ALLEN
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Tales From Amazonia
Album
LORD SHAMBLETON
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Live in Tokyo 1980 Part 2
Live album
RYO KAWASAKI
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Originations
Album
RYAN COHAN
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Honda Takehiro Trio LIVE 1974
Live album
TAKEHIRO HONDA
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Isolation
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JULIUS WINDISCH
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Windisch Quartett : Chaos
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JULIUS WINDISCH
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Fresh Demons
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TIM STINE
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Biotope
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MARC BENHAM
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Event Horizon
Album
EVENT HORIZON
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Lockdown Sessions
EP
MARK WIBBERLEY
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The Norse Link + B Sides
EP
MARK WIBBERLEY
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I love ”Makkisa”
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AMATO JAZZ TRIO
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The Light That Shines
Album
PATCHWORK JAZZ ORCHESTRA
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The Places You Will Go
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RATKO ZJAČA
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Cubangla
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LOKKHI TERRA
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Take Root Among the Stars
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ROOTS MAGIC
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Big Smoke
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FIVE ALARM FUNK
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Relaxed Piano Moods 'Round Midnight
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HAZEL SCOTT
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The Ritual Begins At Sundown
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ROBBY KRIEGER
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Ambiguity
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DAVE SCOTT
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Toronto Streets Tour
Album
HARRISON ARGATOF
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Open Loose : The Third Proposition
Live album
MARK HELIAS
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Rebirth
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RAY MANTILLA
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City of Dreams
Album
CHICO PINHEIRO
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That Time
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LONDON JAZZ COMPOSERS ORCHESTRA
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The Shadows and The Light
Album
QUIN KIRCHNER
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Cuentos de lo profundo
Album
FRIDO TER BEEK
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Connect
Album
CHARLES TOLLIVER
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My Wonderland
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SIMONE KOPMAJER
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Farewell Tonic
Live album
FULL BLAST
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Fly Moon Die Soon
Album
TAKUYA KURODA
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Mythos - Metamorphosis
Album
ERODOTO PROJECT
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Unsaid
Album
YULIA MUSAYELYAN
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Solo
Album
ANDREW MCCORMACK
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Harlem Stories
Album
TEODROSS AVERY
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Water Walkers
EP
LIBERTY ELLMAN
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Como de Allstars
Album
THE GREYBOY ALLSTARS
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For Jimmy, Wes and Oliver
Album
CHRISTIAN MCBRIDE
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Not Two... But Twenty
Live album
10000 VARIOUS ARTISTS
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Mariposas
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OMARA PORTUONDO
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Baphomet
Album
JOHN ZORN
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Love Letters
Album
JIMMY HEATH
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Live At New Morning, Paris
Live album
RYAN PORTER
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Dream Circus
Album
MISHA MULLOV-ABBADO
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The Lost Septet
Live album
MILES DAVIS
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Songs Of An Unknown Tongue
Album
ZARA MCFARLANE
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The Jazz Funk Collection
Boxset / Compilation
DONALD BYRD
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Gordon Grdina's Nomad Trio
Album
GORDON GRDINA
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The Perfect Nemesis
Album
STUART MCCOWAN
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No Nothing - Alternate Takes
Album
PETER BRÖTZMANN
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Total Music Meeting 1997
Album
PETER KOWALD
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The Anthony Braxton Project
Album
THUMBSCREW
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Hyperlapse
Album
OZMA
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III
Album
NJET NJET 9
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Valentine
Album
BILL FRISELL
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My Favorite Things Gratz 1962
Boxset / Compilation
JOHN COLTRANE
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New Legend
Album
EVA KRUSE
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Magic Malik Fanfare XP, Vol. 2
Album
MAGIC MALIK
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Daymare
Album
I LIKE TO SLEEP
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O Aperto Da Saudade
Boxset / Compilation
10000 VARIOUS ARTISTS
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II
Album
NIR FELDER
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The Natural Order of Things
Album
TED MOORE
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Tender In Lahore
EP
TENDERLONIOUS
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This Way
Album
TOM RANIER
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Si
Album
CORDOBA REUNION
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Blue Has A Range
Album
STEVE CARDENAS
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Live At National Sawdust
Live album
DAVY MOONEY
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There´s Always Madness
Album
MOISÉS P. SÁNCHEZ
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Strings & Voices Project
Live album
IVO PERELMAN
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Heaven Orchestra Live In Chicago 2013
Live album
DAVE REMPIS
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Les Sangliers : Miniscules
Live album
KEEFE JACKSON
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Abricó-de-Macaco
Album
JOÃO BOSCO
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GoGo Penguin
Album
GOGO PENGUIN
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Rare Ebb
Album
SAMO ŠALAMON
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Common Flow
Album
SAMO ŠALAMON
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The Discovery Project : Live In Japan
Live album
JOSH NELSON
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Hyperacusis
Album
CHRIS JOSS
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Consequences Revisited
Boxset / Compilation
THE NEW YORK CONTEMPORARY FIVE
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Sid€show 2
Album
LOUIS DE MIEULLE
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Happening : Live at the Village Vanguard
Live album
GERALD CLAYTON
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Group Field
EP
ADAM TEIXEIRA
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Live
Live album
JASON MARSALIS
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Jon Batiste & Cory Wong : Meditations
Album
JONATHAN BATISTE
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Rainbow Baby
Album
CATHLENE PINEDA
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SN Trio : Free Wyoming
Live album
SAM NEWSOME
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Happy Synapse, Part 1
Album
SASHA MASHIN
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A Certain Trip
Album
GUILLAUME PERRET
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A Certain Trip
EP
GUILLAUME PERRET
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At The Pershing And Other Live Recordings 1958-59
Boxset / Compilation
AHMAD JAMAL
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Hug!
Album
MATT WILSON
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Question
Album
GLENN ZALESKI
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Graffiti Jazz
Album
REMBRANDT FRERICHS
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Color Of Noize
Album
DERRICK HODGE
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Winter Live
Live album
OLE AMUND GJERSVIK
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Yalla!
Album
TARIK HASSAN
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Human Rites Trio
Album
JASON KAO HWANG
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Vida Profunda
Album
CAROLINA CALVACHE
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Shuffle and Deal
Album
EDDIE HENDERSON
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The Call Within
Album
TIGRAN HAMASYAN
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Live 1985
Live album
JACO PASTORIUS
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Live Tokyo '85
Boxset / Compilation
PAT METHENY
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Live In Saratoga
Live album
PAT METHENY
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Live Paris In 1991
Live album
MILES DAVIS
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Keepin’ It Real
Album
BOBBY WATSON
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Benny's Crib
Album
BENNY GREEN (PIANO)
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The Latin Jazz Project
Album
SPANISH HARLEM ORCHESTRA
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A Day In The Life
Album
QUENTIN COLLINS
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Battle Lines
Album
STEVE FIDYK
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Socialytics
EP
DEVIN GRAY
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Out of Doors
Album
BRUNO HEINEN
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Pianoholic Takes
Album
HIROSHI MINAMI
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Space Sailors
Album
RYMDEN
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Legacy Holder
Album
JONATHAN BARBER
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Africa Airways Six (Mile High Funk 1974 - 1981)
Boxset / Compilation
10000 VARIOUS ARTISTS
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Live At The Peanuts Club
Live album
MIKE OSBORNE
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Chronology : Live 1968-69
Live album
JOE HARRIOTT
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Ascension
Album
BLACK ART JAZZ COLLECTIVE
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Live at Dekmantel Festival
Live album
KAMAAL WILLIAMS
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Le Jeune Homme au Violon
Live album
DIDIER LOCKWOOD
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Taste of Honey
Album
ULF WAKENIUS
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Transition East
EP
ANGEL BAT DAWID
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Dreamscape Room
Album
XAVI REIJA
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For Now
Album
BRIAN LANDRUS
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Be Water
Album
CHRISTIAN SANDS
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Instantiation : Switches
Album
JOE MORRIS
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Spirited Strings The Best of Christian Howes on Resonance
Boxset / Compilation
CHRISTIAN HOWES
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We Welcome Tomorrow
EP
PORTICO QUARTET
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Morph
Album
WHIT DICKEY
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Rosa
Album
CHIHIRO YAMANAKA
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Light in the World
Album
RATKO ZJAČA
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Magic Timing
Album
JASON ROEBKE
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AuB
Album
ALEX HITCHCOCK
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Best Foot Forward
Album
MARTIN CHUNG
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Esa flauta
Album
ORLANDO "MARACA" VALLE
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The Journey, the bonuses
Album
LIONEL LOUEKE
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Why Not? Porto Novo!
Boxset / Compilation
MARION BROWN
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Live In London
Live album
WEATHER REPORT
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Adam Rudolph / Ralph M. Jones / Hamid Drake : Imaginary Archipeligo
Album
ADAM RUDOLPH / GO: ORGANIC ORCHESTRA
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Freelance Subversives
Album
WILL BERNARD
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The Father, the Sons & the Junnu
Album
JUHANI AALTONEN
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In Common 2
Album
IN COMMON
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Ricochet
Live album
SAM RIVERS
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Threadbare : Silver Dollar
Album
JASON STEIN
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Transmissions
Album
ADAM CAINE
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Message For Mobley
Album
BOB REYNOLDS
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Sacred Vowels
Album
TIM BERNE
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Mood Suite
Album
RUSS LOSSING
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X
Album
STRANDBERG PROJECT
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The Tower Tapes #9 : Aaron Parks Trio
Live album
AARON PARKS
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The Tower Tapes #7 : Bill Carrothers
Live album
BILL CARROTHERS
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The Tower Tapes #5 : Human Feel
Live album
HUMAN FEEL
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The Tower Tapes #4 : The Bad Plus
Live album
THE BAD PLUS
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Paul Williamson Quartet ‎: Dark Energy
Album
PAUL WILLIAMSON (TRUMPET)
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Garnet Tales
Album
PRIM
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The lake and the music
Album
LAJOS DUDÁS
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Oslo Solo
Live album
JOHN EDWARDS
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One Day In Moscow
Live album
TÕNU NAISSOO
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More Music For A Free World
Album
DAVE SEWELSON
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The Tiptons Sax Quartet & Drums : Wabi Sabi
Album
THE BILLY TIPTON MEMORIAL SAXOPHONE QUARTET / THE TIPTONS SAX QUARTET / THE TIPTONS
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From Here To Here
Album
DAVID GILMORE
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That Swing Thing & Straight Ahead
Boxset / Compilation
TERRY GIBBS
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Luna
Album
JORGE ROSSY
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Season 2
Album
WILDFLOWER
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Catch Me If You Can
Album
JEFF HAMILTON
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Arcade
Album
JOE MORRIS
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In Isolation
Album
THE SPANISH DONKEY
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Toyozumi, Tan, Countryman : Turtle Bird
Live album
SABU TOYOZUMI
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Solo un Minuto
Album
ARMANDO ALONSO
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MY IRIS Live!
Live album
TRISH CLOWES
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Double Trio minus One
Live album
FRODE GJERSTAD
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gjerstadhabbestadlonberg​-​holm
Live album
FRODE GJERSTAD
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Leer 2
Live album
FRODE GJERSTAD
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Leer 1
Live album
FRODE GJERSTAD
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Frode Gjerstad Tuba Trio
Live album
FRODE GJERSTAD
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Valparaiso -17
Live album
FRODE GJERSTAD
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Pit Inn -18 vol 2
Live album
FRODE GJERSTAD
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Pit Inn -18 vol 1
Live album
FRODE GJERSTAD
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The Storytellers
Album
PAOLO BACCHETTA
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Escape from Urumchi
Album
BOSQUE
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Love Is Everywhere
Album
LAURENT BARDAINNE
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Rempis / Rosaly Duo : Codes / Myths
Live album
DAVE REMPIS
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Early Morning Star
Album
BOB GLUCK
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Emergency Exit
Album
THROTTLE ELEVATOR MUSIC
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Day By Day
Album
CORY WEEDS
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Wild Life
Album
MARKUS STOCKHAUSEN
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Studio Konzert
Live album
ALEXANDRA LEHMLER
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Introspection
Boxset / Compilation
BRIAN AUGER
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Vouves
Album
TOLGA SANLI
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Calculus
Album
JOHN ZORN
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Liam's Labyrinth
EP
ÖSTERGREN STRÖMKVIST TRIO
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Following the Right Way
Album
PIERRE MARCUS
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Hero Trio
Album
RUDRESH MAHANTHAPPA
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I Fall In Love Too Easily
Album
LARRY WILLIS
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Highlines
Album
FŒHN TRIO
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Mood Walk
Album
FRED RANDOLPH
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Honig Im Tee
Album
ELIAN ZEITEL
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Dental Kafka
Album
BONJINTAN
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Future Minute
Album
FELIX MEREDITH
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Achim Kirchmair Trio : Sunkeeper
Album
ACHIM KIRCHMAIR
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Stuff I Heard
Album
TROY ROBERTS
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The Way In
Album
TRIGG AND GUSSET
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Steal the Light
Album
LET SPIN
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Synergy
Album
RICHARD PEÑA
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Stream
Album
PABLO HELD
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4
Album
LENI STERN
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1958-1962: The Essential Works
Boxset / Compilation
JOÃO GILBERTO
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Symphonie Pacifique
Album
GREG FOAT
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Force Tranquille
Album
JEAN-MARIE CORROIS
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Swallow Tales
Album
JOHN SCOFIELD
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Onward
EP
BENJAMIN HARRISON
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Tokyo Blues
Album
BENJAMIN HARRISON
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Eclipse
Album
ATLAS 4TET
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Rempis, Harnik, Zerang : Triple Tube
Live album
DAVE REMPIS
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Ibitlan
EP
MDOU MOCTAR
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Ray Suhy & Lewis Porter Quartet : Transcendent
Album
RAY SUHY & LEWIS PORTER
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Runway
Album
BOB REYNOLDS
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The Daily Biological
Album
CHAD TAYLOR
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Unlayered
Album
ENRIQUE HANEINE
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Pure Heart
Album
JAMES CARNEY
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Live At Mezzrow
Live album
DENNY ZEITLIN
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The Look Of Love: Live At Jazz Is, 1st Set
Live album
TSUYOSHI YAMAMOTO
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Against Empire
Album
BILL LASWELL
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Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra & Wynton Marsalis : Rock Chalk Suite
Album
THE JAZZ AT LINCOLN CENTER ORCHESTRA / LINCOLN CENTER JAZZ ORCHESTRA
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Transylvanian Folk Songs
Album
LUCIAN BAN
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Spring Night
Album
KIYOSHI KITAGAWA
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Misty - Live At Jazz Is (2CD)
Live album
TSUYOSHI YAMAMOTO
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Man From The Future
Album
POLYRHYTHMICS
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Life Is The Dancer
Album
ROB LUFT
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Land
Album
MAZAM
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The Piano Equation
Album
MATTHEW SHIPP
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Things Happened Here
Album
KANSAS SMITTY'S
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Out Of The Hole
Live album
NOAH KAPLAN
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Dizzy Atmosphere
Album
DAVE DOUGLAS
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Przypływ
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modern jazz Music Reviews

JOHN MCLAUGHLIN Extrapolation

Album · 1969 · Post Bop
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
js
John McLaughlin, much like his contemporary and sometimes band mate, Chick Corea, started his career with a very distinctive style, only to abandon that approach and tone things down for the rest of his career. Interesting to note that both were influenced by guru types when they changed their way of playing. “Extrapolation” is McLughlin’s first album as a leader and features a young guitarist willing to take crazy chances while plying with a fierce intensity that never totally returns on subsequent albums. Don’t get me wrong, John had many more great performances and recordings throughout the rest of his career, but he never again played with the freedom and abandon he does here. This McLaughlin has a rough approach that is both avant-garde and rootsy at the same time, especially compared to the po0lished sheen of many of his later albums.

The music on “Extrapolation” is all McLaughlin originals that combine bop, blues, free jazz, RnB and Indian music. Besides John, the next star of the show here is the versatile and energetic drumming of Tony Oxley, who is right at home playing anything from bluesy grooves to all out free onslaughts. John Surman’s gnarly baritone fit’s the gritty music perfectly as he adds his solos that combine RnB riffing with soaring free jazz. Brian Odges is an anchor on bass, and his well recorded input adds strength to the mix. Many of the tunes are very short and eclectic ranging from ballads to avant-garde bebop, but the best tracks are the longer ones where the band is given time to build their intensity. Listen to John’s intense note bends influenced by Indian music. Along with dropping the freer tonality, McLaughlin never recorded as much in that style again. Indian note bends have always been a part of his playing, but on this first album he merges this with a soulful blues flavor that adds so much bite to his solos. Some of John’s subsequent work with Miles Davis also features his earlier approach to the guitar.

MARC JOHNSON Second Sight

Album · 1987 · Fusion
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Steve Wyzard
ENDLESS SUMMER DAY

If you've never been convinced that a back-cover photograph could epitomize an album of instrumental performances, take a look at Dieter Rehm's placid beach scene on the back of Marc Johnson's Second Sight (1987). While Johnson's first album with the same line-up (1986's Bass Desires) was an off-the-wall avant-garde surprise, Second Sight, while retaining some of the same textures, is otherwise very different. This is a much more cohesive, accessible, thought-provoking, and yes, relatively quieter album that doesn't sacrifice any of Bass Desires's sense of adventure or experimentalism. Second Sight remains the better album for the simple reason of more memorable compositions and atmospheres. Which of course begs the question, "Why is there a lone helicopter over the ocean on the front cover?"

The vigorous drumming of Peter Erskine and the howling guitar trade-offs of Bill Frisell (left-channel) and John Scofield (right-channel) mark "Crossing the Corpus Callosum" as a continuation of the previous album. The beach seems very far away in this musical depiction of a futuristic landscape with Frisell's special effects and Johnson's arco playing. From here on out, the sonic atmosphere changes radically, with Frisell's following "Small Hands" being a gently picked largo. Erskine's "Sweet Soul" is one of those magical moods you wish could last forever: somewhat reminiscent of the Beach Boys' "God Only Knows", Scofield takes the first verse, Frisell the second verse, and both join together on two choruses for this album's most soulful (naturally) track. Before anyone thinks this has become an easy-listening album, Scofield's "Twister" and "Thrill Seekers" restore order with twangy guitars, rock'n'roll clichés, offbeat drumming, bizarre basslines, and much soloing. Johnson, who never dominates the material, takes his first solo on "Thrill Seekers", which fades with more of Frisell's loopy effects. "Prayer Beads" is entirely a solo piece for Johnson, with a performance moving from leisurely to energetic. Listen to the double-bass strings snap against the fretboard in a resonant recording studio (credit: Rainbow/Oslo). "1951" is a quirky, country-ish Frisell composition with stops and starts, bends, slides, a wandering bridge, and subtle percussion from Erskine. The album closes peacefully with Johnson's "Hymn for Her".

Before recording this album, both Johnson and Erskine had guested on John Abercrombie's masterful Current Events, and many of the same ethereal atmospheres on that album appear on this one. In spite of the wild contrasts, Second Sight is a lot more beautiful and a lot more "just plain fun" than Bass Desires, and is highly recommended to fans of all the players involved. In 1998, Johnson and Frisell would record an album called The Sound of Summer Running that attempts to be an aural sequel to this album, but falls just short. It's on the Verve label, and has Pat Metheny replacing John Scofield, and Joey Baron instead of Peter Erskine.

FRED RANDOLPH Mood Walk

Album · 2020 · Soul Jazz
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Lately a lot of young people in London, LA and elsewhere are rediscovering that jazz doesn’t belong in a museum, it can be relevant, now and fun, party music with a message if you want. No doubt its great seeing this happen. Those of us who have been around for a while can recall a jazz style that was great for parties, while being socially relevant, back in the 70s. That style was called soul jazz and it fueled many a backyard gathering and late night club date back in the day. Fred Randolph’s new CD, “Mood Walk” is not retro soul jazz per se, but it does capture a similar spirit with its mix of upbeat hard bop, funk jazz, Latin grooves and laid back change ups. The CD’s appeal is pushed further by the fact that Randolph’s band is made up of musicians that know each other well and have played together often over the years, this is not of those quickly thrown together recording dates.

Fred is a multi-instrumentalist who tried his hand at guitar and saxophone before settling on the bass. In addition to his CDs as a leader, Fred works as a sideman in many different styles including, classical, rock, samba, salsa and RnB. Fred’s assembled band on “Mood Walk” is super hot with trumpeter Erik Jekabson and saxophonist Sheldon Brown leading the way with veteran confidence and youthful energy. One of the best tracks is the Congo derived driving energy of “Nouveau Monde”. When Greg Sankovitch enters with a flying B3 solo, it sounds like you are in classic Santana land. “Mr Now” mixes Coltrane inspired hard bop with more Latin flavor, while “T Bone Slide” and “Funky N.O. Thing” kick the party in high gear with the funk jazz. Life has been hard lately, let “Mood Walk”, lighten your burden.

MUHAL RICHARD ABRAMS Celestial Birds

Boxset / Compilation · 2020 · Avant-Garde Jazz
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snobb
It is almost an axiom that no-one likes compilations in jazz (and rock music as well). Still, there are hundreds and thousands of them, predominantly with the openly commercial reason of trying to sell old as new, usually collecting all the most successful pieces in one place.

"Celestial Birds" is oppositely different. It contains some more unusual Muhal Richard Abrams compositions, with a strong accent on early electronics sound.

Avant-garde jazz never had a commercial potential as musical genre, and it has even less in the 20's. The risk of releasing such albums is moderately high, but thanks to zeitkratzer series director Reinhold Friedl and German label Karlrecords the world got the rare possibility to refresh (and for many newcomers - to find out) this lesser know side of AACM founder.

Vinyl album's side A is dedicated to 22+ minutes long "The Bird Song", which originally filled whole side B of Abrams debut, "Levels and Degrees of Light", released in 1968. The composition opens with recitative Chicagoan poet David Moore's poem and continues with dominating analogue synthesizer's vibes scented with minimalist saxes(Anthony Braxton & Kalaparusha), bass(Leonard Jones), drums (Thurman Barker) and violin (Leroy Jenkins). Differently from later and more regular use of electronics in jazz, here the whole music sounds quite cold, technological and close to minimalist composers pieces. It's interesting, that for this compilation the original version of the song has been used, with reverberations removed from the CD reissues.

"Conversations With The Three Of Me" is taken from much later, 1989 album "The Hearinga Suite", released in Italy. Here we found Abrams playing solo, first on piano and then - on synth. Piano part sounds as neo-classic dry composition which ends as spacey synth improvs. "Think All, Focus One" is another Abrams solo composition, played solely on analogue synths (comes from 1995 album of the same name). Abrams sounds not much different from Frank Zappa playing Synclavier on his unorthodox album "Jazz From Hell". The closer, "Spihumonesty", is recorded with a larger combo, including Roscoe Mitchell on reeds among others. Dominating synths sound here is mixed with free jazz small orchestra.

Early recordings presented on this compilation are coming from the time when synthesizer meant actually an extremely expensive studio, which were rare and hardly accessible for the jazz musician. Abrams was among very first jazz musicians experimenting with synthesis of jazz and electronics, and his works sound interesting even now.

HENRY ROBINETT Jazz Standards Then, Volume 1

Album · 2019 · Hard Bop
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Guitarist Henry Robinett has been playing jazz since the late 70s, including stints in NYC with big names like Hal Galper, Clifford Jordon, Muhal Richard Abrams and Chico Freeman. Since the late 80s he has been recording as a leader, usually in a somewhat radio friendly style of fusion with influences from around the world. If you are already familiar with his previous albums, then it might come as a surprise that his latest offering, “Jazz Standards Volume 1”, is a set of grooving hard bop played with energy and playful creativity. These tracks were not actually recorded recently, instead, they were recorded back in 2000 and have been sitting on the shelf since then. Apparently Henry gave them a listen again and decided they were worth putting out and it’s a good thing because this is one of the better recordings of these well known tunes in recent years. Its hard breathing new life into songs that have been recorded by so many, it takes a lot from an artist to lift these up one more time, and Robinett and his quartet come through on every track.

Henry’s playing is often in a rapid abstract blues bop style, maybe somewhat similar to Joe Pass or Barney Kessel, but really he has a personal voice all his own, particularly when he goes into a skittering barrage of muted notes as sheets of sound. Pianist Joe Gilman is similar in his playing that mixes in the pocket hard bop with more extravagant excursions that push the band. As a quartet they present a healthy variety from the high speed, “The Way You Look Tonight”, to the mysterious, “Soul Eyes”, and the rambunctious free wheeling chaotic energy of “Invitation”.

modern jazz movie reviews

WEATHER REPORT Live in Germany 1971

Movie · 2010 · Fusion
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Sean Trane
Well if the world still has to find some live recording from the very first studio all-star line-up (not likely, though), at least we've got now something very close to and we can even see the quintet at work with this just-as-famous version in the form of a German TV show called the Beat Club. With only Airto Moreira gone, replaced by Brazilian countryman Um Romao, the other four being Vitous, Shorter, Mouzon and Zawinul, Weather Report embarked on this TV show adventure not knowing that Alphonse Mouzon would leave the band in a while.

As you'd expect this broadcast consisted mainly of tracks from the debut album, but some are fairly different as WR always made improvisation their force. So you'll recognize 'Umbrellas generic structure, but drafted fairly differently, not just because of Romao's constant change of percussions instruments - he's one of the visual focus of the group, who otherwise remains fairly static and even blows a flute (and later some whistles) for a short while. One of the big difference between the studio album and this broadcast is that Miroslav has taken up the electric bass (his contrabass is still very present but mainly played with a bow), thus allowing even more energy to invade the quintet's shared space. The group's steaming-hot improvised fusion is simply awesome and flows naturally from your speakers like a river of fresh lave spewing out from your volcanic woofers.

Clearly the gravitational centre of the band is Zawinul's Rhodes, but it is clear that it is the group's tightness its main force. Morning Lake is much needed breathing space, starting out slowly with Shorter's sax signalling the dawn for Romao's birdsongs. Just past that Dom pulls an Brazilian berimbau . Drummer Alphonse sings funkilly (rather well, too) a rare sung track in the closing medley, but it's will veer into the Dr Honoris Causa - later on the Body Electric album.

A while later, Mouzon would leave the band and be replaced by drummer Erik Gravatt and this line-up would go on to record Body Electric and the Tokyo concert (released in 77, but part of it in the ISTBE album) and in the process become the definitive line-up of the Vitous- era Weather Report But for now, this German TV broadcast is an inestimable witness of the group's almost original line-up, and is just as essential as their debut album, the Tokyo concert or Body Electric.Too bad it's relatively short, though. Run for this baby...

MEDESKI MARTIN AND WOOD Fly In A Bottle

Movie · 2011 · Eclectic Fusion
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“Fly in a Bottle” is a documentary that follows Medeski, Martin and Wood while they are on tour developing the music that will become “Radiolarians”, as well as some of the recording sessions for that same album. The music on here is excellent, MM&W have a come a long way over the years. They were always a talented band from the start, but their confidence has grown. The funky tunes are funkier than ever, and the psychedelic jazz-rock tunes are more powerful, imaginative and original. Almost any music fan might enjoy watching their concerts and even some of their recording sessions, but a lot of the rest of this DVD is for hardcore fans only.

Along with the footage of MM&W playing music, you also get a lot of footage of them on tour visiting ecological tourist spots and talking, hanging out etc, which is where I think a lot of non-fans will probably start losing interest. They seem like nice sincere guys, but they aren’t particularly entertaining or charismatic, which is often the case with nice sincere guys. There are also some artsy short videos that follow the main feature, some more entertaining than others. Fans of MM&W may want to pick this up, it’s a well-made video and the music is excellent, but non-fans may find this lacking in substance in places.

DIXIE DREGS Live At The Montreaux Jazz Festival

Movie · 2005 · Fusion
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Slartibartfast
This was the Dixie Dregs lineup that I first come to know live and otherwise. The Montreaux Jazz Festival performance was used for side two of the LP Night of the Living Dregs. I had no idea the concert was filmed. This represents the band at their prime. Keyboardist Mark Parrish, would soon be replaced by T Lavitz, who is a better keyboard player, but this as this performance testifies, he was no slouch either. Oddly enough, the back cover of this DVD shows a band picture with the original keyboardist from Freefall, Steve Davidowski (guess there was only room for one Steve in this band). Steve Morse was at his most inspired around this time, even though he has certainly grown in skill over the years.

The set list is a little disappointing as it lacks some of the prime cuts from What If (Night Meets Light, Odyssey, Travel Tunes, What If), but I'm not complaining. Now I have something more than just memories of the many Dregs shows I saw back then. It is more of a forward looking set which includes Attila The Hun, that didn't show up on an album until three years later. Also of note, but of less interest to progressive rock fans, is the bluegrass style ditty, Kathreen, never released on a regular album, but only showed up on their demo album, The Great Spectacular, from 1975. If you have a copy of that album, you have something rare, indeed.

Thrown in for bonus are two live TV appearances, one on American Can'tstand (Bandstand) and one on Don Kirschner's Rock Concert. On the former, you get to see them both try out a vocalist, in an attempt to appeal to a more mainstream audience, and with Mark O'Connor, who only played with them for one album, but a few great live shows before the band disbanded for a few years.

As great as the band studio albums were, the live shows took things to an even higher level. Now you can see what you missed, unless you didn't.

JOHN MCLAUGHLIN Abstract Logix Live! / The New Universe Music Festival 2010

Movie · 2011 · Fusion
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Abstract Logix’s New Universe Festival of 2010 was probably one of the more significant fusion concerts in recent history, and it is all captured in excellent form on this concert video. Many of the top names in current fusion are here and what a great varied and colorful approach they all bring to this music that will always be associated with its 70s roots. Ranjit Barot fuses fusion with Indian flavors and orchestral music, Human Element bring back the beautiful noise and chaos that has been absent since the early days of jazz-rock, Wayne Krantz takes on the modern NYC flavor with his harsh jarring free funk, Jimmy Herring plays sentimental, sometimes delicate, progressive rock flavored fusion, and of course the great John McLaughlin rounds it all up with high speed post bop mixed with funk and contemporary fusion. Every single performance is top notch and very convincing in letting us know that there is still plenty of life left in this sometimes maligned genre.

The music on here is great, but the video itself is even better. Its amazing how far concert videos have come over the years. This one is clear as a bell and features lots of accurate close-ups of the musicians as they display their virtuoso skills. They say that fusion is a musician’s music, if that is the case, then this video is a great learning tool for the aspiring player. Much of the footage on here goes right to the source and features the musician’s hands as they work their scales and fret boards. Any aspiring fusionist can pick up a lifetime of high speed licks and extended technique by studying this video and even stop-starting it it frame by frame. Long gone are the days of vague camera angles from way far away and pointless shots of musicians grimacing while they play, this video is all about accuracy and showing you exactly how this music goes down. This is a spirited and enthusiastic concert and highly recommended for fans of modern fusion.

MAHAVISHNU ORCHESTRA Live At Montreux 74/84

Movie · 2007 · Fusion
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Slartibartfast
The 1984 appearance of the MO was a lineup that didn't have any of the previous MO lineup of musicians except for John. Still there was a pretty impressive roster. Jonas Hellborg, on bass, steals the show. I suspect he's been rather influenced by Jaco at this point. Also, we also have Bill Evans, fairly fresh out of his stint saxing with Miles Davis. There's also a fine drummer, Danny Gottlieb, who'd played with Pat Metheny prior. Don't know much about Mitchell Forman. With John experimenting with the Synclavier Guitar so much, the keyboards are almost redundant in this ensemble. I had a hard time sitting through this at first. It definitely has that '80's taint, if you know what I mean. But I've warmed up to it. It's a bit like an attempt to return to the magic of the original lineup that doesn't quite get there. Still, if you judge it in the context of the time, it's not too bad.

I got this for one reason and one reason only, it was the two video bits from the Apocalypse lineup of Mahavishu Orchestra. Actually calling them bits isn't quite accurate. Wings of Karma and Hymn to Him are actually decently long pieces. I was pleasantly surprised to see that they had some actual orchestra musicians with them there at Montreaux. The first inkling I got that there was some live footage from this MO lineup was a poor quality video of Smile of the Beyond on a certain video clip web site many of us know of. It's very disappointing that we only get two clips from the show with video and the rest are audio only. I'm guessing the rest of the original footage has been lost. One can only hope that it will resurface. The performance is a bit more structured than the more compact MO's could be live, but that's to be expected due to the larger number of musician's involved. Still the core band does get to work in some improvisation, McLaughlin in particular.

This release is all in all a pleasant surprise for 2007, but there's more video out there from the older Mahavishu Orchestras, and I hope to see that material surface soon. It gets a four on the round up.

Artists with Modern Jazz release(s)