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Showing only albums and live's | Based on members ratings & JMA custom algorithm | 5 min. caching

MILES DAVIS Kind of Blue Album Cover Kind of Blue
MILES DAVIS
4.91 | 101 ratings
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JOHN COLTRANE A Love Supreme Album Cover A Love Supreme
JOHN COLTRANE
4.86 | 74 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
4.85 | 54 ratings
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MCCOY TYNER Sahara Album Cover Sahara
MCCOY TYNER
4.97 | 13 ratings
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MILES DAVIS 'Round About Midnight (aka Miles Davis) Album Cover 'Round About Midnight (aka Miles Davis)
MILES DAVIS
4.80 | 29 ratings
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LEE MORGAN Search for the New Land Album Cover Search for the New Land
LEE MORGAN
4.88 | 12 ratings
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MILES DAVIS Miles Smiles Album Cover Miles Smiles
MILES DAVIS
4.78 | 32 ratings
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JOHN COLTRANE Giant Steps Album Cover Giant Steps
JOHN COLTRANE
4.76 | 48 ratings
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ALICE COLTRANE Ptah, the El Daoud Album Cover Ptah, the El Daoud
ALICE COLTRANE
4.79 | 25 ratings
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ERIC DOLPHY 'Out to Lunch!' Album Cover 'Out to Lunch!'
ERIC DOLPHY
4.74 | 44 ratings
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JOHN COLTRANE Live at Birdland Album Cover Live at Birdland
JOHN COLTRANE
4.88 | 10 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)
4.86 | 11 ratings
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Thumbscrew : Convallaria
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MARY HALVORSON
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Carolina
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CAROL SABOYA
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Freedom Is An Option
Album
ALBERT BEGER
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Tropical Infinito
Album
ANTONIO ADOLFO
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Cityscapes / Landscapes
Album
THE GREG FOAT GROUP
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In Some Far Place: Roma ’77
Live album
SUN RA
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Aftersun
Album
BILL LAURANCE
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Spirits And Warriors
Album
LUIS PERDOMO
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Around Tuk
Live album
PAOLO FRESU
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Gurutopia
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SHEZ RAJA
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Blues And Ballads
Album
BRAD MEHLDAU
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Paolo Fresu & Omar Sosa : Eros
Album
PAOLO FRESU
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Life After Life
Album
ERIC PLATZ
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Harlem Hieroglyphs
Album
JAY HOGGARD
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Outside In
Album
DAN CRAY
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This Could Be That
Album
BRIAN ANDRES
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Koan
Album
SPIKE WILNER
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Miller's Tale
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SYLVIE COURVOISIER
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Metamorphosis
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JEREMY MANASIA
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Kalo-Yele
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ALY KEITA
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Our Thing : Manhattan Style
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RONI BEN-HUR
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Composers Series, Vol. 2
Live album
BILL DOBBINS
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Composers Series, Vol. 1
Live album
BILL DOBBINS
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In Motion
Album
RICHARD POOLE
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Quintet [Tristano] 2014
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ANTHONY BRAXTON
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Monk Fell on Me
Album
MIKE GARSON
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Acrobat
Album
YIORGAS FAKANAS
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YEAR END Live 20151227
Live album
T-SQUARE
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YEAR END Live 2015 12 26
Live album
T-SQUARE
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Munity
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AKIRA JIMBO
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Perception
Album
MITCHELL COLEMAN JR
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Dark Territory
Album
DAVE DOUGLAS
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Trio & Quintet Recordings with Ray Crawford
Boxset / Compilation
AHMAD JAMAL
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BJO's Finest - Live!
Live album
BRUSSELS JAZZ ORCHESTRA
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Let Loose
Album
PETER BERNSTEIN
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Dakar Suite
Album
LENI STERN
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Night Bird Song
Movie
THOMAS CHAPIN
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Jersey Cat
Album
FREDDIE HENDRIX
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Chick Corea / Makoto Ozone : Chick & Makoto -Duets
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CHICK COREA
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Lunar Love
Album
MOP MOP
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A Guided Tour in the Kuiper Belt
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PEPPE JALAVA BAND
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Axel Tosca Laugart
Album
AXEL TOSCA
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Left
Live album
BORAH BERGMAN
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Horizon Ahead
Album
BENNY GOLSON
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The Funky Organics
Album
THE FUNKY ORGANICS
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Unstatic
Album
MANU KATCHÉ
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Niechęć
Album
NIECHĘĆ
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The Third Decade
Album
ONE FOR ALL
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Who Gives A Funk
Album
OZ NOY
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A Tribute To Herbie +1
Album
DICK OATTS/MATS HOLMQUIST NEW YORK JAZZ ORCHESTRA
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This Is from the Mouth
EP
MATS GUSTAFSSON
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Retrospection
Album
HANS KOLLER (PIANO)
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Secret Public
Album
SZILÁRD MEZEI
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Organic Session
EP
ELI MINE
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Sister Sadie
EP
ELI MINE
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Both Worlds: Live at the North Sea Jazz Festival
Live album
MICHEL PETRUCCIANI
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The Complete November 19, 1962 Stockholm Concerts
Boxset / Compilation
JOHN COLTRANE
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Stan Getz and Mose Allison : The Soft Swing
Boxset / Compilation
STAN GETZ
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Complete 4tet/5tet/6tet Recordings
Boxset / Compilation
BOOKER ERVIN
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Complete Fifties Recordings
Boxset / Compilation
LENNIE NIEHAUS
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Complete Small Group Sessions
Boxset / Compilation
JOHN GRAAS
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Habana Dreams
Album
PEDRITO MARTINEZ
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The Power Quintet : High Art
Album
JEREMY PELT
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Andando El Tiempo
Album
CARLA BLEY
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The Ultimate Playlist
Boxset / Compilation
BEEGIE ADAIR
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A Dance At The Mardi Gras Ball
Album
VICTOR GOINES
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Diego Pinera Trio : My Picture
Album
DIEGO PIÑERA
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Standing Tall
Album
KEN FOWSER
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Triangular lll
Live album
RALPH PETERSON
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Triadic Episode
Album
LOUIS HERIVEAUX
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Martin Küchen & Landaeus Trio : The Pity Of It All
Album
MARTIN KÜCHEN / TRESPASS TRIO
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Yellow
Album
NINO KATAMADZE
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Moments In Time
Live album
STAN GETZ
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Honor Thy Fathers
Album
LAURENCE HOBGOOD
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The Best of Randy Weston
Boxset / Compilation
RANDY WESTON
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The Unity Sessions
Live album
PAT METHENY
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Wheel of Time
Album
ERNIE WATTS
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The Dialogue
Album
MATT CRISCUOLO
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Black Ice
Album
WOLFERT BREDERODE
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Black Orpheus
Album
MASABUMI KIKUCHI
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Parachute
Album
MAGNUS ÖSTRÖM
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Father Figure
Album
MICHAEL DEASE
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Live At Thelonious
Live album
JURE PUKL
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3 Compositions (EEMHM) 2011
Album
ANTHONY BRAXTON
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BlueFly
Album
CYRO BAPTISTA
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Oleś Brothers & Jorgos Skolias / Sefardix : Maggid
Album
MARCIN OLÉS & BARTLOMIEJ BRAT OLÉS (OLÉS BROTHERS)
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Lost In The Breeze
Album
HAROLD DANKO
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Invisible Man
Album
JUKKA PERKO
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Brooklyn Blowhards
Album
JEFF LEDERER
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Instant Oats
Album
THE OATMEAL JAZZ COMBO
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Culcha Vulcha
Album
SNARKY PUPPY
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Land Of Gold
Album
ANOUSHKA SHANKAR
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Large Unit : Ana
Album
PAAL NILSSEN-LOVE
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Angry Waves Vol.2
Live album
MASAYUKI TAKAYANAGI
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Angry Waves Vol.1
Live album
MASAYUKI TAKAYANAGI
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Virradó
Live album
SZILÁRD MEZEI
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13 Woodpecker
Album
SZILÁRD MEZEI
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Next
Live album
SZILÁRD MEZEI
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Dér
Live album
SZILÁRD MEZEI
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Szilard Mezei Workshop Ensemble : C
Live album
SZILÁRD MEZEI
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Wax & Wane
Album
BRANDEE YOUNGER
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Dave Anderson's Blue Innuendo
Album
DAVE ANDERSON (SAXOPHONE)
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In Movement
Album
JACK DEJOHNETTE
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Painted Bird
Album
JOHN ZORN
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Full Circle
Album
BRIAN BROMBERG
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Cinema Spiral
Album
JASON ROEBKE
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Real Feels
Album
JOHN RAYMOND
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Now
Album
PIERRE FAVRE
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Birdland 1951-52 / Newport 1955
Boxset / Compilation
DAVE BRUBECK
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Abutbul Music
Album
OMER AVITAL
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Down the Line
Album
BRUCE TORFF
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Living Standards
Album
KARL LATHAM
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The Revival
Live album
CORY HENRY
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Harmonicus Rex
Album
HENDRIK MEURKENS
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Nighthawks
Album
NICOLAS DELOMMEL
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Sustain And Run Ao Vivo Jazz Na FÁBrica
Live album
ROSCOE MITCHELL
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Restless In Pieces
Album
ICP ORCHESTRA
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The Nearness of you
Live album
ROY NATHANSON
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Crowded Solitudes
Live album
ERIC REVIS
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Imagine Nation
Album
DARREN ENGLISH
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Original Saxophone Quartets
EP
JOSH QUINLAN
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Back Home
Album
SOCRATES GARCIA
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Concentric Circles
Album
INGRID RACINE
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Concerto For Petrucciani
Album
FRANCESCO CAFISO
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All About Melody
Album
RUSSELL MALONE
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Notes From New York
Album
BILL CHARLAP
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The Hidden Side
Album
ROSARIO GIULIANNI
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A Master Speaks
Album
GEORGE COLEMAN
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Continuum
Album
NIK BARTSCH
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Cohearence
Album
YELLOWJACKETS
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Back Home
Album
MELISSA ALDANA
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Holding the Stage (Road Shows, Vol. 4)
Live album
SONNY ROLLINS
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R Train On The D Line
Album
BRIAN GRODER
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True North
Album
LESLIE PINTCHIK
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Danielsson Neset Lund : Sun Blowing
Album
LARS DANIELSSON
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Tocororo
Album
ALFREDO RODRÍGUEZ (1986)
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Flam! Blam! Pan-Asian MicroJam!
Album
DAVID FIUCZYNSKI
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Live at Brighton Alternative Jazz Festival 2015
Live album
WEST HILL BLAST QUARTET
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The Way You Say It
Album
WALT WEISKOPF
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Gratitude
Album
TOM TALLITSCH
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Amorandom
Album
AKI RISSANEN
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Dance
Live album
GUTBUCKET
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Treasure Hunter
Album
T-SQUARE
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Harry Allen Quartet : London Date
Live album
HARRY ALLEN
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At the Feel Free Falafel
Album
DANIEL KARLSSON
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The Interlochen Concert
Live album
PETER ERSKINE
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Nolatet : Dogs
Album
BRIAN HAAS
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Rainbow Shell
Album
PERRINE MANSUY
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Need To Bring Out Love
Album
ROBERTO MAGRIS
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The Electric Night Descends
Album
LUKE HOWARD
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Omicron
Album
PIT DAHM
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Trying To Figure It Out
Album
GRACE KELLY
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Dark Blue
Album
JIM ROTONDI
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Sixteen: Drummers Suite
Album
DAN WEISS
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Radio Days
Live album
LAJOS DUDÁS
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Fulfillment
Album
MICHAEL BLAKE
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Out & About
Album
WILL BERNARD
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Samo Salamon Bassless Trio: Unity
Album
SAMO ŠALAMON
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Dameronia With Strings
Album
FERIT ODMAN
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Dreamland Mechanism
Album
BELEDO
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Alive
Live album
VASIL HADŽIMANOV BAND
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Ayajala Live
Live album
BILLY COBHAM
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Book Of Intuition
Album
KENNY BARRON
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Warp
Album
JON BALKE
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Direct Call
Album
ANDY BROWN
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Live in San Juan '89
Live album
MILES DAVIS
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Sky Dancers
Album
HENRI TEXIER
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Local Color
Album
UNIVERSITY OF NORTHERN IOWA JAZZ BAND ONE
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A Bigger Show
Live album
MIKE WESTBROOK
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Beam Me Up
Album
SHAULI EINAV
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Enrapture
Album
KEN PEPLOWSKI
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The TB3
Album
TERRENCE BREWER
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At This Time
Album
STEVE KUHN
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Intersection
Album
ARK OVRUTSKI
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Live in Chicago 1977
Live album
HERBIE HANCOCK
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Voice
Album
JASON KAO HWANG
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Zenith
Album
MARC COPLAND
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in concert: Klangspuren
Live album
MICHAEL WOLLNY
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Bliss
Album
ERIC SCHAEFER
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Beauty & Truth
Album
JOACHIM KÜHN
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Written In The Rocks
Album
RENEE ROSNES
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Nabatov - Dresser - Mahnig : Equal Poise
Live album
SIMON NABATOV
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Complete Live At The Cafe Montmartre
Boxset / Compilation
CECIL TAYLOR
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World Music
Album
BOKANI DYER
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Emily's D+Evolution
Album
ESPERANZA SPALDING
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A Time For Love
Album
ERENA TERAKUBO
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Black Track
Album
SOIL AND "PIMP" SESSIONS
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Circles
Album
ANNE PACEO
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American Elm
Album
JANEK GWIZDALA
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Manifesto
Album
B.D. LENZ
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Inkább / Rather
Album
SZILÁRD MEZEI
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Materra (old songs retrospective)
Live album
SZILÁRD MEZEI
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Lerakat / Depot
Album
SZILÁRD MEZEI
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100​-​101
Live album
SZILÁRD MEZEI
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Questions at the Ball 2
Live album
SZILÁRD MEZEI
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Questions at the Ball I
Live album
SZILÁRD MEZEI
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Parallax
Album
PHRONESIS
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Landscapes
Album
JOE CHAMBERS
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Live at Umbria Jazz
Live album
FAHIR ATAKOĞLU
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Arclight
Album
JULIAN LAGE
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Live from the Detroit Jazz Festival 2015
Live album
MACK AVENUE SUPER BAND
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Jazz Now!
Live album
ALEXANDER VON SCHLIPPENBACH
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Connection
Album
EMPIRICAL
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One Child Left Behind
Album
ED PALERMO
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In Search of Wonders
Album
HRISTO VITCHEV
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Somethin' Special
Album
DMITRY BAEVSKY
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Live: Montreal '89
Live album
PAT METHENY
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Crazy Saints: Live
Live album
TRILOK GURTU
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Family Dinner Vol. 2
Album
SNARKY PUPPY
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Second To The Left
Album
ARNAN RAZ
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Rempis, Harnik, Zerang : Wistfully
Live album
DAVE REMPIS
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Christmas Passages
EP
ELI MINE
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Old Growth Forest
Album
HARRIS EISENSTADT
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Finest
Boxset / Compilation
GEORGE ADAMS
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Collective Effervescence
Album
DRE HOČEVAR
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The Pauper and The Magician
Album
ARI HOENIG
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Quiver
Album
RALPH ALESSI
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Paul's Mall. Boston September 1972
Live album
MILES DAVIS
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What Was Said
Album
TORD GUSTAVSEN
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More Serious Business
Album
JAZZ FUNK SOUL
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Man Made Object
Album
GOGO PENGUIN
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Live In Berlin
Live album
MO'BLOW
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Songs From Afar
Album
LUCIAN BAN
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Work Songs
Album
JAIMEO BROWN
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Avian Thug
Album
NAKED TRUTH
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Zero to 60
Album
JAE SINNETT
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Catch and Release
Album
NICK HEMPTON
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Exit from Brooklyn
Album
JOHN HART
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Boss Level
Album
ARTURO O'FARRILL
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Hashtag
Album
FERNANDO HUERGO
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30
Album
TRIO DA PAZ
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Into the Silence
Album
AVISHAI COHEN (TRUMPET)
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#JIVECULTURE
Album
JEREMY PELT
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Lenny Jumps In
Album
JIM CLAYTON
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Amateur Dentist
Album
JORIS ROELOFS
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Evolution
Album
DR LONNIE SMITH
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Prelude To Real Life
Album
DONALD EDWARDS
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modern jazz Music Reviews

MAHAVISHNU ORCHESTRA Inner Worlds

Album · 1976 · Classic Fusion
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Miler72
OK, so I'm laughing over this cover. I knew I had to get this album for the cover. What was John McLaughlin thinking to pose shirtless on this cover? Grand Funk Railroad, maybe? McLaughlin hardly seems the kind of guy who'd take something like Grand Funk seriously, but he's certainly taking after Mark Farner's tendency of going shirtless (at least Farner had an excuse, it's rock and roll, for one thing, and the girls started screaming when he took off his shirt at Grand Funk concerts, which I'm sure if McLaughlin tried the same thing at Mahavishnu concerts, he won't get the same reaction, probably laughed at, but then I'm sure he only went shirtless for this album cover).

Inner Worlds is the last album (until a 1980s reunion) of Mahavishnu Orchestra. At this point, Gayle Moran had departed, to join her husband Chick Corea in Return to Forever for their apparently forgettable Magicmusic. Jean-Luc Ponty also departed, to continue embarking on his hugely successful solo career. In comes Stu Goldberg on keyboards, no violin this time, with Narada Michael Walden and Ralphe Armstrong remaining. Visions of the Emerald Beyond is easily the best album they did outside the original lineup. Vocals, while present, were kept to a minimum, allowed for more great instrumental workouts for the band. Now comes Inner Worlds. Is it really that bad? The instrumental stuff, which there still is plenty is actually quite good, but what throws people off are the vocals cuts. I actually like a couple of them, "Planetary Citizen" has a funky vibe going on. I think people are simply thrown off by the vocal cuts (most of them sung by Michael Waldon, one sung by Ralphe Armstrong) and the soul/R&B influence seems to collide with the instrumental fusion found on the album. If they stuck to what they did on the previous album, only a couple of vocal songs, and the rest was instrumental, they'd probably not get the negative reactions they did here. Strangely I don't find this album that bad, even the vocal cuts, as out of place as they are, are, for the most part, pretty enjoyable to me. I doubt this review will make you change you mind on Inner Worlds, so this is pretty much my opinion.

CHRIS POTTER Imaginary Cities

Album · 2015 · 21st Century Modern
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Amilisom
This album was my personal introduction to Chris Potter's Underground Orchestra. Being the first one on the ECM label, this album also features a string quartet in addition to the lineup.

The use of the string quartet adds a nice color and variety to the album. On tracks such as "Dualities" and "Shadow Self" the string quartet is used in a way that even has classical implications - one might not be wrong in calling this third-stream at points. Fortunately the string quartet is neither overused or underused, but disappears and reappears throughout the album with perfect balance.

With an ensemble of this type, each track was written with creative form. Rather than follow the typical pattern of playing the head, going into a solo section, and going back to the head to close, most of the tracks on this album have complicated forms that feature instrumentals with the string quartet between solos. "Disintigration" even starts as an open, rubato free jazz track before everybody joins in on a unison melody. "Shadow Self" starts as a literal classical string quartet in the style of Dmitri Shostakovich before Potter comes in with a short bass clarinet solo.

My personal favorite of the album is Lament. Chris Potter plays one of the most memorable solos I have ever heard him play and it builds perfectly from start to finish.

One disappointment I had with this album was that it only features the piano player, Craig Taborn, on one track. His solo on "Sky" is pretty good, but I was hoping for more.

WADADA LEO SMITH Wadada Leo Smith & John Lindberg : Celestial Weather

Album · 2015 · Avant-Garde Jazz
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snobb
Finnish TUM label is a home for US giant trumpeter and composer Wadada Leo Smith most significant European recordings,mostly all monumental by form and size (incl. some double-CD studio releases). Smith's most current music isn't easy accessible,but is uniquely deep and represents one of the best modern creative genres borders crossing jazz around.

Wadada's newest TUM release isn't another monumental work as we could expect though. "Celestial Weather" is a collection of bare-naked minimalist duets with Smith' regular acoustic bassist John Lindberg, all duo's originals.

Divided to three parts, "Celestial Weather" demonstrates another side of Wadada - with same bassist he plays for decades Wadada feels very comfortable on almost chamber pre-composed pieces and very free-improvisational songs.

Recorded just by trumpeter and double bassist duo,this album is surprisingly filled with music. Sounds are clear and often quite ascetic,but it is not an album where nothing happens or where silence is a big part of recorded sound. It is quite different from Smith more bombastic works and probably not every fan of Great Lakes Suites or Ten Freedom Summers will like "Celestial Weather", but in on its own way this new release is a really important example of Wadada's creative legacy.

FARMERS MARKET Surfin' USSR

Album · 2008 · (Post-70s) Eclectic Fusion
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siLLy puPPy
FARMERS MARKET is yet another wacky band emerging from Norway and SURFIN’ USSR seems to be the album of choice by many fans and the only one i’ve heard so far simply because it is so raved about. The band started out as a free jazz quintet fresh out of the conservatory in Trondheim but soon unshackled themselves from all traditional norms and started to incorporate rock, pop, bluegrass, classical and their signature adoptive sounds such as Balkan and Bulgarian folk music. Throw in some surf guitar, some progressive time signature mind bleeps and you got an interestingly weird band on your hands. Yep, the kind i relish and seek out constantly!

While this band covers many genres the main gist here is energetic Balkan folk music with a couple tracks heading to Bulgaria for inspiration. One thing is for sure. These guys can really play their instruments with a technical prowess unmatched in most fusion arenas where rock meets jazz with ethnic world influences vying for control. Between the jagged rhythmic patterns that stop and go at breakneck speeds and the lovely melodic developments of the traditional scales and instruments leading the musical pack, i’d be tempted to give this a whopping five stars like many have due to the excitement generated in some of the cream of the crop deliveries on this one.

FARMERS MARKET unfortunately, to my ears, suffers some disappointing attributes that don’t get me as excited as this album as many others have made it out to be. First and foremost it’s inconsistent. It starts off strong on Parts 1 and 2 of the title track with energetic surf guitar ceding to Balkan folk instruments and scales usurping any Western musical agenda. The main instruments are the kaval, a chromatic end-blown flute that is the famous sound of the Balkans and Turkey as well as the gaida which is a type of bagpipe most popular in Macedonia and Bulgaria. The execution of these instruments is quite well performed but as a major connoisseur of Balkan gypsy music i have to state that i find them simply copying the styles of existing folk music of the region and not really adding a lot to it except for speedier chops and exaggerated time sigs.

There are several tracks on here that are pure gold. “Anyone Who Remembers Vladiwoodstock Wasn’t There!” is not only a clever title but has the coolest funky bass line with an almost Klezmer type of feel making me think more of the Sinai peninsula rather than the Balkans. “To Hell And Baku” is another golden moment with a thrashy metal type of intro before breaking into a hyperactive Balkan folk riff that incorporates some killer guitar and off-kilter proggy time sigs. “From Prussia With Love” is another highly energetic proggy number with a clean jazz guitar keeping the rhythm and a highly caffeinated kaval taking the energy to new levels creating one of the coolest tracks on the album complete with the way cool accompanying percussion of the Indian tambura, bongos and freaked out bass line which is followed by the outstanding “Red Square Dance” which is my favorite track with the traditional Balkan folk on full speed going on here. The kaval is just off the hook in the prog department delivering stunning hooks and this sounds sort of like a traditional Balkan band gone maaaaaad!

While those highlights are worth the price of admission there are also some tracks that totally rub me the wrong way. First up is the uninspiring cover of Gerry & The Pacemakers “Ferry Cross The Mersey” which here becomes “Lodtschitze Mini Maritza” which sounds totally out of place on this album, the mediocre “The Dismanting Of The Soviet Onion Made Us Cry” which is rather insipid and rather dull and the other out of place track here “Steroid Train Trip” which sounds like a Bela Fleck and the Flecktones reject with it’s banjo inspired jazz-fusion approach. What really irks me most about this album is that it has two totally incongruent tracks that are basically Bulgarian vocal folk music tracks that are typical of the region and much better done by the international superstars Le Mystere des Voix Bulgares or also known as the Bulgarian State Radio & Television Female Vocal Choir.

Overall i don’t feel this band has learned how to seamlessly blend all these styles together in a way that the much better disciplined Secret Chiefs 3 has managed to blend such disparate influences into a new kind of whole. Spoiled am i with their ability to do so but FARMERS MARKET’s SURFIN’ USSR simply sounds like it’s trying to take on too many styles and influences too fast resulting in a stilted delivery as the album unfolds. Where it’s great, it is astounding but where it fails, it feels like a major let down leaving a lopsided disappointing feel as the final result. This is the only album i’ve heard by them and i certainly haven’t written them off but if this album represents their peak then i’m afraid they don’t stand a chance in the eclectic global fusion world where bands like Secret Chiefs 3, Atomic Ape and a whole new school of newbies are taken global fusion to new levels and beyond. An intriguing album that falls short of expectations but there are certainly some exciting moments on this one.

DON CHERRY Organic Music Society

Live album · 1972 · World Fusion
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siLLy puPPy
Every once in a while i pick up an album simply because the album cover artwork is just so beautiful that i just have to buy it so i can hear what kind of music lurks inside accompanying such visual beauty. Such was the case with DON CHERRY’s 1972 foray into his spiritual jazz meets ethnic world fusion album ORGANIC MUSIC SOCIETY which has one of the most colorful and stimulating wrap around album covers i’ve ever seen especially in a musical genre that tends to be conservative more often than not displaying the artists in some uninspiring pose with unobtrusive colors and settings. I actually picked up the modern CD version which is a faithful representation of the original vinyl LP only reduced in size complete with all the inner artwork and as a bonus a big fat little booklet that explains everything about this album including all kinds of juicy details of how the journey of ideas unfolded for such CHERRY’s growing interest in global fusion and how it all came together complete with archival photos as icing on the cake. Sold!

What i was expecting was the usual avant-garde free form jazz that CHERRY dished out in the 60s but what i heard instead was not only surprising but made me realize that ORGANIC MUSIC SOCIETY was actually his first effort in fusing world ethnic forms of music with his unique style of jazz playing and this could unofficially be thought of as the very first Codona album as 2/3 of the band is here and this was CHERRY’s first formal collaboration with berimbau player and percussionist Nana Vasconcelos. As the CD begins it doesn’t take long to realize that this isn’t a jazz album at all but a more eclectic album that does its best to incorporate as many sounds from across the globe as possible with only the occasional trumpet presenting itself on only a handful of tracks representing the world of jazz.

The album begins with “North Brazilian Ceremonial Hymn” which is basically a long drawn spiritual chant with some sort of drone accompanying a repetitive litany of wordless vocalizations and a parade of percussion that alternates between some kind of bells jingling and other shaky things. The opening track does more than establish ORGANIC MUSIC SOCIETY as a non-jazz dominated album but also sets the tone for a contemplative and meditative experience where the listener is hypnotized by the swell of repetitive passages that only vary slightly from one measure to another. Whereas the opening track commences with nary a jazz instrument nor syncopation to be found, others such as the second track “Elixir” while not jazz per se do contain a jazz trumpet solo where CHERRY leaves his unequivocal sound after a haunting ethereal opening and in the midst of an energetic African rhythmic section where he has license to pierce the din with his high pitched squeals like an elephant trampling through the jungles of the Congo.

ORGANIC MUSIC SOCIETY was originally released as a double vinyl LP and just barely fits onto one modern day CD at a bloated running time of 79:35. I have to admit that this is a brilliant album that encompasses a wide swath of global timbres, styles and rhythms but at the same time it’s hard to take in on a single listen as it tends to wear out its welcome towards the end where i start itching to hear something else more energetic. A great start indeed for CHERRY’s expedition into the sonic possibilities of eclectic world jazz fusion but ORGANIC MUSIC SOCIETY seems like it could have been subjected to a little more editing and / or sprucing up in the experimental department but then again i’ve already been spoiled by the superior future Codona albums that would take the approach of this album and refine it into a more sophisticated tapestry of influences. This album does deliver in its ORGANIC approach nevertheless and truly feels like it was birthed in the experimental energies of the 1972 timeline. While not being my top pick for a world jazz fusion album, this album definitely has a nice meditative global feel to it that warrants a listen although best digested in partial samplings at any given time instead of a single sprawling experience since the tracks are all interesting examples of global world fusion but at the same time don’t always hang together so well. Still though, more than enough here to recommend.

modern jazz movie reviews

WEATHER REPORT Live in Germany 1971

Movie · 2010 · Classic 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 · (Post-70s) Eclectic Fusion
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js
“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 · Classic 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 · Classic Fusion
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js
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 · Classic 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)