Modern Jazz

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MILES DAVIS Kind of Blue Album Cover Kind of Blue
MILES DAVIS
4.93 | 92 ratings
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JOHN COLTRANE A Love Supreme Album Cover A Love Supreme
JOHN COLTRANE
4.86 | 67 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
4.84 | 48 ratings
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MCCOY TYNER Sahara Album Cover Sahara
MCCOY TYNER
4.95 | 12 ratings
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MILES DAVIS 'Round About Midnight (aka Miles Davis) Album Cover 'Round About Midnight (aka Miles Davis)
MILES DAVIS
4.85 | 26 ratings
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MILES DAVIS Miles Smiles Album Cover Miles Smiles
MILES DAVIS
4.83 | 28 ratings
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ALICE COLTRANE Ptah, the El Daoud Album Cover Ptah, the El Daoud
ALICE COLTRANE
4.84 | 22 ratings
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ERIC DOLPHY 'Out to Lunch!' Album Cover 'Out to Lunch!'
ERIC DOLPHY
4.77 | 39 ratings
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JOHN COLTRANE Giant Steps Album Cover Giant Steps
JOHN COLTRANE
4.77 | 44 ratings
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MILES DAVIS Get Up With It Album Cover Get Up With It
MILES DAVIS
4.81 | 20 ratings
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MILES DAVIS In a Silent Way Album Cover In a Silent Way
MILES DAVIS
4.74 | 79 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)
4.90 | 10 ratings
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Stereoscape
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MARIO ERMOLI
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HNH
Album
JOE HERTENSTEIN
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Grand Valis
Album
HUGO CARVALHAIS
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Descarga for Monk
Album
ALEX CONDE
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Robin Goodie
Album
ZHENYA STRIGALEV
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Take Off
Album
RAMÓN VALLE
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Breathless (feat. The E-Collective)
Album
TERENCE BLANCHARD
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The Bad Plus Joshua Redman
Album
JOSHUA REDMAN
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Live At Babylon
Live album
SUN RA ARKESTRA UNDER THE DIRECTION OF MARSHALL ALLEN
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Fred Lonberg-Holm/Ken Vandermark: Resistance
Live album
FRED LONBERG-HOLM
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Save Your Breath
Album
KRIS DAVIS
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Inner Dialogue
Album
SARAH ELIZABETH CHARLES
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All Included : Satan In Plain Clothes
Album
MARTIN KÜCHEN / TRESPASS TRIO/ALL INCLUDED
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The Heart Of The Matter
Album
JEFF HACKWORTH
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Olympus
Album
BEAT FUNKTION
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Housewarming
Album
JEREMY SISKIND
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Strata
Album
IVO NEAME
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Spirit House
Album
JOEL HARRISON
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GUSH : The March
Live album
MATS GUSTAFSSON
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Karl Ivar Refseth Trio: Praying
Live album
KARL IVAR REFSETH
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Shadowbox
Album
ROB REICH
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Suite Caminos
Album
GONZALO RUBALCABA
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Nature
Album
NILS WOGRAM
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Zoy Zoy
Album
TAL NATIONAL
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Mats Gustafsson & NU Ensemble : Hidros6
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MATS GUSTAFSSON
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Juguya
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BABA COMMANDANT AND THE MANDINGO BAND
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Purity and Danger
Album
THE SWAY MACHINERY
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The Cannonball Adderley Sextet : Complete Live in Tokyo 1963
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CANNONBALL ADDERLEY
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Synthomathic
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JACHNA BUHL
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Hotwire
Album
JEFF RICHMAN
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Many More Days
Album
THIRD REEL
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El Conde Negro
Album
PETE RODRIGUEZ (TRUMPET)
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Vibe Station
Album
SCOTT HENDERSON
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6:35 AM
Album
FELICE CLEMENTE
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Original Vision
Album
AIDAN CARROLL
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The Room Is
Album
RENGA ENSEMBLE
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The Necks Box
Boxset / Compilation
THE NECKS
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Serendipity
Album
ZACH BROCK
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Impromptu
Album
THE RODRIGUEZ BROTHERS
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2nd Avenue
Album
JOSHUA BREAKSTONE
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Kaleidoskop
Album
VOLKER ENGELBERTH
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Family First
Album
MARK GUILIANA
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Bugge & Friends
Album
BUGGE WESSELTOFT
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Rolf Kühn Unit : Stereo
Album
ROLF KÜHN
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On Beauty
Album
CHARLES EVANS
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My Favorite Things
Album
JOEY ALEXANDER
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Live at the King of France Tavern
Live album
DOROTHY DONEGAN
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Hear, Here
Album
BOB MONTGOMERY
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Open Road
Album
WALT WEISKOPF
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Love Is A Pendulum
Album
JOE LOCKE
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Songs We Like A Lot
Album
JOHN HOLLENBECK
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Alphabet City
Album
BRIAN CHARETTE
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Vinicius Canta Antonio Carlos Jobim
Album
VINICIUS CANTUÁRIA
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Standards plus One
Boxset / Compilation
PAUL MOTIAN
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Live in Munich
Live album
RED TRIO
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The Deep Below
Album
BRIAN LANDRUS
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Dictionary 3
Album
LIGRO
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Triangles and Circles
Album
DAFNIS PRIETO
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Night and Day
Album
VINCENT HERRING
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Juneteenth
Album
STANLEY COWELL
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Foreign Love Affair
Album
KIM PENSYL
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Fluidity
Live album
JOHN FEDCHOCK
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A Higher Standard
Album
PAT BIANCHI
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Hard To Cook
Album
MICHAEL VALEANU
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Reflected Journey
Live album
BILLY COBHAM
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Now This
Album
GARY PEACOCK
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Mirror's Image
Live album
BILLY COBHAM
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Europa Berlin
Album
ORCHESTRE NATIONAL DE JAZZ
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Leap of Faith
Album
BURAK BEDIKYAN
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The Undying Spirit
Album
E. J. STRICKLAND
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Hypercolor
Album
HYPERCOLOR
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Creating Structure
Album
RICH HALLEY
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Untold Stories
Album
SHAI MAESTRO
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A Million Colors In Your Mind
Album
CYRUS CHESTNUT
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Rigamaroll
Album
JERRY BERGONZI
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Old Friends And New Friends
Album
DAVID BERKMAN
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Spring Rain
Album
SAMUEL BLASER
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Hot Club of the Americas
Album
FEDERICO BRITOS
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Live In Santa Cruz
Live album
BENNY GREEN (PIANO)
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Monoswezi Yanga
Album
MONOSWEZI
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Time Twister
Album
DOMAS ALEKSA
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Protocol 3
Album
SIMON PHILLIPS
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Blessings
Album
ANTONIO HART
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Koi
Album
LORENZO FELICIATI
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Cosmogram
Album
HUGO FERNANDEZ
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West
Album
VINCENT COURTOIS
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Elysium
Album
AL DI MEOLA
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Partenika
Album
MARTA SÁNCHEZ
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Michel Lambert / Rafał Mazur : Unknowable
Live album
FRANÇOIS CARRIER
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Time Pieces
Album
KYLE EASTWOOD
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Let It Be Told
Album
JULIAN ARGÜELLES
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Twenty-Two
Album
LUIS PERDOMO
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Metropolitan Rhythm
Album
JARED GOLD
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All Together Now
Album
TOM TALLITSCH
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Octopus
Album
CHRISTOPH IRNIGER
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Whole Wheat Oats
Album
THE OATMEAL JAZZ COMBO
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CASIOPEA 3rd : A SO BO
Album
CASIOPEA
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Dolphin Through
Album
T-SQUARE
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Sixth Sense
Album
ROBERTO GATTO
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Live In Chieti '79
Live album
MASSIMO URBANI
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From The Vine
Album
FRESH CUT ORCHESTRA
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Now is the Time
Album
CHRIS FORMAN
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Nico Finke's Bad Surprise
Album
NICO FINKE
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Round Tripper
Album
LISA PARROTT
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Alexander Hawkins Trio
Album
ALEXANDER HAWKINS
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Uminari
Album
KAZE
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Coming Of Age
Album
BEN WILLIAMS
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Possible Universe (Conduction 192)
Live album
LAWRENCE D "BUTCH" MORRIS
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Fahir Atakoğlu Box Set
Boxset / Compilation
FAHIR ATAKOĞLU
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French Trio, Vol. 2
Album
TAKESHI ASAI
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Surrounded by Sea
Album
ANDY SHEPPARD
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Dallëndyshe
Album
ELINA DUNI
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Traveler
Album
LAWSON ROLLINS
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Plucky Strum
Album
HARVIE S (HARVIE SWARTZ)
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Secret Rhymes
Album
TROY ROBERTS
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For George, Cole And Duke
Album
HARRY ALLEN
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Tendencia Nueva
Album
DAVID BRITO
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Love for Chet
Album
STÉPHANE BELMONDO
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Gaadi of Truth
Album
RED BARAAT
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The ACT Years
Boxset / Compilation
TERRI LYNE CARRINGTON
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10.11.12
Live album
HOWARD RILEY
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Fast Future
Album
DONNY MCCASLIN
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Always
Album
MATANA ROBERTS
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Illuminations
Album
ERIK FRIEDLANDER
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Solo
Live album
VINNY GOLIA
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Brooklyn
Album
JOHN PATITUCCI
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Nexus
Live album
PAT MARTINO
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You've Been Watching Me
Live album
TIM BERNE
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Bottom Line Archive Series: 1976
Live album
THE BRECKER BROTHERS
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Snarky Puppy & Metropole Orkest : Sylva
Live album
SNARKY PUPPY
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Being the Point
Album
RAY ANDERSON
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House of Pianos
Live album
DICK HYMAN
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Call It What You Want
Album
RUSS NOLAN
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Made in Brazil
Album
ELIANE ELIAS
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Simulacrum
Album
JOHN ZORN
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Essential Collection - Last Train Home
Boxset / Compilation
PAT METHENY
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Isao Suzuki Plays Ave Maria
Album
ISAO SUZUKI
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América, Brasil
Album
IVAN LINS
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Modern Times
Album
YONATHAN AVISHAI
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Let's Get Together
Album
BOB SHIMIZU
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Tears and Rumba
Album
XIOMARA LAUGART
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My Ideal
Album
GLENN ZALESKI
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Live at Firehouse 12
Live album
MANUEL VALERA
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Lost and Found
Album
BUENA VISTA SOCIAL CLUB
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Messin' With Mister T
Album
DAVE STRYKER
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Pinnacle
Album
TED HOWE
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Momentary
Album
KYOKO SATOH
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Everlasting
Album
KYOKO SATOH
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After All Is Said
Album
TOMAS FUJIWARA
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All Over Again
Album
THOM DOUVAN
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Live At Tarcento Jazz
Live album
KONSTRUKT
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Live in Blue
Live album
DJABE
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Jazz For A Lazy Day
Boxset / Compilation
KENNY BURRELL
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Something Extraordinary
Boxset / Compilation
JIM HALL
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Rhodes Ahead Vol. 2
Album
MARC CARY
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Live in New York: The Vanguard Sessions
Live album
STEVE WILSON
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Invictus
Album
REGGIE QUINERLY
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Snowy Egret
Album
MYRA MELFORD
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Same As You
Album
POLAR BEAR
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In Jerusalem
Album
MARK WEINSTEIN
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Pedro Giraudo Big Band : Cuentos
Album
PEDRO GIRAUDO
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Jive Samba
Album
DUDUKA DA FONSECA
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That’s What She Says
Album
PHILL FEST
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I’m In
Album
JOE FIEDLER
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Alone In The Studio
Album
TOM COLLIER
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Blue Rain
Album
THOMAS CLAUSEN
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Song (The Ballad Book)
Album
COURTNEY PINE
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Phineas
Album
CHRIS BIESTERFEIDT
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Sun Moee
Album
SKYDIVE TRIO
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Roots
Album
TOMOKO OMURA
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Event Horizon
Album
MARK WADE
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But Happy
Boxset / Compilation
PAUL DESMOND
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Ilé
Album
OMAR SOSA
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Eero Koivistoinen Quartet : Hati Hati
Album
EERO KOIVISTOINEN
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Condition Blue
Album
CORY WEEDS
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Trio
Album
GRANT STEWART
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Dialectics
Album
CURTIS NOWOSAD
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Owl Jacket
Album
THE CONVERGENCE QUARTET
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Midwest
Album
MATHIAS EICK
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This Is The Day
Album
GIOVANNI GUIDI
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Horny Tonky
Album
NICOLAS FOLMER
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Luminosa
Album
ANAT COHEN
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Slow Eastbound Train
Album
DANIEL HERSKEDAL
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Feathers
Album
THOMAS ENHCO
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Spiritual Project
Album
DAVID REINHARDT
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Bartłomiej Oleś & Tomasz Dąbrowski : Chapters
Album
MARCIN OLÉS & BARTLOMIEJ BRAT OLÉS (OLÉS BROTHERS)
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Snow Slow
Album
TORE BRUNBORG
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Battle Pieces
Album
NATE WOOLEY
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Reminiscent
Album
DAYNA STEPHENS
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For Sale
Album
DEUX MAISONS
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Idlewild
Album
LAGE LUND
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Balance 38 - 58
Album
ALEX SIPIAGIN
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Blue Dialect
Album
MARIO PAVONE
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Full Circle
Album
HIDEO ICHIKAWA
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Press Enter
Album
ROMAIN COLLIN
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Lucidity
Album
ATOMIC
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Sem Teu Amor
Boxset / Compilation
ELIS REGINA
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Daybreak
Album
SIGURÐUR FLOSASON
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Direction Home
Album
MARK EGAN
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Triple Play
Album
DOUG WEBB
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Lake Effect
Album
DAVID AKE
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Abstract Quantities
Album
CHAD MCCULLOUGH AND BRAM WEIJTERS QUARTET
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Magisteria
Album
RON WESTRAY
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Golden State II
Live album
HARRIS EISENSTADT
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Cuéntame
Album
IZABELLA EFFENBERG
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Timely
Album
GLENN WILSON
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Take This!
Album
JACKY TERRASSON
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East Side Rio Drive
Album
NILSON MATTA
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Close Enough For Love
Live album
CALVIN KEYS
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Top Secret
Album
CHRIS CORTEZ
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Going Home
Album
JOEY CALDERAZZO
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The 2 Bass Band ... Live
Live album
BILLY MINTZ
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Steve Gadd Band : 70 Strong
Album
STEVE GADD
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Insultc
EP
SELECTRIC
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The Gil Evans Project: Lines of Color
Live album
RYAN TRUESDELL
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Astral Transference / Seven Dreams
Album
DANIEL ROSENBOOM
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Burning Bright
Album
TOM MCCLUNG
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Fala-Me de Amor
Boxset / Compilation
ELIS REGINA
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Forever Is Now
Boxset / Compilation
SONNY CLARK
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Arms and Hands
Album
KIRK KNUFFKE
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The Purge
Album
DRKWAV
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Salty Water
Album
VASSILIS PAPADOPOULOS
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Turboprop
Album
ERNESTO CERVINI
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Nigemizu
Live album
JOHN BUTCHER
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Bassdetector
Album
JENS FOSSUM
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Grassroots
Album
CHAMBER 3
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Time Within Itself
Album
MICHAEL WALDROP
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The Stillness Of Motion
Album
SCOTT HESSE
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No Net Nonet
Album
LUCAS PINO
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Exploring Mars
Album
JOSH NELSON
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Risky Notion
Album
GEORGE COLLIGAN
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The Journey
Album
CHARLES MCPHERSON
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Michel – The Blue Note Albums
Boxset / Compilation
MICHEL PETRUCCIANI
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Expedition 2
Album
WOLFF AND CLARK EXPEDITION
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Libations & Meditations
Album
ART HIRAHARA
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Orphic Machine
Album
BEN GOLDBERG
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Aural Colors
Album
DAVID HELBOCK
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The Whisperer
Album
BEN WOLFE
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Spiritman
Album
STEVE TURRE
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Afrodeezia
Album
MARCUS MILLER
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Love Looks Good on You
Album
RUSSELL MALONE
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Red
Album
NELSON RANGELL
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Blue
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modern jazz Music Reviews

MARY HALVORSON Reverse Blue

Album · 2014 · Avant-Garde Jazz
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snobb
Mary Halvorson is with no doubt most popular modern advanced female jazz guitarist. With her new band (all members are still part of same "new American avant-garde jazz" cohort) she makes next step refining her usual very individual music.

Band's debut album, "Reverse Blue" opens with few winks of baroque dance but right after switches to rock-jazz distorted guitar's shred. Opener (as well as some other album's songs) is well composed and perfectly works as advanced jazz piece and avant-rock song at the same time.

One can say it's a feminine take on guitar jazz what makes Mary's music so personal. Not sure but it's really better illustrated by her heavier compositions where with no relation to hot-burning drama music in whole stays surprisingly very relaxed and well controlled.

Well-balanced and inventive quartet plays ten originals (half comes solely from Halvarson),all are well calculated and executed. Probably (as on some her other albums) main problem of the music still is that tranquil equilibrium - some injections of adrenaline here and there would save compositions from some appreciable sameness.

"Ego Man", central album's point,trims well-balanced but a bit too repetitive songs' series with Chris Speed's tenor soloing and opens a way for new music sides coming after.Second album's part is more diverse even if some dose of additional adrenaline would be probably desired as well."Really OK" is a beautiful elegant waltz and the closer "Resting On Laurels" sounds as dreamy tasteful miniature

Being a Mary Halvorson's music fan,I am familiar with almost every her album - and always waiting for new to come. Almost every of already released works contains some great moments and some not so great - and this rule is as sturdy as year's seasons change.A small step to being a really great album,"Reverse Blue" is intelligent and accessible listening opening new layers after every another spin.

PETE OXLEY Pete Oxley & Nicolas Meier : Chasing Tales

Album · 2015 · Post-Fusion Contemporary
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js
“Chasing Tales” was released earlier this year on MGP Records, and it seemed to slip beneath the radar and not get the attention it deserved, which is a shame because fans of guitar picking duos may find this to be one of the top albums of the year. Hopefully this album’s re-release on MoonJune might help bring the recognition this CD deserves. The interplay between Pete Oxley and Nicolar Meier, as they field a variety of string instruments centered around nylon string guitar and clean tone jazz guitar, is incredible as they sound very much like one mind. This album is the exact opposite of those sort of chest-beating acoustic guitar extravagances fueled by the likes of Dimeola and McLaughlin, there are no furious trade off solos on here, instead, you get music made through sensitive interplay and co-operation.

The guitar sound on here is of the softer variety, along the lines of Jim Hall, George Benson and Pat Methany, but just like those three mentioned virtuosos, the light tone does not imply light content, instead, this music is complex and holds up very well to many repeat listens. Oxley and Meir display many sources in creating their thick tapestries, besides modern jazz mixes of fusion and post bop, they also pull from art pop, middle eastern music and folk derived finger picking. They share writing duties, with Oxley’s tunes favoring abstract jazz, while Meir leans towards more forthright melodic material. Their compositions tend to alternate in sequence which makes for a great blend. These are all original compositions, and they are for the most part excellent, very original and personal, but two tracks don't seem to fit. "The Bridge" uses a nasal guitar synth sound that doesn't seem to fit the rest of the album, and "Breezin On" uses 'humorous' vocoder vocals that fit even less, but the rest of the album is superb.

Although labeled a contemporary jazz album, “Chasing Tales” probably has appeal far beyond just a jazz audience. Fans of world fusion acoustic guitar summits such as Strunz and Farah will probably enjoy this, as well as fans of that whole acoustic guitar world that includes new grass, Leo Kotke followers and David Grisman's ‘dawg music’. The interplay on here is very special and the compositions are fresh and inventive, hopefully this album will get the attention it deserves.

XADU Xavi Reija / Dusan Jevtovic : Random Abstract

Album · 2015 · (Post-70s) Eclectic Fusion
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js
Xadu is a modern jazz/rock duo made up of drummer Xavi Reija and guitarist Dusan Jevtovic. Although “Random Abstract” is their first album under this new moniker, this is the second album they have recorded together, as Dusan played guitar on Xavi Reija’s “Resolution”, which was released just last year. The only difference between the groups that perform on both albums is that Reija’s album featured Bernat Hernandez on bass, while “Random Abstract” has no bass player, and that lack of a third band member does make a difference.

Dusan is an interesting guitarist, although he started out as a more typical fleet fingered fusion guitarist, his solo album, “Am I Walking Wrong”, found him working more with distorted sounds and heavy sonic noise textures. On “Random Abstract”, he seems to mix these two worlds, still relying on a lot of distorted sounds, but also working in more of his earlier fusion style too. The balance of these two styles has resulted in a more interesting and musical approach for Dusan than on his previous solo album. This mix of noise and jazz-rock chops may remind some of Sonny Sharrock‘s work in the 80s and 90s. Xavi Reija provides his usual virtuoso drumming that combines fusion, free jazz and heavy rock. The two sound great together, but that third voice is missed sometimes.

Most of the tracks on this CD are good, with the best material coming in the middle of the album where back to back tracks, “New Pop” and “Something In Between”, feature the best solos and energetic duo interplay on the album. The weakest tracks happen on the second and third cuts where the duo makes the mistake of using some sort of looping device to provide something like a repeating bass line. As either song wears on, the automatic repeating lines become more of a nuisance than anything else. The duo format may sound a bit thin at times, but adding a dull repeating voice doesn’t help.

There is a lot of potential here, and there are moments on “Random Abstract” where that potential is reached, but its possible there is a better album still to come from these two. Much of this CD comes across as a recorded jam session, which isn’t bad, but more developed material would probably serve these guys well, as well as someone on bass.

TERUMASA HINO Hi-Nology

Live album · 1969 · Classic Fusion
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snobb
Japanese leading trumpet player Terumasa Hino's "Hi-Nology" is his most commercially successful album and in fact his start to international fame.Released in 1969,it was one of the very first fusion album recorded by country's artists and released in Japan.Sometimes described as "Miles Davis undone step" in reality it isn't that.

Terumasa Hino started as mainstream jazz trumpeter and in 1968 switched from hard bop to more modern post-bop forming Hino-Kikuchi Quintet with pianist Masabumi Kikuchi. Their debut,recorded same year,was released in 1969 only, and few month later Terumasa Hino releases "Hi-Nology" with same band,just with different pianist (acoustic pianist Kikuchi has been changed with Hiromasa Suzuki on electric piano).The concept of electric fusion was just in the air around, and Hino was obviously heavily influenced by Davis re-tuning his quintet for playing more advanced sound.But if Miles very soon brewed jazz improvisation with psychedelic rock jamming,Terumasa stayed deeply rooted in mainstream jazz building his fusion on boppish basis.Miles concentrated his interest on textures against form, Hino demonstrates perfectly framed and structured songs in mainstream jazz tradition.

Released on the peak of fusion "revolutionary" popularity, this album was a true success between both yesterday's jazz adepts searching for new sound and part of rock fans,since very jazzy by its nature album's compositions were not so different from tuneful well-structured rock songs (thanks to thunder-like Motohiko Hino drumming Hi-Nology sounds not all that different from some rock albums of the time).

So,representing just a different (and generally more conservative by its nature) leg of just-born fusion comparing with Miles Davis music of the moment, Hino's quintet plays music which has born under Davis influence. The real reason why it sometimes sounds more advanced is that that hard-bop rooted Hino is more open to another huge moment's influence - free jazz. Miles was known by his negative point of view towards free jazz (what not always means his music isn't influenced by it), Terumasa Hino saw free jazz as part of his music (even if in reality Hino's music as rule is never such free as Miles'). As a result on "Hi-Nology" one can find lot of freer soloing which don't change basic structure but add lot of fashionable free jazz arrangements hardly possible in Miles music. Miles has been never interested in flirting with free jazz, and because of that Hino music for some ears sounds as "Miles undone next step brewing fusion and free jazz". I believe if Miles would be interested to make this step his music would sound much freer.

"Hi-Nology" stays one of the best early Japanese fusion album and start of commercial success for Terumasa Hino. Besides of few other country scene's similar releases it built the basis for plenteous and influential J-fusion movement some years later.

CHICO HAMILTON The Best Of Chico Hamilton

Boxset / Compilation · 1969 · Latin Jazz
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js
“The Best of Chico Hamilton” is a collection of music that Hamilton recorded for the Impulse label. These songs were recorded between 1963 and 66, and were so ahead of their time, that even though “Best of” did not come out until 1969, most of these songs were still ahead of the curve. Much of that first wave of fusion and Latin fusion that will hit in the late 60s can be traced back to Hamilton’s mid 60s albums on Impulse. Even following the musicians tells a story, as Hamilton’s saxophonist on several of these cuts, Charles Lloyd, will leave Hamilton’s band to form an early proto fusion group with Jack DeJohnette and Keith Jarret, both of whom will eventually join Miles Davis’ early fusion group. You can also hear the beginnings of the west coast Latin rock movement on many of these songs too.

Almost all of these tracks feature a core group of Al Stinson on bass, Gabor Szabo on guitar and Hamilton on drums. Gabor is by far the main soloist, with Charles Lloyd showing up on a few tracks, and Larry Coryell covering guitar on one blues track that sounds out of place with the rest of the material. Most of the cuts on “Best of Chico” are pretty solid, with a few that are not the best, which leads to the question, did the producers of this album pick the best material? Overall it seems they didn’t do too bad of a job; songs like “Forest Flower” and “Conquistadors” are essential early Latin fusion, and “Evil Eye” is an excellent exotic gem, but two well known pop ballades, while played imaginatively, maybe could have been replaced with something a little more substantial. Finally, Coryell’s bluesy “Larry of Arabia” is pure fluff and a waste of space.

Chico Hamilton played a wide variety of styles during the course of his career, and this album is a fairly good, but not outstanding, sampling of what he was up to during the mid 60s.

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)