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JOHN COLTRANE A Love Supreme Album Cover A Love Supreme
JOHN COLTRANE
4.84 | 101 ratings
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MILES DAVIS Kind of Blue Album Cover Kind of Blue
MILES DAVIS
4.83 | 136 ratings
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BILL EVANS (PIANO) Waltz for Debby Album Cover Waltz for Debby
BILL EVANS (PIANO)
4.92 | 16 ratings
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HERBIE HANCOCK V.S.O.P.:Tempest in the Colosseum Album Cover V.S.O.P.:Tempest in the Colosseum
HERBIE HANCOCK
4.97 | 9 ratings
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BILL EVANS (PIANO) Sunday at the Village Vanguard (aka Live At The Village Vanguard) Album Cover Sunday at the Village Vanguard (aka Live At The Village Vanguard)
BILL EVANS (PIANO)
4.87 | 17 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
4.77 | 75 ratings
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WES MONTGOMERY The Incredible Jazz Guitar of Wes Montgomery Album Cover The Incredible Jazz Guitar of Wes Montgomery
WES MONTGOMERY
4.87 | 12 ratings
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JOHN COLTRANE Blue Train Album Cover Blue Train
JOHN COLTRANE
4.74 | 67 ratings
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ESBJÖRN SVENSSON TRIO (E.S.T.) Live in Hamburg Album Cover Live in Hamburg
ESBJÖRN SVENSSON TRIO (E.S.T.)
4.94 | 8 ratings
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JOHN COLTRANE Live at Birdland Album Cover Live at Birdland
JOHN COLTRANE
4.81 | 16 ratings
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JOHN COLTRANE My Favorite Things Album Cover My Favorite Things
JOHN COLTRANE
4.73 | 57 ratings
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KEITH JARRETT The Köln Concert Album Cover The Köln Concert
KEITH JARRETT
4.74 | 36 ratings
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JOE MAGNARELLI
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LISA HILTON
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JAZZ IS DEAD (YOUNGE & MUHAMMAD)
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WOJTEK MAZOLEWSKI
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JASON MARSHALL
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NU BAND
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MARTIAL SOLAL
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KIRK LIGHTSEY
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TODD MARCUS
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STAN KILLIAN
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SUKEZA BAND
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KEN VANDERMARK
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Blue Lotus
Album
GREG FOAT
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JON IRABAGON
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Atalaya
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8
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ADHD
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The Gallery Concerts II : Jazz Poetry
Live album
JAN LUNDGREN
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EZRA COLLECTIVE
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CHEICK TIDIANE SECK
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O'HIGGINS & LUFT
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Charles Owens Quartet : Golden Moments
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CHARLES OWENS (1972)
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LITTLE NORTH
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Happy
Album
MARIUS NESET
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Affinity
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BILL LAURANCE
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Affirmation
Album
ARILD ANDERSEN
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Bigfoot Meter
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BIGFOOT METER
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Everything Happens
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RICH PERRY
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Desires And Fears
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VITO LITURRI
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Blue
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ANTONIO COPPOLA
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Jazz is Expensive
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KUHN FU
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Return
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LYDIAN COLLECTIVE
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In a Heartbeat
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KERRY POLITZER
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King's Dream
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GEORGE COLLIGAN
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Live at Jassmine
Live album
SLAWEK JASKULKE
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Seismic Shift
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JOHN ESCREET
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FISH IN OIL
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TRIO GRANDE
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KRIS ALLEN
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MARTTI VESALA
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ANDREW RATHBUN
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RON MCCLURE
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HELGE LIEN
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While We Wait For A Brand New Day
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ODDGEIR BERG TRIO
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Living Sky
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SUN RA ARKESTRA UNDER THE DIRECTION OF MARSHALL ALLEN
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Back Home in Kansas City
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BOBBY WATSON
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Bestiaire #01 Explorations
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MATTHIEU DONARIER
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Four
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BILL FRISELL
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My Days In Copenhagen
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JEAN-PIERRE COMO
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Une Larme De Pluie
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THIERRY MAILLARD
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Trondheim Concert
Live album
ESPEN BERG
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Felix
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NIM SADOT / NIM QUARTET
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RAY VIERA
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Live at Fabrik Hamburg 1988
Live album
EDDIE HARRIS
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LAURENT COULONDRE
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CAMILLA GEORGE
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TAUREY BUTLER
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MICHAEL ORENSTEIN
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Spring
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Celebration
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RUFUS REID
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Day In The Sun
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MIKKEL PLOUG
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Ghosts
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MICHAEL WOLLNY
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Uptown in Orbit
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EMMET COHEN
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Feelin' It
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JIM WITZEL
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Yellow Flower - Piano solo
Album
ERI YAMAMOTO
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Stepping Out, Vol. 1
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Ino / Yamazaki / Hayashi : TRYANGLE
Live album
NOBUYOSHI INO
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Henry Franklin JID014
Album
JAZZ IS DEAD (YOUNGE & MUHAMMAD)
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Sky Continuous
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NOAH PREMINGER
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Third Page : Resonance
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SUN-MI HONG
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Midnight Crisp
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TAKUYA KURODA
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SYLVAIN KASSAP
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Quartetinho
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ANAT COHEN
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Alive in America
Live album
RETURN TO FOREVER
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Sparkle Beings
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ANGELICA SANCHEZ
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What It Means To Be Human
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JASPER HØIBY
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Unconditional Love
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Quietude
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ELIANE ELIAS
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Aura
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Someday
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Last Decade
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the sound of listening
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Life
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Serotonina
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Multicolored Midnight
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THUMBSCREW
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New Standards Vol. 1
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Playdate
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Cyclic Journey
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To Live and Breathe...
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Live From Summit Rock in Seneca Village
Live album
JASON PALMER
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Seaside
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Sinton / Wilson/ Falco : Adumbrations
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JOSH SINTON
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For New Zealand
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THE CHICAGO PLAN (STEVE SWELL / GEBHARD ULLMANN / FREDRICK LONBERG-HOLM / MICHAEL ZERANG)
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October Suite
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RGG
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Respiration
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CECIL TAYLOR
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Tomorrow's journey
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DAVID BINNEY
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New Commute
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FRANK IRWIN QUINTET
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Between Dreaming And Joy
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JEFF COFFIN
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Conversation #6 & #7
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FLORIAN ARBENZ
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Trio / Octet : Fire Hills
Album
OLIE BRICE
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La Bruja
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LAUREN HENDERSON
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Pocket Guides
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BEN MORRIS
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Cloud 10
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CHIP WICKHAM
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Solo in Denmark
Live album
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Mosaic
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JULIAN & ROMAN WASSERFUHR
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Connections Home
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DAVID HAZELTINE
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Folds Of Time
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MUMEX TRIO
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Octet and Originals
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ANTONIO ADOLFO
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El Tinajon
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LUIS DENIZ
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A Queens' Firefly
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ERIK FRIEDLANDER
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Bordeaux Concert
Live album
KEITH JARRETT
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Anniversary Song
Album
PARTIKEL
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Clear Dawn
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AURORA CLARA
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Unknown Error
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ORIGINA1NERD
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My Romance
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STEPHEN RILEY
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Time Frame
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GARY VERSACE
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Americana, Vol. 2
Album
J.D. ALLEN
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Generations
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STEVE TURRE
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A Better Ghost
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JEREMY CUNNINGHAM
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Musica De Las Americas
Album
MIGUEL ZENÓN
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Trio Subliminal 2 : Cinema Infernale
Album
TRIO SUBLIMINAL (DAN ROSENBOOM - JAKE VOSSLER - TINA RAYMOND)
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Blues And Cubes
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THE JAZZ PROFESSORS
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In Tense
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Edgar
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Through the Darkness
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Through the Darkness
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Beyond
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Empire Central
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Live At The Detroit Jazz Festival
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Live : Two Continents One Groove
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Lost In Abstraction
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Persistence
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Cosmos Band : Spacing Out​.​.​.
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Pathways
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Mesmerism
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Just Justice
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Gifts
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Center Stage
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Forecast
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Blue Keys
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SHIFT Bad Hombre, Vol. II
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The Quintet
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Best Next Thing
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Could We Be More
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Reflections
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View With A Room
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La Nuit Blanche
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Frameless
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Atlantis
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The Emerald Duets
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Imágenes Latinas
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SPANISH HARLEM ORCHESTRA
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DAVE BASS
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Ghost Trance Septet plays Anthony Braxton
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XXX
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A Month of Sundays
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Under the Porch
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The Montreux Years
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Volume One
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A Muted Reality
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Miniatures du dedans
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HIRSUTE
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Dirty Mindz
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Makoto Ozone Featuring No Name Horses : The Best
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Lost In Tokyo
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SOIL AND "PIMP" SESSIONS
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Dangerous Decision
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Murmures Rumeurs
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Paths and Crossroads
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Our Folklore
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Miniatures and Fragments
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Trio Live
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Live at Le Crescent
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Search No More
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Duo & Solo Live at Galerie de Cafe Cafe 伝 Tokyo 1987・1989
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The Impressionist
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Jackpot
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Release
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Hellbound Train : An Anthology
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Reboot
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Shifting Sands
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10​.​30​.​21
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Rhythm and Blues of The 20s
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Fault Lines
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Who Do You Love The Most?
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Live At The Fabrik, Hamburg, 1986
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It's A Foreign Language
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Precarious Towers
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Persistence
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Unify
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Oak Tree
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Gravity Without Airs
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Trinity
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Henri and Rachel
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Things To Say
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My Father’s Hands
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Points Of View
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The Meeting
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Pindio II
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Jazz Is Dead 011
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Soul Sister
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Assembly
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Khimaira
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Old Monsters Trio (Deluxe Blend)
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Wish
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Avoid The Void
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Resonance
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Something Tomorrow
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No Kharms Done
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Melting Worlds
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Skylight
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Everybody Say Yeah!
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Nocturnal
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Mark Feldman, Tim Daisy : Circle Bac
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Blue
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Sultan
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The Lost Album from Ronnie Scott’s
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Tapscott + Winds
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Fat Master
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Staycation - A Family Affair
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View From Above
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Two For Mistake
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Transitions
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Venus
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The Pucciarelli Group : Uplift
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The Garden Path
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Zurich Concert
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Dream Band Live in Concert
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Polar Star
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Live In Italy
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Bluesthetic
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Smile
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Seclused in Light
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Peaceful Place
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Where Rivers Meet
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In the Spirit of Ntu
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Lighting Of The Lamps
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Soundtrack
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Honoring Pat Martino, Volume 1
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10000 VARIOUS ARTISTS
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Origin
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Loopholes
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Dream Chaser
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Rocket Love
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TURNING POINT
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Live in New York City, February 8, 1975
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Ultraman vs. Alien Metron
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McPhee Marker
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Songs We Love
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The Message
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Swing On This
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Isabela
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A Stone's Throw Away
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Ascetica
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Tord Gustavsen Trio : Opening
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Culturgest, 2007
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Another Spirit
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Black Lives - from Generation to Generation
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Alive (Live at Dièse Onze, Montreal), Set 2
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Alive - Live at Dièse Onze, Montréal
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Episodes Of Grace
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OUT TO DINNER
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Unsubscribe
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Chrysopoeia
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This One's For Joey
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Life Is Beautiful
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Con Alma
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Far Star
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Alan Broadbent Trio : Like Minds
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For The Love Of Fire And Water
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Afro Trane
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The Parable of the Poet
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The Art of Flight: For Alvin Fielder (March 2022 )
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Space
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Silky Way
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MBefore
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Amaryllis
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Cold As Weiss
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Heat
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Classics
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Wouldn’t Be Here Without You
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Hardcastle X (The Eclipse)
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The Next Step
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Again Alors?
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Montmartre ‘73
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I Am A Stranger In This World
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Field Guide
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Jangada
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Open Spaces
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The Color of Angels
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Perchance To Dream
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In a little provincial town
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The Color Of Wood
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Each Step
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Dois Quartetos Sobre o Mar
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Eternal Aporia
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Forest Floor
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High Plains
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Heteroklite Lockdown
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Disasters Vol. 1
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Truce 2
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StandArt
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The Sundering
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Run, The Darkness Will Come!
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Bells On Sand
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(D)IVO
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K.BYE
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PAKT Live In Buffalo
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Dedicated To You
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The Hideaway Sessions
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Rotate, Align
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Stringspan
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See You Soon or See You Sometime
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New Sky
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The Vienna Sessions
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Adjusting
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Reflections, Vol. 2
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Perpetual Pendulum
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The Role of the Rhythm Section
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Jazz Samba Pra Sempre
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Red List
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Nuvole
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A View with a Room
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If You Will
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Fresh Start
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Live
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Disparate Parts
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Crisálida
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Resets
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Idantitâ
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Fairy Circus
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Stay Now
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With Love And Sadness
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Diversitonic
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Jacob's Ladder
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Blue Vision
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No Answer Project : Barcelona Live
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La Cave Live, Cleveland 1966 Revisited
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You Never Know
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Another Time, Another Place
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Life In Time
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Good Spirits
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Follow The Signs
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Four Brothers
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Meet Me At The Loft
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A PRIDE OF LIONS
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Devotion
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12 Stars
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The Odysseus Suite
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Ilmiliekki Quartet
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The Wine of Astonishment
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YELENA ECKEMOFF
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Be With Me
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MATT GORDY
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Dedication
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DIETER ILG
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Louise
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ÉMILE PARISIEN
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Mars
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Riverside
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Protocol V
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Wood's Edge
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On The Move
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In Common III
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IN COMMON
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DOM MINASI
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Numinous
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JACK DESALVO
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JACK DESALVO
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SAAM (Spanish American Art Museum)
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MARTA SÁNCHEZ
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A Midnight Rendezvous
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DAVID BENOIT
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Naked Truth
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AVISHAI COHEN (TRUMPET)
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Baden
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GUI DUVIGNAU
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Don't Look Back
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BERNIE SENENSKY
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Vermillion
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Singularity
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Dreamers
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Planetário da Gávea
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Helge Lien Trio : Revisited
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Sounds of Love
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modern jazz Music Reviews

ANDY SUMMERS Earth + Sky

Album · 2003 · Fusion
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Steve Wyzard
21ST CENTURY SUMMERS

After recording two tribute albums to Monk and Mingus, guitarist Andy Summers returns to his own compositions on 2003's Earth + Sky. By this time in his career, Summers had long since eschewed the pop/commercial sounds that had made him world famous. With a long string of mostly instrumental albums behind him, Summers no longer even had a record label to release his work in the USA (I had to import my copy from Germany).

For all the comparisons Summers receives with guitarists like Robert Fripp and David Torn (both of whom he has recorded with), on Earth + Sky his sound palette is much closer to someone like Kevin Eubanks than ever before. Listen to tracks such as the light and airy "Now I'm Free" or "Return" and you will hear this album leans more toward the jazz end of the spectrum. Then there's his trademark boundary-pushing on the title track (a multi-layered guitar extravaganza), "Circus" (where his bluesy lines are doubled with a saxophone), and "Red Stiletto" with its brash chords that lead to a funky jam. When you hear the opening drum flourish on "Above the World", you can be forgiven for thinking it's Stewart Copeland sitting in. Actually it's Vinnie Colaiuta, who at various times all but steals the aural spotlight away from the other players. Summers is also backed by longtime session bassist Abraham Laboriel and two keyboardists who effectively capture the "Fender Rhodes through a Leslie cabinet" tones that add a touch of fusion timelessness.

Acoustic guitar textures are heard on "Parallels" and "Roseville", and the album closes with the ambient blues of "I Choose You". At 51:08, this album doesn't overstay its welcome, although some listeners might have wanted more of the guitar-synth weirdness found on albums such as 1990's Charming Snakes (which receives my vote as his solo masterpiece). Earth + Sky effortlessly brings Summers into the 21st Century, and his compositions and guitar tones are more relevant than ever. If you are a long-time Summers listener, there is much to enjoy here, and this album is highly recommended.

SUN RA Sun Ra & His Solar Arkestra : Secrets of the Sun

Album · 1965 · Avant-Garde Jazz
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js
It is so nice that you can go in record stores now and get classic Sun Ra records in brand new condition. “Secrets of the Sun” originally came out in 1965, but it has been recently re-issued and is available at better record stores today. The cover credits this album to Sun Ra & His Solar Arkestra, but actually this is one of those Sun Ra small group albums, which are often special and unique. If you are familiar with “Angels and Demons at Play” and “Night of the Purple Moon”, then you are familiar with some of Sonny’s small group albums, but unfortunately, “Secrets” is not quite as good as those two masterpieces, but its not bad either. Like all 60s Sun Ra albums, the recording quality is not great, the piano is out of tune, and the mixing is just bizarre, but all these things are standard trademarks of classic Sun Ra.

The first two tracks on side one feature somewhat laid back semi-free jazz played over vague rhythmic ostinatos, with performers wandering in and out of the mix. Ahrt Jnkens (possible fake name) plays the ‘space voice’, which sounds like someone vocalizing through a horn and changing the sound with a plunger. It sounds like Ellington’s horns on acid and downers. It’s a little bit annoying but seems to fit in with the vibe okay. Closing track, “Space Aura”, is the closest thing to a real jazz song on here as the combo hits an off-kilter hard bop groove while Pat Patrick, John Gilmore and Marshall Allen turn in solos.

Moving on to side two, on “Love in Outer Space”, Marshall Allen solos on the ’morrow’, which sounds a lot like a bass clarinet, while accompanied by somewhat faint and distant percussion. “Reflects Motion” is the closest track to sounding like classic 60s free jazz, with John Gilmore and crew sounding similar to what Archie Shepp was doing during this time period, but of course it was Archie who learned all this from John in the first place. This track has a bizarre opening as Gilmore and Marshall Allen play a fast and lengthy unison line that sounds like a cross between be-bop and an atonal tone-row concoction. Throughout this album Sun Ra focuses his piano solos on playing dense block chords in interesting rhythmic juxtapositions. It is somewhat similar to things Dave Brubeck would try, but Dave sounds so square and forced compared to what comes to Sonny with ease. “Secrets” is a good album for Ra fans, its just unique enough to add another facet to the Sun Ra legacy. it’s an interesting album, but not a great one.

TRITONE ASYLUM The Hideaway Sessions

Album · 2022 · Fusion
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I’m not really sure how the band Tritone Asylum got their name. The tri tone is the name of the most dissonant harmony in western music. When I first heard this band name, I expected some severe avant-garde jazz of the blaring horns variety, but instead, the Asylum performs fusion that is energetic and creative, but also quite often ‘radio friendly’. This is a Los Angeles based collective led by Phil Topping and Peter Sepsis. Peter plays the bass and Phil, who was originally a trumpet player, had to switch to EVI (Electronic Valve Instrument) because of an injury to his lip. They cite Herbie Hancock, Eddie Harris, The Brecker Brothers and Pat Metheny as influences. The performers on here are top notch, and the songs are often good too, although there are some that are better than others.

“Grasshopper”, one of the best tracks, leads things off with an ear candy melody voiced with double tracked trumpets that recall Herb Alpert, and that is a complement. There are two ballads on the album, the best of which is “The Road to Hue”, on which flute and electronic instruments blend for a nice pastoral effect. “Malawi” features Baba Sissoko, from Mali, on vocals and percussion. The song’s syncopated rhythm brings out the best in the soloists, particularly pianist Mitch Forman who builds an almost orchestral solo on top of the rhythmic foundation. The best cut for jamming is the live, “Simple”, featuring Ian Vo’s swinging tenor sax and the searing electric guitar of Andy Waddell. These are all good points, on the down side there are a couple tracks that just don’t seem to elevate as well. The EVI, (not to be confused with EVO), may be an acquired taste for some. At best, it sounds like a keyboard synthesizer, at worst it seems to have a wobbly intonation and a very wide track vibrato at times. Overall though, this is a solid fusion album that features some very top notch soloists

JOHNNY GRIFFIN The Little Giant

Album · 1959 · Hard Bop
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Johnny Griffin is a power house tenor player that deserves more recognition, but really, almost any great sax player who is not Coltrane or Charlie Parker could use a little more props. Johnny’s album, “The Little Giant”, came out in 1959, right in the middle of that mid 50s to mid 60s period in jazz when all the recordings sounded great and so many musicians were at a creative peak. Joining Griffin on here is an all-star cast, including a very young trombonist, Julian Priester. Julian will go on to perform avant-garde jazz with Sun Ra, Herbie Hancock’s electronic sextet and also some very out there combos of his own, so its interesting to hear him playing swinging solos in a hard bop context. The three man horn line is completed with Blue Mitchell on trumpet, giving the group an almost big band sound at times.

The three songs written by Norman Simmons make the most of this horn ensemble with complicated arrangements that often imitate big bands in their call and response between horn sections, and between soloist and ensemble. His, “Olive Refractions”, opens the album with high speed bop and the best arrangement on the album. Other tracks include Babs Gonzazlez’s, “Lonely One”, an exotic number that has Griffin playing a melody over tympani like tom toms before moving into a high speed free modal jam. “Playmates”, by Saxie Dowell is an odd choice with its bright major key contrasting with all the minor blues on this album. The song sounds like a cross between early New Orleans jazz and a TV beer commercial, but its sunny flavor does make for an interesting contrast. Griffin penned “63rd Street Theme”, a noire blues that would work great as a ‘crime jazz’ soundtrack.

JIM WITZEL Feelin' It

Album · 2022 · Hard Bop
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Jim Witzel is a veteran jazz guitarist who has worked with artists such as John Patitucci, Ernie Watts, John Abercrombie and many others in LA, San Francisco and elsewhere, but “Feelin It” is only his second album as a leader, and it comes a full twenty years after his first album. Witzel’s style is blues based hard bop, but he plays with a soft tone similar to Jim Hall or Pat Metheny. He counts those two, as well as Kenny Burrell, Joe Pass, Wes Montgomery, George Benson, Pat Martino and John Abercrombie as influences. Jim is joined on here by some old friends and jam session cohorts, Jason Lewis on drums and Brian Ho on B-3, making them a classic soul jazz organ trio. On three tracks they are joined by tenor saxophonist Dann Zinn. Dann is probably the most fiery soloist here as he veers from blues based licks to fast flying sheets of sound that recall Coltrane or Johnny Griffin. Brian has an interesting style on the B-3 in that he avoids a lot of the standard B-3 soul jazz figures and instead plays with a more flowing melodic style that can build in intensity.

The two opening tracks and “Beyond Bejing” are fast moving swingin hard bop, while the two closing tracks take on a more medium groove 60s Blue Note feel. In between we have a relaxed, almost spacey take on “Norwegian Wood” and a ballad rendition of “I Loves You, Porgy” that has Jim double tracking his guitars. “If Ever I Would Leave You” starts with a Latin feel, but then goes into an aggressive swing feel for one of Brian’s best B-3 buildups. Three of the tracks are Witzel originals.

modern jazz movie reviews

WEATHER REPORT Live in Germany 1971

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

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

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

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

MEDESKI MARTIN AND WOOD Fly In A Bottle

Movie · 2011 · Eclectic Fusion
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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 · Fusion
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Slartibartfast
This was the Dixie Dregs lineup that I first come to know live and otherwise. The Montreaux Jazz Festival performance was used for side two of the LP Night of the Living Dregs. I had no idea the concert was filmed. This represents the band at their prime. Keyboardist Mark Parrish, would soon be replaced by T Lavitz, who is a better keyboard player, but this as this performance testifies, he was no slouch either. Oddly enough, the back cover of this DVD shows a band picture with the original keyboardist from Freefall, Steve Davidowski (guess there was only room for one Steve in this band). Steve Morse was at his most inspired around this time, even though he has certainly grown in skill over the years.

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

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

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

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

Movie · 2011 · Fusion
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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 · 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)