Modern Jazz

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

MILES DAVIS Kind of Blue Album Cover Kind of Blue
MILES DAVIS
4.89 | 106 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
4.86 | 57 ratings
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JOHN COLTRANE A Love Supreme Album Cover A Love Supreme
JOHN COLTRANE
4.85 | 77 ratings
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MCCOY TYNER Sahara Album Cover Sahara
MCCOY TYNER
4.96 | 14 ratings
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JOHN COLTRANE Giant Steps Album Cover Giant Steps
JOHN COLTRANE
4.79 | 52 ratings
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MILES DAVIS Miles Davis Quintet : Miles Smiles Album Cover Miles Davis Quintet : Miles Smiles
MILES DAVIS
4.80 | 34 ratings
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MILES DAVIS 'Round About Midnight (aka Miles Davis) Album Cover 'Round About Midnight (aka Miles Davis)
MILES DAVIS
4.79 | 31 ratings
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JOHN COLTRANE Live at Birdland Album Cover Live at Birdland
JOHN COLTRANE
4.88 | 11 ratings
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ERIC DOLPHY 'Out to Lunch!' Album Cover 'Out to Lunch!'
ERIC DOLPHY
4.75 | 45 ratings
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BILL EVANS (PIANO) Sunday at the Village Vanguard (aka Live At The Village Vanguard) Album Cover Sunday at the Village Vanguard (aka Live At The Village Vanguard)
BILL EVANS (PIANO)
4.86 | 12 ratings
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LEE MORGAN Search for the New Land Album Cover Search for the New Land
LEE MORGAN
4.84 | 13 ratings
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YUSEF LATEEF Eastern Sounds Album Cover Eastern Sounds
YUSEF LATEEF
4.86 | 11 ratings
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The Elephant Clock of Al Jazari
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PAT THOMAS
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Nicole Mitchell & Mark Sanders : 14.5.16
Live album
NICOLE MITCHELL
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Unit[E]
Album
ALEXANDER HAWKINS
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One World One Sun
Album
HIROE SEKINE
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Live At The Cota Jazz Festival
Live album
HAL GALPER
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Bleu
Album
HERMON MEHARI
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Tráfico
Album
JUAN TORRES FERNÁNDEZ
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Art In The Age Of Automation
Album
PORTICO QUARTET
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Yesterdays - live in Copenhagen 1997
Live album
ENRICO PIERANUNZI
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World Without Words
Album
TRICOOLORE
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Entry Point
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DAVID JANEWAY
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Still
Single
HIDDEN ORCHESTRA
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Dawn Churu
Album
HIDDEN ORCHESTRA
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Spirits
Album
ZEM AUDU
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Originals For The Originals
Album
MICHAEL ZILBER
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Instinct
Album
MALIJA
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Dice
Album
ADAM ROGERS
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Stockholm Underground
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MAGNUS LINDGREN
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Spiritual Jazz 7 : Islam
Boxset / Compilation
10000 VARIOUS ARTISTS
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Bicoastal Collective: Chapter Five
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PAUL TYNAN AND AARON LINGTON
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The Motorman's Son
Album
JOEL LARUE SMITH
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Swinging On A Star
Album
TARDO HAMMER
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Recurring Dream
Album
MIKE MCGINNIS
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Urban Voyage
Album
POL BELARDI’S FORCE (4S)
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Rock Music
Album
BASTET
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Start The Reactor
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NOAH YOUNG
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Time For The Dancers
Album
RUSSELL MALONE
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There's A Sweet, Sweet Spirit
Album
CYRUS CHESTNUT
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Layers of the City
Album
BEN ALLISON
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Open Book
Album
FRED HERSCH
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Midsummer Moons
Album
JOHN ZORN
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Quantum Man
Album
BOBBY SELVAGGIO
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Wake Up
Album
JENNIFER SARAN
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The Steinway Sessions
Album
DAVID BENOIT
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Sing House
Album
JASON KAO HWANG
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Sonic Stew
Album
PATRICK BUTLER
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Tourment
Album
PROJET QUATUOR
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500 Pound Cat
Album
LIVING DAYLIGHTS
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Celebrate
Boxset / Compilation
PRISM
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Flesh & Bone
Album
MIKE REED
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Natural History
Album
WESSELL ANDERSON
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Live at Fieldgate Studios
Live album
DAVID DOWER
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Keri
Album
PHLOX
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Signs LIVE!
Live album
PETER BERNSTEIN
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Avants​-​Derniers Blues
Album
FRANÇOIS TUSQUES
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Somewhere In Between
Album
BRAXTON COOK
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20 Years Recordings
Boxset / Compilation
MICHEL BISCEGLIA
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No Illusions
Album
STANLEY COWELL
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Kind Of Spain
Album
WOLFGANG HAFFNER
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More Powerful
Album
GEORGE COLLIGAN
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Humanizm
Album
JAZZPOSPOLITA
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Brothers
Album
ADAM BALDYCH
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Sum of Parts
Album
DEAN WATSON
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The Classic Albums Collection : 1957-1962
Boxset / Compilation
BENNY GOLSON
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Newen Plays Fela
EP
NEWEN AFROBEAT
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Nice Jazz 1978
Live album
EDDIE "LOCKJAW" DAVIS
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Compendium (Solos, Duos, Trios)
Live album
BURTON GREENE
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Luyando
Album
MOKOOMBA
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Blues for Joe
Album
PETER AND WILL ANDERSON
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Lacy Pool 2
Album
UWE OBERG
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80 Jahre - Das Jubiläumskonzert
Live album
WOLFGANG DAUNER
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Shades of Colors
Album
CENE RESNIK
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Gravity
Album
KOZMODRUM
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Hello Mr Schimmel
EP
SUN RA
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In the Shadow of a Cloud
Album
YELENA ECKEMOFF
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Beckon
Album
ADAM KOLKER
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Sinatra And Jobim @ 50
Album
JOHN PIZZARELLI
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Original Album Collection Vol. 2
Boxset / Compilation
BOŠKO PETROVIĆ
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Original Album Collection Vol. 1
Boxset / Compilation
BOŠKO PETROVIĆ
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Flow
Album
THOMAS SIFFLING
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BBC Jazz 625+5 - 1965
Live album
WES MONTGOMERY
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Marching Song
Boxset / Compilation
MIKE WESTBROOK
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Satori
Live album
JOSEPHINE DAVIES
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Tether
Album
HAYDEN PROSSER
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Bird's Up
Album
CARLOS VEGA
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Odalisque
Album
SPIKE WILNER
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Live 1972
Boxset / Compilation
MIKE WESTBROOK
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Sephirot. Kabbalah in Music
Album
GABRIELE COEN
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LateNightTales
Boxset / Compilation
BADBADNOTGOOD
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Seven
Album
SCOTT COLLEY
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Passin’ Thru
Live album
CHARLES LLOYD
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Live at Streamside
Live album
MICHAEL JEFRY STEVENS
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Leap Of Faith
Album
JONNE TAAVITSAINEN
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The Being Inn
Album
SILKE EBERHARD
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Cub(an)ism
Album
ARUÁN ORTIZ
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Riff City (get me outta)
Single
FAT SPARROW
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Neko
Album
GATO LIBRE
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Destinations
Album
SCENES
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Blind Man Running
Album
ASYLON TERRA
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Indo Latin Jazz Live In Concert
Live album
MARIAH PARKER
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Liver
Live album
SLIVOVITZ
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Twin Peaks tribute (live)
Live album
MARIMBA PLUS
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Density of Standard
Album
BÉLA SZAKCSI LAKATOS
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Roll On
Album
GRANT STEWART
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Degradient : Dear Everyone
Album
KYLE BRUCKMANN
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Six Situations
Live album
JOE MCPHEE
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Live at Trumpets
Live album
TED BROWN
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Blow, Strike and Touch
Live album
MARCO VON ORELLI
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International Breakthrough
Live album
HONEST JOHN
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Identity
Album
NAUGHTY PROFESSOR
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Birdland 1960
Boxset / Compilation
BILL EVANS (PIANO)
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Zenith (Solo Piano)
Album
MICHAEL WOLFF
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Fountain of Youth
Album
WALT WEISKOPF
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Vertical
Album
MARIO PAVONE
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Straight Ahead From Havana
Album
IGNACIO BERROA
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Notes Over Poetry
Album
PHILIPPE BADEN POWELL
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European Jazz Sounds
Live album
MICHAEL NAURA
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Four Classic Albums
Boxset / Compilation
FREDDIE HUBBARD
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Four Classic Albums
Boxset / Compilation
SAM MOST
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Four Classic Albums
Boxset / Compilation
HANK MOBLEY
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Bombas En El Aire
Album
MEDIABANDA
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Live in New York, 2010
Live album
DAVID S. WARE
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Ed Calle plays Jobim
Album
ED CALLE
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Mikko Innanen 10+
EP
MIKKO INNANEN
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Jukka Eskola Soul Trio II
EP
JUKKA ESKOLA
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Branches
Album
BLACK MOTOR
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Jukka Perko Tritone : Dizzy
Album
JUKKA PERKO
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Duets
Album
MARIALY PACHECO
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Still Now (If You Still)
Album
SZILÁRD MEZEI
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Silence Is Gold
Album
PÁS DE PROBLÈME
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Stablimento
Album
ROBERTO OCCHIPINTI
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Every End Is A Beginning
Album
SCOTT ROUTENBERG
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Quinsin Nachoff's Ethereal Trio
Album
QUINSIN NACHOFF
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The Tiptons : Coockbook
Album
THE BILLY TIPTON MEMORIAL SAXOPHONE QUARTET / THE TIPTONS SAX QUARTET / THE TIPTONS
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An Eye on the Future
Album
KEITH KARNS
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Numery
Album
JANUSZ ZDUNEK
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EE-YA-GI
Album
HYESEON HONG JAZZ ORCHESTRA
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Year In Review
Album
DAMIAN COCCIO
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Cycles
Album
BENOÎT LUGUÉ
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S-clave
Album
Ô-LIOSTÉRE
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El Experimento Caribeño
Album
SR. LANGOSTA
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Slowfox : Gentle Giants
Album
HAYDEN CHISHOLM
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Soul Trio
Album
JUKKA ESKOLA
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Running Backwards
Album
ANDY EMLER
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La Saboteuse
Album
YAZZ AHMED
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Renegades
Album
THUNKFISH
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High Voltage
Album
RAY MANTILLA
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Am
Album
MICHAEL BISIO
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Marseille
Album
AHMAD JAMAL
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Magnetism(s)
Album
MATTHEW SHIPP
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Oblivion
Album
GERALD BECKETT
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Wild Red Yellow
Album
LARRY OCHS
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Live At Nectar's
Live album
MELVIN SPARKS
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Inside the Moment
Album
CAMILLE THURMAN
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The Project
Album
DOMINIC DUVAL
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Journey to the Mountain of Forever
Album
BINKER & MOSES
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Eleven Cages
Album
DAN TEPFER
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Quintet
Album
ERIK JEKABSON
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Complete 1957-1959 Sessions
Boxset / Compilation
JIMMY SMITH
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Definitive Collection
Boxset / Compilation
STANLEY CLARKE
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Storytellers
Album
BERNAT FONT
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Polish Radio Jazz Archives Vol. 28
Live album
ZBIGNIEW NAMYSŁOWSKI
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Sleight Of Hand
Album
NEW YORK STANDARDS QUARTET
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Death to the Planet
EP
THE COMET IS COMING
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Lantern
Album
OREGON
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Ma De Re Sha
Album
RAHUL MUKERJI
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Matthew Shipp Quartet : Not Bound
Album
MATTHEW SHIPP
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A Rift In Decorum: Live At The Village Vanguard
Live album
AMBROSE AKINMUSIRE
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Luma
Album
ALEX WEITZ
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Gentle Giants
Album
TAL COHEN
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Rising Tide
Album
FRANK KOHL
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Pablo Ziegler Trio : Jazz Tango
Live album
PABLO ZIEGLER
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The New Richie Beirach Trio : Gaia
Album
RICHIE BEIRACH
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Cultural Capital
Live album
SEX MOB
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Waller
Album
MARK LEWANDOWSKI
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VSOP II - Tokyo 1983
Live album
HERBIE HANCOCK
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Europa Oslo
Album
ORCHESTRE NATIONAL DE JAZZ
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Tilt
Album
THE GREAT HARRY HILLMAN
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Bells For The South Side
Live album
ROSCOE MITCHELL
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Meditation / Resurrection
Album
WILLIAM PARKER
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Trane: The Atlantic Collection
Boxset / Compilation
JOHN COLTRANE
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Think Ahead
Album
STEVE DAVIS
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Extra Time
Album
JEAN-PAUL BRODBECK
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Relaxin' + Cookin'
Boxset / Compilation
MILES DAVIS
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Serenade For Horace
Album
LOUIS HAYES
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Bertiga : Faces
Album
TOHPATI
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Ternion Quartet
Album
ANNE METTE IVERSEN
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Left Right Left
Album
TINA RAYMOND
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The Reasons Don't Change
Album
HENRY SPENCER
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One Minute Later
Album
DIEGO BARBER
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Even In The Darkest Places
Album
COLIN STEELE
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Barry Guy On Intakt Records
Live album
BARRY GUY
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Finders Keepers
Live album
EDDIE (EDDY) MYER
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Generations
Album
BRIAN LANDRUS
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Jukka Eskola Soul Trio
EP
JUKKA ESKOLA
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Introducing The Soul Trio
EP
JUKKA ESKOLA
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Live Alive (absolutely) - expanded Version
Boxset / Compilation
PRISM
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Live from Jazz at the Bistro
Live album
SEAN JONES
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Music from Our Soul
Album
CHARNETT MOFFETT
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Venice
Album
DISTANCES
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Definitive Rare Albums Collection 1960-1966
Boxset / Compilation
BILL EVANS (PIANO)
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Rags And Roots
Album
CHRIS WASHBURNE
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Tonesmith
Album
NIKOLAJ BENTZON
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The Complete "Jazz Guitar"
Boxset / Compilation
JIM HALL
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Oneness
Live album
FRANÇOIS CARRIER
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Selected Works Part 2 - 1976 to 1980
Boxset / Compilation
RYO KAWASAKI
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Lyric Fury
Album
CYNTHIA HILTS
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Afterthought
Album
AUDREY OCHOA
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Rhythms of My Soul
Album
PAT CLOSE
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Rakka / Black Motor
Split
BLACK MOTOR
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Duo New York (feat. Harvie S)
Album
JOHN FERRARA
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Color Wheel
Album
SÉBASTIEN AMMANN
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Tensegridad
Album
PAULA SHOCRÓN
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Boundary Issues
Album
CHRIS GREENE
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Nothing Has An End...
Album
DIES GOA UNIT
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Sabiduria/Wisdom
Album
EDDIE PALMIERI
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Moments Captured
Album
ALEX SIPIAGIN
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Kayemode
Album
DAVID KIKOSKY
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Casa de Bituca
Album
HAMILTON DE HOLANDA
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East 74th Street
Boxset / Compilation
FEDERICO BONIFAZI
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Cherryco
Album
KIRK KNUFFKE
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Hudson
Album
JACK DEJOHNETTE
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The Jazz Years
Album
DARYL RUNSWICK
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Kingdom
Album
ALEXI TUOMARILA
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Live at A-trane - Berlin
Album
JIMMY HALPERIN
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Teeraptych
Album
BERT SEAGER
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The Tenth Muse
Album
MATT HOLMAN
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Amour
Album
T K BLUE (TALIB KIBWE)
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Where are you?
Album
D.O.V.E. DRUMS ORGAN VIBES ENSEMBLE
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Better By Far
Album
MARC COPLAND
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Radio Flyer
Album
J.D. ALLEN
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Ikonastasis
Album
KARI IKONEN
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Pathways
Album
YOKO MIWA
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Monk Studies
Album
CHIHIRO YAMANAKA
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The Twilight Fall
Album
CHELSEA MCBRIDE'S SOCIALIST NIGHT SCHOOL
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Presence
Album
JOHN YAO
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Tropical Rain
Album
MEDDY GERVILLE
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Joy-Riding
Album
ANDY FUSCO
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UrbAfrika
Album
MINA AGOSSI
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Creation / Evolution
Album
POL BELARDI’S FORCE (4S)
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Falling Forward
Album
ULYSSES OWENS JR
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New Helsinki
Album
OLLI HIRVONEN
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Fragile
Album
FOX CAPTURE PLAN
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Thunder Of The Gods
Album
SUN RA
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Instead
Album
BEN ROSENBLUM
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On the Move
Album
FREDRICK KRONKVIST
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The Seasons
Album
MANUEL VALERA
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Rules of Oppression
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Walk Against Wind
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Made in America
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Points Of View
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Bright Eyes
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Like, Strange
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Identité
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Hope of Home
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Uncharted Waters
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Dead Pan Party
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How Little We Know
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Seasoning : Live At Theater Gutersloh
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Wandering
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Araminta
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By Request
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Unshot Movies
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Hey Lester!
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Live In Olympia,Washington 1976
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Find The Way
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Asian Fields Variations
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At Onkel PÖ´s Carnegie Hall Hamburg 1978
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Ding Dong
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Nature City
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LABTRIO
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Cross My Palm With Silver
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Deep As the Night
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Elements
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Chants And Corners
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Reflections
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Dedicated
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2
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True North
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Love Songs
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Gratitude
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Love Has Come Around: Elektra Records Anthology
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Floating City
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The Further Side
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Villes invisibles
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Spinning Jenny
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Velvet
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La Vie Devant Soi
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Ugly Beautiful
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The Ecstatic Music of Turiya Alice Coltrane
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Rumbler
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Gravity Zero
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Delta
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PARTIKEL
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On The Spot
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Best Mambos
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Rebirth
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From the Depths of the Earth
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Brothers Under The Sun
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Grace
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Visiting Texture
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Secret Stash
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Level 8
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The MUH Trio : Prague After Dark
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Preverbal
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My Iris
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Trippeiros
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Speechless
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Chasing The Unicorn
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December Avenue
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Complete Albums Collection: 1958-1962
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Into the Blue
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Soul Searchin' (Live in Seoul)
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Weather Or Not
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Nome
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Bass Ball
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Still Life With Trouble
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la diversité
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Shelter
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Now Hear This!
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Chicago / London Underground : A Night Walking Through Mirrors
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Classic Albums 1956-1963
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Man Who Changed Guitar Forever
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Eidolon
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Six Classic Albums
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Quintessence: New York City - Stockholm 1956-1962
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The Drawing Center
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Fellowship
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Over The Rainbow
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Hidden Beauty
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New York November 1979
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Sleepwalkers
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Sans Mots
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Freedom Is Space For The Spirit
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Escape from the Unhappy Society
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East West Time Line
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The Roc
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Four Ways
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Prototype
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Chroma
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Morocco Fantasia
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Live At Firehouse 12
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Masters Legacy Series 1
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An Ancient Observer
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Known-Unknown
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Time Being
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Get Up and Go
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Anti-Hero
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The Search
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Rebirth
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Four in One
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HEADS OF STATE
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The Pacific Jazz Collection
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The Time Verses
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Dusty Shelters
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Transitions
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The Behemoth
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Paris
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Planetary Prince
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Project Freedom
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I remember Art
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Recent Developments
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The Space Age Is Here To Stay
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3 Minutes To Midnight
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Sooner And Later
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Slag
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Umbrella Weather
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Mr. EP - A Tribute to Eddie Palmieri
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Meditations On Freedom
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The Invariant
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The Music of Frank Strozier
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Stephen Riley & Peter Zak : Deuce
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Almost There
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In Praise Of Shadows
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The Complete Albums Collection 1955-1958
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Heart and Soul
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Fractured Pop
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Hear & Now
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Mt. Crushmore
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Juxtaposition
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Central Line
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Típico
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Make Noise!
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Pentagon Tapes
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Kindred Spirits
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Matthew Shipp Trio : Piano Song
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Tales & Tones
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Royalty At Le Duc
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Color Tones
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Infinite Distances
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Live In Germany
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Hush Point III
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All These Hands
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Akua's Dance
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Landed in Brooklyn
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Blooming Tall Phlox
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Danse
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Daylight Ghosts
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Elegy
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Godspeed
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My Foolish Heart
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Live at Club Helsinki
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Malamute
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modern jazz Music Reviews

JON IRABAGON Foxy

Album · 2010 · Avant-Garde Jazz
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snobb
Sax player Jon Irabagon is better known as co-founder and co-leader of funny no-nonsense avant-garde jazz parody-circus Mostly Other People Do The Killing (MOPDTK). Irabagon as his own projects leader is usually more serious, more innovative, more experimental and in moments not less humorous.

"Foxy" is a great example. Just looking on the album's cover one can easily recall Sonny Rollins' "Way Out West" from 1957. Irabagon runs on "Foxy" same tenor-double bass-drums trio as Rollins did more than half of a century ago, just Jon's drummer is Barry Altschull (not Rollins' Shelly Manne) and the bassist is Peter Brendler (instead of Rollins' Ray Brown). Than, album's title "Foxy" can issue some association with Rollins' tune "Doxy", but similarities finish here.

Irabagon's "Foxy" is one 78-minutes long improvised jam (separated to twelve "songs"),rooted in blues, bop standards, Ornette Coleman's groovy harmolodics and presented with style and grace. There are no common theme in album's music but Irabagon skilfully adds tuneful snippets here and there all album long. As a result the listener gets album which doesn't sound too monotonous, boringly repetitive or too "out". There are lot of swing, bluesy structures and melodic groove which make this fully improvised album sound almost danceable and really accessible.

Great example of serious modern jazz which doesn't sound too serious, good entry for fans of MOPDTK interested in similar but slightly more experimental music.

HYESEON HONG JAZZ ORCHESTRA EE-YA-GI

Album · 2017 · Progressive Big Band
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On first listen you will find it hard to believe that “EE-YA-GI” is only the first album released by big band leader Hyeson Hong. Such a well developed approach to arranging is rare with a debut recording, but truth be told, Hyeson is hardly a newbie as she has been leading ensembles in both Korea and New York City for some time now. Its only appropriate that she has finally been given a chance to share her sophisticated writing and arranging with the rest of the world. There are seven tracks on “EE-YA-GI”, and each one stands as their own separate colorful world of sounds and melodies. Hong’s approach is rooted in the modern big band sounds of Thad Jones and Mel Lewis, plus some exotic colors reminiscent of Don Ellis, some modern 3rd stream influence ala Marie Schneider, and even some sophisticated pop sass in a vein similar to Quincy Jones. To all this Hong often adds melodies taken from her native Korea, the end result is an infinitely interesting orchestral extravaganza that is all her own. The talented 18 piece orchestra of New Yorkers that Hong leads on her debut album is accented by Marie Schneider alumna such as Rich Perry on tenor sax and Ingrid Jensen on trumpet. The wordless vocals of EJ Park adds much exotic color to many of the melodies, and Korean vocalist, Subin Park, leads “Boat Song” with a traditional ‘Chang’ song.

The aforementioned “Boat Song” probably carries the most Korean flavor, while album opener, “Harvest Dance”, also displays much melodic content from Hong’s homeland. “Disappearing into Foam” and “Love Song” are melodic and romantic, while “Trash Digging Queen” (an ode to Hyeseon’s misbehaving pet dog), has a hectic and almost comical arrangement that features constantly shifting rhythms. Possibly an album highlight though is “Para Mi Arrigo Distante”, which features a rib-sticking melody that recalls some of Quincy Jones best work in the 60s. Modern big band enthusiasts take note, “EE-YA-GI” is complex and challenging, but also fun and buoyant too. Such an excellent balance, lets hope there will be many more albums from Hyeseon Hong in the near future.

GERALD CLAYTON Tributary Tales

Album · 2017 · 21st Century Modern
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snobb
I never heard about Holland-born American pianist Gerald Clayton till one autumn night in 2010 when I saw him playing on his first European tour soon after the release of his debut album as leader. Leading muscular all-acoustic groovy trio,Clayton sounded as another "cat" playing quite mainstream jazz with rare freshness and without even a touch of sentimentality or nostalgia (both often destroy great artists music turning it to archival self-parody).

Only after I listened to his both debut and soon released second album, but saying true has been a bit disappointed. Somehow recorded music obviously missed that freshness and modernity which I found such attractive on Clayton live gig.

Now, after some years to come,I gave Clayton another chance and was really pleasantly surprised. Same acoustic trio has been improved with strong 3-piece reeds section (incl. Logan Richardson and Dayna Stephens on saxes and Ben Wendel on bassoon), two percussionists, two poets/spoken word artists and singer Sachal Vasandani. What is even more important - rooted in same neo post-bop,music here is tightly composed by Clayton himself, and he demonstrates non-nonsense composition abilities.

Leading quite a big combo, Clayton never overuse arrangements and as a result tuneful and complex music sounds tasteful if not minimalist. Spoken word pieces are as always an acquired taste, but at least here them don't destroy impression from album's music in whole. Band sounds best on instrumental compositions where post bop rhythmic structures organically interweave with modern composition without becoming too lifeless or frozen-formal as on some third steam recordings. Japanese edition contains Count Basie's "Blues For Stephanie" as bonus.

Serious step ahead and one great modern jazz album containing music attractive for listeners of different tastes.

TONY WILLIAMS The New Tony Williams Lifetime ‎: Believe It

Album · 1975 · Classic Fusion
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Steve Wyzard
ONE OF THE GREATS!

When the great fusion albums (such as In a Silent Way and Enigmatic Ocean) are being discussed, Tony Williams' Believe It outright demands to be mentioned with them. This might come as a surprise to some, as there are some caveats that should be addressed:

1) Its length. The original LP ran a little over 33 minutes. Later CD re-issues have added extra tracks that don't really add to the album's greatness. Don't think of Believe It as "short", think of it as "succinct" and "visceral".

2) Electric bassist Tony Newton. With a soul/r'n'b background, he's not the first person you'd think of when you imagine who should play bass on a "fusion masterpiece". He acquits himself quite admirably with this line-up, and adds effects to his two compositions that, while hip for 1975, do not ruin the album.

3) Too rock/too jazz. On Believe It, guitarist Allan Holdsworth and keyboardist Alan Pasqua give two of their best performances EVER in their long and checkered careers. If you're a fan of these two, you will LOVE this album. Holdsworth's snarly, distorted tones, however, have alienated many, leading to the "too rock for jazz, too jazz for rock" dismissal he is all-too-often tagged with.

4) The follow-up. This line-up recorded just one other album, Million Dollar Legs. With a hideous cover, vocals, strings, and horns, it is in EVERY way inferior to Believe It and led Holdsworth to bolt for Bill Bruford's new group.

If you can overlook the above and have acquired the taste for classic fusion, Believe It will become a (ahem) LIFETIME listening experience. While very much of its age, this fiery recording session has transcended its contemporaries and will never grow old. There are no weak moments, and the songs and amazing solos are all out of this world. And needless to say, Tony drums up a storm. While he put out many albums and sat in on many sessions, you'd be hard-pressed to find a more dynamic Williams performance recorded after this one. And let it be said here that "Fred" is one of Holdsworth's greatest moments ever!

MARQUIS HILL Marquis Hill, Jeff Parker, Joachim Floren, Denis Fournier : Escape Lane

Album · 2017 · Avant-Garde Jazz
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There was a time when the idea of a relaxed or even ‘mellow’ approach to free jazz improvisation would have been quite the oxymoron in a genre usually given to intense emotional outbursts, but those days have long passed. It was the Art Ensemble of Chicago and other AACM artists who introduced the idea of free improv as a collection of minute events that could easily move from quiet to very intense, depending on the intent of the performer. Since then, the innovations of this Chicago Ensemble have taken root and today’s free jazz improviser is freer than ever, and welcome to explore his craft in any mood desired, including this mostly very mellow set by the new ensemble, Escape Lane, on their equally new release of the same name. This may be somewhat relaxed sounding music, but the concentration of these performers, and their imaginative approach to their instruments is just as intense as a room full of screaming tenor saxophonists of times past, or present.

There is an interesting mix of approaches here amongst the four musicians involved. Trumpeter Marquis Hill remains mostly melodic throughout, recalling similar approaches by fellow trumpeters such as Booker Little and Don Cherry, who also kept a melodic approach while often being surrounded by a maelstrom of activity. Drummer Dennis Fournier often recalls Paul Motian’s ability to sound vaguely busy, yet relaxed, while on cuts like “Lever de Soliel…” he introduces a Billy Higgins style African influenced groove, only to let it go halfway through the proceedings. Guitarist Jeff Parker can recall Jim Hall, but also is the one most apt to go for pure sounds and noises, which he finds without any effects or devices by using the physical quality of his strings and the volume knobs on his guitar. Bassist Joachim Florent, like many a jazz bassist, is a bit in the background and could have used a little more boost in the mix, but he still gets a few moments to step forward.

Most of the music played on here is truly ‘free’ in that the band rarely gets on a shared groove except for the aforementioned opening to “Lever de Soliel …”, as well as the closing of that same lengthy (20 minutes plus) track when Fournier goes into a bit of a post bop ride. “Rough Grooved Surface” is a break from their usual relaxed approach as the band builds to a climax driven by Fournier’s free bop drive and capped by Jeff Parker’s frantic guitar solo that recalls AACM’s Michael Gregory Jackson. After this, the album closes with “Une Petit”, which ends things with Hill soloing melodically over Parker’s sparse string noises.

“Escape Lane” is a highly creative and focused album and one of the best jazz albums of 2017, avant-garde or otherwise. Its also one of the better free jazz records in the entire 55 plus years of the genre. Listening to the unobtrusive approach of these musicians might have you wondering, is this the sound of lounge music in the new century, now that would be something.

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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“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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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)