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JOHN COLTRANE A Love Supreme Album Cover A Love Supreme
JOHN COLTRANE
4.83 | 90 ratings
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MILES DAVIS Kind of Blue Album Cover Kind of Blue
MILES DAVIS
4.81 | 121 ratings
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BILL EVANS (PIANO) Waltz for Debby Album Cover Waltz for Debby
BILL EVANS (PIANO)
4.93 | 13 ratings
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CHARLES MINGUS The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady Album Cover The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady
CHARLES MINGUS
4.78 | 67 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 | 15 ratings
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JOHN COLTRANE Blue Train Album Cover Blue Train
JOHN COLTRANE
4.74 | 56 ratings
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JOHN COLTRANE My Favorite Things Album Cover My Favorite Things
JOHN COLTRANE
4.73 | 48 ratings
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WES MONTGOMERY The Incredible Jazz Guitar of Wes Montgomery Album Cover The Incredible Jazz Guitar of Wes Montgomery
WES MONTGOMERY
4.88 | 10 ratings
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KEITH JARRETT The Köln Concert Album Cover The Köln Concert
KEITH JARRETT
4.73 | 32 ratings
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ESBJÖRN SVENSSON TRIO (E.S.T.) Live in Hamburg Album Cover Live in Hamburg
ESBJÖRN SVENSSON TRIO (E.S.T.)
4.94 | 7 ratings
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MILES DAVIS 'Round About Midnight (aka Miles Davis) Album Cover 'Round About Midnight (aka Miles Davis)
MILES DAVIS
4.72 | 38 ratings
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HERBIE HANCOCK Empyrean Isles Album Cover Empyrean Isles
HERBIE HANCOCK
4.75 | 24 ratings
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TAYLOR EIGSTI
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Rooibos
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THE ROOIBOS QUARTET
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TIM MAYER
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Dance
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Infinite Square Well
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Terrain
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PORTICO QUARTET
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Freedom
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SLOWFOX
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Nascentia
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STEVE SLAGLE
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Solitude : Solo Improvisations
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RICH PELLEGRIN
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Westward Bound!
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HAROLD LAND
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Solo
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RICARDO SILVEIRA
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KAORU HASHIMOTO
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Stefan Pasborg & Alex Riel : Universe Live
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STEFAN PASBORG
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Opera
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AI KUWABARA
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Only Love Will Stay
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RALE MICIC
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III
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ALDER EGO
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Weird Box : Radio Paris
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FRANCESCO BEARZATTI
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Impulses
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ROINE SANGENBERG
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SPEED MUSIC ソクド ノ オンガク Vol.4
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H ZETTRIO エイチ・ゼットリオ
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SPEED MUSIC ソクド ノ オンガク Vol.3
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H ZETTRIO エイチ・ゼットリオ
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Second Lives
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GRAHAM COSTELLO'S STRATA
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Nothin' But Net : Live 1998​-​2000
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HAPPY APPLE
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The Standards, Vol. 1
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CHRISTOPHER BURNETT
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Power from the Air
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BRIAN CHARETTE
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In Moers
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MOVE
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Elegy for an Undiscovered Species
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JOHANNES WALLMANN
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Starry Night
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HASHIMA
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Raphael Imbert Quartet : Oraison
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RAPHAËL IMBERT
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Outrospection : Music Of Gregg Hill
Album
RODNEY WHITAKER
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Irène Schweizer / Hamid Drake : Celebration
Live album
IRÈNE SCHWEIZER
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La Patum
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ANDREA MOTIS
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Raise Up Off Me
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RALPH PETERSON
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Nephlokokkgla 1992
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HANS KOCH
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Dual
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SMADJ
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Fram
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TRIO ELF
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Black To The Future
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SONS OF KEMET
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Leaning To The Left
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JERRY KALAF
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Al Gir Dal Bughi
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DINO PIANA
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Message
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TOM TALLITSCH
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Quarks
Album
TIMOTHÉE ROBERT
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Hotline
Boxset / Compilation
JOHN ABERCROMBIE
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Skarbø Skulekorps : Dugnad
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ØYVIND SKARBØ
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Yeti Season
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EL MICHELS AFFAIR
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Numbers Maker
Live album
DESERTION TRIO
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Liudas Mockūnas & Arvydas Kazlauskas : Purvs
Live album
LIUDAS MOCKŪNAS
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Solo Ballads
Album
PASQUALE GRASSO
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This Strange Life
Album
DAMIAN COCCIO
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Beyond the Stars
Album
BHEKI MSELEKU
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Salt
EP
JOEY ALEXANDER
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The New Cool
Album
DAVID HELBOCK
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Live at BRÅKFEST
Live album
KODIAN TRIO
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Charles Owens Trio : 10 Years
Album
CHARLES OWENS (1972)
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Mo Foster & Friends in Concert
Live album
MO FOSTER
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In Residency at Bitches Brew
Live album
LIUDAS MOCKŪNAS
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Sahel Notes
Album
MARK WIBBERLEY
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Loveland
Live album
GEORGE HASLAM
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Calm Down Cologne
Album
GARAGE A TROIS
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A New Dawn
Album
MARIUS NESET
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Xxxx
Live album
MICHAEL WOLLNY
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Ballad for a Rainy Afternoon
Album
MARK SOSKIN
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Reminiscence of a Soul
Album
KEN STUBBS
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This Song Is New
Album
LORNE LOFSKY
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Squint
Album
JULIAN LAGE
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Wolves and Mirrors
Album
SHANNON BARNETT
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Somit
Album
PUNKT.VRT.PLASTIK
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Script Original
Album
L'ÉTAU
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Circles Live
EP
ANNE PACEO
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Sing to the World
Album
BENITO GONZALEZ
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Brotherhood
Album
BELMONDO QUINTET
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Sunrise Reprise
Album
CHRIS POTTER
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Another Land
Album
DAVE HOLLAND
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Caminando
Album
JUAN CARLOS QUINTERO
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Episode 6
Album
GERALD GRADWOHL
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Ombak Trio : Look For The Difference
Live album
CENE RESNIK
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Piano
Album
KJETIL MULELID
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Music Room 1985
Album
WAYNE KRANTZ
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To Be Frank - Solo Guitar
Album
FRANK WINGOLD
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Dialogues
Album
LUCIANO BIONDINI
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The Hit
Album
W.R.D.
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Sleeping Beauty
Album
BLAZIN' QUARTET
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Fly! Fly! Fly!
Album
T-SQUARE
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Firefly
Album
ALEXA TARANTINO
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Live at Pro Musica
Live album
QUIN KIRCHNER
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Autoportrait
Album
CLOVIS NICOLAS
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Moonlight Becomes You
Album
VLADIMIR SHAFRANOV
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Mike Taylor Quartet : Mandala
Live album
MIKE TAYLOR
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Thunda
Album
NOAH PREMINGER
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Oblivion
Album
YULIA MUSAYELYAN
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Toluca Lake Jazz
Album
DOUG MACDONALD
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Imaginary Road
Album
REZA KHAN
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The Bond
Album
DOPOLARIANS
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Unconditional Love
Album
AMIT FRIEDMAN
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The Painter
Album
TOBIAS MEINHART
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Asp Nimbus
Album
CHRISTOPHER HOFFMAN
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This Is Latin Jazz
Live album
CHARLIE SEPULVEDA
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Still Doing Our Thing
Album
BEHN GILLECE
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All Knavery & Collusion
Album
EVAN PARKER
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The Latin Side Of Wes Montgomery
Album
NELSON RIVEROS
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Sorte
Album
ABE RÁBADE
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Field Theory
Album
MATT PANAYIDES
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Misty for Direct Cutting
Album
TSUYOSHI YAMAMOTO
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Giant Steppes
Album
DENNIS REA
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An East African Journey
Album
OMAR SOSA
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Uneasy
Album
VIJAY IYER
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Quarte : Ringin' Bells
Album
DAVE LIEBMAN
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Black Light Collective
Album
BLACK LIGHT COLLECTIVE
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Jappa - The Complete Jazz at The Polytechnicum 1967-1968
Boxset / Compilation
EERO KOIVISTOINEN
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Many Worlds
Album
MENAGERIE
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Acertijos
Album
PEDRITO MARTINEZ
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The Glass Delusion
Live album
KUZU (DAVE REMPIS / TASHI DORJI / TYLER DAMON)
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Nights on Saturn (Communication)
Live album
AHMED أحمد
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Fifty-Fifty[1] New York Sessions
Album
PIERRICK PÉDRON
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MP85
Album
MICHEL PORTAL
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Serenata
Album
GREGG KARUKAS
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New Funk
EP
ANTONIO FEULA
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Tales from the Punjab
Album
SHEZ RAJA
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Law Years : The Music of Ornette Coleman
Live album
MIGUEL ZENÓN
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Samā'ī
Album
AZMARI
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Other Worlds
Album
SOUND PRINTS (JOE LOVANO & DAVE DOUGLAS)
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Flow Trio with Joe McPhee : Winter Garden
Album
FLOW TRIO (THE FLOW)
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Machine Mass Sextet : Intrusion
Album
MACHINE MASS
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Frequency Equilibrium Koan
Live album
MICHAEL GREGORY JACKSON
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Imperfect Measures
Album
MICHAEL FORMANEK
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Sacred Hearts
Album
RICK MARGITZA
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Morning Dream
Album
SATOKO FUJII
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Stories
Album
RONI BEN-HUR
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Food For Thought
Album
SOLSTICE (UK)
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Quartet Sessions
Album
CHAD LEFKOWITZ-BROWN
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Jazz
EP
RODRIGO Y GABRIELA
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Michael and Peter Formanek : Dyads
Album
MICHAEL FORMANEK
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Live At Fasching
Live album
GUSTAV LUNDGREN
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Columbia Albums 1976-1982
Boxset / Compilation
WEATHER REPORT
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Shreddin' at Sweetwater
Live album
MARBIN
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Span
Album
HIDDEN SYMMETRY
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A Place Where We Once Lived
Album
DAN MCCARTHY
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Black Top Presents Some Good News
Live album
BLACK TOP
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The Quiet
Album
PHIL TURCIO
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Leverkusen '97
Live album
ALLAN HOLDSWORTH
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Jihye Lee Orchestra : Daring Mind
Album
JIHYE LEE ORCHESTRA
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Preaching to the Choir
Album
VINCENT HERRING
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live at the bird's eye
Live album
ARNE HUBER
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Plays Jobim Vol. 2
Album
ALBARE
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Eternal Fiction
Album
MARIO ROM'S INTERZONE
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NU Live in Glasgow
Live album
DON CHERRY
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Hindsight
Album
CHARLIE PORTER
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Grifone
Album
PULCINELLA
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Rhapsody
Album
ANDY LAVERNE
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Two Places
Album
BRUSSELS JAZZ ORCHESTRA
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Afuera
Album
ERNESTO ZEPPA
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Milo's Illinois
Album
HARRY ALLEN
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Aliens & Wizards
Album
SPIKE WILNER
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Un Autre Monde
Album
NAÏSSAM JALAL
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Cosmonauts
Album
PLS.TRIO
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Crispell / Prevost / Smith : ConcertOTO
Live album
MARILYN CRISPELL
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Polaris
Album
GREG SKAFF
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Strambulisma
Album
JANI MALMI
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Wisdom In The Wings
Boxset / Compilation
STAN TRACEY
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Meretrio "Choros"
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EMILIANO SAMPAIO
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Wes Reimagined
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NIGEL PRICE
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Adventures Of The Wildflower
Album
YELENA ECKEMOFF
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The Summer House Sessions
Live album
DON CHERRY
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Live at the Deer Head Inn
Live album
JIM SNIDERO
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Connections
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STEVE HUNT
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Baker's Circle
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DAVE STRYKER
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Joseph Howell Quartet : Live In Japan
Live album
JOSEPH HOWELL
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Lost Within You
Album
FRANCO AMBROSETTI
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Defeat
Album
FIRE!
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Arrival Of The New Elders
Album
ELEPHANT9
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The Sound Will Tell You
Album
JASON MORAN
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Solar Flash
Album
ASAF SIRKIS
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The Essence Of Soil
Boxset / Compilation
SOIL AND "PIMP" SESSIONS
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Spring Garden
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HAROLD DANKO
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Give It All You Got
Album
MICHAEL DEASE
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Play On
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OUT TO DINNER
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The Front Line
Boxset / Compilation
KENNY BURRELL
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Bring Backs
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ALFA MIST
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(Pentimento)
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MATT PIET
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Griot : This Is Important!
Album
JEREMY PELT
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At Blue Note Tokyo
Live album
STEVE GADD
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Live At Vitellos
Live album
MICHAEL WOLFF
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Sounding Point
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MARK FELDMAN
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Colors of Brazil
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KENNEY POLSON
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Desafío Candente
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GUSTAVO CORTIÑAS
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Foursight - The Complete Stockholm Tapes
Boxset / Compilation
RON CARTER
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Seven
Album
CAMERON GRAVES
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The NDR Hamburg Studio Recordings
Album
WES MONTGOMERY
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Instant Opaque Evening
Live album
THE UNDERFLOW
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Checkmate
Album
JOHN HART
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Breathe
Live album
DR LONNIE SMITH
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Samba de Maracatu
Album
JOE CHAMBERS
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Try!
Album
AIRELLE BESSON
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Between the Lines
Album
TIM PFAU
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Blase And Yasmina Revisited
Boxset / Compilation
ARCHIE SHEPP
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Flash Of The Spirit
Album
SANTI DEBRIANO
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Just Passing Thru
Album
MILES DONAHUE
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Authentic Life
Album
RICHARD ELLIOT
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Pieces : Generations At Sunrise
Album
PALLE MIKKELBORG
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Final Floor
Album
THROTTLE ELEVATOR MUSIC
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Vale Tudo
Live album
YUJI MUTO & NANA OMORI
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Uma Elmo
Album
JAKOB BRO
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The Weight of Light
Album
BENOÎT DELBECQ
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Larry Newcomb Quartet : Love, Dad
Album
LARRY NEWCOMB
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Thank You, Mr. Mabern
Album
LEON LEE DORSEY
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Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis : The Democracy! Suite
Album
THE JAZZ AT LINCOLN CENTER ORCHESTRA / LINCOLN CENTER JAZZ ORCHESTRA
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Love Vibrations
Album
GIOVANNI MAZZARINO
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Jazz Standards Vol. 2 - Then Again
Album
HENRY ROBINETT
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Touch the Light
Album
JOACHIM KÜHN
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Magic Lights
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MANUEL ROCHEMAN
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Never Is Enough
Album
THUMBSCREW
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The Way We Are Created
Album
GABRIEL VICÉNS
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The Real You : A Bill Evans Tribute
Album
ENRICO PIERANUNZI
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Shapes
Album
ROBOHANDS
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Future Stride
Album
EMMET COHEN
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Human
Album
SHAI MAESTRO
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Indaba Is
Album
10000 VARIOUS ARTISTS
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Garden of Expression
Album
JOE LOVANO
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Gary Bartz JID006
Album
JAZZ IS DEAD (YOUNGE & MUHAMMAD)
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Last Message With Sato Masahiko
Album
ITARU OKI 沖至
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Piano Solo
EP
KURT ROSENWINKEL
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Piano Solo
EP
RENÉ URTREGER
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Being
Album
EYOLF DALE
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Leonine Aspects
Live album
MATTHEW SHIPP
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The Bright Awakening
Live album
PAUL DUNMALL
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Gnosis : The Inner Light
Album
JOHN ZORN
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Odd Wisdom
Album
DIEGO PIÑERA
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Antarctica
Album
DIEGO FIGUEIREDO
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Metamorphism
Album
RUSS LOSSING
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Live In New York & L.A.
Live album
BOB HOLZ
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30 Tokyo Yellow
Album
AKIRA JIMBO
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The Quiet Cormorant
Album
PER ODDVAR JOHANSEN
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modern jazz Music Reviews

RICHARD "GROOVE" HOLMES Supa Cookin (with Jimmy McGriff)

Boxset / Compilation · 1974 · Soul Jazz
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Supa Cookin’ is one of those jazz records that throws all attempts at subtlety out the window and goes for high energy good time jams in which the players gladly show off their most dexterous high speed licks in a crowd pleasing display of showmanship. This sort of thing can be embarrassing if the players can’t deliver, but Holmes and McGriff come through with fierce solos and the energy never drops for a second.

This is a two record live set that features the duo B3s of Holmes and McGriff, plus two or three guitars, one drummer and a percussionist on each side. There is a change of lineup on the second disc with Leon Cook and Mark Elf replacing George Freeman on second (plus third) guitar, and Mike Moss replacing Bernard Purdie on drums. I don’t know if the lineup change is the reason, but the music on the second record is better and more modern than the first disc.

Record one is mostly swing based hard bop and the guys really work it to death, but I prefer record two on which they play in a 70s funk jazz style on ‘The Preacher’s Tune’, and a modern African fusion style on ‘Mozambique’. The fast bop tunes on record two also go at a more furious pace than the ones on record one. Overall, disc one is more like the old Holmes-McGriff soul jazz style we‘ve heard before, but disc two shows them becoming more modern and more high energy as well.

This is a live recording and the B3s have great natural distortion for a rock like aggressive energy. The double and triple guitar player effect is also nice as they complement each other with interlocking funky riffs. If you like virtuoso B3 playing, this is a good one.

VIJAY IYER Uneasy

Album · 2021 · Post Bop
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Last year in jazz, heavily influenced by the COVID pandemic, wasn't a regular one. With live gigs and even studio recording sessions being very often unavailable for many, musical market reacted quite soon flooding on-line sales points with tons of vaults material, rehearsal recordings and DIY-level home-made new music, which too often wouldn't be released under normal conditions at all.

There still were released (and still continue to come) some really good albums during these difficult times, renowned American pianist Vijay Iyer's new just released "Uneasy" is one of them.

It is Iyer's second trio album for ECM, the previous one was released in 2015, but the new trio is quite different from the first one. In fact, now we have a super-trio of sort, including one of the brightest creative drummer of the last few years Tyshawn Sorey and growing stylish bassist Linda Oh, who's solo works require a wider introduction, and she's one of the busiest acoustic bassist on today's scene as a collaborator.

From the very first sounds one will note that the new album sounds quite unusual for an ECM release. Recorded at Oktaven Audio Studio in Mount Vernon, NY, it doesn't have that characteristic cool and sterile sound of Oslo's Rainbow studio, or some other European facilities beloved by ECM. The opener, "Children Of Flint", is one of the best compositions on the whole album, with a lot of emotion and even some drama. As almost all the other album's songs, it is an Iyer's original (Gerri Allen’s “Drummer’s Song” and not really impressive version of Cole Porter’s “Night and Day” are the two only non-originals here).

Iyer's own compositions come from different periods of time, some of them have been already recorded on his other albums. Still, here they sound way different. Not as radical as many of Iyer's previous albums, "Uneasy", with its dominating mid-tempo all-acoustic groovy sound and extremely successful balance between post-bop tradition, creativity and modern sound, is possibly one great candidate for being a soundtrack for this last pandemic year - worried, calmer, sad and hopeful. Surprisingly, it was recorded in December 2019, but it anticipates pretty well the atmosphere of changes which came very soon.

Quite accessible, it brings lot of pleasure when listening, one of the very best works already released this year.

VIKTOR TÓTH Viktor Tóth & Mahasimbadavi Players : Lamu

Live album · 2018 · Eclectic Fusion
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Jazz and rap coming together should be no surprise to anyone. Jazz musicians have been rapping since the turn of the previous century, Louis Jordan was known for his hip poetry and so was Duke Ellington, which brings us to this outstanding rap/jazz fusion CD from Viktor Toth’s Mahasimbadvi Players titled “Lamu”. Toth’s players are an international group that features Toth on sax, Bart Maris on trumpet, Simple One on lyrics and poetry, Matyas Szandi on bass and Hamid Drake and David Hodek on drums. Does anything sound more jazz than a boppin alto sax and trumpet front line. Toth and Maris’ energetic harmonies and unisons recall similar classic frontlines like Diz and Bird, Ornette and Don Cherry, and Dolphy and Booker Little. The Mahasimbadvi rhythm section provides kinetic support, often with African and Afro-Brazilian grooves, but also with forays into hip-hop and funk. The way in which this ensemble can combine an earthy backbone with avant-garde tendencies may remind some of The Art Ensemble of Chicago or The World Saxophone Quartet.

The make or break for this album is the rapping of Simple One, who comes through by perfectly balancing his role with the other musicians. If you were afraid that the rapping would dominate this recording, rest assured your fears are unwarranted. In fact, I found myself wishing Simple One had been given a little more room to go off. The man has a beautiful flow that is very syncopated and just as rhythmically complex as his fellow musicians. His word play is both thoughtful and humorous and holds up well to repeated listens. If you know your classic hip-hop than you will recognize when Simple One pulls out an old Q Tip audience call and response, “Can I Kick It …”, which the audience gladly calls back on. During some of his raps the horn players pull out Herbie Hancock’s modernized intro to “Watermelon Man”, which provides a very Africanized backdrop for our MC. Speaking of MC, Simple One also plays the part of the classic ‘emcee’ by giving props to the musicians and providing some humorous interplay with the audience. The musicians also get plenty of space to go off with solos and interlocking group rhythms. Toth has a hard edged alto sound that recalls Steve Coleman and Jackie McLean, and Bart Maris takes a very no gimmicks approach to the trumpet that recalls the aforementioned Booker Little, as well as Marquis Hill.

BLAZIN' QUARTET Sleeping Beauty

Album · 2021 · Nu Jazz
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There is certainly a lot of great new jazz coming from NYC, London and LA these days, but you may also want to check out some more unexpected sources such as the Balkans, where drummer/keyboardist Srdjan Ivanovic pulls a lot of his inspiration for his ongoing ensemble, Blazin Quartet. Srdjan describes his Balkan influence as being a place where the East meets the West and then is expressed through the freedom of jazz. His latest CD, “Sleeping Beauty”, bears these Balkan melodic influences as well as a cool European atmosphere brought to the project from the various other band members who hail from Greece, Italy and France. This CD bears some similarities to some of the best work from the ECM catalog. Srdjan’s abstract approach to the drums may remind some of Paul Motian, while Federico Casagrande’s relaxed guitar work sometimes recalls what John Abercrombie often brought to the label. Trumpater Andreas Polyogopoulos, bassist Mihail Ivanov and guest flautist Magic Malik (on some tracks) round out the rest of the band.

The “Intro” takes on a Silent Way vibe and is accompanied by the sound of the morning birds outside the band’s country recording studio. This track sets a perfect vibe for the rest of this album which relies on sensitive group interplay rather than jazz solo grandstanding. The different musicians on here do take solos here and there, but usually against a conversational background that breaks down clichés and expectations. Some of the best tracks, such as “Guchi” and “Rues de Balkans” get somewhat heated as the entire band solos freely while being careful not to step on each other’s toes. Srdjan claims that ‘Melody is king’, and backs that claim by taking on two classic Ennio Morricone melodies, “The Man with the Harmonica” and “A L’Aube Du Cinquieme Jour”. Both of which are given Blazin Quartet’s unique and personal treatment.

The album ends with the sound of the night birds outside their studio and thereby closes the circle of this musical journey. “Sleeping Beauty” lives up to its title, there is much to be found here, but you may need to listen closely to catch it, this is subtle music, sensitive in a way, but hardly devoid of motion and energy.

MATT PANAYIDES Field Theory

Album · 2021 · 21st Century Modern
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Today’s installment in the ongoing series on jazz musicians who deserve wider recognition brings us to guitarist Matt Panayides. Matt spends a lot of his time in NYC as well as South Korea and China where he works with some of the top musicians in each location. Matt has been leading his own groups and composing original music since 2016 which leads us to his latest album, “Field Theory”. Matt’s approach is high energy as he draws from post bop, jazz rock and free jazz in his solos and in his compositions. Matt can fire off high speed runs that never sound gratuitously flashy, and he provides enough interesting twists and turns so that expected clichés are avoided. Despite his well developed technique, there is something appealingly rough and gritty about his playing that recalls Michael Gregory Jackson and the youthful version of John McLaughlin. Helping Panayides out on this album are synth reed player Matt Vashlishan, tenor sax player Rich Perry, Robert Sabin on bass and Mark Ferber on drums. These guy’s credits as accompanists range from Wadada Leo Smith to Norah Jones and Lee Konitz, plus many more. Vashlishan’s contributions on synth reed in particular add some interesting colors to the group’s sound.

“Field Theory” opens with the tough modern hard bop of “Kite Flying”, but from there Matt keeps things unpredictable as the next three tracks mix modern jazz with arrangements that may remind some of avante garde math rock. Title track, “Field Theory”, in particular has a rock like energy that has Panayides putting some distortion and overdrive on his ‘axxe’. “Energy Mover” is just that as the band swings into high octane neo be-bop with rapid fire solos from the three man front line. The last half of the album wanders a bit as the band swerves from short free jazz segments to folkish tunes and a couple more open ended fusion jams. A big plus throughout the whole album is drummer Mark Ferber’s beats that recall Jack DeJohnette’s ability to swing while smacking a rocking backbeat at the same time. If you are familiar with Jack’s playing on Miles Live at the Fillmore you’ll know what I mean.

Matt Panayides’ guitar has enough ‘shredding’ to appeal to the fusion fans, but also enough swing and melodic invention for the jazzers. His compositions are complex and full of unexpected twists and are very much on top of what is happening in jazz today. Overall this CD displays an excellent balance between clever intellect and hard workin sweat.

modern jazz movie reviews

WEATHER REPORT Live in Germany 1971

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

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

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

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

MEDESKI MARTIN AND WOOD Fly In A Bottle

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

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

DIXIE DREGS Live At The Montreaux Jazz Festival

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

MAHAVISHNU ORCHESTRA Live At Montreux 74/84

Movie · 2007 · Fusion
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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)