World Fusion

Jazz music community with review and forums

The world fusion genre at JMA is not just a collection of world beat artists, but is instead a collection of artists who bring world beat influences to the ever expanding world of jazz fusion. Since fusion artists from the US, Western Europe and Latin America are usually covered in our other fusion genres, the world fusion genre typically carries fusion artists with African, Asian, Middle Eastern and East European influences.

Once again though, the world fusion artists at JMA also display the improvisational aspects and virtuoso soloing associated with jazz and fusion.

world fusion top albums

Showing only albums and live's | Based on members ratings & JMA custom algorithm | 24 hours caching

HERMETO PASCOAL Só não toca quem não quer Album Cover Só não toca quem não quer
HERMETO PASCOAL
4.88 | 4 ratings
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GUNESH Вижу Землю (I See The Earth) Album Cover Вижу Землю (I See The Earth)
GUNESH
4.92 | 3 ratings
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BALLA ET SES BALLADINS "Objectif Perfection" (aka Reminiscin' In Tempo With Balla Et Ses Balladins)
BALLA ET SES BALLADINS
5.00 | 2 ratings
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ORCHESTRA DE LA PAILLOTE Volume 1 Album Cover Volume 1
ORCHESTRA DE LA PAILLOTE
5.00 | 2 ratings
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RUDRESH MAHANTHAPPA Rudresh Mahanthappa Featuring Kadri Gopalnath & The Dakshina Ensemble ‎: Kinsmen Album Cover Rudresh Mahanthappa Featuring Kadri Gopalnath & The Dakshina Ensemble ‎: Kinsmen
RUDRESH MAHANTHAPPA
5.00 | 2 ratings
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RALPH TOWNER Solo Concert Album Cover Solo Concert
RALPH TOWNER
5.00 | 2 ratings
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RALPH TOWNER City of Eyes Album Cover City of Eyes
RALPH TOWNER
5.00 | 2 ratings
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LUIZ BONFÁ Jacarandá (aka Todo o Nada) Album Cover Jacarandá (aka Todo o Nada)
LUIZ BONFÁ
4.64 | 5 ratings
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ANOUAR BRAHEM Astrakan Café Album Cover Astrakan Café
ANOUAR BRAHEM
4.59 | 7 ratings
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RALPH TOWNER Batik Album Cover Batik
RALPH TOWNER
4.62 | 4 ratings
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TRILOK GURTU The Glimpse Album Cover The Glimpse
TRILOK GURTU
4.62 | 4 ratings
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RALPH TOWNER Anthem Album Cover Anthem
RALPH TOWNER
4.67 | 3 ratings
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This list is in progress since the site is new. We invite all logged in members to use the "quick rating" widget (stars bellow album covers) or post full reviews to increase the weight of your rating in the global average value (see FAQ for more details). Enjoy JMA!

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world fusion New Releases

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Paolo Russo Trio : Overland
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PAOLO RUSSO
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Condao
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REINIER ELIZARDE RUANO (EL NEGRÓN)
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Songs of the Firebird
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BARRETT MARTIN
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Washa!
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MAHER BEAUROY
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More Arriving
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SARATHY KORWAR
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Carte Blanche
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PHILIPPE PICOT
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Be Known - Ancient/Future/Music
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ETHNIC HERITAGE ENSEMBLE
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The Balance
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ABDULLAH IBRAHIM (DOLLAR BRAND)
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Future Flora
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BLACK FLOWER
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You Can't Steal My Joy
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EZRA COLLECTIVE
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Kokoroko
EP
KOKOROKO
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Universal Silence
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DON CHERRY
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Chesed
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JULIAN LAGE
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Arvoles
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AVISHAI COHEN (BASS)
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Africa Speaks
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SANTANA
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Alabama Sock Party
Boxset / Compilation
MARBIN
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Quiet Men
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DENIS COLIN
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Consecration
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RAFAEL ZALDIVAR
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Athens
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MELINA PAXINOS
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Love's Radiance (Ai San San)
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AKIRA TANA
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Quest Of The Invisible
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NAÏSSAM JALAL
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Reflections
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ANOUSHKA SHANKAR
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Tiny B / Stick Of A Branch
EP
JUKKA ESKOLA
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Jungle Run
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NUBIYAN TWIST
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Future Memories
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YOTAM SILBERSTEIN
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Aksham
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ELINA DUNI
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Do Not Be Afraid
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VULA VIEL
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Bassekou Kouyate & Ngoni Ba : Miri
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BASSEKOU KOUYATÉ
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400 : An Afrikan Epic
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MARK LOMAX II
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Rising
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HOUSE OF WATERS
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Face to Face
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URIEL HERMAN
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Metamodal
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SOKRATIS SINOPOULOS
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Spirit Calls
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STEVE SLAGLE
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Book Beri'ah 1-keter
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SOFIA REI
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Shamania
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MARILYN MAZUR
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Tu Tiempo
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BOSQUE MÁGICO
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Yakubané
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YAKUBANÉ
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Radio Mediteran
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OMER KLEIN
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Streams
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NGUYÊN LÊ
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Vasil Hadžimanov Band : Lines in Sand
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VASIL HADŽIMANOV
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world fusion Music Reviews

AKIRA TANA Love's Radiance (Ai San San)

Album · 2019 · World Fusion
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js
"Ai San San (Love’s Radiance}” is the third album for Akira Tana’s Otonowa group. Akira formed the band in 2012 to try and raise money for the coastal victims of Japan’s devastating earthquake and tsunami of 2011. Since 2014, the band has toured the most damaged areas as they do what they can to help out. The four main members of the group are all Japanese American jazz musicians, and for this recording, Akira added three more musicians playing more traditional Japanese instruments. The goal of this CD is to take traditional and popular Japanese melodies and transform them through the use of many different jazz idioms. When it comes to cultural potpourris, “Ai San San”, may take the cake. Along with a variety of Japanese and Western instruments mixing it up on here, you also get a variety of musical styles such as post bop, tango, calypso, Latin jazz, pop and free jazz. Due to the immense variety on here, each song represents a totally separate musical universe.

Hardcore jazzers will probably enjoy “Antagata Dokosa”, “Taiyo Hoero” and “Kando” on which the band plays energetic post bop and free jazz reminiscent of Herbie Hancock’s VSOP group. “Mura Matsuri” is a calypso number with a smooth saxophone solo that recalls Sonny Rollins during his colossal days. “Habu Minato” is probably the only tango in the world performed on traditional Japanese instruments, unless there is another one I missed out on. The album closes with Horace Silver‘s “Peace”, which takes on a very Asian flavor as it is performed on the shakuhachi. Elsewhere on the CD you get a variety of ballads and contemporary jazz performed with a mix of Japanese and Western instruments. I would imagine “Ai San San” would carry even more enjoyment for those who recognize these familiar Japanese melodies, but for the rest of u,s it is still an interesting multi-cultural ride through many synthesized landscapes.

BILL LASWELL Hear No Evil

Album · 1988 · World Fusion
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js
“Hear No Evil” comes fairly early in Bill Laswell’s career as it is only his second solo album apart from his band, Material. Of course Bill would go on to release about another 50 million albums, but that’s a subject for another review, at this point in his career he was still taking some time with his albums. Back in the day “Hear No Evil” seemed somewhat profound in its somber ambient atmosphere and cultural mixtures, and its still a good album, but as the years have passed, it doesn’t have quite the same impact as it once did. For one thing, albums that feature cultural hodge-podges are much more common now, as well as records that feature ambience with a rhythmic groove.

At his very best, Bill Laswell can produce an almost religious sobering atmosphere filled with vague longing that is a skill at which he alone excels at. “Hear No Evil” is probably one of the first albums in which Bill displayed this talent, and on here he looks to southern US delta blues for the inspiration for his mournful and lonely melodies. Both Bill and guitarist Nicky Skopelitis play a lot of laid back slide work on here, which they then mix with Asiatic influences. Three percussionists, including Zakir Hussain, provide the percussion, but they are somewhat hemmed in by fairly standard Western time signatures. Indian fusion violinist, Shankar provides excellent solos that match with Bill’s background perfectly. Along with the somewhat straight rhythmic grounding, the other main fault with this album is the almost pop structure of the songs, which can push things in a new age direction.

There is one track that doesn’t quite fit, and that’s the clumsy funk of “Assassin”, take it out and you have a better album. The best tracks are the last two, and on the finale, “Kingdom Come”, the percussionists finally get a chance to go off. This album’s appeal can change with your mood, need some music for reflection, put this on, sometimes it almost seems to have the same impact it had back in the late 80s.

DWIKI DHARMAWAN Rumah Batu

Album · 2018 · World Fusion
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js
In recent times there have been several artists who have attempted to merge traditional Indonesian music with modern jazz fusion, some have been more successful than others, but possibly the artist who has created the ultimate seamless mix is pianist/composer Dwiki Dharmawan. On his latest album, “Rumah Batu”, Dwiki displays how he builds this unique synthesis. Unlike some others who try to force unlike components against each other, Dharmawan uses the essence of Indonesian music as the foundation for his fusion excursions, hence the two worlds become organically connected in a way that flows naturally. Dwiki takes these jazz and Indonesian elements and creates lengthy tracks with sprawling busy arrangements presented with a big production sound that recalls epic movie soundtracks or equaling epic gatefold album cover classic prog-rock.

The two lengthy opening tracks on “Rumah Batu” contain some of the album’s most exciting fusion jams. Dwiki and his band mate’s approach to fusion is very high energy and over the top as they veer into free jazz territory. Dharmawan’s massive assaults on the piano can recall McCoy Tyner, Herbie Hancock and Vijay Iyer, while guitarist Nguyen Le’s distortion drenched fiery leads may remind some of Larry Coryell or Pete Cosey. After these two openers the band settles into a beautiful vocal number sung by Dewi Gita. The vocal style presented here may be different than what western ears are used to, so maybe its time to open up and try some new things. The first part of “Rumah Batu Suite” is a funky jazz rock jam with some improvised vocalizing, while the second part is an all out free jazz free-for-all. The album closes with the folksy “Selamatkan Orangutan”, a pleasant farewell after the intensity of the previous tracks.

SHABAKA AND THE ANCESTORS Wisdom of Elders

Album · 2016 · World Fusion
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snobb
"Wisdom Of Elders" has been recorded by London's new jazz scenes' leading figure reedist Shabaka Hutchings in one day without rehearsals in Johannesburg, South Africa with leading domestic musicians (stated as Ancestors).

As with Hutching's other projects, music here sounds not nostalgic but very modern. Oppositely different from over-exploited Afro-beat, "African" part of the program comes from what some decades ago was known as "Cape jazz" - relaxed soulful melodic songs well known from Abdullah Ibrahim (Dollar Brand) music. Half-a-century ago this music reached to England with a wave of South African jazz musicians, running from apartheid(Louis Moholo, Johnny Dyani,etc) and was adapted as part of British avant-garde jazz of the time.

Other significant element of album's music comes from Shabaka's Caribbean background. It's really impressive how organically both parts fit producing beautiful mix of blues, calypso, spiritual jazz and elegant Cape jazz rhythms.

Released three years ago "Wisdom Of Elders" is another cornerstone of burgeoning London's young jazz scene.

SARATHY KORWAR Sarathy Korwar & The UPAJ Collective : My East Is Your West

Live album · 2018 · World Fusion
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snobb
US-born, India-grown and London-based percussionist and tabla player Sarathy Korwar debuted as leader two years ago with studio album "Day To Day" recorded in India (participating was one of the new British jazz scene's leaders - tenor Shabaka Hutchings) and released on hip Ninja Tune label. The album contained an eclectic mix of Indian music, dialogues, electronics and London sound and was a partially successful debut, hardly more.

"My East Is Your West", Korwar's second release,is a strong improvement. Massive triple-vinyl live set is all-organic and contains all-new material. Band's line-up is slightly modified with British female tenor Tamar Osborn replacing Shabaka Hutchings, additional alto sax player Jesse Bannister and improved Indian instruments section (incl. Santoor/Tabla player John Ball, Mridangam / Kanjira player B.C. Manjunath and Bansuri player Aravindhan Baheerathan).

As a result, the new band (named Upaj Collective) sounds much more "Indian" and recalls Shakti's Indian fusion sound. This is not strange, third album contains a John McLaughlin composition, "Mind Ecology". And that's only for starters - album's songs are covers of renown spiritual jazz, fusion or World fusion songs, just seriously reworked and presented as Indian music scented longish pieces.

Pharoah Sanders' "The Creator Has A Master Plan" lasts almost ten minutes and besides of main theme's intro and some snippets sounds quite different from original. Cover of Alice Coltrane "Journey In Satchidananda" is closer to how it sounded decades ago, as well as Ravi Shankar's "Mishrank". One can find Abdullah Ibrahim's "Hajj", Don Cherry's "Utopia And Visions", and Joe Henderson's "Earth" on a list among others.

With no doubt a significant component of successful result is not only strong material, but HOW the band plays it. Multicultural collective of authentically trained Indian instruments players and Europeans find a unique balance between two cultural traditions. The music is obviously Indian-influenced with characteristic arrangements, techniques and sound, but at the same time it never slips toward esoteric meditative repetitive noodling which undermined some of Shakti's later releases. Instead, the Europeans add more framed structures, rhythmic order (almost groovy in moments), and in general more accessible, slightly "westernized" sound.

A bit conventional for today's fashion, acoustic-only sound makes this album probably a bit less hip but at the same time builds a bridge with spiritual jazz and Indo-fusion of the 60s and 70s producing a music which has bigger value than just a hit of the day. One among stronger world fusion albums of the last couple decades.

world fusion movie reviews

MANDRILL Mandrill Live at Montreux 2002

Movie · 2006 · World Fusion
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js
As much as I enjoy the CD of this high energy concert, Mandrill is an act that has to be seen to be fully appreciated. They don't put on a phony 'show', display rehearsed steps or use props or costume changes. Instead they stand and deliver an ultra tight mix of African fusion, Latin jazz, psychedelic rock and American funk tied together with 70s styled progressive arrangements. It's fascinating to watch the many multi-instrumentalists in this group switch the make-up of their band from a big rock horn section to a massive percussion ensemble to five part vocal harmonies and whatever else a song may call for. Although the rhythm section stays put throughout, the other members of Mandrill play a dizzying variety of horns, percussion and strings, and they can all sing with the best harmonizing bands in the business. Not only do you get the 2002 concert in Montreux on this DVD, but you also get interviews, some behind the scenes action and a bonus concert shot in Philadelphia. It's the concert in Philly that I found to be the most interesting bonus feature. Mandrill has played a wide variety of music in their lengthy career, although their albums often feature lengthy fusion 'suites', they have also been known to score the occasional 'hit' on the RnB and funk charts too. Judging from the two concerts presented on this DVD, Mandrill definitely adjusts their show for their audience. While playing for the older international jazz crowd in Montreux, Mandrill is on their best most progressive world jazz behavior. Once back in the states though, in front of a younger club crowd in Philly, you get a version of Mandrill that not only funks much harder , but also rocks much harder as well. This is the P-funk version of Mandrill, and it is fun seeing these older musical veterans get the crowd on their feet with crazy syncopated horn lines and screaming guitar solos.

I don't normally watch concerts on TV, but because of Mandrill's never boring arrangements, virtuoso musicality and constantly shifting instrumental make-up , I found this DVD to be muchos fun from start to finish.

Artists with World Fusion release(s)

JMA TOP 5 Jazz ALBUMS

Rating by members, ranked by custom algorithm
Albums with 30 ratings and more
Kind of Blue Cool Jazz
MILES DAVIS
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A Love Supreme Post Bop
JOHN COLTRANE
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The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady Progressive Big Band
CHARLES MINGUS
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My Favorite Things Hard Bop
JOHN COLTRANE
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Paolo Russo Trio : Overland World Fusion
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