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JOHN COLTRANE A Love Supreme Album Cover A Love Supreme
JOHN COLTRANE
4.84 | 103 ratings
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MILES DAVIS Kind of Blue Album Cover Kind of Blue
MILES DAVIS
4.83 | 139 ratings
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BILL EVANS (PIANO) Waltz for Debby Album Cover Waltz for Debby
BILL EVANS (PIANO)
4.93 | 16 ratings
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HERBIE HANCOCK V.S.O.P.:Tempest in the Colosseum Album Cover V.S.O.P.:Tempest in the Colosseum
HERBIE HANCOCK
4.96 | 10 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)
4.88 | 17 ratings
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CHARLES MINGUS The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady Album Cover The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady
CHARLES MINGUS
4.78 | 77 ratings
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WES MONTGOMERY The Incredible Jazz Guitar of Wes Montgomery Album Cover The Incredible Jazz Guitar of Wes Montgomery
WES MONTGOMERY
4.87 | 14 ratings
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JOHN COLTRANE Live at Birdland Album Cover Live at Birdland
JOHN COLTRANE
4.82 | 18 ratings
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ESBJÖRN SVENSSON TRIO (E.S.T.) Live in Hamburg Album Cover Live in Hamburg
ESBJÖRN SVENSSON TRIO (E.S.T.)
4.94 | 8 ratings
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JOHN COLTRANE Blue Train Album Cover Blue Train
JOHN COLTRANE
4.74 | 69 ratings
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JOHN COLTRANE My Favorite Things Album Cover My Favorite Things
JOHN COLTRANE
4.73 | 59 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 | 46 ratings
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Erb/Weber/Künzi : Spazio Elle
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Erb/Mayas/Heminigway : Hour Music
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Right Now
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TARDO HAMMER
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NILS LANDGREN
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MARK LETTIERI
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Silver Shadow
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SLOWLY ROLLING CAMERA
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Live at Dizzy's
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BRANDON GOLDBERG
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KERRY POLITZER
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MILTON NASCIMENTO
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Band of Bands
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MIKE WESTBROOK
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The Next Step Band (Live at Smalls 1996)
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KURT ROSENWINKEL
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BRIAN LANDRUS
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Lovabye
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GREGORY GROOVER JR
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Frank Gratkowski's Entrainment
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FRANK GRATKOWSKI
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Spiritual Project & Voices
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DAVID REINHARDT
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Beast
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JOHN O'GALLAGHER
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7th Ave South
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JON GORDON
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Tomasz Stanko Quartet : September Night
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TOMASZ STAŃKO
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Jazz Association Live
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MAGIC MALIK
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SCOTT KINSEY
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Xperience feat. Tim Armacost
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KLEMENS MARKTL
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Swinging with Bobby
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IGNASI TERRAZA
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Tornado Watch
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ADAM HERSH
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Giant Beauty
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AHMED أحمد
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Green Lights
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TROY ROBERTS
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Illimitable
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MATT MITCHELL
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Jonesville
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ACCELERATION DUE TO GRAVITY
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Rewilder
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BORDERLANDS TRIO
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ANTONIO FARAÒ
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A Study (In The Key Of Now)
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ROBERT MITCHELL
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Towards The Flame​,​ ​Vol. 2
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THE FLAME (ROBERT MITCHELL - NEIL CHARLES - MARK SANDERS)
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Wondercult Club
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AYUMI ISHITO
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BleySchool : Where?
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PAT THOMAS
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Sanyas
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STEVE TURRE
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Francesca
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DAVID MURRAY
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Tough Stuff
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IIRO RANTALA
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Solo Bern 1984 - First Visit
Live album
ANTHONY BRAXTON
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Meet The Graingers
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NATE NAJAR
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Full Throttle
EP
GERALD ALBRIGHT
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Ancestral Numbers I
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JASON ROBINSON
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Modern Standards
Live album
BILL EVANS (SAX)
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Echoes of Time
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CHRISTOPHE MARGUET
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Songs My Mom Liked
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ANTHONY BRANKER
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Behind The Voice
Album
CLARENCE PENN
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Influences
Album
JARED HALL
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Horizons
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ALEX SIPIAGIN
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Raging Bulgakov
Album
SIMON NABATOV
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New Start
Album
TOM KENNEDY
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The Data
Album
MATTHEW SHIPP
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Peace
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SADAO WATANABE
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Water Music
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IVO PERELMAN
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Hackensack West
Album
ANTHONY WILSON
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Golem & Other Tales
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SAM REIDER
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Room for Dancing
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JOHN CRAWFORD
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My Ship
Album
WILLIE JONES III
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Ice Breaking
Album
DAG ARNESEN
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Yass Big Band : imMATHEMATICS
Live album
TYMAŃSKI YASS ENSEMBLE / YASS BIG BAND
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My Prophet
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ODED TZUR
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Hope
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SØREN LEE
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The Crop Circles Suite Part One
Album
MATT LAVELLE
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Librarian
Album
SEFI ZISLING
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The New Normal
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TRIFECTA
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Maxine / KID
EP
DONNY MCCASLIN
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Reflections of Purple Sun
Album
EABS (ELECTRO ACOUSTIC BEAT SESSIONS)
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uNomkhubulwane
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NDUDUZO MAKHATHINI
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Hindsight : Live at La Seine Musicale
Live album
ENRICO PIERANUNZI
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Wood Blues
Live album
AHMED أحمد
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Beyond This Place
Album
KENNY BARRON
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Twist
Album
RAY OBIEDO
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Aki Takase Japanic : Forte
Album
AKI TAKASE
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Good Trouble
Album
MATT WILSON
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Cohesion
Album
DAVID LARSEN
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Infinite Connections
Album
JIHYE LEE ORCHESTRA
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3Elements : Like Water
Album
JASPER HØIBY
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Our Way
Album
HEVLETICUS (SAMUEL BLASER / DANIEL HUMAIR / HEIRI KANZIG)
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Mythical River
Album
ELEPHANT9
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Catharsis
Album
MICHIEL STEKELENBURG
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Black Box
Live album
KODIAN TRIO
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Trio Nuevo
Album
DAVE BASS
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Foreign Affair Trio : Sous le Vent
Album
HÉCTOR MARTIGNON
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Celebration
Album
MARKUS STOCKHAUSEN
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Standards II
Album
NOAH HAIDU
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Old School
Album
THE NEW MASTERSOUNDS
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Too Marvelous For Words
Album
MASSIMO FARAÒ
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Old Main Chapel
Live album
RON MILES
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Legacy
Boxset / Compilation
PAOLO FRESU
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Live At SuperDeluxe Volume 1
Live album
AKIRA SAKATA
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The One
Album
FLAT EARTH SOCIETY
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Psychedelic Rio
Album
VINICIUS CANTUÁRIA
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MoonDial
Album
PAT METHENY
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Embracing the Unknown
Album
IVO PERELMAN
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New Concepts in Piano Trio Jazz
Album
MATTHEW SHIPP
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Kiss For Brazil
Album
KARRIN ALLYSON
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Tell Us
Album
GORAN KAJFEŠ
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Perpetual Void
Album
MARTA SÁNCHEZ
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Sextet Session
Album
DOUG MACDONALD
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Measured Response
Album
JOSH LAWRENCE
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Athens
Album
MATERIAL
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Taylor Made
Album
CURTIS TAYLOR
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Quartet Music Vol. I : LuMiSong
EP
MICHAËL ATTIAS
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Vision Is The Identity
Album
CHRISTOPHER HOFFMAN
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Aldebaran
Album
KATHRINE WINDFELD
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Moving On
Album
JACKY TERRASSON
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Ibelisse Guardia Ferragutti & Frank Rosaly : Mestizx
Album
IBELISSE XIMENA GUARDIA FERRAGUTTI
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The Talisman
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DAVE PIETRO
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Even Odds
Album
DAN WEISS
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D-Day
Album
MONTY ALEXANDER
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Lift
Album
LAST ARK OUT
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Power Vibe
Album
STEPHANIE RICHARDS
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Mirror Mirror
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OLLI AHVENLAHTI
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Twentyfour
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AL DI MEOLA
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Being Guided By the Light
Album
MAMIKO WATANABE
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Unknown Rivers
Live album
LUKE STEWART
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Live At Smalls
Live album
JACK WALRATH
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Live At Mezzrow
Live album
ROGER KELLAWAY
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New World
Album
NAT BIRCHALL
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In The Moment
Album
STEPHEN M. LEE
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Triad
Album
TRIAD (DOMINICK FARINACCI CHRISTIAN TAMBURR MICHAEL WARD-BERGEMAN)
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Infinite Love Infinite Tears
Album
ALAN (ALLEN) BRAUFMAN
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Latency
Album
CORTO.ALTO
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Memento
Album
ALEXANDER CLAFFY
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Beantown Ballads
Album
JERRY BERGONZI
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Fearless Movement
Album
KAMASI WASHINGTON
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Live in Chicago
Live album
GUSTAVO CORTIÑAS
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Blue Topaz
Album
PETER HAND
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New Dawn : Live 1973
Live album
PAT SMYTHE
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Guitar Poetry
Album
MIKAEL MANI
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Groovin' in Rome
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PAT SENATORE
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Gifts
Album
DAVE DOUGLAS
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Magic Light
Album
CHUCK OWEN
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Ghost Rhythms Live at L'Ermitage
Live album
GHOST RHYTHMS
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Silent, Listening
Album
FRED HERSCH
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Reverence
Live album
CHARLES MCPHERSON
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Live At Villa Maximus Mykonos
Live album
GREG FOAT
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The Liminality Of Her
Album
AMANDA WHITING
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Stick Together
Album
BEHN GILLECE
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Three
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PAT BIANCHI
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Rising
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JASMINE MYRA
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Heirloom
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LISA ULLÉN
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Cloud 10 - The Complete Sessions
Boxset / Compilation
CHIP WICKHAM
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Erlend Skomvoll Trio : Noshk Blues
Album
ERLEND SKOMSVOLL
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Sensual
Album
RACHEL Z
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Poppin in Paris : Live at the Olympia 1972
Live album
CANNONBALL ADDERLEY
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Burnin In Bordeaux : Live In France 1969
Live album
CANNONBALL ADDERLEY
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Escapement
Album
DAGGERBOARD
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NOVA Elusive
Album
FÉLIX ZURSTRASSEN / NOVA
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Red Hot & Ra - The Magic City
Album
ME'SHELL NDEGÉOCELLO
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Febrero
Album
ANDREA MOTIS
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Terton
Album
TERTON (LOUIE BELOGENIS - TREVOR DUNN - RYAN SAWYER)
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Echoes Of The Inner Prophet
Album
MELISSA ALDANA
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Sunland
Album
OLIVIER LE GOAS
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Live At Mezzrow
Live album
KEN PEPLOWSKI
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Standards, Vol. 3
Album
DAN ARCAMONE
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Life at the Village Vanguard
Live album
GILAD HEKSELMAN
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Stephane Galland & the Rhythm Hunters
Album
STÉPHANE GALLAND
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Happy Deluxe
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QUADRO NUEVO
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Bondage Fruit VII
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BONDAGE FRUIT
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Baars Buis Deman : Cecil's Dance
Live album
AB BAARS
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You'll Hear It
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GEORGE COLLIGAN
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Carnegie Hall Concert
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ALICE COLTRANE
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Interludes
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EMIL BRANDQVIST
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Revival
EP
NIR FELDER
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Unwritten
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KAZE
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Evidence + Reflections
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STEVE LACY
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Tomorrow's Another Day
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JEREMY PELT
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Plays
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NICOLE GLOVER
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Fabiano Nascimento & Sam Gendel : The Room
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FABIANO DO NASCIMENTO
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Grdina / Lillinger : Duo Work
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GORDON GRDINA
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Natalie Cressman & Ian Faquini : Guinga
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NATALIE CRESSMAN
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Forgiveness
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RAIN SULTANOV
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The Classic Albums
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BUDDY COLLETTE
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A Place Called Home
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ODDGEIR BERG TRIO
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Out of This World
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PETER ASPLUND
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Contrafactus
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SPIKE WILNER
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Stream
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FERGUS MCCREADIE
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NRG Ensemble : Hold That Thought – Mars Archive #2
Live album
HAL RUSSELL / NRG ENSEMBLE
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Interaction
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IVO PERELMAN
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The Gathering
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MARK WINGFIELD
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Wake-Up Call
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CHESTER THOMPSON (DRUMS)
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I Too Am A Stranger
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THE SORCERERS
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Fortify
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NUBYA GARCIA
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Candid
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SUNNY FIVE (TIM BERNE – DAVID TORN – CHES SMITH – DEVIN HOFF – MARC DUCRET)
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Natural Science
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HANS KOLLER (PIANO)
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Maca Conu
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JONAS CAMBIEN
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Horizon Scanners
Live album
JIM BAKER
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Circles
Album
FRIENDS AND NEIGHBORS
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Recharge the Blade
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JON IRABAGON
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New Monuments
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AMIRTHA KIDAMBI
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The Thousandth Scholar
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REGGIE QUINERLY
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Big George
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ONE FOR ALL
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Birdsong
Album
CHAD FOWLER
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Town Of Two Faces
Album
THE CHOIR INVISIBLE (CHARLOTTE GREVE VINNIE SPERRAZZA CHRIS TORDINI)
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Over The Wall
Album
PNY QUINTET
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Fables
Album
WATCHDOG
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Smiling
Album
MARK LOCKHEART
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Search for a Better Planet
EP
GEORGE COLLIGAN
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Being Human
Album
LYNNE ARRIALE
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Serenite (Live Toulon ’73)
Live album
WEATHER REPORT
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Vin Et Roses - Paris'73
Live album
DEXTER GORDON
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For All We Know
Album
JIM SNIDERO
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Speak To Me
Album
JULIAN LAGE
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Over and over
Album
TONY MONACO
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Beyond Belief
Album
ALBARE
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Attentive Listening
Album
WILLIE MORRIS
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Truth to Power
Album
BLACK ART JAZZ COLLECTIVE
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Testament
Album
FIRE!
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Let Them Cook
Album
ÉMILE PARISIEN
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Mundus Inversus
Album
FEDERICO CALCAGNO
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Dream Louder
Album
ROTEM SIVAN
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nublues
Album
JOEL ROSS
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The Sky Will Be There Tomorrow
Album
CHARLES LLOYD
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Mustard N'onions
Album
GHOST-NOTE
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David Liebman - Jeff Williams : In Duo
Live album
DAVE LIEBMAN
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On The Spot
Album
PHILIPPE SOIRAT
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The Illusion Of Choice
Album
MICHAEL THOMAS
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Timing Is Everything
Album
ERIC ALEXANDER
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Closer Than We Think
Album
DAYNA STEPHENS
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Evergreen
Album
JUN IIDA
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Plot Armor
Album
TAYLOR EIGSTI
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Agoja
Album
KJETIL MULELID
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Maman
Album
THIERRY MAILLARD
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Decades
Boxset / Compilation
MARIA SCHNEIDER
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Moon Bridge
Album
JOONAS HAAVISTO
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While You Wait
Album
LITTLE NORTH
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渡良瀬~ECHO~
Live album
FUMIO ITABASHI 板橋文夫
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Choro, Choro, Choro
Album
HUW WARREN
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Live in Tokyo
Live album
JOHN HICKS / KEYSTONE TRIO
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The Jazz Meurkengers
Album
HENDRIK MEURKENS
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Low Intervention
Album
LORENZ KELLHUBER
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Words Unspoken
Album
JOHN SURMAN
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Embrace the Space
Album
SPACE (LISA ULLÉN ELSA BERGMAN ANNA LUND)
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Gemini
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ROB COPE
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modern jazz Music Reviews

SARAH MCKENZIE Without You

Album · 2023 · Bossa Nova
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Carmel
Kicking off our review of Sarah McKenzie's "Without You," we're diving into an album that intertwines the diverse styles of vocal Brazilian jazz. With her love for Brazilian music, McKenzie brings us an enchanting setlist as she journeys through Rio de Janeiro, which is filled with encounters with Brazilian music legends.

McKenzie, a pianist and vocalist, anchors this sonic voyage with elegance and precision. Enter Jacques Morelenbaum, whose cello weaves layers of depth with his warm tones, and Romero Lubambo, whose guitar exudes the authentic spirit of Brazil and its romance. The rhythm section, led by the versatile Peter Erskine on drums and Geoff Gascoyne on bass, pulses with vitality, creating a foundation where melodies dance with Brazil's dreamy rhythms. Rogerio Boccato's percussion adds intricate and authentic rhythms—the heartbeat of Brazilian music—while Bob Sheppard's flute and saxophone elevate the compositions with impassioned solos.

At the heart of "Without You" lies McKenzie's homage to Antonio Carlos Jobim's repertoire. "I've always loved the music of Brazil, Tom Jobim, Elis Regina, and of course Astrud Gilberto," says Sarah McKenzie. "What I especially love about Jobim is the simplicity and clarity of his melodies, songs that one can remember and sing." Her renditions of "Gentle Rain" and "Corcovado" pay homage to the rich heritage while showcasing her unique vocal and piano style.

McKenzie's originals—"The Voice of Rio," "Mean What You Say," "Quoi, Quoi, Quoi," and her lyrical addition to Lubambo's "Without You"—reveal her vivid imagination as a composer and lyricist. Rooted in Brazilian rhythms and harmonic patterns, these tracks bear McKenzie's unmistakable signature, offering fresh and innovative contributions to the genre. Each track that features Lubambo exudes an aura of class and romanticism, hallmarks of his masterful playing, but it's McKenzie's unique touch that truly sets these songs apart.

Erskine, Gascoyne, Boccato, and Sheppard bring a level of musicianship that complements McKenzie's vision as synergy and unified purpose shine through. Boccato's percussion and Erskin and Gascoyne provide a vibrant backdrop to McKenzie's lush vocals as she navigates these melodies with an acute focus on Brazilian rhythms and precise accents and articulations. Sheppard's solos, as in "Quoi, Quoi, Quoi," bring a fiery elegance to the project.

McKenzie's melodic approach showcases her musical intelligence. Her ability to phrase melodic lines with clear diction while tapping into the emotional essence of the lyrics allows her to explore new dimensions within the music. Like in "Dindi," "Bonita," and "Fotografia," featuring Morelenbaum's arrangements, she takes us on a journey through the familiar melodies, but with a twist of new phrasing, keeping us engaged and excited.

"Without You" is a heartfelt homage to Brazilian music, where McKenzie honors the giants of the genre while carving out her own unique space within its rich textures. This tribute showcases her deep respect for the music but also connects us, the listeners, to the rich heritage of Brazilian jazz.

JOHNNY GRIFFIN Night Lady

Album · 1964 · Hard Bop
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js
When it comes to discussing the top jazz saxophonists, Coltrane and Parker are givens, often followed closely by Rollins and Dolphy, but who is next in line. One name that doesn’t get mentioned often enough is Johnny Griffin. Early in his career, Griffin was often billed as “the world’s fastest saxophone”, but for some reason, the passing of time has eased Johnny more into the background. Possibly it is because Griffin was never particularly controversial, no publicized problems with drugs and alcohol or an early death to help immortalize him, Johnny was just a damn good saxophone player, maybe that’s not enough to hold the public’s wandering attention.

Griffin’s “Night Lady” was released in 1964 and finds the tenor man in fine form. This was recorded after Johnny had moved to Europe and was working with the big band led by Kenny Clarke and Francy Boland, as well as working with other artists too. To assemble the quartet for this recording, Clarke on drums and Bolan on piano were obvious choices, with Ellington sideman Jimmy Woode taking on the bass. This is a talented band with the extroverted Clarke playing all over the set in a style similar to today’s post bop drummers. Much like Griffin himself, Francy is also an under rated talent. Although Danish by birth, Francy’s playing has a lot of funky gospel and blues to it. A favorite technique of his is to grab a gospel riff and then insistently repeat it with slight variations as he hammers his point across. Every member of this band plays with a sense of contagious enthusiasm and smart-assed wit.

Apparently Griffin’s playing style had mellowed some since moving to Europe, but that might have been more about changing musical styles as laid back bluesy hard bop and soul jazz replaced the more frantic bebop of Johnny’s youth. A lengthy jam on “Night Lady” opens the album and finds the band swingin the blues, this style also covers much of side two as well. Of the standards herein, Griffin plays endless variations on the melody of “All the Things You Are” and manages to get some fire going on the usually tired sounding “Summertime”. “Little Man You’ve had a Busy Day” is one of Johnny’s favorite ballades and features an elegant solo from Francy. This is a great album for those who like pure jazz with no unnecessary additives or phony flavor enhancers.

TROY ROBERTS Green Lights

Album · 2024 · Post Bop
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Carmel
On "Green Lights," saxophonist and composer Troy Roberts embarks on a unique musical journey, illuminating the corridors of modern jazz with his vivid compositions and dynamic playing. His music draws a rich, emotive line through the map of his musical and geographical migrations, inviting the listener to connect with his personal experiences. This album, released under Toy Robot Music, reflects Roberts' artistic and personal journeys and marks the first time this gifted ensemble has recorded together under Roberts' leadership.

From the opening track, it's clear that "Green Lights" is based on conversational jazz between musicians who enjoy and respect each other. Roberts, alongside guitarist Paul Bollenback, bassist John Patitucci, and drummer Jimmy MacBride, establishes a seamless dialogue that sounds telepathic. The ensemble's responsiveness and mutual intuition are the bedrock upon which this album is built.

"Green Lights" opens the album with a flourish. The synergy among the musicians is palpable, marked by Roberts' robust, expressive saxophone and the ensemble's crisp, fluid interaction. Bollenback's guitar, with its rich Fender Rhodes-like tone, and Patitucci's growling bass lines create a lush, rhythmic tapestry, setting the stage for an album that feels both explorative and grounded.

"The Question" and "By Your Side" are prime examples of the band's versatility, showcasing contemporary harmony and rhythm and a traditional jazz waltz, respectively. In "The Question," the ensemble skillfully navigates through the well-written composition, allowing Roberts to display his deft control over the tenor saxophone during his impressive solo. Meanwhile, "By Your Side" offers an emotive contrast, emphasizing lyrical solos and traditional jazz aesthetics. This diverse range of musical styles keeps the listener engaged and excited throughout the album.

"Solar Panels" is an up-tempo swing, based on a standard that allows the ensemble to weave through the progression with finesse and fervor. "Harry Brown" and "Jive Dumpling" further highlight the ensemble's chemistry and interactive playing. "Harry Brown" delves into modal jazz, while "Jive Dumpling" mixes modern and contemporary jazz for a playful, rhythmically intricate track that will surely put a smile on your face.

"Up To No Good" and "The Scotsman's Ballad" each offer different feels for the ensemble to express through. The former showcases modern jazz sensibility meshed with tight compositional structure, and the latter is a tender, profoundly emotive ballad highlighting Roberts' sensitivity and control. Ending with "Stretch Armstrong," the album revisits the roots of jazz in a straight-ahead swing that allows each musician to shine individually and, as a whole, bring the album to a compelling close.

"Green Lights" is an album built on camaraderie, resulting in an auditory journey that resonates with anyone who appreciates the beauty of skilled jazz musicianship and the stories it can tell.

SEED ENSEMBLE Driftglass

Album · 2019 · Fusion
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snobb
England-born composer, band leader and sax player Cassie Kinoshi is on the top now writing music for orchestras, theater, dance and visual-arts. Just a few weeks ago she released the second album of her popular SEED band, recorded mostly live with an orchestra. Still, everything started five years ago, with the debut release of Cassie Kinoshi's initial project, the ten-piece SEED Ensemble's "Driftglass".

"Driftglass" combines some lesser known London scene artists and already popular ones (such as Ezra Collective keyboardist Joe Armon-Jones and Sons of Kemet's tuba player Theon Cross among others). Cassie's band released an excellent soundtrack of the time - richly orchestrated Afro-Caribbean based spiritual jazz album with sweetly-sour tunes, knotty danceable rhythms and in general a relaxed and exhilarating feel.

Some songs contain spoken word poetry or vocals, others are just moody instrumentals, but they all vary enough in mood and arrangements making the whole album versatile and non-monotonous at all. Unrepentant atmosphere of early 70s r'n'b and fusion organically mixes with the more contemporary Caribbean rhythms and tunes of nowadays London. It is a great start. Not really a prolific recording artist, Cassie Kinoshi still has more than enough to say.

ATTE AHO Atte Aho

Album · 2022 · Fusion
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Matti P
Guitarist ATTE AHO from Helsinki, Finland, was 27 years old at the time of releasing his eponymous debut album. He has played in several combos, not only in jazz but also in pop, e.g. vocalist Anna Abreu's group. With this solo album he proves to be a gifted composer in addition to being a great musician. His electric guitar is accompanied by Kasperi Kallio's keyboards, Mikko Kuorikoski's bass and Johannes Pakkala's drums. The all-instrumental album also features some guest performances, even some strings. Upon my very first impression I'm really charmed by the lush, bright, rich and elegant soundscape.

As a guitarist Aho recalls big names such as Jeff Beck, Carlos Santana and perhaps slightly David Gilmour -- not that he'd imitate anyone. We're dealing with rock oriented fusion with a fairly melodic and accessible approach, by which I definitely don't imply this music to be simple or diluted. The vibrant jazz groove is there. Atte Aho's many-sided background as a musician in the popular field surely shows here in a good way, the same way as with Jeff Beck.

There are eight tracks on this 50-minute album. The track lengths are between 4:49 and 7:35. 'Labyrinth' is an excellent opener and a good example of what's on offer. The guitar has the lead role but the keybaords and the rhythm section are not left in the background. Everyone plays excellently. The dynamic sound is juicy, nuanced and enjoyably airy instead of being stuffy in the least. On 'Ulan Bator' the spotlight is momentarily on the electric piano.

Already on the third composition 'Wave' the listener is guaranteed that there's also a more emotional and sensitive level to the music. 'Guidance' is a beautiful, slow and mellow piece. The more energetic side is showcased on the aptly titled 'Elastic Energy', and even it maintains a good balance without becoming too hectic. The sound is at times very big and bold but never crosses the line of being overblown and self-indulgent.

I'm very pleased that I accidentally found this artist and album. without a doubt this is among the finest jazz/fusion albums of recent years that I've listened to. A pure delight to ears, mind and heart. Let's leave a half star's growing space for future releases.

modern jazz movie reviews

PAT METHENY Imaginary Day Live

Movie · 2001 · World Fusion
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Matti P
The gig date is July 1998 and the venue is not-so-ordinary stage at the Mountain Winery, Saratoga, California. The film is beautifully directed and edited by Steve Rodby, the bassist of the seven-piece group. The composition credits are shared by Metheny and keyboardist Lyle Mays. The main body of the set is from the then-latest album Imaginary Day (1997), which is one of the finest and most eclectic Pat Metheny Group albums.

On the opening solo number 'Into the Dream' Metheny plays peculiar 42-string "Pikasso" guitar that produces sounds reminiscent to kantele or zither. The group joins him on the groovy, bright & happy 'Follow Me' that features also some wordless singing from multi-instrumentalists Mark Ledford (trumpet, guitar, percussion) and Philip Hamilton (percussion, guitar). The frontman himself throws in his trade mark high-pitched guitar sound.

The 10-minute title track is an impressive example of the way this wonderful group builds exciting sonic textures and eclectic musical vocabulary without ever losing a certain positively charged accessibility and emotion. 'Heat of the Day' is a hectic piece full of percussive vitality but also a more serene pianism of Mays. Mellow 'Across the Sky' approaches a song structure in a nice way. The warm-spirited gig ends with three pieces outside of Imaginary Day. 'Message to a Friend' is a moody acoustic guitar solo.

Extra features on the 93-min. DVD include a Metheny interview, discography (featuring album covers and track lists), band member biographies, and Notes About the Album / Instrumentation / Tracks / Writing Process. Reading it all can be a bit exhausting, but in the end these extras help this DVD deserve a sincere recommendation for all fans of Pat Metheny. Musically speaking, this is one of the most enjoyable jazz/fusion live DVD's I have ever viewed.

WEATHER REPORT Live in Germany 1971

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

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

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

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

MEDESKI MARTIN AND WOOD Fly In A Bottle

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

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

DIXIE DREGS Live At The Montreaux Jazz Festival

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Artists with Modern Jazz release(s)