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JOHN COLTRANE A Love Supreme Album Cover A Love Supreme
JOHN COLTRANE
4.84 | 101 ratings
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MILES DAVIS Kind of Blue Album Cover Kind of Blue
MILES DAVIS
4.83 | 136 ratings
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BILL EVANS (PIANO) Waltz for Debby Album Cover Waltz for Debby
BILL EVANS (PIANO)
4.92 | 16 ratings
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CHARLES MINGUS The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady Album Cover The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady
CHARLES MINGUS
4.78 | 75 ratings
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HERBIE HANCOCK V.S.O.P.:Tempest in the Colosseum Album Cover V.S.O.P.:Tempest in the Colosseum
HERBIE HANCOCK
4.97 | 9 ratings
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BILL EVANS (PIANO) Sunday at the Village Vanguard (aka Live At The Village Vanguard) Album Cover Sunday at the Village Vanguard (aka Live At The Village Vanguard)
BILL EVANS (PIANO)
4.87 | 17 ratings
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WES MONTGOMERY The Incredible Jazz Guitar of Wes Montgomery Album Cover The Incredible Jazz Guitar of Wes Montgomery
WES MONTGOMERY
4.87 | 12 ratings
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JOHN COLTRANE Blue Train Album Cover Blue Train
JOHN COLTRANE
4.74 | 67 ratings
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ESBJÖRN SVENSSON TRIO (E.S.T.) Live in Hamburg Album Cover Live in Hamburg
ESBJÖRN SVENSSON TRIO (E.S.T.)
4.94 | 8 ratings
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JOHN COLTRANE Live at Birdland Album Cover Live at Birdland
JOHN COLTRANE
4.81 | 16 ratings
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JOHN COLTRANE My Favorite Things Album Cover My Favorite Things
JOHN COLTRANE
4.73 | 57 ratings
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KEITH JARRETT The Köln Concert Album Cover The Köln Concert
KEITH JARRETT
4.74 | 36 ratings
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MATTHIEU DONARIER
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Four
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BILL FRISELL
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My Days In Copenhagen
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JEAN-PIERRE COMO
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Une Larme De Pluie
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THIERRY MAILLARD
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Trondheim Concert
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ESPEN BERG
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Felix
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NIM SADOT / NIM QUARTET
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Pachecolandia
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RAY VIERA
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Live at Fabrik Hamburg 1988
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EDDIE HARRIS
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Meva Festa
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LAURENT COULONDRE
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Ibio-Ibio
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CAMILLA GEORGE
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Butcher Block Ballet
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JEREMY MANASIA
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Reflections
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ALINA BZHEZHINSKA
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One Of The Others
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TAUREY BUTLER
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Spinoza
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JOHN ZORN
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Aperture
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MICHAEL ORENSTEIN
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Spring
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DIERK PETERS
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Celebration
Live album
RUFUS REID
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Nocturnes
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MIKKEL PLOUG
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Ghosts
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MICHAEL WOLLNY
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Uptown in Orbit
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EMMET COHEN
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Feelin' It
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JIM WITZEL
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Yellow Flower - Piano solo
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ERI YAMAMOTO
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Stepping Out, Vol. 1
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PLAYFIELD (CARTER MUHR ISHITO PLAKS NAMENWIRTH TAKAHASHI SWANSON PANIKKAR)
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Ino / Yamazaki / Hayashi : TRYANGLE
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NOBUYOSHI INO
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Henry Franklin JID014
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JAZZ IS DEAD (YOUNGE & MUHAMMAD)
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Sky Continuous
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NOAH PREMINGER
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Third Page : Resonance
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SUN-MI HONG
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Midnight Crisp
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TAKUYA KURODA
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Sylvain Kassap Sextet : Octobres
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SYLVAIN KASSAP
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Quartetinho
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ANAT COHEN
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Alive in America
Live album
RETURN TO FOREVER
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Sparkle Beings
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ANGELICA SANCHEZ
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What It Means To Be Human
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JASPER HØIBY
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Unconditional Love
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JAKOB DINESEN
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Quietude
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ELIANE ELIAS
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Aura
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BERNT KÜPPER
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Puppets : The Music Of Gregg Hill
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RANDY NAPOLEON
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Blooz
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GRANT GEISSMAN
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Someday
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MARC COPLAND
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Alma
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YARON HERMAN
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Refuge
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GEORGE COTSIRILOS
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Counterfeit Mars
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INGRID LAUBROCK
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Pretty World
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DANIELA SOLEDADE
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We're Not in Kansas Anymore
Album
KANSAS SMITTY'S
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Sufficient Grace
Album
GREGORY TARDY
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Evolution
Album
ANDREA BRACHFELD
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Atte Aho
Album
ATTE AHO
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Art of the Alto
Album
CHRIS PITSIOKOS
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Girasoli
Album
GABRIELE MIRABASSI
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Ozmir
Live album
SUN OF GOLDFINGER
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Cascadia
Album
DMITRI MATHENY
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Horizons
Album
JASMINE MYRA
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Caminos Flamencos
Album
RENAUD GARCIA-FONS
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We‘re Playing In Here ?
Album
GEBHARD ULLMANN
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Seishin - Seido
Live album
MOTOTERU TAKAGI 高木元輝
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Universal Tonality
Live album
WILLIAM PARKER
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50
Album
OM
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Miracles Of The Night
Album
MIHÁLY BORBÉLY
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Plays Ellington And Monk
Album
SPIKE WILNER
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Last Decade
Album
BERNHARD LACKNER
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Keyed Up
Album
BOBBY BROOM
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Urbanessence
Album
TITO CARRILLO
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Food Is Medicine
Album
OUT TO DINNER
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the sound of listening
Album
MARK GUILIANA
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Séances
Album
TREVOR DUNN
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Molecular Systematic Music : Live
Live album
JAMES BRANDON LEWIS
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Joy
Album
AMINA FIGAROVA
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Ruins and Remains
Album
WOLFERT BREDERODE
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The Latin Side of Mingus
Album
CONRAD HERWIG
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Violet
Album
ROBOHANDS
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Stone Stone Stone
Album
OTOMO YOSHIHIDE
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Eastside Romp
Album
JEFF PARKER
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Heart In Hand
Album
KENNY WOLLESEN
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Questo Tempo
Album
STEFANO BATTAGLIA
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Life
Album
MARCO PACASSONI
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Serotonina
Album
JOÃO DONATO
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Multicolored Midnight
Album
THUMBSCREW
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New Standards Vol. 1
Album
TERRI LYNE CARRINGTON
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Playdate
Album
GEOFF KEEZER
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Cyclic Journey
Album
MARSHALL GILKES
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To Live and Breathe...
Live album
VINNY GOLIA
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Live From Summit Rock in Seneca Village
Live album
JASON PALMER
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Seaside
Album
WILLIAM FLYNN
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Sinton / Wilson/ Falco : Adumbrations
Live album
JOSH SINTON
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For New Zealand
Album
THE CHICAGO PLAN (STEVE SWELL / GEBHARD ULLMANN / FREDRICK LONBERG-HOLM / MICHAEL ZERANG)
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October Suite
Album
RGG
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Respiration
Live album
CECIL TAYLOR
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Tomorrow's journey
Album
DAVID BINNEY
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New Commute
Album
FRANK IRWIN QUINTET
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Between Dreaming And Joy
Album
JEFF COFFIN
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Conversation #6 & #7
Album
FLORIAN ARBENZ
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Trio / Octet : Fire Hills
Album
OLIE BRICE
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La Bruja
Album
LAUREN HENDERSON
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Pocket Guides
Album
BEN MORRIS
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Cloud 10
Album
CHIP WICKHAM
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Solo in Denmark
Live album
MICHEL PETRUCCIANI
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Mosaic
Album
JULIAN & ROMAN WASSERFUHR
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Connections Home
EP
DAVID HAZELTINE
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Folds Of Time
EP
MUMEX TRIO
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Octet and Originals
Album
ANTONIO ADOLFO
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El Tinajon
Album
LUIS DENIZ
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A Queens' Firefly
Album
ERIK FRIEDLANDER
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Bordeaux Concert
Live album
KEITH JARRETT
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Anniversary Song
Album
PARTIKEL
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Clear Dawn
Album
AURORA CLARA
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Unknown Error
Album
ORIGINA1NERD
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My Romance
Album
STEPHEN RILEY
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Time Frame
Album
GARY VERSACE
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Americana, Vol. 2
Album
J.D. ALLEN
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Generations
Album
STEVE TURRE
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A Better Ghost
Album
JEREMY CUNNINGHAM
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Musica De Las Americas
Album
MIGUEL ZENÓN
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Trio Subliminal 2 : Cinema Infernale
Album
TRIO SUBLIMINAL (DAN ROSENBOOM - JAKE VOSSLER - TINA RAYMOND)
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Blues And Cubes
Album
THE JAZZ PROFESSORS
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In Tense
Album
HARISH RAGHAVAN
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Hyper-Dimensional Expansion Beam
Album
THE COMET IS COMING
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Edgar
Album
THOMAS LAFFONT
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All Indians?
Album
IMPERIAL QUARTET
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Not Tight
Album
DOMI AND JD BECK
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Verdant Valley
Album
ART HIRAHARA
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Desert Bloom
Album
FLORIAN HOEFNER
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Through the Darkness
Album
QUIQUE RAMÍREZ
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Through the Darkness
EP
QUIQUE RAMÍREZ
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Tiyo's Songs Of Life
Album
FELIPE SALLES
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Beyond
Album
I AM
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Secrets of Inanna
Album
CONNIE HAN
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Empire Central
Album
SNARKY PUPPY
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Live At The Detroit Jazz Festival
Live album
WAYNE SHORTER
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Golden Treasures
Album
ARI HOENIG
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Kismet
Album
TOBIAS LINDSTAD COLLECTIVE
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Pride and Joy
Album
JON COWHERD
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Fire In The West
Album
NEIL SWAINSON
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Parallel Motion
Album
YELLOWJACKETS
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Vivências
Album
MICHEL NIRENBERG
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Deadeye
Album
DEADEYE
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Opportunity
Album
NIELS WILHELM KNUDSEN
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A Midsummer Odyssey
Album
RANDAL DESPOMMIER
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Live : Two Continents One Groove
Live album
T. S. MONK
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Folks
Album
RUSS LOSSING
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Katalyst JID013
Album
JAZZ IS DEAD (YOUNGE & MUHAMMAD)
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Zurich Jazz Orchestra & Steffen Schorn :
Album
ZURICH JAZZ ORCHESTRA
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Cicada Songs
Album
QUINN STERNBERG
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Filippismo
Album
CLAUDIO FILIPPINI
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Vonology
Album
MIKE ALLEMANA
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Lost In Abstraction
Album
AMANDA WHITING
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Omar Sosa, Marialy Pacheco : Manos
Live album
OMAR SOSA
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Persistence
Album
STEVE KNIGHT
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Cosmos Band : Spacing Out​.​.​.
Album
ABEL MARTON NAGY
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Pathways
Album
GORDON GRDINA
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Mesmerism
Album
TYSHAWN SOREY
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Just Justice
Album
JONES JONES
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Gifts
Album
ALEX ACUÑA
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Center Stage
Album
STEVE GADD
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Forecast
Album
JAZZ FUNK SOUL
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Blue Keys
Album
CALVIN KEYS
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SHIFT Bad Hombre, Vol. II
Album
ANTONIO SANCHEZ
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The Quintet
Album
HORACE TAPSCOTT
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Best Next Thing
Album
MICHAEL DEASE
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Could We Be More
Album
KOKOROKO
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Reflections
Album
AL FOSTER
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View With A Room
Album
JULIAN LAGE
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La Nuit Blanche
Album
ERIK DEUTSCH
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Ozean
Album
HUGO FERNANDEZ
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Frameless
Album
NEFERTITI QUARTET
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The Shadow Of Your Smile
Album
MASSIMO FARAÒ
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Sparks
Album
ERI YAMAMOTO
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Atlantis
Album
PERICO SAMBEAT
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The Emerald Duets
Album
WADADA LEO SMITH
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Imágenes Latinas
Album
SPANISH HARLEM ORCHESTRA
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The Trio, Vol. 2
Album
DAVE BASS
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Ghost Trance Septet plays Anthony Braxton
Album
KOBE VAN CAUWENBERGHE
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XXX
Album
FUSIO GROUP
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A Month of Sundays
Album
TEEN TOWN
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Under the Porch
Album
BRIGHT DOG RED
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The Montreux Years
Live album
JOHN MCLAUGHLIN
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Volume One
Album
AARON PARKS
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Volume Two
Album
AARON PARKS
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A Muted Reality
Album
ANGLES
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Miniatures du dedans
Album
HIRSUTE
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Dirty Mindz
Album
ZACH BROCK
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Makoto Ozone Featuring No Name Horses : The Best
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MAKOTO OZONE
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Lost In Tokyo
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SOIL AND "PIMP" SESSIONS
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Freedom
Album
ALBARE
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Trance Sketches
Album
JORGE PARDO
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Dangerous Decision
Live album
RAYMOND MACDONALD
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Glass Spheres
Album
CHRIS MONDAK
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I Hope To My Never
Album
MATT HALL
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Rempis / Baker / Abrams / Ra : Scylla
Live album
DAVE REMPIS
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Murmures Rumeurs
Album
TOM BOURGEOIS
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Paths and Crossroads
Album
ENDLESS SEASON
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Our Folklore
Album
LOUIS MATUTE
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Miniatures and Fragments
Album
BIRGITTA FLICK
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Trio Live
Live album
AKI RISSANEN
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Live at Le Crescent
Live album
KNEEBODY
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Search No More
EP
BURAK BEDIKYAN
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Duo & Solo Live at Galerie de Cafe Cafe 伝 Tokyo 1987・1989
Live album
MOTOTERU TAKAGI 高木元輝
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The Impressionist
Album
MARC MOMMAAS
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Jackpot
Album
BRIAN CHARETTE
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Release
Album
LISBETH QUARTET
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Hellbound Train : An Anthology
Boxset / Compilation
STEVE TIBBETTS
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Reboot
Album
RONNIE FOSTER
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Trios : Chapel
Live album
CHARLES LLOYD
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Dance of the Evil Toys
Album
TARBABY
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Dream Like A Dogwood Wild Boy
Album
BINKER GOLDING
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Shifting Sands
Album
AVISHAI COHEN (BASS)
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10​.​30​.​21
Live album
TRANSCENDENTAL EXPRESS
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Rhythm and Blues of The 20s
Album
CHRIS BYARS
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Fault Lines
Album
DANA FITZSIMONS
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Who Do You Love The Most?
Album
KJETIL MULELID
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Live At The Fabrik, Hamburg, 1986
Live album
MCCOY TYNER
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It's A Foreign Language
Album
KLAUS KOENIG ‎/ JAZZ LIVE TRIO
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Precarious Towers
Album
JOHANNES WALLMANN
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Persistence
Album
MICHAEL WEISS
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Unify
Album
LETTUCE
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Oak Tree
Album
TOM HARRELL
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Gravity Without Airs
Album
KIRK KNUFFKE
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Trinity
Album
MABUMI YAMAGUCHI
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Henri and Rachel
Album
ELI DEGIBRI
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Things To Say
Album
FLAVIO BOLTRO
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My Father’s Hands
Album
CYRUS CHESTNUT
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Points Of View
Album
BILL ORTIZ
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Bortenfor
Album
MARIDALEN
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The Meeting
Album
JIMMY BRANLY
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Pindio II
Album
JUAN SAIZ
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Jazz Is Dead 011
Album
JAZZ IS DEAD (YOUNGE & MUHAMMAD)
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Soul Sister
Album
DEXTER GORDON
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Assembly
Album
JACOB GARCHIK
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Khimaira
Live album
CHILD OF ILLUSION
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Old Monsters Trio (Deluxe Blend)
Album
STEVE HOROWITZ
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Wish
Album
T-SQUARE
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Avoid The Void
Album
ELLIPSIS QUINTET
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Eric Dubois Quartet
Album
ÉRIC DUBOIS
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Resonance
Album
MEGUMI YONEZAWA
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Something Tomorrow
Album
ENRICO PIERANUNZI
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No Kharms Done
Album
SIMON NABATOV
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John Scofield
Album
JOHN SCOFIELD
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Melting Worlds
Album
MWEB (MALTE WINTER ELECTRIC BAND)
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Skylight
Album
NICOLA ANDRIOLI
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modern jazz Music Reviews

FREDDIE HUBBARD Straight Life

Album · 1971 · Fusion
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Steve Wyzard
SUNSET SHADOWS

Let's address the elephant in the room right away: Freddie Hubbard's Straight Life album will always live in the shadow of its predecessor, Red Clay. There are those of us who believe this comparison is unfair, despite the two very different albums being recorded only 10 months apart. Yet as ground-breaking as the Red Clay album is, it's Straight Life that remains the far more awe-inspiring session of the two, even with its slightly shorter running time.

Straight Life gives us two long jams with an all-star group, and one classic ballad performed as a trio. As soon as you hear Freddie's trade-offs with Jack DeJohnette that open "Straight Life", you will know you're about to hear something special. The first big solo goes to Joe Henderson (tenor sax): a true 4-minute monster that will erase any doubt on whether he belongs among the all-time greats. Then it's Freddie's turn, before Herbie Hancock (banging away on electric piano), George Benson (guitar), and DeJohnette (drums) are given space to strut their stuff before Hubbard returns to wrap it all up. "Mr. Clean" has Hubbard and Henderson playing the main theme in tandem before and between everyone's solo spaces. This track moves and grooves more deliberately than the previous one, and Benson features more prominently. The album closes with a truly beautiful version of "Here's that Rainy Day". Hubbard and Benson duet before being joined by bassist Ron Carter, a truly memorable finish to a truly classic album (with no lost/missing tracks on subsequent re-issues).

So what's not to like? The critical orthodoxy will insist these songs are not compositions, but simply backdrops for soloing (as if that's a bad thing). Occasionally the musical textures (which also include a very busy percussionist, Richie Landrum) can become cluttered, but with all this firepower, why not use it? It was probably strongly suggested to Freddie that he make another Red Clay, but thankfully he didn't, and the jazz world is better for it. Hubbard's future CTI albums would add strings/horns/woodwinds (without Herbie Hancock), and just never be as downright masterful as Straight Life always will be.

MAHAVISHNU ORCHESTRA Apocalypse

Album · 1974 · Fusion
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
js
Apocalypse” was the third album for Mahavishnu Orchestra and saw the band going through some changes. The first two albums were probably some of the most divisive albums in jazz history. There was nothing subtle about Mahavishnu’s first two outings. Their heavy rock approach and bombastic sound were a turn off to many jazzers, but a definite attraction to the prog rock crowd who flocked to them in droves. As if the band was not cumbersome enough already, this third album was recorded with the London Symphony Orchestra, a sign that the big prog rock sensibilities might reign supreme on this one, but upon hearing it, fortunately its not really all that. To their credit, Mahavishnu always had top notch musicians and their fiery solos could raise the roof, and with this third album they raise that ante with some new exciting players. Bassist Ralphe Armstrong and violinist Jean-Luc Ponty were just a notch above the people they replaced and now McLaughlin finally had some people in the band who could hold their own against him. Michael Walden replacing Billy Cobham was a fairly even trade and Walden does a great job of fitting into the Cobham style while supplying his own unique syncopations and energy.

The first side of the album presents a surprisingly coherent musical vision as John steps up as a worthy composer and arranger fitting band and orchestra passages together to build a dynamic musical piece. Some highlights include a heavy string motif that sounds like a cross between Mussorgsky and King Crimson and a middle section where John lays down a repeating impossibly funky riff, one of his best since “Jack Johnson”. The closing ballad, sung by Gayle Moran, is one of the finest bits of composition in McLaughlin’s long career. On side two, things get a bit more disjointed, but separate sections still have nice things to offer. There is one high energy trio jam with John, Ralphe and Michael that allows Armstrong to show what an incredible bass player he is, but it is marred by an overly processed sound on the guitar. On the bad side of things, the section towards the end that features furious trading of fours with a string section is just kind of ridiculous, this is the sort of excess that dragged down many a 70s prog rock opus.

GRANT GEISSMAN Blooz

Album · 2022 · Soul Jazz
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
js
Grant Geissman has recorded a lot of albums during his busy career, but never one quite like “Blooz”. Geissman has always been a fan of the blues but this is the first album he has recorded featuring the genre. Its not really a ‘pure blues’ album, or as Grants says himself, “ The album is called “Blooz” because its my take on the blues. It’s a fairly wide interpretation, and not always traditional.” So with that in mind, its no surprise we find many variations on the blues featuring influences from jazz, Latin rock, rockabilly, rhumba, boogaloo and more. A rotating cast of musicians are featured here, and many you have probably heard of before such as Tom Scott, Randy Brecker, Robben Ford and Joe Bonamassa. In many ways this may seem like a guitar player’s album, with Grant listing which vintage guitar he is using on each track, but horns and keyboards, especially the B3, all add their own colors.

“Carlos En Siete” is Latin rock in 7/4 time and is Grant’s tribute to Carlos Santana. Geissman’s solo on this one reflects the influence Carlos has on Grant’s playing. “Rage Cage is a rock boogie in the style of ZZ Top, with Jim Cox’s B3 solo taking the jam into soul jazz territory. “Preach” and “Fat Back” sound like classic 60’s Blue Note with Randy Brecker adding his horn to the former, and Tom Scott adding his saxophone to the latter. “One G and Two J’s” has a Bo Diddley beat and features a three guitar lineup when Grant is joined by Josh Smith and Joe Bonamassa. “Blooz” is a fun ride, liven up your nest outdoor BBQ with some contemporary takes on the blues and soul jazz.

ANTONIO ADOLFO Octet and Originals

Album · 2022 · Latin Jazz
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
js
Antonio Adolfo is one of the top composer/arrangers in Brazil, not only in jazz, but also pop, RnB and all manner of Latin styles. His latest album, “Octet and Originals”, is an album made up entirely of his original compositions, some of which have been recorded before, but now they have been given new arrangements for this new album. It is a very talented octet that Adolfo has assembled here, and their many tone colors bring a mini-big band flavor to the album. Adolfo handles the piano and brings his Bill Evans and Herbie Hancock influenced style to fill out the ensemble.

Rhythmic diversity is a big part of this new album. “Boogie Baiao is so named because the tune shifts from a Brazilian baiao to a stateside RnB boogie for the closing section. “Cascavel” mixes maracatu, calango and sambao and “Emau” is based on the quadrilha, a Brazilian folk dance that is characterized by the accent on the upbeat. “Feito Em Casa” combines baiao and samba, but closes with some grooving soul jazz riffs. Some of the tunes on here are already well known as vocal numbers, but Adolfo decided to re-record them as instrumentals. The original “Heart of Brazil” was sung by Dione Warwick and expressed concern for preserving the rain forests of Brazil. “Pretty World” is a pretty ballad whose lyrical version has been covered by Stevie Wonder, Herb Alpert and others.

“Octet and Originals” should have strong appeal to Adolfo’s large fan base and fans of contemporary Brazilian jazz in general. The large ensemble presented here is capable of so many different shades and tone colors, often sounding much like French classical composers such as Debussy and Ravel, yet pushed by exciting Brazilian and US rhythms and topped by hot jazz solos. All of the soloists are great but special mention should go to the tenor sax and flute work of Marcelo Martins.

KEITH JARRETT Fort Yawuh

Live album · 1973 · Avant-Garde Jazz
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Throughout his lengthy career, Keith Jarrett has been one of the most important pianists of our time, but there was something different about his youthful playing that you don’t hear as much over the years. Before the Koln concert, the classical performances and the association with the somber 80s ECM sound, Jarrett’s playing was a lot funkier and bluesy soulful with plenty of gospel and roots country riffs to go around for everyone. Its from this earlier phase of his career that we get the loose, experimental and mostly high energy live concert known as “Fort Yawuh”. Joining Keith on this concert is his very talented, ‘American Quartet”, with Dewey Redman on tenor, Charlie Haden on bass and Paul Motian on drums. Part-time member, Danny Johnson, joins on percussion.

The album starts with the free post bop of “If the Misfits (Wear It)”, which opens with what sounds like the musicians imitating a North African field recording before going into high speed free-bop mode. Keith’s piano runs are both lightning fast and harmonically interesting at the same time. Dewey follows him with a strong tenor solo that shows the Coltrane and John Gilmore influences of the time. The album title track follows, and features the piano trio in free mode, but when they kick into an African rock groove, Redman joins with a Chinese musette solo that works really well with this sort of non-western rhythm. Side two kicks off with the gospel groove of “De Drums”, halfway through the track the rhythm picks up the tempo as Redman leads the band in a high energy soul jazz romp. Album closer “Still Life, Still Life”, is a ballad, but during Jarrett’s opening solo improv, he takes the tune into some very complex twisting turning twelve tone treatments.

The salient features on this album are enthusiastic energy and an open mind towards any possible musical influence. This group pulls from all the various musical influences described above, yet all those influences come together to make one sound and nothing sounds contrived or unnatural. There is a real joy at work in this album that is rare to come by.

modern jazz movie reviews

WEATHER REPORT Live in Germany 1971

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

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

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

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

MEDESKI MARTIN AND WOOD Fly In A Bottle

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

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

MAHAVISHNU ORCHESTRA Live At Montreux 74/84

Movie · 2007 · Fusion
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Slartibartfast
The 1984 appearance of the MO was a lineup that didn't have any of the previous MO lineup of musicians except for John. Still there was a pretty impressive roster. Jonas Hellborg, on bass, steals the show. I suspect he's been rather influenced by Jaco at this point. Also, we also have Bill Evans, fairly fresh out of his stint saxing with Miles Davis. There's also a fine drummer, Danny Gottlieb, who'd played with Pat Metheny prior. Don't know much about Mitchell Forman. With John experimenting with the Synclavier Guitar so much, the keyboards are almost redundant in this ensemble. I had a hard time sitting through this at first. It definitely has that '80's taint, if you know what I mean. But I've warmed up to it. It's a bit like an attempt to return to the magic of the original lineup that doesn't quite get there. Still, if you judge it in the context of the time, it's not too bad.

I got this for one reason and one reason only, it was the two video bits from the Apocalypse lineup of Mahavishu Orchestra. Actually calling them bits isn't quite accurate. Wings of Karma and Hymn to Him are actually decently long pieces. I was pleasantly surprised to see that they had some actual orchestra musicians with them there at Montreaux. The first inkling I got that there was some live footage from this MO lineup was a poor quality video of Smile of the Beyond on a certain video clip web site many of us know of. It's very disappointing that we only get two clips from the show with video and the rest are audio only. I'm guessing the rest of the original footage has been lost. One can only hope that it will resurface. The performance is a bit more structured than the more compact MO's could be live, but that's to be expected due to the larger number of musician's involved. Still the core band does get to work in some improvisation, McLaughlin in particular.

This release is all in all a pleasant surprise for 2007, but there's more video out there from the older Mahavishu Orchestras, and I hope to see that material surface soon. It gets a four on the round up.

Artists with Modern Jazz release(s)