Third Stream

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Third stream is a term coined by composer Gunther Schuller to desribe music that attempts to mix jazz with classical concert hall music. Jazz caught the ear of many composers in the early 20th century and soon Ravel, Debussy, Stravinsky and others began to put elements of American ragtime into their music. French composer Darius Milhaud furthered these experiments that culminated in George Gershwin's 'Blue Monday' and 'Rhapsody in Blue', two pieces which represented some of the first truly successful fusions of jazz and concert hall music.

From the jazz side of things, early attempts at classical influence came from Duke Ellington, Artie Shaw, Woody Herman, Bix Beiderbecke, James P. Johnson and others. Gunther Schuller and John Lewis' 'Third Stream Music', which combined a string quartet with a cool jazz combo, was one of the first entirely successful concert hall pieces by a jazz composer.

In today's music world, Third Stream often refers to compositions that have some element of jazz. At JMA, the Third Stream genre is also where you will find jazz or jazz related music that relies on composition more than improvisation.

third stream top albums

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

TERRY RILEY In C (Members of the Center of the Creative and Performing Arts in the State University of New York at Buffalo feat. conductor & saxophone: Terry Riley) Album Cover In C (Members of the Center of the Creative and Performing Arts in the State University of New York at Buffalo feat. conductor & saxophone: Terry Riley)
TERRY RILEY
4.66 | 7 ratings
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JOHN ZORN Magick Album Cover Magick
JOHN ZORN
4.44 | 8 ratings
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LALO SCHIFRIN The Dissection and Reconstruction of Music From the Past (aka Blues for Johann Sebastian aka Marquis de Sade) Album Cover The Dissection and Reconstruction of Music From the Past (aka Blues for Johann Sebastian aka Marquis de Sade)
LALO SCHIFRIN
4.67 | 3 ratings
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BOBBY PREVITE Rhapsody / Terminals Part II : In Transit Album Cover Rhapsody / Terminals Part II : In Transit
BOBBY PREVITE
4.49 | 4 ratings
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JACQUES LOUSSIER Baroque Favorites: Jazz Improvisations Album Cover Baroque Favorites: Jazz Improvisations
JACQUES LOUSSIER
4.40 | 5 ratings
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MILES DAVIS Porgy and Bess Album Cover Porgy and Bess
MILES DAVIS
4.23 | 25 ratings
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CHARLES MINGUS Jazzical Moods, Vol. 1 Album Cover Jazzical Moods, Vol. 1
CHARLES MINGUS
4.43 | 4 ratings
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WAYNE SHORTER Emanon Album Cover Emanon
WAYNE SHORTER
4.50 | 3 ratings
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MILES DAVIS Sketches of Spain Album Cover Sketches of Spain
MILES DAVIS
4.16 | 58 ratings
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EBERHARD WEBER Silent Feet Album Cover Silent Feet
EBERHARD WEBER
4.17 | 14 ratings
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OLIVER LAKE Oliver Lake Featuring FLUX Quartet ‎: Right Up On Album Cover Oliver Lake Featuring FLUX Quartet ‎: Right Up On
OLIVER LAKE
4.38 | 3 ratings
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DAVE HOLLAND Life Cycle Album Cover Life Cycle
DAVE HOLLAND
4.21 | 7 ratings
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This list is in progress since the site is new. We invite all logged in members to use the "quick rating" widget (stars bellow album covers) or post full reviews to increase the weight of your rating in the global average value (see FAQ for more details). Enjoy JMA!

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third stream New Releases

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FAURÉVER (A Tribute to Gabriel Fauré)
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ENRICO PIERANUNZI
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10 Comp (Lorraine) 2022
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ANTHONY BRAXTON
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of rivers
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KYLE BRUCKMANN
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After Bach II
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BRAD MEHLDAU
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Universum
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ATOM STRING QUARTET
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Après Fauré
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BRAD MEHLDAU
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A Single Sunbeam
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DANIEL HERSKEDAL
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Moment Of Departure
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TIM GARLAND
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Impressions in Colours
Album
IZABELLA EFFENBERG
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Rhapsody in Blue
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BÉLA FLECK
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Twelve days of Winter
EP
ÁNGEL ONTALVA
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This Light Has No Darkness Vol. 1
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DAVID FRIESEN
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third stream Music Reviews

MARIUS GUNDERSEN Chamber Music by Marco Pereira

Album · 2023 · Third Stream
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js
It certainly seems the world has taken a turn towards the ugly lately. Not only do we hear WWIII type saber rattling, but political leaders in the news seem determined to outdo each other with how callous and downright mean they can be. Possibly one of the best remedies for all this harshness is the beauty that can be found in music. “Chamber Music by Marco Pereira”, the new album by guitarist Marius Noss Gundersen, is almost radical in its difference to today’s culture of crude stupidity. Marco is blessed with the ability to touch us with melody, texture and mood. His music provides sensitivity and delicateness as nourishment to a world that is in need.

Periera is a Brazilian composer who works with a mix of Brazilian rhythms, (chorro, samba, bossa, bolero etc) plus neo-classical long forms and art pop songs. This seems not unusual in Brazilian music where high art and rhythmic songs are not necessarily exclusive of each other. Gunderson provides some nicely detailed liner notes where he expresses his gratitude to Periera for teaching him all things Brazilian in the world of music. Likewise, Marco also provides notes explaining aspects of each of his compositions. Its nice when artists take time with presentation. The music on here is a varied mix, sometimes upbeat and uptempo and sometimes more somber. Some pieces take on a more neo- classical type development, while others lean more towards Brazilian pop or jazz ballads. The closing number features some blazing fretwork for those that know that Marius is capable of such.

There is a lot of variation within the musical ensembles presented on each track, some pieces feature small chamber orchestras, while others may be performed with duos or trios. There are also female vocals on a couple tracks too. With so many different ensembles, recording locations and recording engineers, it’s a surprise how well this album flows from track to track. The production on here is excellent and the sound is crystal clear and fortunately devoid of any digital sugar coating.

METTE HENRIETTE (METTE HENRIETTE MARTEDATTER RØLVÅG) Drifting

Album · 2023 · Third Stream
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Matti P
Drifting is the second album by the Norwegian saxophonist and composer METTE HENRIETTE (b. 1990). While the eponymous debut (2016) contains pieces for both trio and larger combos, here all music is for tenor sax, piano and cello. This is my very first listening of the artist. According to the All Music Guide "Drifting is gentler, quieter, but no less challenging than its predecessor. Its compositions reside in the amorphous aural terrain between jazz, folk, and contemporary classical."

That description sounds accurate. This is ambient, lyrical, thoughtful, peaceful and elegently spatial music that breathes organically. The given low rating here actually feels a bit strange without a review to explain it. To me, the album sounds very beautiful. The saxophone is often played gently in a breathy manner, Johan Lindvall's piano weaves meditative patterns and Judith Hamann's cello adds the needed warmth to the sound that is easy to associate with a wintery landscape (such as the one in the cover). Some slight dissonance here and there makes sure it all doesn't get too sleepy.

The composer herself has said that "this album is in movement. It's on its way somewhere and has its own pace -- its creative agency is fundamentally different from what I've done previously". Mette's countryman Jan Garbarek at his most meditative might be a good reference, and the more ambientish side of producer Manfred Eicher's trusted ECM oeuvre in general. Some kindred spirit as a saxophonist can also be found in Linda Fredriksson from Finland.

ANTHONY BRAXTON For Four Orchestras

Album · 1978 · Third Stream
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js
You have to wonder if maybe Prince got his idea for calling himself an unpronounceable symbol from Anthony Braxton, who had been naming his compositions with various symbols and diagrams years before Prince made his famous name change. Take for example, this three record set that has been named “For Four Orchestras”. That is not the actual name for the composition presented on these records, the actual name is a multi-colored symbol displayed on the album box, and this symbol is also used as the title within the extensive booklet that comes in the box. All this aside, this is a fascinating piece of music in which Braxton takes four orchestras and passes sounds and melodic fragments among them so that the audience, that is seated in between the orchestras, is treated to a surround sound experience in which the music is in constant spatial motion.

Braxton was partly inspired by other modern composers, such as Ives, Stockhausen and Xennakis, who had worked with similar ideas. Musically, “Four Orchestras” , falls into that sort of aleotoric sound and approach favored by John Cage and the many people who were influenced by him. One hallmark of composition in the middle part of the 20th century is that people had devised music that did not compete with the natural sounds around us. Like much music from this era, “Four Orchestras”, need not be totally separated from neighboring sounds, whether they be birds singing, traffic and construction work, or people talking and laughing. Much of Braxton’s piece consists of somewhat pleasant atonal melodic snippets that are passed around the various groups, then at other times more dissonant sounds will build in volume and intensity, and then there are sections where thick tone clusters hang in the air like dark clouds.

Of course the salient feature of this work is the movement of sound. Ideally, you should have the quad version of this record and a quad record player. I do have a vintage quad stereo, but unfortunately the album I have is only stereo, but I did play it on simulated quad, and the surrounding orchestral colors are fascinating. Even in stereo though, this music sounds interesting enough. This album comes with a fifteen page booklet full of pictures and detailed explanations from Braxton. Anthony’s writings are very intellectual, but you know he has to be pulling your leg when he starts talking about his future compositions that will feature dialog between galaxies and star systems.

BRAD MEHLDAU Suite : April 2020

Album · 2020 · Third Stream
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js
“Suite: April 2020” is Brad Mehldau’s attempt to capture his feelings during the pandemic while he and his family stayed home to keep from catching or spreading the infectious germs that were sweeping the world. There is of course a good bit of melancholic reflection, but also a small dose of joy that comes from time spent with family. It is a solo piano recording of course, so many solo albums came out during this time from many artists.

The first nine tracks are the highlight of the album. These tracks do flow much like a suite and you will probably find yourself listening to these as a whole, rather than as separate tracks. These are the tracks that dwell on the more somber side of the pandemic, the solitude and reflection that many of us went through. As through composed semi-classical piano pieces, these nine are quite brilliant and sound much like mid-20th century French neo-classical piano works, particularly recalling the piano compositions of Francis Poulenc. Any of these tone poems would hold up well in a contemporary classical concert. A couple tracks that follow are more light-hearted, almost silly, as they attempt to capture the feeling of family fun. These songs are okay, but unfortunately they break the hypnotic spell that Brad built during the first nine performances.

Next up, Mehldau performs an interesting cover of Neil Young’s “Don’t Let it Bring You Down”, introducing a bit of his trademark intertwining contrapuntal lines. This is followed by Billy Joel’s “New York State of Mind” which sounds like a fairly standard lounge version, maybe Brad wanted to leave the song alone and let it speak for itself. Apparently the closing number is a Mehldau original as there are no song writing credits given, but its title and music sound like a sentimental pop song from a bygone era. If you put together a CD that featured the first nine tracks plus the Neil Young cover and left the others out, you would have a more consistent suite.

FRANK ZAPPA Orchestral Favorites

Album · 1979 · Third Stream
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UMUR
"Orchestral Favorites" is a live album release by US artist Frank Zappa. The album was released through DiscReet Records in May 1979. It´s the successor to "Sheik Yerbouti" from March 1979. All material featured on "Orchestral Favorites", was originally meant to be featured on the shelved "Läther" box-set, but ended up being released as one of four individual album releases, instead of the collective work that would have been the "Läther" box-set.

The 5 tracks featured on "Orchestral Favorites" were recorded during three sessons on the 17th-19th of September 1975, at Royce Hall on the UCLA campus with conductor Michael Zearott and the 37-piece Abnuceals Emuukha Electric Symphony Orchestra. The first two sessions were recorded as concerts with an audience, while the last session was done without an audience. Zappa spliced the best parts from the three sessions together and added an overdub guitar solo on "Duke of Prunes". It´s a combined classical orchestra and rock group performance, so in addition to the classical music instruments like violin, oboe, and clarinet, the music also features regular rock music instrumentation of guitars, bass, keyboards, and drums. The music is fully instrumental.

The melodic, dynamic, and symphonic "Strictly Genteel" opens the album. An early version of this composition with vocals was included on the "200 Motels" (1971) film and soundtrack. Themes from "200 Motels" (1971) are also used on the closing track "Bogus Pomp". "Pedro's Dowry" and "Naval Aviation in Art" are avant garde tinged classical music pieces, showing Zappa´s more experimental side. "Duke of Prunes", which was originally featured on "Absolutely Free" (1967), is featured here in a re-arranged classical orchestra/rock group version. The above mentioned overdubbed guitar solo is pretty intense, featuring an almost constant near feedback noisy approach.

While "Orchestral Favorites" certainly features a couple of intriguing moments, it´s arguably the least interesting release culled from the shelved "Läther" material. According to Zappa he spend around $200,000 on this project, and honestly I can´t say I think those money was well spend. A 3 star (60%) rating isn´t all wrong though as there are enough great elements to warrant that rating.

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Artists with Third Stream release(s)

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