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Recommended CDs: Jazz/Fusion
Last touched: Dec. 27, 2014
Highly recommended (This rating is on webmaster's personal taste.)
|image||artist/title (recording year), memo|
|Scott Joplin/The Entertainer: Classic Ragtime from Rare Piano Rolls (1992/1896-1916)|
Scott Joplin (1868-1917) is an American composer and pianist known for his ragtime compositions, dubbed the "King of Ragtime". "Ragtime" is danceable popular music mainly for piano, based on the elements of European classical music, march and African-American music, featuring syncopated rhythm, which was popular in the US from the end of the 19th century to the beginning of the 20th century, and influenced early jazz. This CD includes 14 tracks composed by Joplin, played on Steinway player piano from the piano rolls (1896-1916) and digitally recorded. The rolls of the three tracks, "Maple Leaf Rag", "Something Doing" and "Weeping Willow Rag" are hand played by Joplin himself. Accessible melodies and bouncy, dynamic rhythms. His first and biggest hit "Maple Leaf Rag" is the archetype of the classic rag. "The Entertainer" is a famous piece everyone has heard (used in the film "The Sting").
|Original Dixieland Jazz Band/The 75th Anniversary (1992/1917-1921)|
A compilation (Bluebird RCA) which includes all recordings on the Victor (23 tracks) by the Original Dixieland Jazz Band, an all-white jazz band from New Orleans, Louisiana, who had worked from the late 1910s to the early 1920s, and made the first jazz recordings commercially in 1917. Vivid recordings of New Orleans jazz/Dixieland jazz, the earliest style of jazz. Ensemble-oriented band performance with collective, polyphonic improvisation, combining brass band marches, French Quadrilles, ragtime and blues. Accessible and happy music in a festival/parade atmosphere. The ODJB consists of cornet, trombone, clarinet, piano and drums. The first and second tracks, "Livery Stable Blues"/"Dixieland Jass Band One-Step" (1917) are the first issued Jazz single. "Tiger Rag" is the ODJB's original tune and a jazz standard covered by many artists.
|Bessie Smith/The Essential Bessie Smith (1923-1933)|
A compilation album (2 CDs) which includes the recordings of the essential 36 songs by Bessie Smith, an American female blues/jazz singer who was popular in the 1920s, sometimes referred to as "The Empress of the Blues". Includes "'Tain't Nobody's Bizness If I Do", "St. Louis Blues", "Backwater Blues", "Nobody Knows You When You're Down and Out", "Shipwreck Blues", "Need a Little Sugar in My Bowl" and others. Her style had a huge influence on later music scene, such as jazz vocalists (Billie Holiday, Carmen McRae and Sarah Vaughan), Aretha Franklin and Janis Joplin. Features performances with jazz giants at the time, such as Louis Armstrong (trumpet), Coleman Hawkins (tenor sax), Fletcher Henderson (piano) and Benny Goodman (clarinet). The sound quality is surprisingly clear, because it was digitally remastered from Columbia Records' original sorces.
|James P. Johnson/Snowy Morning Blues (1930/1944)|
James P. Johnson is an American pianist and composer who completed the style of Harlem Stride Piano (Stride is a style of jazz piano playing in which the pianist's left hand maintains a continuous pulse in groups of four beats by percussively playing a bass note on the first and third beats and a chord on the second and fourth beats) in the 1920s, during the transitional period from ragtime to jazz piano. A compilation CD includes 20 tracks (Decca). The first four tracks are uncompanied piano solos recorded on Brunswick label in 1930. The other 16 tracks are accompanied by drums. The ten tracks are composed by Johnson himself, including a standard number "Old Fashioned Love", and seven tracks are composed by his former student Fats Waller.
|Art Tatum/1932-1934 (1932-1934)|
Art Tatum is an American jazz pianist known for his superhuman technique (ultrahigh-speed stride playing). Sergei Rachmaninoff, Vladimir Horowitz, Artur Rubinstein and George Gershwin marveled at his genius. Likened by "a crazed Chopin" (Jean Cocteau) and "the eighth wonder of the world" (Count Basie). His very first recordings. Includes four piano accompaniments to female singer Adelaide Hall's songs and 21 piano solos. Features "Tiger Rag" (2 versions) and "Liza (All the Clouds'll Roll Away)".
|(Various Artists)/The Fabulous Swing Collection (1998/1933-1940)|
A compilation which includes 19 classic tunes of swing jazz, the mainstream form of American popular music from the late 1930s to the early 1940s, in so-called the Swing Era. Released in 1998 as one of "Fabulous Collection Series" by RCA Victor. Popular dance music by big band, featuring lilting swing rhythm and sophisticated harmony. Unlike New Orleans jazz/Dixieland jazz, it values arrangement of compositions and ensemble more than improvisation. Includes famous and essential tunes such as Glenn Miller Orchestra and His Orchestra/"In the Mood", "American Patrol", Duke Ellington and His Famous Orchestra/"Take the "A" Train", "Cotton Tail", Benny Goodman and His Orchestra/"Sing, Sing, Sing (With a Swing) Parts 1 & 2", Artie Shaw and His Orchestra/"Back Bay Shuffle", and others.
|Billie Holiday/Lady Day: The Best of Billie Holiday (1933-1944)|
One of the greatest jazz singers of the 20th century. The 2-CD compilation that includes the 36 major tracks culled from "Lady Day: The Complete Billie Holiday on Columbia (1933-1944)", the 10-CD box set encompassing her early recordings on the Columbia Records. The famous "Strange Fruit" is not included, because not recorded for Columbia. The performances with pianist Teddy Wilson's orchestra and other swing jazz musicians. The songs are mainly pop tunes and standard numbers of those days. Distinctive style of singing, with unique phrasing and husky voice, like a wind (horn) instrument. Greatly influenced by blues singer Bessie Smith and jazz trumpeter/vocalist Louis Armstrong. Relaxing and fascinating music.
|Benny Goodman/Live at Carnegie Hall: 1938 Complete (1938)|
The complete edition (a set of 2 CDs) of clarinetist Benny Goodman's historic live recording at Carnegie Hall, New York, on January 16, 1938. Includes the performances by the big band Benny Goodman and his Orchestra, Benny Goodman Trio and Benny Goodman Quartet, and jam sessions. Featuring Count Basie (piano), Teddy Wilson (piano), Johnny Hodges (soprano/alto saxophones), Harry James (trumpet), Lester Young (tenor saxophone), Lionel Hampton (vibraphone), Gene Krupa (drums) and many others. Includes "Stompin' at the Savoy", "Sing, Sing, Sing" and others. Digitally remastered from the original 78 rpm transcription discs. There are lots of surface noise, but the sound quality is fine. A vivid recording of swing jazz era.
|Charlie Christian/The Genius of the Electric Guitar (1939-1941)|
An American jazz guitarist who established the style of playing the electric guitar as a melody instrument by playing it solo on a single tone in the swing jazz era, just before the birth of bebop jazz, and greatly influenced not only jazz after bop, not also blues, rock and popular music in general. A compilation album which includes his essential recordings with the Benny Goodman Sextet and Orchestra in 1939-1941, such as "Seven Come Eleven", "Royal Garden Blues" and "Blues In B". The three bonus tracks, "Stompin' At the Savoy", "Topsy (Swing To Bop)" and "Honeysuckle Rose (Up On Teddy's Hill)" are taken from the legendary jam sessions at Minton's Playhouse in New York in May 1941. A must have for any jazz guitar fans, especially those who love Wes Montgomery.
|Nat King Cole/The World of Nat King Cole (2005)|
A single-disc compilation (Capitol) which includes the essential songs by Nat King Cole, the African-American jazz pianist/singer. His distinctive style of piano playing as a trio with guitar and bass in the late swing jazz era (from the late 1930s to 1940s) had influenced such pianists as Oscar Peterson and Bill Evans, and since the late 1940s to the early 1960s, he was a popular crooner with his husky-smooth baritone voice. Includes lots of his popular hit songs such as "Straighten Up and Fly Right", "Nature Boy", "Mona Lisa", "Too Young", famous "Unforgettable", "Smile" (originally used as an instrumental theme of Charlie Chaplin movie "Modern Times"), "A Blossom Fell", "Ramblin' Rose", and "L-O-V-E". Please note that there are several versions (US/EU/Japanese) of this CD, with the same title and jacket, and each once includes different tracks.
|Charlie Parker/The Savoy Recordings -Master Takes- (1945-1958)|
Virtuoso alto saxophonist and one of bebop founders, Charlie Parker's recordings at his zenith.
|Charlie Parker/Charlie Parker on Dial (1946-1947)|
This is also a recording in his best days. The complete version contains almost all the takes.
|Charlie Parker/Charlie Parker with Strings (1949-1950)|
Sessions with strings. Includes "Just Friends" and "Summertime".
|Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie/Bird and Diz (1950)|
A historic recording (Verve) of the two-headed quintet featuring two bebop founders, Charlie Parker (as) and Dizzy Gillespie (tp) with Thelonious Monk (p), Curly Russell (b) and Buddy Rich (ds). Cheerful and happy bebop jazz. Includes "Bloomdido", "Leap Frog" and "Mohawk". This is the only recording in which Parker played with Monk.
|Charlie Parker/Now's the Time (1952/1953)|
Includes two excellent sessions on Verve Records, in his last years of the 1950s. "Chi-Chi", "Now's the Time", "Confirmation" and others.
|Bud Powell/The Bud Powell Trio (1947/1953)|
Bebop piano of early date. The recordings in the 1947 are excellent performances at his zenith.
|Bud Powell/The Amazing Bud Powell, Vol. 1 (1949/1951)|
An American jazz pianist who established the style of piano performance in modern jazz/bebop, Bud Powell's recordings at his best (Blue Note). The original LP has 12 tracks. The 2001 digitally remastered reissue CD includes 20 tracks in chronological order, adding some alternate takes. Includes the 1941 session (#1-11) by the quintet featuring Fats Navarro (trumpet) and Sonny Rollins (tenor sax) and the 1951 trio session with Curley Russell (bass) and Max Roach (drums). "Bouncing with Bud", "Ornithology", "A Night in Tunisia", "Un Poco Loco" and others.
|Thelonious Monk/Genius of Modern Music (1947-1952)|
The complete edition released in Japan in 2001. The 2 discs that include all the 6 sessions on Blue Note label including the alternate takes. His unique musicality and original masterpieces-"Ruby My Dear", "Well You Needn't", "'Round Midnight", "Straight No Chaser" and so on-were already completed.
|Thelonious Monk/Solo on Vogue (1954)|
A piano solo album recorded in Paris when he was in obscurity and was not yet famous. Includes several original masterpieces like "'Round About Midnight", "Evidence", "Well You Needn't" and "Off Minor".
|Thelonious Monk/Brilliant Corners (1956)|
On this album, Monk's avant-garde musicality was successfully materialized as session performance.
|Thelonious Monk/Thelonious Himself (1957)|
A piano solo. Comprised mainly of standards. Slow tempos. Performances in a 'ineloquent' style.
|Thelonious Monk with John Coltrane (1957)|
Precious studio recordings (Riverside) of Thelonious Monk (piano) with John Coltrane (tenor saxophone). Thelonious Monk Quartet featuring John Coltrane, which inspired Coltrane's "Sheets of Sound", only recorded three studio tracks of this disc, "Ruby, My Dear", "Trinkle, Tinkle" and "Nutty". "Trinkle, Tinkle" is a tension-filled, great performance featuring Coltrane's blazing imprvisatons in Monk's mathematical, complicated music structure.
|Lee Koniz/Subconscious-Lee (1949-1950)|
Konitz's playing (alto sax) with Lennie Tristano (piano) in the 1949 was a masterpiece in the cool jazz era.
|Duke Ellington and His Orchestra/Hi-Fi Ellington Uptown (1951/1952)|
Exotic and colorful big band jazz. Includes his masterpieces such as 'Skin Deep' (featuring Louis Bellson on two bass drums), 'The Mooche', 'Take the "A" Train' (vocal by Betty Roche) and 'Perdido'.
|Duke Ellington/Money Jungle (1962)|
A piano trio session with Max Roach (drums) and Charles Mingus (bass). Aggressive and massive performance in a post-bop style.
|J. J. Johnson/The Eminent Jay Jay Johnson, Volume 1 (1953)|
A United States jazz trombonist who had established the modern playing style of trombone based on bebop ideom in the early 1950s, J. J. Johnson's 1953 recording on Blue Note, with his sextet featuring Clifford Brown (trumpet). Virtuosity of trombone at fast tempo. Mellifluous like saxophone or trmpet. The 2001 reissue CD includes alternate takes of "Capri", "Turnpike" and "Get Happy" as bonus tracks.
|The Modern Jazz Quartet/Django (1953-1955)|
The only album by the original member of the Modern Jazz Quartet (the group was originally formed as the rhythm section of Dizzy Gillespie & His Orchestra). Elegant and contrapuntal performance like chamber music, featuring John Lewis' piano, composition, arrangement and Milt Jackson on vibraphone. The title track 'Django' is a famous number John Lewis composed in mourning the death of guitarist Django Reinhardt.
|Louis Armstrong and His All-Stars/Louis Armstrong Plays W.C. Handy (1954)|
The jazz trumpeter/singer, Louis Armstrong's fine recording in his later career. Satchmo plays "the Father of the Blues", W.C. Handy's 11 songs with his All-Stars: Trummy Young (trombone), Barney Bigard (clarinet), Billy Kyle (piano), Arvell Shaw (bass), Barrett Deems (drums), and Velma Middleton (vocals). Features 'St. Louis Blues'.
|Miles Davis/Bags Groove (1954)|
Noted as a great performance of hard bop. Thelonious Monk (piano) joined.
|Miles Davis/Kind of Blue (1959)|
A masterpiece of modal jazz. Modality (playing on scales) liberated improvisation from chord progressions.
|Miles Davis/Sketches of Spain (1959/1960)|
The original of "Concierto De Aranjuez" is the 2nd movement of Rodrigo's guitar concerto. Arranged by Gil Evance.
|Miles Davis/Miles in Berlin (1964)|
The first recording by Miles Davis' 'second great quintet': Miles Davis (tp), Wayne Shorter (ts), Herbie Hancock (p), Ron Carter (b) and Tony Williams (ds). Dismantlement and reconstruction of Miles' old repertoire. Modal and avant-garde-oriented performance. 'Milestones' and 'So What' are played so much faster than ever. The famous stantard number 'Autumn Leaves' is deformed and almost loses its original form. Recorded live at the Berlin Philharmonic, Germany.
|Miles Davis/In a Silent Way (1969)|
Recorded six years before 'Bitches Brew'. A pioneering recording in the fusion style with full-scale introduction of electric instruments. This was edited by Miles Davis and producer Teo Macero from a recording session featuring two electric pianos, organ and electric guitar. The musicians are Miles Davis (trumpet), Chick Corea (electric piano), Herbie Hancock (electric piano), Joe Zawinul (electric piano and organ), Dave Holland (bass), John McLaughlin (electric guitar), Wayne Shorter (soprano/tenor sax) and Tony Williams (drums). Cool and idyllic sound with picturesque calmness.
|Miles Davis/Bitches Brew (1969)|
This album introduced electric instruments and polyrhythm into jazz and greatly influenced fusion in the 1970s. complex rhythm with four percussionists. Wayne Shorter (soprano sax), Chick Corea (electric piano), John McLaughlin (electric guitar), Joe Zawinul (electric piano) and others.
|Miles Davis/On the Corner (1972)|
An avant-garde work introducing the funk groove inspired by Sly & the Familystone, the methods of tape looping and overdubbing, and the elements of contemporary electronic music such as Karlheinz Stockhausen into jazz. The endlessly repeating, minimalistic Afro-funk rhythms are like repetition-compulsion. The musicians are Miles Davis (trumpet), Dave Liebman (soprano saxophone), Carlos Garnett (soprano/tenor saxophones), Chick Corea (piano), Herbie Hancock (piano, synths), John McLaughlin (electric guitar) and others. One of the masterpieces of the Electric Miles.
|Clifford Brown and Max Roach (1954/1955)|
Includes great sessions of hard bop recorded in 1954 and 1955, by the two-headed quintet featuring trumpeter Clifford Brown and drummer Max Roach.
|Helen Merrill With Clifford Brown (1954)|
A female singer, Helen Merrill's album featuring trumpeter Clifford Brown. Merrill is popular especially in Japan. Distinctive husky voice. "You'd Be So Nice to Come Home To" (written and composed by Cole Porter) is famous. Arranged and conducted by Quincy Jones. One of the masterpieces of vocal jazz.
|Chet Baker/Chet Baker Sings (1954/1956)|
A trumpeter/vocalist of the West Coast/cool jazz in the 1950s, Chet Baker's vocal album aimed at the general public. Sensitive and melancholic sounds featuring his androgynous and cool vocals. Includes mainly movie/musical songs and standards such as famous 'My Funny Valentine' (composed by Richard Rodgers). Recommended for those who like bossa nova, soft rock and acoustic-oriented guitar pop.
|Lennie Tristano/Lennie Tristano (1955)|
One of major recordings of Lennie Tristano, a Chicago-born, blind white jazz pianist, who performed in the cool jazz, bebop, post bop and avant-garde jazz, and known for his unique, contrapuntal and harmonical music theory (Atlantic Records, 1955). The first four tracks are famous for its innovative experiments of overdubbing and picking up the tape-speed. Especially "Line Up" and "Turkish Mambo" are deep and tensive. The last five tracks are live recordings featuring his disciple Lee Konitz (alt sax) and more relaxed.
|Erroll Garner/Concert by the Sea (1955)|
Erroll Garner(piano)'s best-selling album in the US. Live recording. Unique piano-playing style called "behind-the-beat" (right-handed single-note lines behind the left-handed beat).
|Kenny Dorham/Afro-Cuban (1955)|
An American jazz trumpeter who had worked in the 1950s/1960s bop/hard bop periods, Kenny Dorham's 1955 recording (Blue Note). The first release (1955) was a 10-inch Vinyl including four tracks, by the nonet including the members of Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers at that time (Kenny Dorham (trumpet), Art Blakey (drums), Hank Mobley (tenor saxophone), Horace Silver (piano)), and a Cuban-born conga player Carlos "Patato" Valdes. These four tracks are rhythmic and danceable afro-cuban/latin jazz classics, following Dizzy Gillespie's "Manteca" (1947) and the like. Issued as a LP (seven tracks) including three additional hard-bop tracks in 1957. The first track "Afrodisia" was played by British DJ Paul Murphy in the mid 1980s, and revalued in the context of "acid jazz/rare groove" in the UK club scene.
|Lester Young - Teddy Wilson Quartet/Pres and Teddy (1956)|
The recording by the two grand masters of swing jazz, Lester Young (Tenor sax) and Teddy Wilson (piano) in their last days. A relaxed and moderately restrained performance of popular standards.
|The Charlie Mingus Jazz Workshop/Pithecanthropus Erectus (1956)|
The title track is an emotional and sensational tune, like free jazz.
|Charles Mingus/Mingus Ah Um (1959)|
A big band-style combo by eight players. Recommended to beginners, for this assembles his representative tunes based on gospel/blues, and relatively accessible compared with his other major albums. "Fables of Faubus" is the first recordning of this tune. "Goodbye Pork Pie Hat", a funeral elegy for Lester Young who died, is a slow blues masterpiece, covered by many musicians such as Jeff Beck and Stanley Clarke.
|Charles Mingus/Charles Mingus Presents Charles Mingus (1960)|
Free-oriented, but well-organized (like orchestra) performances by pianoless quartet with Eric Dolphy (alto sax, bass clarinet and flute). Features "Original Faubus Fables".
|Charles Mingus/The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady (1963)|
One of Charles Mingus' recordings on Impulse! label. Avant-garde big band jazz with exotic and erotic atmosphere, featuring flamenco guitar breaks. Inspired by Duke Ellington's 'jungle music' and Spanish folk music. Composed as a six-part ballet suite and performed by a small orchestra (eleven-piece band). Mingus called 'ethnic folk-dance music'. The highlights are the multi-layered orchestrations by use of overdubbing technology.
|Sonny Rollins Four/Saxophone Colossus (1956)|
One of the well-known masterpieces of modern jazz. "St. Thomas", composed by Rollins, is a nice tune in the calypso style.
|Shelly Manne & His Friends/Modern Jazz Performances Of Songs From My Fair Lady (1956)|
The trio of André Previn (piano), Shelly Manne (drums) and Leroy Vinnegar (bass) plays the tunes from the Broadway musical "My Fair Lady" (Contemporary Records) with jazz arrangement. A best-selling album (sold 150,000 copies only in the US). The first album ever made consisting entirely of jazz versions of tunes from a single Broadway musical. A fine and elegant piano jazz with swinging rhythm and sophisticated touch. A popular piano trio classic of west coast jazz. A soothing album with a relaxed atmosphere.
|Art Pepper Quartett/Modern Art (1956/1957)|
An altoist of the West Coast jazz. One of his masterpieces recorded in the 1950s. The performance is understated in moderation, and filled with romanticism and lyricism. The opening track "Blues In" and the last "Blues Out" are in a duet with bass player Ben Tucker.
|The Red Garland Trio/Groovy (1956/1957)|
A pianist known as a member of Miles Davis Quintet in the late 1950s. His fourth as a leader for the Prestige label. The trio with Paul Chambers (bass) and Art Taylor (drums). Swinging and trundling style of playing with single tone by his right hand and block chords by his left hand.
|Count Basie/The Complete Atomic Basie (1957)|
A masterpiece of Count Basie's orchestra called "the Atomic Band" in the late 1950s, featuring Count Basie (piano), Freddie Green (guitar), Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis (tenor sax), Al Grey (trombone), Snooky Young (trumpet), Sonny Payne (drums) and others. Pop-oriented big-band jazz with lightly swinging rhythm and sharp brass ensemble. Composed and arranged by Neal Hefti.
|Dizzy Gillespie/At Newport (1957)|
An impressive performance by a jazz trumpeter, Dizzy Gillespie's third big band (formed in 1956) at the peak (Verve). Happy and enthusiastic performance featuring Benny Golson on tenor sax, Wynton Kelly on piano, Al Grey on trombone, Billy Mitchell on tenor sax, Lee Morgan on trumpet, and others. "Manteca" is a masterpiece of Afro-Cuban jazz, composed by Dizzy Gillespie. "A Night in Tunisia", a great piece with an exotic atmosphere, is his most famous composition known as a jazz standard. Live recording at Newport Jazz Festival, on July 6, 1957.
|Tommy Flanagan Trio/Overseas (1957)|
A pianist known as a sideman in many great recordings in the 1950s. Swinging and rhythmical playing in bop-style. Elvin Jones' brush playing on drums is cool too. Recorded in Stockholm.
|Sonny Clark Trio (1957)|
The trio of Sonny Clark (piano), Paul Chambers (bass) and Philly Joe Jones (drums) on Blue Note. Melodic hard bop with delicate touch and swinging rhythm. Mainly standards such as "I Didn't Know What Time it Was", "Softly, As in a Morning Sunrise" and "I'll Remember April". Relaxed performances.
|Sonny Clark/Cool Struttin' (1958)|
This album is popular in Japan, for Japanese like its lyricism, minor key and blues feeling.
|Paul Chambers/Bass on Top (1957)|
A jazz bassist who joined the Miles Davis quintet in 1955, and participated in lots of important recordings as sideman during the 1950s and 1960s, Paul Chambers' 1957 album as a leader (Blue Note). Swingy and straight-ahead hard bop in a relaxed mood, by the quartet with Kenny Burrell (guitar), Hank Jones (piano) and Art Taylor (drums). You can enjoy both walking bass with pizzicato and echoing bowed (arco) bass, like sawing, by Paul Chambers.
|Cannonball Adderley/Somethin' Else (1958)|
A collaboration between alto saxophonist Cannonball Adderley and Miles Davis. The members are: Miles Davis (trumpet), Cannonball Adderley (alto sax), Hank Jones (piano), Sam Jones (bass) and Art Blakey (drums). Moderately restrained, lyrical and beautiful performance. Noted as one of the best modern jazz/hard bop albums. "Autumn Leaves" (the original is a French chanson song composed by Joseph Kosma) is known for its wonderful performance.
|Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers/Moanin' (1958)|
A classical masterpiece of hard bop/funky jazz. The members are: Lee Morgan (trumpet), Benny Golson (tenor sax), Bobby Timmons (piano), Jymie Merritt (bass) and Art Blakey (drums).
|John Coltrane/Soultrane (1958)|
Moderate balance between aggressive improvisation and good song selection (ballad).
|John Coltrane/Giant Steps (1959)|
A masterpiece in the "sheets of sound" style (playing a series of minute phrases fast, like lightning). All the tunes are his original.
|John Coltrane/My Favorite Things (1960)|
The title track is a performance (on soprano sax) of a song from the musical "The Sound of Music".
|John Coltrane/Africa/Brass (1961)|
An American jazz saxophonist, John Coltrane's debut for the Impulse! label. Modal jazz with massive sound, by his quartet, John Coltrane (soprano/tenor saxes), McCoy Tyner (piano), Reggie Workman (bass) and Elvin Jones (drums), and backed by a brass band featuring Freddie Hubbard (trumpet), Booker Little (trumpet), Eric Dolphy (alto sax, flute, bass clarinet) and others. "Africa" is his first tune with the motif of Africa or African music. "Greensleeves" is based on the English folk song of the same title. The orchestra conducted by Eric Dolphy. The 2-CD set, 'The Complete Africa/Brass Sessions' (including alternate takes and previously unissued recordings) is also available.
|John Coltrane/A Love Supreme (1964)|
Spiritual performances in the modal style.
|John Coltrane/Ascension (1965)|
Inspired by Ornette Coleman's album "Free Jazz: A Collective Improvisation" (1960), John Coltrane assembled young free-jazz musicians and recorded this controversial, avant-garde free jazz album (impulse!). Collective improvisation (about 40 minutes) by three tenors (John Coltrane, Pharoah Sanders, Archie Shepp), two altos (Marion Brown, John Tchicai), two trumpets (Freddie Hubbard, Dewey Johnson), two basses (Art Davis, Jimmy Garrison), McCoy Tyner on piano, and Elvin Jones on the drums, and it consists of group ensembles and solo parts in alternate shifts. There are two takes called "Edition I" and "II". The CD includes the both editions.
|Steve Lacy/Reflections: Steve Lacy Plays Thelonious Monk (1958)|
An American soprano saxophonist and composer known for his extensive work, who had played Dixieland jazz in the early 1950s, and leaned toward avant-garde jazz under the influence of Cecil Taylor and Thelonious Monk since the late 1950s, Steve Lacy's second album as a leader (Prestige). Seven Thelonious Monk compositions are recorded by the quartet of Steve Lacy (soprano saxophone), Mal Waldron (piano), Buell Neidlinger (bass) and Elvin Jones (drums). This album respects Monk's peculiar musicality and beautiful melodies, and it is filled with Thelonius Monkness. It features not Monk's famous standards, such as "Round Midnight" and "Straight, No Chaser", but tunes for connoisseurs, such as "Four in One", "Bye-Ya", and "Skippy". "Ask Me Now" is a classic ballad. Worth listening to for Thelonious Monk lovers.
|Steve Lacy/The Straight Horn of Steve Lacy (1960)|
An American soprano saxophonist and composer known for his extensive work, who had played Dixieland jazz in the early 1950s, and leaned toward avant-garde jazz under the influence of Cecil Taylor and Thelonious Monk since the late 1950s, Steve Lacy's third album as a leader (Candid). A unique formation of pianoless quartet featuring high-pitched soprano and low-pitched baritone (Charles Davis) saxophones. Includes Thelonious Monk's three difficult tunes ("Introspection", "Played Twice", and "Criss Cross"), Cecil Taylor's two tunes ("Louise" and "Air"), and famous "Donna Lee" (composed by Miles Davis, originally recorded by the Charlie Parker Quintet). The highlights are pure and melodic improvisations by Steve Lacy on soprano saxophone at a clear sound.
|Steve Lacy/The Forest and the Zoo (1966)|
An American soprano saxophonist and composer known for his extensive work, who had played Dixieland jazz in the early 1950s, and leaned toward avant-garde jazz under the influence of Cecil Taylor and Thelonious Monk since the late 1950s, Steve Lacy's masterpiece in the free jazz era in the 1960s (ESP-Disk). Cool and abstract avant-garde jazz. Collective improvisation in free form, performed by the front line of Steve Lacy (soprano saxophone) and Italian Enrico Rava (trumpet), and the rhythm section of two South Africans, Johnny Dyani (bass) and Louis Moholo (drums). Live recording in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
|Mal Waldron/Left Alone (1959)|
A pianist and Billie Holiday's regular accompanist during her last years (1957-1959), Mal Waldron recorded this album dedicated to Billie Holiday, when she died in 1959. The title track 'Left Alone' (very famous and popular in Japan) with altoist Jackie McLean is a melancholy torch song. Mal Waldron composed this song for her and she wrote the lyrics, but she had never recorded this song. The last sixth track is a short interview in which Mal Waldron talks about her. Other four tracks are performed by his trio with bassist Julian Euell and drummer Al Dreares.
|Ornette Coleman/The Shape of Jazz to Come (1959)|
Free performances without respect to chord progressions. One of the classics of free jazz.
|Ornette Coleman Double Quartet/Free Jazz (A Collective Improvisation) (1960)|
A contrapuntal free improvisation by double quartet on the right and left of two stereo channels: Ornette Coleman (alto sax), Don Cherry (trumpet), Scott LaFaro (bass) and Billy Higgins (drums) on the left; Eric Dolphy (bass clarinet), Freddie Hubbard (trumpet), Charlie Haden (bass) and Ed Blackwell (drums) on the right.
|Ornette Coleman/Dancing in Your Head (1973/1976)|
Rock-oriented performances by use of electric guitar and electric bass.
|The Dave Brubeck Quartet/Time Out (1959)|
A famous work of West Coast jazz aimed at white middle class, by the quartet featuring Dave Brubeck (piano) and Paul Desmond (alto sax). Includes many odd time signature pieces such as the smash-hit 'Take Five' (5/4) and 'Blue Rondo a la Turk' (9/8).
|Curtis Fuller/Blues-ette (1959)|
Curtis Fuller is one of the great jazz trombone players, along with J.J. Johnson. The recording by the quintet featuring Curtis Fuller's trombone and Benny Golson's tenor saxophone. Bluesy performances with a relaxed tone, mainly in the low and medium registers. A hard bop classic. Includes "Five Spot After Dark" composed by Benny Golson.
|Horace Silver/Blowin' the Blues Away (1959)|
One of the albums recorded on Blue Note label by the American jazz pianist and composer, Horace Silver with his regular quintet (trumpeter Blue Mitchell, tenor saxophonist Junior Cook, bassist Gene Taylor, and drummer Louis Hayes) after he left the Jazz Messengers with Art Blakey. A great blues/gospel-based funky hard bop/soul jazz album. All the tunes are Horace Silver's originals. Features "Blowin' the Blues Away", "Peace" and "Sister Sadie".
|Max Roach/We Insist! Max Roach's Freedom Now Suite (1960)|
A politically-charged work produced by drummer Max Roach, with the rise of the civil rights movement in the background. Featuring Abbey Lincoln (vocals), Coleman Hawkins (tenor saxophones) and Nigerian drummer Olatunji (congas). A seven-part suite including three tracks which are collaborations with Oscar Brown Junior (writing the lyrics). The highlights are Abbey Lincoln's powerful vocalization and the afro-polyrhythmic percussion ensemble.
|Max Roach/Percussion Bitter Sweet (1961)|
An American jazz percussionist, drummer, and composer, Max Roach's 1961 album (Impulse!). A poritical work with the civil rights movement in the background, like his famous protest jazz album "We Insist!" (1960). African-oriented hard bop featuring polyrhythm and afro-cuban percussions (congas, cowbell). Performed by the ensemble with Booker Little (trumpet), Julian Priester (trombone), Eric Dolphy (alto saxophone, flute, bass clarinet), Clifford Jordan (tenor saxophone), Mal Waldron (piano), and Art Davis (bass). Two tracks feature Abbey Lincoln's vocals. Dolphy's solos on "Tender Warriors" and "Mendacity" are cool.
|Wynton Kelly/Kelly at Midnight (1960)|
Good piano-trio works by the three hard-bop greats, Wynton Kelly (piano), Paul Chambers (bass) and Philly Joe Jones (drums). Swinging performance with light touch and buoyant rhythm.
|Wes Montgomery/The Incredible Jazz Guitar of Wes Montgomery (1960)|
Thumb-picking, unique tone, octave/chord-style playing, and transcendent virtuosity... Tommy Flanagan's piano is good too.
|Wes Montgomery/Full House (1962)|
White-hot live performances at Tsubo, the coffee house in Berkeley, California.
|Hank Mobley/Soul Station (1960)|
A representative work of Hank Mobley, the tenor saxophonist of the Blue Note label. A hard bop album of good quality, by the quartet featuring him as the only horn player with the great rhythm section: Art Blakey on drums, Paul Chambers on bass, and Wynton Kelly on piano. The highlights are Mobley's unsophisticated, easygoing tenor-sax playing and Kelly's swinging piano.
|Eric Dolphy/Out There (1960)|
The second session as a leader. Pianoless quartet featuring Ron Carter on cello. Twelve-tone style performace like string quartet of Neue Wiener Schule (Schöenberg, Webern, Berg).
|Eric Dolphy/Out to Lunch (1964)|
A masterpiece in the free-jazz/contemporary-music style. Irregular beats and fragmented harmonies.
|Eric Dolphy/Last Date (1964)|
His last work. Studio sessions in Holland. I love this album. Highly recommended.
|Jimmy Smith/Back at the Chicken Shack (1960)|
A recording on the Blue Note label by an American jazz musician and organist known for his Hammond B-3 electric organ performances, Jimmy Smith (organ) with Stanley Turrentine (tenor saxophone), Kenny Burrell (guitar) and Donald Bailey (drums). Recorded with the same session as the hit album "Midnight Special". One of the funky and bluesey soul-jazz classics. Relaxing and easy to listen to.
|Ella Fitzgerald/The Complete Ella in Berlin: Mack the Knife (1960)|
A masterpiece of cheerful and pop-oriented vocal jazz. Live recording in Berlin. Includes lots of excellent performances of well-known songs such as 'Mack the Knife' (from Kurt Weill/Bertolt Brecht's 'Three Penny Opera'), 'Summertime' (from George Gershwin's opera 'Porgy and Bess'), and 'How High the Moon' (a jazz standard by Morgan Lewis/Nancy Hamilton).
|Freddie Hubbard/Open Sesame (1960)|
An American jazz trumpeter, Freddie Hubbard' s debut album as a leader (Blue Note). By the quintet with Tina Brooks (tenor sax), McCoy Tyner (piano), Sam Jones (bass) and Clifford Jarvis (drums). Freddie Hubbard and McCoy Tyner were unknown then, but this album is a great hard bop album featuring good performances by Tina Brooks and McCoy Tyner. The title track "Open Sesame" and "Gypsy Blue" are impressive tracks in the Latin style with melancholy melodies. Produced by Alfred Lion. The digitally remastered CD with two alternate takes was released in 2001.
|Bill Evans Trio/Waltz for Debby (1961)|
Live recordings by the trio of Bill Evans (piano), Scott LaFaro (bass) and Paul Motian (drums). Harmonious and melodic performance.
|Bill Evans Trio/Sunday at the Village Vanguard (1961)|
Live recordings on the same day as 'Waltz for Debby'. The interplay between Bill Evans (piano) and Scott LaFaro (bass) is beautiful.
|Bill Evans & Jim Hall/Undercurrent (1962)|
The delicate and beautiful duo of Bill Evans (piano) and Jim Hall (guitar). One-to-one interplay of piano and guitar. Richard Rodgers' "Funny Valentine" is a swingy performance in up-tempo, but other tracks are all in medium/slow tempo. Can be listened to in a relaxed mood.
|Bill Evans Trio/With Symphony Orchestra (1965)|
Granados, J.S. Bach, Chopin and so on. Arranged by Claus Ogeman.
|Oliver Nelson/The Blues and the Abstract Truth (1961)|
An alto/tenor saxophonist, composer and arranger, Oliver Nelson's most acclaimed album. Features notable musicians such as Freddie Hubbard (trumpet), Eric Dolphy (flute, alto sax) and Bill Evans (piano). A contemporary interpretation of the traditional blues form. Unified ensemble. The solos of Dolphy and Evans are impressive. All the tracks composed and arranged by Oliver Nelson.
|George Russell Sextet/Ezz-thetics (1961)|
An American jazz pianist and composer, also known for his music theory book "Lydian chromatic concept of tonal organization", George Russell's 1961 album (Riverside). Performed by the sextet of George Russell (piano, arrangement), Don Ellis (trumpet), Dave Baker (trombone), Eric Dolphy (alto sax and bass clarinet), Steve Swallow (bass), and Joe Hunt (drums). Modern and atonal avant-garde jazz arranging and contemporizing the traditional jazz (swing, bop). Dolphy's solo is good in any track. The highlight is the extraordinary arrangement of famous "'Round Midnight" (composed by Thelonious Monk).
|Abbey Lincoln/Straight Ahead (1961)|
An American jazz vocalist, Abbey Lincoln's 1961 recording (Candid). With Booker Little (trumpet), Julian Priester (trombone), Eric Dolphy (alto saxophone, bass clarinet, flute, piccolo), Walter Benton (tenor saxophone), Coleman Hawkins (tenor saxophone), Mal Waldron (piano), Art Davis (bass), and Max Roach (drums). "Blue Monk" is a standard composed by Thelonious Monk. "Left Alone" is a torch song composed by Mal Waldron (Billie Holiday wrote the lyrics, but she had never recorded). You can enjoy the melancholy tunes and Abbey Lincoln's bluesy vocalization. Recommended for those who like Billie Holiday, or Abbey Lincoln's singing on Max Roach's album "We Insist!".
|Dexter Gordon/Go! (1962)|
The tenor saxophonist Dexter Gordon's good hard bop album recorded on Blue Note label. The melodic, sonorously singing improvisations and ballads in an unhurried rhythm. Sonny Clark's light and rhythmic piano is good too.
|Roland Kirk/Domino (1962)|
His early masterpiece. Miscellaneous musicality (from earthy black music to modernism) and multi-instrumentalism (tenor sax, stritch, manzello, flute, siren...).
|The Roland Kirk Quartet Featuring Elvin Jones/Rip, Rig & Panic (1965)|
Recorded with Elvin Jones (drums) from John Coltrane's group, Jaki Byard (piano) and Richard Davis (bass). The title track 'Rip, Rig & Panic' and 'Slippery, Hippery, Flippery' are close to free jazz and pretty avant-garde.
|Roland Kirk/The Inflated Tear (1968)|
The debut recording on Atlantic Records and his masterpiece. Lyrical and soulful performances with melancholy or nostalgic feeling, based on the traditional blues style.
|Stan Getz-Charlie Byrd/Jazz Samba (1962)|
A bossa nova album by saxophone player Stan Getz and guitarist Charlie Byrd. Released in the year before famous Stan Getz and João Gilberto's "Getz/Gilberto". The first full-fledged bossa nova album ever recorded by American jazz musicians. It had a commercial success (#1 on the US pop album charts) and became the beginning of the bossa nova craze in the US in the mid-1960s. Easy listening oriented jazz sound filled with melancholy lyricism. Includes two tracks composed by Antonio Carlos Jobim, a hit single "Desafinado" and "Samba de uma Nota So".
|Stan Getz and João Gilberto/Getz/Gilberto (1963)|
The established masterpiece of bossa nova by tenor saxophonist Stan Getz with two of bossa nova's innovators from Brazil, guitarist/singer João Gilberto and composer/pianist Antonio Carlos Jobim. Also features Astrud Gilberto (João's wife) on vocals. Reached No.2 on the US album charts. Includes 'The Girl From Ipanema'.
|Lee Morgan/The Sidewinder (1963)|
A jazz trumpeter, Lee Morgan's huge selling album (Blue Note). #25 on the US Billboard 'pop' album charts. Played by two-horn quintet featuring Joe Henderson (tenor sax). The famous title track "The Sidewinder" is a funky blues number with eight beat rhythm and a soul-jazz classic. The other tracks are lightly swinging hard bop tunes.
|Jackie McLean/Let Freedom Ring (1962)|
An American jazz alto saxophonist, Jackie McLean's 1962 album (Blue Notes). Regarded as one of McLean's greatest works, along with "One Step Beyond" (1963). A new and modernism-oriented work at the time, for it was based on hard bop, and also features the elements of modal jazz and free jazz, influenced by John Coltrane and Ornette Coleman. Performed by the one-horn quartet of Jackie McLean (alto saxophone), Walter Davis, Jr. (piano), Herbie Lewis (bass) and Billy Higgins (drums). Basically an orthodox hard bop, but it is a little avant-garde for it uses lots of high-pitched freaky tones (overtones). "I'll Keep Loving You" is a beautiful ballad composed by Bud Powell. Other three pieced are McLean's original. "Melody for Melonae" is a good piece like Thelonious Monk's "Brilliant Corners".
|Jackie McLean/One Step Beyond (1963)|
An American jazz alto saxophonist, Jackie McLean's 1963 album (Blue Notes). Recorded by a pianoless, two-horn quintet of Jackie McLean (alto saxophone), Grachan Moncur III (trombone), Bobby Hutcherson (vibes), Eddie Khan (bass) and Tony Williams (drums), who was at age 17, just before joining Miles Davis' Second Great Quintet. A contemporary and avant-garde oriented sound based on bebop/hard bop, and introducing the styles of modal jazz and free jazz.
|Kenny Burrell/Midnight Blue (1963)|
An American jazz guitarist, Kenny Burrell's good recording as a leader on the Blue Note label. A pianoless trio of Kenny Burrell (guitar), Major Holley (bass) and Bill English (drums) with Stanley Turrentine (tenor sax) and Ray Barretto (conga). Features blues in medium/slow tempo. Bluesy and swingy. Can be listened to in a relaxed manner. Includes "Chitlins con Carne", "Midnight Blue" and "Saturday Night Blues".
|Grant Green/Idle Moments (1963)|
An American jazz guitarist known fot his earthy and bluesy guitar-playing and funky single-note melodies, Grant Green's great recording as a great leader on the Blue Note label, featuring Joe Henderson (tenor saxophone), Bobby Hutcherson (vibes), Duke Pearson (piano), Bob Cranshaw (bass) and Al Harewood (drums). The title track "Idle Moments" is an original composed by Duke Pearson and a dreamy tune in a very slow tempo. "Django" is a tune of the Modern Jazz Quartet (composed by John Lewis). An elegant hard bop guitar jazz masterpiece can be listened to in a relaxed manner.
|The Swingle Singers/Jazz Sebastian Bach (1963)|
A mixed cappella vocal group formed in 1962 in Paris, France by Ward Swingle (American), the Swingle Singers' debut album (Philips). The title of the U.S. edition is "Bach's Greatest Hits". Vocal jazz in the easy listening style, in which the eight voices (two sopranos, two altos, two tenors and two basses) sing the polyphony of J. S. Bach's (mainly keyboard) works in scat, with a double bass and drums as accompaniment. The compositions are "The Art of the Fugue", "Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme/Wake, Awake for Night is Passing" from the Schübler Chorales, "Air" from the Orchestral suites No.3, the Well-Tempered Clavier Books I and II, the English Suite No.2, Partita No.2, 4-Part Canon, and Two Part Invention No.1. Arranged by Ward Swingle. The album "Jazz Sebastien Bach, Vol. 2" (the US title: Back to Bach) in the same style was also released in 1968.
|Joe Henderson/Page One (1963)|
An American jazz tenor saxophonist known for his distinctive modern style developed since the 1960s under the influence of Sonny Rollins and John Coltrane, and his performance in many famous Blue Note sessions as a sideman, Joe Henderson's debut album as a leader (Blue Note). Performed by the quintet featuring Kenny Dorham (trumpet) and McCoy Tyner (piano). Melodic and sophisticated hard bop in the new mainstream jazz style. The two tracks in bossa nova/Latin style, "Blue Bossa" composed by Kenny Dorham and "Recorda Me" composed by Henderson became jazz standards.
|Wayne Shorter/Speak No Evil (1964)|
One of the great recordings on Blue Note by saxophonist Wayne Shorter (tenor sax) as the leader with Freddie Hubbard (trumpet), Herbie Hancock (piano), Ron Carter (bass) and Elvin Jones (drums). Mysterious atmosphere and distinctive harmonic sense. All compositions are composed by Wayne Shorter and mainly comprised of gentle, balladic ones. A masterpiece of "new mainstream" jazz based on modalism.
|Albert Ayler Trio/Spiritual Unity (1964)|
One of the classics of free jazz. Too avant-garde.
|Albert Ayler/In Greenwich Village (1966/1967)|
A masterpiece that includes two live recordings in New York. Simple, melancholy melodies and dense improvisation with strings and horns. 'Truth Is Marching In' is like New Orleans marching band.
|The Oscar Peterson Trio/We Get Requests (1964)|
A 1964 studio session album (Verve) by the Canadian jazz pianist, Oscar Peterson's trio with Ray Brown (bass) and Ed Thigpen (drums). The tunes are mostly popular songs of the day, such as bossa nova songs "Corcovado" (Antonio Carlos Jobim) and "The Girl from Ipanema" (Antonio Carlos Jobim), a movie theme "Days of Wine and Roses" (Henry Mancini), musical songs "People" (Jule Styne) and "Have You Met Miss Jones?" (Richard Rodgers). Rhythmic and swingy performances with delicate and polite piano touches.
|Andrew Hill/Point of Departure (1964)|
An American jazz pianist and composer known for his unique feel of melody/time signatures, and rhythmically/harmonically complex compositions, Andrew Hill's fourth album as leader (Blue Note). Abstract and avant-garde jazz in a strange mood like Thelonious Monk's works, by the sextet of Kenny Dorham (trumpet), Eric Dolphy (alto saxophone, bass clarinet, flute), Joe Henderson (tenor saxophone), Andrew Hill (piano), Richard Davis (bass) and Tony Williams (drums). Recorded after a month of Dolphy's masterpiece "Out to Lunch", and three months before Dolphy's death. Dolphy's solos are prominent and impressive.
|Andrew Hill/Compulsion!!!!! (1965)|
An American jazz pianist and composer known for his unique feel of melody/time signatures, and rhythmically/harmonically complex compositions, Andrew Hill's sixth album as leader (Blue Note). Free-oriented avant-garde jazz introducing African percussions (African drums, conga), polyrhythm and collective improvisation, and featuring percussive piano like Cecil Taylor. Featuring Freddie Hubbard (trumpet, flugelhorn), John Gilmore (tenor saxophone, bass clarinet), who is known for his tenure with Sun Ra and his Arkestra, Cecil McBee (bass), Joe Chambers (drums) and others. The third track "Premonition" is an excellent atonal ballad featuring Richard Davis on bowed (arco) microtonal bass.
|Herbie Hancock/Empyrean Isles (1964)|
An American jazz pianist, Herbie Hancock's fourth album as leader (Blue Note). One of his early masterpieces along with "Maiden Voyage" (1965). Performed by the quartet that consists of the rhythm section of the Miles Davis Quintet at that time, Herbie Hancock (piano), Ron Carter (bass) and Tony Williams (drums), with Freddie Hubbard (cornet). Exquisite balance between traditional hard bop and contemporary elements. "One Finger Snap" is a good modal piece. "Cantaloupe Island" is a funky and bluesy tune at slow tempo, which was sampled by the British jazz-rap group Us3 on their song "Cantaloop (Flip Fantasia)" in 1993. "The Egg" is a contemporary music/free jazz-oriented piece. The CD released in 1999 includes the alternate takes of "One Finger Snap" and "Oliloqui Valley" as bonus tracks.
|Herbie Hancock/Maiden Voyage (1965)|
One of the greatest works of the 1960s jazz. Flexible musicality (from modal style to free style).
|Herbie Hancock/Speak Like a Child (1968)|
Soft and simple sounds by piano trio with 3 winds (flugelhorn, bass trombone and alto flute) in the low and medium registers.
|Herbie Hancock/Head Hunters (1973)|
A biggest-selling album recorded in 1973. Danceable fusion/jazz-funk influenced by James Brown and Sly Stone. The sounds of electric piano (Fender Rhodes) and synths are cool. Includes "Chameleon" and "Watermelon Man".
|Herbie Hancock/Flood (1975)|
One of the masterpieces by Herbie Hancock with his jazz-funk/fusion band, the Headhunters, in his 1970s electric/funk period. Recorded live in Tokyo (Shibuya Koukaido and Nakano Sun Plaza) in 1975, and initially released only in Japan. The first track is an acoustic solo of "Maiden Voyage", but other tracks are sharp funk performances, including his famous pieces such as "Watermelon Man" and "Chameleon", with tight rhythm section (Paul Jackson on bass, Mike Clark on drums and others). A must-have for funk listeners.
|Herbie Hancock/Future Shock (1983)|
Pop-oriented electro funk featuring machinelike techno beat influenced by Kraftwerk and turntable scratching of hip-hop. The guest musicians are Bill Laswell (bass) and Michael Beinhorn (synths) from Material, the DJ Grand Mixer D.ST (turntables), Sly Dunbar (drums, percussion) from Sly & Robbie, Bernard Fowler (vocals) and others. Includes the Grammy-winning (Best R&B Instrumental) smash hit, "Rockit".
|Bobby Hutcherson/Components (1965)|
An American jazz vibraphonist known for his participation in Jackie McLean's "One Step Beyond" (1963), Eric Dolphy's "Out to Lunch" (1964) and the like, Bobby Hutcherson's third album as leader (Blue Note). Performed by the sextet of Freddie Hubbard (trumpet), James Spaulding (alt sax, flute), Bobby Hutcherson (vibes, marimba), Herbie Hancock (piano), Ron Carter (bass), and Joe Chambers (drums). A masterpiece of contemporary post-bop. The first four tracks composed by Bobby Hutcherson are in a hard bop style. The third track "Little B's Poem" is a famous and popular composition. The last four tracks composed by Joe Chambers are avant-garde and lean toward contemporary music. However, the last track "Pastoral" is a beautiful small ballad.
|Larry Young/Unity (1965)|
Am American jazz organist/pianist known for his participation in The Tony Williams Lifetime's "Emergency!" (1969) and Miles Davis's "Bitches Brew" (1969), Larry Young's best-known album as leader (Blue Note). Recorded by a two-horn and bassless quartet of Woody Shaw (trumpet), Joe Henderson (tenor saxophone), Elvin Jones (drums), and Larry Young (organ). The bass part is played by the organ bass pedal. A masterpiece which pioneered the modal and modern style of Hammond organ (B-3) under the influence of John Coltrane, which differed from Jimmy Smith's earthy soul jazz. "Zoltan" begins with the march from Zoltan Kodaly's Hary Janos Suite. "Monk's Dream" is a tune by Thelonious Monk. "Softly, as in a Morning Sunrise" is a standard song composed by Sigmund Romberg.
|Cecil Taylor/Unit Structures (1966)|
An avant-garde pianist influenced by contemporary music. Atonal, percussive and abstract performances with 3 winds and 2 basses.
|Cecil Taylor/Conquistador! (1966)|
A 1966 album (Blue Note) by Cecil Taylor, an American avant-garde jazz pianist. Recorded about five months after the masterpiece "Unit Structures". By the sextet of Cecil Taylor (piano), Bill Dixon (trumpet), Jimmy Lyons (alto sax), Henry Grimes (bass), Alan Silva (bass) and Andrew Cyrille (drums). Atonal free jazz with well-controlled, intellective performances, like "Unit Structures", but more accessible than "Unit Structures", for it has flowing, easy-to-follow organization and slow tempo, though personally I prefer the complex and harsh sound of "Unit Structures". Alan Silva plays bowing bass (arco bass) and makes use of its high-pitched tones and glissando.
|Cecil Taylor Unit/Akisakila (1973)|
The bassless trio of Cecil Taylor (piano), Jimmy Lyons (alto sax) and Andrew Cyrille (drums). Live recording in Tokyo (Shinjuku Kosei Nenkin Hall), Japan on May 22, 1973. A set of 2 CDs that includes the first part of the concert (about 83 minutes). A very long improvisation entitled 'Bulu Akisakira Kutala' (three Swahili words that mean 'Black', 'Boiling' and 'Smooth'). Extremely high-speed and dense collective improvisation.
|Cecil Taylor/Silent Tongues: Live at Montreux '74 (1974)|
The live recording of piano solo at the 1974 Montreux Jazz Festival. Percussive sounds like drum playing. Well-elaborated musical composition. Noisy and avant-garde, but cool.
|Roscoe Mitchell Sextet/Sound (1966)|
An African American jazz saxophononist, known as one of the members of AACM (Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians) and AEC (Art Ensemble of Chicago), Roscoe Mitchell's debut album as a leader (Delmark). Free jazz in the contemporary music style, introducing recorder, harmonica, whistle, toy instruments, and non-musical noise in addition to traditional jazz instruments. Solos and free collective improvisations by the sextet, three future Art Ensemble of Chicago members, Roscoe Mitchell (alto saxophone, clarinet, flute, recorder), Lester Bowie (trumpet, flugelhorn, harmonica), and Malachi Favors (bass), with Maurice McIntyre (tenor saxophone), Lester Lashley (trombone, cello), and Alvin Fielder (percussion). The contrast between sound and silence is impressive. The first recording by AACM members. Regarded as the starting point of AEC. The CD released in 1996 includes two takes of "Sound" (which were edited together in the original LP), and another version (different arrangement) of "Ornette" too.
AMM is a British free improvisation group founded in London in 1965 by Eddie Prévost (percussion), Keith Rowe (electic guitar, transistor radio) and Lou Gare (tenor saxophone, violin). The debut album (Elektra Records) recorded when an experimental music composer and ex-assistant of Karlheinz Stockhausen, Cornelius Cardew (piano, cello, transistor radio) was in the group. Electroacoustic free improvisation. It has the elements of avant-garde jazz in the free form and "aleatoric music", such as its using transistor radio, and it also sounds like precursor of psychedelic drone music or noise/industrial music. One of the roots of the 20th century avant-garde/experimental/improvised music.
|Sam Rivers/Dimensions & Extensions (1967)|
An American jazz saxophonist/composer, known for his playing on Miles Davis' "Miles in Tokyo" (1964), Andrew Hill's "Change" (1966), Dave Holland Quartet's "Conference of the Birds" (1972), and others, Sam Rivers' fourth album as a leader (Blue Note). Recorded in 1967 but not released. Released as part of the double LP "Involution" with Andrew Hill's "Change" in 1976. Released as an album in 1986. Performed by the four-horned, pianoless sextet of Sam Rivers (tenor/soprano saxophone, flute), Donald Byrd (trumpet), Julian Priester (trombone), James Spaulding (alto saxophone, flute), Cecil McBee (bass), and Steve Ellington (drums). A great album of avant-garde jazz introducing atonalism and dissonances into hard bop. Recommended for those who like Eric Dolphy.
|McCoy Tyner/The Real McCoy (1967)|
McCoy Tyner (piano)'s first recording on the Blue Note label as a leader, after leaving John Coltrane's Quartet along with Elvin Jones (drums). Modal and energetic performance. Elvin's groovy drumming and legato playing of the cymbals are pretty cool. A masterpiece of new mainstream jazz. Features 'Passion Dance' and 'Four by Five'.
|McCoy Tyner Quartet/Sahara (1972)|
A recording by McCoy Tyner (piano)'s regular quartet formed in 1971. The first work on the Milestone label. Moderate balance between aggressive, powerful performances and calm ones by use of koto, the Japanese traditional string instrument.
|Sun Ra and his Astro-Infinity Arkestra/Atlantis (1967-1969)|
An American avant-garde jazz musician, Sun Ra and his big band, Astro-Infinity Arkestra's album. The original was released on Saturn label in 1969, and reissued 1973 on Impulse! in 1973. The first five tracks features Sun Ra's electronic keyboards (Hohner Clavinet) and tribal, polyrhythmic percussions. The third track "Yucatan" was replaced by a different piece with the same name for the 1973 reissue. The CD includes the both versions. The 21-minute title track "Atlantis" is an experimental, cosmic big band jazz piece featuring Sun Ra's electronic keyboards (Gibson Kalamazoo organ and Clavioline) and the brass/woodwind section.
|Sun Ra and His Arkestra/Live at Montreux (1976)|
One of the 1970s great recordings by jazz pianist/band leader, Sun Ra and his big band 'Arkestra'. An avant-Garde sound space with miscellaneous elements such as swing, bop, free improvisations and African. Sun Ra's improvisations on piano, electronic organ and Moog synths are awesome. Recorded live at the Montreux jazz festival in Switzerland in 1976. The world's first release on CD in Japan in 2003.
|Sun Ra/Lanquidity (1978)|
An American avant-garde Jazzjazz musician, Sun Ra and his big band's 1978 recording (Philly Jazz). Funk/fusion-oriented acid/psych jazz, featuring Sun Ra (ARP synths, electric piano (Fender Rhodes), Hammond B3 organ, Mini-Moog, piano and others), John Gilmore (tenor sax), Marshall Allen (alto sax), Eddie Gale (trumpet), with two guitars and three drummers. Hypnotic and meditative sound with pulsing grooves and languor. "Where Pathways Meet" is a good funky tune. Recommended to those who like electric Miles, P-Funk and Pharoah Sanders.
|Elvin Jones/Puttin' It Together (1968)|
Ex-John Coltrane Quartet drummer, Elvin Jones' first recording on the Blue Note label as a leader. The pianoless trio with Joe Farrell (tenor sax, soprano sax, flute, piccolo) and Jimmy Garrison (bass). Massive and delicate polyrhythmic drums are cool. Joe Farrell and Jimmy Garrison are good too.
|Chick Corea/Now He Sings, Now He Sobs (1968)|
2nd album. Piano-bass-drums trio. Lambency and suppleness.
|Chick Corea/Return to Forever (1972)|
A blockbuster by Chick Corea (electric-piano) and his fusion band, Return to Forever, featuring Joe Farrell (soprano sax/flute), Stanley Clarke (bass/electric bass), Flora Purim (vocals/percussion) and Airto Moreira (drums/percussion). Melodic and comfortable music fusing electric instruments with acoustic sounds and Latin rhythms.
|Chick Corea-Gary Burton/Crystal Silence (1972)|
The first duet album (ECM) by jazz pianist Chick Corea with jazz vibraphonist Gary Burton, known for his four-mallet technique. Unique tone color like clear crystals, only by use of rigid acoustic piano and metallic vibes. Corea's Latin-flavored original "Señor Mouse" is a good, rhythmic performance. The title track "Crystal Silence" is Corea's ballad that first appeared on his album "Return to Forever". One of the early ECM masterpieces. Produced by Manfred Eicher (ECM).
|Anthony Braxton/For Alto (1968)|
Anthony Braxton is an American composer, alto saxophonist and multi-reedist born in Chicago in 1945, influenced by both jazz tradition (especially saxophonists Warne Marsh, Paul Desmond, John Coltrane and Eric Dolphy) and composers of contemporary music such as John Cage and Karlheinz Stockhausen. The second album as a leader (Delmark). Avant-garde free jazz by unaccompanied alto saxophone solos. The highlight is explosive improvisation in the second track "To Composer John Cage", with segmentalized melodies, freak tones and blues elements. An important album in free jazz history, which influenced Steve Lacy, George Lewis and John Zorn.
|Dollar Brand/African Piano (1969)|
A jazz pianist from South Africa. Renamed as 'Abdullah Ibrahim' (Islamic name) later. Unaccompanied piano solo. Live recorded in Copenhagen, Denmark. European-jazz-style performance based on African folk music. Earthy and powerful piano touch. Undulating rhythm. Euphoria-inducing repetitive phrases in the minimalism style.
|Abdullah Ibrahim/Water From an Ancient Well (1985)|
A South African jazz pianist/composer, Abdullah Ibrahim's 1985 recording (Tiptoe). Performed by "Ekaya", his septet ensemble with four horns. The sound blending South African musical forms with American jazz such as Duke Ellington, featuring lots of ballads with slow tempos and beautiful melodies. All the tracks are Abdullah Ibrahim's originals. "Mandela" is a tune using South African keyboard style "Marabi", and its name comes from a South African anti-apartheid revolutionary and politician, Nelson Mandela. "Mannenberg (Revisited)" is a shorter version of the song "Mannenberg" ("Capetown Fringe" in its US release), released under his former name Dollar Brand and known as an anti-apartheid anthem.
|Charlie Haden/Liberation Music Orchestra (1969)|
The jazz bassist, Charlie Haden's first album as leader. The musicians are the members of avant-garde jazz group Jazz Composer's Orchestra Association/JCOA, such as Carla Bley (piano) and Mike Mantler (trumpet). A political (antiwar, anti-nationalism) work that deals with the Spanish Civil War and the Vietnam War. "Song of the United Front" is an arrangement of the piece composed by Hanns Eisler. "El Quinto Regimiento/The Fifth Regiment", "Los Cuatro Generales/The Four Generals" and "Viva la Quince Brigada/Long Live the Fifteenth Brigade" are Spanish traditional songs with new lyrics. "Song for Ché" is a song dedicated to Che Guevara, the leader of Cuban guerrilla. "War Orphans" is a song by Ornette Coleman. A masterpiece like a bottom line of the 1960s free jazz. Arrangements by Carla Bley.
|Charlie Haden & Pat Metheny/Beyond the Missouri Sky (Short Stories) (1996)|
The first duet album by Charlie Haden (bass) and Pat Metheny (guitar). The duo of bass and acoustic guitar with overdubbed synths, guitars and keyboards. Simple and lyrical sounds. Ballads in slow tempo with beautiful melodies. Features Charlie Haden's 'First Song', Henry Mancini's 'Two for the Road', Jim Webb's 'The Moon is a Harsh Mistress', Roy Acuff's 'The Precious Jewel', and Ennio Morricone's 'Cinema Paradiso (main theme)'.
|Pharoah Sanders/Karma (1969)|
An American jazz (tenor) saxophonist who had joined John Coltrane's late groups, Pharoah Sanders' third album as a leader (Impulse! Records). Spiritual free Jazz in the post-Coltrane style, but heavenly and expansive sound, like 'world fusion', featuring Leon Thomas' yodel vocals, percussion like a bell, flute and French horn. Meditative trance music with simple, repetitive melodies. More pop-oriented and accessible than Coltrane's 'A Love Supreme', so recommended to rock fans.
|John McLaughlin/Extrapolation (1969)|
An English guitarist, known for joining Tony Williams' Lifetime, electric Miles sessions since "In a Silent Way", and his own jazz-rock band Mahavishnu Orchestra, John McLaughlin's first recording as a leader (Marmalade Records). Recorded right before he went to the US to join Lifetime. Performed by the pianoless quartet featuring John McLaughlin'as guitar and John Surman's baritone/soprano saxophones. Abstract and high-toned sound like free jazz such as John Coltrane and Eric Dolphy, and jazz-rock/prog-rock such as Soft Machine and King Crimson. Not so rock-oriented as his late jazz-rock/fusion works such as Lifetime, electric Miles and Mahavishnu Orchestra, and closer to free jazz and prog-rock. All the tracks composed by John McLaughlin. A hidden gem of the late 1960s English jazz.
|The Tony Williams Lifetime/Emergency! (1969)|
The debut album of the Tony Williams Lifetime, the trio formed by a jazz drummer Tony Williams (ex-member of the Miles Davis Quintet) with John McLaughlin (later formed the Mahavishnu Orchestra) on guitar and Larry Young on organ. The sound with distorted guitar and organ is like psych rock or avant-garde prog-rock. One of the most influential albums of the late 1960s early fusion/jazz-rock.
|Don Cherry/"Mu" First Part, "Mu" Second Part (1969)|
An African-American jazz cornetist/trumpeter known for his acts with Ornette Coleman, Don Cherry's 1969 recordings (BYG). The first and second parts were released as 2 LPs separately, and reissued as a single CD. Performed by the duo of Don Cherry (pocket trumpet, piano, indian flute, bamboo flute, voice, bells, percussion) and Ed Blackwell (drums, percussion, bells), who also had acted with Ornette Coleman. Avant-garde free jazz influenced strongly by Middle Eastern, African and Indian ethnic music. One of the earliest albums in the genre later called world music or world fusion.
|Carmen McRae/The Great American Songbook (1971)|
The jazz singer Carmen McRae sings American popular songs such as Duke Ellington's "Satin Doll", Cole Porter's "At Long Last Love", Henry Mancini's "The Days of Wine and Roses", George Gershwin's "But Not for Me", and Burt Bacharach's "(They Long to Be) Close to You". Recorded live at the jazz club "Donte's", Los Angels, California. Pleasant performances in a relaxed atmosphere. Joe Pass' guitar playing is good too. One of the vocal jazz masterpieces.
|Keith Jarrett/Facing You (1971)|
An American pianist and composer working in both jazz and classical fields, Keith Jarrett's first piano solo album (ECM). A groundbreaking work that developed the potential of free expression of piano solo. Earthy and popular-oriented compared to the ethereal beauty of "The Köln Concert" (1975), because it also inclues tunes in gospel and folk style, but Keith's characteristic style (lyrical and introspective, sometimes meditative and aesthetic) has already been developed in this album. All the compositions are Keith's originals. Produced by Manfred Eicher.
|Keith Jarrett/Solo Concerts: Bremen and Lausanne (1973)|
A free improvisation of piano solo mixing various elements such as popular, classical and contemporary. Live recording in Bremen, Germany and Lausanne, Switzerland.
|Keith Jarrett/The Köln Concert (1975)|
Lyrical and beautiful improvisation of piano solo. More compact and less redundant than 'Solo Concerts' (Bremen and Lausanne). Live recording at the Köln Opera House.
|Keith Jarrett/Staircase (1976)|
The fourth solo piano album recorded at Davout Studio, Paris (ECM). Includes four original pieces titled "Staircase", "Hourglass", "Sundial" and "Sand". Each one consists of two or three parts. Imaginative inprovisations. Reflective and lyrical, but tranquil and detached performances. Can be listened in a relaxed manner. The sound quality is excellent. Produced by Manfred Eicher. Recommended for classic listeners too.
|Keith Jarrett/The Melody at Night, With You (1997)|
His first collection of standards by solo piano (ECM). Recorded in his New Jersey home studio in 1997, after he recovered from chronic fatigue syndrome. Tranquil, romantic and beautiful performances featuring the simple melodies of the originals. George Gershwin's "I Loves You Porgy" and "Someone To Watch Over Me", Duke Ellington's "I Got It Bad And That Ain't Good", Oscar Hammerstein II and Jerome Kern's "Don't Ever Leave Me", Sammy Kahn's "Be My Love", traditional songs such as "My Wild Irish Rose" and "Shenandoah", and others.
|The Art Ensemble of Chicago/Bap-Tizum (1972)|
The avant-garde jazz ensemble that grew out of Chicago's AACM (Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians) in the late 1960s. The members are: Lester Bowie (trumpet, flugelhorn, kelphorn, bass drum, percussion, vocals), Roscoe Mitchell (saxophones, clarinet, drums, percussion, vocals), Joseph Jarman (saxophones, alto flute, conga drums, vibes, percussion, vocals), Malachi Favors (bass, gong, log drums, whistles, vocals), and Don Moye (drums, conga drums, bass marimba, gongs, log drums, whistles, vocals). Primitive and experimental improvisation with African percussion and voices. Live recorded in performance at the 1972 Ann Arbor Blues and Jazz Festival, the United States.
|The Art Ensemble of Chicago/Full Force (1980)|
The avant-garde jazz ensemble that grew out of Chicago's AACM (Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians) in the late 1960s, the Art Ensemble of Chicago's second album on ECM label. The personnel are: Lester Bowie (trumpet), Joseph Jarman (saxophones, clarinets, piccolo, flutes, vibes, celeste, gongs, congas, whistle and others), Roscoe Mitchell (saxophones, piccolo, flute, clarinet, gongs, glockenspiel, conga), Malachi Favors Maghostut (bass, percussion, melodica, vocal), Don Moye (drums, bells, congas, tympani, bongos, chime, gongs, whistles and others). Primitive and ethnic free jazz by full use of percussion instruments. One of the most accessible Art Ensemble of Chicago albums. "Charlie M" a bluesy piece in tribute to Charles Mingus. Produced by Manfred Eicher (ECM).
|Mahavishnu Orchestra With John McLaughlin/The Inner Mounting Flame (1971)|
The fusion/jazz-rock group led by English jazz guitarist John McLaughlin, Mahavishnu Orchestra's first album. Along with the second "Birds of Fire", this album is regarded as one of the greatest of all jazz-rock recordings. High speed, hardcore jazz rock with using lots of odd time signatures. This one is more rock-oriented and impressive than "Birds of Fire" on furious interplay of technical virtuosos. Not to mention John McLaughlin's guitar, Jan Hammer's electric piano, Jerry Goodman's electric violin and Billy Cobham's drums are great. Recommended to progressive rock fans who like Soft Machine and King Crimson.
|Mahavishnu Orchestra With John McLaughlin/Birds of Fire (1972)|
The fusion/jazz-rock group led by John McLaughlin, Mahavishnu Orchestra's second studio album by the original lineup: John McLaughlin (electric guitar), Jerry Goodman (violin), Jan Hammer (keyboards), Rick Laird (bass) and Billy Cobham (drums). An intense jazz-rock with using lots of odd time signatures. Billy Cobham's machine-gun drumming and Jerry Goodman's violin solo are awesome. Recommended to progressive rock fans who like King Crimson's "Lark's Tongues in Aspic" and the like.
|Paul Bley/Open, to Love (1972)|
A jazz pianist born in Montreal, Canada, known for his activities in the free jazz field from the late 1950s to 1960s, Paul Bley's first solo album (ECM). A famous and popular one of the early ECM label works. Lyrical piano solo with pointillistic performances, using few sounds and silences between the sounds. Filled with heightened sensitivity. The sounds have hard touch, but aesthetic, luscious and ecstatic. The recording is good. Includes three tracks composed by ex-wife Carla Bley, two by Bley's wife Annette Peacock, and two originals. Produced by Manfred Eicher (ECM). Recommended for those who like the piano pieces of contemporary classical music since the Second Viennese School.
|Dave Holland Quartet/Conference of the Birds (1972)|
An English jazz bassist, Dave Holland's debut album as a leader (ECM). Performed by the quartet with Sam Rivers (reeds, flute), Anthony Braxton (reeds, flute), and Barry Altschul (perc,. marimba). Free jazz like Ornette Coleman, based on Holland-Altschul's ever-changing rhythm, and features solo improvisations, but it has moderately-controlled ensemble. All the tracks composed by Dave Holland. One of the free Jazz/avant-garde jazz classics. Produced by Manfred Eicher. The third track "Conference of the Birds" is a tune with the use of quintuple time and a beautiful melody, effectively using flutes and marimba.
|Archie Shepp/Attica Blues (1972)|
An African-American avant-garde jazz saxophonist, Archie Shepp's 1972 album (Impulse!). A political album recorded just several months after the Attica Prison riots (1971). R&B/funk-oriented sound by a 39-piece large ensemble featured singers, strings, horns, piano, drums, guitars and basses, including vocal-led tracks such as soul ballads. The title track "Attica Blues" is a ferocious funk tune featuring screamed gospel vocals (Galliano sampled this in "Jus' Reach").
A Brazilian musician/arranger/keyboardist based in the fusion/popular realm, Eumir Deodato's first solo album (CTI) released under the name of "Deodato". A pioneering masterpiece of easy listening/crossover jazz featuring funky Latin-groove. #3 on the US pop album charts. The first track "Also Sprach Zarathustra" is a jazz-funk arrangement of the "Introduction" from Richard Strauss's symphonic poem (also used in the film "2001: A Space Odyssey"). This track went to #2 on the US pop charts, and won the Grammy Award for Best Pop Instrumental Performance. The fifth track "Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun" is an arrangement of Debussy's symphonic poem for orchestra. The personnel are Eumir Deodato (piano, electric piano), Ron Carter (bass), Stanley Clarke (bass), Billy Cobham (drums), John Tropea (electric guitar) and others. Produced by Creed Taylor (CTI label).
|Billy Cobham/Spectrum (1973)|
A jazz drummer and ex-Mahavishnu Orchestra member, Billy Cobham's debut album as a leader. Electro jazz-rock featuring Billy Cobham's rapid-fire, ultra-virtuosic drums, Jan Hammer's electric/acoustic piano and Moog synths, and Tommy Bolin's guitar.
|Joe Pass/Virtuoso (1973)|
The first of the jazz guitarist, Joe Pass' unaccompanied guitar solo series 'Virtuoso' recorded on Pablo label. "Blues for Alican" is an original blues song. Other tracks are improvisations of famous standard numbers such as Cole Porter's "Night and Day", Victor Young's "Stella by Starlight", Morgan Lewis' "How High the Moon", Ray Noble's "Cherokee", and Jerome Kern's "All the Things You Are". Joe Pass' transcendental virtuosity is unbelievable, for he plays the melodies, rhythms (basslines) and harmonies with only one guitar (Gibson ES-175), like an orchestra.
|Kaoru Abe (Kaol Abe)/Partitas-Unfinished (Suisei Partita) (1973)|
An isolated alto saxophonist who had worked in Japanese avant-garde jazz scene in the 1970s and died young at age 29 in 1978. After debuting in "Kaitai-teki Kohkan (New Direction)" (1970) with Masayuki Takayanagi (guitar), he had played with Motoharu Yoshizawa (bass), Yosuke Yamashita (piano), Toshinori Kondo (trumpet), Milford Graves (drums) and Derek Bailey (guitar). This is a solo album recorded in 1973 and released in 1981 as 2 LPs (later reissued as 2 CDs). A ferocious and dense free improvisation as if to attain the ultimate in alto saxophone playing speed. Recommended to those who like Albert Ayler and John Zorn.
|Grover Washington, Jr./Mister Magic (1974)|
An American jazz saxophonist, Grover Washington, Jr.'s fourth album (Kudu Records). A masterpiece of popular/R&B-oriented soul jazz/smooth jazz, featuring Grover Washington, Jr.'s tenor/alto/soprano saxophones, Bob James' piano/electric piano, Eric Gale's guitar. A hit album which topped both the Billboard R&B and jazz albums chart, and reached #10 on the pop album chart. Arranged and conducted by Bob James. The first track "Earth Tones" (composed by Bob James) is a fusion like electric Miles. The second "Passion Flower" (composed by Billy Strayhorn) is a pop ballad with strings. The title track "Mister Magic" is a good funky tune (#16 on the R&B chart).
|Toshiko Akiyoshi-Lew Tabackin Big Band/Kogun (1974)|
Toshiko Akiyoshi is a Japanese female jazz pianist/composer/arranger who has made the US her home base after she had studied at Berklee College of Music during 1956-1959. The first recording by the orchestra co-led by flutist/tenor saxophonist, Lew Tabackin. Big band jazz like Duke Ellignton. The title track "Kogun" is a monumental piece of work that incorporated elements of traditional Japanese performing arts into big band jazz, featuring Japanese instruments and Noh chant.
|John Abercrombie/Timeless (1974)|
An American jazz guitarist known for his sense of harmony influenced by Jim Hall and virtuoso playing like John McLaughlin, John Abercrombie's debut aslbum as leader (ECM). Fusion in the style of jazz rock/prog-rock, by the trio of John Abercrombie (guitar), Jan Hammer (Hammond organ, piano, synthesizer), who is a Czech keyboardist from the Mahavishnu Orchestra, and Jack DeJohnette, a drummer who had joined Miles Davis' band. Lyrical and aesthetic sound with a tranquil mood. Produced by Manfred Eicher.
|Pat Metheny/Bright Size Life (1975)|
An American jazz guitarist, Pat Metheny's debut album as a leader (ECM). Performed by the trio of Pat Metheny (6-string guitar, electric 12-string guitar), Jaco Pastorius (fretless bass) and Bob Moses (drums). Refreshing fusion featuring Pat's liquid, clear guitars and Jaco's virtuoso fretless bass. Lyrical melodies. This is also one of the earliest recordings of Jaco Pastorius. The last track "Round Trip/Broadway Blues" is a cover of Ornette Coleman, and others are Pat Metheny's originals. Producer by Manfred Eicher.
|Pat Metheny Group (1978)|
The first recording by the fusion band led by the guitarist Pat Metheny and keyboardist Lyle Mays (piano, synths, autoharp). Clear, refreshing and easy-listening oriented fusion sound. Melodic and lyrical tunes. Includes "San Lorenzo", "Phase Dance" and "Jaco".
|Pat Metheny Group/Still Life (Talking) (1987)|
Brazilian-flavored, pop-oriented crossover jazz with lots of voices and percussions. By the group featuring Pat Metheny (guitars) and Lyle Mays (piano, keyboards). Pretty comfortable sounds.
|Pat Metheny w/Dave Holland & Roy Haynes/Question and Answer (1989)|
An excellent contemporary crossover jazz by the guitar trio of Pat Metheny (guitar), Dave Holland (bass) and Roy Haynes (drums) (Geffen). The five of nine tracks are Metheny's original, and also features standards (Miles Davis' "Solar", Jerome Kern's "All the Things You Are", Willard Robison's "Old Folks"). "Law Years" is Ornette Coleman's tune. Closely organized ensemble. You can enjoy both calming ballads at slow tempo, featuring lyrical melodies, and up-tempo improvisations. The title track "Question and Answer" is a good piece like waltz. "All the Things You Are" is an incredibly fast performance.
|Jaco Pastorius/Jaco Pastorius (1975)|
A virtuoso bassist who had great influence on the music scene, Jaco Pastorius's debut solo album. Innovative sounds of fretless electric bass with transcendental technique and harmonics. Herbie Hancock (piano, keyboards), Wayne Shorter (soprano sax), Sam & Dave (vocals) and other great members joined.
|Jaco Pastorius/Word of Mouth (1981)|
An American jazz bass player/composer/arranger, Jaco Pastorius's second solo album. Released when he was a member of Weather Report. A unique, uncategorizable fusion sound by his big band including Herbie Hancock (piano), Wayne Shorter (soprano sax), Toots Thielemans (harmonica) and others. It focuses on not only his bass virtuosity, but also his ability to compose and arrange horns/strings. "Crisis" is a track in free jazz style. "Chromatic Fantasy" is an arrangement of J.S.Bach's "Chromatic Fantasia and Fugue in D minor" (BWV903). "Blackbird" is a cover of the Beatles. "Word of Mouth" is a jazz-rock style track with distortion bass.
|Jaco Pastorius/Invitation (1982)|
An American jazz bass player/composer/arranger known for his innovative playing of fretless electric bass featuring the heavy use of harmonics and transcendent technique at a high-speed, Jaco Pastorius and his Word of Mouth Big Band's 1983 album (Warner Bros. Records). A compilation excerpted and edited from "Twins" I & II (1982), the live recordings of "Aurex Jazz Festival" in Japan in 1982. Big band jazz in the fusion style. Arrangement like Gil Evans Orchestra. "Soul Intro/The Chicken" is a good funky performance. Duke Ellington's "Sophisticated Lady" features Toots Thieleman's soulful harmonica. In John Coltrane's "Giant Steps", Othello Molineaux plays the saxophone part by steel drum. Buster Brown's "Fannie Mae" is a R&B song featuring Jaco's vocals.
|Yosuke Yamashita Trio/Chiasma (1975)|
A bassless trio by Japanese jazz pianist Yosuke Yamashita (piano), Akira Sakata (alto sax) and Takeo Moriyama (drums). Avant-garde free jazz with physical aggressiveness like professional wrestling or fighting sports. A bit like Cecil Taylor, but more violent than Taylor. Recorded live at the 'Heidelberger Jazztage' (Heidelberg jazz festival) in Germany in 1975.
|Weather Report/Heavy Weather (1976)|
A fusion-jazz band led by Joe Zawinul (keyboards) and Wayne Shorter (sax). A best-selling album released after Jaco Pastorius (bass) officially joined. Pop-oriented sounds. Jaco's melodic and harmonic fretless bass is cool.
|Return to Forever/Romantic Warrior (1976)|
Jazz keyboard player Chick Corea's jazz-rock fusion band, Return to Forever's popular hit. A concept album on medieval times. Pop-oriented jazz-rock. Chick Corea (piano, electric piano, Moog synths, organ), Stanley Clarke (bass), Lenny White (drums) and Al Di Meola (guitar).
|Stanley Clarke/School Days (1976)|
The great bass player who once had been a member of Chick Corea's fusion band Return to Forever. His fourth album. Funky and pop-oriented fusion/crossover Jazz with transcendental technique on acoustic and electric basses. Steve Gadd (drums), Raymond Gomez (guitar), George Duke (keyboards), David Sancious (keyboards), John McLaughlin (guitar) and others.
|George Benson/Breezin' (1976)|
The American jazz guitarist/pop singer, George Benson's hit album (#1 on the US pop album charts). Pop/R&B-oriented fusion/crossover Jazz. The title track "Breezin'" is an instrumental cover of Bobby Womack's song. The hit song "This Masquerade" is a vocal number composed by Leon Russell. Produced by Tommy Lipuma. The orchestra arranged and conducted by Claus Ogerman.
|Gato Barbieri/Caliente! (1976)|
An Argentinian-born tenor saxophonist, Gato Barbieri's 1976 album (A&M). Easy listening-oriented smooth/Latin Jazz featuring sophisticated strings/orchestra arrangements and wailing, melancholy and pop melodies. Includes the covers of Santana's "Europa (Earth's Cry Heaven's Smile)" and Marvin Gaye's "I Want You". The guest musicians are Lenny White (drums), Eric Gale (guitar), David Spinozza (guitar), Mtume (percussion) and others. Produced by Herb Alpert of A&M. The orchestrations arranged and conducted by Jay Chattaway.
|Al Di Meola/Elegant Gypsy (1976-1977)|
The American jazz guitarist who had joined Chick Corea's band, Return to Forever, Al Di Meola's second album as a leader. Rock/Latin-oriented fusion with virtuosity of lightning-fast electric guitar playing. The third track "Mediterranean Sundance" is an acoustic guitar duet with Spanish flamenco guitarist Paco de Lucia. Jan Hammer (keyboards), Anthony Jackson (electric bass), Lenny White (drums) and Steve Gadd (drums) joined. Recommended to hard rock/progressive rock listeners too.
|The Carla Bley Band/European Tour 1977 (1977)|
The American jazz composer/pianist, who was an important figure in the free Jazz movement of the 1960s, and had joined Charlie Haden's "Liberation Music Orchestra" (1969) as a pianist and arranger, Carla Bley's 10-piece regular working band, the Carla Bley Band's debut album (Watt/ECM). Recorded in a Munich studio. Experimental, but pop-oriented big band jazz filled with acerbic and wry sense of humor. The personnel are Michael Mantler (trumpet), ex-Soft Machine members Elton Dean (alto) and Hugh Hopper (bass), Gary Windo (tenor), Raswell Rudd (trombone), Andrew Cyrille (drums) and others. The highlight is the last 19-minute track "Spangled Banner Minor and Other Patriotic Songs", a collage of "The Star-Spangled Banner" and other national anthems transposed into minor keys (like plaintive funeral songs) and mixed with Bley's earlier compositions.
|James Blood Ulmer/Tales of Captain Black (1978)|
An American jazz guitarist, James Blood Ulmer's first album as leader. Blusey free funk based on Ornette Coleman's harmolodic theory, with Jimi Hendrix-like gutar playing. Features Ornette Coleman (alto sax), Jamaladeen Tacuma (electric bass), and Ornette Coleman's son, Denardo Coleman (drums).
|James Blood Ulmer/Are You Glad to Be in America? (1980)|
An American jazz guitarist who had inherited the harmolodic theory (a music system that treats the elements of harmony, rhythm, and melody equally) from Ornette Coleman, James Blood Ulmer's 1980 album. Released on the UK independent label Rough Trade Records. Punk/new wave-oriented avant-garde jazz featuring the elements of jazz, rock, and funk, and going back to basics of the African music. Strange guitar playing with unusual tuning. Ulmer sings in two funk tunes ("Jazz is the Teacher (Funk the Preacher)" and "Are You Glad to Be in America?"). The remixed CD was released on DIW Records (Japan) in 1995.
|Larry Carlton/Larry Carlton (1978)|
An American jazz guitarist born in Torrance, California in 1948, Larry Carlton's third album (Warner Bros.). One of the masterpieces of fusion/smooth jazz in the 1970s. Adult contemporary-oriented and exhilarating music featuring the semi-acoustic electric guitar Gibson ES-335's long sustained, warm and mellow sound. Performed by the band including Jeff Porcaro (a member of the rock band Toto) on drums, Greg Mathieson on keyboards, and Paulinho da Costa (a Brazilian percussionist) on percussion. "Room 335" is a famous fusion piece inspired by Steely Dan's hit song "Peg". Carlton sings on "Where Did You Come From" and "I Apologize". "Nite Crawler" is a track Carlton originally did with the Crusaders. Produced and arranged by Larry Carlton.
|Richie Beirach/Elm (1979)|
An American jazz pianist born in New York City in 1947, Richie Beirach's 1979 album (ECM). Ethereal and aesthetic piano jazz by the trio of Richie Beirach (piano), George Mraz (bass) and Jack DeJohnette (drums). Chiseled touch and polytonal, complex harmonies based on his discipline of classical piano. Hard and transparent sound. You can enjoy both lyrical ballads and free improvisation, and heated interplay too. The title track "Elm" is a lyrical and beautiful tune based on the standard "Autumn Leaves". All the tracks are Beirach's originals. Produced by Manfred Eicher. Recommended to those who like Bill Evans, classical piano (impressionism and the like), and so-called "ECM sound".
|Masabumi Kikuchi/Susto (1980/1981)|
A Japanese jazz pianist/keyboardist known for joining Elvin Jones group and Gil Evans Orchestra (born in Tokyo in 1939, and based in New York since 1973), Masabumi Kikuchi's solo album (Sony). Fusion/electric funk filled with groove, strongly influenced by electric Miles in the early 1970s, such as "On the Corner" (1972). Cool and sophisticated sound by using electric instruments (electric piano, electric guitar and others), synths and complex percussions. "Circle/Line" is a track with odd time signature (7/8). "Gumbo" is a track with reggae rhythm. The participants are Terumasa Hino (cornet, bolivian flute), Steve Grossman (soprano/tenor saxophone), Dave Liebman (soprano/tenor saxophone, alto flute) and oters. This album has been reassessed in the club music scene in Japan since the 1990s.
|Sergey Kuryokhin/The Ways of Freedom (1981)|
A Russian avant-garde musician/pianist known for his acting in the rock band "Aquarium" in the early 1980s, and his own theatrical musical performance group "Pop-Mekhanika (Pop Mechanics)" since 1985, Sergey Kuryokhin's early solo album (Leo Records, UK). Avant-garde free jazz played by piano solo, including ultrahigh-speed performance like a tape on fast-forward. Percussive touch, like Cecil Taylor.
|Sarah Vaughan/Crazy and Mixed Up (1982)|
An American female jazz singer, Sarah Vaughan's masterpiece in her last days, recorded on Pablo label. Powerful voice with wide range, like opera singers. "Autumn Leaves" is a unique performance of famous jazz standard with only scatting and without melodies and lyrics. Featuring Joe Pass on guitar. "The Island" and "Love Dance" are covers of Brazilian musician, Ivan Lins' songs.
|Larsen-Feiten Band/Full Moon (1982)|
An American fusion band featuring Neil Larsen (keyboards) and Buzz Feiten (guitar, vocals), Larsen-Feiten Band's second album (Warner Bros.). Fusion-oriented adult contemporary. Pop sound featuring funky mid-tempo Latin rhythms, catchy and mellow melody lines, hammond organ, and main phrases in unison with guitar. Includes eight tracks in total, and there are four tracks with Buzz Feiten's vocals. Produced by Tommy LiPuma. Recommended to those who like R&B-oriented smooth jazz and Steely Dan.
|Wynton Marsalis/Black Codes (From the Underground) (1985)|
An American trumpeter, composer, and bandleader who had been active in jazz/classical fields since the 1980s, Wynton Marsalis' 1985 album (Columbia). A recording by the quintet with his brother Branford Marsalis (tenor/soprano saxophone), Kenny Kirkland (piano), Charnett Moffett (bass) and Jeff "Tain" Watts (drums). A famous album winning two Grammy Awards (for Best Jazz Instrumental Album, Individual or Group and Best Jazz Instrumental Solo), and one of his masterpieces when he rehabilitated traditional acoustic jazz of the 1950/1960s against the wave of fusion since the 1970s. Modal and modernistic sound like emulating the mid- to late-the 1960s Miles Davis Quintet in the pre-fusion period.
|Stanley Jordan/Magic Touch (1985)|
An American jazz guitarist known for his two-handed tapping (touch technique) to play two completely independent lines (melody and accompaniment) on the guitar at the same time (as if it were a keyboard), Stanley Jordan's debut album (Blue Note). Fusion/easy-listening-oriented guitar jazz featuring Jordan's tapping virtuosity. A hit album that had topped the Billboard's Jazz albums chart for 51 weeks. Includes four originals and six covers: the Beatles' "Eleanor Rigby", Miles Davis' "Freddie Freeloader", Thelonious Monk's "Round Midnight", Michael Jackson's "The Lady in My Life" (written and composed by Rod Temperton), Jimi Hendrix's "Angel", and Thad Jones' "A Child Is Born". Some tracks are guitar solo, and others are with bass/drums/percussion/keyboards. Produced by Al di Meola.
|Michel Petrucciani/Power of Three (1986)|
A French jazz pianist, Michel Petrucciani's live performances at the Montreux Jazz Festival on Jul 14, 1986, with Jim Hall (guitar) and Wayne Shorter (soprano and tenor sax). Blue Note. Romantic and lyrical style influenced by Bill Evans. Finely-textured touch, powerful driving rhythm and contemporary harmonies. The last track "Bimini" is a calypso composed by Jim Hall. Recommended for those who like Bill Evans & Jim Hall's "Undercurrent". A DVD edition was also released.
|Steve Coleman and Five Elements/World Expansion (1986)|
An alto saxophonist and Brooklyn's M-Base (Macro-Basic Array of Structured Extemporization) school founder, Steve Coleman's early work. The second album on the JMT label. Pop-oriented funk with odd time signatures, featuring electric guitar, electric bass and vocals. Complex in rhythm, but easily accessible.
|Michael Brecker/Michael Brecker (1987)|
An American jazz saxophonist known for his remarkable technique, and regarded as the most influential tenor saxophonist since John Coltrane, Michael Brecker's first as a leader (Impulse!). Played by the quintet with Pat Metheny (guitar), Kenny Kirkland (keyboards), Charlie Haden (bass), and Jack DeJohnette (drums). Fusion-oriented contemporary Jazz featuring Michael Brecker's tenor saxophone and EWI (Electronic Wind Instrument. One of the wind synths).
|John Zorn, George Lewis, Bill Frisell/News for Lulu (1987)|
A unique and contemporary interpretation of the hard bop compositions on the Blue Note in the late 1950s (Kenny Dorham, Hank Mobley, Sonny Clark and Freddie Redd), by the trio of John Zorn (alto sax), Gorge Lewis (trombone) and Bill Frisell (guitar), without piano, bass and drums. Condensed and concise performance. Coherent ensembles. Singular music like Dixieland jazz or avant garde/free Jazz.
|John Zorn/Spy Vs. Spy: The Music of Ornette Coleman (1988)|
An American avant-garde saxophonist, John Zorn's hardcore punk-style interpretations of 17 tunes by Ornette Coleman, one of the free jazz pioneers. high-speed and high-density performances by 2 alto saxophones, 2 drums and bass: John Zorn and Tim Berne on saxophones, Joey Baron and Michael Vatcher on drums, and Mark Dresser on bass. Recommended to those who like John Zorn's Naked City or noise rock.
|John Scofield/Hand Jive (1993)|
A jazz guitarist, John Scofield's solo album with his regular group (Larry Goldings on organ and piano, Dennis Irwin on bass, Bill Stewart on Drums, Don Alias on percussion). Featuring tenor saxophonist Eddie Harris. Funky soul jazz. Bluesy guitar with distorted sound is pleasing.
|Junko Onishi Trio/Wow (1993)|
A Japanese female jazz pianist born in Kyoto in 1967, Junko Onishi's debut album (EMI Music Japan). After graduating from Berklee College of Music in Boston, she moved to New York and played with Betty Carter, Joe Henderson, Jackie McLean, Mingus Dynasty and others, and then recorded this album by the trio of piano, bass and drums. In Japan this album sold fifty thousand copies, which was abnormally hit for acoustic jazz albums. Post-bop-oriented and swingy sound featuring heavy, rugged touch, and lots of mid/low-pitched tones. "The Jungular" is an original tune inspired by Duke Ellington's big band called "jungle sound". "Rockin' in Rhythm" is Duke Ellington's tune. "Brilliant Corners" is Thelonious Monk's famous tune. "Nature Boy" is a pop ballad compsed by Eden Ahbez (known as Nat King Cole's hit song). "Broadway Blues" is Ornette Coleman's tune.
|Medeski Martin & Wood/Note Bleu: Best of the Blue Note Years 1998-2005 (2006/1998-2005)|
An American jazz-funk trio formed in 1991, Medeski Martin & Wood's compilation album (Blue Note). Includes 15 tracks selected from their five albums released on Blue Note. The trio consists of John Medeski (keyboards), Billy Martin (drums, percussion), and Chris Wood (bass). Groove-oriented jazz-funk with Medeski's Hammond organ, featuring jam band-style improvisations, and genre-straddling sounds introducing hip hop, dub, fusion, rock, and avant-garde music. The "Deluxe Edition" featuring three bonus tracks and a Bonus DVD also released. Recomended to funk/rock/electronica lovers rather than narrowly-defined jazz fans.
|Mike Stern/Play (1999)|
An American jazz guitarist, Mike Stern's 1999 album as a leader (Atlantic). Contemporary guitar jazz featuring the idioms of straight-ahead jazz, funk and rock. Performed by Mike Stern (guitar), and his group members, Ben Perowsky (drums), Lincoln Goines (bass), Bob Malach (tenor saxophone) and Jim Beard (keyboards). Mike Stern plays together with John Scofield (guitar) on three tracks, and Bill Frisell (guitar) on four tracks. Dennis Chambers plays the drums on three tracks. The title track "Play" is a jazz track featuring Stern and Scofield. "Blue Tone" is a lyrical and spacious ballad featuring Stern and Frisell. "Tipatina's" is a funky and cool track. "Link" is a speedy jazz-rock/fusion track. All the tracks composed by Mike Stern. Produced by Jim Beard.
|Brad Mehldau/Elegiac Cycle (1999)|
An American jazz pianist, Brad Mehldau's first solo piano album (Warner Bros.). Original compositions with "Elegy" as a theme. Classical/contemporary music-oriented piano jazz featuring contrapuntal style with right and left hands playing independent melodies, like J.S. Bach, Brahms, and Chopin's piano works. Melancholic and poetic mood. Delicate touch with sensitive nuances and soft sounds. Recommended for those who like classical piano pieces or Keith Jarrett's piano solos.
|Derek Bailey, Jamaaladeen Tacuma, Calvin Weston/Mirakle (2000)|
An English avant-garde guitarist and leading figure in free improvisation/free music, Derek Bailey (guitar) with Jamaaladeen Tacuma (bass, ex-The Golden Palominos) and Calvin Weston (drums, ex-The Lounge Lizards), the rhythm section of Ornette Coleman's Prime Time and James Blood Ulmer. Thrilling interplay between Bailey's unpredictable, 'non-idiomatic' improvisation and heavy free funk rhythm. Released on John Zorn's TZADIK label.
|Bill Frisell/Blues Dream (2001)|
Jazz guitarist Bill Frisell's 2001 album as a leader. The quartet of Bill Frisell (electric/acoustic guitar), Greg Leisz (steel/slide guitar), David Piltch (bass) and Kenny Wollesen (drums) with 3 winds (trumpet, alto sax and trombone). Peculiarly distorted soundscape based on American traditional blues and country. Relaxed and encompassing sound. There are almost no jazz elements.
|Hiromi/Another Mind (2002)|
Hiromi (real name: Hiromi Uehara) is a U.S.-based jazz pianist born in Hamamatsu, Japan, known for her virtuosic technique (high-speed fingering), energetic live performances and unique sense of melody. The debut album recorded when she was at Berklee College of Music and released on the U.S. Telarc label. Prog-rock-oriented fusion by the piano/electric bass/drums trio with alto saxophone, electric guitar and electronic keyboard. All the tracks composed and arranged by Hiromi Uehara. A digital (DSD) live recording at Avatar Studio C, NYC. Produced by Richard Evans (jazz bassist) and Ahmad Jamal (jazz pianist). Recommended for those who like Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock and King Crimson.
|Enrico Pieranunzi/Fellini Jazz (2003)|
An Italian jazz pianist influenced by Bill Evans and McCoy Tyner, and one of the top artists of European jazz, Enrico Pieranunzi's 2003 album (CamJazz). Pieranunzi arranges Federico Fellini's film scores into straightahead (post-bop, modern creative) jazz with lyrical and beautiful sound. Performed by quintet of Kenny Wheeler (trumpet, flugelhorn), Chris Potter (sax), Enrico Pieranunzi (piano), Charlie Haden (bass) and Paul Motian (drums). It consists of six compositions ("I Vitelloni", "Il bidone", "Amarcord", "La Dolce Vita", "La Strada" and "Le Notti di Cabiria") by Nino Rota, one ("La Citta delle donne") by Luis Bacalov, and two originals.
|The Bad Plus/Suspicious Activity? (2005)|
A jazz trio from the United States, formed in 2000 by Ethan Iverson (piano), Reid Anderson (bass) and David King (drums), The Bad Plus' fourth album (Columbia). Acoustic piano trio based on the post-bop idiom, combining elements of avant-garde jazz, classical piano, and alternative rock. Melodic and pop-oriented sound. "O.G. (Original Gentleman)" is a tribute to Elvin Jones. "(Theme From) Chariots of Fire" is a cover of the theme to the movie "Chariots of Fire" (composed by Vangelis). Produced by Tchad Blake (a famous producer/engineer in the rock field, also known as a member of Latin Playboys) and The Bad Plus. Please note The US original CD is a copy-protecting CD with XCP (Extended Copy Protection), which has a computer security risk. The Japanese edition is a normal CD including a bonus track (a cover of Queen's "We Are the Champions").
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