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Charles Lloyd: Manhattan Stories

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Manhattan Stories is a trip back in time, a journey to a long gone and long-missed era. It's a window into the great Charles Lloyd's art at a period of transition. The shows presented on this beautifully packaged two-disc set--one recorded at the infamous Slugs' Saloon in the summer of 1965, the other recorded at Judson Hall in September of the same year--took place shortly after Lloyd left the employ of Cannonball Adderley and before he became a cross-over sensation and hero to hippies, moving a million units of Forest Flower: Charles Lloyd At Monterey (Atlantic, 1966). ...

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Marcin Wasilewski Trio w/ Joakim Milder: Spark of Life

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What do you do when you've released three albums as a trio (more, if you include albums released in Poland, prior to coming to the label) for a producer who traditionally seems to like shaking things up after that magic number? For Polish pianist Marcin Wasilewski and his longstanding trio--first coming together in their teens, they've been together more than two decades, and first recorded for ECM with trumpeter Tomasz Stanko for a triptych of evolutionary albums that began with 2002's Soul of Things and concluded with the far maturer Lontano (2006)--there have been two moves in 2014: first, show ...

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Ray Charles: Genius Love Company – 10th Anniversary Deluxe Edition

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"The way these days just rip along, too fast to last, too vast, too strong..." --Jackson Browne The final recording of Ray Charles, Genius Loves Company, enjoys its tenth anniversary. It is striking to consider that it has been over ten years since the death of Ray Charles, one of the most imposing figures in American music. The music made in the second half of the twentieth century has had a remarkable staying power owing partially to its revolutionary quality and the near frantic dedication of the Post-World War II Baby Boom generation. Charles' contributions to this ...

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Various Artists: Real World 25

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Probably there is no other popular artist in this shrinking world that has promoted various musics and cultures outside the Western world than singer Peter Gabriel. In the beginning, his solo records were influenced more and more by African music, especially its rhythms until those influences became an important and dominant trademark on his records. Then, in 1982, he got involved in World of Music and Dance festival (or WOMAD), a platform for cross-pollination of world music, which recently celebrated its 30th anniversary. Somehow this overlapped with Gabriel's enduring empathy with human rights and the increasing involvement with human-rights organizations, ...

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At Fillmore East: The 1971 Fillmore Recordings

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At least initially, the announcement of the release of additional recordings of the Allman Brothers Band at the famed (and now defunct) New York venue Fillmore East was cause for celebration. Upon closer inspection of the content and, in turn, its accurate placement in the context of the seminal Southern rock band's history, the joy dissipates considerably and, ultimately, leads the musiclover back to the original title At Fillmore East (Capricorn, 1971). Safe to say, it's invaluable for that reason alone. Splendid as it is to have more shows featuring the original six-man lineup, especially in this pristine ...

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U2: Songs of Innocence

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These days there is no other band that can polarize both critics and audiences alike than Irish band U2. Most of the time that's because of non-musical reasons that have accumulated through the years and the internet never forgets. The band always seems to cause heated debates that swell into fever pitch. Having reinvented themselves several times during their career the most constant thing about it is the constant change. And with each new record U2 seems to be taking bold new steps ahead as it was the unprecedented announcement to release its new record Songs of Innocence for free ...

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Robert Plant: lullaby and …The Ceaseless Roar

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Singer Robert Plant's interesting and colorful journey in music continues further with a brilliant new outing named lullaby and ... The Ceaseless Roar. For one thing, this record shows that as Plant gets older he does wondrous things but settle down. His former band casts a long shadow in today's music, with Led Zeppelin as popular as ever, and in a year that saw the band's albums re-released in lavish box sets and various audio formats, Robert Plant takes a new turn with this record. When he embarked on a solo career he seemed to be deliberately distancing ...

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Marko Churnchetz: Devotion

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Recorded in Brooklyn in April 2012 this excellent modern Quartet session led by Slovenian born pianist and composer Marko Churnchetz (native spelling is Črnčec) only recently saw the light of day in July 2014 courtesy of London's enlightened Whirlwind label. The delay is all the more inexplicable given the prominent contributions of hot saxophonist Mark Shim, who played on those wonderful recent Steve Lehman records Mise en Abime and Travail, Transformation & Flow. While this is Churnchetz's Whirlwind debut, he has released two previous albums as a leader Moral Interchange and Signature (both in 2010) and a couple ...

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Jason Jackson: Inspiration

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Jason Jackson is an outstanding versatile and well-heeled New York-based trombonist. Somehow, you don't hear his name mentioned along with peers like Robin Eubanks, Steve Turre, Steve Davis, John Fedchock, and Conrad Herwig. Perhaps that's because Jackson plays first chair in big bands, studio work, and Broadway musicals. He doesn't often link up with small groups or front his own, where musicians achieve their notoriety. In addition, his style represents the by now “classic" meld of swing, bebop, and post bop rather than being exhortative, exploratory, and experimental. He hones well-crafted improvisations within the legacy of one of his mentors, ...

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Phil Haynes’ “No Fast Food” Trio: In Concert (2014)

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A jazz trio called “No Fast Food" is more likely to appeal to a sophisticated audience rather than attract the legion of average jazz fans, and this album will no doubt appeal to just such serious listeners who will take the time to digest it. Phil Haynes, Dave Liebman, and Drew Gress are seasoned players, all of whom strive for a synthesis of mainstream jazz with rich innovation, while mostly avoiding the free and avant garde connotations. This album, recorded at live venues, is, despite its abstract and exploratory quality, remarkably listenable and even infused with humor. That is because ...

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Mark Turner: Lathe of Heaven

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Given that he's participated on no fewer than six recordings on ECM over the past six years-- two this year alone, with drummer Billy Hart's sophomore effort for the label, One is the Other (2014), and pianist Stefano Bollani's career-defining Joy In Spite Of Everything (2014)--it's no surprise to find Mark Turner finally getting his own date on the venerable German label. That Lathe of Heaven is the saxophonist's first recording under his own name alone since 2001's Dharma Days (Warner Bros., 2001) only speaks to an approach to recording that is as painstakingly well thought-out as Turner's approach to ...

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Hiromi: Alive

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If jazz has become a niche market in the music industry (and it is), a contributing factor for its slide into cultural irrelevance is a failure to promote and support new artists. No matter what sub-genre of jazz you personally love, across the board there is no sustained effort to develop a roster of first-tier talent in jazz. Every so often along comes a Esperanza Spalding who joins the long list of previous “saviors" of jazz such as Wynton Marsalis or Robert Glasper and is saddled with the unasked-for responsibility of reviving interest in the incredibly shrinking jazz field.

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Erik Honore: Heliographs

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If patience is a virtue, then Erik Honoré is, indeed, one virtuous man. Over the past few decades he's built a busy career as a novelist and record producer in his home country of Norway, and has come to increasing international attention as co-Artistic Director of the Punkt Live Remix festival--that globe-trotting festival with a philosophy that is about to celebrate its 10th anniversary in its hometown of Kristiansand in September, 2014. He's also become a more active participant on recordings over the past few years, performing on recordings by trumpter Arve Henriksen like Cartography (ECM, 2008) and Places of ...

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Chick Corea Trio: Trilogy

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Remember when CDs were so expensive to make that record companies would release double albums and remove a track or two, just so that it could fit on a single CD? Well, there may be many negatives about the state of the music industry today---despite this being a time when so much music is being made that, like the glory days in the 1960s/70s, it seems like anything is possible...there's just no more industry support to help any of it reach the same number of people--but one good thing is that the price of manufacturing a CD has dropped so ...



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