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Article: Building a Jazz Library

Unconventional Instruments

Read "Unconventional Instruments" reviewed by Karl Ackermann


ECM regularly tops lists of the best jazz labels though their full name--Edition of Contemporary Music--would argue for a broader scope of content. A substantial number of their most popular albums, such as Carla Bley's Escalator Over The Hill (1974), Egberto Gismonti: Dança Dos Escravos (1989), Nils Petter Molvær's Khmer (1997), and many more, are not ...

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Article: Building a Jazz Library

Charles Mingus: An Essential Top Ten Albums

Read "Charles Mingus: An Essential Top Ten Albums" reviewed by Chris May


Charles Mingus was rarely a happy man and yet his music possessed a power to uplift listeners unlike that of most other composer / bandleaders before or after him. It still has that power in 2021, four decades after his passing and on the eve of his hundredth anniversary in 2022. In his personal life, too, ...

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Article: Building a Jazz Library

John Russell

Read "John Russell" reviewed by John Eyles


On Tuesday 19th January 2021, one month after his 66th birthday, guitarist John Russell died peacefully at home after a long battle against cancer. A flurry of obituaries furnished details of Russell's life and fifty-year career as an improvising musician, some also praising his many music-related achievements far beyond his skills as a guitarist. Some obituaries ...

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Article: Multiple Reviews

Albert Ayler & New York Contemporary Five: Revisited, Remastered, Resplendent

Read "Albert Ayler & New York Contemporary Five: Revisited, Remastered, Resplendent" reviewed by Chris May


The Swiss-based ezz-thetics label was launched in 2019 by Hat Hut Records' founder, Werner X. Uehlinger, and its Revisited strand is a jazz aficionado's dream. The series is devoted to landmark avant-garde recordings from the 1960s, and ezz-thetics does more than simply reissue them. Peter Pfister, Uehlinger's longtime mastering Jedi, improves the audio quality of the ...

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Article: Building a Jazz Library

John Coltrane: Top Ten Live Albums

Read "John Coltrane: Top Ten Live Albums" reviewed by Chris May


This article is a companion piece to John Coltrane: An Alternative Top Ten Albums, which listed ten albums widely regarded as essential items in John Coltrane's discography and discussed another ten of comparable importance. John Coltrane: Top Ten Live Albums narrows the focus to club and concert recordings. Coltrane's live performances had a ...

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Article: Building a Jazz Library

Instrumental Duos

Read "Instrumental Duos" reviewed by Karl Ackermann


The early days of jazz were not always harmonious. Converted dance orchestras often sounded like unbalanced acoustic junkyards; a single violin, cornet, trombone, clarinet, tuba, drums, banjo, and piano, all fighting for attention. The piano was meant to be the glue holding the shrill and boisterous elements together. In 1921 a prodigy pianist named Zez Confrey ...

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Article: Building a Jazz Library

John Coltrane: An Alternative Top Ten Albums

Read "John Coltrane: An Alternative Top Ten Albums" reviewed by Chris May


Miles Davis once said that you could recite the history of jazz in just four words: Louis Armstrong, Charlie Parker. To that you need to add two more: John Coltrane. A giant during his lifetime, Coltrane continues to shape jazz and inspire musicians decades after he passed. No other player has come remotely close to eclipsing ...

20

Article: Building a Jazz Library

Eddie Sauter: A Wider Focus

Read "Eddie Sauter: A Wider Focus" reviewed by Chris May


For many people, composer and arranger Eddie Sauter's reputation begins and ends with Stan Getz's Focus (Verve, 1962). The album is, indeed, a masterpiece. But it is only one of the pinnacles of Sauter's career, which started during the swing era. Nor is Focus Sauter's only collaboration with Getz. The partnership continued with the less widely ...

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Article: Building a Jazz Library

Zakir Hussain: The Best Jazz / Crossover Albums

Read "Zakir Hussain: The Best  Jazz / Crossover Albums" reviewed by Ian Patterson


Zakir Hussain turned 70 on March 9th. In an unparalleled career, which began in earnest aged 7, the man widely acclaimed as the world's greatest tabla player has played with the giants of both Indian classical music and jazz. It is hard to think of another musician who has straddled both worlds to such a prominent ...

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Article: Building a Jazz Library

Saxophone Colossi: An Alternative Top Ten Banging Albums

Read "Saxophone  Colossi: An Alternative Top Ten Banging Albums" reviewed by Chris May


Miles Davis once said you could tell the history of jazz in four words: Louis Armstrong, Charlie Parker. You might want to add John Coltrane, you might even want to add Davis. But however you cut it, saxophones and trumpets have been the flag bearers of the music. Trumpets got things rolling and saxophones came into ...


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