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1. Jumping the Creek
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2. Mingus Ah Um [Bonus Tracks]
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3. Suspended Night
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4. Live in Tokyo
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5. End of the World Party: Just in
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6. Same Mother
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7. The Jelly Roll Joys
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8. In a Silent Way
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9. Triangle
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10. Expansion
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11. Finding Forrester (2000 Film)
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12. Music from the Hearts of the Masters
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13. What Now?
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14. Ken Burns's Jazz: The Story of
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15. The Black Saint & The Sinner
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16. Stay Awake: Various Interpretations
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17. Sister Phantom Owl Fish
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18. The Shape of Jazz to Come
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19. Out to Lunch
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20. Blues and Roots

1. Jumping the Creek
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Asin: B0007KIGIQ
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 1390
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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While this is a quartet recording, some of the most thrilling moments on the disc are when the four members are interacting in pairs. The title track opens with drummer Eric Harland and Lloyd, the bass enters briefly, and then only the trap set continues in duet with pianist Geri Allen. Lloyd's compositions move from post-bop melodicism ("Ken Katta Ma Om") to the seemingly ancient bearing of folk-like figures ("Angel Oak Revisited"). Allen in particular is a stimulating springboard for the leader. She has played with him since the beginning of this decade, and the breadth of playing is showcased in the new writing. The sheer variety of this set is stunning, as the quartet steps from continent to continent with intoxicating confidence. --David Greenberger ... Read more

Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars If You Love Charles Lloyd - See Him Live
I had the honor of seeing Charles Lloyd at Scullers in Boston recently as he opened his world tour. He was magnificent. In addition to doing material from this magnificent album, he added "Sombrero Sam" and "Forest Flower, Sunrise, Sunset" to the second set. Geri Allen was amazing and to watch Charles beam as she soloed on "Forest Flower" was a delight.
The tour is on along with a full discography. Don't miss it!

5-0 out of 5 stars Charles Lloyd brilliant as ever
I was somewhat surpised after listening to this album, probably, because I have been listening to Lloyd's "safer" records lately (Water is Wide and Hyppernion with Higgins - two highly recommended albums).

Nonetheless, I was shocked after I listened to first track. Lloyd's take on Brel's "Ne Me Quitte Pas" is absoultely stunning. There are no good words to describe it. You will just have to listen to it.

Perhaps a good preparation for this album is Lloyd's last year release "Which way is east". Much like that recording, "Jumping the creek" is on the experimental side. Lloyd improvises on the seemingly endless shores of his imagination, and members of his quartet are understanding and willing to go on the journey. Allen does some outstanding playing on "Ken Katta Ma Om".

For a personal favorite I select "The Sufi's Tears". Lloyd plays tarngato, evoking the oriental motives and bringing the listener to a completely different place. "Jumping the creek", the title composition, brings the musicians together in a whirlwind of improvisation.

This album definetely marks a new high in Lloyd's career. Beautiful and evocative- stunning, "Jumping the creek" is a marvel.

5-0 out of 5 stars One of Charles Lloyd's Best Albums Ever
This brand new album is a welcome addition to the Charles Lloyd collection. Ever since he first rose to prominence in the 1960s with his groundbreaking quartet, he has continued to move listeners of all different backgrounds with culturally diverse and spiritually moving music. Unfortunately, Mr. Lloyd dropped out of the music scene in the 1970s to pursue other interests. In the 1980s he re-emerged as a musician recording for the ECM label, which is the record label of this CD "Jumping the Creek." His style has changed, more reserved and brooding, but his pitch is the same and he still has loads of fresh new ideas.

On this April 5, 2005 release, Charles Lloyd seems to have continued his creation of groundbreacking music. He is surrounded by three musicians who understand his music: pianist Geri Allen, basssist Robert Hurst(former bassist for the SF Jazz collective), and drummer Eric Harland(current drummer for the SF Jazz Collective). Each are dynamic in their own right, but when these three combine with Charles Lloyd, the sound is floating, hard driving, striking, and meditative.

The album begins with the best thing on the whole album, "Ne Me Quitte Pas". Geri Allen begins by playing chords and the group enters to state the melody. "Ne Me Quitte Pas" is quite possibly one of the darkest pieces Mr. Lloyd has ever recorded. The melody is bleak, painting a picture of ominous, dark clouds ready to storm rain. Mrs. Allen develops her solo until she forcefully pounds (in a musical way) the main chords of the composition, climaxing her brilliant solo. Mr. Lloyd returns by restating the melody and develops the solo to an unbelievable climax where he screams in the upper altissimo range of the tenor saxophone. Eric Harland smashes the symbals with sticks, as oppossed to the delicate yet driving brushwork he uses for most of the composition. Robert Hurst plucks the bass with vigour, and Geri Allend accents with her rich chords. This breathtaking climax sent chills down my spine and clearly this performance and composition rank among Charles Lloyd's best.

The rest of the album is very good, although not quite living up the epic perportions of the first composition. There are many duets between different members of the band. For instance, the title track begins with just drums and saxophone and later piano and drums. There are ballads and swing and meditative pieces. In addition to his tenor Lloyd plays alto on some tracks and the taragato, adding to the ethnic feel.

This is an amazing album nevertheless and worth entirely every penny - even for the first piece, but the rest of the album is excellent. This and "Voice In the Night" to me represent the best of the new Lloyd that I have heard on ECM and there is everything in this album to confirm that Charles Lloyd is one of the greatest saxophonists alive, still fresh with new ideas and experiences to share with the listener. ... Read more

2. Mingus Ah Um [Bonus Tracks]
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Asin: B00000I14Z
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 1029
Average Customer Review: 4.84 out of 5 stars
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Mercurial bassist and bandleader Charles Mingus was signed to Columbia Records for the briefest of time during 1959. His Columbia recordings, however, remain some of the most inspired, mood-jumping jazz in history. The flowing sadness of "Goodbye Porkpie Hat" (unedited here for the first time on CD!) rings like a funeral chorus that pitches headlong into a celebration of Lester Young's life and improvising flexibility, rather than his death. And there's the funky furnace blast of "Boogie Stop Shuffle" (also unedited!), which reaches its glory with Booker Ervin's Texas tenor sax, wrapped tight in bluesy tone. With the index of emotions captured, these songs nail why Mingus is possibly the most relevant jazzer for the '90s generation. He swings and shouts and hollers and somersaults. His tunes either induce foot-stomping with their intensity or reach for poignant yearning with their lyrical tapestry of orchestral colors. --Andrew Bartlett ... Read more

Reviews (31)

5-0 out of 5 stars Completely Satisfying¿A Work of Genius
The first track says it all: "Better get it into Your Soul." This is soul-stirring, head-thumping, body-shaking stuff. Insistent, penetrating, simply inspired. Hard to compare it to anything, really, although it has elements of bebop, blues, gospel, and that crazy no-holds-barred spirit of funk. One of my top ten jazz cuts.

The famous "Goodbye Porkpie Hat," a tribute to Lester Young, is a quieter blues-based piece, centered around soulfully played sax. Emotionally, it's both sad and affectionate. "Boogie Stop Shuffle" sounds like the soundtrack to some weird 60's spy movie --with Mingus, expect the unexpected! Excellent piano by Horace L. Parlan, Jr. driven along by the lionesque Mingus on bass. Self-portrait in "Three Colors" and "Open Letter to Duke" feature brilliant Ellingtonian arrangements and warm colors. The latter piece has superb boppish sax-riffs, settles into a richly colored niche, and then breaks into some rhythmic and melodic audacity.

Mingus' brilliant, daring "Fables of Faubus" retains its mocking tone, but is less political than the vocal version on the magnificent "Live at Antibes." It's an interesting contrast to his bold (courageous, even) attack on Governor Faubus in the live version, and, again, shows Ellington's influence in its beautifully complex arrangement. "Pussy Cat Dues" and "Jelly Roll" deliver a New Orleans laid-back sound. On 'Dues,' Mingus lays down some languid, monumental bass effects. It's thick luxurious sleaze, sliced through with the purity and strength of the sax.

One of the best of the studio albums, although, frankly, I like them all. An innovator, an explorer, a trailblazer, he is truly a genius. You'll find more and more to appreciate with every listening. Most highly recommended to the Mingus fan as well as the most hesitant newcomer

5-0 out of 5 stars First Great Mingus Album
This album is a classic, containing some of Mingus' best known compositions. Good By Pork Pie Hat is a deeply felt tribute to Lester Young, Better Get It In Your Soul raises the roof like a gospel revival meeting. Fables of Faubus is quirky and menacing.

The band is full of good hard bop players. While not as adventurous as Mingus' bands from the 60s and 70s they play with style and passion. Horace Parlan in a wonder, especially considering that he worked with only three fingers on his right hand.

A must have for any jazz fan.

5-0 out of 5 stars One of the great jazz albums
This is a wonderful album from the volatile genius of bassist, composer and arranger, Charles Mingus. The songs are all either classics or deserve to be--
'Better git it in your soul' is a swirling, bubbling act of creative inspiration; 'Goodbye Pork Pie Hat' is a lovely introspective tribute to the then recently deceased tenor sax giant Lester Young; 'Fables of Faubus' is a satirical dig at a racist politician; 'Self Potrait in 3 colours' written though never used, for a film, is beautiful, etc etc.
The playing is very good, especially the whole ensemble-individual playing not as striking individually as the great jazz players, although Mingus was a great bassist, Jimmy Knepper a wonderful trombonist, and Danny Richmond a phenomenal drummer.
This shows what jazz can, and should do. Unmissable.

5-0 out of 5 stars As Vital As Anything Recorded In Its Day
There are three albums that make up my introduction to jazz records. Time Further Out by the Brubeck Quartet was first. Next was Monk's Underground LP. Then I'm diggin' this great album cover with the cubist painting and what a great title Goodbye Pork Pie Hat, a selection from the Mingus Ah Um masterpiece. In no time I'm so crazy over Mingus, I start buying everything I can find by him and shortly after that I caught him live at 2-Saints, a small...No, make that a tiny club on St Marks Place. During intermission I even found myself standing next to this jazz titan at the pizzaria on the corner of St Marks & 3rd...Having a slice with Mingus....Man, what a night that was!!!

Back to Ah Um...It's a seminal jazz recording. In my opinion as vital as anything by Elington, Monk or Miles. Pork Pie Hat is at least as great as Round Midnight, Sophisticated Lady or Funny Valentine. If you don't own this one in your jazz've got a lot of explaining to do!

5-0 out of 5 stars Euphoric
If traditional jazz can be compared to arithmetic, you might say that Charlie Parker composed algebra, Monk worked in geometry, and Mingus entered the realms of calculus. The songs on this album have the cerebral quality of the best be bop, and the swing of Duke Ellington. For those unfamiliar with Mingus, don't be put off by the fact that he was a bassist. He does solo, but he knew enough not to expect non-musicians to sit through extended bass passages. While the music is complex, layer upon layer of rich sounds, it is also extremely accesable to anyone who loves jazz. ... Read more

3. Suspended Night
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Asin: B0000V765G
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 6833
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars Stunning
I saw this band last night in their opening concert of a North American tour. Fantastic. They performed here in Seattle last two years ago in support of 'Soul of Things' and that remains a most memorable event. The most recent concert was divided into two one hour sets drawing on material from both 'Soul of Things' and 'Suspended Night'.

Gorgeous, sinuous melodies performed by an absolutely top flight quartet. 'Suspended Night' demonstrates the power and empathy of this remarkable group. The blend of the sixty-fivish Stanko with the his early thirties bandmates has been good for all concerned. A wonderful ensemble equally at ease playing fairly straight and taking things out.

I'd love their next release to be a live recording. My preferences aside 'Suspended Night' and 'Soul of Things' are essential recordings which generously reward the listener.

Highly recommended.

5-0 out of 5 stars Breakthrough
It's entirely marvelous--and almost always unexpected--to encounter a first-class jazz performer moving from a position of prominence to one of absolute top rank. Without a doubt, that is what trumpeter Thomasz Stanko has accomplished on his latest release from ECM. Here he plays with a confidence and presence often glimpsed in his previous recordings but come fully to the fore on this transcendent disc.

As impressive as Stanko is (and he's mighty impressive!), the real heroes here are, perhaps, his Polish quintet. Especially standout are Marcin Wasilewski on piano and Slawomir Kurkiewicz on bass. Not far behind is Michal Miskiewicz on drums. These players consistently set the table for the exact right moods and atmospheres for Stanko, be it elegy ("Song for Sarah"), acquiescence ("Suspended Variation I"), friskiness ("Suspended Variation II," a spirited tango), romance ("Suspended Variation III," a gorgeous ballad), hope ("Suspended Variation IV," another gorgeous ballad), joi de vivre ("Suspended Variation V," the closest thing these guys come to an up-tempo number), mystery ("Suspended Variation VI," a meditation of the vagaries and vicissitudes of life), and so on. This proves, as much as any recent recording, the magic that comes from playing with a working jazz band

Once again, as we have come to expect from engineer Jon Erik Konshaug and producer Manfred Eicher, the sound is ravishingly beautiful--with exquisite detail, presence, and warmth. ECM at the absolute top of its game. Hard to beat.

Surely one of the most purely stunningly beautiful jazz discs ever recorded, Suspended Night instantly vaults trumpeter Stanko to the very front ranks of trumpeters in the history of jazz.

Ignore at your peril. ... Read more

4. Live in Tokyo
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Asin: B0002M5TCU
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 1732
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Brad Mehldau has followed his musical inclinations into some surprise territories. First gaining attention as a member of Joshua Redman's quartet in the early 1990s, he could have easily been expected to unfold a new traditionalist's approach to jazz. Instead he's taken that formidable grounding and attached it to a wide range of compositional explorations. The solo piano Live in Tokyo is framed by a pair of Nick Drake compositions, and in between are pieces by George Gershwin, Cole Porter, Thelonious Monk, and Radiohead, along with one original. The material is all linked by Mehldau's focus on melodic identity and harmonic invention. He succeeds in finding the stately heart of each number, with Radiohead's "Paranoid Android" sounding perfectly natural alongside Gershwin's "How Long Has This Been Going On?" --David Greenberger ... Read more

5. End of the World Party: Just in Case (Dig)
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Asin: B0002QO4B8
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 1268
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With each successive album, Medeski Martin & Wood have become harder to pin down. Having long ago transcended their soulful organ-groove basics to enter a more expansive world of snappy beats and backbeats, eerie atmospheric effects, post-lounge riffing, and the occasional jazz overture, they occupy their own category. Produced by the Dust Brothers' John King (Beck's Odelay, the Beastie Boys' Paul's Boutique), End of the World Party (Just in Case) is an agreeably varied effort, ranging from the spacey effects and Middle Eastern taint of "Bloody Oil" (on which bassist Chris Wood lays down the lumber) to the sassy electric funk of "Sasa" (one of four tracks featuring guitarist Marc Ribot) to the wordless voice effects of the jaunty title track. As ever, John Medeski is equally at home referencing post-bop piano aces like Herbie Hancock, getting down on churning Hammond organ, and making like Stevie Wonder with his "Superstition"-style synth. Unlike some MMW records, this one wastes not: all 12 tracks clock in at around the four- or five-minute mark, and they flow together with consummate ease. --Lloyd Sachs ... Read more

6. Same Mother
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Asin: B00074CC64
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 7318
Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (8)

2-0 out of 5 stars don't believe the hype
I've been hearing about Jason Moran for a while now and got a chance to hear this group live last night.I echo what someone else said--the guitarist is lame--but then so is the bassist--and Jason Moran is a noodler.He has nothing to say and he has no touch on the piano. If you like a lot of pointless noodling this is your record.

5-0 out of 5 stars So talented it's disgusting
I can see why a lot of folks struggle with this one.It's loud (mostly).And irreverent, if not outright bizarre.And kinda THICK sounding, as if the mix isn't quite right.And even sorta scatterbrained, in an odd way.Plus, the vibe's a little difficult to lock into.Those were my first impressions.And I generally trust first impressions.

But since I have so much respect for Mr. Moran, I decided to set the disc aside for a while and see when I came back to it if I'd somehow in the meantime figured out what was going on.Well, I'm not sure I've completely done that, but I've got a few ideas.

First off, if this is a blues album, it's one of the strangest ones ever released.Containing at the most three authentic blues numbers, it rather scopes out lots of sentiments and sensibilities akin to but not really blues.Plus, there's a rather striking and firmly rooted classical thing going on.Second, no matter what anyone says to the contrary, Marvin Sewell, a longtime favorite of mine and a practically criminally neglected guitarist, plays his butt off.Third, the leader is in finest fettle both from a playing standpoint and compositionally.

The blues contained herein--"Jump Up" and "I'll Play the Blues for You"--are so good it's scary, especially the latter, which evokes huge waves of badness, fueled equally by Sewell's electrifying guitar statements and Moran's crazily apropos pianisms: Roadhouse blues on steroids.Several other numbers ("Fire Waltz" by that blues-drenched piano maestro, Mal Waldron; "Restin'," almost but not quite a down-and-dirty country blues, with as much nostalgia and jest plain trouble as Townes Van Zandt meets Mississippi John Hurt; and "The Field," dripping distress and age-old injury) flirt with the blues while operating substantially in related but ancillary sonic and emotive venues.

Special mention should be made of the "Gangsterism" numbers bookending the performance.I'm thinking they're largely responsible for many listeners' ambivalence toward this disc.Both feature disturbing low-end pianisms, gnarly raucousness, and that muddily annoying mix.And yet, as much as any of the other performances, they define this disc's vibe, for better or worse.I admit they were the most difficult pieces for me (and, probably, lots of other listeners) to track with.Thus, they represent artistic integrity of the first order.Surely, someone as savvy (despite his tender years) as Jason Moran knows full well the risk he's taking placing these sonic anomalies front-and-center.Yet, that he went ahead and did it anyway, not only displays outsize Conejos but chutzpah above and beyond the call of duty.

All in all, this is a MONSTER disc, vaulting the leader and his empathetic band into the very front ranks of modern jazz.

5-0 out of 5 stars First impression a good impression
This is the first of Jason Moran I have heard. It is the best modern jazz I have heard. If it is the blues, etc.. the whole point is it comes from the same mother. Good stuff

1-0 out of 5 stars Was there a Zero Stars option?
I actually enjoyed Jason's outing with Sam Rivers,
who brought some mastery into an otherwise suspect
conceptual situation. Jason admits that sometimes
he is playing non-sensical phrases in an attempt
to be modernistic. Then there's his jive stuff with
the tape machine, which I won't elaborate on.

But he really went the distance this time by hiring
truly one of the worst guitarists I've ever been
forced to listen to. This Sewell guy does nice things
in the background on Cassandra Wilson's various joints,
but leave the soloing to someone else. The resonator
bits are tasty enough, but that solo on "I'll Play
The Blues" is worse than a high school frequenter of
the local music store and his truly lame attempt to
play uptempo free improv is an embarrassment. Maybe
"JaMo"(which I agree, is corny) hired this poser to
make him sound better, which he does. Jason has some
stuff going on, and his rhythm section is on fire.

But he can, and should do better. Fire the guitar player,
or at least hire any one of the hundred or so players who
could contribute something of worth. Sewell is a real
stinker on this one. Just awful.

2-0 out of 5 stars I tried to like this, but...
I love piano ensembles, and Jason is very talented, but I sure don't enjoy anything on this recording.I kept it in the CD player for five days straight, and for me anyway, there is too much pointless noodling around.I have no problem with the "new take on the blues", but what take?Some sparse twanging, some nervous bass lines that I simply am not moved by and can't connect with at all, and some pounding.Perhaps this is just not my kind of music.But in fairness to myself, I can handle adventure, dissonance, noise, looseness; this just doesn't amount to much.I sure love the playing on Black Stars and the live Badwagon recording (except I still get too distracted by the nervous bass that seems like somebody playing in a diferent band in the next room), but this CD leaves me flat.I'll watch Jason because he is certainly "the real deal", no doubt about that, but I'd pass on this one.
... Read more

7. The Jelly Roll Joys
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Asin: B000001K1F
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 90399
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8. In a Silent Way
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Asin: B00006GO9Q
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 7079
Average Customer Review: 4.89 out of 5 stars
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Miles Davis's famous mid-1960s quintet, featuring saxophonist Wayne Shorter and pianist Herbie Hancock, was intact until just a few weeks before his new, electric ensemble recorded In a Silent Way. Legendary as a kind of line in the sand challenging jazz fans during the ascendance of electric, psychedelic rock, In a Silent Way hinted at the repetitive polyrhythms Davis would employ throughout the early 1970s. It also partook generously of electric piano and bass and rekindled the tonal palette that Davis had explored famously with Kind of Blue. But In a Silent Way remains a clearly electric jazz record, part ambient color exploration, part rock-inflected energy and vibe, and part outright maverick creativity. Davis takes many long, breathy solos, and they glisten in a burnished blue against his new group's strange admixture of musical moods. --Andrew Bartlett ... Read more

Reviews (61)

5-0 out of 5 stars Single-disc Remaster, 2002
Apparently this was just released two days ago. It's about time! Until now, this album was only available in a first-generation remaster and, recently, in the 3-CD Complete In a Silent Way box set. Yes, you can now own the single-disc version without that annoying blue frame around the beautiful cover photo of Miles.

The sound quality of this remaster is amazing. The balance between the instruments is perfect, and each individual player's sound is crystal clear and recognizable. Tony Williams' cymbals are one of the most important aspects, and they are performed and recorded perfectly: just connected enough to create the ambient buzz, but still driving enough to make the listener become bodily involved (tapping your foot helps!).

This album is the true sequel to Kind of Blue, in that it shares the same mood and also a similar historical significance. A vanguard theory/style/approach, immediately pounced upon by Miles and presented in its pinnacle form, even though the movements of the two albums (modal improvisation and electric fusion, respectively) were brand new at the time. Somehow Miles was able to take these new and promising ideas and do them so well that it seems like the next decade would have the rest of the jazz world trying to catch up, while Miles just took them and ran further ahead.

This album, like KoB, is successful on every level of listening involvement. You can sit down by yourself and listen to every note, every layer of instrumentation and interaction, and it's all perfect. Or late at night with some friends during a session of either conversation or cannabinoid fumigatory imbibement, or just relaxation, put IaSW on in the background, and it will give you a stimulating yet calm soundscape.
It's Oh So Quiet!

5-0 out of 5 stars One of the Best Albums Ever Made
Miles Davis' 1969 masterpiece In A Silent Way remains one of the greatest albums ever made. There is a type of fiery beauty to the album that makes the listening experience both relaxing and intense. In A Silent Way is one of the first albums that could really be called fusion. Unlike most fusion recordings, however, In A Silent Way is true to the title; it is a very quiet album with incredible playing by th eentire band. The band on the album is extremlely great, with Dave Holland on bass, Josef Zawinul on electric piano, Tony Williams on drums, Wayne Shorter on tenor sax, John McLaughlin on electric guitar, Chick Corea on electric piano, Herbie Hancock on electric piano, and, of course, Miles Davis on trumpet. One of Miles' best bands since the first quintet with Coltrane. The album is a little under 40 minutes and only has two songs. Both songs are almost 20 minutes and are both brilliant. You really need to listen to this album to believe it. Essential to fans of jazz or rock and to fans of Miles or any of the other great artists on the album.

5-0 out of 5 stars Mesmerising
Not much happens on this album, no raging solos, no instantly memorizable melodies, no thunderous or mind blowing drumming. So why 5 stars? Because this album has something about it, an ineffable atmosphere of calm beauty that is joyful, trancendant and yet peaceful. Its like a cooling summer rain punctuated by occasional thunder in the distance. Its pastoral, yet electric. "In A Silent Way" is considered Miles first fusion album and the first in which he explored rock rhythms (that's debatable). Its also ironically one of his most tranquil and beautiful. An ambient masterpiece.

5-0 out of 5 stars short and sweet describes my review, and Miles Davis'...
... "In a Silent Way". only two pieces, reaching about forty minutes. called as their favourites by many jazz fans, its certainly not mine nor is it my favoruite Miles Davis album... but its certainly one of the greatest jazz albums in our time.

"In a silent way" is actually more different from other Miles Davis recordings. this is more of a louder and rockier albums... having streaming guitars and drums. theirs two songs, "Shhh/Peaceful" and "In a silent way" starting out with the amazing guitar. both are almost twenty minutes long, so you can easily relax while listening to this masterpeice. normally i would write more about something, but i simply shouldn't have to with this. its loved by many, and you'll love it too.

5-0 out of 5 stars Not-so-silent masterpiece.
1969's In A Silent Way is Miles Davis' first, and in my opinion, best foray into the world of fusion, a world that he hinted at with the prescence of electric piano on Files De Kilimanjaro. Unlike the heavy, brooding, and dissonant B-tches' Brew and the grating, rambling funk-jazz noodling that followed, In A Silent Way is eminently listenable and pleasant while still being far from ambient. Don't let the title mislead you--there's a lot going on in this album.

Basically, a continuation and augmentation of Miles' second quintet (consisting of Wayne Shorter on soprano sax, Tony Williams on drums, Herbie Hancock on piano, and replacing Ron Carter with Dave Holland on bass), this album adds three other notable jazz figures to the band. Joe Zawinul is on organ, Chick Corea teams up with Hancock on electric piano, and the incomparable British guitar deity John McLaughin is here, in one of his most restrained roles.

The sound is a subtle combination of cool jazz, funk, and rock. It's a credit to Miles' compositional ability that the three pianists never crowd things or sound muddy. Everybody knows exactly what to play and when to play it, yet the music has the best qualities of soulful improvisation as well. Despite the soft volume of all the instruments involved, there is much to listen to here. Just listen to the phenomenal interplay between all the musicians on hand, how Zawinul's organ runs perfectly compliment Corea and Hancock's chiming electric pianos and McLaughlin's laidback licks, how Williams' rockish hi-hat rhythms provide the backing, and how Miles blows out one of the best performances of his career. This is the Kind Of Blue of fusion, an album that all later melodic fusion recordings (including some of Miles' own) would be compared to and found wanting.

The only disadvantage to all this tasty music is that it lasts only 38 minutes. You'll want more. Hands-down my favorite Miles album, jazz purists be damned. ... Read more

9. Triangle
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Asin: B0000V6ZQM
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 14724
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars Is it possible to create jazz that's just too beautiful?
I don't know.

If it were, it would be purveyed by ECM.

And the artist would likely be either Tord Gustavsen or Vassilis Tsabropoulos, a pair of strikingly, heartbreakingly beautiful pianists.

What would too beautiful jazz sound like?

Would it be cloying?



Admittedly, this disc could be accused of suffering from all the above mentioned musical maladies.

But it doesn't.

Why not?

It has enough musical spine, enough tension-release, to ensure that it doesn't fall into cliché, stultifying repetition, or static boredom.

What does it sound like?

To me, it's like you're sitting in a gazebo with your current squeeze, preferably in the South of France, but if not there in Santa Barbara, CA.

The Santa Ana winds are blowing.


Let's just say you're at the Biltmore, all expenses paid, by whom, I don't know--does it even matter?--an Anchor Steam in hand, or, better yet, a Chimay Grand Cru, your gal clutching an expensive shiraz--the surf steadily offering up long tubes from a west-by-northwest swell (hey, I don't call myself longboardjazzer for nothing), Hammonds Reef going off in extraordinary fashion, glimpsed, from the corner of your left eye as you're sitting on the Biltmore patio, as it will every half-decade or so.

Get the picture?

No, you probably don't, being neither a surfer nor a beer connoisseur.

But no matter. The word picture conjures what's happening to all but the brain dead.

Enter this fabulous piano trio.

Shimmering, legato pianisms.

Subtle bass bombs.

Quiet drum pyrotechnics.

And you're there, soaking it all in.

That's what too beautiful jazz sounds like.

Dig? ... Read more

10. Expansion
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Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 59718
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars Finally ...
Expansion is legendary pianist Dave Burrell's first recording for a domestic label since 1966. Burrell himself has declared this album to be his "greatest recorded work". Until I hear proof to the contrary, I'm going to have to agree with him.

This album is a virtual tour through the historical possibilities of the jazz piano trio. Drummer Andrew Cyrille, a legend in his own right and ubiquitous bassist William Parker are his accompanists on this album, and there is nothing Burrell can dish out that they can't handle. All of these tunes are broken down, re-imagined and re-assembled again on the fly by the trio.

The album begins with the title track, an avant garde take on stride piano, albeit with full rhythm section in tow. Fans of the admittedly prodigiously talented Jason Moran, who also delves into such pre-war jazz styles, might want to hear an elder statesman's take on the same material. The album ends with Coup d'Etat, a swingin' variation on Coltrane's Giant Steps changes, but in-between there is a solo piano interpretation of an Irving Berlin show tune, some pseudo-military marches, a few free pieces and a ballad or two.

This studio recording highlights the trios multifarious abilities and empathic skills. Cyrille's trap set work is both delicate yet driving, Parker's bass meaty and propulsive, and when bowed, as it is on the duet - Cryin' Out Loud, absolutely sings. Burrell's own piano playing is unique. Less of the pounding clusters of the Cecil Taylor school, more of the everywhere at once linear logic of the great Don Pullen. Together they are a forceful but not unsubtle unit, capable of great sensitivity or, when the piece calls for it, such as on the pair of anti-war pieces, great emotion.

It's a shame that artists of this caliber have to wait so long for the sort of exposure they deserve. Burrell's contemporaries Sonny Simmons, Andrew Hill and Henry Grimes have all benefited from rediscoveries and reinvigorated careers in the last few years. Although this album is exceptional in it's own right, here's hoping that this is but the first of many more albums from Dave Burrell. ... Read more

11. Finding Forrester (2000 Film)
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Asin: B000056BUA
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Sales Rank: 18996
Average Customer Review: 3.58 out of 5 stars
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Topnotch Miles Davis music complements Gus Van Sant's latest film about an urban youth (Rob Brown), torn between basketball and writing, who meets a reclusive novelist (Sean Connery). The unlikely tale is supported by a generous sampling of Davis's early 1970s work nodding to Ornette Coleman and guitarist Bill Frisell. With the help of Ron Carter, Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, and Tony Williams, Davis molded his second "classic" quintet into a groundbreaking mix of funk and rock that created something far beyond the reaches of fusion. Both "Recollections" and "Lonely Fire" hail from Davis's landmark Bitches Brew sessions (finally seeing release as The Complete Bitches Brew Sessions in October 1998) and offer a calming, nearly ambient effect. This combined with Davis's polyrhythmic funk--"Black Satin" from On the Corner--and Ornette Coleman's own independent approach toward improvisation make for a solid sampler of jazz in a transitional age. --Rob O'Connor ... Read more

Reviews (38)

5-0 out of 5 stars Not for Jazz lovers. It's for music lovers at large!!
Very few soundtracks are able to pull together so much musical beauty together as this one did. The music of Miles Davis and Bill Frissell blend so perfectly into the movie, that one can think that the music is just as much part of 'Finding Forrester,' as is the very good acting and the script.

Take the scene when Jamal sneaks into Forrester's appartment (in the first fifteen minutes of the movie, don't worry: I'm not spoiling things for you). Would it be half as good without Davis' trumpet in the background? Or the rest of the movie without Frissell's guitar (for those of you familiar with Daniel Lanois, it sound sjust like his work)?

From this review you might think: "Hey! This is just for Jazz lovers!" Well, it isn't, it's more for music lovers at large, and for anyone who liked (like I did) 'Finding Forrester'. If you don't believe me, then picture yourself NOT liking 'Somewhere over the rainbow' (from the 'Wizard of Oz') or 'Wonderful World' (the classic by Louis Armstrong). You can't, can you? Well, these are two of the songs that form part of this splending musicall collage that served as background to 'Finding Forrester.'

5-0 out of 5 stars Get the Star Average Up Up Up!
This music worked great in the film, and stands independently as a masterful jazz compilation. This is a CD for those whose tastes and/or interests extend beyond the mainstream. But it contains the music of some of the most honored and popular contemporary jazz artists -- I mean artists. If you don't already know the modern music of Miles Davis, Bill Frissel, Ornette Coleman, but you like broadening your horizons, get this CD. I would not review a cabaret revue -- its not my thing. In that vain, I am disappointed that reviewers who just-don't-get-it-at-all were able to bring the star rating for this compilation below a perfect 5. Calling all music afficianados: Write a 5 star review and bring up the rating!

1-0 out of 5 stars Not for a make out session
Man, this was like the opposite of a aphrodisiac.

5-0 out of 5 stars I'd like to write a review of the reviews of this CD
I shouldn't need to point out that the following, but I will:

Most of the 'reviews' of this album that proclaim it to be non-music seem to be proof that a lot of people are close-minded morons that can't be bothered to READ labels or summaries before purchasing. I sincerely hope that at least a few people who 'mistakenly' bought this album were turned on by the wonderful music of Bill Frisell and Miles Davis. Who knows, maybe some open-minded individual discovered and enjoyed Ornette Coleman out of the whole thing?

5-0 out of 5 stars Simply Beatiful...
Probably Bill Frisell is one of the most influent guitarist at the moment and he shows it on this album. The melodies are simply beatiful and magical. In Under a Golden Sky you can imagine yourself like a big fat cat with a big smile walking by the forest with all the other animals looking at you... ohh this is so exciting... I hope that every people in this world would buy this cd because of the hidden beauty that it contains. ... Read more

12. Music from the Hearts of the Masters
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Album Description

Deep, mesmeric grooves and melodic wonder arise from the meeting of these two musical forces.

Foday Musa Suso, the innovative Griot and Kora master, is a tireless ambassador of African culture whose solo work and collaborations with the likes of Philip Glass and Herbie Hancock are now considered classics.Jack DeJohnette, one of Jazz music's greatest drummers, hasbeen a part of countless musical milestones from Miles Davis' Bitches Brew to last year's Grammy Nominated Out Of Towners with Keith Jarrett and Gary Peacock.These two undisputed masters of their instruments create a sublime interplay and sound that encompasses world beat, global chill, and contemporary improvised music.DeJohnette's melodic approach to the drums wonderfully complements Suso's virtuosic kora playing, creating an inspired dialogue and a thrilling listening experience. ... Read more

13. What Now?
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Sales Rank: 17552
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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5-0 out of 5 stars Best of 2005
This isn't a live album. It was recorded over two days in Sear Sound Studio in New York, without any overdubs. The program is comprised of Wheeler originals -- and just for the record, the band is Wheeler (flugelhorn), Chris Potter (tenor saxophone), John Taylor (piano), and Dave Holland (bass).

It's still early, but I'll climb out on a limb. I think Down Beat is going to give this CD five stars. I'll bet money it's going to make most critics' Best of 2005 lists. It's far and away the best CD I've heard this year. If you like jazz, you need this CD.

There are a couple of ways to view the background of this session. Wheeler and Taylor released a duet CD on CAM Jazz earlier this year. But I expect a more common comparison will be to 1997's "Angel Song," which has proven Wheeler's most popular record. "Angel Song" deserved every bit of acclaim it received, and "What Now" is a worthy successor. If you like one, you'll like the other. And I can't imagine anyone not liking both.

Jazz is often described as conversation. This quartet proves that metaphor beyond any doubt. The first thing that struck me about this CD was how intently these guys listen to each other. I've never heard more fluid interplay. And Wheeler's tunes are perfectly suited to this dynamic, blurring the line between composition and improvisation.

I've heard a hundred all-star albums pairing first-rate musicians. Sometimes it works. Often it doesn't. But every once in awhile you strike something special, a chemistry that can only be described as magical. That's what happened here. It's so good, you almost don't want them to record a follow-up for fear it would disappoint.

Music like this doesn't come along often. Cherish it. ... Read more

14. Ken Burns's Jazz: The Story of American Music
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Sales Rank: 1252
Average Customer Review: 4.15 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (53)

5-0 out of 5 stars I Love Jazz 2000
I Love Jazz is a sampler that comes out every so often that tries to take the biggest jazz hits of its time and put them onto a single disc. This is kind of like that in a much larger and ambitious scope. Even at five discs, it still feels like a sampler! While I enjoyed this set immensely, I still have the feeling that something is missing.

Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington are well represented here, as they should be. It is a joy to listen to music I wasn't as familiar with such as Coleman Hawkins and many of the earlier cuts. The sound quality is pretty good, especially for recordings of the earlier eras.

After listening to this, I felt that the history of jazz ended at about 1970, when obviously it did not. Fusion, Latin, Cool, and Avant Garde did not receive enough attention. Probably due to contractual restrictions, some artists only receive either a mention or are missing entirely. Only one track for Art Tatum, Mingus, Weather Report, and Stan Getz, ECM artists missing entirely, no John McLaughlin (as leader), McCoy Tyner, Bill Evans (as leader), or Art Blakey (although he does get his own disc in this series).

Every jazz afficionado will have their own ideas of what should be on here. This set serves a great purpose in showing how jazz and history affected each other and a glimpse of the talented artists behind the music. This set is a generous sampling of a great and wonderful iceberg and should be used as a springboard for a lifetime of exploration into jazz. At least the likes of Kenny G, Dave Koz, and John Tesh are nowhere to be found on this set.

4-0 out of 5 stars A very fine introduction to jazz
The box set is rather like the documentary film: toploaded with dixieland-swing-bop, then a futile effort to cram all the postbop period into too little space. If anyone tried to sum up the history of rock n' roll in 5 CDs, imagine him cramming everything since the Summer of Love onto the last disc. If the Doors and Pink Floyd got left out of such a set, or a label like Atlantic was virtually overlooked, people would be upset then, too. It's not snobby to complain that Bill Evans or a Rahsaan Roland Kirk are left out here, or that Burns practically ignored Blue Note Records in his history. Stakes are high here. It's important that certain figures are not forgotten in the history just because Ken Burns could not find space for them in his canon.

However, despite the limitations of the project, this box is still a darn good introduction to jazz music. The selections might have been broader if pre-bebop had its own 3-CD set, and postbop had its own 4-CD set; but, this way, someone who is beginning to get into the music might get a better picture of the total continuity running from early New Orleans through some of the postbop movements. When I was starting out, I had to piece things together from odd records found at the library, until I got to college and could take a Jazz History class. If this sort of set had been presented to me at the start, I would have been in heaven.

If you're just getting interested in jazz, buy the set. Read the notes, take note of the names of sidemen (who may have led great sessions of their own, not represented here), pick up an album guide or two, check out some musicians who aren't in this set, join the conversations on jazz bulletin boards, and, most of all, enjoy the music. Once you jump in, there's no end to the worlds you might discover in jazz.

2-0 out of 5 stars Too much, too little
Contrary to what some reviewers have stated, this is not a good place for someone wanting to get into jazz. This is mainly because this set costs too much for that. Also, there's over-whelmingly too much Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Billie Holiday and Dizzie Gillespie tracks here and little else. You would think that with a 5 disc box set, that Ken Burns could have come up with even little known but great jazz artists to include in this collection aside from adding a few more of the wider known ones as well. I am not a "jazz snob" and I feel it's unfair to some of the newer, more contemporary artists to be ignored as well - the rock equivalent of that would be refusing to acknowledge the talent of Jack White simply because he doesn't play like Clapton or Hendrix.

5-0 out of 5 stars A terrific value
The fact that this box set has so much music for the price makes this collection a must-have for beginners or makes for great driving music to keep in your car. Forget about how you felt about the documentary, just look at this collection of great jazz and ask yourself, "How many better anthologies are out there that aren't twice the price?"

I understand those who feel that there were too many omissions, but face it: jazz has been around for 100 years (or so). Mr. Burns would have required 10 disks, with each disk representing a decade of jazz. Once again, look over the playlist, look at the price, and realize what a value this is.

2-0 out of 5 stars It smells a little funny here
There is a lot of great music/artists here, but a lot of great music is missing and a lot of artists are too heavily favored.
I don't like it when a group of writers try to shape the minds of a unknowing public. I think Kenny should stay away from the ARTS and stick with war and sports. ... Read more

15. The Black Saint & The Sinner Lady
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Asin: B000003N81
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Sales Rank: 6848
Average Customer Review: 4.81 out of 5 stars
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan essential recording

This 1963 recording occupies a special place in Mingus's work, his most brilliantly realized extended composition. The six-part suite is a broad canvas for the bassist's tumultuous passions, ranging from islands of serenity for solo guitar and piano to waves of contrapuntal conflict and accelerating rhythms that pull the listener into the musical psychodrama. It seems to mingle and transform both the heights and clichés of jazz orchestration, from Mingus's master, Duke Ellington, to film noir soundtracks.The result is a masterpiece of sounds and textures, from the astonishing vocal effects of the plunger-muted trumpets and trombone (seeming to speak messages just beyond the range of understanding) to the soaring romantic alto of Charlie Mariano. Boiling beneath it all are the teeming, congested rhythms of Mingus and drummer Dannie Richmond and the deep morass of tuba and baritone saxophone. This is one of the greatest works in jazz composition, and it's remarkable that Mingus dredged this much emotional power from a group of just 11 musicians. --Stuart Broomer ... Read more

Reviews (32)

5-0 out of 5 stars Saints and sinners.
Allthough Ah um is the best known of Mingus' albums, his full vision is at play in this magnificent record. This is a remarkable record for several reasons (remarkable records often are). The use of tape overdubbing is one of them. A strange thing for a jazz composer to do, especially in 63, but it helps explain the ambitions of Mingus at the time. Never content with "regularity", the strongly Ellington-influenced compositions on this album play into eachother (apparently Mingus inteded it to be one long piece) and the instrumentation is impeccable. Mingus' basslines dance throughout the whole set (listen particularly to the passage in the middle of Track A-Solo Dancer, he never played better), rhythms tease and horns screech creating their own world, or perhaps depicting our own. Allthough the liner notes discard any interpretation, the music begs us to ask questions, like all true art.A lot of people shun records like this finding them hard to listen to, or even unmusical and unhuman. I ask them: When your in love, doesn't your heart beat irregularly? When you're angry, don't you feel like screaming? Why shouldn't these things be presented in music as well? Most of these people don't want to listen to music anyway. They just want something cozy in the background.
We're not a floating around in a vacuum, deprived of any emotion. We're all saints and sinners. Mingus would wanna holler at those people. P.S.: This was one of famed rock-critic Lester Bangs favorite albums.

5-0 out of 5 stars Absolutely Mingus' Best Work...
...but by no means his most accessible. If you are new to Mingus, do not start with this one. Go for Mingus Ah Um, then Pithecanthropus Erectus or Mingus at Antibes. THEN immerse yourself in The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady. By then, you will be familiar with the whole cast of characters and Mingus' revolutionary approach to musical composition. Jaki Byard's piano will sweep you away. Charlie Mariano's saxophone will leave wondering about might have beens. Dannie Richmond's skins will leave you in awe. And all of them playing together will leave you with an overriding sense of how Mingus cultivates genius in those around him. There is vast musical freedom, yet remarkable structure throughout. Robert Frost was once asked why he never wrote in free verse; he responded that he didn't feel like playing tennis with the net down. I think of Charles Mingus the same way; you often think that the music will degenerate into chaos, but it never happens (well, at least not unplanned chaos). One of the top five jazz albums ever made.

Words cannot adequately describe this magnificent achievement. Probably the most stellar orchestra of Mingus' career playing a true masterpiece FLAT OUT. Mingus outdid himself on this one. Intense! Very Intense!!

Charlie Mariano's powerful alto sax is positively heroic thoughout. From the opening track with Jerome Richardson's emotional soprano sax solo riding an orchestral hurricane and Quentin 'Butter' Jackson's mind-bending trombone solo, it'll grab you and give you the ride of your young musical life. Ranks along side Ellington's best works (and you can hear Duke's influence which Mingus readily admitted). Buy it and sit back for a real, mesmerizing musical experience like few you will ever experience.

5-0 out of 5 stars Gawd Amighty!
Brilliant. The musicians sound positively possessed. What screaming urgency. This piece is utterly, primally evocative. Listening, images swirl and swoop, enter and noir, uncertain edgy urban landscapes, scotch rocks tinkling in lonely shadow 3A.M. bad bar. Id gone mad. Alleys gangways musky sex 110 degrees threat. Gorgeous dangerous, so much so this music scares me. Black Saint is genius. Makes most compositions and musicians sound trite.

5-0 out of 5 stars Five stars are not enough
If you are a fan of jazz, real jazz, and you have not heard this album, slap yourself now. If you are a fan of brilliant music and you have not heard this album, slap yourself and then slap the person next to you for not telling you to listen. This is the most amazing jazz album in the history of mankind. Period. ... Read more

16. Stay Awake: Various Interpretations of Music from Vintage Disney Films
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Sales Rank: 10506
Average Customer Review: 4.48 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (21)

5-0 out of 5 stars Stands the test of time
I taped this album off of vinyl from the college radio station where I spun tunes in 1988, and while I preferred much more rough-around-the-edges grunge music at the time, I had a soft spot for the whole album.

My tastes mellowed out in the following 15 years (just a bit) but still this cassette keeps coming out of the drawer year. The subtle, talented and completely original takes on the Disney movie songs manage to imprint the artists' vision while still retaining the original magic of the movies (you can picture in your mind a group of seven dwarves who all look like Tom Waits chanting Heigh-Ho). Then last year, I found myself singing "Blue Shadows" in the manner of Syd Straw and "Stay Awake" in the manner of Suzanne Vega as lullabies to my daughter at bedtime. This album stands the test of time, so of course I finally have to have it on CD.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Mouse never roared like this ...
Disney Music can sometimes seem a little too ... well ... Disney. Neat, catchy little tunes sung by voices that you just KNOW have never seen a zit in their lives. Subject matter that is trite at best, portraying characters so cute that they're almost embarrassing.

Embarrassing, because even at thirty years old, you still whistle Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah from "Song of the South" when you're happy.

Don't you?

Fear not, closet Disney-phile. This album takes all those songs from your favorite movies, and gives them an adult twist. This album will serve a two-fold purpose. First, you can get your fix of Disney anytime your middleaged-child heart desires. But most importantly, if you get "caught" by your friends, you can pass it off as serious music.

Whether a mere fresh coat of paint (as with "I Wanna Be Like You" from Jungle Book) to a slight sarcastic tone on old favorites (Sinead O'Conner singing "Someday My Prince Will Come" -- 'nuff said there!), to downright spooky versions of bettime songs (Suzanne Vega's acapella version of "Stay Awake"), to absolutely twisted rehashes of formerly tired standby's (Tom Waite rebuilds "Heigh Ho" in his own graven image), this album is a fantastic work. It not only transforms these scores into wonderful new pieces of art, but it also remains true to the basic spirit of Disney. Perhaps it is irreverent in places. Yes, it may even poke a little fun at our favorite childhood icon. But it is still a respectful tribute to the original artists who put these tunes in our heads in the first place.

3-0 out of 5 stars Don't close your eyes
This album features various types of performers doing Disney songs. It is a pretty uneven album. Some of them are good, some of them are not so good. Different people will like different performances, depending on their taste. My favorites are by Tom Waits, Buster Poindexter, Aaron Neville, Sinead O'Conner, Sun Ra and Harry Nilsson. There were some performances I didn't really care for, but I won't mention what they are. One problem that I had with this CD is that many of the songs are connected together as "medleys". So that makes it hard to skip around and just listen to your favorite songs. You may have to sit through something you don't like to get to something you do like.

5-0 out of 5 stars Disney's dark side
One of the things that's easy to forget about the original wave of Disney films is that they were dark, both in terms of story elements and animation. Its been a long time since I was a little kid, but I can still vaguely remember being slightly creeped out by moments in those magical old films.

That's why this record was such a joy to me when I first discovered it (in a cut out bin in a supermarket checkout lane, believe it or not) a dozen years ago. It instantly became one of my favorite records, not for any individual performance, but for the overall mood which recalls the dark, dreamlike feel that permeated the films.

Not that the performances aren't great. Its hard to pick a favorite, although I've always had a soft spot for the Ken Nordine stuff, Syd Straw's take on Blue Shadows and, especially, Sun Ra's Arkestra cutting loose on "Pink Elephants on Parade." There's really not a weak one in the batch though. Ask me again tomorrow and I'd probably pick something else.

Its someone surprising to me that this is still in print. I can't imagine it selling much and its certainly not the good time nostalgia one might expect from such a compilation. At any rate, its well worth purchasing and will make an interesting addition for fans of the acts contained as well as the original wave of Disney films.

5-0 out of 5 stars A strange and wonderful little disc!
Seldom have I ever heard a more eclectic compilation album. I first came to know this disc in the early 90's thanks specifically to the Ken Nordine bit on track 11, and the Suzanne Vega bit on track 4; each of which got a fair amount of air time on "Variables" heard Sunday nights in Salt Lake City. Structurally, the 11-track disc actually contains many more pieces than one might first assume, as each track is usually composed of two or more sub-works, each blending into the next. Sometimes the blends work smoothly, other times they can be jarring. All in all you wouldn't believe this to be Disney unless you already knew some of the songs beforehand. Some of them, like the Tom Waits dwarf march, are almost the antithesis of Disney, which is appreciated. In addition to the Vega and Nordine standouts, I also adore part b of track 1, and track 2. But really, if the pool of your musical taste is wide, and you don't mind surprises, this is a gem of a disc that I highly recommend. ... Read more

17. Sister Phantom Owl Fish
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18. The Shape of Jazz to Come
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Asin: B000002I4W
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 3905
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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On this highly influential 1959 album, Ornette Coleman's unique writing style and idiosyncratic solo language forever changed the jazz landscape. On classics such as "Lonely Woman," "Congeniality," and "Focus on Sanity," Coleman used the tunes' moods and melodic contours, rather than their chords, as a basis for his improvisations. In so doing, he opened up jazz soloing immensely and ushered in new freedoms--both individually and collectively. Lest these innovations sound too dry or abstract, it must be noted that both Coleman and trumpeter Don Cherry play with a deep-felt emotion and joy that is as infectious today as it was then. This is truly an essential jazz recording, marking the end of one era, providing the blueprint for the next. --Wally Shoup ... Read more

Reviews (16)

5-0 out of 5 stars Still Shapely after all these years
A lot of people are unnecessarily afraid of Ornette Coleman because the words "free jazz" and "avante-garde" have been applied to his music. But his music is quite approachable. This album is a great place to start for people who are new to Ornette. This album caused a stir in 1959 when it was released, with jazz critics exploding in wrath. The reason for all this furor? Ornette chose not to use a chordal instrument on this music. No piano, no guitar. He and Don Cherry harmonize to imply chords, and occasionally Charlie Haden (bassist supreme!) supplies the occasional three or four note chordal riff, but mostly the music consists of melodies (and very melodic solos) played over an implied structure. Ornette's tone is sharp and lemony on the sax, while Don Cherry's cornet tone is sweeter and more rounded. They state themes and then toss melodies back and forth, while Haden and drummer Billy Higgins interject and support. The music on this album is like listening to four intelligent, funny people having a conversation. The musicians are obviously listening to each other and bouncing ideas off one another, which is exactly as it should be in jazz. The music is played with wit, soul, and emotion, and in spite of the skeleton crew instrumentation, the melodic and rhythmic ideas are of such quality that you can listen to this CD many times, and get something new out of it every time. How many records can you say that about? I wish more of the new jazz artists would base their creations on this kind of innovative, interesting music, instead of rehashing the same old swing and bop cliches as they tend to do. Ornette's "Shape of Jazz to Come" is still as relevant as ever. Listen especially closely to Charlie Haden's bass playing on this CD and note how far ahead of his time he was; there wouldn't be a more innovative jazz bassist until Jaco Pastorius came along twenty years later. This is indeed the shape of Jazz to Come; hopefully one day the rest of the music world will catch up, because I guarantee you the world will be a better place when they do.

5-0 out of 5 stars Not an impostor, a visionary
It seems scarcely believable now that anyone could have regarded Ornette Coleman as an impostor. He was widely misunderstood when he came on the scene, often booed offstage and denied club dates by ignorant and insensitive promoters. Even seasoned musicians walked out on him.

It's interesting that albums with such grandiose titles (The Shape of Jazz to Come, Change of the Century, Art of the Improvisers...) should be in many ways so measured and reflective. But what is clear is that this was unashamedly challenging music. Ornette Coleman had invented something he called harmolodics, used to describe an implied harmony that emerges from the melodic line. The Shape of Jazz to Come is a supreme example of this new approach to making jazz. The music this quartet made was quiet, but the revolution it initiated was wholly indiscreet. No-one could be indifferent to Ornette Coleman. People called it "free jazz" and Ornette himself made a now seminal album of that name a few months later (Atlantic probably wanted to exploit the buzzword of the year), attempting to encapsulate the concept.

Free jazz actually developed into something quite different. But there is no question that the sense of freedom evoked by Ornette's visionary juxtaposition of spontaneous improvisation and structured composition is overwhelming, and justifiably caused both artists and critics to rethink the parameters of the music all over again. Shape contains the first recording of Ornette's most well-known composition, "Lonely Woman", and the stirring "Peace".

5-0 out of 5 stars Title of this album is no mere boast.
Ornette Coleman is a name frequently associated with the very challenging world of avante-garde jazz. But The Shape Of Jazz To Come, while certainly revolutionary and groundbreaking, is not difficult music at all to listen to. Later records such as 1960's Free Jazz would fit that bill, but this is a splendidly accessible post-bop jazz album. Even people who hate Coleman's later work and the whole concept of free jazz (I'm sort of mixed on the idea myself) will probably love this.

The main breakthrough of this album is the idea of implied chords. Rather than placing a conventional chord under each note, Coleman chooses instead to only imply the existence of the chord and in so doing leaves open many different possible melodies to improvise with. While this could seemingly invite chaotic dissonance within the framework of a quartet, the band plays with fluidity throughout. Every track is full of easy melodies, which is not something you could say for a lot of Coleman's other albums.

Of course, when you have a band this talented (Don Cherry on trumpet, Charlie Haden on bass, Billy Higgins on drums) it shouldn't come as too much of a surprise. Each player is among the cream of the crop on their respective instruments, and Ornette himself is no slouch either. Every track is a stone-cold classic--the elegant opener Lonely Woman, bop numbers like Eventually, Focus On Sanity, and Congeniality, the graceful ballad Peace, and the amazingly good closer Chronology.

Along with other landmark jazz albums released in 1959 (Giant Steps, Kind Of Blue, Time Out etc.) this is vital to the casual listener's collection and the one Coleman disc I'd reccommend to even a novice jazzer. At the same time, if you are a fan of later Coltrane, Sun Ra, Dolphy etc. this is where it all started, so dig in and enjoy.

5-0 out of 5 stars Some of the best three weeks of my life
The first time i heard this album, i was so amazed i made a point of not listening to anything else for about three weeks, while i wrapped my head around it... it really changed my understanding of music. Buy it!

5-0 out of 5 stars Completely accessible
I am a person who is ambivalent about "free jazz", but I am not at all ambivalent about this recording. Music politics aside, this record is filled with incredible, emotionally resonant music that will affect just about any listener.

Of course, this record is not truly "free", whatever that means. Nor is this particularly difficult music (although Ornette certainly has that reputation). The tunes are, in fact, quite catchy. As this record has entered "heavy rotation" status, I have found it hard to get this music out of my head.

For the audiophiles, don't be concerned about the lack of "remastered" status for this disc. The sound quality is outstanding; the Atlantic vaults have been very kind to the source material, and this is a very good transfer.

Certainly this is one of the best Ornette Coleman records out there, and it is an ideal starting point Ornette-neophytes. ... Read more

19. Out to Lunch
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Asin: B00000I8UK
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 6712
Average Customer Review: 4.44 out of 5 stars
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Eric Dolphy was among the most daring, impassioned, and technically assured improvisers to come of age in the 1960s. From his groundbreaking work with Chico Hamilton and Charles Mingus, through his catalytic stint with John Coltrane, and all through his brilliant solo recordings for Prestige, this reed innovator defined the best elements of the swing and the bebop traditions, from Benny Carter through Bird, while extending on the rhythmic, melodic, and harmonic freedom of Monk. Dolphy is an emotional shaman with a keen comic edge, as is evident in the rhythmic sauntering, drunken gait of his theme to "Straight Up and Down," and Monk's influence is clearly discernible in Dolphy's witty dissonances and vocalized blues phrasing throughout Out to Lunch! (his only Blue Note recording, completed shortly before his untimely death). Rhythm masters Richard Davis, Bobby Hutcherson, and Tony Williams suspend time at will, sculpting in open space, while deconstructing the harmony and superimposing cubist rhythmic displacements--periodically regrouping around Freddie Hubbard's bumblebee trumpet and the leader's vocalized bass clarinet (his Monkish "Hat and Beard"), wailing alto (the martial parodies of the title tune), and exhilarating flute (the lyric, swinging "Gazzelloni"). Out to Lunch! represents Dolphy's most fully realized vision. --Chip Stern ... Read more

Reviews (39)

5-0 out of 5 stars Eccentric jazz by an eccentric genius
Recorded four months prior to Dolphy's (diabetes associated) death is his best selling album "Out to Lunch" with the stunningly amazing drumming of 18-year old Tony Williams, and the great musicianship by vibraphone-virtuoso Bobby Hutcherson (23 at the time) and 25-year old trumpeter Freddie Hubbard. Dolphy plays all three instruments he was known for playing - all equally, and with equal out-of-this-world skill; alto sax, flute, and bass clarinet. The changes of melody and solo instruments are really refreshing. The album also features the experienced, regular Dolphy bass player Richard Davis, known for working with jazz-artists such as Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, Chet Baker, Wes Montgomery, and Joe Zawinul, but also with artists like Bruce Springsteen and Barbra Streisand. He has played classical music under the lead of Boulez, Stravinsky, Stokowski, and Leonard Bernstein as well. Here he--and his team mates--gives the music great justice to say the least; Dolphy seems to bring out a side in all these musicians that they probably hadn't gotten to, and do not get to, release daily in their playing. The quality of the ensemble playing is chilling; to say the very least it's in a class of its own, especially when considering that this music is recorded in early 1964!
To either warn or encourage people about this album, I must point out that it is very far from another "Kind of Blue"; a lot of these eccentric themes are played over eccentric forms as well - some in 5/4, some in 9/4. If you have heard and liked Dolphy's playing anywhere else, you will LOVE this. Part of what differs the mood of this album from jazz-albums of its time, is that not a note is heard from a piano; Hutchersons's vibes really set an original mood. I've listened through this recording at least 50 times, and every time I listen I get surprises, and hear something new that chills me. Without this album Dolphy wouldn't be spoken of as much as he is now. It's his most interesting album, with most variety, and with an exceptionally good sound quality. The music of Eric Dolphy should really be given a genre-title of its own - maybe "eccentric jazz"?

5-0 out of 5 stars Challenging and massively rewarding music
Out to Lunch! is one of the most important jazz albums of the 1960s.

The clarity of the recording, the individual space accorded each instrument, the meticulous attention to the nuances, the refined texture of the overall sound, the sheer presence of each recorded moment - these were the hallmarks of its sound. The coming together of Eric Dolphy, Freddie Hubbard, Bobby Hutcherson, Richard Davis and Tony Williams on Out to Lunch! was a momentous event. Dolphy had made a clutch of records for Prestige in the years leading up to this record, the most significant probably being the famous Five Spot live sessions with Booker Little that would promise so much but be cut short by Little's death from uraemia. Out to Lunch! was to be his single, most unsettling masterpiece.

It's not an easy album to become fond of. It insinuates melodies before it cuts them short, it ruthlessly breaks up harmony into fragments and it stretches the limits of tonality to extremes, but perhaps its triumph is that it brings swing into a new era. By giving Davis and Williams space and freedom, Dolphy let swing become a by-product of interaction, not a conscious contrivance. The rhythmic complexity of the record knew no precedent.

Tragically Dolphy was do die in Europe a few months later from an attack brought on by diabetes. He says on the liner notes, "I'm on my way to Europe to live for a while. Why? Because I can get more work there playing my own music, and because if you try to do anything different in this country, people put you down for it."

One of the most remarkable things about this release is that it is molded from the avant-garde spirit, but the music is still accessible to the masses. Each song is so rich in texture, and can stand alone. As one of the previous reviewers said, it's truly a desert-island disc.

5-0 out of 5 stars SIMPLY THE BEST
Simply the most artistic, most creative and BEST jazz cd of all time! Dolphy must have been from another planet, bacause humans don't seem to appreciate this as much as us from other Universes do.

5-0 out of 5 stars The GREATEST CD of ALL time...
If I were stuck on a desert island and could only bring one CD with me, it would be Eric Dolphy's OUT TO LUNCH. This is the greatest jazz album ever recorded, it is a masterpeice, a work of art. This is like peotry like, Shakesphere, like Van Gough, like Piccaso. This is something that will open a whole new world for you. Eric's "dolphin call" like solos are amazing and WILD!!! This is really "out There"(another good Dolphy cd). BUY IT!!!c you NEED to hear this. It is a bit disturbing to some, at 1st, but oh it really isd better then therepy! ... Read more

20. Blues and Roots
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our price: $10.99
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Asin: B000002I4Q
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 21469
Average Customer Review: 4.94 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (18)

5-0 out of 5 stars Vintage Mingus
While this isn't quite in the front rank of Mingus albums--_Mingus Ah Um_, recorded with a similarly-constituted band for Columbia, is a much more ambitious & wide-ranging album--_Blues & Roots_ is nonetheless a characteristically powerful & tempestuous recording by the bassist. His curious habit of constantly reworking compositions, pet chord progressions, phrases & ideas is strongly evident here--perhaps a little too strongly: "Moanin'" & "E's Flat Ah's Flat Too", in particular, are identically structured musical rounds built up over Pepper Adams' full-tilt baritone riffs. "Wednesday Night Prayer Meeting" & "My Jelly Roll Soul" are also worth cross-referencing to performances on other Mingus albums of the period.

The ten-strong band on here is superb--Jackie McLean, Booker Ervin, Jimmy Knepper, John Handy, Pepper Adams, Horace Parlam & Mal Waldron..... A special word for Willie Dennis, a tragically short-lived trombonist who never recorded much in his lifetime but was a truly astonishing musician--check out Ronnie Ball's (deleted, but not hard to find) Savoy disc with Dennis & Ted Brown in the front line for a rare extended sample of Dennis's improvisational powers. On _Blues & Roots_, alas, he only gets the briefest of look-ins.

A fine, very enjoyable album: give it a listen.

5-0 out of 5 stars awesome
One of the things the liner notes don't tell you is that among the critics accusing Mingus of not swinging was none other than amiri baraka. The brilliant poet and jazz critic argued that Mingus's chaotic and "arrythmic" compositions were too european. On this disc ( and as he did two years earlier with the clown's "haitian fight song") mingus retors brilliantly, returning to the blues, and demonstrating with convincing and rapturous finality that his music the synthesis and conflict of european and african cultures rather than the subversion or domination of one by the other.

Ah well, even Baraka's wrong sometimes. Hopefully happily so.

5-0 out of 5 stars Absolutely Amazing
I was pleasantly surprised by this album. I've allways liked Mingus, but sometimes his style of play, while skillfull, is sometimes out of rythem, making it difficult to follow.
This cd floored me, I've had it for about a month now and must've listened to it 20 times.
My co-workers are wishing i'd play something else though! Just can't get enough!

5-0 out of 5 stars a delivery of moanin and holerin
testify! boy, that song "tension" sure isn't kidding.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great Music
I have not heard much of Mingus' music but this disc is spectacular. It is great introduction to Mingus (and jazz) because it is so clearly rooted in the blues that most will find it vaguley familiar, although it takes you far beyond the blues. Mingus' gregarious personality shines through on each track. Highly recommended! ... Read more

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