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Jazz Convention


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Jason AjemianFolklords ... LP
Delmark, 2014. New Copy ... $11.99 16.99
One of the trippiest albums we've heard from Delmark in recent years – a really creative session from bassist Jason Ajemian, and one that links the label's avant jazz work to some of the deeper sides of Chicago's indie scene! Ajemian is free to work without any sense of genre or convention – in a mode that still hits plenty of jazz, with key use of work by Monk, Mingus, and Sun Ra – but which really abstracts things and takes them to a whole new level – opening up cosmic territory that lives up to the album's stated request to "Please Feel Yourselves". Ajemian plays bass and some electronics, in a quartet that also features Owen Stewart Robertson on guitar and electronics, Kid Bliss on alto sax and vibrolux, and Jason Nazary on drums – the last of which are played in a very slow, spacious style. All tracks are long – and titles include "Ask Mr Blunt Now" – which features extrapolations of "Satellites Are Spinning" and "Ask Me Now" – and "Orange Is The Color Of The Sun Then Blue Sky" – which is built upon some key Charles Mingus tunes. Other titles are originals, and include "Material Girls" and "Freedom Is A Trail Of Tears". LP, Vinyl record album
Also available Folklords ... CD 6.99
Partial matches: 12
Partial matches2
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BBC Radiophonic WorkshopBBC Radiophonic Workshop (180 gram pressing) ... LP
BBC/Music On Vinyl (Netherlands), 1975. New Copy (reissue)... $29.99
Synthy, echoey soundscapes from the BBC Radiophonic Workshop! This mid 70s compilation features a range of tripped out electronic soundtrack music made by workshop veterans Dick Mills (who was responsible for quite a bit of the trippy sounds on Dr. Who), John Baker, Paddy Kingsland, Malcolm Clarke and others – who brilliantly blend jazz, pop and otherwise more conventionally melodic sounds with waves of period electronic atmosphere – with lots of spacey synth! Includes "La Grande Piece De La Fiore De La Rue Delaware" by Malcolm Clarke, "Brio" by John Baker", "Adagio", "Crazy Dazy" and "Major Bloodnok's Stomach" by Dick Mills, "The Panel Beaters" and "World Of Science" by Paddy Kingsland, "Veils And Mirrors" by Glynis Jones, "Kitten's Lullaby" by Roger Limb and more. LP, Vinyl record album

Partial matches3
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CortexPourquoi ... LP
Trad Vibe (France), 1978. New Copy (reissue)... $21.99
A lost later slice of work from Cortex – a bit tighter than some of the group's previous albums, but equally funky overall! There's a bit less jamming here than before, the Cortex have definitely developed an ear for the dancefloor – a jazzy funk style that would be perfect in the clubs, even though it's light years from conventional disco. Vocals are a bit more upfront in the mix at times, but there's still loads of heavy keyboards – including Fender Rhodes, clavinet, micro moog, and more! Titles include "Runnin From You", "Le Visionaire", "Pourquoi", "Make Me Love You", "Matin Girls", "La Bulle", and "Pauvre Star". LP, Vinyl record album

Partial matches4
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Jimmy Giuffre1961 (Fusion/Thesis) (180 gram pressing) ... LP
ECM (Germany), 1961. New Copy 2LP Gatefold (reissue)... $31.99 35.99
2 amazing albums from the 2nd version of the Jimmy Giuffre 3! After working with his first combo of Bob Brookmeyer and Jim Hall during the late 50s, Giuffre hooked up with a pair of younger modernists – Paul Bley and Steve Swallow – reintroducing the piano and bass to his trio format, instruments that had been previously missing because Giuffre wanted to explore the possibilities of melodic composition freed from rhythmic constraints. With this trio, Giuffre was still working in that mode – as you'll hear on Bley and Swallow's incredibly free playing. The group's performances are not free jazz by any means, but they're a key link in that tradition – as Giuffre and crew do an excellent job of creating unconventional compositions, most of which feel like little sculptures in sound. There's a total of 20 tracks on 2LPs – and titles include "Cry, Want", "Trudgin", "Jesus Maria", "Ictus", "Sonic", "Whirrrrr", "The Gamut", "Herb & Ictus", and "Flight". Both records originally available on Verve, now repackaged by ECM. LP, Vinyl record album

Partial matches5
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
New Gregory PorterBe Good (180 gram pressing) ... LP
Motema, 2012. New Copy 2 LP Gatefold ... $26.99 29.99
Wonderful work from Gregory Porter – easily one of the best new jazz singers to emerge in the past decade or so, and one whose approach is soulful enough to rival the greats of the 70s! There's echoes here of Bill Withers, Gil Scott-Heron, and Al Jarreau – and like all those artists, Gregory's a singer who really moves past simple styles and generic conventions – into a mode that's vivid and rich right from the start, and defiitely his own territory – a world of sound that's a delight to experience! Most backings are straight jazzy, but inflected with some soul modes – and the album's even better and more incredible than Porter's debut for Motema. Titles include "On My Way To Harlem", "When Did You Learn", "Mother's Song", "Imitation Of Life", "Our Love", "Be Good", and "Painted On Canvas". LP, Vinyl record album
Also available Be Good ... CD 11.99

Partial matches6
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Quartetto Di LuccaQuartetto (with bonus CD) ... LP
RCA/Rearward (Italy), 1962. New Copy (reissue)... $26.99
A bracingly fresh combination of vibes, piano, bass, and drums – and a real standout set of modern jazz from the Italian postwar years! At first glance, the lineup of the group is relatively conventional – forged with the same instrumentation as the Modern Jazz Quartet or George Shearing group – but from the very first note of the record, you know that the sound is something quite different indeed – a bold new musical vision, carried off perfectly! The rhythms here are especially unique – often chopped up and slightly skittish – so that the vibes and piano are often handling rhythmic duties as often as melodic ones – rolling along with the bass and drums in a set of beautiful changes and timings that explode with color and life. Players include Vito Tommaso on piano, Giovanni Tommaso on bass, Antonello Vannucchi on vibes, and Giampiero Giusti on drums – and titles include "Quartetto", "Soft Winds", "Estate 61", "Gabry", "Blues For Carole No 2", and "Like Someone In Love". LP, Vinyl record album
(Includes the CD, too!)
Also available Quartetto (LP sleeve edition – with bonus tracks) ... CD 19.99

Partial matches7
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TullyTully ... LP
EMI/Chapter (Australia), 1970. New Copy (reissue)... Mid-August, 2014 (delayed)
An amazing record from one of the most unique groups of their generation – an Australian combo who never fully got the fame they deserved – especially in comparison to their Anglo contemporaries up north! Tully are a rock group at the core, but they also have a very strong jazz sensibility as well – an approach that served them well on their best-known soundtrack music of the time – but which seems to come out even more strongly on this debut full-length set – a record that mixes tones and chromes in a really sublime way! All numbers have vocals, but also get plenty of "voice" from the reed work of Richard Lockwood – a player who really manages to bring his instruments into this harmonious blend with the other work on guitar, drums, and keyboards – very similar to the way that sax and flute were being used on the best early 70s albums from King Crimson – adding a level of sensitivity and soul which then only deepens the more conventional rock instrumentation, but in ways that are very different than more familiar jazz rock modes too. Titles include "Phssst", "Love", "Lace Space", "Waltz To Understanding", "You Realize You Realize", "La Nave Bleu", and "The Sun Is Shining". LP, Vinyl record album

Partial matches8
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
New Andrew HillGrass Roots ... LP
Blue Note, 1969. New Copy (reissue)... Temporarily Out Of Stock
A real stroke of genius from pianist Andrew Hill – and a surprising one too! After an initial legacy of groundbreaking experimental sides for Blue Note, Hill returns to his "grass roots" on this excellent session of straight ahead, fairly funky, soul jazz piano tunes! In the notes, Hill claims a desire to get back to the people – and in a really unusual turn, he shakes off his previous modernist trappings and goes for territory that's much more in the mode of Lee Morgan, Horace Silver, or Hank Mobley on Blue Note! Yet despite this turn, and amidst some more conventional arrangements, Andrew's work on piano is still quite dark and moody – filled with beautiful clashing lines and haunting off-beat changes that open up the session way more than you'd expect! Booker Ervin joins in on tenor – on what would become one of his last recordings – and the rest of the group includes Lee Morgan, Ron Carter, and Freddie Waits – all plenty darn hip players who really get the unusual balance of soul jazz and modernism that Hill's going for here! Tracks include "Mira", "Bayou Red", "Venture Inward", "Grass Roots", and "Soul Special". LP, Vinyl record album

Partial matches9
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New Henry Butler/Steven Bernstein Hot 9Viper's Drag (180 gram pressing with download) ... LP
Blue Note, 2014. New Copy 2LP Gatefold ... Out Of Stock
One of the hippest records that Henry Butler has cut in a long long time – and a set that really takes us back to the most inventive sounds he gave us during his first few years of recording! The album's a collaboration with trumpeter Steven Bernstein – who brings a lot of modern inflections to an older New Orleans groove – with a style that's hardly trad jazz, despite the group's name and song selection – and which instead bristles with a rich sound that's constantly reinventing itself! There's definitely some older Nola elements in the music, but the overall structure of the songs is quite unique – and brings out the best in performances by artists who include Peter Apfelbaum and Michael Blake on tenor and soprano sax, Curtis Fowlkes on trombone, Matthew Munisteri on guitar, and Doug Wieselman on clarinet. Bernstein handled most of the arrangements – and also plays slide trumpet next to a conventional version of the instrument – and titles include "I Left My Baby", "Some Iko", "Gimme A Pigfoot", "Viper's Drag", "Dixie Walker", and "Henry's Boogie". LP, Vinyl record album
(Includes MP3 download.)
Also available Viper's Drag ... CD 10.99

Partial matches10
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
New Taylor McFerrinEarly Riser (with bonus download) ... LP
Brainfeeder, 2014. New Copy ... Out Of Stock
A great debut from Taylor McFerrin – family member to another famous jazz singer, but very much possessed of his own self and style! The album's got this crackling, glistening quality – subtle electronics and Fender Rhodes mixing with Taylor's well-crafted vocals – never overwhelming them, but taking them into a space that's beyond conventional soul or jazz – and completely hypnotic throughout! Robert Glasper guests on one track on the set – and McFerrin's approach is a bit like some of the most creative elements in Glasper's Black Radio experiment – and other guests on the record include Emily King, Nai Palm, and Thundercat. Titles include "Decisions", "Postpartum", "Degrees Of Light", "The Antidote", "Florasia", "4am", "Stepps", and "Already There". LP, Vinyl record album

Partial matches11
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
New Milo Fine/Paul MetzgerConcerning The Other Condition/Spontaneous Composition Generator ... LP
Nero's Neptune, 2009. New Copy ... Out Of Stock
A split LP – featuring a side apiece by each of the artists above! Milo Fine plays b flat clarinet on "Moosbrugger", but also steps over to a prepared piano too – or the "remains" of one – where he suddenly moves from the contemplative tones of the clarinet to some very wild musings with great ferocity on the keys! "Ulrich" then features Fine on some great free drum work on a conventional kit – a nice change. Paul Metzger sounds even more wonderful on "Spontaneous Composition Generator" on the flipside – named after the cool device used for the piece – a wooden box that contains parts of 37 music boxes, then added with other elements, and wired to a dozen pickups! The sound is amazing – very revolutionary and spontaneous – and in a compelling space between avant composition elements and free jazz. LP, Vinyl record album
(Beautiful pressing – with some cool paper inserts that appear to be hand-pressed!)

Partial matches12
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
New Lee MorganSearch For The New Land (180 gram pressing) ... LP
Blue Note/Heavenly Sweetness (France), 1964. New Copy (reissue)... Out Of Stock
A brilliant album that proves that even at the height of his success, Lee Morgan was one of the freest thinkers on Blue Note – always coming up with fresh ideas that continued to grow his talents! The first cut on the album is keep roof of that fact – the title track "Search For The New Land" – a beautiful 16 minute exploration of modal jazz themes, with an unusual stop/start device as a means of ushering solos by different bandmates – including Wayne Shorter on tenor, Grant Green on guitar, and Herbie Hancock on piano! The approach is unlike anything that Morgan ever did before – and unlike most of other Blue Note as well – and it also benefits from great rhythmic help from Reggie Workman on bass and Billy Higgins on drums. Other tunes are a bit more conventional, but still pretty special – like some of Morgan's inventive work on the Rajah albums – with titles that include "The Joker", "Melancholee", "Mr. Kenyatta" and "Morgan The Pirate". LP, Vinyl record album

Partial matches13
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
New Bruno SpoerriTeddy Bear/Lilith ... LP
Finders Keepers/Cache Cache (UK), 1978. New Copy ... Out Of Stock
Two rare soundtracks from the quirky Bruno Spoerri – both of them a very cool blend of jazzy reeds and lots of electric touches! Teddy Bear is from the early 80s, and is one of the later records we've heard from Spoerri – a set that definitely bears the pedigree of its time, through cool use of Lyricon, Prophet, and Emulator keyboards! Bruno often blows his sax into the keys, then processes the reedlines in a very cool way – with a style that's more soulful than usual keyboard styles of the time, given the acoustic roots of the sounds – yet which still has a great 80s vibe overall. Things are almost in the offbeat style of some of the instrumentals from the German AtaTak scene of the time – and titles include "Too Much Smell", "The Silliest Song", "Reanimation Of A Filmmaker", "Small Talk", "The Arrest Of Groucho", and "Baby Baby". Lilith is from a few years before, and has a more conventional 70s approach – great electric piano lines over tight rhythms, with Bruno handling both tenor and Lyricon – on tunes that mix sound library funk with some of the weirder, more offbeat sounds you might know from other Spoerri soundtracks. Titles include "Singing In The Dark", "Winding Down", "The Dance", "Prepare For The Show", "Train", "Going To Work", and "Fanfare". LP, Vinyl record album