The Blue Series Sampler 2006 from Thirsty Ear is, in many ways, its most adventurous yet in that it surveys the label's depth and creativity from -- mostly -- outside the jazz world. That is not to say there isn't vanguard jazz here; there most certainly is. The concentration, however, lies in tracks that are outside most musical formations. There's the theatrical, 21st century sci-fi soul by Carl Hancock Rux; Meat Beat Manifesto's sonicspheres and beatscapes; the dreamy, electronic world music pastiches of the Yohimbe Brothers, Craig Taborn's post-classical compositions that meld acoustic music with sound samples, and more. In addition, there are cuts by those who began with the Blue Series and have taken vanguard jazz into new terrains: William Parker, from his Scrapbook, David S. Ware places a track from his utterly gorgeous BalladWare, there's a cut by the Beans collective and a moving and challenging piece by Matthew Shipp form his brilliant One album. Finally there are the DJ Squads like DJ Spooky with heavy metal drum king Dave Lombardo from Drums of Death, and poet Mike Ladd, and there are still more tracks. This is a great budget sampler of new music that will clue punters in to one of the most forward-thinking and characteristically consistent labels out there.
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AllMusic Review by Thom Jurek