Various Artists

Critics Picks, Vol. 1

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Since 1977, Italy's Black Saint/Soul Note label has carved out a distinctive niche in the jazz world with its commitment to a wide range of non-mainstream music. Important and influential performers like David Murray, Muhal Richard Abrams, Julius Hemphill, and Cassandra Wilson received early exposure on Black Saint when American labels were ignoring them. This compilation disc includes some glorious music: from fairly cerebral offerings by Anthony Braxton, Dave Douglas, and John Carter, for example, to the raw, funky, and joyful sounds of the sorely missed George Adams-Don Pullen Quartet and the World Saxophone Quartet.

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