Various Artists

New Thing!

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Soul Jazz has done it again. This two-disc, 16-track overview of the "New Thing" -- vanguard jazz in the period that began after the deaths of Martin Luther King, Jr. and John Coltrane -- is a treasure trove of spirited, brave, and deeply emotional music that references both past and future.. The music coming out of the avant-garde at that time broke down many boundaries and incorporated many sounds and rhythms. There are familiar tunes here, such as Alice Coltrane's re-visioned read of her late husband's "A Love Supreme" with narration by Swami Satchidananda; Eddie Gale's experiments with free jazz, R&B, and gospel are referenced in the title track from his Black Rhythm Happenings, the soulful and spiritual side of exploration is revealed in Hannibal & Sunrise Orchestra's "Forest Sunrise." Sun Ra and the Art Ensemble of Chicago both make appearances, as do Rashied Ali and Frank Lowe. The spiritual dimension as recontextualized with non-jazz instruments is explored by Stanley Cowell on "El Space-O," and the tough urban element gets the treatment by Archie Shepp with "Money Blues, (Part 1)," and Maulawi's "Street Rap." The spacey funk of Travis Biggs' "Tibetan Serenity" is a wonderful addition here, as is Bob Rockwell's "Androids," and the deep, hard groove in Lloyd McNeill's "Home Rule." What's highlighted and put on display here is one of the richest jazz compilations to come out in years and its sequencing is utterly priceless. Add a deluxe package that includes an exhaustive and engaging essay by Patrick Coopar and we have one of the more essential compilations to come out this year. Get it.

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