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Peter Brötzmann - Complete Machine Gun Sessions
Thanks to Atavistic and its truly treasured Unheard Music Series, we finally have the Complete Machine Gun Sessions as recorded in 1968. That short-lived but forever memorable (in the annals of free music lore) band was led by the vision and Uber lungs of saxophonist/composer Peter Brötzmann. It was built out of his stellar trio with pianist Fred Van Hove and drummer Han Bennink (the Europeans were already tearing down the walls of nationalism and their association with the American free jazz scene). Read More >>


Stanley Clarke - Children of Forever
Stanley Clarke's debut solo effort was issued when he was already a seasoned jazz veteran, and a member of Chick Corea's Return to Forever, which at the time of this recording also included Joe Farrell on soprano sax and flute, the Brazilian team of vocalist Flora Purim and drummer/percussionist Airto Moreira. Produced by Corea, who plays Rhodes, clavinette, and acoustic piano on "Children of Forever," the band included flutist Arthur Webb, then-new RTF drummer Lenny White, guitarist Pat Martino, and a vocal pairing in the inimitable Andy Bey and Dee Dee Bridgewater also appear in meaningful roles. Read More >>


Ornette Coleman - Complete Live at the Hillcrest Club
Ornette Coleman's epic 1959 LPs The Shape of Jazz to Come and Change of the Century were pivot points in modern post-bop jazz and early creative music. This recording is a prelude to those epics, a live two-night engagement in October of 1958 at the Hillcrest Club in Los Angeles. The Coleman quintet, with trumpeter Don Cherry, bassist Charlie Haden, and drummer Billy Higgins, plus a then-young pianist Paul Bley, sets up that new shape of jazz. This eight-selection set features three of Coleman's signature originals, two standards, and three lesser-known, fairly rare pieces that Coleman did at the time. Read More >>

Kenny Cox & the Contemporary Jazz Quintet - Introducing Kenny Cox & the Contemporary Jazz Quintet [Bonus Tracks]
Originally released in 1968, Introducing Kenny Cox & the Contemporary Jazz Quintet is the first recording by the storied and somewhat lesser known Detroit ensemble. Led by pianist Cox, the Contemporary Jazz Quintet featured saxophonist Leon Henderson (brother of Joe Henderson), trumpeter Charles Moore, bassist Ron Brooks, and drummer Danny Spencer. Read More >>

Miles Davis - The Complete On the Corner Sessions
From the opening four notes of Michael Henderson's hypnotically minimal bassline that open the unedited master of "On the Corner," answered a few seconds later by the swirl of color, texture, and above all rhythm, it becomes a immediately apparent that Miles Davis had left the jazz world he helped to invent -- forever. The 19-minute-and-25-second track has never been issued in full until now. It is one of the 31 tracks in The Complete On the Corner Sessions, a six-disc box recorded between 1972 and 1975 that centers on the albums On the Corner, Get Up with It, and the hodgepodge leftovers collection Big Fun. Read More >>

Andrew Hill - Change
Change has an interesting story in that it wasn't released at the time of recording and remained in the can until 1975, when it was issued under Sam Rivers' name as part of a Blue Note double as part of a two-LP set called Involution. The other disc was a Rivers-led date (from 1967) with a different band that hit CD shelves in 1998 under the title Dimensions and Extensions. Change as it was recorded and edited -- and even given a catalog number (84233) -- is supplemented here with two bonus tracks from the date. Read More >>

Andrew Hill - Compulsion
Compulsion continues Andrew Hill's progression, finding the pianist writing more complex compositions and delving even further into the avant-garde. Working with a large, percussion-heavy band featuring Freddie Hubbard (trumpet, flugelhorn), John Gilmore (tenor saxophone, bass clarinet), Cecil McBee (bass), Joe Chambers (drums), Renaud Simmons (conga), Nadi Qamar (percussion) and, for one track, Richard Davis (bass), Hill has created one of his most challenging dates. Read More >>

Melvin Jackson - Funky Skull
Bassist Melvin Jackson has exactly one album in his catalogue as a leader (he spent most of his time as the playing with Eddie Harris). But man, that's all he needed. Pumping his upright through a Maestro G2 filter box, a Boomerang, and echo-plex and an Ampeg amp he made that thing sound like something from outer space while keeping it firmly in the groove of the corner bar on front street. Gimmicky? That's what they once said about Roland Kirk playing multiple horns at once too. Read More >>

Bennie Maupin - Jewel in the Lotus
Jazz -funk fans must have been taken aback when multi-instrumentalist and composer Bennie Maupin's Jewel in the Lotus was released by Manfred Eicher's ECM imprint in 1974. For starters, it sounded nothing like Herbie Hancock's Head Hunters recording, which had been released the year before to massive sales and of which Maupin had been such an integral part. By contrast, Jewel in the Lotus sounded like an avant-garde jazz record, but it stood outside that hard-line camp, too, because of its open and purposeful melodies that favored composition and structured improvising over free blowing. Read More >>

Jackie McLean - New and Old Gospel [RVG Edition]
This 1967 session is notable for the presence of Ornette Coleman in the role of sideman, on trumpet no less. There are only three tunes on New and Old Gospel, one side-long piece by McLean, a four-part suite entitled "Lifeline," and two works by Coleman, including the title track and "Strange as It Seems." As a trumpet player, Coleman understands the psychology of McLean's playing and composing, in that they both come directly from the blues and it haunts everything they do. The other players on the session that make up the rhythm section -- drummer Billy Higgins, pianist Lamont Johnson, and Scott Holt on bass -- understand this implicitly. Read More >>

Charles Mingus - Cornell '64
In 2007, courtesy of Charles Mingus' widow Sue, with the help of Michael Cuscuna and Blue Note, gives us a heretofore-unknown bit of jazz history with the Charles Mingus Sextet with Eric Dolphy's Cornell University Concert from March 18, 1964. The reason this gig is significant is because apparently, not only didn't anybody know it was recorded, according to Gary Giddins, who wrote the (typically) excellent liners here, no one but the people who put on the show and the students who attended even knew it had taken place! Read More >>

Jelly Roll Morton - The Library of Congress Recordings
Rounder's single CD compendium is an essential sampler that may serve as the ideal introduction to Jelly Roll Morton, and to jazz itself. The balanced ratio of songs and piano solos to stories and narration is perfectly maintained. Accessible, entertaining, informative and affordable, this marvelous artifact should be considered essential listening for anyone interested in music, life, history and human nature. Read More >>

Sun Ra - Night of the Purple Moon [Bonus Tracks]
This one is quirky, even in the Sun Ra catalog. Ra fronts a quartet playing nothing but miniMoog and Rocksichord, along with Stafford James on electric bass, Danny Davis on alto, clarinet, flute and bongos, and John Gilmore on drums! Gilmore has a skittering approach to the drums, which are curiously mic'ed with the hi-hat being especially prominent. Ra's playing doesn't get too far out, although the tones of the Rocksichord and miniMoog are rather humorous, and most of the tunes are quite playful. Read More >>

Dewey Redman - The Struggle Continues
When ECM released Dewey Redman's The Struggle Continues in January 1982, he was busier than he had been in years. He'd spent three years recording and touring with Old and New Dreams (and a few more after). This date has Redman fronting a standard rhythm trio comprised of bassist Mark Helias, pianist Charles Eubanks, and drummer Ed Blackwell (a bandmate from the time they spent with Ornette Coleman through to Old and New Dreams, and with other Coleman alumni Cherry and Charlie Haden). Read More >>

Check out Part 1