Jazz 100
Blender Benders
The Best Jazz Ever Released Digitally


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Combustication
Medeski, Martin & Wood
1992 [Blue Note]


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Perhaps sensitive to often being labelled as a rock band, MMW went to great lengths to display their jazz credentials on Combustication - their first for Blue Note. In the end though, John Medeski's keyboards still sound super-funky and there is plenty of stuff that will appeal to their alt-rock audience. Great stuff for the groovers out there.





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The Walk of the Giant Turtle
Erik Truffaz
2003 [Blue Note]


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French jazz-electronica trumpeter Erik Truffaz's second album for Blue Note. AllMusic reviewer Paula Edelstein states, "With traditional styles set aside, this ten-track collection is rife with serious chops, electric jazz infused with modern dance rhythms, ambient pop, and gripping rock/jazz fusion performances that you are sure to enjoy."





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The End of the World Party (Just in Case)
Medeski, Martin & Wood
2004 [Blue Note]


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MMW recruited John King as producer and engineer, a bold step seeing as he is mostly associated with pop music. But it's not the end of the world and this album grooves with all the life and energy fans have come to expect from the band, while still maintaining a groovin' 70s jazz/funk feel. You can't ask for much more than that.





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These Are the Vistas
The Bad Plus
2003 [Columbia]


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Don't be put off by critical descriptions of this piano trio's music as "power jazz". The Bad Plus play a distinctive style of jazz that is highly creative and, at times, mesmerising. All band members contribute original compositions to the set... with covers of pop songs by Nirvana, Blondie and Aphex Twin inventively topping things off.





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Chasin' the Jazz Gone By
The Five Corners Quintet
2005 [Ricky-Tick]


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This Helsinki-based outfit specialises in making music reminiscent of 50s/60s hard bop, infusing it with worldly sounds, then modernising it and making it something almost completely new. Unfortunately, the album is not all that easy to find. Best to check it out on YouTube before embarking on a treasure hunt for a quality download or CD.





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The Way Up
Pat Metheny Group
2005 [Nonesuch]


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Guitarist Pat Metheny and regular collaborator pianist/keyboardist Lyle Mays churn out a fusion drenched 68-minute epic that sounds like everything one has come to expect from PMG, while still smelling fresh as a daisy. The Steve Rodby/Antonio Sanchez rhythm section is in deft form, with Vietnamese trumpeter Cuong Vu adding some nice touches.





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Mythologies
Patricia Barber
2006 [Blue Note]


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Patricia Barber brings her compositional sophistication to new heights with Mythologies, a song cycle based on Greek mythology where each of the 11 mythological characters in Ovidís Metamorphoses is fleshed out in music. In a way, the album harks back to Patti Smith's poetry rock on Horses, but done in a distinctive jazz rock idiom.





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Polar Bear
Polar Bear
2008 [Tin Angel]


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Polar Bear is an experimental British 'post-jazz' outfit. Their third album shows a distinct change in direction. The vast soundscapes and textural electronics of Leafcutter John mix with Sebastian Rochord's inimitable compositional style and a two-tenor punch... loaded with free improvisation, off kilter grooves and whirling melodies.





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Leucocyte
Esbjorn Svensson Trio (aka e.s.t.)
2008 [ACT Music]


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Radical as never before, Sweden's Esbjorn Svensson Trio (e.s.t.) improves the interaction between piano, double bass and drums in an orgie of improvisation to an intoxicating adventure of loudicrous soundscapes. Unfortunately, Svensson died due to a diving mishap in 2008, making Leucocyte the trio's last album. He will be missed.


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