Jazz 100
Contemporary Jazz
The Best Jazz Ever Released Digitally


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Naked City
John Zorn
1990 [Nonesuch]


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There are countless stories in the naked city… and alto saxophonist John Zorn tells 26 of them here. With Bill Frisell on guitar, Wayne Horvitz on keyboards, Fred Frith on bass, and Joey Baron on drums - New Yorker Zorn explodes in a hyper-cataclysmic avant-garde extravaganza that is often-times somewhat challenging, but never dull.





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The Spirits of Our Ancestors
Randy Weston
1991 [Verve]


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With Dizzy Gillespie, Pharoah Sanders, Dewey Redman, Idris Muhammad, and Idrees Sulieman helping out - pianist Randy Weston and arranger Melba Liston teamed for this highly spiritual set. After an experience living in Morocco, Weston said he wanted to, "celebrate the universal musical language that transcends race, color, and nationality."





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All For You
Diana Krall
1995 [Impulse!]


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Before she achieved crossover mega-stardom Krall recorded two terrific jazz records for the Impulse label, the other being 1997's Love Scenes. Therefore it is ironic that 'All For You' is a tribute to the Nat King Cole Trio. Cole too was one of the brightest stars in jazz before achieving huge popular success singing romantic pop ballads.





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Litania
Tomasz Stanko
1997 [ECM]


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Subtitled 'Music of Krzysztof Komeda', this album from Polish trumpeter Tomasz Stanko is as dark and melodic as it is sublime. Komeda was famous in Poland as a composer of film scores, with three tracks here from Roman Polanski films. The rest is Komeda jazz, with guitarist Terje Rypdal adding some zing on two of the 10 tracks.





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The Peach Orchard
William Parker & In Order to Survive
1998 [AUM Fidelity]


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A double-CD live set from New York free jazz double bassist William Parker and his group In Order to Survive. While all the trademarks of free jazz are readily apparent in Parker's recordings, he also at times can be quite reflective. 'Theme from Pelikan' even manages to swing a bit here and there, all in a kind of freeform way.





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Cowboy Bebop
Seatbelts
1998 [Victor Entertainment]


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For the unfortunately uninitiated, Cowboy Bebop is a cutting edge Japanese anime series that - at least in the beginning - featured an absolutely knockout jazz/blues soundtrack. Composer Yoko Kanno put the band Seatbelts together, "...to be safe while they play hardcore jam sessions". The hard-to-find first album is a jazz gem. Wow!





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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 topping things off.





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Extended Play: Live at Birdland
Dave Holland Quintet
2003 [ECM] 2CDs


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Bassist Dave Holland topped off a string of fine albums with this live double-CD by his current quintet. The title gives away what's on offer, with only one of nine tracks clocking in under ten minutes. Also atypical, instead of sax-man Chris Potter grabbing the limelight, this time around it is trombonist extraordinaire Robin Eubanks.





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Viaticum
E.S.T.
2005 [Spamboolimbo]


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A diving accident in June 2008 has robbed the world of one of its most talented jazz pianists - Swedish-born Esbjörn Svensson. Svensson's trio has achieved legendary status in Europe, in the process proving that jazz doesn't need to continually reinvent itself in order to sound fresh and vibrant. A superb follow-up to 2003's 'Seven Days of Falling'.





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Gently Disturbed
Avishai Cohen Trio
2008 [Razdaz]


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This album from Israeli double bassist Avishai Cohen continues to grow in stature as more people discover its stark beauty. His intuitive interplay with young pianist Shai Maestro is a joy to behold. While internationalism is written all over Cohen's jazz compositions, it never gets in the way of the seductive style of music he plays.


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