Jazz 100
More Freedom
The Best Jazz Ever Released Digitally


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Point of Departure
Andrew Hill
1964 [Blue Note]


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Free jazz luminaries Kenny Dorham and Eric Dolphy have no trouble keeping up with the complicated time-signature changes and angular movements of Hill's compositions. Hard bopper Joe Henderson, on the other hand, sounds like someone trying to fit some knockout tenor sax into just the right place when he really isn't any place at all.





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Fire Music
Archie Shepp
1965 [Impulse!]


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Outspoken tenor Shepp lets his feelings be known, paying homage to black American civil rights activist Malcolm X along the way. The CD release includes a live version of 'Hambone' which stands up well to the original. The treatment of 'The Girl From Ipanema' is outlandish, even in a free jazz context. Exhilarating stuff, but not for the timid.





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Dialogue
Bobby Hutcherson
1965 [Blue Note]


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Hutcherson virtually defined the vibraphone's place in post-bop jazz on this underrated record. Pianist Andrew Hill and trumpeter Freddie Hubbard bring some free jazz sensibilities to the show, but there is still a genuine sense of true ensemble harmony that is easy on the ear. A real group effort that is wearing its age remarkably well.





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Unit Structures
Cecil Taylor
1966 [Blue Note]


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Pianist Cecil Taylor's early free jazz explorations never quite received the attention they deserved - being largely overshadowed by Ornette Coleman's less radical, but more controversial recordings. Structures is loaded with a wealth of free improvisations and rhythmic variations. Two bass players guaranteed plenty of room to explore.





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Conquistador!
Cecil Taylor
1967 [Blue Note]


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With trumpeter Bill Dixon, altoist Jimmy Lyons, Henry Grimes and Alan Silva on basses, and drummer Andrew Cyrille in support - pianist Cecil Taylor's second Blue Note is another free-jazz gem. Allmusic's Scott Yanow notes, "...Lyons' passionate solos contrast with Dixon's quieter ruminations while the music in general is unremittingly intense."





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Machine Gun
Peter Brotzmann Octet
1968 [FMP]


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Perhaps the most influential figure of the European Free Jazz underground - Brötzmann is a multi-reed instrumentalist who pulls no punches. Made with an octet featuring Evan Parker on tenor, MG's cover says it all - "automatic gun for fast, continuous firing". Packed with aggression and ferocity, gentler souls might find this disturbing.





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For Alto
Anthony Braxton
1968 [Delmark]


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Originally a double-LP, this record managed to break all the rules and get away with it. Hailing from Chicago where there was a strong art movement - Braxton's lengthy alto improvisations are breathtaking, inventive and timeless. The blistering 'To Composer John Cage' is evidence aplenty that Braxton was eons ahead of his time.





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Eternal Rhythm
Don Cherry
1968 [MPS Records]


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As the free jazz movement gave way to the avant-garde, Don Cherry came to the forefront with this two-track live set. Allmusic critic Brian Olewnick notes that, "Cherry balanced compositional clarity, wild free improvisation, and a totally inclusive musical consciousness in a manner seldom achieved, resulting in a cohesive, spellbinding session."


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