Jazz 100
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The Best Jazz Ever Released Digitally


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Concierto
Jim Hall
1975 [CTI]


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A popular reissue thanks largely to the presence of cool icons Paul Desmond and Chet Baker. Although Hall's guitar shines throughout, the centrepiece of the record is a 19-minute arrangement of Rodrigo's 'Concierto de Aranjuez'. The remainder consists of a mix of standards and originals that are sure to please fans of this fine jazz guitarist.





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Bright Size Life
Pat Metheny
1975 [ECM]


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Guitarist Metheny's earliest studio album is a trio date likely to appeal to those who like to keep it intimately simple. It also has the added bonus of featuring a young Jaco Pastorius on bass, although there is little doubt that this is Metheny's show. Those only familiar with Metheny's more popular outings may want to check this one out.





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Elegant Gypsy
Al DiMeola
1976 [Columbia]


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While still a member of Chick Corea's Return to Forever, lightning guitarist DiMeola struck out on his own for a second time. Gypsy would prove a commercial winner, attracting attention from both rock and jazz audiences. The real gem, however, is probably the acoustic duet 'Mediterranean Sundance' with future cohort Paco de Lucía.





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Timeless
John Abercrombie
1974 [ECM]


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While recording for ECM Abercrombie began a decade-long stint as one of the most influential guitarists in jazz. This is his first for the label, a trio effort with Jan Hammer taking up organ, synth and piano. Drummer Jack DeJohnette rounds out the lineup, with the music ranging from up-tempo fusion to introspective ECM soundscapes.





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Offramp
Pat Metheny Group
1981 [ECM]


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Made at a time when guitarist Metheny's group (featuring Lyle Mays) was a huge concert drawcard, Offramp is a typically laid-back affair with some interesting twists. Mays' keyboards, however, might sound far too synthesised to many - with fusion's lifespan well and truly at a dead end. Percussionist Nana Vasconcelos manages to add some life.





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Ask the Ages
Sonny Sharrock
1992 [Axiom]


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Sonny Sharrock's last album before his premature death in 1994 is a searing avant-garde masterpiece of freedom and adventure. Sharrock's electric guitar combines with Pharoah Sanders' tenor on six stirring originals, the highlights being 'Who Does She Hope To Be?' and the roof-raising 'Many Mansions'. Not for the meek and mild.





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Beyond the Missouri Sky
Charlie Haden & Pat Metheny
1996 [Verve]


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Some of the most wondrously intimate jazz guitar ever put to disc. Missouri natives Metheny and Haden decided to explore their roots together, aiming to put together a set of allusive melodies that would allow for plenty of scope. The result is an album peppered with folk, country and even a couple of themes from Cinema Paradiso.





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A Go Go
John Scofield
1997 [Verve]


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Scofield seems to be relishing his teaming with the Medeski, Martin & Wood trio on this enjoyable late-90s set. Often straying into funk-rock territory, Scofield's impeccable jazz credentials shine through. Lots of ultra-fun groovin' and jammin' ranks this as Scofield's best set, although 1993's Hand Jive on Blue Note isn't far behind.


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