Jazz 100
The Nineties
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 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 cataclysmic avant-garde extravaganza that is often-times challenging, but never dull. Plenty of graceful moments too.





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Blue Camel
Rabih Abou-Khalil
1992 [Enja]


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Lebanese oud player Rabih Abou-Khalil enlists the help of trumpeter Kenny Wheeler to produce a stunning mix of Middle-Eastern sounds and modern jazz. It's so good that AllMusic reviewer Kurt Keefner said, "In both mood and scope, it can almost be characterised as a new Kind of Blue." Maybe not quite so lofty, but outstanding nonetheless.





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Wish
Joshua Redman
1993 [Warner]


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Tenor Redman's second record comes close to living up to the hype accorded him at the time. This is a surprisingly conventional set considering the rhythm section featuring Ornette Coleman alumni Charlie Haden and Billy Higgins. In addition, guitarist Pat Metheny contributes some laid-back interplay that fits the bill to a tee.





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Masada - Alef
John Zorn
1994 [DIW]


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Altoist Zorn explores his Jewish cultural heritage, taking the suicidal Zealots of Masada as his inspiration. This is the debut in the lengthy Masada series - the first three being named for letters in the Hebrew alphabet. Zorn's quartet intuitively shatters the boundaries of jazz with its inimitable stylistic nonconformity. Topnotch Avant-Garde.





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Buena Vista Social Club
Buena Vista Social Club
1997 [Nonesuch]


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Ry Cooder was the catalyst for bringing together some of Cuba's most renown jazz musicians and - as old as some of them were - their spirits were still well and truly alive. Vocalist Ibrahim Ferrer and pianist Rubén González are standouts. The ensuing concert tours are now legendary, especially for any lucky enough to catch one.





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Like Minds
Gary Burton
1998 [Concord]


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Veteran vibraphonist Gary Burton teams with a star-studded lineup that includes Chick Corea on piano and guitarist Pat Metheny, backed by the Roy Haynes/Dave Holland rhythm section. The album's title is a tip-off to how well group members read each other on this workmanlike effort consisting mostly of originals.





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Combustication
Medeski, Martin & Wood
1998 [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 funksters out there.





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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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