Jazz 100
The Seventies
The Best Jazz Ever Released Digitally


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A Tribute to Jack Johnson
Miles Davis
1970 [Columbia]


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The story of boxing great Jack Johnson, with all its socio-cultural overtones in full view, was all the inspiration Davis needed to make this enthralling soundtrack. The record consists of two extended jams and features the playing of both Herbie Hancock and John McLaughlin. Some say it is Davis' best from his fusion period.





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Escalator Over the Hill
Carla Bley & Paul Haines
1968-1971 [JCOA/ECM]


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A somewhat pretentious and very long (around two hours) foray into just about every "far out" concept floating around in jazz at the time. Billed as a "chronotransduction", the all-star line-up dishes out plenty of experimental big band music that is impossible to categorise. Linda Ronstadt even puts in a cameo. Certainly not for all tastes.





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Space Is the Place
Sun Ra
1972 [Impulse!]


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Not to be confused with the original soundtrack of the same name, this is a typically eccentric Sun Ra mix of spaced-out avant-garde exotica and straightahead swing. The Astro Intergalactic Infinity Arkestra (no kidding) is in fine form, with plenty of freeform blowing and cosmic drumbeats to drive things along. A must for all Saturnians.





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Return to Forever
Chick Corea
1972 [ECM]


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Despite being credited to Corea, this breezy blend of new-age fusion is well and truly a group effort. Recorded first but released in the United States after the group's Light as a Feather, the record has eclipsed its more famous follow-up in the eyes of many. Corea's faultless keyboards and Stanley Clarke's electric bass are a perfect match.





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Head Hunters
Herbie Hancock
1973 [Columbia]


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Jazz finds its soul while getting lowdown and funky. The record may sound like it owes more to Sly Stone than Miles Davis - but some groovy jazz is at the core of things. In particular, Hancock's long improvisations on the keyboards are typical of the genre. The biggest selling jazz album of all time in its day and a forerunner of acid jazz.





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Witchi-Tai-To
Jan Garbarek/Bobo Stenson Quartet
1973 [ECM]


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This album will no doubt come as a bit of a surprise to those only familiar with saxophonist Garbarek's later New Age meanderings. With the occasional hint of funk present, the record is an improvisational blend of European folk elements and contemporary jazz stylings. A defining record in the ECM pantheon of the 1970s.





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The Köln Concert
Keith Jarrett
1975 [ECM]


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Jarrett's lengthy improvised piano solos - the longest clocking in at over 40 minutes - never seemed to suit the LP format. On CD this lively set comes across as the classic it is. It is still divided into four parts, but the spontaneity of what was in fact a single extended performance shines through. Effortlessly withstanding the test of time.





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Black Market
Weather Report
1976 [Columbia]


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The precursor to 1977's 'Heavy Weather' marked the band's rise to commercial accessibility. Pianist Joe Zawinul and saxophonist Wayne Shorter led the way into Weather Report's fusion of jazz, funk and worldbeat-all while maintaining a strict sense of artistic integrity. An interesting transitional album that fans should find pleasing.


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