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Various Artists: Norman Granz: The Founder (Verve)

Had he accomplished just one of the following—creating and promoting the game-changing Jazz at the Philharmonic concert series; launching the Clef, Norgran and Verve labels; managing and helping to popularize Ella Fitzgerald and Oscar Peterson; producing hundreds of landmark recordings; championing African-American equality and fighting racism and segregation within the music industry—Norman Granz would have … Read More “Various Artists: Norman Granz: The Founder (Verve)”

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Various Artists: Jazz & the Philharmonic

The best parts of the live Jazz & the Philharmonic are the ones it downplays. It’s being sold as a CD, but the included DVD is where the action is. The Henry Mancini Institute Orchestra, the University of Miami’s “crossover” symphonic ensemble (with strings), is bottom-of-the-bill, but this is their vehicle; the top-line artists are … Read More “Various Artists: Jazz & the Philharmonic”

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Various Artists: The Beatles: A Jazz Tribute

Amidst all of the hoopla surrounding the 50th anniversary of the Beatles’ arrival in America, it’s worth tossing aside the group’s cultural impact for a minute and considering the music on its own terms. Could anyone, back in early 1964, have imagined that the Liverpudlians’ canon would lend itself to countless interpretations within every genre … Read More “Various Artists: The Beatles: A Jazz Tribute”

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Various Artists: Selected Signs III-VIII

Some albums, especially many of those issued by the venerable German label ECM, unfold like movie soundtracks. The magnificent six-CD set Selected Signs III-VIII unfurls like an epic trilogy without the moving pictures. With gentle shifts in genre and a stunning narrative arc, the collection offers a whole new dimension of label founder Manfred Eicher’s … Read More “Various Artists: Selected Signs III-VIII”

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Various Artists: Long Story Short: Curated By Peter Brötzmann

The five-CD set Long Story Short is a distillation of the 2011 Music Unlimited festival in Wels, Austria, curated by angry-jazz saxophonist Peter Brötzmann. The box set presents more than six hours of free jazz performed by 18 different configurations, some of which include Brötzmann and some of which do not. It serves as a … Read More “Various Artists: Long Story Short: Curated By Peter Brötzmann”

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Various Artists: The Stuff That Dreams Are Made Of

This double-CD, packing 23 tracks per disc, is loaded with music as far from corporate as can be. A sequel to the acclaimed roots rarities compilation from 2006, The Stuff That Dreams Are Made Of, Return is heavy on country styles-Appalachia seems to dominate here, more than anything urban. Whether it’s the swampy lilt of … Read More “Various Artists: The Stuff That Dreams Are Made Of”

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Various Artists: GRP 30

Dave Grusin and Larry Rosen officially launched GRP in 1982, applying high standards for audio production to recordings featuring jazz masters (Dizzy Gillespie, Gerry Mulligan) as well as fast-rising newcomers. The label made an enormous impact on the smooth-jazz format, for a time dominating Billboard‘s Contemporary Jazz chart and developing a reputation for music often … Read More “Various Artists: GRP 30”

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Various Artists: Les Paul Trio & Friends: A Jazz Tribute to Les

Thanks to many memorable Monday nights, Manhattan’s Iridium is widely known as the house that Les Paul built. So it’s not surprising that the club should launch its new recording label with a tribute to the late guitar legend. And, of course, it’s only fitting that part of the proceeds from album sales will benefit … Read More “Various Artists: Les Paul Trio & Friends: A Jazz Tribute to Les”

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