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Johnny Hammond - Higher Ground (1974/2016) High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 24bit/192kHz

Artist: Johnny Hammond
Title: Higher Ground
Genre: Jazz, Soul Jazz, Jazz Funk, Crossover Jazz
Label: © Kudu/CTI Records, a division of Creed Taylor, Inc. | King Record Co., Ltd.
Release Date: 1974/2016
Quality: High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 192kHz/24bit
Source: e-Onkyo
Duration: 00:37:04
Recorded: October 31 and November 1, 1973 at Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey


Massive work from Johnny Hammond – stretching out here in some totally jamming grooves that really transform his style for the 70s! The sound here is a lot hipper and tighter than some of Hammond's more rough-edged soul jazz of the 60s – a groove that's a great precursor to his more famous meetings with Larry Mizell a few years later – and equally great! Johnny's got plenty of space here – and is really taking his time with the grooves, thanks to some open ended arrangements by Bob James, who also plays electric piano on the record! The record is a seminal piece of work in the transformation of the chunky 60s organ sound to a sweeter 70s keyboard groove – and was proof that Johnny, more than most of his 60s soul jazz contemporaries, was ready to embrace the new sounds of the decade with open arms. Includes the great sample cut "Big Sur Suite" – plus "Higher Ground", "Summertime/The Ghetto", and "Catch My Soul".
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Johnny Hammond - Breakout (1971/2016) High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 24bit/192kHz

Artist: Johnny Hammond
Title: Breakout
Genre: Jazz, Soul Jazz, Jazz Funk
Label: © Kudu/CTI Records, a division of Creed Taylor, Inc. | King Record Co., Ltd.
Release Date: 1971/2016
Quality: High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 192kHz/24bit
Source: e-Onkyo
Duration: 00:34:50
Recorded: June 3, 4 1971 at Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey


So this is what CTI was all about. Recorded in 1971, organist Johnny Hammond's debut for CTI is a blessed-out basket of blues and groove that covers some of the hot tunes of the day and some organ classics with enough soul power to melt the ice around the heart of even the staunchest jazz purist, who turned up his stuffed-up nose. First there's the lineup: Hammond with Hank Crawford and Grover Washington, Jr., Eric Gale, Airto, Billy Cobham, Danny Moore, and bassist Johnny Williams. It drips soul and popping riffs. Next there's the material: the 11-minute wade-in-the-swamp version of Carole King's "It's Too Late" with a stunning arrangement by Grover and a killer guitar break by Gale. (There is, on the reissue, a stunning live rendition of the track with George Benson subbing for Gale, Freddie Hubbard, and Stanley Turrentine in for Washington. It's longer, seemingly leaner, and quicker. It's a soul-deep river of good feel and slippery vamps.) Next is a bright, sunny, and shimmering version of Neil Sedaka's "Workin' on a Groovy Thing," with Hammond's organ doubling the interval up yet keeping the melody at an even flow. The horn section and Airto's accents literally pop in the middle of the tune, breaking the bridge down into a series of screaming grooves in counterpoint to the organ. The wildest organ workout is Leo Johnson's "Blue Selah." Rich in arpeggios and counterpoint by Gale, the legato is turned up to ten and Hammond never passes over a note -- he rings them all inside, outside, and punches them all up with frighteningly large right-handed chords. The final track on the original is Jimmy Smith's "Breakout," a driving, funky blues that feels more like Tony Joe White jamming with Jack McDuff than a Creed Taylor percussion. Cobham pushes his kit into overdrive and Hammond rises to the challenge as Gale plays one ostinato funk riff after another and the bass holds the groove static. By the time we reach the dueling saxophone solos, we've been through James Brown territory as well, on the good foot and in the deep well of greasy-assed funk and roll. This is a smoking album that runs the gamut of soul-jazz to hard funk and R&B seamlessly, but sweatily. --AllMusic Review by Thom Jurek
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John Abercrombie - Timeless (1975/2016) High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 24bit/192kHz

Artist: John Abercrombie
Title: Timeless
Genre: Jazz, Fusion, Progressive Jazz, Guitar Jazz
Label: © ECM Records GmbH | ECM Reviews
Release Date: 1975/2016
Quality: High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 192kHz/24bit
Source: ProStudioMasters
Duration: 00:43:53
Recorded: June 11,12 1974 at Generation Sound Studios, New York


On Timeless, guitarist John Abercrombie spearheads a session with keyboardist Jan Hammer and drummer Jack DeJohnette for a melding of minds in the first degree.
The trio kicks things off in high gear with “Lungs,” a heaping pile of kindling set ablaze by Hammer’s high-octane staccato, DeJohnette’s explosive hi-hat, and Abercrombie’s unusually frenetic fretwork. A sublime energy is maintained throughout and the payoff is supremely satisfying—all the more so for its brevity, as the music suddenly changes avenues just a few minutes in. Hammer relays between organ and synth, keeping the pace (and the funk) through trailing guitar solos that send notes like cosmic fingers flicking galaxies into outer space. The organ smolders quietly in the background before clinching a new groove, which Abercrombie laces with lines flanged just right for the mix. It all ends in a game of musical jump rope, with Abercrombie skipping over the alternation of drums and organ. “Love Song” is true to its name and is the first of two exquisite conversations between piano and acoustic guitar. Just as the organ trailed long rows in the soil of our attention, the piano comes as a welcome rain for our crop and the guitar like the sun that infuses it. This brings us to “Ralph’s Piano Waltz,” a highlight of these six fine offerings. Like the album as a whole, this track is a superlative balancing act. It’s a construct so seamless that if you don’t find your foot tapping during this one, you might want to make sure it’s still attached. The electric leads speak in their respective languages, but also mimic each other along the way. “Red And Orange” is what might result if Bach had survived into the 1970s as a closeted jazz musician, and is another standout in a set of many. “Remembering” is an alluring chain of tableux and the second of the two duets. Abercrombie sustains details the piano seems content to ignore, loosening those threads from their weave. We end with the title track, which builds slowly from a synth drone peppered with guitar musings to a full-on embrace of space.
This evergreen stands tall in the ECM forest. There is no sense of competition, only mutual reveling in a distinctly nuclear sound. One could easily call it fusion, but if anything it is fused with itself, for it has created every element it seeks to combine. Timeless indeed.
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Joe Farrell - Penny Arcade (1974/2013) High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 24bit/192kHz

Artist: Joe Farrell
Title: Penny Arcade
Genre: Jazz, Hard Bop, Fusion, Jazz Funk, Crossover Jazz
Label: © CTI Records, a division of Creed Taylor, Inc. | King Record Co., Ltd.
Release Date: 1974/2013
Quality: High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 192kHz/24bit
Source: e-Onkyo
Duration: 00:36:30
Recorded: October, 1973 at Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey

Joe Farrell gained his greatest fame with his popular string of CTI recordings. For this set, he performs three of his originals (none of which caught on), guitarist Joe Beck's "Penny Arcade," and a 13-minute version of Stevie Wonder's "Too High." Farrell (heard on tenor, soprano, flute and piccolo) is in excellent form, as are keyboardist Herbie Hancock, Beck, bassist Herb Bushler, drummer Steve Gadd and Don Alias on conga. As is true of his other CTI sets, this Joe Farrell effort expertly mixes together some slightly commercial elements and superior recording quality with strong solos. --AllMusic Review by Scott Yanow
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Joe Farrell - Joe Farrell Quartet (1970/2016) High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 24bit/192kHz

Artist: Joe Farrell
Title: Joe Farrell Quartet
Genre: Jazz, Hard Bop, Fusion, Jazz Rock, Crossover Jazz, Saxophone Jazz
Label: © CTI Records, a division of Creed Taylor, Inc. | King Record Co., Ltd.
Release Date: 1970/2016
Quality: High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 192kHz/24bit
Source: e-Onkyo
Duration: 00:34:51
Recorded: July 1 & 2, 1970 at Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey


One of Joe Farrell's first LPs as a leader – and a stellar session that's easily one of the early high points for the legendary CTI label! Farrell had been making some great noise in the underground during the late 60s – but here, he bursts forth as one heck of a soulful cat – working on these great modal grooves that slide out wonderfully and really have a sense of flow – a style that's different than Joe's later material, but equally powerful! Part of the strength of the record comes from the lineup – a key quintet of like-mined up-and-comers that includes Chick Corea on keyboards, John McLaughlin on guitar, Dave Holland on bass, and Jack DeJohnette on drums – players who definitely know the farther reaches of jazz, yet hang just on the inside here with Joe – providing some amazing accompaniment for his lines on soprano, tenor, and flute. Titles include "Molten Glass", "Song Of The Wind", "Motion", "Follow Your Heart", and "Circle In The Square".
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Jim Rotondi - Dark Blue (2016) High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 24bit/96kHz

Artist: Jim Rotondi
Title: Dark Blue
Genre: Jazz, Post Bop, Hard Bop, Straight-Ahead/Mainstream Jazz, Contemporary Jazz
Label: © Smoke Sessions Records
Release Date: 2016
Quality: High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 96kHz/24bit
Source: HDTracks
Duration: 01:04:15
Recorded: July 15, 2015 at Sear Sound, Studio C, New York City


When people hear Jim Rotondi for the first time, they aren’t likely to forget it. For 20+ years, Rotondi was one of the trumpet heroes of the New York City jazz scene and a musician whose fiery playing and daring solos firmly established him as a torchbearer of the Lee Morgan-Freddie Hubbard-Woody Shaw trumpet tradition. Like so many jazz greats before him, he’s based in Europe now, but he’s still blowing with the same intensity, if not more. His new recording, Dark Blue, uses the importance of place as a central theme and features music inspired by pivotal locations in his career from Europe to New York and beyond. While the title itself doesn’t reference any particular place, it’s a vivid description of this breathtaking music and this spectacular quintet that brings together hard-bop stalwarts David Hazeltine (piano) Joe Locke (vibes) David Wong (bass) and Carl Allen (drums). Dark Blue is available for purchase as a deluxe 8-panel CD Album with liner notes, artist interview and original John Abbott photography, as a digital download (including Mastered for iTunes) and as 96kHz/24bit high resolution download.
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Jeremy Steig - Firefly (1977/2016) High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 24bit/192kHz

Artist: Jeremy Steig
Title: Firefly
Genre: Jazz, Fusion, Jazz Funk, Soul Jazz, Post Bop, Crossover Jazz
Label: © CTI Records, a division of Creed Taylor, Inc. | King Record Co., Ltd.
Release Date: 1977/2016
Quality: High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 192kHz/24bit
Source: e-Onkyo
Duration: 00:35:43
Recorded: March 4, 22 and April 11, 1977 at Electric Lady Studios, New York City


Produced by Creed Taylor himself, Jeremy Steig's jazz-funk throwdown, Firefly, is one of the great forgotten masterpieces of the genre. Steig is a monster flutist who may lack some of Herbie Mann's subtlety, but more than makes up for it with his chops. Taylor surrounded Steig with a band that was testosterone-fueled yet knew how to get the sexy grooves. Firefly was designed for the purpose of being a hit in the dance clubs, and it should have been, because it kicks ass on that level as well as on the jazz-funk beam. Arranged and conducted by pianist Dave Matthews, the band included guitarists Eric Gale, Hiram Bullock, and John Scofield, Richard Tee on keys, drummers Steve Gadd and Allen Schwarzberg, conguera Ray Mantilla, percussionist Sue Evans, and vocalist Googie Coppola. As for the commercial edge, tracks like Dave Grusin and Earl Klugh's sublime groover "Livin Inside Your Love," features beautiful double-tracked flute solos going into the red on the funky soul edge; then there's the title track opener where Steig plays inside and out in shimmering interplay with Gary King's popping bassline. But it's on "Grasshopper," a Steig original, that this disc really soars. Overdriven chunky guitars, cutting across one another, electric Rhodes, and acoustic piano in counterpoint on two different melodies, bass bubbling like Sly Dunbar's, and orchestral horns giving Steig a punch lead line he can really mess with in his fills and solo. This is burning. --AllMusic Review by Thom Jurek
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Jacques Brel - Jacques Brel Et Ses Chansons (1954/2013) High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 24bit/96kHz

Artist: Jacques Brel
Title: Jacques Brel Et Ses Chansons
Genre: Chanson française, Cabaret, French Pop, Vocal Pop
Label: © Barclay
Release Date: 1954/2013
Quality: High-Fidelity FLAC 2.0 Mono 96kHz/24bit
Source: Qobuz
Duration: 00:36:53
Recorded: #1-9 - 15/02/1954 at Théâtre de l'Apollo in Paris; #10 - 11/03/1955; #11 - 25/10/1955; #12 - 18/09/1956; #13,14 at Salons Elysées, Place Fontainas, Brussels on 17/02/1953; #15 - 10/10/1961

Nine songs spread over ten inches of shellac, Jacques Brel's debut album descended upon the French scene of the mid-'50s like an alien invasion. One moment, the chain-smoking Belgian singer/songwriter was a minor name struggling for survival around the Paris nightclubs, frequently playing his intense little songs at six different venues a night; the next, the gleeful "Il Peut Pleuvoir" and the contrarily sober "Sur la Place" were rewriting the very nature of the chanson. Where once was simple emoting, Brel implanted emotion. Where once was ribaldry, Brel inserted drollness. And where once local music was for squares and their parents, Brel was feted by teenaged rock & rollers. Jacques Brel et Ses Chansons, the album which ignited the iconoclasm, is ferociously confident. Although only one of the songs will be immediately familiar to a "rock" audience -- Marc Almond covered "Le Diable (Ca Va)" (as "The Devil" on his Jacques album) -- still there is an instantly recognizable compulsion to the performance. Brel's mellifluous, half-smiling, half-snarling voice gallops across the landscape, paced all the way by the richly textured and deeply imaginative accompaniment of Andre Grassi and his orchestra; the snatch of French accordion which punctuates the dark delivery of "Il Nous Faut Regarder" is both hideously apposite and rudely ironic. It is not all doom and gloom, of course -- indeed, Brel's reputation for morbidity and misery is more the premise of his louder English acolytes than of his own work. "C'est Comme Ca" is insanely jovial, a veritable machine gun of leaping lyric and frolicking instrumentation; "Il Peut Pleuvoir" shares a similar outlook, while "Le Fou Du Roi" apparently stepped out of the court of Marie Antoinette, all sweetly chiming harpsichord and a sweetly lilting nursery rhyme rhythm. The ghost of Prokofiev's "Troika" which hangs around the melody only adds to the experience. It is "Sur la Place" which dominates, however. Recorded at one of his first ever sessions with orchestra leader Francois Rauber, with whom Brel would continue to work for the remainder of his career, the song rides an arrangement which wouldn't be out of place punctuating a gentle ghost story, while Brel's talent for conjuring the spirits of nostalgia and sadness from the passing of time is revealed with a perceptiveness almost unbecoming in a mere 25-year-old. Even compared with all that he would go on to create, Jacques Brel et Ses Chansons is no formative, tentative debut offering. Brel sprang into the public consciousness fully formed, with all his gifts and offerings already on public display. All he needed now was for the public to turn and look. Upon release, the album sold a little over 2,000 copies. --AllMusic Review by Dave Thompson
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Jacques Brel - J'Arrive (1968/2013) High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 24bit/96kHz

Artist: Jacques Brel
Title: J'Arrive
Genre: Pop, Chanson française
Label: © Barclay
Release Date: 1968/2013
Quality: High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 96kHz/24bit
Source: Qobuz
Duration: 00:41:23
Recorded: 7–23 September 1968

Jacques Brel's 10th album J'Arrive came out in 1968 as Brel bid farewell to the concert stage and recording studio to concentrate on his acting career. The album was untitled originally and was nicknamed J'Arrive after the title of the lead song. This release includes two bonus songs that were not contained on the original album.
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Jacques Brel - Ces Gens-La (1966/2013) High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 24bit/96kHz

Artist: Jacques Brel
Title: Ces Gens-Là
Genre: Pop, Chanson française
Label: © Barclay
Release Date: 1966/2013
Quality: High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 96kHz/24bit
Source: Qobuz
Duration: 00:49:25
Recorded: 7 January 1964 – 6 November 1965 at Studio Hoche, Paris

Jacques Brel's eighth album, released in 1966, comprises two EPs originally from 1964. Ces gens-là includes some of Brel's most well-known songs: Jef, Mathilde and La chanson de Jacky. Scott Walker scored a hit in 1967 with the English translation of the song which was retitled Jackie.
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