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Sonny Rollins Volume One

At the end of 1956 Sonny Rollins ended his six-year period of recording at Prestige Records, and he proceeded to record prolifically for the next two years for a variety of labels. Rather than accept the advances against royalties arrangement of his Prestige contract, Rollins opted to be paid by the session, without royalty provisions. He recorded this way for Lester Koenig at Contemporary, Orrin Keepnews at Riverside, and Alfred Lion at Blue Note, as well as recording a variety of performances, both as leader and sideman, for EmArcy, Verve, and Atlantic. This period culminated in the famous vacation from recording that found Rollins practicing nightly on the George Washington Bridge.

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Sam Rivers: Fuchsia Swing Song

In the autumn of 1964 tenor saxophonist Sam Rivers spent two months on tour with the Miles Davis quintet. This was the group that, with the addition of Wayne Shorter, would become known as Davis’ “Second Great Quintet.” Miles found the young tenor man to be too “out there” for his group, influenced as he was by avant-gardists such as Eric Dolphy, Ornette Coleman, Albert Ayler, and Archie Shepp.

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Charlie Rouse: Bossa Nova Bacchanal

I love bossa jazz, but let’s face it, during the early 1960s there were so many instrumental boss nova albums cut that it’s sometimes hard to get enthusiastic when yet another surfaces from the back catalogues. Listeners really need to sit up and take notice of this reissue by tenor saxophonist Charlie Rouse, though. Bossa Nova Bacchanal is a real lost treasure.

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Susheela Raman: Ghost Gamelan

Susheela Raman doesn’t think much of borders. Born in London to South Indian parents but raised in Australia, her musical career has been all about bringing together people, cultures, ideas, and sounds to create her own musical voice. She’s worked with musicians from South and South East Asia, Africa, Greece, Turkey, and North Africa on previous releases such as Music For Crocodiles and Vel. So it doesn’t seem at all odd that for her latest album, Ghost Gamelan, she has worked with gamelan musicians from Java.

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Susheela Raman: Music For Crocodiles

Susheela Raman is one in a line of Indian performers who have sought to bring the traditional aspects of the music of their heritage into a satisfying mix with popular Western musical forms in a way that does not subjugate the exotic elements, making them into mere ornaments that only pay lip service to age old musical traditions. On Music for Crocodiles, her third album, Raman pushes a bit further out from her comfort zone, performing the majority of the songs in English.

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