These recordings from 1957 are among the most momentous to appear in the Rudy Van Gelder series, marking the first American appearance on CD of these early live recordings and adding four previously unreleased tracks. Accompanied by his regular band of guitarist Eddie McFadden and drummer Donald Bailey, Smith is an extraordinary musical presence, combining the energy of a big band and a sanctified congregation as he serves up kinetic versions of pop songs, jazz standards, and blues. ~ Amazon
Lemuria might not sound like they are from Buffalo, NY, but the band was proudly birthed there, following the legacy of an oddly eclectic, if not eccentric, music scene. When you loosen your ears to the sugary indie-pop, you'll discover discordant notes, odd time signatures, and brutal riffs creating menacing yet catchy music. Their most mature and best effort to date, The Distance Is So Big was recorded at the Magpie Cage with J Robbins (Against Me!, Jawbreaker, The Promise Ring) earlier this year.
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ESP marks the beginning of a revitalization for Miles Davis, as his second classic quintet – saxophonist Wayne Shorter, pianist Herbie Hancock, bassist Ron Carter, and drummer Tony Williams – gels, establishing what would become their signature adventurous hard bop. Miles had been moving toward this direction in the two years preceding the release of ESP and he had recorded with everyone outside of Shorter prior to this record, but his addition galvanizes the group, pushing them toward music that was recognizably bop but as adventurous as jazz's avant-garde. Outwardly, this music doesn't take as many risks as Coltrane or Ornette Coleman's recordings of the mid-'60s, but by borrowing some of the same theories – a de-emphasis of composition in favor of sheer improvisation, elastic definitions of tonality – they created a unique sound that came to define the very sound of modern jazz. Certainly, many musicians have returned to this group for inspiration, but their recordings remain fresh, because they exist at this fine dividing line between standard bop and avant.