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40th Anniversary

The New York Canon: Jazz

For the last 40 years, jazz in New York has had a hard time measuring up to its storied past. But even in the absence of a big scene, the music has stealthily maintained its vitality, as these twelve albums demonstrate.

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MILES DAVIS, ON THE CORNER, 1972
His last great studio album, a polyrhythmic monster.

ARTHUR BLYTHE, LENOX AVENUE BREAKDOWN, 1979
Exemplar of the experimental jazz played in musician-run performance spaces in Soho in the seventies.

ORNETTE COLEMAN, OF HUMAN FEELINGS, 1982
Brims with urbane energy—part funk, part African, part Latin, and all jazz.

WORLD SAXOPHONE QUARTET, LIVE AT BROOKLYN ACADEMY OF MUSIC, 1985
Soulful pop energy and avant-garde elusiveness prefiguring the late-eighties–early-nineties Knitting Factory scene.

JERRY GONZALEZ, RUMBA PARA MONK, 1988
The topflight Fort Apache Band showed exactly how much Bronx and barrio was in jazz’s most idiosyncratic composer.

JOHN ZORN’S MASADA, VOL. 2: BEIT, 1995
John Zorn created the ultimate downtown music: the Ramones at CBGB meet Ornette Coleman at the Five Spot and play with Eastern European ghetto harmonies.

BRAD MEHLDAU, THE ART OF THE TRIO VOLUME TWO: LIVE AT THE VILLAGE VANGUARD, 1998
Prodigiously talented pianist made his mark in a fabled series.

LINCOLN CENTER JAZZ ORCHESTRA WITH WYNTON MARSALIS, LIVE IN SWING CITY—SWINGIN’ WITH DUKE, 1999
Crack repertory band nailing jazz’s greatest composer.

JASON LINDNER (THE ENSEMBLE), PREMONITION, 2000
Establishing themselves at Smalls in the Village, Jason Lindner’s big band helped forge the new downtown sound.

DAVE HOLLAND QUINTET, PRIME DIRECTIVE, 2000
The precise arrangements of this stellar combo vividly recall the panoramic gleam of fifties midtown.

ABBEY LINCOLN, ABBEY SINGS ABBEY, 2007
Jazz’s best living singer proves she’s also its best living songwriter.

JENNY SCHEINMAN, CROSSING THE FIELD, 2008
An eclectic album that grew from jam sessions in Red Hook squats and became the epicenter of the new Brooklyn jazz scene in Park Slope.


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