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The best possible retort to the benighted, tunnel-vision-afflicted doomsayers who have been going around declaring jazz dead since before many of today's greatest jazzers were even born is to point them towards Thirsty Ears Blue Series. For several years now, its been the labels mission with this series to blaze a new trail for jazz by combining traditional musical values with cutting-edge electronic techniques. The process has resulted in some of the finest, most forward-looking jazz albums of the last decade. The latest installment is Blink of an Eye, which pairs British electronic artist Scanner with an all-star ensemble led by pianist Matthew Shipp and vibes man Khan Jamal. The combo dubs itself the Post Modern Jazz Quartet in a nod to the legendary Modern Jazz Quartet, positioning itself as the next link in the chain, pushing jazz forward into another era and a new musical space. Toward this end, Robin Scanner Rimbauds input proves invaluable. If the foursomes own lively post-bop interplay was simply presented as is, it would make for an impressive album in and of itself, but Scanner takes the sounds the quartet generates and filters them (literally) through a modern-day electronica sensibility, tweaking and warping them in wondrous, surprising, and often subtle ways.
November 24, 2010
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