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The Prodigy - Greatest Hits [2CD, Star Mark Compilation] (2009) NEW!

Roberto Rodriguez: The First Basket (2009, Tzadik):Soundtrack for a film (same name) by David Vyorst, something aboutthe origins of the Basketball Association of America, which wasfounded in 1946 and merged with the National Basketball League in1949 to form the NBA. Consists of 30 pieces, starting with a shofarsolo call-to-arms, then various more/less klezmerish pieces, someless enough to be period 1930s swing. Fifteen musicians, probablysplit up but I have no notes. A remarkable pastiche of fragments.Technical problems kept me from following it as well as I wouldhave liked.B+(***) [Rhapsody]

The Prodigy - Greatest Hits [2CD, Star Mark Compilation] (2009)

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Vandermark 5: Annular Gift (2009, Not Two):Live record, cut in Poland, like the group's mammoth (and quitemarvelous) 12-CD Alchemia box. Not sure whether any ofthe pieces had been recorded before -- I vaguely recall seeing(or maybe starting to put together) an index of compositions,but don't recall where. In any case, they aren't dupes fromrecent studio albums. "Spiel" starts with a cello solo, asFred Lonberg-Holm continues to get better integrated into thegroup. Vandermark forgoes the baritone sax that had been anincreasing part of his V5 repertoire, so he winds up playingmore tenor, and Dave Rempis more alto. The result often tendstoward what we might call "freebop and roll." Great sound.Great group.A- [Rhapsody]

Gerald Wilson Orchestra: Detroit (2009, Mack Avenue):B. 1918 in Mississippi, which puts him past 90 for this record. Movedto Detroit, graduating from "Cass Tech" (a song-title here), then outto Los Angeles in the early 1940s. Apprenticed in Jimmie Lunceford'sbig band, playing trumpet and arranging. Led his own big band 1945-54,cutting records currently available only on Classics compilations.Spotty discography in the 1950s -- Duke Ellington, Buddy Collette,Red Callender, Leroy Vinnegar, June Christy, Curtis Counce -- butwith big bands virtually extinct as working units, from 1961 he cuta series of albums for Pacific Jazz that brought about a new era,that of large, ad hoc studio jazz orchestras. Actually, for him it'sbeen two eras: 1961-69 and 1992 to the present. In between he hadtwo long breaks around a 1981-84 burst that is no longer in print.His recent records have been among his best, and this one is way upthere. A six-piece suite was commissioned by the Detroit InternationalJazz Festival, and recorded by Wilson's LA-based working group. Ithits all the right notes: sterling solos, solid section work, power,finesse, noteworthy use of violin (Yvette Devereaux) and guitar (sonAnthony Wilson). The last two pieces were cut with a star-studdedNew York group and they are, if anything, even sharper.A-

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