The Squid's Ear
Recently @ Squidco:

Drone Trio (Davis / Frith / Greenlief): Lantskap Logic (Clean Feed)

Recording in the Bay Area at the Mills College Chapel in Oakland, the Drone Trio of Fred Frith on electric guitar, Phillip Greenlief using extended techniques on alto & tenor saxophones, and Evelyn Davis on the Chapel's pipe organ, use the natural resonance of the chapel and their masterful skills as improvisors to evolve fervid and powerfully sonorous environments. ... Click to View


Flavio Zanuttini Opacipapa: Born Baby Born (Clean Feed)

Italian trumpeter Falvio Zanuttini (Arbe Garbe) leads his bassless trio with Piero Bittolo Bon on alto sax and Marco D'Orlando on drums through 8 Zanuttini compositions, exciting free jazz with a lyrical bent and a playful attitude, the unique orchestration driving the players into post-bop territory with great parallel interaction in the horns and swinging drums - impressive! ... Click to View


The Way Ahead (Roligheten / Alberts / Barno / Aleklint / Stahl / Hoyer / Ostvang): Bells, Ghosts And Other Saints (Clean Feed)

An incredibly informed and modern album of free jazz drawing on an Albert Ayler influence from the Norwegian and Swedish septet of Andre Roligheten on tenor saxophone, clarinet, Kristoffer Alberts on alto saxophone, baritone saxophone, Niklas Barno on trumpet, Mats Aleklint on trombone, Mattias Stahl on vibraphone, Ola Hoyer on double bass, and Tollef Ostvang on drums. ... Click to View


Francesco Cusa & The Assassins Meets Duccio Bertini: Black Poker (Clean Feed)

The Italian free improv quartet The Assassins (Francesco Cusa, drums; Giulio Stermieri, piano; Flavio Zanuttini, trumpet; Giovanni Benvenuti, sax) joins toget with the classical chamber string ensemble, Florence Art Quartet (Daniele Iannaccone, violin; Lorenzo Borneo violin; Agostino Mattioni, viola; Cristiano Sacchi, cello) in a wonderful hybrid of both approaches. ... Click to View


Zack Clarke: Mesophase (Clean Feed)

Mesophase: matter that is neither liquid or solid, sharing properties of both; pianist and electronic artistZack Clarke's inspired album shares properties of improvisation, experimental/ea and through-composed music, performed with fellow NY-ers Chris Irvine (cello), Charlotte Greve (winds), Nick Dunston (double bass), and Leonid Galaganov ( percussion, waterphone & shakuhachi). ... Click to View


Frantz Loriot / Christian Wolfarth: The Call [VINYL] (Shhpuma)

Two unconventional and experimenting improvisers--French-Japanese violist Frantz Loriot and Swiss percussionist Christian Wolfarth--in a deceptive album of acoustic improvisation that elusively takes on electric qualities in the hands of these two innovators, seducing the listener through unusual twists and turns of perfectly paced interactions. ... Click to View


Ricardo Toscano Quartet : Feat. Joao Pedro Coelho, Romeu Tristao & Joao Lopes Pereira (Clean Feed)

Saxophonist Ricardo Toscano's Quartet with Joao Pedro Coelho on piano, Romeu Tristao on bass, and Joao Lopes Pereira on drums, a great example of modern Portuguese mainstream jazz that pays homage to the masters of bop and the Blue Note era, in a lyrical album of Toscano original compositions, alongside a rendering of Herbie Hancock's "The Sorcerer". ... Click to View


Hamar Trio (Holm / Faustino / Morao): Yesterday Is Here (Clean Feed)

Drawing from two live performances, one at Salao Brazil in Coimbra, the other at SMUP Parede in Portugal, from the trio of Norwegian multi-reedist Klaus Ellerhusen Holm (Ballrog), and Portuguese double bassist Hernani Faustino (Red Trio) and drummer/percussionist Nuno Morao (The Selva), for four spontaneous improvisations of great depth and mastery. ... Click to View


Antonio Raia : Asylum (Clean Feed)

Naples tenor saxophonist Antonio Raia's album of solo saxophone improvisations employs a mix of traditional and unusual techniques in 12 concise pieces that fragment "scraps" of melody into a diverse ruminating streams, recorded at the city's Filangeri Asylum by sound artist Renato Fiorito, using ten microphones to capture the unique qualities of the space. ... Click to View


Antonio Raia : Asylum [VINYL] (Clean Feed)

Naples tenor saxophonist Antonio Raia's album of solo saxophone improvisations employs a mix of traditional and unusual techniques in 12 concise pieces that fragment "scraps" of melody into a diverse ruminating streams, recorded at the city's Filangeri Asylum by sound artist Renato Fiorito, using ten microphones to capture the unique qualities of the space. ... Click to View


Chicago Edge Ensemble (Phillips / Drake / Williams / Bishop / Pablan): Insidious Anthem (Trost Records)

Drawing together some of Chicago's finest improvisers--leader Dan Phillips on guitar, Mars Williams on saxophones, Jeb Bishop on trombone, Krzysztof Pabian on double bass, and Hamid Drake on drums--for their second album, a balance set of creative jazz tunes with solid compositions that lend themsevles to exultant soloing, unusual sonic moments, and great collective playing. ... Click to View


Simon Nabatov String Trio: Situations (Leo)

As much a composed work as a work of improvisation, pianist and composer Simon Nabatov's String Trio with Garteh Lubbe on viola and Ben Davis perform six Nabatov compositions, chamber jazz works that express in both buyouantly intricate and languourosly beautiful abstraction, each piece leaving room for each player to improvise and express themselves. ... Click to View


Heath Watts / M.J. Williams / Nancy Owens / Blue Armstrong : Sensoria (Leo)

Saxophonist Heath Watts' 3rd Leo release is an album of free improvisation with three Montana jazz mavens--Blue Armstrong on double bass, MJ Williams on trombone, piano & melodica, and Nancy Owens on violin--in nine recordings of sophisticated and intelligent interaction that naturally evolves new directions of irrepressibly enjoyable and diverse conversation. ... Click to View


Ikui Doki (Bernado / Mayot / Rinaudo): Ikui Doki (Ayler)

Winners of the Jazz Migration and tour JMF 2018, the chamber jazz trio of Sophie Bernado (bassoon), Hugues Mayot (saxophone & clarinet) and Rafaelle Rinaudo (harp & effects) share their passion for creative music that embraces composition and improvisation, springboarding off composers like Debussy while transferring warmth and vision into free jazz; magnificent. ... Click to View


Szilard Mezei Tul A Tiszan Innen Ensemble: Citromfa [2CDS] (FMR)

Violist Szilard Mezei's Serbian jazz-folk group Tul a Tiszan Innen Ensemble is a twelve-piece band that functions as a small orchestra playing a range from complex to spacious compositions and arrangements from Mezei, using themes from Hungarian folk songs from Vojvodina to create expansive compositions over which the adept members of his ensemble improvise. ... Click to View


Les Surruralists (Bull / Normand / Grossman / Jacques / Berirau): La Way Qu'a Do (Tour de Bras)

Slyly crossing modern improv and EAI approaches in a surreal take on early bottleneck, banjo and slide blues styles from the Quebec quintet of Arthur Bull on harmonica, voice, guitar, electronics, Eric Normand on banjo, voice, bass, Ben Grossman on "old wheel", Anne-Francoise Jacques on engines, and Gabriel Rochette on trombone; sincere and eccentric. ... Click to View


Plant (Jim Denley / Eric Normand): II (Tour de Bras)

Separated by 1,000 KMs and speaking a different language, the collaboration of Quebec bassist Eric Normand and Australian saxophonist Jim Denley, both dedicated experimenters, share a common aesthetic in free improvisation as they release their third album: five dialogs using reeds, electric bass, drums, objects and tools to create unusual sonic conversations. ... Click to View


Weasel Walter : Curses (Ugexplode)

Drummer/percussionist and electronic artist Weasel Walter's solo album presents 99 tracks that represent 4 large movements of "detailed abstract madness", titled "Curse Against Humanity", "Casting Destruction", "Ode To The Death Of Enemies", and "Cursed in Eternity", each a vicious and intensely captivating set of elusive movement in accord and discord; fascinating. ... Click to View


Sabu Toyozumi / Rick Countryman / Simon Tan: Preludes And Prepositions (ChapChap Records)

Three extended free improvisations recorded in 2017 in Cubao Quezon City from the trio of Rick Countryman on alto saxophone, Simon Tan on acoustic bass, and Japense first generation free improviser Sabu Toyozumi on drums & Erhu (a 2-stringed Chinese instrument), as the trio take their listeners on a marathon session of inspired and playing. ... Click to View


Derek Bailey / Vertrek Ensemble ‎: Departures (Volatile Records)

After only their first album as a duo, the Edmonton, Canada duo Vertrek Ensemble of Vadim Budman on electric and acoustic guitar & cornet and Ron de Jong on percussion, travelled to London in 1998 to record a session with legendary free improviser Derek Bailey, this album of open-minded, uniquely voiced and beautifully captured improvisation the result. ... Click to View


Ivo Perelman / Matthew Shipp: Oneness [3 CDs] (Leo)

A significant release culminating the partnership of saxophonist Ivo Perelman and pianist Matthew Shipp, a distillation of their work after 8 duo recordings and dozens of collaborative albums, this 3 CD presents their work together in nearly telepathic terms: sympathetic and intimate without irascibility, a beautiful and introspective reflection of a shared ethic. ... Click to View


Aine O'Dwyer / Graham Lambkin: Green Ways [2 CDs] (erstwhile)

A unique sound document originally envisioned as a sound map of Ireland, collecting and composing with live recordings from performances in Doon, Dungarvan, Plaistow, Shoreditch, Singo & Stratford, using song, sound, spoken word, extraneous, ambient recordings and abstract and unidentifiable elements, making for an absolutely fascinating and somewhat bizarre album; recommended. ... Click to View


Dustin Carlson (w/ Mitchell / Gentile / Hopkins / Morgan / Trudel / Gouker): Air Ceremony (Out Of Your Head Records)

A strong album of modern creative jazz from New York guitarist Dustin Carlson, in a septet with Matt Mitchell on synth, Kate Gentile on drums, Adam Hopkins on bass, Nathaniel Morgan on alto saxophone, Eric Trudel on baritone saxophone, Danny Gouker on trumpet, sophisticated, intricate, lyrical and compelling compositions driving the enthusiasm and exuberance of their "ceremony"! ... Click to View


Jurg Frey : 120 Pieces of Sound (elsewhere)

Two distinct works by Swiss composer and bass clarinetist Jurg Frey: the 1st, recorded in Connecticut, a quintet composition from 2009 for bass clarinet, cello, violin, keyboard and electric guitar, Frey's harmonies creating an open instrumentation for the clarinet and cello; the second a 1997 composition for multitimbral field recordings and bass clarinet. ... Click to View


Clara de Asis : Without (elsewhere)

French composer and guitarist Clara De Asis composed the extended soundwork "Without" for the duo of Erik Carlson (violin) and Greg Stuart (percussion), defining a precise framework for the position and duration of each sound section and silence, with outlines for texture, volume, use of tone or noise, and percussive materials, but leaving space for many of the performers' choices. ... Click to View


Stefan Thut : about (elsewhere)

Composer & cellist Stefan Thut performs his composition with Ryoko Akama (electronics), Stephen Chase (guitar), Eleanor Cully (piano), Patrick Farmer (metal percussion), and lo wie (tingsha), where half of the group allow single percussive, ringing or electronic sounds to decay, as the other half play high register pitches, in between walking "about" and uttering monosyllabic words. ... Click to View


Insect-ions (Pascal Landry / Mick Barr): out.over.forever (Tour de Bras)

Acoustic guitar intermeshes with electric guitar as Canadian guitarist Pascal Landry and New York guitarist Mick Barr, both of whom play in heavy rock and free improvisation settings, meet in Queens, NY to record this intense album of free playing using a diverse set of approaches, intertwining their strings in an insectile swarm of notes and timbres. ... Click to View


Eugene Chadbourne / Vertek Ensemble: Dimsum, Dodgers, And Dangerous Nights (Volatile Records)

Documenting the meeting of guitarist Eugene Chadbourne, also singing on "If I Were a Bell", with the Edmonton, CA-based Vertrek Ensemble of Ron de Jong on percussion and Vadim Budman on guitars and trumpet, in a city Chadbourne lived in 25 years prior, as he returns for a serious and well recorded album of informed free improv, plus one solo Chad track from a concert during his visit. ... Click to View


John Zorn: In A Convex Mirror (Tzadik)

Three pieces of "sonic voodoo" with John Zorn improvising on saxophone over the hypnotic Hatian influenced drumming of Ches Smith, while Downtown NY experimenter Ikue Mori provides swirls of sound and other aural additions, Zorn's incredible technique, lyrical skills and unusual twists and turns keeping the listener captivated over compelling and rich rhythm. ... Click to View


BROM (Lapshin / Ponomarev / Kurilo): Sunstroke (Trost Records)

Super heavy free jazz with a rock sensibility that also quotes and references the greats, including a track dedicated to Charles Mingus, from the Moscow trio of Dmitry Lapshin on double bass, Anton Ponomarev on saxophone, and Yaroslav Kurilo on drums, founded in 2008 but only now gaining global acknowledgement of their informed and ferocious brand of improv. ... Click to View


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The Squid's Ear
Squidco Sales

Op-Ed (Opinions and Editorials)
  • December 6, 2018:

    The holidays and Blue Squid / Cyber Squid / Black Squid / whatever we call them SALES have kept us very busy! We are grateful to our wonderful customers who made our sales successful and fun, and we really appreciate the positive comments about our service and the catalog of music we all love so much. Thank You!

    We have a great set of new releases coming our way, either ordered already or soon to be released (have a look below), and the end of the year and the start of 2019 looks to be as exciting, interesting and rewarding as 2018. We're typically a bit late publishing our year end lists, but we're currently looking into restocking top sellers and having animated dialog about which albums we found most rewarding, and of course, which we disagree on. Look for those lists near January 1, but in the meantime you can always look at our Top Lists by Customer Orders page to see what other customers have found interesting and exciting.






    Having been raised by a clarinetist, I'm a natural fan of the Magic I.D. and International Nothing. Both bands use the instrument in unique harmonic combinations to create tonal structures and interference patterns unique to the pure tones of the clarinet. I've also been an enthusiast of The Necks since Recommended Records introduced me to the band around the turn of the century. The subtlety of their improvisation fascinates me, as the band slowly modifies often hallucinogenic riffs that slowly move the listener in almost illusionary progressions.

    The Dogmatics, the duo of Chris Abrahams (piano) and Kai Fagaschinski (clarinet) does neither, but takes elements from both approaches and brings a new and subdued approach to improvisation into unusual territories. The two Australians share a dark image of their pairing, as reflected in the covers of their albums; in reality there is no negativity in their playing, but plenty of shadowy sections, twilight tones that play out as though dark secrets were being whispered while the pair hide behind trees, dropping notes into the atmospheres and building sonic environments that creep around you in alluring ways.

    This is their second release, a vinyl album self-published on their own label. It's a great place to enter their scenarios.

    The Dogmatics: Chop Off The Tops [VINYL] (Dogmatics)

    The second album from the duo of pianist Chris Abrahams (The Necks) and clarinetist Kai Fagaschinski (The Magic I.D., Interational Nothing) has the duo decelerating for an intimate examination of tone and harmonics through perfectly placed notes and subtly extreme technique, creating sublime sonic environments that hover and dissolve; beautiful.








    Do Yeon Kim is a masterful performer on the gayageum or kayagum, a kind of zither or harp from Korea. Joe Morris is the better-known performer here, playing guitar on this album. Their duo is an impressive and captivating example of incredible skill and a diversity of approaches from both players, including pointillistic improv, rich rivers of chords, languid moments of beauty, and moments where it's difficult to discern who's playing what. It may take several listens to embrace the "space" they occupy in performance, but the mix of exotic interplay and the fascinating challenge of hearing a unique combination of instruments that yields unexpected results draws in the listener. Morris and Kim are clearly captivated by their own playing, and their focus and flow in their dialogs keeps this album interesting from start to finish. Highly recommended.

    Morris, Joe / Do Yeon Kim: Macrocosm (Glacial Erratic)

    Performing on the Korean gayageum (also known as kayagum), Doyeon Kim joins Joe Morris performing on guitar for five incredible string improvisations using a diversity of approaches from both players, including pointillistic improv, rich rivers of chords, languid moments of beauty, and moments where it's difficult to discern who's playing what.








    The aforementioned album with Joe Morris brought to mind yet more of guitars. A host of great guitarist-led records ended this year, and since October seeing great releases from Brandon Seabrook, Dustin Carlson, Mary Halvorson & Joe Morris (after Mary Halvorson & Bill Frisell), Tashi Dorji, East of the Valley Blues (Kevin & Patrick Cahill), Julien Desprez & Luis Lopes, and of course, Eugene Chadbourne.

    For the more blues/abstract side of things East of the Valley Blues, the duo of brothers Kevin & Patrick Cahill lays down a wonderfully rich album blending country blues, folk and world approaches. For the rock and weird side of things one can't go wrong with the improv/jazz/rock weirdness of Doc Chad, who has released a good number of albums this year. Though technically a trio album, Chad's free improv album with the Canadian Vertek Ensemble, Dimsum, Dodgers, And Dangerous Nights, also contains a solo live piece, a touching rendering of "My Mother's Eyes".

    Brandon Seabrook and Dustin Carlson both bring Downtown NY approaches to their albums as leaders, Carlson more in the modern mainstream of the sound (think Pi Recordings), while Seabrook is the more renegade player (think Marc Ribot) with angular and gritty resolve.

    Mary Halvorson continues to excite, releasing two duos, one with Downtown NY legend Bill Frisell in album of absolutely stunning interplay, with Halvorson's signature stretchy guitar effects contrasting with Frisell's tasteful and sophisticated playing. With Joe Morris, Halvorson turns off the effects and the two create a jaw-dropping display of rapid fire yet comprehensible playing.

    On the experimental side Tashi Dorji's cassette+download on Moone Records is a more abstract affair, beautiful in it's gazing approach to the acoustic guitar, taking his mind and our ears where he wanders. In contrast, the meeting of Canadian guitarist Pascal Landry and NY guitarist Mick Barr is an intense and free-flying affair of rapid intertwining "swarms" of notes and timbres. Julien Desprez & Luis Lopes take yet another approach through effects and sonic treatment to build beautifully evolving works of subtlety and mystery.

    East of the Valley Blues (Kevin & Patrick Cahill): Ressemblera [CASSETTE + DOWNLOAD] (Astral Spirits)

    Twin brothers Kevin and Patrick Cahill, AKA East of the Valley Blues, are a Toronto-based guitar duo who have released a series of albums blending country, folk and world approaches with a Fahey-esque overtone, here in an extended work of interactive playing that has a nearly telepathic feel in the give and take these two brothers bring to their instruments.



    Chadbourne, Eugene / Vertek Ensemble: Dimsum, Dodgers, And Dangerous Nights (Volatile Records)

    Documenting the meeting of guitarist Eugene Chadbourne, also singing on "If I Were a Bell", with the Edmonton, CA-based Vertrek Ensemble of Ron de Jong on percussion and Vadim Budman on guitars and trumpet, in a city Chadbourne lived in 25 years prior, as he returns for a serious and well recorded album of informed free improv, plus one solo Chad track from a concert during his visit.



    Seabrook, Brandon Trio: Convulsionaries (Astral Spirits)

    Essentially a string trio, guitarist Brandon Seabrook's Trio with upright bassist Henry Fraser and cellist Daniel Levin is anything but typical string fair, blending improvisation with complex composition and rock sensibilities as one of New York's most unique downtown players takes listeners on a diverse and sometimes demented journey through genre and style.



    Carlson, Dustin (w/ Mitchell / Gentile / Hopkins / Morgan / Trudel / Gouker): Air Ceremony (Out Of Your Head Records)

    A strong album of modern creative jazz from New York guitarist Dustin Carlson, in a septet with Matt Mitchell on synth, Kate Gentile on drums, Adam Hopkins on bass, Nathaniel Morgan on alto saxophone, Eric Trudel on baritone saxophone, Danny Gouker on trumpet, sophisticated, intricate, lyrical and compelling compositions driving the enthusiasm and exuberance of their ceremony!



    Halvorson, Mary / Joe Morris: Traversing Orbits (RogueArt)

    Two of this generation's most influential and skilled guitarists, Mary Halvorson and Joe Morris bring their distinct styles and jaw-dropping mastery of their instruments into a duo of collective improvisation, neither player using effects but instead impressing by (often high-speed) lyricism, incredibly precise interaction, and the warmth their long association brings to them.



    Halvorson, Mary / Bill Frisell: The Maid With The Flaxen Hair (Tzadik)

    Two Downtown NY guitarists, both masterful players with unique approaches to their instrument, come together to present extraordinary and brilliant interpretations of an eclectic set of standards and compositions, titled for Claude Debussy's 1910 solo piano work, and including pieces by Hoagy Charmichael, Johnny Smith, Willard Robinson, and a number of traditional works.



    Dorji, Tashi: But a night that ends, as all nights end, when the sun rises [CASSETTE + DOWNLOAD] (Moone Records)

    Guitarist Tashi Dorji's two part work is pieced together in a non-linear/non-hierarchical form where every segment balances fragile and intense playing, his improvisations reflecting eastern and western approaches, with fragmentary passage that resolve into tightly focused playing that imparts a wonderful sense of lyrical and emotional depth.



    Insect-ions (Pascal Landry / Mick Barr): out.over.forever (Tour de Bras)

    Acoustic guitar intermeshes with electric guitar as Canadian guitarist Pascal Landry and New York guitarist Mick Barr, both of whom play in heavy rock and free improvisation settings, meet in Queens, NY to record this intense album of free playing using a diverse set of approaches, intertwining their strings in an insectile swarm of notes and timbres.



    continued...




  • The Squid's Ear presents
    reviews about releases
    sold at Squidco.com
    written by
    independent writers.

    Squidco

    Recent Selections @ Squidco:


    Flavio Zanuttini Opacipapa:
    Born Baby Born
    (Clean Feed)



    The Way Ahead
    (Roligheten /
    Alberts /
    Barno /
    Aleklint /
    Stahl /
    Hoyer /
    Ostvang):
    Bells, Ghosts
    And Other Saints
    (Clean Feed)



    Drone Trio
    (Davis /
    Frith /
    Greenlief):
    Lantskap Logic
    (Clean Feed)



    Simon Nabatov String Trio:
    Situations
    (Leo)



    Chicago Edge Ensemble
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    Drake /
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    Ikui Doki
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    Rinaudo):
    Ikui Doki
    (Ayler)



    Ivo Perelman /
    Matthew Shipp:
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    [3 CDs]
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    Aine O'Dwyer /
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    Dustin Carlson
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    Hopkins /
    Morgan /
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    Gouker):
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    John Zorn:
    In A
    Convex Mirror
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    Roscoe Mitchell Sextet:
    Sound
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    BROM
    (Lapshin /
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    Oren Ambarchi &
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    U-Zhaan:
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    Jose Lencastre
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    Paul Dunmall /
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    Francesco Massaro:
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    Mary Halvorson /
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    (RogueArt)



    Rene Lussier :
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    The J. & F. Band
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    From The Roots
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    Mars Williams presents:
    An Ayler
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    (ESP)







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