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Jazz - To be released November 19, 2021 | Blue Note Records

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Jazz - To be released November 5, 2021 | Blue Note Records

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Jazz - To be released October 29, 2021 | Blue Note Records

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Jazz - To be released September 24, 2021 | Blue Note Records

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Jazz - Released September 15, 2021 | Blue Note Records

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Jazz - Released September 15, 2021 | Blue Note Records

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Jazz - Released September 10, 2021 | Blue Note Records

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Jazz - Released September 8, 2021 | Blue Note Records

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Move Your Hand was recorded live at Club Harlem in Atlantic City on August 9, 1969. Organist Lonnie Smith led a small combo -- featuring guitarist Larry McGee, tenor saxist Rudy Jones, bari saxist Ronnie Cuber, and drummer Sylvester Goshay -- through a set that alternated originals with two pop covers, the Coasters' "Charlie Brown" and Donovan's "Sunshine Superman." Throughout, the band works a relaxed, bluesy, and, above all, funky rhythm; they abandon improvisation and melody for a steady groove, so much that the hooks of the two pop hits aren't recognizable until a few minutes into the track. No one player stands out, but Move Your Hand is thoroughly enjoyable, primarily because the group never lets their momentum sag throughout the session. Though the sound of the record might be somewhat dated, the essential funk of the album remains vital. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Jazz - Released September 8, 2021 | Blue Note Records

Move Your Hand was recorded live at Club Harlem in Atlantic City on August 9, 1969. Organist Lonnie Smith led a small combo -- featuring guitarist Larry McGee, tenor saxist Rudy Jones, bari saxist Ronnie Cuber, and drummer Sylvester Goshay -- through a set that alternated originals with two pop covers, the Coasters' "Charlie Brown" and Donovan's "Sunshine Superman." Throughout, the band works a relaxed, bluesy, and, above all, funky rhythm; they abandon improvisation and melody for a steady groove, so much that the hooks of the two pop hits aren't recognizable until a few minutes into the track. No one player stands out, but Move Your Hand is thoroughly enjoyable, primarily because the group never lets their momentum sag throughout the session. Though the sound of the record might be somewhat dated, the essential funk of the album remains vital. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Jazz - Released August 27, 2021 | Blue Note Records

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Wayne Shorter's saxophone was so omnipresent throughout jazz's waves of upheaval in the '50s, '60s, and '70s that it would have been easy to mistake the man for the type of standard bearer that kept the genre anchored to its roots while iconoclasts were busy pushing boundaries. There he was with Art Blakey, there he was with Miles, there he was on Blue Note, there he was with Weather Report. However, in all of those scenarios, Shorter was absolutely not there to provide a grounding assist; instead, he was often one of the primary people (if not the only person) whose daring compositional prowess and improvisational innovation was a defining factor in that music's spectacular uniqueness. To be fair, Shorter is the recipient of all sorts of readers' poll victories, lifetime achievement awards, Grammys, and effusive praise from his musical contemporaries and descendants, so while he is far from being some well-kept secret, any opportunity to spotlight his contributions is a good one. And in that spirit, trumpeter Terence Blanchard's latest album is designed as a tribute to Shorter's genius and influence. Interestingly, only five of the 12 tracks here are Shorter compositions—"The Elders," "Fall," "When It Was Now," "Diana," and "More Elders"—while the others were penned by Blanchard and members of the jazz quartet E-Collective, who back Blanchard on the album, alongside the strings of the Turtle Island Quartet. Thanks to the presence of those groups, this is an album that—like Shorter's career—is full of sonic surprises. Some cuts like "The Second Wave" veer sharply into contemporary classical territory, with invigorating compositional complexity and dynamic performances in which Blanchard—and "jazz" as a construct, for that matter—take a decided back seat. In fact, Blanchard and "jazz" are seldom the focal point of many of these tracks. Even on Shorter-penned numbers like "Diana" (from 1974's Native Dancer, his divisive bossa-fusion album), the emphasis is on capturing the essence of the composition, rather than strictly recreating the original, a feat which is accomplished by Blanchard modifying his magnificently precise tone into a more open and exploratory one. The result is a dense, provocative, and incredibly rewarding album that recontextualizes all of the forms that Shorter worked in—fusion, modal, hard bop, and even third stream—into defiantly modern and genre-fluid textures. No doubt that the legend would approve. © Jason Ferguson/Qobuz
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Jazz - Released August 27, 2021 | Blue Note Records

Wayne Shorter's saxophone was so omnipresent throughout jazz's waves of upheaval in the '50s, '60s, and '70s that it would have been easy to mistake the man for the type of standard bearer that kept the genre anchored to its roots while iconoclasts were busy pushing boundaries. There he was with Art Blakey, there he was with Miles, there he was on Blue Note, there he was with Weather Report. However, in all of those scenarios, Shorter was absolutely not there to provide a grounding assist; instead, he was often one of the primary people (if not the only person) whose daring compositional prowess and improvisational innovation was a defining factor in that music's spectacular uniqueness. To be fair, Shorter is the recipient of all sorts of readers' poll victories, lifetime achievement awards, Grammys, and effusive praise from his musical contemporaries and descendants, so while he is far from being some well-kept secret, any opportunity to spotlight his contributions is a good one. And in that spirit, trumpeter Terence Blanchard's latest album is designed as a tribute to Shorter's genius and influence. Interestingly, only five of the 12 tracks here are Shorter compositions—"The Elders," "Fall," "When It Was Now," "Diana," and "More Elders"—while the others were penned by Blanchard and members of the jazz quartet E-Collective, who back Blanchard on the album, alongside the strings of the Turtle Island Quartet. Thanks to the presence of those groups, this is an album that—like Shorter's career—is full of sonic surprises. Some cuts like "The Second Wave" veer sharply into contemporary classical territory, with invigorating compositional complexity and dynamic performances in which Blanchard—and "jazz" as a construct, for that matter—take a decided back seat. In fact, Blanchard and "jazz" are seldom the focal point of many of these tracks. Even on Shorter-penned numbers like "Diana" (from 1974's Native Dancer, his divisive bossa-fusion album), the emphasis is on capturing the essence of the composition, rather than strictly recreating the original, a feat which is accomplished by Blanchard modifying his magnificently precise tone into a more open and exploratory one. The result is a dense, provocative, and incredibly rewarding album that recontextualizes all of the forms that Shorter worked in—fusion, modal, hard bop, and even third stream—into defiantly modern and genre-fluid textures. No doubt that the legend would approve. © Jason Ferguson/Qobuz
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Jazz - Released July 16, 2021 | Blue Note Records

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In 2018, Blue Note boss Don Was signed Dave McMurray, the former saxophonist of his band Was Not Was, for Music is Life, a beautiful album mixing direct, percussive jazz with corrosive soul and abrasive Blues. A true chameleon, McMurray has played with some of the industry's biggest artists, including B. B. King, the Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Iggy Pop, Patti Smith, Bonnie Raitt, Johnny Hallyday, Gladys Knight, Albert King, Nancy Wilson, Bootsy Collins, Herbie Hancock, Geri Allen, Bob James and dozens of others. This time McMurray takes his made in Detroit sound for a walk over to the West Coast of the United States, tackling the repertoire of the Grateful Dead. On Loser, he brings in soul singer Bettye LaVette and one of the founders of the Dead, Bob Weir. His tender attentions breathe new life into the works of Jerry Garcia's band. The result is the grooviest of tributes. © Clotilde Maréchal/Qobuz
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Jazz - Released July 16, 2021 | Blue Note Records

In 2018, Blue Note boss Don Was signed Dave McMurray, the former saxophonist of his band Was Not Was, for Music is Life, a beautiful album mixing direct, percussive jazz with corrosive soul and abrasive Blues. A true chameleon, McMurray has played with some of the industry's biggest artists, including B. B. King, the Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Iggy Pop, Patti Smith, Bonnie Raitt, Johnny Hallyday, Gladys Knight, Albert King, Nancy Wilson, Bootsy Collins, Herbie Hancock, Geri Allen, Bob James and dozens of others. This time McMurray takes his made in Detroit sound for a walk over to the West Coast of the United States, tackling the repertoire of the Grateful Dead. On Loser, he brings in soul singer Bettye LaVette and one of the founders of the Dead, Bob Weir. His tender attentions breathe new life into the works of Jerry Garcia's band. The result is the grooviest of tributes. © Clotilde Maréchal/Qobuz
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Jazz - Released June 11, 2021 | Blue Note Records

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At the age of 33, and after a good ten albums for different labels including EmArcy and Mack Avenue, guitarist Julian Lage has now come knocking at Blue Note's door. Now settled in New York, this former Californian child prodigy is making his big début at the prestigious firm with his close friend, the double bass player Jorge Roeder and Bad Plus drummer Dave King. This pair had already made an appearance on Love Hurts, Lage's 2019 album made up of covers of artists ranging from Roy Orbison to Ornette Coleman. Squint takes a different approach: nine of the eleven tracks here are original material. This focus on his own writing showcases even more of Lage's talent: a talent which is truly broad, as the styles here alternate between jazz, blues and even rock. And here, as elsewhere, the breadth of his influences is on display too: Jim Hall, Pat Metheny and Bill Frisell. But when it comes to his improvisations, Julian Lage has his own language, with dazzling clarity (as on his superb version of Emily by Johnny Mandel and Johnny Mercer) and a stunning gift for a slick melody (for example, the very beautiful theme Day and Age and its whiff of Americana). A true virtuoso, Lage is no show-off, but displays real class. © Marc Zisman / Qobuz
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Jazz - Released June 11, 2021 | Blue Note Records

At the age of 33, and after a good ten albums for different labels including EmArcy and Mack Avenue, guitarist Julian Lage has now come knocking at Blue Note's door. Now settled in New York, this former Californian child prodigy is making his big début at the prestigious firm with his close friend, the double bass player Jorge Roeder and Bad Plus drummer Dave King. This pair had already made an appearance on Love Hurts, Lage's 2019 album made up of covers of artists ranging from Roy Orbison to Ornette Coleman. Squint takes a different approach: nine of the eleven tracks here are original material. This focus on his own writing showcases even more of Lage's talent: a talent which is truly broad, as the styles here alternate between jazz, blues and even rock. And here, as elsewhere, the breadth of his influences is on display too: Jim Hall, Pat Metheny and Bill Frisell. But when it comes to his improvisations, Julian Lage has his own language, with dazzling clarity (as on his superb version of Emily by Johnny Mandel and Johnny Mercer) and a stunning gift for a slick melody (for example, the very beautiful theme Day and Age and its whiff of Americana). A true virtuoso, Lage is no show-off, but displays real class. © Marc Zisman / Qobuz
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Jazz - Released May 21, 2021 | Blue Note Records

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When James Francies delivered Flight, his acclaimed 2018 Blue Note leader debut, the pianist and composer had already made a name for himself with fellow jazzmen Stefon Harris, Pat Metheny, and Jeff "Tain" Watts, as well as producer Mark Ronson, the Roots, and Lauryn Hill. Francies, a Houston, Texas native, shares (with many of his generation's musical peers) a willingness to extend the parameters of modern jazz with harmonics, textures, and dynamics grafted from R&B, hip-hop, electronic, and pop forms. But unlike them, Francies' musical iconography disregards artificially imposed genre boundaries because he understands they are all linked parts of the Western scale and system. He can stretch, reshape, and break rules because he understands just how large the umbrella is. The musical backbone on Purest Form is created by Francies with longtime Houston compatriots bassist Burniss Travis and drummer Jeremy Dutton. Further, he enlisted his labelmates, alto saxophonist Immanuel Wilkins and vibraphonist Joel Ross, as well as guitarist Mike Moreno and vocalists Elliott Skinner, Peyton, and Bilal. Opener "Adoration" is a brief soundscape on which Francies' piano is framed by blurry electronic keyboards and his wife Brenda Francies reading a poem. It's a tad disorienting, but strangely elegant. "Levitate" showcases the trio aggressively engaging with interlocking rhythmic pulses and harmonic vamps as overdubbed pianos and careening synths drive, and are driven by, rumbling basslines, triple-timed drums, and skittering loops. "Transfiguration" weaves fleet piano figures through euphoric modalism and modern classical composition as wordless vocals, ambient keys, and the rhythm section elevate them then jarringly interrupt. Wilkins enters with his alto and pushes the whole track toward transcendence. Peyton, another Houston native, lends her sultry voice to the dreamy, post-spiritual soul in "Blown Away," while Elliot Skinner's vocal governs a central meld of soul, gospel, and pop in the lilting ballad "Rose Water." The inclusion of "My Favorite Things'' here is anything but standard. Delivered with a choppy double-timed tempo, it's chock-full of tight twists and turns from the trio with Ross, Moreno, and Wilkins. Everyone offers inspired solos for this wildly inventive reading on stun. "Stratus" finds Francies and his keyboards engaging a string quartet before getting atmospheric and funky on the summery, futurist jazz-funk that is "713" (a Houston area code). "Where We Stand" is woolly, spidery, tripped-out, electro post-bop with Wilkins and Ross adding heft to the trio. Its knotty syncopated rhythms recall Varese and electro producer Kaidi Tatham, while the twin influences of Andrew Hill and Zappa are reflected in its intricately rendered harmonic approach. "Eyes Wide Shut" features Bilal in a collision of vanguard jazz, gritty indie rock, and neo-soul. Purest Form is far more diverse -- and unsettling -- than its predecessor, but in all the right ways. Francies showcases his vast creativity and imagination with uncommon breadth and depth in cutting across artificial boundary lines while integrating them in a bold new music of his own design. © Thom Jurek /TiVo
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Jazz - Released May 21, 2021 | Blue Note Records

When James Francies delivered Flight, his acclaimed 2018 Blue Note leader debut, the pianist and composer had already made a name for himself with fellow jazzmen Stefon Harris, Pat Metheny, and Jeff "Tain" Watts, as well as producer Mark Ronson, the Roots, and Lauryn Hill. Francies, a Houston, Texas native, shares (with many of his generation's musical peers) a willingness to extend the parameters of modern jazz with harmonics, textures, and dynamics grafted from R&B, hip-hop, electronic, and pop forms. But unlike them, Francies' musical iconography disregards artificially imposed genre boundaries because he understands they are all linked parts of the Western scale and system. He can stretch, reshape, and break rules because he understands just how large the umbrella is. The musical backbone on Purest Form is created by Francies with longtime Houston compatriots bassist Burniss Travis and drummer Jeremy Dutton. Further, he enlisted his labelmates, alto saxophonist Immanuel Wilkins and vibraphonist Joel Ross, as well as guitarist Mike Moreno and vocalists Elliott Skinner, Peyton, and Bilal. Opener "Adoration" is a brief soundscape on which Francies' piano is framed by blurry electronic keyboards and his wife Brenda Francies reading a poem. It's a tad disorienting, but strangely elegant. "Levitate" showcases the trio aggressively engaging with interlocking rhythmic pulses and harmonic vamps as overdubbed pianos and careening synths drive, and are driven by, rumbling basslines, triple-timed drums, and skittering loops. "Transfiguration" weaves fleet piano figures through euphoric modalism and modern classical composition as wordless vocals, ambient keys, and the rhythm section elevate them then jarringly interrupt. Wilkins enters with his alto and pushes the whole track toward transcendence. Peyton, another Houston native, lends her sultry voice to the dreamy, post-spiritual soul in "Blown Away," while Elliot Skinner's vocal governs a central meld of soul, gospel, and pop in the lilting ballad "Rose Water." The inclusion of "My Favorite Things'' here is anything but standard. Delivered with a choppy double-timed tempo, it's chock-full of tight twists and turns from the trio with Ross, Moreno, and Wilkins. Everyone offers inspired solos for this wildly inventive reading on stun. "Stratus" finds Francies and his keyboards engaging a string quartet before getting atmospheric and funky on the summery, futurist jazz-funk that is "713" (a Houston area code). "Where We Stand" is woolly, spidery, tripped-out, electro post-bop with Wilkins and Ross adding heft to the trio. Its knotty syncopated rhythms recall Varese and electro producer Kaidi Tatham, while the twin influences of Andrew Hill and Zappa are reflected in its intricately rendered harmonic approach. "Eyes Wide Shut" features Bilal in a collision of vanguard jazz, gritty indie rock, and neo-soul. Purest Form is far more diverse -- and unsettling -- than its predecessor, but in all the right ways. Francies showcases his vast creativity and imagination with uncommon breadth and depth in cutting across artificial boundary lines while integrating them in a bold new music of his own design. © Thom Jurek /TiVo
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Jazz - Released May 7, 2021 | Blue Note Records

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Tony Allen arguably had the most eclectic CV out of anyone in the world of contemporary music. The tireless explorer Tony Allen started his career with Fela Kuti, and has collaborated with artists as diverse as Jean-Louis Aubert, Jeff Mills, Ray Lema, Sébastien Tellier, Manu Dibango, Damon Albarn and Charlotte Gainsbourg. His final foray, before his death on 30 April 2020 was into the world of hip-hop. With producer Vincent Taeger aka Tiger Tigre, he began improvising on drums while listening to American rap classics. Soon, he felt compelled to make beats for rappers. And as Tony Allen was never one to cling to past glories, he went in for freshness and inspiration, and gathered together a cast of new voices who had something to say.Tony Allen was never able to complete this project. But he was able to record all his drum parts, and Vincent Taeger finished the work off brilliantly: the result was that this record saw the light of day exactly one year after the Nigerian musician passed away. This record has the feel of a real producer's album, with a very laid-back 90s vibe on the opening tracks featuring Sampa the Great and Lord Jah-Monte Ogbon. Tony Allen works musical wonders, creating a hypermodern, avant-garde sound. On Mau Mau, almost all the melody comes from the drums, while Kenyan rapper Nah Eeto lets fly with a cool, soul-tinged flow. From soul, we move on to funk, with Zelooperz and Koreatown Oddity, a Los Angeles rapper signed to Stones Throw, performing on Rich Black. After that, Hurt Your Soul (feat Nate Bone) takes us back to New York and the Def Jux label. The album ends with two masterpieces: My Own, with a jazzy beat, funky guitar and unstinting flow from the American duo Marlowe; and Cosmosis, a great track that mixes afro, pop and cosmic sounds, with Ben Okri and Skepta on the microphone, Damon Albarn on bass and keyboard and Remi Kabaka, his colleague from Gorillaz, handling percussion. This was the only track on the album which was recorded as an ensemble piece: it was one of Tony Allen's final jams. © Smaël Bouaici/Qobuz
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Jazz - Released May 7, 2021 | Blue Note Records

Tony Allen arguably had the most eclectic CV out of anyone in the world of contemporary music. The tireless explorer Tony Allen started his career with Fela Kuti, and has collaborated with artists as diverse as Jean-Louis Aubert, Jeff Mills, Ray Lema, Sébastien Tellier, Manu Dibango, Damon Albarn and Charlotte Gainsbourg. His final foray, before his death on 30 April 2020 was into the world of hip-hop. With producer Vincent Taeger aka Tiger Tigre, he began improvising on drums while listening to American rap classics. Soon, he felt compelled to make beats for rappers. And as Tony Allen was never one to cling to past glories, he went in for freshness and inspiration, and gathered together a cast of new voices who had something to say.Tony Allen was never able to complete this project. But he was able to record all his drum parts, and Vincent Taeger finished the work off brilliantly: the result was that this record saw the light of day exactly one year after the Nigerian musician passed away. This record has the feel of a real producer's album, with a very laid-back 90s vibe on the opening tracks featuring Sampa the Great and Lord Jah-Monte Ogbon. Tony Allen works musical wonders, creating a hypermodern, avant-garde sound. On Mau Mau, almost all the melody comes from the drums, while Kenyan rapper Nah Eeto lets fly with a cool, soul-tinged flow. From soul, we move on to funk, with Zelooperz and Koreatown Oddity, a Los Angeles rapper signed to Stones Throw, performing on Rich Black. After that, Hurt Your Soul (feat Nate Bone) takes us back to New York and the Def Jux label. The album ends with two masterpieces: My Own, with a jazzy beat, funky guitar and unstinting flow from the American duo Marlowe; and Cosmosis, a great track that mixes afro, pop and cosmic sounds, with Ben Okri and Skepta on the microphone, Damon Albarn on bass and keyboard and Remi Kabaka, his colleague from Gorillaz, handling percussion. This was the only track on the album which was recorded as an ensemble piece: it was one of Tony Allen's final jams. © Smaël Bouaici/Qobuz
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Pop - Released April 16, 2021 | Blue Note Records

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Over the course of her 20-year career, Norah Jones may have performed thousands of concerts, but she has never delivered a live album. For ...’Til We Meet Again, released almost two decades after her hit first album Come Away With Me, she opts for the trio and quartet setups, undoubtedly the configurations that best suit her voice and piano. The setlist includes songs recorded between May 2017 and December 2019 in the United States, France, Italy, Brazil and Argentina, with organist Pete Remm, bassists Christopher Thomas and Jesse Murphy, drummers and percussionists Brian Blade and Marcelo Costa, guitarist Jesse Harris and flautist Jorge Continentino.In order to show she’s a major-league performer capable of fully owning everything she sings, Jones shifts seamlessly from the legendary country of Cold Cold Heart by Hank Williams to Black Hole Sun by grunge group Soundgarden (a posthumous tribute to singer Chris Cornell recorded a few days after his death), not to mention her own songs… With false nonchalance but genuine melancholy, Jones picks through her albums Come Away With Me (Don’t Know Why, I’ve Got To See You Again, Cold, Cold Heart), Feels Like Home (Sunrise, Those Sweet Words), Little Broken Hearts (After The Fall) and Day Breaks (Flipside, Tragedy), as well as her most recent series of singles (It Was You, Begin Again, Just A Little Bit). Everything is fluid and coherent. Her piano playing is nicely matured and the chemistry with the exceptional Blade (what a drummer!) reaches real heights here. You’ve got to surrender yourself to this smoky bar jazz (even if you can't smoke in bars anymore…), to the silky velvet blues, deeper and richer than a casual listening might indicate. Then there’s that magical voice with its instantly recognisable timbre, capable of being moving without being weepy, as in the tribute to Cornell that closes this beautiful live set. © Marc Zisman/Qobuz

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