Albums

Acid Jazz - Released August 31, 2018 | Gondwana Records

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Acid Jazz - Released March 18, 2013 | Suonaphone

Acid Jazz - Released August 3, 2015 | Justement Music

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Acid Jazz - Released November 15, 2013 | Bassball Recordings

Acid Jazz - Released January 14, 2017 | Suonaphone

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Acid Jazz - Released February 27, 2012 | Soundiva

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Acid Jazz - Released October 28, 2016 | Herzog Records

Acid Jazz - Released April 20, 2018 | Daou Records

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Acid Jazz - Released November 1, 2010 | Tam Tam Studio Recordings

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Acid Jazz - Released November 10, 2009 | Schema Records

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This set has been a long time coming. Italian composer, arranger, multi-instrumentalist, DJ, and label impresario Nicola Conte has been issuing tracks on compilations, on 7", 10", and 12" vinyl for over a decade as mixes, side projects, and reworks. (The latter means that he actually uses his own band to reconceptualize and rearrange an original artist’s recording, more often than not with said artist’s participation.) Most of these cuts came and went, and have been out of print for some time. This killer double-disc set collects virtually all of them in a single spot -- 26 tracks' worth on his Schema imprint. The range of artists is staggering, from Mark Murphy, Til Brönner, Jose James, and Marco Di Marco to Fertile Ground, the Five Corners Quintet, Maki Mannami, and Roberto Roena. Highlights on disc one include Mark Murphy’s “Stolen Moments (Midnight Mood Rework)”; his own Latin-ized cover of Henry Mancini’s and Johnny Mercer’s “Charade,” with Lisa Bassenge on vocals, and the killer reconstruction of [RoviLink="MN"][re:jazz][/RoviLink]’s “Quiet Nights” subtitled “Out of the Cool Version,” after the Gil Evans session on Impulse! that inspired it. But tracks like the Jack Lawrence and Arthur Altman standard “All or Nothing at All,” by Conte's group with Jose James on vocals, are stellar examples of his ability to chart for large ensembles and make them rhythmically compelling and harmonically adventuresome, yet contain utterly smooth textures. Disc two contains the gorgeous reworking of Til Brönner’s version of Antonio Carlos Jobim’s and Vinicius de Moraes’ “Só Danço Samba,” that retains Brönner’s vocal and trumpet solo, but conceives everything else -- Conte’s guitar work on this track is stellar. The 12” of the Sunaga T Experience’s “A Healing Blue (Shape of Jazz to Come Version)” features Sheila Landis adding lyrics to the composition and fronting the Italian quintet. Also check the Afro-Cuban rework of Dave Brubeck’s classic “Take Five!” by Roberto Roena. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter if you know anything about Conte’s side project work, or his singles -- there are plenty of them here -- if you dig the man’s music, you’ll flip for The Modern Sounds of Nicola Conte: Versions in Jazz-Dub. It is a seamless, utterly engaging collection of 21st century clubjazz rooted in the traditions of bossa, West Coast, progressive big band, continental, and post-bop jazz, as well as 21st century electronic music that has something on it for everyone. ~ Thom Jurek
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Acid Jazz - Released September 4, 2010 | INFRACom!

Acid Jazz - Released September 7, 2018 | Gondwana Records

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Acid Jazz - Released April 16, 2014 | Schema Records

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Italian guitarist, producer, arranger, and composer Nicola Conte may have issued Free Souls as a follow-up to 2011's Love & Revolution, but its recording actually preceded it. Cut live in the studio, it was begun in 2006 and finished in 2011 -- vocals were added in 2013. His basic septet -- guitar, three saxophones, trumpet, piano, and percussion -- is augmented by alternating drummers and bassists, as well as guest players and singers. The arrangements are deeply informed by late-'60s Blue Note and early-'70s A&M filtered through sophisticated soul. Conte wrote or co-wrote seven of these 13 tunes, including the killer opener "Shades of Joy," written with Gregory Porter and featuring vocals by Marvin Parks. A humid bossa groove is painted by a Wes Montgomery-esque guitar and a throaty tenor solo by Magnus Lindgren. Parks' baritone vocal recalls the spirits of Leon Thomas (sans yodel) and Joe Lee Wilson. Jose James guests on the skittering swinger "Goddess of the Sea," with fine solos by Francesco Lento's trumpet and Gaetano Partipilo's alto. Bridgitte Amofah (from dubstep outfit Rudimental) makes the first of three vocal appearances on the soul-blues title track, featuring strutting baritone sax solo from Timo Lassy and breaking drums by Teppo “Teddy Rok” Mäkynen. She also guests on the set's high point, a soul-jazz cover of Bobbie Gentry's "Ode to Billy Joe," illustrated by electric piano, chunky horns, snaky guitar, and tipping ride cymbal in a slow, funky vamp. She digs deep into the tune's mystery as short sax and trumpet breaks fill the ends of her lines. Melanie Charles guests on a simmering read of Ahmad Jamal's "Ahmad's Blues." Alto saxophonist Greg Osby guests as a soloist and counterpart to her righteous phrasing. Her vocal on the stirring, Afro-Latin "Spirit of Nature" is also remarkable. Parks fronts the band on an inventive, swinging samba chart for the standard, "If I Should Lose You," which thoroughly reinvents the longstanding Frank Sinatra vehicle. Amofah's contralto on a Latinized arrangement of Hoagy Carmichael's "Baltimore Oriole" channels the brooding intensity of Nina Simone. Tasha's World delivers the Latinized Afro-bop of Conte's "Uhuru" with a resolute conviction. Lorenzo Tucci's Art Blakey-esque drumming pushes the ensemble to swing harder. Heidi Vogel gives Luiz Claudio's glorious samba "Sandalia Dela" a reserved elegance as Lassy contributes a smoking flute break atop the interplay between drums and percussion. The instrumental "Sunrise" skeletally commences with a shimmering electric piano, Paolo Benedettini's woody upright bass, and Mäkynen's drum kit, but gradually transforms into a minor-key modal jazz number, sending Free Souls out on a peak. This is not so much a "retro" recording as a classic-sounding one. It summarizes six years of Conte's musical evolution and opens the door to his vision of a music, which seamlessly integrates jazz, blues, Latin, Brazilian, and soul that is both holistic and timeless. ~ Thom Jurek
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Acid Jazz - Released August 27, 2010 | Herzog Records

Acid Jazz - Released November 1, 2012 | Dream\'up

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Acid Jazz - Released September 30, 2013 | Suonaphone

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Acid Jazz - Released July 22, 2016 | Irma Cafe

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Acid Jazz - Released July 31, 2015 | Aron Ottignon

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Acid Jazz - Released November 10, 2017 | Alman Music

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Acid Jazz - Released June 15, 2010 | Schema Records

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