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Jazz - Released February 1, 1981 | ECM

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Jazz - Released May 17, 1993 | ECM

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Jazz - Released September 29, 2003 | ECM

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Jazz - Released June 5, 2009 | ECM

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Jazz - Released April 1, 1983 | ECM

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Jazz - Released June 10, 2016 | ECM

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Jazz - Released February 1, 1981 | ECM

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Jazz - Released February 1, 1992 | ECM

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Jazz - Released October 1, 1986 | ECM

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Jazz - Released February 8, 2005 | Rhino Atlantic

With John McLaughlin, Herbie Hancock, Joe Henderson, and Jack DeJohnette, this group rivaled the best fusion bands of the day. It must have been an intimidating challenge for a young Czech bassist to lead such a group on his debut album as a frontman, especially since he composed five of the six tracks. Recorded in late 1969, roughly the same time as the historic Bitches Brew, and the year before Vitous began a stint with the innovative Weather Report, this was trend-setting fusion. It's produced by Herbie Mann, for whom Vitous played on such albums as Memphis Underground and Stone Flute. © Mark Allan /TiVo
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Jazz - Released January 1, 1980 | ECM

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Jazz - Released July 13, 2007 | ECM

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Jazz - Released June 23, 2015 | Rhino - Warner Records

Magical Shepherd was Weather Report bassist Miroslav Vitous' fourth effort as a leader, released after he left the band. It's a deep, raw, funky fusion record that features -- besides one of the most hideously stupid covers imaginable -- appearances by Herbie Hancock, Jack DeJohnette, drummer James Gadson, and percussionist Airto. Vocalists Cheryl Grainger and Onike contribute as well, making this as much a basement-party and groove record as a jazz one. Vitous played as much synth as Hancock on this set and took it to the limit on "Basic Laws," a nearly 12-minute excursion into space funk with all the grease attached. The nine-and-a-half-minute "New York City" was vying to be produced by Giorgio Moroder as a disco slab, while the completely gone singing on the title track made it a precursor to Sun Ra's Lanquidity album a few years later. (Imagine Star Trek doing the "Space Is the Place" episode brought to you by T.J. Swan or Boogie Down Wine.) While this album is very much a product of it's time, that doesn't make it bad -- not by a long shot. Magical Shepherd is one of the better, darker, and weirder fuzak albums of the time. There is no soul-jazz here -- this is pedal-to-the-metal, booty-grindin' R&B crossed with edgy monitors bleeding into the red-jamming and dark-angel vocals, sending the whole thing off into the stratosphere. This Wounded Bird reissue on CD sounds fantastic and, while there are no extra tracks, you don't need them. For anyone interested in the wilder, woolier music of the mid-'70s, Magical Shepherd holds up exceedingly well. © Thom Jurek /TiVo

Jazz - Released July 31, 1984 | 1201 MUSIC

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1976-1977 sessions with Don Alias and Armen Halburian on percussion. Vitous overdubs bass and keyboards. A stunning musical trip through Afro-jazz texture music. "Tiger in the Rain" is absolutely captivating. © Michael G. Nastos /TiVo
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Jazz - Released June 10, 2016 | ECM