Wynton Marsalis’s iTunes exclusive Live Session — featured in Apple’s recent “Silhouettes” TV ad — is proof enough that jazz is as downloadable as any hip DJ mash-up. Indeed, beneath the trumpeter’s brand of straight bop lurks a darker, hipper jazz counterculture supported by labels like ECM. And if it’s on ECM, you can now grab it at iTunes. Here are three good places to start.
Manu Katché, “Take Off and Land” |One of the funkier tracks on the French-African drummer’s Neighbourhood CD. Think Thievery Corporation meets a sedated Medeski Martin & Wood. It’s what easy listening would be if easy listening were cool.
Terje Rypdal,“Incognito Traveler” | Here are just a few of the key elements on this track from the esteemed Norwegian guitarist and multi-instrumentalist: low-end orchestral riffs, a muted trumpet, an industrial drum ’n’ bass beat, splices of female vocals, and random distorted crackles. An ambitious salute to what Miles discovered on Bitches Brew.
Arild Andersen Group,“Opening” | It’s a full three and a half minutes before the ambient strings and vocals give way to a beat, but the mix of whispered beatbox, layered pads, and trip-hop drumming give it the kind of chill vibe Portishead would covet.
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