The Best $2 You Can Spend


Blue Series Essential 2002 samplerLast week, I bought The Blue Series Essentials at Borders for $1.99. The 2002 CD is a 12-song sampler of the music in Thirsty Ear?s Blue Series and includes music by DJ Spooky, Tim Berne, William Parker, Antipop Consortium, and Matthew Shipp. I was familiar with the series from the jazztronica article in JazzTimes earlier this year, and intrigued after buying Shipp?s latest CD, Equilibrium. After listening to the compilation, I thought I should go back and pay more for the CD. However, after exposure to this music, Thirsty Ear will be getting more of my money.

So, what is the Blue Series?

JazzTimes with Matthew Shipp and jazztronicaRolling Stone called it ??a blueprint for the shape of jazz to come.? Curated by pianist Matthew Shipp, the Blue Series perhaps epitomizes the title ?tomorrow jazz? than anything else I?ve written about. Shipp has some of the most adventurous and interesting artists putting out unforgettable music. Musicians on the roster include David S. Ware, DJ Spooky, William Parker, Guillermo E. Brown, Tim Berne, Spring Heel Jack, and Roy Campbell. Antipop Consortium vs. Matthew Shipp fuses jazz and underground hip-hop. Spring Heel Jack is an electronica duo that combined samples of improvisations by some of the label?s artists and meticulously combines into a new sound on their Amassed CD. You?ll find experimental and free jazz music on the Blue Series. It?s the future of jazz. As Shipp accurately points out ?jazz is a live, organic music ? and too often gets trapped in its own past.? He also believes that there is a ?necessity to broaden it out and try to reflect the times right now.?

I don?t know where you can order online the sampler I bought. Check your non-virtual Borders store. Mine seemed to have had just stocked up on them ? perhaps in anticipation of the new Blue Series sampler coming out later this month. The new sampler will have previews of upcoming music from David S. Ware?s String Ensemble and Tim Berne?s Science Friction Band as well as music from El-P, Mad Professor, DJ Wally, and Lee ?Scratch? Perry.

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