NPR logo Free Jazz That Is Free, All 635 Minutes Of It

Free Jazz That Is Free, All 635 Minutes Of It

But definitely not jazz for clinics. Courtesy of Clinical Archives hide caption

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Courtesy of Clinical Archives

For some, the Internet Archive is nothing more than a place for Grateful Dead bootlegs and trips in the Wayback Machine (wasn't NPR.org a sad little Web presence back in 1998?). But the site also happens to be a great resource for netlabels to upload their material for worldwide discovery.

So file this under one that we missed: a free, downloadable nine-disc compilation of "'clinically' traditional jazz directions up to unclassable [sic] and clinically indefinable 'jazz' forms." Clinical Jazz comes via net label Clinical Archives, a self-described purveyor of illogical music.

I have not made it through all 635 minutes and 33 seconds (!), and to be sure, not everything on here will be the shape of jazz to come. You can stream and download the whole thing, but here are ten gems to get you started.

Seesaw Ensemble, "Themes and Variations": Large-scale group out of San Diego that conjures up the earthy, percussion-based improvisation of Marion Brown's Afternoon of a Georgia Faun, or maybe a Sunday afternoon Sun Ra jam session. (MP3)
No School, "Shorter Piece 2": Swedish splatter improv quartet with the nervous energy of a coffee-riddled commuter. (MP3)
John Hughes / Lars Scherzberg / Nicolas Wiese, "Eleven's Sake": Electro-acoustic trio with relentless double bass bowing, high-frequency saxophone squeaks and twittering electronics. (MP3)
Damo Suzuki & NOW, "Metro Girl": Yes, THAT Damo Suzuki of German krautrock pioneers Can, doing some kind of funky spaced-out Casio kraut-jazz for 20 minutes. An exercise in endurance, but with most things Damo, it's worth the trip. (MP3)
Arkana Music, "Through Sacco's Eyes": Out of everything I cherry-picked through, this Toronto quartet is definitely the most identifiably "jazz," though only on its surface. The pianist is reminiscent of Viyay Iyer, but sounds classically trained. Within a noticeable song structure, the group improvises with both freedom and tact. (MP3)

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Hear five more hand-picked gems, after the jump.

Crash Trio, "Vischio": Muscular Italian free jazz with a saxophonist who takes his notes from Peter Brotzmann, a guitarist splaying over his instrument like Derek Bailey and a hyperactive drummer. Intense and worth a second look. (MP3)
Magical Unicellular Music, "Kamen Part One": Slavic free-rock ensemble that veers on the edge of noise — closer to Hawkwind than Albert Ayler, if you catch my drift. (MP3)
Nagami Yukitaka, "SaSaSa": With the delicate touch of an Erik Satie composition, this Japanese pianist incorporates ghostly electronics around his improvisations. (MP3)
TRANKO, "Flying Cat & Sitar": A sunny little piece of jazzy, sitar-led krautrock that wouldn't out of place on a record by indie rockers The Sea and Cake. (MP3)
Strings Of Consciousness, "Asphodel": Glitchy, cut-up jazz and warbled guitar that swarms around ears. (MP3)