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A couple of days late on this, I know… but I finally got around to sifting through the music added to the iTunes store this week, and made an iMix of some of the titles that interested me the most.

Good new for jazz fans, as Fantasy, Inc. continues dumping what seems to be their entire catalog of classic albums from the Prestige, Riverside, and Milestone labels onto the iTunes store. This has been going on for several weeks now, with no sign of letting up. I was especially excited to see four classic records from the 70s and 80s by McCoy Tyner show up this week. Tyner was a regular pianist for John Coltrane, and appears on many of his classic albums, including A Love Supreme. If you’re a fan of Coltrane, you’ll recognize Tyner’s signature sound of dense, percussive, syncopated chords.

Other favorite releases from Fantasy this week include Miles Davis’ 1955 album The New Miles Davis Quintet (commonly known as just “Miles”), featuring the aforementioned Coltrane, and the Modern Jazz Quartet‘s Topsy – This One’s For Basie, which includes Milt Jackson’s solo vibraphone performance of Nature Boy, the standard first popularized by Nat King Cole. A must-have for any fan of the song.

Swedish Singer/songwriter Jose Gonzalez provides a short, live set featuring songs from his acoustic album Veneer, as well as a couple of new ones. He’s often compared to Jose Feliciano, but his music is very fresh and contemporary. At $4.95, this EP is a good way to sample his sound.

Another EP that’s worth your pocket change is The Boy In The Window by the electro-kitsch trio The Gentle People. They made a name for themselves in the mid-nineties with their lounge-y, campy Soundtracks For Living album, and have returned in 2006 with an updated electro sound. Fun!

Speaking of electronic music, iTunes has added a compilation of Cabaret Voltaire’s early recordings. The Original Sound of Sheffield – 78/82 is a great look back at the roots of the genre. Though largely unknown, especially to US audiences, Cabaret Voltaire was hugely influential, with many of their techniques being liberally borrowed by the wave of mid-to-late-eighties electronic pop bands which followed them. iTunes has a surprisingly large collection of Cabaret Voltaire’s music, and this makes a nice addition.

The big “New Release” this week, for me anyway, was rapper Young Jeezy‘s The Inspiration: Thug Motivation 102, the follow-up to his hugely successful Let’s Get It: Thug Motivation 101. Jeezy was recently called “the Tony Robbins of coke dealing” by Rolling Stone, so it’s no surprise that this record might not be for everyone. The syrup-slow vocal style and “ad libs” that made his first record so popular are back, but his lyrics have taken an unusual turn. Instead of a standard straight-ahead rhyming couplets, he’s turned to a more random rhyme scheme; sometimes he rhymes, and sometimes he doesn’t even try. Sometimes every other line rhymes, and sometimes the middle and end of a line will rhyme. It’s a really unsettling effect that almost forces you to pay closer attention to what he’s saying. It’ll be interesting to see if this style catches on with other rappers… I’m still getting used to it.

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