Gil Evans – Gil Evans & 10 (1957)

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Gil Evans – Gil Evans & Ten (1957)
Original release, Prestige 7120
This release Fantasy/Prestige (OJCCD 346-2)

Remember
(Irving Berlin)
Ella Speed
(Ledbetter , Lomax)
Big Stuff
(Leonard Bernstein)
Nobody`s Heart
(Lorenz Hart , Richard Rogers)
Just One Of Those Things
(Cole Porter)
If You Could See Me Now
(Sigman , Dameron)
Jambangle
(Gil Evans)

Bass – Paul Chambers
Bassoon – Dave Kurtzer
Drums – Nick Stabulas
French Horn – Willie Ruff
Piano – Gil Evans
Saxophone – Zeke Tolin (Lee Konitz) , Steve Lacy
Trombone – Jimmy Cleveland
Bass Trombone – Bart Varsalona
Trumpet – Jake Koven , Louis Mucci

Drums – Jo Jones (tracks: 1)
Trumpet – John Carisi (tracks: 1)

Recorded by Rudy Van Gelder in Hackensack, NJ, September and October 1957

Remaster by Phil De Lancie in Berkeley, 1989

A casual look at the composition credits might tend to assessment that the listener is in for no big jazz surprises on this 1957 record, treading the songbook stalwarts of Gershwin, Rogers and Hart, and Cole Porter. But then there is the inclusion of Leadbelly, and Leonard Bernstein’s “Big Stuff” which he wrote for Billie Holiday. And the inclusion of an 11-piece ensemble on the record utilizing instruments like French horn, bass trombone, and bassoon. If Gil’s arranging skills aren’t enough to entice you, there is the buoyant bass of Paul Chambers, and great sax riffing from Steve Lacy and Lee Konitz (playing under the pseudonym of Zeke Tolin.. not sure why, contractual issues perhaps?). Jimmy Cleveland’s trombone is a treat, and Gil’s parsimonious piano never sounded sweeter. And I do mean SOUND too – Van Gelder works all his magic here, and the muted piano tones that Evans favored float nicely atop the lush sonorous carpet. Thanksfully, this is an original CD issue of the Prestige OJC pressing with Phil De Lancie’s mastering work, so we aren’t left at the mercy of Rudy’s recent travesties in remastering his own recordings… Thanks to ****** for providing the original rip of this one to me. (You know who you are.) 1957 was a very busy year for Gil Evans, and this album is among his best work.

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Bobby Hutcherson – Now! (1969) with Eugene McDaniels & Harold Land

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Bobby Hutcherson – Now!
Released 1969
BlueNote Records (BST 84333)

This reissue BN 73164

The first time I ever heard Bobby Hutcherson was probably on Eric Dolphy’s “Out To Lunch.” Even though everything on that album is noteworthy, memorable, and intriguing, I found Hutcherson’s work there particularly deserving of those superlatives. Capable of delicate texture and agile flight in his playing, he more than earns his reputation of a big fish in a rather small pond (post-bop vibraphonists). This album is something of a best-kept secret – the presence of not only Harold Land, whose other collaborations with Hutcherson are acclaimed by critics and audiences, but also Eugene McDaniels and Candido, should make this record stand out on anyone’s radar.

Eugene McDaniels’ career had one of the strangest trajectories in music: coming into his art as a bop jazz crooner who would sometimes share stages with Miles Davis, Cannonball Adderley, and Ornette Coleman, and then being catapulted to pop stardom with a string of R&B hit records in the 60s, morphing into a politicized soul-jazz-funk artist who made two amazing albums for Atlantic in the early 70s, then writing some notable songs (including a #1 hit) for Roberta Flack, and then mostly disappearing. These sessions were cut slightly before his landmark “Outlaw” album was released (coming soon to a blog near you, by the way).

The usage of a vocal chorus on this album remind me somewhat of “Up With Donald Byrd” (1965) but way more abstract. The album “Now!” is associated with Black Power consciousness. McDaniels’ lyrics may not be as weirdly radical as on his own Atlantic releases that inspired Kissinger to suggest wiretapping his house or whatever, but they are still pretty out-there. They unfold more in the form of tone-poems than straightforward lyrics. Some of them are rather hard to make out (the song ‘Now!’ for example) and a search around the interwebs yielded no results for transcriptions. Here are some samples from the opening cut –

Free soul soul free touch me heal you change
Lock your lost key touch me heal you change
Free soul soul free touch me free me
Touch the spiral falling upwards
God is watching, God is dying, slow change

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Eugene McDaniels

Anchoring the quintet is drummer Joe Chambers, whose albums credits also include Freddie Hubbard, Wayne Shorter, Andrew Hill, McCoy Tyner, Charles Mingus, and Archie Shepp. His work, described somewhere as “cymbal-driven forward motion” is propulsive and staggering, bringing that motion to the brink of collapse in places, a mimetic counterpoint to the lyrics.

The next track, “Hello To The Wind”, written by Chambers, is gorgeous in description-defying ways. It would be better to let the listener to experience this with no preambling words of introduction or commentary. It grabs you from the opening measures of the guitar arpeggios and McDaniels voice. A little more than halfway through this piece McDaniels breaks into some vocalizations that fall somewhere between Qallawi singing and Leon Thomas, curling my toenails and raising the hair on the back of my neck, and Candido breaks into very heavy and relentless santería territory on the congas. This cut might well be the best example I can think of that blends accessible melodic figures (damn near ‘pop music’) dropped amid post-bop intimations of free jazz

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I was thinking the other day that I have most likely overused the word “haunting” during the nearly two years this blog has been active . What do we mean when we call a piece of music haunting? Do we mean that a melodic line lingers in our consciousness long after the music comes to a stop? Wouldn’t we just call that “catchy”? Or is it the sensation of that melody, harmonic internal, rhythmic change, coming back hours and hours later, “coming back to haunt us”? Does it remind us of things we can’t forget, or refuse to forget? Or do not want to forget. Not yet. All the tales of wandering spirits roaming among us have at least this much in common – that such shades and ghosts call to us because they have not received the proper rites required for a peaceful rest in the afterworld. This is where the difference between forgetting and letting go is salient. There are things we should not, ever, forget – the experience of love found or faded; our friends and ancestors gone from this earth; the rape of your land, your sisters and mothers; the enslavement of your people. Finding peace is no easy road and there are plenty of reasons we might not want to find it, or let it find us. We become haunted. It abets our hunger for vengeance or vindication, it is aided by the sting of slights, loss, and injustice. The song “Now!” was composed by Hutcherson for a lost friend, the bassist Albert Stinson.

After the song-suite of the first side, the second side of this record stretches out. Wally Richardson plunks down dissonant squalls of understated guitar on “The Creators,” the electric piano of Stanley Cowell punching out a carpet of sound, the bass and drums locked in a smoky and deliciously repetitive paean to the old gods ending in hand-claps and more Candido. The final cut “Black Heroes” is more hard bop and the lyrics here are the ones most obviously connected with black consciousness and civil rights. The word “now” again enters our awareness. “Lies are wearing so thin the people can see through them now. Now. Freedom now! Right now!” Harold Land takes the first solo, twisting around the main theme in contortions of Coltrane; Hutcherson follows with quick jolts to our blood pressure. Be careful. Did I mention Bobby Hutcherson is on this record? I haven’t talked about him much because it goes without saying that he is in his element here as master of ceremonies. This album qualifies for the Flabbergast stock phrase of “a singular addition to his discography.” It really is. I wouldn’t lie to you.

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After the original album are bonus tracks from a 1978 platter called “Blue Note Meets the L.A. Philharmonic” (BN-LA870) that also featured Carmen McRae and Earl Klugh. Normally these Blue Note CD’s feature alternate takes from the same sessions, a practice that tends to appeal mostly to the jazz fanatics. But this time it’s quite different, as we get to hear the song-suite from the original album’s first half played 8 years later with full orchestra and new arrangements. I miss the inspired playing of the original quintet (especially Chambers and Land) but these guys aren’t chopped liver either and Eddie Marshall lays down some serious funk. The real treat here is the orchestra, giving a fifth dimension to what were already transcendent pieces of music. The sound is nothing short of stunning on this live recording. Bereft of McDaniel’s lyrics, the orchestra still manages to bring out the grace and fluidity of his contributions, hanging in the air like an after-image on our aural retinas. After the reprise of “Now!” we can hear an enchanted audience in what is almost certainly a standing ovation. Rather than the often-repetitive alternate takes for the jazz scholar, this addition to the CD version is a wonderful coda to what may be Hutcherson’s most overlooked album.

1 Slow Change 7:14
2 Hello To The Wind 5:56
3 Now 2:44
4 The Creators 12:32
5 Black Heroes 7:03
6 Slow Change 5:05
7 Now 2:49
8 Hello To The Wind 3:06
9 Now (Reprise) 1:43

Personnel: Tracks 1 – 5: Bobby Hutcherson: Vibraphone; Harold Land: Tenor Sax; Kenny Barron: Piano; Stanley Cowell: Piano; Herbie Lewis: Bass; Joe Chambers: Drums: Wally Richardson: Guitar, Electric Guitar; Candido Camero: Conga; Gene McDaniels: Vocals; Hilda Harris: Vocals; Albertine Robinson: Vocals; Christine Spencer: Vocals.

Tracks 6 – 9: Bobby Hutcherson: Vibraphone Manny Boyd: tenor and soprano saxophone; George Cables: piano; James Leary: bass; Eddie Marshall: drums; Bobbye Porter Hall: percussion; Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Calvin Simmons.

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Jimmy McGriff – Soul Sugar & Groove Grease (1971)

Jimmy McGriff
Soul Sugar / Goove Grease
Two albums both released 1971 on Groove Merchant
Reissue on Groove Hut Records 2007 (GH66704)
McGriff

1 Sugar Sugar
2 Ain’t It Funky Now
3 Signed Sealed Delivered I’m Yours
4 Dig on It
5 Bug Out
6 Now Thing
7 You’re the One
8 Fat Cakes
9 New Volume
10 Spirit in the Dark

McGriff

11 Groove Grease
12 Bird
13 Plain Brown Bag
14 There Will Never Be Another You
15 Canadian Sunset
16 Mr Lucky
17 Moonglow
18 Red Sails in the Sunset
19 Secret Love

I think the only way these two records could make me happier is if they opened up with a soul version of “Yummy Yummy Yummy I’ve Got Love in My Tummy.” Since it does not I suppose I can accept “Sugar Sugar” in its place. If this disc was any more fun it would be illegal. Before Jimmy Smith thought of covering pop and soul hits with marvelously funky results, Jimmy McGriff was already laying down cuts to make the jazz purists wince while turning up their erudite noses. McGriff didn’t care and doesn’t seem to have been restrained by such labels, often positioning himself as more of a blues player anyway. I have been meaning to do a post here about another fabulous Groove Merchant disk he did with soul-blues singer Junior Parker that is just amazing. All in good time, even though I’ve been thinking about doing that post for over a year now…

Since a great deal of songs on these two albums are all-instrumental covers of hit songs, you can feel free to use it at your next karaoke party. That is if you are not only prepared to tread the same musical ground as James Brown, Stevie Wonder, Sly Stone, and Aretha Franklin, but also spar with the infectious chops of Mr. McGriff. My guess is that he will upstage you. But feel free to give it a go.

A glance at the lineup on these two platters may not cause any names to jump out at some of you. But his musicians here all have a pretty impressive pedigree, having played with the likes of Nina Simone, Eric Dolphy, Ahmad Jamal, Art Tatum, Stan Getz, Pharoah Sanders, B.B.King, Lonnie Liston Smith, Lonnie Smith, Charles Earland, among others and many more. Particularly noteworthy is bassist Richard Davis who just dominates these two albums like the monster he was. He sometimes plays with a phasor enevelope-follower effect on his bass that adds a nice subtle twist to his tone.

Both albums also have fabulously tacky blaxploitation jackets, the better to arouse you with.

Weird side note: according to a friend of mine, the first three tracks of Groove Grease on this reissue are HDCD encoded. Although it’s not uncommon to find HDCD coding on discs that don’t mention it on the packaging, it is somewhat mysterious why they would encode three tracks and stop. I actually have an HDCD player packed away in a storage shed full of audio gear but I am not about to drag it out to verify this. I will take my friend’s word for it, and pass it on to you for what it’s worth.

I think anybody with a pulse will find themselves enjoying this music. And I promise I will have that collaboration with Junior Parker here before the year is out..

McGriff

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Baden Powell – Swings with Jimmy Pratt (1963)

“Baden Powell Swings with Jimmy Pratt”
Elenco ME-4, 1963

Musicians: Baden Powell (git)
Jorge “Jorginho” Ferreira da Silva, Copinha (fl)
Moacir Santos (sax, vcl)
Sandoval (cl)
Sergio Barroso (b)
Jimmy Pratt (dr)
Rubem Bassini (perc)
unknown piano playerProduction: Aloysio de Oliveira
Direction: Jimmy Pratt
Production Manager: Peter Keller
Studio: Philips of Brasil
Sound Engineer: Norman Sternberg
Recording Technician: Celio Martins
Cover Layout: Cesar G. Villela
Photos: Francisco Pereira

Guitar Model: Author 3 by luthier Reinaldo DiGiorgio

Also issued as: Developments (LP, 1970)
O Mestre do Violao Brasileiro (CD-Box, 2003)

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Flabbergasted Vinyl Transfer Specs:

Original Elenco (ME-4) pressing -> Pro-Ject RM-5SE turntable / Sumiko Blue Point 2 cartridge / Pro-Ject Speedbox power supply -> Creek OBH-18 MM Phono Preamp -> M-Audio Audiophile 2496 soundcard. Recorded at 24-bit / 96 khz resolution to Audacity. Click Repair on very light settings to remove some clicks and popsm, some manual click removal using Audition. Track splitting in Adobe Audition 3.0. Dithered to 16-bit using iZotope M-Bit noise-shaping. Converted to FLAC and mp3 using DbPoweramp. ID tags done with Foobar2000.

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I don’t know anything about Jimmy Pratt other than he plays the skins on a whole bunch of jazz records from the 40s and 50s, having done sessions with Charlie Parker, Stan Getz, Zoot Sims, Oscar Pettiford, Bud Shank, and Anita O’Day. Busy guy. But this record may be one of the most famous he played on. Partly because he essentially receives co-billing on the marquee with Baden. But also he was, in a way, in the right place at the right time to really connect with the Bossa Nova explosion.

From the back cover:

“When the drummer Jimmy Pratt was in Brazil accompanying Caterina Valente, he heard Baden play guitar like everyone that was exposed to Baden’s art, he was profoundly enthusiastic. The enthusiasm provoked the idea for this recording. And from the recording was also born a friendship and mutual admiration between the two artists. ‘Baden Powell Swings with Jimmy Pratt’ is a tribute from Baden to his friend and American colleague.” – Aloysio de Oliveira

The observent among might notice Mr. Pratt apparently did not make the photo session for the album or else closely guards his image against potential feitiço and witchcraft.. He is absent from the shots taken in the recording studio, unless we are looking at the back of his head in the shot where Vinicius de Moraes appears for no particular reason — it’s an instrumental record bereft of his lovely lyrics, he didn’t play anything, and he only has a writing credit on the very first tune, ‘Deve Ser Amor.’ Anyway, I find it amusing.

In the photo to the right of this we see Baden playing into a Neumann U-87 microphone, and looking like he wants to walk into the control room and slap somebody. I’m not sure why because it’s a great-sounding recording.

Fantastic playing from everyone involved, including Moacir Santos who contributes his own compositions, Coisas No.1 and Coisas No.2. It`s the clarinet, however, that really slays me on this record: while doing the vinyl transfer and processing, I swear I listened to Coisas No.1 about ten times in a row at one point. When you hear it you will know why. There is nothing groovier on earth.

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Grant Green – Live at Club Mozambique (1971)

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Only Idris Muhammad and Ronnie Foster are held over from the famous line-up “Alive!” record from the previous year, but this one is featuring Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas on sax, so how can you go wrong?! The absence of vibes and percussion means the band sheds a little texture, but the resulting lean sound is its own reward.Log, cue, m3u, artwork, and ham sandwich included!

 

Release Date Jul 18, 2006
Studio/Live Studio
Mono/Stereo Stereo
Producer Francis WolffAlign Center
Engineer Ed Greene
Personnel Ronnie Foster – organ
Grant Green – guitar
Idris Muhammad – drums
Houston Person – tenor saxophone
Clarence Thomas – sopranino saxophone, tenor saxophonePersonnel: Grant Green (guitar); Clarence Thomas (sopranino saxophone, tenor saxophone); Houston Person (tenor saxophone); Ronnie Foster (organ); Idris Muhammad (drums).Mojo (Publisher) (p.127) – 4 stars out of 5 — “Guitarist and band deliver a bonanza of funk-fuelled jazz grooves.”

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By Norman Weinstein at allaboutjazz dot com

This is some apotheosis of both jazz-funk and Grant Green, just when you thought Blue Note was practicing overexposure by adding yet another Green disk to last year’s three discs worth of funky compilations. But this live session, which spent 35 years in the vault, transcends all previous Grant Green funk sessions by a mile.

A lot of the credit has to go to the pluperfect chemistry of the band. Green may have been Blue Note’s most erratic artist of the ’60s and ’70s, but the key to his best work involved matching him with a drummer who kept him steady and on-task. Art Blakey did this for the bop-flavored Green, and Idris Muhammad did it during his funk period. Muhammad enlivened a lot of other Green sessions, though, so part of the magic of this gem needs to be explained by the fiery tenor saxophonist Houston Person and the totally obscure but piercing soprano saxophonist Clarence Thomas, perhaps woodshedding to get through law school (just kidding).

The eight tunes are nothing special, often one or two-chord pieces that the band dances around with uncanny creativity. “Walk On By” seems an odd tune in this context, but maybe the lyrics touched some sappy sentimentality in Green’s heart. No matter. The musicians ruthlessly rip into it until they sound like a house band at a fundraiser for the ’71 Oakland, California Black Panthers. The crowd, however, sounds comatose, which is perhaps a plus, since a rowdy, drunk audience might have interfered with hearing the tasty licks.

The title of the final track sums up Grant Green’s career as well as this generously programmed 76-minute funk fest: “I Am Somebody.” I think it took Green a lot of years to figure out the somebody he was. This recording is evidence that at the end of his life, he did find his truest musical identity. He was a fierce funk improviser, and no studio session caught the fire—but this live session does.
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From Dusty Groove

A rare funky treasure — lost live material from Grant Green’s hippest years at Blue Note — presented here for the first time ever ! The set’s an incredibly smoking one — with loads of long tracks that really stretch out in a hard-hitting, bottom-heavy funky mode — no surprise, considering that Idris Muhammad’s on drums, as part of a lineup that also includes Ronnie Foster, Houston Person, and Clarence Thomas! The groove here is a bit more Prestige jazz funk than Blue Note — the kind of rough-edged and spontaneous vibe that Rusty Bryant, Leon Spencer, and others cooked up during the early 70s on some of their best classics for that label — but Green’s a perfect person to catch the spirit of that wildfire, and jams long and nicely here on 8 tracks that include “Farid”, “Jan Jan”, “One More Chance”, “Patches”, “I Am Somebody”, “More Today Than Yesterday”, “Bottom Of The Barrel”, and “Walk On By”.
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For much more by Grant Green, see the stellar and truly flabbergasting labor of love that is the Blaxploitation Jive website for a Grant Green discography here

Leny Andrade – Estamos Aí (1965)

Happy Birthday to Flabbergasted Vibes! We are 1 years old!!

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Leny Andrade
“Estamos Aí”
Released 1965 on CID/ODEONProduced by Milton Miranda
Orchestral arrangements by Eumir Deodato

1-Estamos aí
(Regina Werneck – Maurício Einhorn – Durval Ferreira)
2-A resposta
(Paulo Sergio Valle – Marcos Valle)
3-Pot-pourri:
• Deixa o morro cantar
(Tito Madi)
• O morro não tem vez
(Tom Jobim-Vinicius de Moraes)
• Opinião
(Zé Keti)
• Enquanto a tristeza não vem
(Sergio Ricardo)
• Reza
(Edu Lobo-Ruy Guerra)
4-Clichê
(Maurício Einhorn – Durval Ferreira)
5-Olhando o mar
(Ronaldo Soares – Arthur Verocai)
6-Banzo
(Odilon Olyntho – Marcos Valle)
7-Samba de rei
(Pingarilho – Marcos de Vasconcellos)
8-Tema feliz
(Regina Werneck – Durval Ferreira)
9-Razão de viver
(Paulo Sergio Valle – Eumir Deodato)
10-Esqueça não
(Tito Madi)
11-Samba em Paris
(Nelsinho)
12-Coisa nuvem
(Roberto Nascimento – Victor Freire)

Recorded when she was only 22 years old, this record is what one might call a “powerhouse.” Not only is she performing compositions by a stable-full of the great songwriters of bossa nova — Tito Madi, Marcos Valle, Jobim & Vinicius, Edu Lobo / Ruy Guerra, Zé Keti, and the still under-appreciated Arthur Verocai — she is also one of the most energetic and sophisticated vocalists of the genre. In particular she brings an incredible jazz sensibility and ferocious scat singing to many of these songs. Just last weekend I had the privilege of watching her perform with Roberto Menescal, and was blown away by her phrasing, her scat improvisation, and her voice that is still in top notch shape. Leny Andrade has a place among the greatrdy jazz singers of North America. This record is a delight from start to finish. If you ever have some unlightened person in your house, your apartment, or your car who refers to bossa nova as “elevator music,” put on this record and they will shut the hell up.
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bio from allbrazilianmusic

Born in Rio de Janeiro, Leny Andrade began studying the piano at the age of six. Later on, she sang on radio shows for amateur performers and won a scholarship to study at the Brazilian Conservatory of Music. At 15, Leny debuted as a professional singer as crooner of Permínio Gonçalves’ Orchestra. Subsequently, she performed at the nightclubs Bacará (with Sergio Mendes trio) and Bottle’s Bar. In 1965 she caught the public’s attention with the show “Gemini V”, performing with Pery Ribeiro and Bossa Três at the nightclub Porão 73, and released the live recording of that show. After a successful tour round Argentina, Leny moved to Mexico, where she lived for 5 years. In the 70’s, she made albums that mixed samba with avant-garde music, like “Alvoroço” (73) and “Leny Andrade” (75). In 1979, through Columbia, Leny recorded the LP “Registro”, returning to samba-jazz, a music style that Leny has always mastered.

Performing with renowned artists like Dick Farney, Luiz Eça, Wagner Tiso, Eumir Deodato, Francis Hime, Gilson Peranzzetta and João Donato, Leny Andrade established herself as the best Brazilian jazz singer, due to her outstanding ability to improvise. In the 80’s and 90’s, she divided her time between Brazil and the U.S., where she made several samba-jazz records, including classics like “Luz Neon”, for Eldorado. Leny also paid tribute to samba composers like Cartola and Nelson Cavaquinho. Some of her discs include the songs by composers like Cesar Camargo Mariano (“Nós”), Cristóvão Bastos (“Letra & Música/Tom Jobim) and Romero Lubambo (“Coisa Fina”). Leny also recorded a CD of American standards shaped as bossa nova (“Embraceable You”).

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