Linky talks Jazz!

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Linky talks Jazz!

Post by Linkman » Sat May 07, 2016 12:08 am

So I've realized I've been listening to pretty much only jazz lately.

Am I a connoisseur? No, not at all. But listen to me ramble on why I like and dislike some of the most relevant jazz albums. Hey, you might get some new music out of it!

***

Miles Davis - Kind of Blue

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This was the first jazz album I truly enjoyed and it is still my favourite. I won't try and delve into why the music is so great and satisfying, but it is. Miles' trumpet feels like a quiet, comforting whisper in your ear. All the players get to show their talent: Coltrane and Adderley at the sax, Evans at the Piano, Cobb at the drums. It's sublime.

Sample song: So What. Whenever I'm stressed, I just hit play and the first piano chords wisp away all the tension.

***

Jazz Samba - Stan Getz/Charlie Byrd

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Bossanova was Samba's evolution after the influence of American Jazz, and now Jazz absorbs Bossanova and we've reached full circle. Everybody will recommend Getz/Gilberto when talking about the bossa craze in 1960s jazz, but I personally like the instrumental approach in Jazz Samba better. Both Getz and Byrd realize that samba is less about joyful cheer and more about melancholy and longing; it shows in their arrangements of these Bossanova classics. A delight to listen to.

Sample song: Samba Triste. It's not Baden Powell (the original, brilliant and amazingly technical composer) at the guitar, but Byrd deserves as much praise.

***

Time Out - The Dave Brubeck Quartet

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I love the intro to Blue Rondo a la Turk. It wakes me up like nothing else. The album itself is great, of course the highlight is Desmond's smooth saxophone during the ubiquitous Take Five. A classic.

Same song: Take Five. No explanation needed.

(more to come later)
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Re: Linky talks Jazz!

Post by scraggypunk » Sat May 07, 2016 4:05 am

cool
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Re: Linky talks Jazz!

Post by Sniffit II » Sun May 08, 2016 12:51 am

Brubeck and Miles are two of my favourite jazz musicians, Miles Davis especially - I've been collecting some of his stuff of late (as I've also been on a massive jazz fest).
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Re: Linky talks Jazz!

Post by DieselPheonix » Mon May 09, 2016 3:19 pm

Regrettably my knowledge of jazz is limited to covers done in its style, like so.

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Re: Linky talks Jazz!

Post by Terragent » Mon May 09, 2016 4:26 pm

You've picked some pretty nice stuff here - it's neat seeing some more laid-back arrangements, especially. Samba Triste is particularly neat, because it manages a similar feel to European Gypsy jazz (a la Django Reinhardt) despite having very different origins and small-but-important differences in instrumentation.

I had a broad but perfunctory jazz education (from early blues through big-band swing to bebop and then skipping ahead to fusion) so I have surface-level familiarity with a lot of the names and styles, but my only serious engagement has been at the fringes of the genre; Keith Jarrett, Abdullah Ibrahim, and Jan Garbarek are the only jazz artists I'd really feel competent to discuss, and in Jarrett's case I'm much more familiar with his more classically-influenced work (La Scala, Paris, Vienna, Koln, Radiance, etc) than his Standards trio or his work with Charlie Haden.

It'd be really neat to see you cover some more artists - and maybe even see you put the boot into some you dislike!

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Re: Linky talks Jazz!

Post by Linkman » Tue May 10, 2016 12:29 am

Charles Mingus - Mingus Ah Um

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This album is amazing. It was my introduction to Charles Mingus, tremendous composer and bassist extraordinaire. It's packed with classics, from the gorgeous Goodbye Pork Pie Hat to the politically charged Fables of Faubus. An album I would recommend, much like Kind of Blue, to jazz fans and amateurs alike. Amazing from beginning to finish.

Sample song: Goodbye Pork Pie Hat, with the smoothest, most relaxing saxophone you'll find.

***

Something Else - Cannonball Adderley

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Oh man look at that cover, look at that talent! After being delighted by Davis, I began to dig deeper into his sidemen. This effort by Adderley (supported by Davis himself) is excellent. You can tell the arrangements, despite featuring powerhouses like Blakey at the drums and Davis at the trumpet, are made to highlight Adderley's sweet, delicious Alto Sax. One of those albums that hooks you from the first note. A joy.

Sample song: Autumn Leaves. Begin with Miles, transition into Cannonball, slide right back into Miles' loving arms.
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Re: Linky talks Jazz!

Post by Linkman » Wed May 11, 2016 12:11 am

Charles Mingus Big Band - Nostalgia in Times Square

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This album is by the Mingus Big Band, a tribute band that plays Mingus arrangements. It's a great effort, paying dues to some of the best Mingus standards (a couple of them from the aforementioned Mingus Ah Um), and overall succeeding in making the old bassist's music come alive in a modern ensemble.

Sample Song: Moanin'. This tune is basically my favourite Bari Sax piece ever (not saying much, but hey!) Please listen to this if you're only going to listen to one tune in this whole topic.

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Re: Linky talks Jazz!

Post by Linkman » Wed May 11, 2016 12:45 am

Have you heard of Orval Faubus? I'm guessing the majority of you haven't.

Faubus was the governor of Arkansas in the late fifties. When Eisenhower signed the act that desegregated schools in the U.S., finally allowing African Americans to go to the same schools the rest of the country did, governor Faubus decided he was having none of it. He ordered the Arkansas National Guard to block black students from entering Little Rock's Central High School.

crumpets happened. These riots are well documented. I get weird chills when I see videos of people throwing rocks at teenagers trying to enter a school. A god damned school.

Charlie Mingus wrote about this in Fables of Faubus, but for some reasons there were no lyrics. It is rumored that Columbia had them removed, while other sources claim they didn't exist at the time Mingus Ah Um was recorded. Either way, they were present in full for the first time in Charles Mingus presents Charles Mingus, released on a different label.

Charles Mingus presents Charles Mingus

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Fables of Faubus is a bit of an offputting piece. It's unnerving, even cacophonic. With the lyrics, the point gets across.

The song begins with a plea.

Oh, Lord, don't let 'em shoot us!
Oh, Lord, don't let 'em stab us!
Oh, Lord, don't let 'em tar and feather us!


Mingus then calls for his drummer, Dannie Richmond.

"Name me someone ridiculous, Dannie."


To which Dannie Richmond yells back at the top of his lungs,

"Governor Faubus!""

Mingus replies, in case the point wasn't clear:

"Why's he so sick, and ridiculous?"

And Dannie doesn't hesitate, yelling again,

"He won't permit us in his schools!"

And they together, wrap up the whole thing.

"Then he's a fool!"


Does it hit for you? It kind of does for me. God damned Governor Faubus. We don't hate him, we don't hit him back. He's just so god damned sick.

Sample Song: Fables of Faubus



***

Ahem! To address the music, this is a "live-studio album", meaning it was recorded in front of an audience. It's just four pieces, with a lot of improvisation. I love Faubus, and in this version we got Eric Dolphy at the sax. It shows--the whole album feels like it's leaning to avant-garde, which eventually made Dolphy famous on his own (more on that later!) It's definitely a good listen to hear the original Fables of Faubus alone, and I personally like Folk Forms no. 1; however, the other two songs in the album feel a bit dragsome, which makes this one less listenable as a whole.

It's still Charles Mingus unbound by his label, he's definitely trying to push boundaries here and at moments it's incredible. Not a pass by any means, but a less sharp effort.

***

Name me a handful of ridiculous... Dannie Richmond?

Bilbo, Faubus, Rockefeller, Eisenhower!

Why are they so sick and ridiculous?

Two, four, six, eight:
They brainwash and teach you hate!
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Re: Linky talks Jazz!

Post by Linkman » Sat May 14, 2016 12:30 am

(not to demand attention, but do you guys get something out of this? I feel a bit odd about quintuple posting.)

Art Blakey - Moanin'

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The title song alone is worth the listen. Art Blakey (featured before in this topic as the drummer for Adderley's Somethin' Else) is a great drummer (even though I can't quite appreciate it as I can with the sax and trumpet), but what shines the most here is Bobby Timmons at the piano, Benny Golson at the Sax, both the main composers of the album, with trumpeter Lee Morgan also sharing the spotlight to a lesser extent. It's quite fun to hear them exchange tidbits with Blakey's drumming in the background.

Essential listening, you guys!

Sample Song: Moanin'
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Re: Linky talks Jazz!

Post by Xenesis » Sat May 14, 2016 12:34 am

I'm enjoying it, even if I don't have anything to contribute!
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Re: Linky talks Jazz!

Post by Linkman » Sat May 14, 2016 12:44 am

Didn't you like listening to smooth jazz for sleep, Xen? :)
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Re: Linky talks Jazz!

Post by onewaystreet » Sat May 14, 2016 10:54 pm

You need more Bela Fleck in your life! Get some non-standard instrumentation going.

Sample song: The Sinister Minister. Featuring the mother of all slap bass solos.
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Re: Linky talks Jazz!

Post by Linkman » Tue May 17, 2016 12:35 am

That's quite good oneway! I'll dig deeper into that rabbithole.

Giant Steps - John Coltrane

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I can't get too much into John Coltrane. It's weird; I love him with Miles, but I find him bloated on his own. Take Giant Steps: it's a great album. I like it. But I wish someone would pull some weight other than Coltrane.

I also hate the fact that most Coltrane recordings nowadays push him to either the left or the right channel, while keeping the rhythm on the other channel. It annoys me to no end. I feel like I'm listening to two pieces at once.

Please listen to this with speakers so the music actually gels together, and enjoy the Sax. It's a pass for me, but I hardly ever listen to it.

Sample Song: Giant Steps - For what they tell me, a lesson in improvisation.
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Re: Linky talks Jazz!

Post by Sniffit II » Sat May 21, 2016 5:58 am

Charles Mingus. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. I need more ming.

Mingus Ah-Um is fantastic in the extreme.

If you want to check out more modern jazz, I'm really into Fox Capture Plan at the moment. They're beautifully melodic and damn that drummer does non-trivial things.
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Re: Linky talks Jazz!

Post by Linkman » Thu Jun 02, 2016 12:43 am

Will check it out, Sniffit; in fact, I'm trying to get somewhere with this whole shebang!

The Shape of Jazz to Come - Ornette Coleman

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This album was released the same year as Mingus Ah Um, Kind of Blue, and Time Out, sort of an annus mirabilis for American Jazz. It is basically a step in the direction of free form jazz (please contain your disgust).

Like Coltrane's Giant Steps, I found it hard to get into it. It is ultimately very listenable, not offputting, but it's far less appealing to me than Miles and Ming's soothing and harmonious arrangements. I understand Ornette was trying to expand the boundaries of the genre and push into improvisation (avant garde?), which sometimes is very rewarding, but a lot of the time it leaves me hanging. It might be one of those things that you can't appreciate when you're not a musician.

Sample Song: Focus on Sanity
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Re: Linky talks Jazz!

Post by Bonesy » Thu Jun 02, 2016 1:27 am

why hasn't anyone linked the phoenix wright jazz album

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Re: Linky talks Jazz!

Post by Linkman » Sat Jun 04, 2016 6:05 am

My initial approach to jazz was something along the lines of what I've posted so far.

I found I liked the arrangements of Miles Davis, Dave Brubeck, Charlie Mingus; pretty much what today sounds like "mainstream" jazz. It was perhaps the most prolific and enduringly popular period of the genre. I wasn't too much into Coltrane and Coleman's breaches towards improvisation, though they could be appealing at times.

I had three choices: one, dig deeper into the jazz of this period. Two, go back in time and explore the masters of bop and cool jazz. Three, go forward and see what modern jazz had for me.

Going forward: In a Silent Way - Miles Davis

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In a Silent Way marks Miles' departure from Modal jazz (or maybe, classic jazz?) into something new and different. The album only has two tracks (!), and they are both ethereal, dreamy pieces. The electric guitar and drums, by John McLaughlin and Tony Williams respectively, basically drone on in the background while Miles and the pianists (Herbie Hancock and Chick Corea--might ring some bells!) solo and improvise over it.

People describe this album with a bunch of fancy words, and I don't want to go somewhere I can't really understand. What I know is I love In a Silent Way. It's oddly enthralling, it's oddly hypnotizing. It doesn't sound like Kind of Blue at all, yet it still feels distinctively a Miles Davis album. I later learned it was actually edited from several pieces into just these two, which explains while it feels so erratic and improvisational.

It's certainly different stuff, but I absolutely recommend it.

Sample Song: Shhh / Peaceful
"everytime I try to draw xen I end up drawing a kangaroo smoking a cigar while chainsawing a tree" - Deoxy
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Re: Linky talks Jazz!

Post by Joey » Sat Jun 04, 2016 11:22 am

Keep exploring Miles. That's a peak. But there's also Bitches Brew, A Tribute to Jack Johnson, and On The Corner. He does exciting stuff and I'm so glad he didn't just rest after best-album-of-the-fifties-by-a-comfortable-margin Kind of Blue.

Anyway, my biggest suggestion for you next is Benny Goodman's The Famous 1938 Carnegie Hall Concert. Pretty obvious move. Seek out immediately.

Maybe try some more Ornette? You've plundered the obvious one, but there's also Change of the Century.

If you like Brubeck, find Jazz Goes to College. You'll adore it.

Something far out you might dig is Max Roach's We Insist! album. Something that very directly deals with jazz as a product of Black America.

I'm trying to figure out where you should try Louis or Coltrane. Maybe their respective Ken Burns Jazz collections? There are some questions about whether you want to try the ladies, too: Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, even Nina Simone.
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Re: Linky talks Jazz!

Post by Linkman » Fri Jun 24, 2016 3:12 am

Fine Joey: let's address the elephant in the topic!

Going back: Benny Goodman, Glenn Miller and Louie Armstrong, and the others

Remember Sensei's theme, you guys? Back in 2004 Terragent told me it reminded him of Benny Goodman. I looked him up and thoroughly enjoyed his best work:



I love big band, I love swing. It's great, it's amazing. But I have one little issue: the recordings are crumpets.

There's nothing to be done about it! Even the best remasters are still grainy as all hell. I listen to these guys out of respect and nostalgia, but frankly: I rarely listen to anything before 1950s due to this reason.

Still, worth picking up, as Joey mentioned: The Famous 1938 Carnegie Hall Concert by Benny Goodman (or any of the versions of it). Listen to Gene Krupa drum and then consider whether your favourite rock drummer innovates at all.
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Re: Linky talks Jazz!

Post by Linkman » Fri Jun 24, 2016 3:23 am

Staying put: digging deeper into the late 50s and early 60s

Oliver Nelson - The Blues and the Abstract Truth

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This is one heck of an album. Paul Chambers and Bill Evans, as you may recall, played on Kind of Blue. Roy Haynes plays the drums; the three of them make for a perfect rhythm section. I specially dig Chambers. His plucks texture the whole album.

Freddie Hubbard is the trumpeter, and he leads with the style and grace we expect of the best; meanwhile, there's Eric Dolphy, who played sax with Mingus in Mingus Presents Mingus, and we'll talk about him soon enough. He is a joy to listen to here; sharp as a tack. Possibly the star of the show, he shares tenor sax with Nelson. I'm not sure who plays what part--I aim to get there with more listens! This is an excellent album. One of the best examples of the jazz I enjoy the most.

Sample Song: Stolen Moments - Sublime you guys, sublime!
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Re: Linky talks Jazz!

Post by Pkdragon » Fri Jun 24, 2016 11:20 pm

one day i'll actually listen to some of this stuff i swear
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Re: Linky talks Jazz!

Post by Linkman » Sat Jun 25, 2016 12:56 am

<3 pk
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Re: Linky talks Jazz!

Post by Linkman » Thu Jun 30, 2016 12:24 am

Oh what is this? What is this?

This is... arbitrary STAR RATINGS

Miles Davis - Kind of Blue: 5/5
Stan Getz/Charlie Byrd - Jazz Samba: 4/5
Dave Brubeck Quartet - Time Out: 4/5
Charles Mingus - Mingus Ah Um: 4.5/5
Cannoball Adderley - Somethin' Else: 4/5
Mingus Big Band - Nostalgia in Times Square: 3.5/5
Charles Mingus - Charles Mingus Presents Charles Mingus: 3/5
Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers - Moanin': 4.5/5
John Coltrane - Giant Steps: 2/5
Ornette Coleman - The Shape of Jazz to Come: 2.5/5
Miles Davis - In a Silent Way: 4/5
Oliver Nelson - The Blues and the Abstract Truth: 4/5

(Will try to organize this later in the first post. Sort of a Linky's Guide to Jazz thingamajiggy)
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Re: Linky talks Jazz!

Post by Joey » Thu Jun 30, 2016 10:45 am

Giant Steps a two. Yow.
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Re: Linky talks Jazz!

Post by Linkman » Fri Jul 01, 2016 5:06 am

It might change in the future but for now it's that my man.
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Re: Linky talks Jazz!

Post by Linkman » Tue Aug 02, 2016 3:21 am

Ready for Freddie - Freddie Hubbard

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Freddie Hubbard is a great trumpeter; we talked briefly about him in this topic as a sideman in Oliver Nelson's The Blues and the Abstract Truth. Our sideman turned lead has full reign to stretch and the result is very, very satisfying; Freddie has a style of his own, and he's backed by the excellent Wayne Shorter at Sax (see In a Silent Way--we'll also go into him later).

The album is one of the best examples of my favourite jazz, which I think some people call bop (or modal, or whatever really). It's good, it's fun, and Freddie Hubbard is pure talent. I think the middle portion of the album is less potent than the lead Arietis and the closer Crisis, but it's a recommended listen through and through.

Sample Song: Crisis

ARBITRARY STAR RATING: 4/5
"everytime I try to draw xen I end up drawing a kangaroo smoking a cigar while chainsawing a tree" - Deoxy
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Re: Linky talks Jazz!

Post by Linkman » Thu Sep 15, 2016 12:36 am

Miles Davis - Porgy and Bess (1958)

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This one is a bit of a more challenging listen if only because it's a much longer album than usual (~1 hour 17 minutes). Miles is backed by an orchestra in this rendition of Porgy and Bess, arranged by collaborator Gil Evans. If you're unfamiliar with the opera, that's okay--you probably recognize Summertime as the most important standard to come out of it.

The orchestra gives Miles a lot of room to stretch without feeling overwhelming; you can absolutely tell he's the soloist and that the orchestra is arranged to allow his soulful playing to shine. There's some gems in here, I personally like the growing tension in "Prayer (Oh, Doctor Jesus)". It's recommendable and you don't even have to like jazz.

Sample Song: Summertime
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Re: Linky talks Jazz!

Post by Linkman » Fri Oct 21, 2016 12:56 am

Herbie Hancock - Takin' Off

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Oh my, that's an unfortunate picture isn't it! Herbie is hotter than that. Here let me show you:

Image

Okay so maybe he does look a bit like a doofus, but bear with me!

Takin' Off
is Herbie's debut as a leader. He went on to be a part of jazz history as part of Miles Davis' forays into fusion (see In a Silent Way, where Herbie played), but also made a name for himself as one of the premiere innovators in the scene.

His debut is notable for the title song, the catchy and hummable Watermelon Man, which crossed over and made it big in the pop charts. The rest of the album is pure gold hard bop; Freddie Hubbard at the trumpet is a delight, Dexter Gordon oozes cool, and the rhythm section feels on point. This is one satisfying album.

Sample song: Watermelon Man
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Re: Linky talks Jazz!

Post by Linkman » Wed Oct 26, 2016 7:07 am

Sonny Rollins - Saxophone Colossus

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This album is so cheery! Sonny Rollins is one of the names that always comes up when you're looking for saxophonists. Most of you, regardless of your jazz inclinations, have heard this particular tune, or at least the intro:



Sonny's tenor sounds clean and right. It's very melodic, very classic, very enjoyable. It doesn't throw you many curveballs like Coltrane or Coleman do, but that might just be because it was still 1956. Max Roach shines a fair bit on the drums as well (listen to the solo in St. Thomas to get a hint), but Sonny is front and center, and the delight is immense.

At just 39 minutes the album is gone before you know it, and you're hungry for more.

Sample Song: St. Thomas, see above!
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Re: Linky talks Jazz!

Post by Sniffit II » Mon Nov 07, 2016 3:59 am

I presume you've probably checked out Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli. I got hold of their recordings from The Hot Club a while back.
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Re: Linky talks Jazz!

Post by scraggypunk » Mon Nov 07, 2016 3:39 pm

top tier thread
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