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Leo records on Emusic

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Leo records, best known for documenting the underground jazz scene of the Soviet Union, now distributes its catalog through the subscription download service Emusic. Last year, Leo started offering made-to-order Mp3 collections of their out-of-print records, so it was only a matter of time before they embraced online distribution for their entire catalog. With recordings that include classic discs by Anthony Braxton, Evan Parker, and Cecil Taylor, Leo would probably not appeal to the average iTunes customer. Emusic, though, already offered extensive holdings of both mainstream and avant-garde jazz.

Some people believed that Napster fulfilled the potential of the internet: something that most people wanted and could easily obtain, was now available for free. For me, services like Emusic are more promising: something that very few people want and is almost impossible to find, can now easily be had.

Orginally posted on A Frolic of My Own.

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About Todd A. Price

  • BJ

    Hey, which other albums would you recommend? I noticed when Leo came up on Emusic (and grabbed a couple of Joe Maneri albums that I haven’t had a chance to listen to yet) but don’t have much of a sense of the rest of their catalog, especially from the former Soviet Union.

    (And with Emusic’s new subscription policy, you know we have to ration the downloads. Boy do I miss the old Emusic.)

  • Eric Olsen

    Thanks Todd, very interesting!

  • I was a client of Emusic.com for more than four years until they unilaterially changed their service plans and treated their client base like scum.

    Loyalty is a two way street, don’t respect me, I don’t respect you.

    I’m glad this group is getting distribution through Emusic, but I can’t support Emusic because they treated me like something to be scraped off their shoe after years of being a customer.

  • godoggo

    I have only heard a little Ganelin Trio, but the most obvious American equivalent would be the Art Ensemble of Chicago: very far-out, very theatrical, lots of instrument switching. Not my favorite stuff personally but I certainly have great admiration for them. This was Soviet government made things quite tough for these sorts of performers (not that it’s exactly easy in the States). I recall that the other major soviet free-jazz artist was a pianist, I think his name started with K. Name?

  • Since the Leo CDs have always been too expensive or too hard to find, I know the catalog primarily by reputation. I do have the box set documenting the 80s jazz scene in the Soviet Union. I’m going to start exploring from the artists I like there. I’ll post some more comments when I find good things.

    The Ganelin Trio has a very good reputation. Also, the Evan Parker CD I linked to is a double album with only four tracks. It would only cost you a few tracks off your Emusic monthly allowance.

    I agree that Emusic didn’t handle the transition from unlimited service to a fixed download service (40 tracks for $10). At the same time, from the moment I discovered it many years ago I knew it was too good to be true. It’s still a good deal, I think.