Download Hot House Pdf Here:  June Hot House Jazz Guide


Episode 4 of “After the Call” the official podcast for Hot House Jazz invites "21st century artist" Kassa Overall to discuss his new EP as well as vulnerability at the Tuesday Zinc session, collaborating with Terri Lyne Carrington, navigating listener engagement and authentic expression and "lying" his way on to the Late Show with Stephen Colbert. The episode also features (very short) new music selections for Ringtones for Jones' Phones from Lakecia Benjamin, Laura Taglialatela and Marta Sanchez, plus a clip from an archived interview with Dianne Reeves. If you would like to be a guest on “After the Call,” tweet at me or DM my Instagram @meetmissjonesny. Let’s keep the conversation going — enjoy the show!

John Bailey

Winning Spins By George Kanzler

Trumpet players are basically extroverts, confident and proud with a sound and tone to match. That’s true of the two trumpeters whose albums comprise this Winning Spins: John Bailey and Randy Brecker. Both are veterans of the jazz scene, but with very different career arcs. John has toiled as a first-call trumpeter for big bands and recording sessions in multiple genres for over 30 years, but never before releasing an album in his own name. While Randy has had a major career that saw his first disc as a co-leader with his late brother, saxophonist Michael, 50 years ago.

In Real Time, John Bailey (Summit Records), reveals a trumpeter in his prime, reeling off runs and phrases with consummate technique and admirable logic. John leads a piano-less quintet featuring Stacy Dillard, tenor and soprano saxes; John Hart, guitar; Cameron Brown, bass, and Victor Lewis, drums. Seven of the CD’s nine tracks are originals by the leader that range from hard bop to blues to a swinging waltz. The two other tunes are by giants of Brazilian music.

On Milton Nascimento’s “Morro Velho,” John plays flugelhorn with Leo Grinhauz, cello; John’s wife, Janet Axelrod, flute; Cameron and Victor. His captivating, exotic arrangement pairs flugelhorn and cello echoing and soloing with each other. Tandem soloing from trumpet, guitar and tenor sax also dominates the other Brazilian tune, Gilberto Gil’s bossa “Ensaio Geral,” the bright, short conclusion to the album.

The CD kicks off with John’s “Rhapsody,” a piece that belies its name with a rollicking rhythm and joyful, exuberant solos. John mines his bebop and hard bop knowledge on three originals: “Triplicity,” a multi-strand theme with quick-step trades between the horns and guitar; “Blues for Ella,” a fast, staccato bop blues line with an especially fluent, crisp trumpet solo; and “Stepping Up,” a hard bop piece that culminates in exhilarating four-bar trades.

John’s versatility comes to the fore on three other tracks. “My Man Louis!” (for his teenage son, not Satchmo) rides over a jaunty ostinato riff from bass and guitar and a trumpet solo of precisely clipped notes. “Lovely Planet” is a melodically elegiac ballad with Cameron’s bass prominent under John’s trumpet. And “Children’s Waltz” is in a seductively swinging 3/4, John’s flugelhorn joined by Stacy’s only outing on soprano sax.

John Bailey’s quintet celebrates the release of In Real Time at Smalls Jazz Club, June 22-23.

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Nioka Workman and Firey String Sistas

Another Reason To Celebrate By Elzy Kolb

Pop’s the tops

Father’s Day comes once a year according to most calendars. But celebrating her paternal parent is an ongoing theme for Nioka Workman, the cellist, vocalist, percussionist, composer, arranger, educator and founder and leader of the Firey String Sistas. Nioka, who has worked with Betty LaVette, Anthony Braxton, David Murray and Greg Osby, is the daughter of the legendary bassist Reggie Workman, perhaps best known for playing with John Coltrane, to just skim the surface of his lengthy musical bona fides.

She recalls that as a child, “I wanted to play bass, so I could be closer to my dad and see him more. We traveled together a lot, but I wanted to play with him.” Too small for a bass, Nioka got her first cello when she was 9, and it was a good fit. “It was the right size, the right sound, such a beautiful instrument. I knew immediately: This is it.”

An ensemble that Reggie led influenced Nioka’s original choice of instrumentation for the Firey String Sistas. “My father had so many different band configurations, including one with harp, violin, cello, bass and drums. He tried that for a while. That was my inspiration to continue with something similar.” Her experimentations with instrumentation eventually led to her band’s current lineup of pianist and vocalist Mala Waldron, violinist Marlene Rice, bassist Melissa Slocum and drummer Camille Gainer Jones.

Nioka views the band as a collective. “I approach everything that way. I would love it to be even more so. I guide the ship, but everyone contributes music, helps out when they can, gives suggestions.” She continues, “I eventually wanted to throw Reggie into the band, but I’m focusing on keeping it all women for now.”

Nioka doesn’t rule out a future collaboration with her father, pointing out that on the verge of his 81st birthday on June 26, Reggie “bounces around like he’s in his 50s, showing off and doing pushups and things like that. He’s always texting me, using acronyms; he never stops learning.”

Mala Waldron also has jazz roots: She is named for her father, the iconic pianist Mal Waldron, who also played with Coltrane, as well as with Mala’s godmother Billie Holiday, Charles Mingus and other giants. “It’s funny, our fathers played together,” Nioka notes. The two appeared together on about a dozen albums from the 1970s into the 1990s, offering a wealth of material to mine. “There’s so much music we’re trying to get to, so much history to explore.”

The Firey String Sistas have a lot to celebrate when they appear at Maureen’s Jazz Cellar on June 24. The quintet offers a sneak peek at new songs they plan to record in July for their second album, tentatively slated for release later this year. The upcoming CD will contain jazz and world music originals with one exception: Mala’s arrangement of the Thelonious Monk classic “Round Midnight.” Nioka explains, “Mala chose this because Mal always said any jazz musician worth their salt has to know this tune.”

To mark Father’s Day and Reggie’s June birthday, they present another tune from the new recording, a rendition of Mala’s piece “He’s My Father,” rounding out their set with favorites from the Firey String Sistas’ well-received 2016 debut CD, That’s What She Said… (A&EC).

Photo Credit:  Hollis King

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Jane Bunnett and Maqueque

Another Reason To Celebrate By Elzy Kolb
The real thing

When a friend sent Jane Bunnett a message on Face Book to tell her she’d received a 2017 Latin Jazz Grammy nomination for Oddara, her album with the band Maqueque, the Canadian flutist, saxophonist, composer and band leader thought it was fake news. “You’re a bad boy, that’s a nasty joke,” she replied.

Although Jane had received two previous Grammy nominations for Cuban Odyssey in 2003 and Alma de Santiago in 2002, she knew there was stiff competition in the category in 2017, including Anat Cohen and Miguel Zenón. Although Pablo Ziegler won, for Jane the nomination itself was enormously gratifying. “This is not a novelty group, people are taking notice. There are a lot of young women in Cuba who would love to be in this group and that makes me feel good,” she says.

Maqueque, a sextet comprising Jane and a flexible lineup of Cuban musicians such as drummers Yissy Garcia or Natalie Sosa, bassists Tailin Marrero or Celia Jimenez, pianist Dánae Olano, percussionists Melvis Santa and Magdelys Savigne, certainly isn’t a novelty group, but it is unusual for Cuba. Jane has been traveling to the island and been immersed in its music for more than 35 years with her husband, trumpeter Larry Cramer. She notes that while many Cuban bands have a producer/leader, Maqueque is a creative collaborative.

 “It has a workshop air, everyone in the band is writing, we throw ideas around and workshop the material. With so many writers we can make each composition distinctly different, we can make it our own.”

Jane says that interest in jazz in Cuba has increased recently after decades of emphasis on preserving traditional Cuban music. “There are so many styles that vary from region to region, each with its own unique character and distinct differences such as you’d hear between New York and Nashville. After the U.S. embargo, jazz was kind of banned and regional styles celebrated. Many bands play tunes note for note every time,” she muses. “With our group, we bring together very good Cuban musicians, plus a love for jazz, plus a love for improvisation. That’s what jazz is supposed to be; there’s supposed to be interaction; we’re supposed to surprise one another. When Cuban musicians hear this other music now, it’s very exciting. They want to start their own groups and make personal statements.”

Maqueque tours extensively this summer while preparing to record a third CD, set for release in early 2019. In addition to new material, the band also features tunes from its first two albums on June 22 at the Side Door in Old Lyme, Conn., they’ll return to the region July 21 to play the Caramoor Jazz Festival in Katonah, N.Y., and the Falcon in Marlboro, N.Y. on July 25.

Touring with Cuban players is complicated by visas, border crossing issues, and the ever-shifting political situation, but the payoff of playing together more than outweighs the hassle. “They’re excited to get on stage and show what they can do. They don’t take their musical opportunities for granted. If they have to line up at the embassy for this to happen, they will. It’s all gotta come to fruition when they play. They 100 percent are not gonna be checking their cell phones on stage,” Jane says.

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Mike DeiCont Allison Philips

Fresh Takes By Nick Dunston

Co-led by bassist Mike DeiCont and trumpeter Allison Philips, the DeiCont|Philips Collective is one of the most exciting emerging groups in New York. On the dynamic of co-leading a collective, Mike says, “It’s like a drivers’ ed car: One of us is learning to drive the thing while the other is sitting in the passenger seat with a foot on the extra brake just in case. We often trade seats. We trust each other and it’s really easy. But there’s also that element of ripping down the road in a gigantic piece of machinery that neither of us fully understand how to operate yet.”

Something that sets this group apart is that it features two drummers: Connor Parks and Alex Kirkpatrick (with Louis Cohen on guitar, completing the group). On this chemistry, Allison says, “Connor and Alex are both super different players, but their sensitivity comes out on a whole other level when they play together. The obvious reason to use two drummers is to add to dynamic range, which does happen, but what is most interesting is the way they react to the more subtle moments.”

The DeiCont|Philips Collective plays at Rockwood Music Hall on June 21.

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Pablo Ziegler

Pablo Ziegler: Revolutionary Titan of the Tango By Raul da Gama

In February this year the world of Latin jazz awoke to the news that Pablo Ziegler had received music’s coveted Grammy Award for The Best Latin Jazz Album. The long-overdue award elicited a rare reaction: No one complained about the judging; no one dared. Pablo is the grey eminence of Argentinian music; a god in the pantheon into which only a handful of men, from Adolfo Carabelli to Astor Piazzolla, have been admitted. The winning album, Jazz Tango, is a live CD recorded by the composer and pianist with the guitarist Claudio Ragazzi and bandoneónist Hector Del Curto.

The music, six compositions by Pablo and three by Piazzolla, is arresting. It is ferociously beautiful and is centered around the mathematical precision of the tango. But Zeigler turns this on its head, employing the art of jazz to create a new strain of milonga as jazz and tango fuse into a bottomless wellspring of emotion and innovation. Horizons blur in mighty syncopations and juicy jazz sojourns and a new hybrid drenched in the blues and jazz emerges. A mighty duel also ensues between piano and bandoneón and Pablo's innate pianistic passion becomes the glue that binds the new musical form appropriately titled Jazz Tango

Pablo has been a tireless innovator ever since he graduated with honors from Buenos Aires Conservatory. He debuted as a classical pianist at age 14. Later, he studied piano with Adrián Moreno and Galia Schaljman, and composition with Gerardo Gandini and Francisco Kröplft.

Making good on his education, he composed music for numerous films such as Adios Roberto and Tacos Altos. His work was also heard in the stage musical Polvo de Estrellas, and for the TV series “La Noche de los Grandes.” He was later recognized with a Best Composer Award by the Argentinian Theatre Critics Association for his work in Traicion.

With more than a dozen albums made under his name and scores of others with Astor Piazzolla, with whom he played from 1978 to 1989, Pablo arguably wears the mantle of his mentor Piazzolla. In return, Pablo leads an ongoing revolution in Nuevo Tango, the torch of which was passed on to him by Piazzolla. With bold new melodic and rhythmic inventions, he continues to make revolutionary advances.

Myriad musical styles collide in his tango. In 2013, he took a song “Milonga Para Hermeto,” composed by Quique Sinesi and using Brazilian musical language created a Brazilian-Tango-Milonga. In 2015, he incorporated an unusual instrument for tangos, the saxophone of his celebrated pupil Julio Botti, into a series of compositions and the seminal Sax to Tango project (Zoho Music, 2016) was born.

But Pablo is particularly proud about what he has achieved with Jazz Tango. Praising “the energy and delicacy of the sound from each one of the band members” he says, “We’ve been performing together almost 20 years and we’ve developed our own language. This CD is the outcome of the search for our identity as musicians and for me as a composer. Every piece tells a story of Buenos Aires and it’s full of the essence of Nuevo Tango and jazz music.”

The Pablo Ziegler Trio with Hector Del Curto on bandoneón and Claudio Ragazzi on guitar plays music from Jazz Tango at Highline Ballroom as part of the Blue Note Jazz Festival on June 26.

Photo Credit:  Shigeto Imura

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Lezlie Harrison

Lezlie Harrison Sings Her Life By Stephanie Jones

Researches have argued for years over whether humans possess bioluminescence. Lezlie Harrison proves they do. Setting the bandstand aglow with warmth and vulnerability, the singer and master song interpreter delivers a kind of phrasing that captures the fragility and enduring spirit of humanity.

A musician whose passion extends beyond the bandstand, Lezlie has earned her place as a community facilitator and true ambassador of the music. She is a founding member of The Jazz Gallery and has worked in various capacities for WBGO, the radio station that offered Lezlie her very first job as a young college graduate.

“I wear all these different hats, and I try to keep them separated but they’re all joined together by the music,” she says. “I love this music that we call jazz. It has sustained me, financially, wink-wink, and spiritually for a very long time. And what I love the most, out of all of that, of course, is performing.”

As a performer, Lezlie feels at home, no matter where the work sends her. One reason why she won’t accept a full time gig at WBGO is because she enjoys the freedom to tour whenever she has the opportunity. When she does hit the bandstand, a background in theatre allows Lezlie full range of dramatic devices with which she might approach any moment of any tune.

“I often say: ‘I, Lezlie Harrison, am going to my gig tonight at Smoke. But the person I bring with me, when she gets on stage, is a totally different person.’ Of course, it’s me, but it’s my theatre training connecting with an audience, delivering the lyrics, really feeling the lyrics, it’s very, very personal. . . I kind of go deep when I’m on stage and that is my theatre training.”

While her acting lessons help Lezlie interpret the lyrics, what’s at the heart of each tune is an authentic connection to the music. “Recently, I was having a really bad day,” she says, “and I went to do my show on Wednesday and one of the owners, Frank, said, ‘Lezlie, did you have a bad day today?’ I said, ‘Well, yeah, in fact I did.’ And he said, ‘Because you are killin it!’ So, I try to give the best performance that I can with my truest self possible.”

Asked her recommendations for young singers who struggle with delivering an honest performance, Lezlie has some concrete advice: Take an acting class. “It will help you to just free yourself up,” she says, “and help you be your silly self, your sad self, get to know yourself a little bit more. It will help you ‘go in,’ and help you relate to your audience, not just sing to the audience.”

Another overlap Lezlie has found to exist between theatre and music is reliance on spontaneity. Lezlie, who never writes out her set lists, credits the freedom she feels to stay in the moment, embracing versatility and risk taking, to working with like-minded artists who support each other and serve the sound. Wednesdays at Smoke, Lezlie plays with her organ trio comprising Saul Rubin on guitar, Anwar Marshall on drums and Ben Paterson on Hammond B3.

“My band, they know me; we know each other,” she says. “I can feel Anwar carry me. I can feel Saul Rubin; it’s just a feeling. We’re locked in it together. Sometimes I’ll call a song that we’ve maybe never done. I might start singing it just because it’s been in my head all day and I want to try it. I’ll start singing it a cappella and Ben might pick up on it, Saul might pick up on it or they might just lay out and let me do it a cappella; then maybe it becomes part of our repertoire. It’s very important to not get stale, and for the audience to see that process.”

Lezlie’s way includes so much of the work and passion that goes into the music between hits. And part of the global process of being a New York musician, for Lezlie, means availing herself to younger members of the community, so she ensures the music extends and evolves, generation to generation.

“When I first started out, I wasn’t singing. I was going out and listening to singers like Carmen and Betty and Abbey and Cassandra,” she says. “I just wanted to see the process of how they tell the story. Sometimes young people are afraid to approach us ‘seasoned’ musicians, but I think that’s the best way to learn. I don’t teach singing, but I speak to a lot of young vocalists who call me up and ask me about stage performance. I definitely want to go down as being part of trying to better the music, presenting it and performing it and keeping jazz alive.”

Lezlie Harrison performs with Saul Rubin, Ben Paterson and Anwar Marshall at Smoke Jazz & Supper Club every Wednesday.

Photo Credit:  David A. Powell

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Paquito D Rivera

Paquito D’Rivera: The Paq-Man at Seventy! By Eugene Holley Jr.

Dizzy Gillespie predicted that one day, “the music of the Americas will be unified.” For five decades, three of them in the United States after he defected from Cuba in 1981, his protégé, Paquito D’Rivera, has fulfilled his mentor’s prophecy.

A multi Grammy award-winning saxophonist, clarinetist, composer and bandleader, Paquito was a founding member with pianist Chucho Valdes of Orquesta Cubana de Musica Moderna in 1967, the Cuban jazz group Irakere in 1973, and the Caribbean Jazz Project with steel pans player Andy Narrell in 1993.

An NEA Jazz Master, he has worked as a sideman with everybody from Wynton Marsalis and McCoy Tyner, to Mario Bauza and Cachao, and recorded over 40 albums as a leader. Blessed with a fiery and fluid improvisational style, Paquito’s wide-ranging, woodwind wizardry fluently speaks many of our hemisphere’s musical languages: from American bebop to the Argentine tango.

Paquito, who received an Honorary Doctorate from the Manhattan School of Music in May, performs at the Blue Note Jazz Festival with his longtime cohorts: Pianist and violinist Alex Brown, Peruvian bassist Oscar Stagnaro, drummer Mark Walker, Argentine trumpeter and valve trombonist Diego Urcola and Curaçao percussionist Pernell Saturnino. He brings his Pan-American set list to the stage in an especially festive mood because his birthday is June 4.

“The Blue Note is going to be like a 70th birthday celebration,” Paquito says. “We’re going to be playing music from my more recent releases, Jazz Meets the Classics and Paquito & Manzanero. I’m also playing a combination of selections from many different recordings, and I’m trying out some new music.”

Jazz Meets the Classics, a 2012 live recording, features Paquito’s ingenious and infectious takes on work by composers from the European and Latin American classical canons, featuring the samba-infused syncopations of Chopin’s “Fantasia Impromptu,” the cajon-cadenced “Beethoven Peru,” the New Orleans second line swing of “Adagio” from Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto in A Major and the Cuban zarzuela composer Ernesto Lecuona’s “Al Fin Te Vi.”

Paquito & Manzanero, a 2016 CD, features selections from the songbook of Mexican composer Armando Manzanero, including the fascinating rhythms of “Amanecer,” the 4/4 swing of “Mia” and the touching tango-milonga, “Te Extranjo.”

Paquito just composed The Rice and Beans Concerto, a three-movement opus for clarinet, violoncello and orchestra, for his friend, cellist Yo Yo Ma, employing melodies, harmonies, rhythmic cells and instruments from China, Brazil, Cuba and elements of jazz.

“The piece is a commission from Kennedy Center with an important erhu (Chinese violin) part in the orchestra. I call Yo Yo, ‘Rice’ because he’s Chinese, and he calls me ‘Beans’ because I love black beans and rice,” Paquito says with a laugh.

Paquito’s ability to speak multiple musical languages was imprinted on him from the moment he picked up the clarinet, growing up as classically trained child prodigy in Havana. “I was listening to all types of music my whole life,” Paquito says. “My father was a classical saxophone player, but he loved Stan Getz, Lester Young and especially Benny Goodman. He played his 1938 Carnegie Hall Concert LP back-to-back with Goodman’s recording of Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto.” Paquito, who played clarinet and saxophone beginning at age 5 with Cuba’s National Symphony Orchestra, also counts French classical saxophonist Marcel Mule as a major influence. 

His broad musical education is evident throughout his recordings. They include Why Not!, Explosion, Havana Café, Brazilian Dreams, A Night in Englewood (with the United Nation Orchestra) and the Latin jazz soundtrack, Calle 54.  Dizzy Gillespie remains a dominant influence on Paquito. He met the trumpeter when he visited Cuba as part of U.S. State Department tour in 1977. Paquito worked closely with Gillespie, especially in his last ensemble, the United Nation Orchestra, comprising musicians from the Caribbean and Latin America, which he led after Gillespie died in 1993.

Now, entering his eighth decade, Paquito feels that the most important thing he learned from Gillespie is that one must share their knowledge with others. “We must be generous with the younger generation,” Paquito says. “Let them shine. Don’t take the stage for yourself. Give others an opportunity.”

The Paquito D’Rivera Ensemble with trumpeter and valve trombonist Diego Urcola, pianist Alex Brown, bassist Oscar Stagnaro, drummer Mark Walker and percussionist Pernell Saturnino performs at the Blue Note Jazz Festival, June 12-17.

Photo Credit:  Geandy Pavon

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Paul Nedzela

Hot Flashes By Seton Hawkins

Artist Talks Inspirations: Paul Nedzela

Since assuming the baritone saxophone chair in the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, saxophonist Paul Nedzela has become one of the most visible practitioners on the instrument today. And it’s easy to see how he earned the spot in the orchestra: a prodigiously gifted and versatile technician on his instrument, Paul also offers up a gorgeously lyrical take on the baritone saxophone, highlighting the breadth and range of its melodic possibilities. Indeed, as his career has continued to develop, Paul has demonstrated a remarkable ability to synthesize the inspirations of previous innovators into a playing style that, while certainly recalling of past masters, remains unmistakably Paul’s.

For Paul, Gerry Mulligan’s music kicked off his passion for the instrument. “I started playing the baritone in junior high school because they moved me from the tenor,” he recalls. “My dad got me the Birth of the Cool record, which Gerry is on. That was my first experience hearing that sound and different approach. Later, I heard his piano-less quartet, and Gerry’s unique approach and lyricism stuck with me. In fact, when I was studying privately with a guy named Roger Rosenberg, he told me I had to stop listening to Gerry so much, because I was only playing his stuff.”

The lyrical, melodic sense of Gerry’s work is undoubtedly heard in Paul’s playing, but so is a rougher, rhythmically dynamic drive recalling Gerry’s stylistic opposite in Pepper Adams. “It’s a totally different style,” Paul explains, “but what I love about Pepper is that even as he’s doing these amazing harmonic and rhythmic things, he also played with a lot of melody.”

While the worlds of Gerry Mulligan and Pepper Adams might seem entirely distinct and too different to reconcile, for Paul it has served as a broader palette set to draw from. “I don’t think I have to choose one or the other, but I can mix them organically,” he notes.

That versatility has served him well, particularly as he geared up to replace the legendary late Joe Temperley, the long-serving baritone anchor of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, and a mentor to Paul. “He’s one of those guys who sounded better with each year and I was blown away by his sound and approach,” Paul remembers. “He was the heart and soul of this band, he was confident in who he was and that was one of the things that made him great.”

Stepping into the role previously held by Joe for decades was no small challenge, yet it’s one that Paul has succeeded in doing. “I’ve tried to assimilate what he showed me, and I’m finding the new things I have that I can add to the band,” he explains.

As Paul’s star continues to rise, he has also begun to expand his own efforts as a leader. “There aren’t too many small group gigs for baritone players,” he notes. “If you’re lucky, there’s a nonet-sized band and so I realized that I needed to find it for myself and make it happen for myself.”

Placing the baritone saxophone front and center in a quartet, Paul enlisted a stellar cast of artists for his band: Pianist Dan Nimmer, bassist Dezron Douglas and drummer Rodney Green. While the baritone saxophone might seem an unusual instrument for a quartet setting, for fans of the baritone saxophone, the chance to see Paul Nedzela shine in a small group is absolutely essential.

Paul Nedzela leads his quartet at Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola June 12-13.

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