Guitar player and vocalist Jimmy Johnson has carved out a distinctive niche in the Chicago blues scene.
James Earl Thompson was born November 25, 1928 in Holly Springs Mississippi. He grew up in a musical family. Jimmy was the older brother of blues musician Syl Johnson and his other brother the late Mack Thompson was a bassist in Magic Sam’s band. Jimmy began singing in the local church choir. He later sang with the United Five a spiritual group in Memphis.
In 1950 Jimmy’s family moved to Chicago. Jimmy worked as a welder for several years and played guitar as a hobby. In 1959 Jimmy began to perform with harmonica player Slim Willis. He changed his last name from Thompson to Johnson.
He began his career playing with Magic Sam Freddie King and Otis Rush. Jimmy recorded his first solo album at the age of 50.
Now with his own band Jimmy’s performing experience spans the globe from Europe to Japan as well as prestigious festivals concert halls and universities across the U.S. and Canada.
His discography includes dozens of back-up appearances as well as five solo albums. 1995 brought his first world-wide Verve/Polygram release ̶I’m a Jockey, which earned Jimmy his second W.C. Handy Award from the International Blues Foundation. This followed the critically acclaimed album ̶Bar Room Preacher, on Alligator Records. A second world-wide major label release is in the works for 1999.
Jimmy Johnson & Luther Johnson (MCM, 1977)
Tobacco Road live (MCM, 1978. Reissued by Delmark in 1997 Storyville/Delmark 842 )
Louisiana musician Jimmy Breaux was the longtime accordionist in celebrated Cajun band BeauSoleil. He is in the fourth generation of his family to play Cajun music.
Jimmy Breaux was born in 1967 and grew up in Louisiana. In 1988 at the age of 2 Breaux joined Michael Doucet’s pioneering young Cajun band BeauSoleil not only helping to bring pride to their Cajun heritage but also popularizing their dance music rooted in tradition by playing it around the world over the next 25 years.
In addition to being featured on BeauSoleil recordings Breaux has released solo albums that feature not only Doucet and other bandmates but other leaders of contemporary Louisiana Cajun music such as Steve Riley.
With a combination of Cajun classics and original songs Breaux is carrying on and extending his family tradition.
Among his musical relatives are his father Preston Breaux, grandfather Amé Breaux, brother Pat Breaux, great-grandfather Auguste Breaux and great-aunt Cleoma Breaux. The latter was married to Joe Falcon, one of the great Cajun musicians of the 1930s.
In addition to being widely acknowledged as the United States’ finest dobro players Jerry Douglas is a freewheeling recording artist whose output draws upon a bottomless well of musical inspiration incorporating elements of bluegrass, country, rock, jazz, blues, and Celtic into his distinctive musical vision.
The Ohio-born Douglas was seduced by music early in life. At the age of eight he was taken by his father-a steelworker who played bluegrass in his spare time-to a Flatt and Scruggs concert where he was immediately attracted to the sound of the dobro. He began playing the instrument in earnest soon after. “I just liked the sound it made, he recalls.,It can be real lonesome or it can be really brash and percussive. It’s such a vocal instrument; you can do so many things on it because of the sustain, and because there’s all these different voices you can get out of it.”
After several years of playing with his dad’s group the West Virginia Travelers the 17-year-old Douglas joined the pioneering newgrass band the Country Gentlemen in 1973. The following year he became a member of the seminal J.D. Crowe and the New South which also included future stars Ricky Skaggs and Tony Rice. In 1976 Douglas and Skaggs co-founded the now-legendary bluegrass combo Boone Creek. In 1979 Douglas launched his solo career with his LP Fluxology and became a full-time member of the beloved family group the Whites. He remained with the Whites until 1985 but still found time to play on such now-classic albums as Emmylou Harris’ Roses in the Snow and Ricky Skaggs’ Don’t Get Above Your Raising.
By the time he left the Whites Douglas had become Nashville’s busiest session dobro player while continuing his solo career with such albums as 1982’s Fluxedo (for which he won his first Grammy for Best Country Instrumental) Under the Wire (1986) Changing Channels (1987) Everything Is Going To Work Out Fine (1987) Plant Early (1989) and Slide Rule (1992). In the late ‘8s he formed the seminal acoustic supergroup Strength in Numbers with Sam Bush, Bela Fleck, Edgar Meyer, and Mark O’Connor; the quintet debuted with 1989’s The Telluride Sessions.
Jerry Douglas formed a trio with Russ Barenberg and Edgar Meyer to record the 1993 album Skip Hop and Wobble. The next year Douglas co-produced and performed on the all-star multi-artist project Great Dobro Sessions for which he won a second Grammy for Best Bluegrass Album. In 1996 Douglas joined Edgar Meyer and Indian musician Vishwa Mohan Bhatt for the genre-bending experiment Bourbon and Rosewater and collaborated with singer-songwriter Peter Rowan on the album Yonder. Douglas released his next solo effort Restless on the Farm in 1998.
It was around that time that Douglas chose to abandon his lucrative session career which had ceased to offer new musical challenges. “I did so many sessions for so long and it wasn’t really doing anything for me anymore,” he explains. “I was making a fine living playing on people’s records but the music changed and I didn’t really like where mainstream country was going. It started to really bother me so I had to stop.”
At around the same time Alison Krauss asked Douglas to fill in on a Union Station tour. The shows went so well that Krauss offered him a permanent slot in the group. “I really love playing with Alison; it’s a creative atmosphere and the music is coming from all of us so it’s a dream gig.” Since then he’s managed to balance his Union Station work with his solo career and a variety of collaborative efforts. One such project was the surprise smash O Brother Where Art Thou? soundtrack for which Douglas helped to recruit musicians and played on three songs including the Soggy Bottom Boys’ “I Am a Man of Constant Sorrow.” He also made a brief onscreen appearance in the film.
In 2002 Douglas released the solo album Lookout for Hope and won three Grammy Awards for his work with Union Station and Earl Scruggs as well as receiving five Grammy Award Acknowledgements for the O Brother soundtrack and its live sequel Down from the Mountain. He was also named Musician of the Year by the Academy of Country Music and the Country Music Association’s Musician of the Year as well as the Americana Music Association’s Instrumentalist of the Year.
Summer 23 found Douglas on stage with Norah Jones and her band for sets at the Montreal Jazz Festival and at the Tennessee Performing Arts Center. That fall he was honored with his second Instrumentalist of the Year title from the Americana Music Association. In 2004 the National Endowment for the Arts awarded Douglas a National Heritage Fellowship.
When New York hosted Country Music’s Biggest Night in November 2005 the Country Music Association honored Jerry Douglas with his second Musician of the Year Award. Douglas also performed with Alison Krauss + Union Station during the Awards Ceremony from Madison Square Garden which was broadcast worldwide to over 36 million viewers.
Grammy Week 2006 was a busy one for Douglas. With his fellow NARAS Board Members Douglas honored his friend James Taylor MusiCares’ 2006 Person of the Year. Douglas teamed with Alison Krauss to deliver Carolina In My Mind during the musical tribute and at the honoree’s request joined Taylor and band to finish out the show. Douglas also was on the Who’s Who list of guitar slingers invited to perform at a concert paying homage to legendary guitar player Les Paul at the Gibson Amphitheatre.
Capping off the week was the Grammy Awards Show with Jerry Douglas receiving three Grammys for his work with Alison Krauss + Union Station on Lonely Runs Both Ways. The band picked up the prestigious Best Country Album Award as well as winning Grammys for Best Country Instrumental Performance for the Douglas composition Unionhouse Branch and Best Country Vocal Performance Duo or Group for Restless.
In addition to his solo releases Douglas’ stellar fretwork has graced over 1 albums encompassing a dizzying range of musical styles. As a sideman he’s recorded with artists as diverse as Garth Brooks, Ray Charles, Emmylou Harris, Reba McEntire, Dolly Parton, Paul Simon, Ricky Skaggs, James Taylor, Randy Travis and Trisha Yearwood as well as performing on the landmark O Brother Where Art Thou? soundtrack. As a producer he’s overseen albums by such esteemed acts as the Del McCoury Band, Maura O’Connell, Jesse Winchester and the Nashville Bluegrass Band. He’s been part of such notable groups as the Whites J.D. Crowe and the New South the Country Gentlemen and Strength in Numbers. Since 1998 he’s been a key member of Alison Krauss and Union Station touring extensively and playing on a series of platinum albums.
The Best Kept Secret Douglas’ eleventh solo album and his first for the Koch label features a set of original instrumentals that seamlessly merge Douglas’ far-flung influences. The material ranges from the jazzy bluegrass workout “Who’s Your Uncle?” to the funky country-rocker,She Makes Me Want To Sing” to the jazz-inflected title song to the haunting reflective,Sir Aly B.” The latter track references legendary Celtic fiddler Aly Bain with whom Douglas collaborated on the all-star roots-music summit Transatlantic Sessions series for British TV. In addition to Douglas’ own compositions the album features a haunting reading of the vintage Weather Report number A Remark You Made, underlining Douglas’ instinctive affinity for jazz.
“This record ended up being a surprise to me, states Douglas,and it wasn’t until I was halfway through it that I realized it was gonna be different. For a minute I worried about what the bluegrass people would think and what the country people would think but I know better than to think too much about that stuff.”
Along with the current lineup of Douglas’ band the Brickbats-guitarist Keith Sewell bassist Derek Jones drummer Shannon Forrest and violinist Gabe Witcher better known to rock fans as bassist for Eve 6-The Best Kept Secret features a typically varied array of guest musicians. The cast includes young axe hero Derek Trucks who plays bracing slide guitar on “She Makes Me Want to Sing”; revered jazz guitarist Bill Frisell who lends his trademark touch to the languid bluesy,Lil’ Ro Ro”; noted bassist Viktor Krauss who also plays on the latter song; and longtime Douglas pals Sam Bush and Bela Fleck whose world-class mandolin and banjo respectively are featured on “Who’s Your Uncle?”
The Best Kept Secret also includes a pair of vocal numbers featuring two notable guest singers. Alison Krauss delivers Back in Love Again, while roots-rock legend John Fogerty participates on the rollicking,Swing Blues #1.” Those tunes follow in the tradition of Douglas’ prior albums which have featured such singers as Steve Earle and James Taylor.
“Backing good singers is what I’ve made a lot of my living at and I think that it’s something that I do well so I like to represent that on my records,” says Douglas. “There’s a real art to backing singers to staying out of their way and complementing what they’re saying.”
Douglas originally met Fogerty through their mutual love of dobro.,He came through the South on a dobro-buying trip and he asked to see my collection, he says.,That completely freaked me out because I was such a huge Creedence fan. I found out that we had the same birthday and had all these things in common and we became good friends. Then I played on one of his records not long ago and I sheepishly asked him if he’d be interested in someday doing something on one of mine. He said ‘When do you want to do it? ‘ and I said ‘There’s one happening now…’ We went through the song five or six times and basically got it in one take.”
In addition to showcasing his expressive dobro work The Best Kept Secret also features Douglas’ equally stellar abilities on lap steel guitar on such tracks as “Ya Ya” and “You Are My Flower.” “It’s the most lap steel I’ve played on any record I’ve ever done, he says adding,Going from acoustic dobro to lap steel is kind of like going from using a handsaw to using a chainsaw. The two instruments are related but they call for two completely different sets of techniques and two different ways of thinking.”
Jimmy Bosch is one of New York’s most reputable trombonists. He plays a music style that he calls Salsa Dura (Hard Salsa) a fiery and innovative style that goes beyond traditional salsa.
Jimmy Bosch was born in Jersey City and grew up in Hoboken, New Jersey. He is the son of a Puerto Rican family with deep musical roots. His father was a notorious dancer his mother used to sing at parties back in Puerto Rico and his uncle Israel was really into flamenco cante (singing).
Bosch’s Salsa Dura is both a testament to and an evolution of Puerto Rican musical traditions. Bosch continuously re-invents the music of a culture with roots in Africa and Spain by drawing upon an eclectic repertoire: the plenas of an agrarian Puerto Rico; Cuban styles such as mambo, son, yambú, guaguanco, guajira and Mozambique; music by the Beatles, American folk tunes, and the New York Salsa of the 1970s informed by straight-ahead jazz and contemporary rock.
Bosch began playing trombone in 1970 at the age of 8 and at age 13 this prodigious talent taught him-self to play “monas” (musical riffs). Bosch frequented clubs in New York City with his trombone at hand confident that he would one day land a gig with a major New York salsa band. In 1978 while a student at Rutgers University his moment came to a realization when he was hired by Andy González to work with Conjunto Libre heralding the birth of a prolific career and extensive
Soneando Trombón (Ryko Latino, 1998)
Salsa Dura (RykoLatino, 1999)
El Avión de la Salsa (JRGR Records, 2004)
¡A Millon! (JRGR Records, 2009)
Jie Ma plays Chinese traditional instruments: pipa and ruan. “I began my musical studies at the age of five and became a professional musician at age 14. I studied with the great pipa masters such as Fendi Wang Dehai Liu and Yuzhong Kuang and ruan professor Jiliang Liu.”
In 2001 she received her Bachelor of Music from the Tianjin Conservatory of Music one of the best music schools in China. Because of her talent Jie Ma was accepted exceptionally as an adjunct professor in the music department of Liao Ning Normal University. “During my stay at Liao Ning Normal University I was constantly invited to many colleges to give presentations on Chinese traditional music and Chinese folk music. I was invited to Japan in 2002 to give a pipa and ruan concert in a cultural exchange program.”
In May 2004 she performed at Herbst Theater San Francisco. From 2004 to 2005 she hosted a radio program on introducing the Chinese music at the Sing Tao Radio Station. In February 2005 she performed at the Pan-Asian Musical Festival in Stanford.
“I also began experimenting with different genres in 2005. In February 25 I played with the Citywinds Woodwind Quintet in San Francisco as a member of Melody of China a Chinese music ensemble. The concert combined western chamber music with Chinese traditional music.” In March 26 Jie Ma was asked to perform in an avant garde project titled Sound for Picture with the San Francisco Composers Chamber Orchestra.
“In a continuing effort to explore different sounds of pipa I play pipa with different musicians in different discipline and forms. In addition to collaborating with other traditional Chinese musicians I have worked with many musicians of different genres such as jazz country blues and rock. I welcome the opportunity to work with other talented musicians to create new sounds.”
Jez Lowe grew up in the coal mining village of Easington, England. He started to play guitar at the age of 10 and decided that his future was not in working in the dying local mines.
By the time Jez Lowe recorded his first album in 1980 he had already served a musical apprenticeship in the thriving traditional music scene around his native North East England. He had played in a variety of groups over several years usually in a partnership with Ged Foley. When Foley joined the Battlefield Band at the turn of the decade Lowe began an illustrious solo career signing with Cumbria based Fellside Records for the first of eight acclaimed albums.
As a “live” performer Lowe is one of the busiest people on the British acoustic music circuit has toured all over Europe and most successfully North America and Australia. As a recording artist he has consistently been Fellside’s “top seller.”
It is as a songwriter that Jez Lowe has found most acclaim. He also sings about the hardships of the English miners and their families. His songs of Northern England are among the most widely sung on the British scene and have been covered by artists as far away as California and Australia. Established acts such as the Black Family The McCalmans, The Dubliners, Gordon Bok, The Tannahill Weavers and Fairport Convention are singing Lowe compositions and his song Back in Durham Jail has been covered by no less than fourteen different artists. He has recently won a Performing Rights Society award as part of their Composer in Education Program and this in turn has led to him being appointed Composer in Residence in East Durham by the Easington District Arts Department.
In 1990 Jez Lowe began working with The Bad Pennies a quartet of singers and musicians with whom he has recorded three albums. They have gone on to be one of England’s top folk bands combining what has been called “acoustic simplicity with electric vitality” at festivals and concerts across Europe and North America. Their 1996 album Tenterhooks for the Green Linnet label has won them rave reviews and their contributions to the top selling album of a cappella folk songs Voices was one of the outstanding tracks.
Jez is joined in The Bad Pennies by Billy Surgeoner Simon Haworth and Judy Dinning. Billy Surgeoner plays fiddle keyboards whistle and vocals and joined The Bad Pennies in 1992.
He is based in North London where he is a session musician and recently toured with the Chalmondeleys one of the U. K.’ s leading modem dance groups. Joining the group in 1999 Simon Haworth plays bass and keyboards and is the newest member of the group. Judy Dinning sings and plays keyboards and percussion and is one o I Northeast England’s best know vocalists with several albums to her credit.
Jez Lowe continues to tour across Europe and the United States of America both solo and with the band and continues to write and involve himself in new projects.
Jez Lowe (198)
The Old Durham Road (Fellside FECD34 1983)
Galloways (Musica Pangea MP 16 1985)
Two a Roue with Jake Walton (1986)
Bad Penny (Fellside FECD7 1988)
Briefly On The Street (Fellside FECD79 1990)
Back Shift: A Collection Of Songs From 1980 To 1986 (Fellside FECD89 1992)
Bede Weeps (Fellside FECD94 1993)
Tenterhooks (Green Linnet GLCD 1161 1995) The Parish Notices (Green Linnet GLCD 1192 1998)
Live At The Davy Lamp (2)
Honesty Box (Tantobie Records TTRCD 12 2002)
Tantobie Twinset – The Parish Notices + Honesty Box (2007)
Jack Common’s Anthem (2007)
Northern Echoes: Live on the Tyne (2008)
Heads Up: 18 Essential Jez Lowe Songs (2012)
Uilleann piper flutist and whistler Jerry O’Sullivan has been at the very heart of the traditional Irish music scene in New York for many years and is always the first to help when a member of the community needs it. A gifted performer he has worked with many groups in the area as well enjoying an enviable career as a solo artist.
He has amassed a substantial discography with appearances on over sixty albums. He has been a music teacher for many years at The Tara Circle and many Irish arts weekends and has always been happy to share his time and talent.
The Invasion (Green Linnet 1997)
The Gift (Shanachie 1998)
O’Sullivan Meets O’Farrell (2005)
O’Sullivan Meets O’Farrell: Volume II (2010)
Jerry Grcevich born in Turtle Creek, Pennsylvania, near Pittsburgh studied tamburitza (Croatian string music) with his father and uncle both musical directors and performers. At the age of 21 Grcevich made a pilgrimage to Yugoslavia to study with the famous tamburitza prim player Janika Balaz the first of many musical journeys to the homeland of tamburitza. In 1980 he began composing and recording his own musical pieces. Because he mastered all five of the instruments of the tamburitza ensemble – the prim brac, tamburitza, cello, bugarija and tamburitza bass – he often uses,sound-on-sound” recording techniques to construct an ensemble featuring only his own playing. As a result of his special musical skills he is able to capture the characteristic melody harmony counterpoint and rhythm of the tamburitza orchestra.
In addition to leading a live ensemble the Jerry Grcevich Orchestra he has recorded and toured with most of the well-known tamburitza musicians alive today. He is generally recognized as the premiere prim player in the world. At a performance in Slovenska-Pozega Croatia in 1994 he realized that many of the tamburitza groups were playing songs that he had composed a testament to his influence in the homeland. In 21 he was inducted into the Tamburitza Hall of Fame the youngest musician to receive that honor. s.’ ”
Puerto Rican-American Multi-instrumentalist Jerry Gonzalez (congas/flugelhorn/trumpet) leads The Fort Apache Band, one of the most influential modern Afro-Caribbean Jazz Group of the past years. The group blends complex Latin rhythms with impeccable jazz improvisations.
Jerry Gonzalez’s first High profile professional engagement came at the age of 19 in 1971 with Dizzy Gillespie. Since then he has worked with masters from the jazz and Latin music fields such as: Kenny Dorham Tony Williams McCoy Tyner Jaco Pastorius Tito Puente Eddie Palmieri and Manny Oquendo y Libre. Jerry Gonzalez’ first session as a leader came in 198 with the critically acclaimed recording of Ya Yo Me Curé on the American Clave’ label. Following the success of Ya Yo Me Curé, The Fort Apache Band was formed and included such members as Kenny Kirkland, Sonny Fortune, Nicky Marrero, Papo Vazquez, the late Jorge Dalto and Milton Cardona. The ensemble’s first two albums were recorded live at European jazz festivals The River is Deep 1982 in Berlin: Obatala 1988 in Zurich.
In 1989 Fort Apache recorded the groundbreaking Rumba Para Monk as a quintet featuring: Jerry Gonzalez (trumpet flugelhorn congas), Andy Gonzalez (bass), Steve Berrios (drums), Larry Willis (piano) and Carter Jefferson (tenor saxophone). Rumba Para Monk was named album of the year by the French Academe du Jazz and resulted in the group being voted The Word Beat Group of the year in Downbeat’s 55th annual Readers Poll. It is this recording that has been cited as leading the resurgence in Afro-Caribbean Jazz in the past decade.
The group became a sextet with the addition of Joe Ford (alto & soprano saxophone) for 1991’s Earthdance (Sunnyside) and 1992’s Moliendo Cafe (Sunnyside). Following the death of Carter Jefferson, former Fort Apache member John Stubblefield returned to the band on tenor sax to record Crossroads (Milestone). The ensemble’s 1995 recording Pensativo (Milestone) also received a Grammy nomination. On the heals of the Grammy nominations for Crossroads and Pensativo the ensemble was awarded The Beyond Group of the Year by both Downbeat Magazines reader’s and critic’s polls in 1995 and 1996.
Firedance (Milestone) was recorded in February 1996 at Blues Alley in Washington DC and is the first live recording of the ensemble as a Sextet. Following this fiery recording the ensemble won the award of Best Jazz Group in Playboy Magazines Readers Poll for 1997. In 1998 the ensemble swept the Latin Jazz category at the New York Jazz Awards winning both the Industry and Journalist Polls. In 1999 the group swept the critics and readers polls for Beyond Group of The Year in Downbeat Magazine.
In 2000 Gonzalez moved from New York to Madrid. The Spanish capital, a cultural melting pot full of Flamenco musicians as well as Cuban Argentine Brazilian Equatorial Guinean Sudanese and many other expatriates welcomed the Newyorican musician with open arms and he quickly joined the bustling Flamenco and jazz scene.
In 2001 Jerry Gonzalez and the Fort Apache Band were prominently featured in Fernando Trueba’s film on Latin Jazz Calle 54 (Miramax). This film received critical acclaim throughout the world and was followed by a series of concerts promoting the film including an engagement at The Beacon Theatre in New York City. The Soundtrack Calle 54 – Music From The Miramax Motion Picture is available on Blue Note Records.
The collaboration with Fernando Trueba also resulted in the production of a new CD Jerry Gonzalez y Los Pirates Del Flamenco featuring Jerry Gonzalez along with a Gypsy Flamenco group that includes the esteemed Flamenco singer “El Cigala.”
Hailing from Shetland, Jenna Reid grew up immersed in the island’s rich fiddle tradition. At the age of nine she began to learn the fiddle and was taught by the late Dr Tom Anderson. When fiddle tuition became available in schools Jenna studied with the late Willie Hunter and was under his direction until the age of 13; during that time she was a prominent prize-winner in the Shetland’s Young Fiddler of the Year Competition and by the age of 14 had won both the intermediate and open sections of this annual competition.
Through this success she was subsequently invited to compete in the Glennfiddich Fiddle Competition. While still at school Jenna also took lessons from Trevor Hunter and Margaret Scollay. In addition to playing the fiddle Jenna also studied classical piano. On leaving school Jenna went on to study a BA in Traditional Scottish Music at the Royal Academy of Music & Drama in Glasgow. Whilst studying fiddle she also played piano and piano accordion as well as being introduced to singing.
Jenna has also performed since a young age and Shetland band Filska was where this began. Under the direction of mum Joyce Jenna along with her sister Bethany and friend Gemma Wilson had played together since a young age and in 1995 Filska released their debut album entitled Harvest Home. This was to be followed in 1998 with their second release Time and Tide. It was this album that saw Filska begin to make a name for themselves not only in Scotland but throughout Europe and beyond. Their success saw them play to audiences in Norway Sweden Denmark Italy Ireland France Canada and the US.
Filska’s trip to America came as an invitation to represent Scotland at the Millennium Celebrations in Disney’s Epcot Centre. Following this Filska performed live as part of the Scottish Millennium Celebrations along with Aly Bain and Phil Cunningham in a show that was broadcast to over 6 countries. Jenna also performs with Dochas who have been taking the traditional music world by storm.
Now based in Glasgow Jenna enjoys work as both a performer and teacher having tutored alongside legendary fiddler Liz Carroll. In addition to this Jenna has also toured and played with Scottish acts Deaf Shepherd Fiddlers’ Bid John Raes Celtic Feet and Kevin MacKenzie’s Vital Signs.
In 2005 Jenna released her debut solo CD With Silver and All and received the Scottish Traditional Music award for Best Up and Coming Soloist.
With Silver and All (2005)
The Laughing Girl (2008)
Morning Moon (2012)
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