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Led by trombone player Joseph Bowie — the son of a St. Louis-based music teacher and the brother of big band arranger Byron Bowie and late trumpet player of the Art Ensemble Of Chicago Lester Bowie — Defunkt created some of the most adventurous sounds of the last quarter of the century.

Formed in 1978, Defunkt initially took a danceable approach to jazz. Although their first three albums — Defunkt, Razor's Edge, and Thermonuclear Sweat — made them leaders of New York's radical underground music scene, their inability to achieve commercial expectations led them to disband in 1983, with Bowie retreating to the island of St. Croix.

Reorganized after Bowie's return to New York in 1985, Defunkt recorded an additional si...

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