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JAZZMUSICARCHIVES.COM (JMA) intends to be a complete and powerful Jazz music resource. You can find Jazz artists discographies from 12248 bands & artists, 120167 releases, ratings and reviews from members who also participate in our forum.

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Album · 2022 · RnB
Cover art 4.00 | 1 rating
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Randal Clark is a contemporary Salt Lake City-based alto saxophonist and composer. Clark's dynamic playing crosses elements of jazz and smooth jazz to form a sophisticated fusion sound that is pleasing and based on groove. Clark's latest album, Stargazer, is the altoist leading various bands of fusion icons Jeff Lorber, Jimmy Haslip, Randy Brecker, Vinnie Colaiuta, Gary Novak, Paul Jackson Jr., Nick Kellie, Michael Thompson, David Mann, Oliver Leiber, and Scott Kinsey. "Pivot" is a funk-filled exploration of groove and melody. Clark leads an ensemble of Jeff Lorber on keyboards, David Mann on saxophones and flute, Jimmy Haslip on bass, Jimmy Branly on percussion, and Gary Novak on drums. Clark's playing on this Lorber original is expressive as his technique and lyricism combine to form powerful phrases. The groove is maintained as the composition flows through several riff-based melodies. Clark's improvisational style is one of energy and a beautiful tone to form colorful and musical lines. "All About It" is given a easy-going funk groove. Clark's alto saxophone sits perfectly above the ensemble of Jeff Lorber on keyboard, Kenji Aihara on guitar, Alec and Tara Clark on trumpets, Howard Summers on trumpet, David Mann on saxophone and flute, Jimmy Haslip on bass, and Vinnie Colaiuta on drums. Haslip and Colaiuta keep the song's motion moving forward as the horn adds many colors hits to the melody. Clark's soloing is tasteful and melodic as he expresses his methodology of building an organic and meaningful solo. Haslip also performs a musically defined solo. Stargazer has much to offer in its fusion-based smooth jazz appeal. Clark is a very expressive player, and everything he plays has heart and flow. Each composition gives the listener an opportunity to enjoy the music and its cornucopia of sounds. Each musician that performs on the album is equally masterful, and together they create a joyful aesthetic for the overall project sound, which is a beautiful musical experience.


Album · 2023 · Post Bop
Cover art 4.00 | 1 rating
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Chances are you probably have not heard of Esthesis Quartet yet, and that’s a shame, this is one of those new up and coming bands that should be getting much more recognition. These four women play a modern form of post bop with forays into fusion and free jazz, all framed within unique arrangements. Esthesis is unusual for a high energy jazz band in that they are led by a flute player, Elsa Nilsson, who manages to give the flute much more aggressive presence then we are used to hearing, and her ‘sheets of sound’ attack may remind some more of a tenor sax player than the typical flautist. The band is filled out with pianist Dawn Clement, who takes an almost opposite approach from Elsa with her Monk/Mehldau style of careful note selection and off kilter phrasing, but she too can take flight at times as well. Tina Raymond is a powerhouse on the drums as she sports today’s approach to swinging all over the entire kit as opposed to just the ride cymbal. Emma Dayhuff is a solid anchor on bass, almost sounding rock like in places with her strong presence.

Their new album, “Time Zones”, makes reference to the fact that these four musicians all live in different time zones within the US. Album opener, “Blue Light” is one of the album’s strongest cuts as it opens with Craig Taborn style pointillism before going into a full fusion onslaught with rock like energy. Follow up track, “Brush Fire”, is similar, but a little more subdued. “Hollywood” is a slinky hard bop groove that shows their ability to experiment when Emma starts pushing the beat faster and then brings things back to the original tempo. “Getting Through” is the other bop number and shows the band in fast tempo high flight. “Serial” is the avant-garde number that is based on a pod cast of the same name that tells the true story of a young man who allegedly murders his girlfriend. The song opens with classic noire detective show riffs in the style of “Peter Gunn”. On the gentler side of things, “First Light”, is a flute based instrumental ballad, and “The New Yorker” is sung by Clement with words that detail a relationship that has to deal with a sudden change that has one person moving to Paris while one must stay in New York.


Album · 2022 · Nu Jazz
Cover art 4.42 | 3 ratings
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I already knew that Makaya is a gifted drummer and composer from his previous albums, but this album really blows me away.

Makaya and his band play a perfect mix of light fusion, post-bop, nu jazz with flourishes of instrumental hip-hop and spiritual jazz.

Makaya is a versatile drummer playing beats that sound like hip-hop beats but he knows his way around swinging bop-drumming aswell.

On the musical side every composition is constructed like classical music or popmusic. There are solos but not much improvisation.

Somehow the music reminds me a bit of music from the nineties, when LTJ Bukem and 4Hero explored the realms of acoustic music. The stringsection wich is used often in the songs also have a nostalgic feel.

In all this is a very modern and uptodate sounding album, with influences from seventies fusion upto nineties hiphop, acid jazz and modern-day nujazz. A real treat to people how really enjoy these subgenres.

MÁRIO COSTA Mário Costa, Cuong Vu, Beno​î​t Delbecq, Bruno Chevillon : Chromosome

Album · 2023 · 21st Century Modern
Cover art 4.00 | 1 rating
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Modern Portuguese jazz took the European scene by storm at the very beginning of the new Millennium, in big part with a support of the domestic label Clean Feed Records, established in 2001. For a decade or more, Portuguese jazz musicians were responsible for many of the most inventive, fresh and fearless recordings in Europe, now this wave descends though. Then, it's really great to see a country's young generation artists who sounds as if they could rebuild the high reputation of contemporary Portuguese jazz again.

Portuguese drummer Mário Costa just released his first studio albums as leader, and "Chromosome" is a really strong one. Mário is not a newbie on the European jazz scene, for some years he collaborated with leading continental artists such as Émile Parisien, Joachim Kuhn, Michel Portal, Vincent Peirani and others. In 2018 Mário released his first (live) album as leader with Frenchmen guitarist Marc Ducret and pianist Benoît Delbecq. This new work, "Chromosome", is recorded by a quartet with the same Delbecq, plus Vietnamese-American trumpeter Cuong Vu and French veteran acoustic bassist Bruno Chevillon.

Different from Mário's more free debut, "Chromosome" contains tightly composed modern sounding music, bright and elegant, played by highest class professionals. Some compositions are dreamy, as "Adamastor", with Vu's trumpet solos flying over Delbecq's acoustic piano, with slowly growing tension and drumming intensity. Other, as "Chromosome", are almost funky, with complex, but still elegant, rhythms and light electronic loops filling the space here and there. "Moonwalk" contains tender trumpet and double-bass dueling, framed by drummer's unorthodox rhythmic constructions.

The entire album is full of different tunes, different tempos, which sometimes change even in the same song, and very volatile interplay between quartet members. Throughout the album, the music changes unexpectedly, but never disappoints. At the end there is a feeling like one just watched a stylish and clever art movie.

Very promising release in many sences.

STEPHAN THELEN Fractal Guitar 3

Album · 2022 · Nu Jazz
Cover art 4.00 | 1 rating
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“Fractal Guitar 3” is of course Stephan Thelan’s third installment in his fractal guitar series. The overall sound of ‘3’ is similar to the first two, but there are changes as well. Whereas early Fractal installments leaned heavily on extended guitar solos, on 3 the emphasis now is more on composition and arrangement. There are still plenty of hot guitarists on hand here, but the solos are shorter and are used to add meaning to the arrangements. Whether these arrangements were pre-composed or created on a computer program after the fact would not make any difference to what our ears are hearing. If this music was playing in the background you might would only notice a cool groove topped with interesting guitars and electronics, but give the music a closer listen and you will hear how each track tends to morph and grow as it goes along. There is a sort of overall similarity to every track, making the whole album flow like one tone poem, but once again, extra attention reveals the individual nature of each song. The main thing each track holds in common is layered poly-rhythms that can recall music from Africa and Indonesia, as well as minimalist composers such as Steve Reich or Terry Riley.

Track 1 has the most guitar solos and also features a bubbling synth sequencer going through the sort of filter modulation that is essential to a good rave jam. 2 is one of the quieter tracks and drops the rhythm towards the end for some floating ambience. 3 uses a lot of drop breaks and has some insistent double time electronic interjections. On 4 we get layered sustained guitars as a sort of choir and some string parts taken from a string quartet that Thelan wrote. 5 ends with a long ambient break as if the album is ready to fade into the ether, but wait, there’s more. The final track is a bonus re-mix of track 1 with more focus on Elvind Aarset’s guitar parts.

The guitar work on here is outstanding, if you like the long sustained tones of Robert Fripp, Steve Vai, Phil Manzenera or Terje Rypdal then you will enjoy all the textures the Fractal crew conjures up, but probably the best feature on this album is the production. The sound of this album is near perfect within the digital electronic niche in which it resides. Every little riff, echo, guitar melody or keyboard interjection is arranged perfectly.

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SONNY ROLLINS Plus 4 (aka 3 Giants!)

Album · 1956 · Hard Bop
Cover art 4.41 | 5 ratings
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Sonny Rollins Plus 4 is essentially the Clifford Brown - Max Roach Quintet, but with Sonny Rollins, who replaced Harold Land.

The reason why this album is released under the name Sonny Rollins, is because he is the leader on this album, also supplying two original compositions, in addition to three standards.

This albums is also the last album to feature Brown and pianist Richie Powell, as they both die in a carcrash, later that year.

On a side-note, there is also a album under the name Max Roach Plus 4, but that album was recorded after the death of both Brown and Powell, and features both Rollins and bassist George Morrow. Trumpeteer Kenny Dorham, and pianists Ray Bryant and Bill Wallace replace Brown and Powell.

On this Rollins plus Four, you hear the original Brown/Roach Quintet as it also featured on the marvelous live album On Basin Street (recorded january, februari 1956). This album was recorded in march.

The quality of playing is high, as the band is very tight, maybe the tightest rhythmsection (Roach, Morrow, Powell) imaginable, and the solo's of Rollins and Brown are great. They are both on fire and their phrasing and delivery fit very well.

Most songs are mid- and uptempo, really delivering a punch. This album is an essential hard-bop album and also is an important historical document, because it is the last (studio)album with Brown and Powell.

ART BLAKEY Impulse!!!!! Art Blakey!!!!! Jazz Messengers!!!!!

Album · 1961 · Hard Bop
Cover art 4.88 | 3 ratings
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This line-up of The Jazz Messengers (Blakey, Fuller, Morgan, Shorter, Timmons, Merritt) is a very special line-up. It is the first line-up as a sextet, adding master-trombonist Fuller to the line-up. It will also be the last one with Bobby Timmons, who will be replaced by Cedar Walton on the next albums.

Fuller not only shows his soulful trombone-playing but also writes the first composition on this record, showing how good a composer he actually is.

The weirdest thing about this album, is that the only original is said composition by Fuller. All the others (who are excellent composers) have not contributed. All the other five compositions are standards.

But the band really know how to play these standards, with that special Jazz Messengers-sound. They all sound nothing like we've heard before. I must say that this is the most beautiful version of Invitation I have heard uptil now.

The playing on this album is more than excellent. The album is full force Hard Bop wich is kind of odd, as it is released on Impulse!. One would expect a more out-there album, but on the other hand, what would you expect of a Jazz Messengers album.

An unique album in the history of hardbop as it pairs Fuller and Timmons, who both have a very soulful and bluesy approach.

The solo's of Morgan and Shorter are also of very high standard and the whole album sounds warm and cosy. This is really an underrated and lesser known Jazz-Messengers album, but I can sure recommend it to anyone.


Album · 2013 · Fusion
Cover art 3.54 | 7 ratings
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Steve Wyzard

When I first reviewed Prism for another site 10 years ago, I will admit I kind of pooh-poohed it. It's not really a fusion album, I insisted. There are no organs, exotic substances, inner enlightenment, or sci-fi crossovers. I'd like to now walk this view back and own up, after listening to it for the last 10 years, to the fact that yes, it is a real fusion album. It should also be noted that unlike many Dave Holland albums, there are also no brass/horns, and it's not a big band album. So allow me to make myself clear: Prism is not only an honest-to-goodness fusion album, but it's also one of the very best jazz records of the 2010s decade.

Holland's cohorts on this album are Craig Taborn, piano and Fender Rhodes, Kevin Eubanks, guitars, and Eric Harland on drums. Do you enjoy frantically driven, intense soloing? You've come to the right place, for Prism provides bushels and bushels of it over its 70:07 runtime. I say this as someone who believes that very few studio albums merit a runtime of longer than 60-65 minutes, but in this case it's absolutely justified.

Wait until you hear Eubanks's twisted, distorted lines on "The Watcher", the Leslie-cabinet effect on "Choir", the Gibson hollow-body tone on the spooky "The Color of Iris", and the Wah-Wah pedal on "Breathe". His solo at the end of "A New Day" brings Wes Montgomery into the 21st century. More than just a non-stop soloist, he often doubles the melody lines with Taborn. Eric Harland is quite simply amazing, especially in a rimshot showpiece at the end of "Evolution". Taborn is the "most free" of this incomparable quartet: the quirky stops and starts of "Spirals" and the stunning piano solo on "The True Meaning of Determination" are beyond awe-inspiring.

And what of Holland himself? As always, he's the bedrock beneath the terra firma. His all-too-rare solos sound so effortless that they almost defer attention. In spite of throwing jabs like a heavyweight champ, the listener can almost take his lines for granted, so cohesively do they mesh into the musical fabric. And while no one would compare Prism to 1978's all-solo Emerald Tears, his dexterity, innovation, and virtuosity have not suffered after almost 50 years of recorded performances.

So yes, this is a fusion album, and if you haven't heard this yet, I strongly urge you to rectify that situation. Even at this late date, Prism deserves to be mentioned among the all-time greats of the genre.

YUSEF LATEEF The Golden Flute

Album · 1966 · Hard Bop
Cover art 3.75 | 6 ratings
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Like the other Impulses this is not Lateefs best work. But still it is of high standard. Lateef is not only a gifted saxophone-player but also one of the best jazz-flautists I know.

On this album most songs are straight forward hardbop with saxophone and rhythmsection, but there are some surprises, like the playful 'Exactly Like You' with some upbeat oboe-playing. An uplifting song, and if the oboe is not your instrument, I can understand, but I really enjoy the oboe in jazz.

The absolute high-point of this album is the titletrack, a wonderful and adventurous composition with some excellent interplay in the rhythmsection. The fluteplaying here is really beautiful as is the cymbalwork and the mallet-played tomtoms by Roy Brooks jr. The compositions is very mysterious and has an middle-eastern flavour. Not only a highpoint of this album, but a highpoint in jazz-flute-history.

I can understand that the Impulse!-albums of Lateef to some are a bit of disappointment. But on the other hand, the playing is magnificent and the production is really good. In fact the Impulses of Lateef are great hard/post bop albums with some excellent suprises. They are not freejazz, avant garde or out-there or the new thing, but enjoyable nevertheless.

YUSEF LATEEF Psychicemotus

Album · 1965 · Post Bop
Cover art 3.77 | 6 ratings
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This one may not be the best and most adventurous album of Lateef, but it sure is one of his most coherent.

A mostly mellow affair, with some hardbop thrown in the mix (the heavy and intense Semiocto), but like I said it's mostly modal jazz and ballads. But Yusef really knows how to blow a ballad. There are also a blues-piece and a wonderful adaption of my favorite composition in the world (Satie's Gymnopedie). Inn this version we have the flute playing the melody, and the rhythmsection (piano, drums and bass) filling in the gaps. Great playful drumming by James Black.

The most out-there composition is Medula Sonata, wich is a joy to listen to. A lot of percussion and great saxophone-playing and lot of dissonants make this composition the only real free-ish song on this album.

There is also a solo-piece by pianist Georges Arvanitas at the end of Side B, wich is a nice addition and a surprise to my ears. I have not heard of Arvanitas before, but he has a nice flowing playing-style.

There's is no oboe on this album, just tenor saxophone, flute and bamboo-flute. But that's okay. This album is definately a great Lateef-album and also a great Impulse!-album. I can strongly recommend this one.

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