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53 reviews/ratings
JOHN COLTRANE - A Love Supreme Post Bop | review permalink
BILL EVANS (PIANO) - Waltz for Debby Cool Jazz | review permalink
HORACE SILVER - The Cape Verdean Blues Hard Bop | review permalink
STAN GETZ - Jazz Samba (with Charlie Byrd) Bossa Nova | review permalink
HERBIE HANCOCK - Maiden Voyage Post Bop | review permalink
BILL EVANS (PIANO) - Sunday at the Village Vanguard (aka Live At The Village Vanguard) Cool Jazz | review permalink
THELONIOUS MONK - Brilliant Corners Bop | review permalink
MILES DAVIS - Kind of Blue Cool Jazz
KEITH JARRETT - Arbour Zena Third Stream | review permalink
MILES DAVIS - Sketches of Spain Third Stream | review permalink
DAVE BRUBECK - Time Out Cool Jazz
SONNY ROLLINS - Saxophone Colossus Hard Bop
MILES DAVIS - Nefertiti Post Bop
JOHN COLTRANE - Giant Steps Hard Bop | review permalink
CHARLES MINGUS - Mingus Ah Um Hard Bop
CANNONBALL ADDERLEY - Somethin' Else Hard Bop
GRANT GREEN - Idle Moments Hard Bop
CHICK COREA - Return to Forever Classic Fusion | review permalink
STAN GETZ - Getz/Gilberto Bossa Nova

See all reviews/ratings

Jazz Genre Nb. Rated Avg. rating
1 Hard Bop 12 4.50
2 Post Bop 10 4.05
3 Bossa Nova 7 3.93
4 Cool Jazz 7 4.57
5 Third Stream 3 4.67
6 Classic Fusion 3 4.50
7 Progressive Big Band 2 4.00
8 World Fusion 2 3.50
9 Vocal Jazz 1 4.00
10 21st Century Modern 1 4.00
11 Afro-Cuban Jazz 1 4.50
12 Bop 1 5.00
13 Post-Fusion Contemporary 1 3.50
14 Nu Jazz 1 4.50
15 Pop Jazz/Crossover 1 3.00

Latest Albums Reviews

KENNY BARRON Book Of Intuition

Album · 2016 · Hard Bop
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What an album name! A mysterious title like "Book of Intuition" didn't fail to catch my eye. The album cover is pretty cool too.

According to the linear notes, Kenny Barron has been playing with this trio for the last several years but hasn't made a studio recording with them until now. Now I personally haven't listened to Kenny Barron's other groups so my expectations were pretty open.

Regarding the lineup, one thing I struck by was the amount of intensity in the drummer Jonathan Blake. He didn't play particularly loud or in the way, but managed to add a lot of energy to Kenny Barron's playing. "Cook's Bay" has a memorable moment where Kenny plays a short lick with both hands two octaves apart, giving it a distinct samba-type sound. Blake responds to it immediately with a samba-type fill.

Most of the tunes on the album are Kenny Barron originals. The others are two Thelonious Monk tunes (Shuffle Boil, Light Blue) and a ballad by Charlie Haden (Nightfall). Although I have enjoyed Kenny Barron play Monk tunes in the past (he's quite good at imitating him), I found these to be among the weaker ones on the album. Kenny's own tunes, such as "Magic Dance," "Cook's Bay," or "Lunacy" are filled with a lot of fun harmonic colors that give this album a nice taste. "Cook's Bay" in particular is my favorite track on the album.

Kenny Barron is a fantastic soloist, but I couldn't help but feel like many of his solos had too many long lines. There comes a point in his solos when it sounds like an idea would need to end, but would keep on going like a run-on sentence. I don't want to overly critique Kenny Barron, but it makes the listening experience less accessible.

Overall, "Book of Intuition" is a fun album. Kenny Barron and his trio offer the modern jazz world a nice album that gives original sounds within a more traditional vocabulary.

TORD GUSTAVSEN Extended Circle

Album · 2014 · Post-Fusion Contemporary
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Extended Circle was my introduction to the Norwegian pianist Tord Gustavsen and his quartet.

As an ECM release, this album lives up to its name. It is spacious, contemplative, and has a slight trace of third-stream classical romanticism. The spacious quality is most present in "Entrance", a free track where the tenor sax quietly plays notes into the dark silence, joined occasionally with high and quiet chords in the piano.

Because I was given this album as a gift, I was disappointed to find a lack of virtuosity. Rarely throughout the album does anybody play a compelling lick that I would want to transcribe and work into my own playing. However, the value in this album comes not from the licks, but from the group as a whole. The quartet does a fantastic job communicating with each other. Everybody in the group contributes perfectly to what each track is expressing. For example, the drummer and bassist are always unified in establishing the light, delicate groove in a way that could be easily messed up by other rhythm sections. Nobody ever gets in the way of any of the others, either.

In spite of its excellent execution, I would personally say this falls within the 3-3.5 star range. It's a good one, but certainly not a masterpiece.

CHRIS POTTER Imaginary Cities

Album · 2015 · 21st Century Modern
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This album was my personal introduction to Chris Potter's Underground Orchestra. Being the first one on the ECM label, this album also features a string quartet in addition to the lineup.

The use of the string quartet adds a nice color and variety to the album. On tracks such as "Dualities" and "Shadow Self" the string quartet is used in a way that even has classical implications - one might not be wrong in calling this third-stream at points. Fortunately the string quartet is neither overused or underused, but disappears and reappears throughout the album with perfect balance.

With an ensemble of this type, each track was written with creative form. Rather than follow the typical pattern of playing the head, going into a solo section, and going back to the head to close, most of the tracks on this album have complicated forms that feature instrumentals with the string quartet between solos. "Disintigration" even starts as an open, rubato free jazz track before everybody joins in on a unison melody. "Shadow Self" starts as a literal classical string quartet in the style of Dmitri Shostakovich before Potter comes in with a short bass clarinet solo.

My personal favorite of the album is Lament. Chris Potter plays one of the most memorable solos I have ever heard him play and it builds perfectly from start to finish.

One disappointment I had with this album was that it only features the piano player, Craig Taborn, on one track. His solo on "Sky" is pretty good, but I was hoping for more.


Album · 1965 · Post Bop
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The best way to understand what makes this a good Bill Evans album is to compare it with its precursor studio album, "Trio '64" and the change of the lineup.

"Trio '64" was the last studio album with long-time drummer Paul Motian, who had played with Evans since 1959's "Portrait in Jazz". His departure was replaced with Larry Bunker, who had already played with Evans at the Trident Club in the 1964 "Bill Evans Trio Live" album and with Monica Zetterlund in "Waltz for Debby" the same year. As a result this album is the first studio album for the Bill Evans Trio with drummer Larry Bunker, allowing for one to see the contrast between his playing and Paul Motian's.

Larry Bunker is something of a "feisty" drummer. Whereas Motian had a more spacious and laid-back way of playing that contributed to the cool jazz aspect of Bill Evans' playing, Bunker pushes forward and makes energetic grooves that encourage Evans to play quicker and more rhythmically interesting licks. The change is most noticeable in the tune "If You Could See Me Now". Strangely enough, it is the tune on the album that gets the closest to being a ballad. Other tunes, like "Who Can I Turn To (When Nobody Needs Me)?", begin sounding like a ballad but quickly change to medium swing when Bunker comes in. In "If You Could See Me Now," Bunker submits, perhaps unwillingly, to the slower ballad style. But while doing so he fidgets around with quick, little fills with his brushes like an impatient child with ADHD. Eventually he succeeds in turning the tune into medium swing and even goes double-time at one point. The overall effect is actually really cool and gives a lot of personality to the music.

In the end I would say Larry Bunker's drumming style well fits Bill Evans' piano style, progressing Bill Evans to newer places in his music that would intrigue those used to hearing the Paul Motian days of the Bill Evans Trio.

BILL EVANS (PIANO) Bill Evans With Symphony Orchestra

Album · 1966 · Third Stream
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"Bill Evans Trio with Symphony Orchestra" is the kind of album that hinges greatly on the listener's expectations. With a name like "Bill Evans Trio with Symphony Orchestra" any serious music listener (like a critic) who has most likely become familiar with symphonic works for piano may develop expectations of some kind that this album is going to be something of a third-stream jazz piano concerto. I admit I had this same feeling myself, and my first listen-though of this felt dull, disappointing, and almost led me to give it 2 stars. For the sake of the reader, I will extrapolate more on the causes of my disappointment so that they may be able to avoid my mistake and experience this album to its fullest extent.

Probably one of the biggest problems is this: the first track is a bad representation of the rest of the album. "Granados" begins with Bill Evans playing solo. When he has finished his intro the orchestra takes over with a section separate from his intro. But when this ends Bill Evans comes back in with the members of his trio, Chuck Israels and Larry Bunker. Both Bunker and Israels do a fine job making a groove while Evans plays a good solo, but for listeners wanting the piano concerto sound, the sound of a piano trio coming in is a let down. At this point we might as well assume that the rest of the album is going to be an ongoing system of back-and-forth between the orchestra's classical arrangements and the piano trio playing straight-ahead swing. A couple minutes pass, the time signature changes, and the orchestra joins in behind Evans' solo in sparse, held-out chords before dropping out again.

At this point anybody expecting something different will have most likely given up on this album. It will seem like the orchestra is barely present as there is too much focus on the trio separate from the orchestra. But this flat contrast between orchestra and trio is less present throughout the rest of the album, as Evans joins in with harmony and melody in different places to add to the orchestral arrangement.

But I also have to admit that the criticisms of this album that I have previously discussed are still true. There is a separation between the orchestra and trio, with emphasis on the trio.

This is where one says "So, what?!" The arrangements sound really nice, the trio sounds really nice, and the way the two complement each other creates a fantastic album atmosphere that makes me continue to return to it. Once I accepted that I wasn't going to be hearing another third-stream masterwork like Keith Jarrett's "Arbour Zena" I realized how good and true-to-itself this album actually sounds. Hopefully others will not be turned away from this as I first was.

Latest Forum Topic Posts

  • Posted more than 2 years ago in Recently Watched Films
    Did anyone see the French silent film "The Artist" that came out last year? The movie takes place in California from 1927-1933ish and the soundtrack is really good. Very American sounding, in fact.
  • Posted more than 2 years ago in Recently Watched Films
    [QUOTE=dreadpirateroberts] [QUOTE=Amilisom]I saw The Hobbit a couple weeks ago. To be honest I was pretty disappointed. On another note, I saw the Tarantino movie "Django Unchained", and was surprised at how much I liked it. It's certainly not for everybody, though. Lots of blood. [/QUOTE] That sounds like Tarantino, huh? I'm interested in seeing Django Unchained, absolutely. I think the Hobbit might be a bit disappointing for me, personally - for one, as I don't think it needs to be a trilogy. But I'll go see it and have a look, what was it specifically that you didn't enjoy, Amilisom? The acting? CGI? Did they change too much? Curious, as I reckon I'll go see it soon[/QUOTE] First of all, they attempted to combine the original light-hearted tone of the Hobbit book with the darker tone of the Lord of the Rings. The result was silly and strange at times, and led to too much unnecessary corny violence (almost slapstick humor, in a way) that wasn't in the book. Also added was a man-to-man conflict between Thorin Oakenshield and some random Ork leader who looks like the character Killface from the show Frisky Dingo. Now, I would be fine with this Ork leader if he were a cool bad guy that actually had substance to him. In this case, he's terribly one-dimensional. For the sake of making three films, they incorporated extra elements of a side-plot that somebody told me came from Tolkien's unpublished works. I personally felt like it took away from the original simplicity of the original Hobbit story. Then there's the music. From what I remembered hearing, the music seemed to be just recycled material from the Lord of the Rings. Theme variation is fine by me, but there were specific moments that in my opinion almost ruined the original soundtrack by applying them to less-epic scenes. But this is just me being a picky critic, and as my signature says at the bottom of every post...
  • Posted more than 2 years ago in Recently Watched Films
    I saw The Hobbit a couple weeks ago. To be honest I was pretty disappointed. On another note, I saw the Tarantino movie "Django Unchained", and was surprised at how much I liked it. It's certainly not for everybody, though. Lots of blood.


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