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John
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Favorite Jazz Artists

All Reviews/Ratings

805 reviews/ratings
LOUIS ARMSTRONG - The Louis Armstrong Story, Volume I: Louis Armstrong And His Hot Five Classic (1920s) Jazz | review permalink
MILES DAVIS - Agharta Fusion | review permalink
EARTH WIND & FIRE - Gratitude RnB | review permalink
HERBIE HANCOCK - Speak Like a Child Post Bop | review permalink
FRANK ZAPPA - One Size Fits All (as Frank Zappa And The Mothers Of Invention) Jazz Related Rock | review permalink
HERBIE HANCOCK - Crossings Fusion | review permalink
PARLIAMENT - Mothership Connection Funk | review permalink
HERBIE HANCOCK - Thrust Funk Jazz | review permalink
SUN RA - Angels and Demons at Play Progressive Big Band | review permalink
SUN RA - Sun Ra And His Astro Infinity Arkestra : Atlantis Avant-Garde Jazz | review permalink
SANTANA - Santana Latin Rock/Soul | review permalink
FUNKADELIC - America Eats Its Young Funk | review permalink
MILES DAVIS - Live At The Fillmore East Fusion | review permalink
HERBIE HANCOCK - V.S.O.P. Post Bop | review permalink
MILES DAVIS - Get Up With It Fusion | review permalink
JIMI HENDRIX - Electric Ladyland (Jimi Hendrix Experience) Jazz Related Rock
MILES DAVIS - Miles Davis Quintet : Miles Smiles Post Bop | review permalink
MILES DAVIS - Nefertiti Post Bop | review permalink
MILES DAVIS - Big Fun Fusion | review permalink

See all reviews/ratings

Jazz Genre Nb. Rated Avg. rating
1 Fusion 105 3.69
2 Avant-Garde Jazz 61 3.99
3 Post Bop 52 4.14
4 Hard Bop 51 3.84
5 Soul Jazz 41 3.40
6 World Fusion 39 3.60
7 Big Band 37 3.84
8 Eclectic Fusion 35 3.76
9 RnB 34 3.62
10 Jazz Related Rock 31 3.74
11 Bop 28 4.04
12 Funk Jazz 26 3.60
13 Progressive Big Band 25 4.08
14 Nu Jazz 23 3.39
15 Pop/Art Song/Folk 21 2.81
16 Funk 21 3.90
17 Third Stream 19 3.84
18 Exotica 18 3.44
19 Jazz Related Electronica/Hip-Hop 18 3.39
20 Post-Fusion Contemporary 13 3.46
21 Cool Jazz 12 3.75
22 Dub/Ska/Reggae 12 4.04
23 Blues 10 3.80
24 Jazz Related Soundtracks 10 3.95
25 Vocal Jazz 10 3.75
26 Latin Jazz 9 3.89
27 Jazz Related Improv/Composition 8 3.38
28 Swing 8 4.00
29 21st Century Modern 7 4.29
30 Latin Rock/Soul 6 3.75
31 African Fusion 5 4.00
32 Acid Jazz 4 3.50
33 Classic (1920s) Jazz 2 4.50
34 Dixieland 1 3.50
35 Afro-Cuban Jazz 1 4.50
36 Bossa Nova 1 3.50
37 Jazz Education 1 3.50

Latest Albums Reviews

DAVID K. MATHEWS Fantasy Vocal Sessions Vol 2

Album · 2020 · RnB
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David K. Matthews is a keyboardist, who along with spending 20 years with Etta James, has worked with countless artists in the fields of jazz, RnB, pop, rock and blues. The Fantasy Vocal Sessions is his latest project with the current release being his Volume 2. While Volume 1 dealt with traditional jazz, Volume 2 is RnB oriented with many songs also showing a gospel influence. The word fantasy not only alludes to David’s desire to bring together some of his favorite singers and musicians, but also refers to the fact that at least the first two albums of his series were recorded in the famous Fantasy Studios. Unfortunately future installments of this project will have to find another studio because Fantasy has finally been closed.

This is an interesting collection of vocalists gathered here, with a couple of surprises including rockers Alex Ligertwood and Steve Miller. Some of the best performances come from Amikaeyla Gaston, who is given three songs to cover including beautiful versions of the Isley’s “For the Love of You” and Stevie’s “Super Woman”. I especially like the fact that she didn’t change the gender on Wonder’s lyrics. That always sounds so corny when a singer feels compelled to change lyrics to fit who they are. Another great performance comes from Glenn Walters, who transforms the 60s pop classic “Goin Out of My Head” into something much more substantial and soulful. Another top performance is Tony Lindsay’s intense gospel flavored reading of “So Sweetly”.

Joining Matthews in the backing bands are an all-star cast of bay area session musicians, and most tunes give the vocalists a break for a top notch jazz solo on guitar, sax or keyboards. The arrangements are inventive and sometimes pleasingly retro. Is that an Arp String Ensemble I hear on some of these tracks, what a nice 70s vibe that texture can provide. The arrangement on James Brown’s classic “I Feel Good” is an ‘underground’ version, and it recalls the busy syncopated horns of Tower of Power. No big surprise as many of the musicians on here, including David himself, have worked with the mighty Tower. Apparently David has more fantasy sessions on the way, with future installments featuring blues and Latin jazz

JOHN MCLAUGHLIN Extrapolation

Album · 1969 · Post Bop
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John McLaughlin, much like his contemporary and sometimes band mate, Chick Corea, started his career with a very distinctive style, only to abandon that approach and tone things down for the rest of his career. Interesting to note that both were influenced by guru types when they changed their way of playing. “Extrapolation” is McLughlin’s first album as a leader and features a young guitarist willing to take crazy chances while plying with a fierce intensity that never totally returns on subsequent albums. Don’t get me wrong, John had many more great performances and recordings throughout the rest of his career, but he never again played with the freedom and abandon he does here. This McLaughlin has a rough approach that is both avant-garde and rootsy at the same time, especially compared to the po0lished sheen of many of his later albums.

The music on “Extrapolation” is all McLaughlin originals that combine bop, blues, free jazz, RnB and Indian music. Besides John, the next star of the show here is the versatile and energetic drumming of Tony Oxley, who is right at home playing anything from bluesy grooves to all out free onslaughts. John Surman’s gnarly baritone fit’s the gritty music perfectly as he adds his solos that combine RnB riffing with soaring free jazz. Brian Odges is an anchor on bass, and his well recorded input adds strength to the mix. Many of the tunes are very short and eclectic ranging from ballads to avant-garde bebop, but the best tracks are the longer ones where the band is given time to build their intensity. Listen to John’s intense note bends influenced by Indian music. Along with dropping the freer tonality, McLaughlin never recorded as much in that style again. Indian note bends have always been a part of his playing, but on this first album he merges this with a soulful blues flavor that adds so much bite to his solos. Some of John’s subsequent work with Miles Davis also features his earlier approach to the guitar.

FRED RANDOLPH Mood Walk

Album · 2020 · Soul Jazz
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Lately a lot of young people in London, LA and elsewhere are rediscovering that jazz doesn’t belong in a museum, it can be relevant, now and fun, party music with a message if you want. No doubt its great seeing this happen. Those of us who have been around for a while can recall a jazz style that was great for parties, while being socially relevant, back in the 70s. That style was called soul jazz and it fueled many a backyard gathering and late night club date back in the day. Fred Randolph’s new CD, “Mood Walk” is not retro soul jazz per se, but it does capture a similar spirit with its mix of upbeat hard bop, funk jazz, Latin grooves and laid back change ups. The CD’s appeal is pushed further by the fact that Randolph’s band is made up of musicians that know each other well and have played together often over the years, this is not of those quickly thrown together recording dates.

Fred is a multi-instrumentalist who tried his hand at guitar and saxophone before settling on the bass. In addition to his CDs as a leader, Fred works as a sideman in many different styles including, classical, rock, samba, salsa and RnB. Fred’s assembled band on “Mood Walk” is super hot with trumpeter Erik Jekabson and saxophonist Sheldon Brown leading the way with veteran confidence and youthful energy. One of the best tracks is the Congo derived driving energy of “Nouveau Monde”. When Greg Sankovitch enters with a flying B3 solo, it sounds like you are in classic Santana land. “Mr Now” mixes Coltrane inspired hard bop with more Latin flavor, while “T Bone Slide” and “Funky N.O. Thing” kick the party in high gear with the funk jazz. Life has been hard lately, let “Mood Walk”, lighten your burden.

HENRY ROBINETT Jazz Standards Then, Volume 1

Album · 2019 · Hard Bop
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Guitarist Henry Robinett has been playing jazz since the late 70s, including stints in NYC with big names like Hal Galper, Clifford Jordon, Muhal Richard Abrams and Chico Freeman. Since the late 80s he has been recording as a leader, usually in a somewhat radio friendly style of fusion with influences from around the world. If you are already familiar with his previous albums, then it might come as a surprise that his latest offering, “Jazz Standards Volume 1”, is a set of grooving hard bop played with energy and playful creativity. These tracks were not actually recorded recently, instead, they were recorded back in 2000 and have been sitting on the shelf since then. Apparently Henry gave them a listen again and decided they were worth putting out and it’s a good thing because this is one of the better recordings of these well known tunes in recent years. Its hard breathing new life into songs that have been recorded by so many, it takes a lot from an artist to lift these up one more time, and Robinett and his quartet come through on every track.

Henry’s playing is often in a rapid abstract blues bop style, maybe somewhat similar to Joe Pass or Barney Kessel, but really he has a personal voice all his own, particularly when he goes into a skittering barrage of muted notes as sheets of sound. Pianist Joe Gilman is similar in his playing that mixes in the pocket hard bop with more extravagant excursions that push the band. As a quartet they present a healthy variety from the high speed, “The Way You Look Tonight”, to the mysterious, “Soul Eyes”, and the rambunctious free wheeling chaotic energy of “Invitation”.

JUNIUS PAUL Ism

Live album · 2019 · 21st Century Modern
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Think of all the great musicians that have come from Chicago’s AACM and its influence. If you are not already familiar with Junius Paul, then you can add him to your list. Paul has been around for a while, jamming with heavyweights like the Art Ensemble, Roscoe Mitchell, Oliver Lake and Fred Anderson, but he didn’t release his first album, “Ism”, until 2019. With an album out as a leader now, Paul’s name will start becoming more familiar because he is a powerhouse on the acoustic bass. I forget which famous bass player once said that the most important part of playing the bass is being heard. On “Ism”, Paul comes through loud and clear as he keeps a strong presence amid some very busy ensembles.

“Ism” is made up of various jam sessions, many recorded live, arranged cohesively to make a sort of collage album. Despite being recorded in different locations with different musicians, the album has a nice flow and logic. Junius is a very versatile musician and the music on here veers from free jazz, to hip-hop grooves, high energy McCoy Tyner styled modal trips, electronic psychedelics and simulated African percussion ensembles. Through it all, Paul is always a bass player and avoids any gratuitous soloing, he is a bass player’s bass player and that is what makes so much of this music sound so good and tightly together. An all-star cast of musicians appear on here, including Tomeka Reid, Marquis Hill, and many more.

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Warthur wrote:
more than 2 years ago
Hey dude,

You've banned me from the forums but I can still access the review submission system and site interactions.

If that is intentional then fair enough but if not I thought it'd only be honest to give you a heads up.

Warthur wrote:
more than 2 years ago
js - please clear some space in your PM inbox, I'm trying to send you something.

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