Matthew T
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Registered more than 2 years ago · Last visit more than 2 years ago

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175 reviews/ratings
MILES DAVIS - In a Silent Way Fusion | review permalink
MILES DAVIS - Miles Davis Quintet : Miles Smiles Post Bop | review permalink
HERMETO PASCOAL - Slaves Mass World Fusion | review permalink
STEELY DAN - Aja Jazz Related RnB | review permalink
STEELY DAN - Pretzel Logic Jazz Related RnB | review permalink
STEELY DAN - Countdown to Ecstasy Jazz Related RnB | review permalink
STEELY DAN - Can't Buy a Thrill Jazz Related RnB | review permalink
MILES DAVIS - Kind of Blue Cool Jazz | review permalink
RAY BARRETTO - Acid Afro-Cuban Jazz | review permalink
ALEGRE ALL-STARS - Lost and Found, Volume III Afro-Cuban Jazz | review permalink
MCCOY TYNER - The Real McCoy Post Bop | review permalink
RUBÉN BLADES - Tiempos Afro-Cuban Jazz | review permalink
DEXTER GORDON - A Swingin' Affair Hard Bop | review permalink
JOHN COLTRANE - My Favorite Things Hard Bop | review permalink
TALVIN SINGH - OK Jazz Related DJs/Electronica | review permalink
LOUIS ARMSTRONG - Louis Armstrong Plays W.C. Handy Classic (1920s) Jazz | review permalink
HENRY THREADGILL - Henry Threadgill & Make A Move ‎: Everybodys Mouth's A Book Avant-Garde Jazz | review permalink
HANK MOBLEY - Workout Hard Bop | review permalink
FRANK SINATRA - A Swingin' Affair! Vocal Jazz | review permalink
TIPICA 73 - Charangueando con la Típica 73 Afro-Cuban Jazz | review permalink

See all reviews/ratings

Jazz Genre Nb. Rated Avg. rating
1 Afro-Cuban Jazz 34 4.63
2 Vocal Jazz 29 4.36
3 Hard Bop 26 4.54
4 Jazz Related RnB 13 4.27
5 Dub/Ska 10 3.95
6 Post Bop 10 4.55
7 World Fusion 7 4.57
8 Jazz Related Blues 5 4.70
9 Original New Orleans Jazz 4 4.63
10 Classic (1920s) Jazz 4 4.88
11 Avant-Garde Jazz 4 4.38
12 Bop 3 5.00
13 Bossa Nova 3 4.67
14 Cool Jazz 3 4.67
15 Exotica 3 3.83
16 Fusion 2 4.00
17 Acid Jazz 2 3.75
18 Jazz Related Soundtracks 2 4.25
19 Post-Fusion Contemporary 2 3.75
20 Soul Jazz 2 4.75
21 Swing 1 4.50
22 Progressive Big Band 1 4.50
23 Latin Jazz 1 4.50
24 Jazz Related DJs/Electronica 1 5.00
25 Jazz Related Pop/Art Song/Folk 1 2.00
26 Dixieland 1 4.00
27 Big Band 1 5.00

Latest Albums Reviews

LOUIS ARMSTRONG The Complete Louis Armstrong Decca Sessions (1935-1946)

Boxset / Compilation · 2009 · Classic (1920s) Jazz
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“This man never disdained what was served up but always found a way to enhance it” ,taken from the Mosaic set notes compiled by Dan Morgenstern: and these Decca recordings contain precisely that with the soaring trumpet and gravel voice taking on any composition or style from New Orleans, Standards, Gospel, Polynesian, Spoken word or narrations, with any other popular or novelty song suggested, and Louis and the band took it all away with absolutely superb musicianship. Tommy Dorsey, Bing Crosby, Mills Brothers, Decca Mixed Chorus, Glen Gray and His Casa Loma Orchestra, Ella Fitzgerald and even an appearance from a young Dexter Gordon albeit only in a support role but they are all included within the seven discs. Often one hears concerning his Decca output that it was not up to the same quality of the early Hot Five and Seven‘s or in the later forties onwards to the sixties with his All Star Band material that were all primarily recorded with Columbia Records and then we also have his later Verve recordings that are included in that list with his Ella Fitzgerald and Oscar Peterson collaborations being the high point but during the period of 1935 to 1946 with Decca nobody really has been taking notice or listening except for the good folks at Mosaic and they certainly have rectified the problem with putting out the entire catalogue with alt takes included but still had the extremely good sense to keep away from false starts, studio banter etc by just keeping to all the wonderful music that Louis recorded during this time.

Where does one start when digging out a massive gold vein as you may miss some gorgeous big nuggets and there are plenty here to find with quite a lot of the material being recorded here for the first time that would become his show regulars and perhaps his finisher would be the most memorable of “When The Saints Come Marching In” or was it at the beginning with “When It’s Sleepy Time Down South”, “Pennies From Heaven”, “Jeepers Creepers and ”Rockin’ Chair” are also included. Not to mention there is a few 2nd takes of his earlier material comprising “West End Blues”, “Mahogany Hall Stomp”,” Savoy Blues” and “Struttin’ With Some Barbecue”. Then there is so many of my favourite old Trad Jazzers with, “Ain’t Misbehavin”, “Save It Pretty Mama”, “On The Sunny Side Of The Street”, “Dipper Mouth”, “Alexander’s Ragtime Band” and they keep coming but my top will always be “(I’ll Be Glad When Your Dead) You Rascal You” (7th disc). Duke Ellington’s “Solitude”, Billie Holiday’s “I Cover The Waterfront” ( Louis recorded it first) are covered with one of the most interesting being his first duet with Ella Fitzgerald (“You Won’t Be Satisfied” and “The Frim Fram Sauce”) albeit more from an historical viewpoint but still quite enjoyable. The Polynesian themed sessions are a delight simply for the variety with the tropical feel of “On A Coconut Island” often bringing a smile. “La Cucaracha” is covered so we better light one up for Louis with the songs meaning as we all know he didn’t mind a bit of kif. The two most different tracks would be Elder Eatmore’s Sermon’s with Louis of course handing out some quite humorous sermons with quite a Southern viewpoint from that period in time with both being narrations. ( Disc 6). Yet, still there are still so many more songs that would be later redone by him in the later part of his career still included and we even have “Happy Birthday” with Louis giving a dedication to the recipient Bing Crosby before the number.

Louis Armstrong’s trumpet soars over the sets contents, his vocals fill it with so many memories from a time that has long gone but his music with always live on,as he is The King of Jazz or any other music that he chose to play. I doubt if ever another greater musician/entertainer is, or ever will be out there. Fantastic Box Set absolutely essential to any Louis Armstrong devotee with myself included or even if you have never heard him before, grab one as there is only 5,000 of these little gold nuggets for sale. Highly recommended and absolutely essential music.

By the way, my first song that I remember hearing as a child was “Hello Dolly” and although in later life I have found out it was not one that Louis thought that highly of, I still love to hear it. I am still learning about this gentleman as there is so much more to find out and I only have 20 years left, if I’m lucky.

TED HOWE Pinnacle

Album · 2014 · Progressive Big Band
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Often when buying current Jazz today one can find quite a few wonderful new releases each month with the majority mainly being small ensembles containing various styles from Bop, Fusion to Avante Garde and vocalists but Big Bands or Jazz Orchestras albeit although there are quite a few out there with Wynton Marsalis and the Lincoln Centre Jazz Orchestra being the most recognised of today’s current ones, there are not many new release albums that contain them excepting in the Latin scene. Ted Howe is one of those exceptions with a beautifully arranged and played, latest release “Pinnacle” which contains a 13 piece Jazz Orchestra with Ted leading, composing and writing the arrangements with the addition of providing superb piano input on two numbers throughout the album’s duration. This would be Ted’s fourth release as a leader with Summit Records with “Love Song” comprising a trio performing standards being the prior release to “Pinnacle” back in 2007.

One of Ted Howe’s greatest influences is none other than Duke Ellington and Ted actually has his own show he performs on a regular basis around the country,’ An Evening with Duke Ellington” and like The Duke himself he uses a Classical approach to his composing with the main section of “Pinnacle” containing three Movements but like the Duke wrote concerning his Jazz’ “It Don’t Mean A Thing, If It Ain’t Got That Swing” which is precisely what this album contains with Jazz of a gorgeous high Big Band standard being the result. Yes, it swings with that precision and tightness one can only attain with rehearsal but that is not to say there is a lack of improvision with the solos provided from various band members over all these time signatures and arrangements in the album’s compositions, just perfect. To quote, Ted Howe himself concerning the album’s theme and texture, “These pieces aren’t just about the music; they’re also about the instruments, the varied combinations of sound they make, and how great musicians can rise to just about any challenge and take the music to new and exciting places” and the Orchestra certainly does that, during this release.

The album’s compositions are titled with a Classical terminology with “Presto for Two Trombones” getting things underway with presto being a quite a good reference for the up tempo swing that the orchestra provides during the composition with two trombones soloing during the beginning and end by separate band members. Between this we also have a wonderful bass guitar solo from John Patitucci in amongst all those blazing trumpet segments and trombone solos and it is a wonderful composition and arrangement by Ted Howe. “Impromptu for Trumpet” follows, having a beautiful laid back introduction with Ted’s piano and Lester Walker’s trumpet that has Ted providing an absolute delight with his piano take and solo on the composition’s melody and meanwhile the orchestra stays in the background only coming forth during the number’s highpoints, it is performed beautifully. “Suite #1 For Jazz Orchestra” follows with three movements placed as separate tracks within the album’s content and all based on a four bar motif. “Movement 1” opens with 3 distinct electric guitar chords that are used in a repetitive manner but never over done and they re-occur later throughout the composition which changes tempo almost to a drum march time in places but goes back to the main tempo with the orchestra coming back with a superb full sound and a wonderful kick within the arrangement. “Movement 2” comes in with a slower time with more great guitar work to open and the Orchestra having quite a bit of Classical sound in the compositions opening but John Patitucci quickly changes all that when he appears on bass with the composition gaining quite a nice Brazilian influence in the later part. “Movement 3” is just as wonderful with the trumpet covered by the hat bringing that old time New Orleans feel but that quickly changes within Ted’s arrangement to a much quicker tempo with superb swing from the orchestra. “Adagio For Piano” as the title implies is the album’s ballad with Ted at the helm for a lovely interpretation with superb space on piano in the composition and even when the orchestra is right behind him you still hear every beautiful note even within the compositions intricate points which also has the addition of a sterling laid back trumpet to accompany him. . The more up tempo “Jazz Etude for Three Clarinets” brings the album to a close with a mixture of clarinets used from three of the band members and yes there is still more of that Big Band swing to savour.

Great album, Ted said in his album notes that he had never attempted a to write Suite and after this one let’s hope he has a go at another very soon. Wonderful to get something a little different and I suppose that it is bit sad to say, due to the lack of Big Band recordings released today as they were the corner stone of Jazz once, but Ted seems to trying to remedy the problem with this classy, swingin’ stompin’ and just wonderful Jazz album.

SLY AND ROBBIE Language Barrier

Album · 1985 · Dub/Ska
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In 1985 Island Records released Sly and Robbie’s first foray to be recorded with Reggae placed as an influence and not the major component within the recording by bringing a digitalised funk and Hip Hop sound to the recordings fore front. Looking back today when one listens closely to “Language Barrier” you realise just how far in front of the pack they were running. Afrika Bambaata, had only been known for three years with a complete new genre of music still in its infancy being Rap and Hip Hop which was still facing more criticism than appreciation except within the younger music community and not content with just Afrika Bambaata the imitable Doug E. Fresh with his own sounds being the human beat box even took things to another original level. As well, we had another fairly new artist making quite a name on the scene for himself being the Producer and bassist Bill Laswell who was currently with his band Material back in 1985 bringing already a diverse original anything goes approach with his take on creating modern music. Wally Badarou is also present on synthesizer, Herbie Hancock, Robbie Lyn and Bernie Worrell are also included supplying keyboards and piano. Manu Dibango on sax, Daniel Ponce, congas, Bernard Fowler, backing vocals and vocals, Eddie Martinez, Pat Thrall, Mike Hampton, Mikey Chung and Barry Reynolds all supplied guitar at various stages from Funk, Jazz and Rock and talking about Rock, Bob Dylan even provides harmonica in the album.

During this period Sly and Robbie had not long finished recording Mick Jagger’s solo debut, “She’s The Boss” with Bill Laswell where many of these musicians came into contact. Some of the others had already been playing in the Compass Band which was Island Records studio band for many of their productions during this period with most of the band members originating from Jamacia and a Reggae background. Bob Dylan had not long before had Sly and Robbie provide support for his latest release “Empire Burlesque” with the most memorable song of the album recorded being Bob’s second shot at “When The Night Comes Falling From The Sky” containing Sly’s electric drum kit and Robbie’s beautiful bass line. In addition to all this consorting Bill Laswell with a few of the artists mentioned above had just recorded Manu Dibango’s ,“Electric Africa” bringing Manu along to lend his superb saxophone with that gorgeous tone on various album tracks, found within “Language Barrier”.

Sly’s electronic drums open up with the Funk coming in quick, Manu Dibango’s sax is darting in and out, Wally’s synthesizer is whirling around and Afrika Bambaata are chanting “make em’ move, make em’ move” with additional verse lyrics and with three cracking guitar solos inserted with of course Robbie’s bass lines and the first number “Make Em’ Move” gets the album underway. “No Name On The Bullet” which follows is one rhythm worked over beautifully with Hip Hop added over a dub and an another album highlight which is followed by the Miles Davis composition “Black Satin” aptly named “Miles” within the album’s track listings with more fabulous rhythm employed as the bed rock , two fabulous drum leads from Sly, more Synthesizer and guitar, a keyboard loop that just keeps repeating and one quite distinct take was created. “Bass And Trouble” is the first on the flip with Manu Dibango providing quite a nice solo and input over more electronics used for the rhythm with Doug E. Fresh doing his sound effects, Wally’s synthesizer is back, Mike Hampton is putting in the Funk guitar and Sly and Robbie are once again a stunning back bone to it all. The rhythm just keeps pounding along for the title track “Language Barrier” with Doug back rapping effects and even more funk lines from Mike Hampton’s guitar. Of course funk finishes the album up with quite a catchy “ Get To This, Get To That” and here we get to hear Bernard Fowler singing lead over more of a seventies style take albeit it is laced with electronics.

It did not receive the recognition that this album deserved when it was released garnering quite a mixed reception but if one looks back with today’s view point you will notice these musicians are light years ahead or right on the cusp if you prefer. Myself personally I love the use of the electronic kit that Sly Dunbar played and how he used the full electronic sound with Robbie’s pumping bass providing the support and Bill Laswell’s production. Their next similar album “Rhythm Killers” which garnered a much better reception is perhaps better played and mixed but “Language Barrier” was a more original album and who else would rush in and get that new Rap stuff included, although at this time it was really not all that new for the Rhythm Twins as they had been doing Jamaican Dancehall for around 7 to 8 years by then, “Yep, they were light year s ahead”.

CYRUS CHESTNUT Midnight Melodies

Live album · 2014 · Hard Bop
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Another new one from that new label Smoke Sessions. This time we have the talented Cyrus Chestnut performing his first live album, “Midnight Melodies” at the Smoke Jazz Club. Trio is the band structure and as Cyrus states in the album cover notes “ That’s one thing I really liked about this particular project was that there were three equal participants versus just a bass and drummer being the support for the piano” and the recording does have that with the trio working right throughout as one working unit with some wonderful interplay and cohesiveness in their sound. Cyrus Chestnut has become one of the most highly rated pianists in Jazz currently with numerous collaborations in music with one of his very early influences being the pianist John Hicks who like Cyrus is adept at any form of Jazz. Three of John Hicks compositions are included but the album is not a tribute, it is just the band likes to play them. The recording also has three compositions included from the band with one from Cyrus and two from the drummer Victor Lewis with all three being just as good as the other great Jazz standards covered within the album from Strayhorn to Coltrane and Davis.

Then again although the composition’s are of an excellent quality this trio could take “Chopsticks” and make it sound amazing such as the talent within the band. Cyrus Chestnut on piano first became noticed by Jazz audiences in 1986 first supporting Jon Hendicks followed by Terence Blanchard, Donald Harrison, Wynton Marsalis and Betty Carter who became another major influence in shaping Cyrus Chestnut’s music and approach with her advice. Curtis Lundy on bass has also previously worked with Betty Carter as well as John Hicks and like Cyrus has played most of these compositions right throughout their careers. The drummer is Victor Lewis who although did not work with Betty Carter, he did with Carmen Lundy (sister to Curtis) but once again it is John Hicks whose presence and influence is right there with the Trio, as Victor also spent time drumming for him. Still not a tribute album it is just all this familiarity with the band members themselves and past music collaborations brings a unique understanding into so many of the album’s compositions.

A John Hicks composition gets proceedings underway, “Two Heartbeats” with a laid back mid tempo structure Cyrus just dances over that piano building intensity to return beautifully back to the compositions beginning. Slightly quicker time with “Pocket Full of Blues” and a twang that Curtis’ bass provides between Cyrus’ piano is a delight with another stunning build throughout his solo. The next is one of Cyrus Chestnuts’ own compositions “To Be Determined” with a beautiful relaxed feel and I find from this point the album seems to improve even more with a fabulous take of “Bag’s Groove” and does Cyrus lay down one superb piano input getting quite percussive at points throughout the Milt Jackson Jazz standard and becoming an album highlight. The band members own compositions with the following by Victor Lewis the drummer “Hey, It’s Me You’re Talkin’ To” are wonderful with Victor opening with a superb drum solo and the band following with more of that amazing Cyrus piano technique all over it. Two Billy Strayhorn compositions are next with a beautiful relaxed take of the ballad “Chelsea Bridge” with U.M.M.G. ( Upper Manhattan Medical Group) following with Cyrus coming on a lovely groove for this number with a superb take of the tune to follow. There is another composition from Victor Lewis “I Wanted To Say” with a swirl coming from the pianists left hand and his right hitting high notes like ice picks you know you are in for another musical treat from Cyrus and another bonus in the number is Curtis’ superb solo on bass. “ Giant Steps” ,the ballad “Naima’s Love Song” and Miles Davis’ “The Theme” containing a band introduction and farewell from Cyrus round of this fabulous new Live recording with all of these last three numbers having wonderful takes and solos from the band.

Early days I know but this one will be mentioned at the end of the year in my top albums. Cyrus has all the Jazz space required within his play but it is not often that a pianist can go right to the other extreme filling the place with a multitude of notes and just keep sounding better. Highly ,Highly Recommended for us lovers of a great Jazz Trio and a working band.

SUSAN KREBS Simple Gifts

Album · 2015 · Vocal Jazz
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Using a different approach for her latest release “Simple Gifts’, Susan Krebs decided to record in a more intimate fashion by using Chamber Music as the predominate support backing her vocals. Susan has been playing at times in between gigs, music salons which are small gatherings that are usually held over at Susan’s place requiring the band to be more compact due to available space and out of this concept Susan’s latest album was created. Susan Krebs started her career over in New York working in musicals, plays and television commercials and since moving west to L.A. has continued with many appearances in a variety of acting formats including film and television. In between all this she has also recorded four previous albums starting back in 1999 with most times using what could be best described as a standard Jazz band with piano, bass and drums being the backbone excepting “Jazz Aviary” where a string quartet was used in addition with the band.

This time around the bass and drum kit have been dropped with the highly talented multi instrumentalist Paul Cartwright adding violin and viola, who has appeared in numerous styles of music including Soundtracks, Rock and Pop with Jazz being a favourite. Rich Eames another from L.A. and Co- Producer is on piano and has appeared with Susan on her three previous releases and like Paul before worked in a myriad of styles and bands including session work. Doing percussion is Scott Breadman who has appeared on all of Susan’s albums with the addition of Rob Lockhart on Woodwinds being primarily sax and flute, who has quite an impressive collaboration list including Tom Harrell Big Band, Kurt Elling and the Woody Herman Orchestra and as with all the previous band members, again it is the session work providing the bread and butter.

With the first few words sung acapella from Susan, the album opens with a Billie Holiday song, “Let’s Call a Heart A Heart” which quickly develops into swing with the band gradually coming in throughout the first verse with some lovely input and quick little solos with Paul’s violin, Rich’s piano and Rob’s sax in that order and Susan’s great voice to finish up the last verse. The Chamber is exactly where the following ballad “Looking Back” seems to be originating from, with some stunning violin input from Paul for Susan’s phrasing which at times generates a beautiful traditional folk feel and yes something a little different giving the album its own identity.”So Many Stars” with its mid tempo timing brings more a great summers day feel with Rob’s dreamy sax and Scott’s percussion interspersed with Rich ‘s piano, it was not surprising to see it was a Sergio Mendes composition. “Once Upon A Summertime” has Susan providing some beautiful vocals primarily with Paul’s violin at the fore front within the ballad and although “Falling Grace” which follows is another ballad both are done with quite a different feel with Paul’s violin providing a beautiful distinct classical touch on the first and Rob’s use of baritone and soprano sax on the second having a more introspective Jazz approach which keeps the variety coming along in a superb manner. “Throw It All Away” has Scott’s tambourine providing the base for Susan’s vocals and Paul’s violin with this delightful take of an Abbey Lincoln composition. “For All We Know” is Susan’s dedication to her brother who she lost, and an old Shaker tune “Simple Gifts’ being the album’s title brings the show to a close with more wonderful input from Susan and the band. Who does their solo’s better, I should let you decide for this delightful number.

So nice to hear Jazz performed in a slightly different manner. The sessions must be fabulous over at Susan’s Salon with great vocals and musicians included. A big thumbs up to Paul Cartwright with his strings addition for playing with quite a traditional approach, especially in the album’s title, “Simple Gifts”. Wonderful new release from Susan Krebs and highly recommended.

Latest Forum Topic Posts

  • Posted more than 2 years ago in What are You Listening II
    [QUOTE=js]I think Schofield has come a long ways since those days, check out some of his more recent music, he has some great RnB roots and a lot of creative rhythm playing.[/QUOTE]Thanks John will give it a shot. I have one of his albums but don't know where it is................I know it is in the garage but must be in another genre of music as it is not in the Jazz It  will turn up. I bought it about 20 years ago and to be honest do not even remember the title. I vaguely remember the music but it has been so long since I played it. Maybe my perceptions have changed when I hear it again.  "Live At The Fillmore" I checked your review( very nice) must pick up and  get it.  Matt2015-04-11 19:04:02
  • Posted more than 2 years ago in What are You Listening II
    [QUOTE=js]Speaking of Miles' post 70s work, the best is "Live Around the World", "Amandala" and "We Want Miles".I should have reviews up on all those.[/QUOTE] I did not mind  "You're Under Arrest" but like "Live Around The World" he included "Human Nature" and "Time After Time" John. The worst for me is "Tutu" and "Decoy". "Star People" I don't mind either but although I am not really a Scofield fan, I liked his input. I often find his playing cold. His technique is top notch but it seems to lack emotion. Ry Cooder is another I find like that. Still like them on various numbers they do but not a big fan,excepting  Ry's World music material. Matt2015-04-10 18:50:19
  • Posted more than 2 years ago in What are You Listening II
    [QUOTE=js]"Live at the Fillmore" is kind of different, its very much a DeJohnette/Holland type jam, DeJohnette more or less runs things, or at least thats how it comes across.[/QUOTE] I should get it. Sounds good.


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