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10 reviews/ratings
FRANK ZAPPA - One Size Fits All (as Frank Zappa And The Mothers Of Invention) Jazz Related Rock | review permalink
SOT - King Of Saltz Jazz Related Rock | review permalink
KING CRIMSON - The Power To Believe Jazz Related Rock | review permalink
SOT - Redwings Nest Jazz Related Rock | review permalink
FRANK ZAPPA - Zappa in New York Jazz Related Rock | review permalink
FRANK ZAPPA - Zoot Allures Jazz Related Rock | review permalink
PANDORA SNAIL - War And Peace Jazz Related Rock | review permalink
SECRET OYSTER - Secret Oyster Fusion | review permalink
WEATHER REPORT - Domino Theory Fusion | review permalink
WEATHER REPORT - This Is This Fusion | review permalink

Jazz Genre Nb. Rated Avg. rating
1 Jazz Related Rock 7 4.14
2 Fusion 3 3.17

Latest Albums Reviews


Album · 1986 · Fusion
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"This Is This" is the 14th full-length studio album by US Jazz rock/fusion act Weather Report. The album was released through Columbia Records in June 1986. It´s the successor to "Sportin´ Life" from 1985 and was more or less released to fulfill the band´s contract with Columbia Records. Growing tensions and a feeling that the band had run its course meant that Joe Zawinul and Wayne Shorter ended Weather Report after the release of "This Is This".

Although Omar Hakum only performs on "Consequently" and Peter Erskine performs the drums on all other tracks, the remaining part of the core quintet lineup who recorded the two direct predecessors is intact: Joe Zawinul (keyboards/synths), Wayne Shorter (soprano & tenor saxophones), Victor Bailey (bass), and Mino Cinelu (percussion, vocals). Carlos Santana makes a guest guitar appearence on the opening title track and on "Man With the Copper Fingers", and his unmistakable playing style makes those songs stand out quite a bit. It´s not often Weather Report have included guitar on their music.

Stylistically the material on "This Is This" are relatively diverse and the listener is treated to ethnic world music styled fusion, ambient jazz rock/fusion ("I'll Never Forget You"), and a furiously fast played fusion track in "Update". If you´re familiar with the last couple of albums, you won´t be surprised by what "This Is This" has to offer. The musical performances are on a high level on all posts, and the album also features a well sounding production job, so while it´s certainly not the band´s most interesting release, it´s not a bad quality release either. On the other hand the choice to disband was probably the right one, as "This Is This" and the last couple of releases before that, only offer very little new and for the most part the music is lacking the edge of the band´s 70s heyday. A 3 star (60%) rating is warranted.


Album · 1984 · Fusion
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"Domino Theory" is the 12th full-length studio album by US jazz/fusion act Weather Report. The album was released through Columbia Records in February 1984. It´s the successor to "Procession" from 1983 and features the same quintet lineup who recorded the predecessor.

"Procession" was the first Weather Report to more prominently feature vocals and lyrics, although the band had made brief experiments with vocals on earlier releases too. The trend to include vocals continues on "Domino Theory", which opens with the stunning "Can It Be Done" (sung by Carl Anderson), but Weather Report have not abandoned their jazz/fusion instrumental work, which is as impressive as ever on the 11:10 minutes long "Db Waltz", which follows. That track also features brief moments with vocals, but no lyrics. We´re treated to funky and jazzy rhythms and bass work, Wayne Shorter´s exciting saxophone playing, and Joe Zawinul´s always intriguing and creative use of keyboards/synths.

While some of the material are quite brilliant, there are other times when I don´t think Weather Report quite hits the mark. "The Peasant" is for example unnecessarily long and becomes a little tedious with its ambient sound, and few climaxes. "Predator" features a lot of nice rhythmic playing, but it´s also a track which isn´t really leading to anywhere. The same can unfortunately be said about "Blue Sound Note 3", which is a relatively experimental affair, but again lacking direction and catchiness, until about 5 minutes in, when some melancholic saxophone melodies come in to save the day. "Swamp Cabbage" is decent enough, but not exactly a mind blowing track. I like the dark and haunting atmosphere of the title track, but it´s another ambient track, and "Domino Theory" could definitely have been a little more interesting with fewer ambient moments.

"Domino Theory" features a detailed, organic, and well sounding production. Some people may not appreciate some of the 80s synths choices, but Zawinul is a master of his craft, and anything he touches is at least interesting to listen to. Upon conclusion "Domino Theory" isn´t the greatest release by Weather Report. It starts out strong with "Can It Be Done" and "Db Waltz", which to my ears are the two best quality tracks on the album, but from then on the highlights are few and far between. A 3 star (60%) rating is warranted.


Album · 2015 · Jazz Related Rock
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"War And Peace" is the debut full-length studio album by Russian, St.Petersburg based progressive rock act Pandora Snail. The album was released through the Moscow based label Artbeat in March 2015. Pandora Snail was formed in 2008 and went through quite a few lineup changes in the first couple of years. The lineup who recorded "War And Peace" are Ulyana Gor (keyboards, composer, vocals), Oleg Gorgadze (guitar, electric guitar, conposer, vocals), Kirill Klyushin (bass guitar, contrabass), Artem Gareev (violin), and Igor Cheridnik (drums, percussion).

Stylistically the music on the 11 track, 62:01 minutes long album is an eclectic type of progressive rock drawing influences from not only the classic 70s prog rock artists, but also from jazz rock/fusion, classical music (the band mentions Sergej Rahmaninov as an influence), and folk (among other things). There is even an occasional use of heavy distorted guitars featured on some sections of the album, so it is definitely a type of music featuring influences from many genres and musical styles. "War And Peace" is still a stylistically very consistent album though, and there is a good flow throughout the playing time. And putting this many elements into a cohesive sounding musical style is not easy, which serves as a testimony to how skilled Pandora Snail are as composers.

The music is predominantly instrumental with an organic yet tight playing rhythm section, atmospheric keyboards, guitars, and a very dominant use of violin as the lead instrument. The compositions are for the most part quite catchy, although some tracks are structurally relatively complex. Except for the 16:36 minutes long "James Pont" and the 8:05 minutes long closing track "Satori", the tracks generally aren´t that long though. It´s not music that is hard to get into, although it´s certainly not easy listening either. It´s just that some of those violin melodies are spot on and nicely hook laden. Because he is so dominant in the soundscape it´s hard not to mention Artem Gareev´s performance on the album as something special, but the rest of the musicians performing on the album are equally as skilled. The high level playing is definitely one of the great assets of "War And Peace".

The compositions are strong too though, and it´s all packed in a powerful, organic, and overall well sounding production, which helps bring the best out in the music. This is generally a very interesting album, and considering that it´s a debut album its a very strong one too. A 3.5 - 4 star (75%) rating is deserved.

FRANK ZAPPA Zoot Allures

Album · 1976 · Jazz Related Rock
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"Zoot Allures" is an album release by US, California based rock artist Frank Zappa. The album was released through Warner Bros. Records in October 1976. It's the successor to the 1975 "Bongo Fury" collaboration album with Captain Beefheart. "Zoot Allures" was originally meant to be released through the DiscReet Records label, but Herb Cohen (Zappa's then manager/business partner and co-owner of DiscReet Records) and Zappa had a falling out (which ended in a lawsuit), and the album was therefore released through Warner Bros. Records. It would be Zappa's only release through the label, as he would also experience great trouble with that label and their business methods resulting in one of the longest release breaks of his career, as his next release "Zappa in New York" wasn't released until March 1978 (through the DiscReet Records label, although still distributed though Warner Bros. Records).

Many of Zappa's albums consist of both studio and live recordings recorded at various locations and times (sometimes combined on the same track), and that's also the case on "Zoot Allures", although most tracks on the album were actually recorded in May-June of 1976 at the Record Plant Studios on Los Angeles. There are three exceptions on the album. The first is "Wonderful Wino", which is a track that Zappa co-wrote with former Mothers of Invention bassist Jeff Simmons, and which in its original version was featured on the latter's 1969 solo album "Lucille Has Messed My Mind Up". The version of "Wonderful Wino" included on "Zoot Allures" was recorded in 1972/1973. The second exception is "Friendly Little Finger", which was recorded partially in 1973 and finished in October 1975. The last exception is the instrumental "Black Napkins", which is a live recording from Osaka, Japan from February 1976.

Most of the basic tracks (bass, guitars, drums, vocals, keyboards) which were recorded at the Record Plant Studios, were recorded by the duo of Frank Zappa and Terry Bozzio. The latter recorded all drum tracks, and the former recorded everything else. The album however does feature quite a few guest appearances by Zappa regulars like Ruth and Ian Underwood, Roy Estrada, Captain Beefheart, and Bruce Fowler.

In usual Frank Zappa mode "Zoot Allures" is a stylistically eclectic release. It's one of Frank Zappa's more easily accessible and humourous releases and tracks like "Wind Up Workin' in a Gas Station", "Ms. Pinky", "Wonderful Wino", and "Disco Boy" are all both funny and a little silly (in a good way). In the other end of the spectrum are the two instrumentals "Black Napkins" and the title track, which both feature a darker and more melancholic sound. The same can be said about "The Torture Never Stops", which is a long atmospheric track with some thought provoking lyrics.

"Zoot Allures" features a warm, organic, and detailed sound production, which suits the material perfectly and upon conclusion it's a good quality release by Frank Zappa. It's not among his most standout releases nor among his best, but it's still highly entertaining and filled to the brim with excellent musicianship, adventurous songwriting ideas, and strong production values. A 3.5 - 4 star (75%) rating is deserved.

FRANK ZAPPA Zappa in New York

Live album · 1978 · Jazz Related Rock
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"Zappa in New York" is a live double album release by US rock artist Frank Zappa. The album was released through DiscReet Records in March 1978. The album actually saw a limited release in the UK in early 1977, but it was soon withdrawn from the record stores. Warner Bros. Records who Frank Zappa had signed a distribution deal with, insisted on removing and thereby censoring the track "Punky's Whips" and also removed references made to "Punky's Whips" on the "Titties & Beer" track. This meant that a small war broke out between Warner Bros. Records and Zappa, who in his contract with the distribution company had made sure that he had complete artistic freedom. The censored March 1978 version of "Zappa in New York" was therefore released by Warner Bros. Records without the consent of Zappa. The full uncensored version of the album was re-released in 1991 by Zappa. It was originally Zappa's intention to include some of the live recordings on his 4-record box set "L'ther" release in late 1977, but the box set release was shelved as a consequence of the lawsuit between Zappa and Warner Bros. Records.

While recording of "Zoot Allures (1976)" took place Zappa began to form a core touring lineup for a world tour in 1976/1977 (the tour lasted from October 1976 to February 1977) featuring Zappa on vocals and guitars, Terry Bozzio on drums and vocals, Ray White on guitars and vocals, Eddie Jobson on keyboards, violin, and vocals, and Patrick O'Hearn on bass and vocals (Bianca Thornton was part of the lineup through November 11th 1976 on vocals and keyboards). The material featured on "Zappa in New York" were recorded in December 1976 at a series of concerts at the Palladium in New York City. The recordings feature quite a few guest/session musicians in addition to the above mentioned core lineup. Among the guests are the Brecker brothers on tenor sax, flute, and trumpet and Zappa- regular Ruth Underwood on percussion and synthesizer.

Most of the tracklist consists of tracks which had not seen a studio recording (except "Sofa" and "Big Leg Emma", and on the 1991 re-release version also "Cruisin' for Burgers", "I'm the Slime", and "The Torture Never Stops"), and in that respect "Zappa in New York" is a more interesting live release than most. The opening trio of tracks (on the 1991 version of the album "Cruisin' for Burgers" is placed as song number 2 on the tracklist) "Titties & Beer", "I Promise Not to Come in Your Mouth", and "Punky's Whips" (the middle one is an instrumental), are comical rock tracks with loads of sexual references, and especially "Punky's Whips", with it's homo erotic suggestions proved to be a bit too much for the censor people at Warner Bros. Records. "Titties & Beer" is a great example of how good Zappa and his band were at improvising. Most of the track is tightly structured and prepared, but when the biker protagonist (played by Zappa), and the devil (played by drummer Terry Bozzio) have their talk about signing a deal with the devil, they both improvise which is great fun (while Bozzio also keeps the beat).

Other highlights on the album are the impossible to play instrumental "Black Page #2" and the humourous dating song Honey, Don't You Want a Man Like Me?. "The Illinois Enema Bandit" is a great heavy blues rock track, although it's a bit overlong and some people may be offended by its controversial subject matter (telling the story of the crimes and conviction of real life armed robber and sexual offender Michael Hubert Kenyon). The 16:57 minutes long "The Purple Lagoon/Aproximate" is in large part an improvisational piece, and to my ears not one of Zappa's best, although it's a very well performed mostly improvised piece of music, featuring a lot of jazz type soloing. Personally I prefer the structured "Aproximate" part of the track, but that part is only a few minutes long.

The sound production is raw, organic, and maybe most important, feels like a "real" live recording, although Zappa made many overdubs on the recordings in early 1977. Appearing here the tracks and the flow of the album can sometimes feel a bit fragmented, because the material were recorded at different shows but overall "Zappa in New York" is a good quality live release by Zappa. A 3.5 - 4 star (75%) rating is deserved.

Latest Forum Topic Posts

  • Posted more than 2 years ago in Does Zeuhl belong in JMA?
    As I wrote it was just an example of how a non-jazz tag could work if it is deemed that some releases in an artist´s discography are not "jazz" enough. As such I´m not commenting on Magma or Zeuhl. It´s not exactly my area of expertice.
  • Posted more than 2 years ago in Does Zeuhl belong in JMA?
    [QUOTE=Sean Trane][QUOTE=UMUR] On MMA we have a non-metal tag option, which means that the release can´t be reviewed. If you have a similar option here on JMA, maybe you can tag the first couple of Magma releases with the jazz-related rock tag and apply the non-jazz tag to the rest. ...ah the beauty of individual release tagging. [/QUOTE]   I personally feel that there is enough jazz on all Magma albums that they should be reviewed.    [/QUOTE]  I don´t know which releases should be tagged non-jazz and which shouldn´t (maybe you are right that non of them should be tagged non-jazz) because I´ve only listened to the first couple of albums at this point. It was just an example of how things could work.
  • Posted more than 2 years ago in Does Zeuhl belong in JMA?
    On MMA we have a non-metal tag option, which means that the release can´t be reviewed. If you have a similar option here on JMA, maybe you can tag the first couple of Magma releases with the jazz-related rock tag and apply the non-jazz tag to the rest....ah the beauty of individual release tagging.


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