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Mike
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Registered 1294 days ago · Last visit 3 hours ago

Favorite Jazz Artists

All Reviews/Ratings

451 reviews/ratings
FRANK ZAPPA - The Grand Wazoo (The Mothers) Jazz Related Rock | review permalink
MILES DAVIS - E.S.P. Post Bop | review permalink
HIROMI - Time Control Classic Fusion | review permalink
PAT METHENY - The Way Up (PMG) Classic Fusion | review permalink
PAT METHENY - The Road To You (Recorded Live In Europe) (PMG) World Fusion | review permalink
MILES DAVIS - In a Silent Way Classic Fusion | review permalink
MILES DAVIS - Miles in the Sky Post Bop | review permalink
FRANK ZAPPA - Make a Jazz Noise Here Jazz Related Rock
STEVE JENKINS - Mad Science (Post-70s) Eclectic Fusion
MASADA - 50⁴ (Electric Masada) (Post-70s) Eclectic Fusion
OZRIC TENTACLES - Erpland Jazz Related Rock
FRANK ZAPPA - One Size Fits All (as Frank Zappa And The Mothers Of Invention) Jazz Related Rock
FRANK ZAPPA - Over-Nite Sensation (The Mothers) Jazz Related Rock
AREA - Arbeit Macht Frei (Il Lavoro Rende Liberi) Jazz Related Rock
OZRIC TENTACLES - Jurassic Shift Jazz Related Rock
JAMES BROWN - The Payback Funk
JAMES BROWN - Revolution of the Mind Funk
PARLIAMENT - Mothership Connection Funk
HERBIE HANCOCK - Maiden Voyage Post Bop
HERBIE HANCOCK - Crossings Classic Fusion

See all reviews/ratings

Jazz Genre Nb. Rated Avg. rating
1 Classic Fusion 135 3.83
2 Jazz Related Rock 109 3.65
3 Funk Jazz 38 4.16
4 Post Bop 38 4.22
5 Funk 22 3.70
6 Hard Bop 18 4.28
7 Avant-Garde Jazz 18 3.78
8 Post-Fusion Contemporary 16 3.31
9 Cool Jazz 12 3.58
10 Third Stream 9 2.94
11 World Fusion 8 4.00
12 (Post-70s) Eclectic Fusion 7 4.29
13 Latin Rock/Soul 4 4.00
14 Soul Jazz 3 3.67
15 Jazz Related RnB 3 2.83
16 Acid Jazz 3 4.67
17 DJ/Electronica Jazz 2 3.25
18 Nu Jazz 2 4.75
19 Pop Jazz/Crossover 2 2.00
20 Exotica 1 4.00
21 Bop 1 5.00

Latest Albums Reviews

FRANK ZAPPA The Yellow Shark

Live album · 1993 · Third Stream
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This review is based on the 2012 reissue.

The Yellow Shark is such a great album. It's breathtaking at times, and doesn't get all tense, scary, and nervous like the London Symphony Orchestra album does (which is a totally different beast of an album anyway). Frank comes out and tells the audience to "get serious, folks", even though he says to throw any panties off to the side of the stage.

The Zappa classics that get a makeover here are outstanding, and rival their earlier versions. I'm especially keen on the Dog Breath Variations and the Uncle Meat theme, because they translate so well to an orchestra. The sound is also outstanding, not only one of the best sounding Frank Zappa albums, but also one of the best sounding albums from anyone that I've ever heard.

Most of the tunes get a HUGE applause from the crowd, especially the final G-Spot Tornado, which itself is a remarkable rendition of a tune Zappa originally wrote for the Synclavier machine on Jazz From Hell, never meant to be played by actual musicians, but the crowd roars with cheers and applause, and apparently went on for over 20 minutes, and the fade out with the crowd still going crazy is a testament to that. I don't know if I've ever heard a live recording from any band or artist where the applause lasted so long that they eventually had to fade it out, as we do get to hear a good chunk of it. Another synclavier song that made it here is The Girl In The Magnesium Dress, which sounds cool because I think Frank wrote it with just his hands going up and down the keys of the synclavier keyboard, yet it got transcribed and played by this wonderful orchestra.

As for the new songs, they are also excellent. Some of them are minimalistic, as that seems to be the direction Zappa was going, but I believe the direction he took in the early 90s was, in part, due to his diagnosis of having cancer. Still, songs like Food Gathering in Post-Industrial America, 1992 and Welcome To The United States are some of the coolest pieces of music Frank wrote. The former brings some humor which was missing from a few tracks prior. The latter is cool because a form given to people entering the U.S. is recited over the music, which itself is very dramatic, and in classic Zappa form, reacts to what is being said by the performer. It reminds me of something Captain Beefheart would do, like on The Grand Wazoo from The Lost Episodes (not to be confused with The Grand Wazoo from the album of the same name; The Lost Episodes one is a completely different song).

The case it comes in is beautiful, and the pictures in the giant booklet are great; some are funny, some are just plain cool, but there's one that makes me sad, it's the last one, with some of the guys Frank worked with around that time, like producers and mixers, and they're sitting around him and everyone is smiling, but Frank clearly hadn't shaved for months, meaning the pic was taken not too long before he passed. He knew his time was coming.

I always put The Yellow Shark off because I wasn't ready for it and other orchestral albums because I just wanted the rock and fusion stuff back when I first got into his music. And then when the reissues started coming out and I started collecting them, I still held off on getting The Yellow Shark (and Civilization Phaze III still), but now I realize that was a major error on my part, and I've been keeping myself from listening to one of Zappa's last great works, and it really is one of the best projects he ever put together. If only he had even a few more months to cherish it. He always said he made music for himself, and if others liked it, cool. But us fans have had more time to digest those last couple of releases than he ever did, even though he wrote the music. Point is, The Yellow Shark is magnificent, and I only wish I got it sooner, but now I can listen to it whenever I want.

Don't hold off on getting this album if you are a Zappa fan already, this is an essential piece of music. I wouldn't recommend this to a Zappa newbie, but maybe after you've got 10 or so albums, maybe this would be a good intro to his orchestral work, though I'd argue that any of them are good to start with. This one, however, does have the best sound, with the best intentions from the performers. Masterpiece of prog, classical, third stream, of music.

FREDDIE HUBBARD Straight Life

Album · 1971 · Post Bop
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One of the best jazz albums of the 1970s.

The lineup alone should tell you this is a classic album. Some excellent performances from everyone. The music is mostly post-bop with hints of jazz-fusion from Herbie Hancock's electric piano and George Benson's electric guitar. Big, long improvisations is the name of the game, as was somewhat common among many of the great jazz artists around this time in the early 1970s.

Freddie Hubbard sounds absolutely inspired on this record, blowing some wild and furious horn lines on top of the funky rhythms, as well as Hancock, as usual.

The cover of the Statue of Liberty gives this album an identity of that with New York City, and this album does bring to mind being there, as it has that vibe, not unlike some of Miles Davis' albums. Speaking of Miles, any fan of his during his mid-late 60s era, as well as the 70s era, should stop reading this review and get this album. In fact, many of Freddie's albums feature Miles alumni, so you can't go wrong with Freddie Hubbard.

If you're looking for jazz from the 1970s that's more jazz than fusion, this album is a great place to start.

ALAIN CARON Sep7entrion

Album · 2010 · Classic Fusion
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Another great modern fusion recording. I'm telling you, the last few years have seen some of the best jazz-fusion albums this side of the 1970s. This album "Sep7entrion" (the "7" is stands for a "T") has everything you want. Rock-heavy riffs, fantastic thick bass lines, tight drums, odd-time rhythms, funky grooves, and some great melody lines that remind me of Return To Forever, Chick Corea Elektric Band, (no wonder, as Frank Gambale is on this album), Jaco Pastorius' self titled, and Brand X. Alain Caron is one of the most technically proficient jazz bassist around, up there with the likes of Victor Wooten.

What makes this stand out from other modern fusion albums is the great compositional talent from Caron. The music progresses, and goes through an array of moods. I never heard of Damien Schmitt before, but he is so in the pocket behind the drum kit, that I sometimes think he's the star of the show. Very talented musician.

The grooves on this album are what make me keep coming back to this album. All the technical proficiency from everyone involved is great and all, but they really know how to make your body move. This a fusion album I recommend anyone into the genre to check out. You won't be disappointed. This would be a 5 star album if not for the fact that the energy level drops a bit on the last 2 tracks, but otherwise, this is a fantastic album.

HIROMI Voice

Album · 2011 · Classic Fusion
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This album is great. I like all of Hiromi's albums, but this one, along with her classic album "Time Control", is among the best fusion albums you'll come across this side of the 21st century. Besides the fact that she is a virtuoso pianist, she also knows how to write a tune, catchy melodies, and top that off with some of the best jazz piano playing ever. She does dabble with keyboard sounds on all her albums, this album is no exception. Thing is, don't expect too much, as this is mostly a piano-dominated record, with bass and drums backing her up. But as I said, her piano playing is great, and there are some tracks that are just so beautiful, it may make you cry ;) Cuts like "Temptation" really bring out her soul and contain some gorgeous playing from her.

But this is a fusion album, and the record starts off with the title song, in progressive rock fashion, piano riffs galore. The next track is a reprise of a tune from her other masterpiece album "Time Control", something she's been doing for most of her catalog. So she has the 'rock' mentality for sure, she just doesn't need guitars or keyboard effects to achieve what she needs to. I will admit, I do somewhat miss her quartet that is on Time Control and Beyond Standard, but since this is labeled as a "Trio Project" hopefully they'll return on a future album. Get this album, one of the best modern jazz/fusion albums, and nice to hear such a good album coming out in a year like 2011.

STANLEY CLARKE Journey to Love

Album · 1975 · Classic Fusion
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Not as good as the previous album or following album, but still a good 70s fusion album, with a great lineup consisting of guys like George Duke, Chick Corea, Jeff Beck, Steve Gadd, and many more.

I'm not sure why this one isn't as good as the self-titled album, or School Days, since all the tunes here are high quality fusion. It's probably only because the two albums are just better; but this one is not to be overlooked.

The first track "Silly Putty" is probably the funkiest tune Clarke ever made, and the title track and "Hello Jeff" have some great playing from George Duke and Jeff Beck, who are masters of their instruments, as is Stanley himself. "Hello Jeff" is hard rockin' tune, almost sounds like it was lifted off of his own album "Blow By Blow" but with Clarke on bass.

The other half of the album consists of a tribute to John Coltrane, while good, is kind of just there. Not bad though. The album ends with the classical/jazz-fusion track, simply called "Concerto for Jazz/Rock Orchestra". While good, Stanley Clarke did a similar thing with his previous album, and follow up album, and did it better on those two albums. Still good, though.

Get this one after you get the other two Clarke albums mentioned in this review. This one is still good, and well worth it for the 70s jazz-fusion collector.

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