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147 reviews/ratings
HERBIE HANCOCK - Empyrean Isles Post Bop | review permalink
FREDDIE HUBBARD - First Light Classic Fusion | review permalink
KEITH JARRETT - The Köln Concert Post-Fusion Contemporary | review permalink
MILES DAVIS - In a Silent Way Classic Fusion | review permalink
MILES DAVIS - Kind of Blue Cool Jazz | review permalink
HERBIE HANCOCK - Head Hunters Funk Jazz | review permalink
HERBIE HANCOCK - Speak Like a Child Post Bop | review permalink
CURTIS MAYFIELD - Superfly Jazz Soundtracks | review permalink
TOSHIKO AKIYOSHI - Long Yellow Road Progressive Big Band | review permalink
MAHAVISHNU ORCHESTRA - The Inner Mounting Flame Classic Fusion | review permalink
JANKO NILOVIĆ - Rythmes Contemporains (aka Giant) Jazz Soundtracks | review permalink
CHARLES MINGUS - The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady Post Bop | review permalink
JIMMY SMITH - Root Down Soul Jazz | review permalink
DAVE BRUBECK - Jazz Impressions of Japan Cool Jazz | review permalink
JOHN COLTRANE - Olé Coltrane Hard Bop | review permalink
BILL EVANS (PIANO) - Waltz for Debby Cool Jazz | review permalink
THE SEATBELTS - Cowboy Bebop Jazz Soundtracks | review permalink
SANTANA - Caravanserai Latin Rock/Soul | review permalink
MILES DAVIS - Sketches of Spain Third Stream | review permalink
BILL EVANS (PIANO) - Everybody Digs Bill Evans Post Bop | review permalink

See all reviews/ratings

Jazz Genre Nb. Rated Avg. rating
1 Classic Fusion 26 3.37
2 Jazz Related Rock 17 3.35
3 Post Bop 13 3.96
4 Hard Bop 13 3.85
5 Jazz Related RnB 12 3.00
6 Latin Rock/Soul 9 3.44
7 Cool Jazz 8 4.19
8 Jazz Soundtracks 6 4.33
9 Pop Jazz/Crossover 6 3.17
10 World Fusion 5 4.00
11 Funk Jazz 5 4.10
12 Nu Jazz 4 3.75
13 Post-Fusion Contemporary 4 4.00
14 Progressive Big Band 4 4.00
15 Soul Jazz 3 4.00
16 Third Stream 3 3.33
17 Vocal Jazz 2 3.75
18 Latin Jazz 2 4.00
19 Swing 1 3.00
20 Bop 1 3.00
21 Jazz Related Blues 1 4.00
22 Exotica 1 3.00
23 Funk 1 3.00

Latest Albums Reviews

TOSHIKO AKIYOSHI Tales of a Courtesan (Oirantan)

Album · 1976 · Progressive Big Band
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'Tales of a Courtesan' didn't hook me the way the first two Akiyoshi/Tabackin collaborations did. It's certainly not a bad record at all, but I just didn't find the arrangements as engaging here.

There's still a lot of variety and punch (especially to the energetic 'Strive for a Jive') and some reflective pieces too, like 'Interlude', which reminds me a little of some CTI-era Freddie Hubbard, but I was surprised to find the title track a little too sparse. It almost sounds like it was scored for a film but suffers a touch without accompanying visuals. Still, some haunting flute from Tabackin in there.

The surprise stand out for me is the brooding 'Village' which brings more of the progressive big band feel to the fore.

For fans of either Akiyoshi or Tabackin, this is still worthwhile I'd argue, but maybe the start with their first two if you're looking for a spot to dip into their respective catalogues.


Album · 1998 · Jazz Soundtracks
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Hands down the best soundtrack to any animated series - but more importantly, what's it actually sound like?

Well, for my money 'progressive big band' is the perfect genre for this album. The pieces range from hard bop to Latin-influenced jazz to spacey sax ballads or bittersweet, sparsely accompanied pieces like 'Waltz for Zizi.'

Composer and pianist Yoko Kanno has brought together a sharp band in the Seatbelts and they hit hard with thunderous opener 'Tank!' - a charging blast of hard bop but with that Latin touch via the percussion bringing it something extra. A scorching alto solo from Masato Honda tops everything off too.

There's a good dose of stylistic variation on the album (though not as much as with their other releases) and it should keep fans of big band and hard bop interested from start to finish.


Album · 2012 · World Fusion
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Samuel Yirga is a young Ethiopian pianist (perhaps known to fans of ‘Dub Colossus’), whose playing seems most influenced by Jarrett, but whose compositions very much reflect a ‘world’ feel. There’s a mix of Latin, Jazz, Classical and traditional Ethiopian pieces here, but with a fairly slick production, which seems a feature of label Real World.

‘Guzo’ sometimes bring Mulatu Astatke to mind (‘Tiwista’) and can be a very rhythmic album, with tracks like ‘My Head’, ‘Abet Abet’ or the fantastic cover of ‘I Am the Black Gold of the Sun’ bringing a lot of percussion into play. Samuel also has three beautiful solo pieces on the album – my favourite being the haunting ‘Ye Bati Koyita.’

His debut also features some great guest vocal performances, the ‘Blues of Wollo’ featuring the moody wails of Genet Masresha being a real standout. The album has been pretty rewarding over repeated listens and I’m looking forward to hearing whatever’s next for Samuel Yirga.

PORTICO QUARTET Knee-Deep in the North Sea

Album · 2007 · Nu Jazz
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'Knee-Deep in the North Sea' is a great nu-jazz debut and might well introduce the 'hang' to some listeners, a percussive instrument that sounds like a highly dynamic steel drum.

Portico Quartet play a relaxed and at times brooding 'nu-jazz' led by Jack Wyllie's sax, which has a mostly melodic function rather than dissonant one.

At times the songs grow quite sombre, especially on a piece like the title track, which sounds a little like a precursor to ideas which will be revisited on 'Clipper' from the band's second album.

There are more frantic moments throughout, where the rhythm section really get to thump along for a bit, but these moments are used sparingly, such as during the latter parts of 'Zavodovski Island.'

I really enjoy this album, though their follow-up 'Isla' is my pick from the Portico discography.

DAVE BRUBECK Jazz Impressions of Eurasia

Album · 1958 · Cool Jazz
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Released the year before landmark ‘Time Out,’ this is one of more than a few Quartet LPs that have probably been overshadowed by such a monster album.

But ‘Jazz Impressions of Eurasia’ is worth finding. It’s a distinctive set of pieces – take for instance the meditative yet jittery ‘Calcutta Blues’ or the catchy ‘Nomad’ – that draws from the Quartet’s long tour of Europe and South Asia. The album shows another wonderful set of recordings where the group have woven the music of other cultures into their cool jazz.

It’s easy to hear Dave’s ear for classical music, especially in standout ‘Thank You’ or the almost stately opening to ‘Brandenburg Gate.’ Brubeck’s playing has always sounded strong, firm, even considered to me – but it’s still relaxing too, still engaging. Despite great performances from Desmond on alto and Morello on the drums, for me this album represents one of my favourite Brubeck performances.

If you only have a few Brubeck albums and find yourself looking for more, then this might be a good place to stop off (along with another of his great travel-themed albums – Jazz Impressions of Japan.)

Latest Forum Topic Posts

  • Posted 22 days ago in Mysteries of the "Miss Beatnik Contest" photo
    [QUOTE=js]I get the feeling the beats were never as homogeneous as the hippies eventually became...[/QUOTE]Agreed - that sounds about right to me (only from reading and/or watching interviews of course)
  • Posted 22 days ago in Mysteries of the "Miss Beatnik Contest" photo
    [QUOTE=patti.mccrory]Ginsberg, Sylvia Plath (my favorite), Kerouac, David Meltzer, etc., and of course psychology.  That's was everyone's major back then.  We didn't gave a hoot about politics...we were totally anti-society. [/QUOTE]Thanks! Can I ask, how did you find say, 'On the Road' during the time - and have you re-read it since maybe? Has your opinion of it changed at all?Love Plath's poetry, stunning
  • Posted 22 days ago in What are You Listening II
    dreadpirateroberts2016-01-19 00:23:26


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