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687 reviews/ratings
LOUIS ARMSTRONG - The Louis Armstrong Story, Volume I: Louis Armstrong And His Hot Five Classic (1920s) Jazz | review permalink
MILES DAVIS - Agharta Classic Fusion | review permalink
EARTH WIND & FIRE - Gratitude Jazz Related 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 Classic 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 - 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 Classic Fusion | review permalink
HERBIE HANCOCK - V.S.O.P. Post Bop | review permalink
MILES DAVIS - Get Up With It Classic 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 Classic Fusion | review permalink

See all reviews/ratings

Jazz Genre Nb. Rated Avg. rating
1 Classic Fusion 88 3.71
2 Avant-Garde Jazz 54 3.97
3 Hard Bop 46 3.85
4 Post Bop 36 4.14
5 Soul Jazz 36 3.33
6 Big Band 35 3.84
7 World Fusion 34 3.66
8 (Post-70s) Eclectic Fusion 32 3.77
9 Jazz Related Rock 28 3.77
10 Jazz Related RnB 27 3.52
11 Funk Jazz 24 3.60
12 Bop 22 3.98
13 Nu Jazz 22 3.39
14 Progressive Big Band 20 4.10
15 Funk 20 3.92
16 Pop Jazz/Crossover 19 2.68
17 Exotica 18 3.44
18 DJ/Electronica Jazz 16 3.25
19 Third Stream 15 3.87
20 Cool Jazz 10 3.85
21 Dub Fusion 9 4.00
22 Post-Fusion Contemporary 9 3.50
23 Jazz Related Soundtracks 9 3.94
24 Latin Jazz 8 3.94
25 Jazz Related Blues 8 3.69
26 Swing 8 4.00
27 Vocal Jazz 8 3.75
28 Jazz Related Improv/Composition 6 3.33
29 Latin Rock/Soul 6 3.75
30 21st Century Modern 4 4.50
31 Acid Jazz 4 3.50
32 Classic (1920s) Jazz 2 4.50
33 Dixieland 1 3.50
34 Afro-Cuban Jazz 1 4.50
35 Bossa Nova 1 3.50
36 Jazz Education 1 3.50

Latest Albums Reviews

THE CHEAP ENSEMBLE Patrick Arthur , Dana Fitzsimons, Chris Otts : The Cheap 3nsemble

Album · 2017 · Nu Jazz
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The Cheap 3nsemble is a leaderless trio operating out of Atlanta, and their CD of the same name is their debut recording. Despite the somewhat sarcastic name, there is nothing flippant about this trio’s music, instead, they provide compositions and improvisations that are very thoughtful, and even delicate at times, but also muscular as well, depending on how the collective muse moves them. The opening three tracks show an attachment to the early innovations of the ECM label, with saxophonist Chis Otts in particular echoing an influence from Jan Garbarek. But later tracks reveal a band that is far more diverse than mere copycats. Joining Otts in this trio is drummer Dana Fitzsimmons, whose freewheeling approach to the drums may remind some of Paul Motian, and guitarist Patrick Arthur, whose combination of floating space contrasted with gritty distorted muscle may recall the young John Abercrombie.

Along with the aforementioned opening tracks, some other interesting cuts on here include Chick Corea’s abstract post bop classic, “Matrix”, which the ensemble deconstructs into a noisy heavy avant-rock work out. Modern standard, “Pure Imagination” is barely recognizable as Chris stretches out the melody with long silences before the bands turns it into another broken beat rock affair. Arthur’s “Front” features the guitarist playing melancholy arpeggios that sound like a tuned hand drum behind Ott’s freely floating sax melody. Overall, there are no bad cuts on here, everything provided is well considered and treated with the challenge of making something original and new, or nu, if you will.

Going back to the earliest days of the fabled ‘cutting contests’, much of the jazz world has always been based around astonishing technique and virtuosity. It takes a certain amount of bold risk and conviction to check your extended chops at the door and play music that utilizes open space and slow unwinding melodies, but that is the risk that the Cheap 3nsemble has taken on in this debut CD. The end result, combined with the fractured rocking moments, is a new (nu) kind of jazz, something that the millennial generation can call their own. This music constitutes a remarkable debut, lets hope we here more from the cheap 3some, much of their potential is probably still untapped.


Live album · 1972 · Soul Jazz
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“Check this Out” is yet one more in a seemingly endless supply of soul jazz records put out by “Brother’ Jack McDuff. Fortunately, in this case a vast quantity does not imply a drop off in quality, instead, despite how many records he put out, you can almost always count on McDuff for a worthwhile spin. “Check this Out” came out in 1972, which was the same year Jack released his wild funky, and somewhat experimental “Heatin System”. “Check” is not quite as out there as “System”, but there is still plenty of hot solos and well arranged tunes to make this one a worthwhile addition to your McDuff collection.

It’s a rather large group that Jack has assembled here, with three sax players providing a mini big band effect, plus congas and guitar, while McDuff supplies the bass on all but one cut via his B3 foot pedals. Side one kicks off with a wide open energetic blues based jam, followed by the well known ballad, “Georgia On My Mind”. Jack handles the melody on “Georgia”, while the horn players provide an interesting re-harmonization of the familiar chord changes. This side closes with the modern funk sounds of “Soul Yodel”, on which Jack’s foot work is replaced by the electric bass of Richard Davis, who supplies a syncopated groove reminiscent of WAR’s “Slipping into Darkness”.

Side two opens with an unexpected original 60s flavored optimistic art pop song with the tongue-in-cheek title of “Middle Class Folk Song”. This one bears some resemblance to the Carpenter’s “Sing a Song”, which is not a bad thing. This is followed by another up tempo hard bop groove before the album closes out with some classic soul jazz slow burn blues. All throughout this album there are plenty of good solos. With three sax players on board, its not always clear who is playing what, but most likely the hottest sax solos probably come from Jack’s longtime sidekick, “Red" Holloway. If McDuff’s burning solos sound familiar, its because he more or less invented the solo language of the B3 as it was used by many 70s rock and RnB players from Gregg Rollie to Jon Lord, and just about everyone else too. We often hear of Jimmy Smith as a major B3 influence, but his high speed bop/blues lines did not adapt to rock as well as McDuff’s grittier hard punchy riffs. Plus McDuff often had a bit of overdrive distortion to his sound, which added to his rock appeal.

MARVIN GAYE What's Going On

Album · 1971 · Jazz Related RnB
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Although the term ‘Progressive RnB’ never really caught on the same way as ‘Progressive Rock’ did, what happened in the world of RnB in the early 70s was quite similar to what was happening in the rock and pop world at the same time. Influences from jazz, modern classical and psychedelia all converged on many RnB artists to push their creations to new heights. In the late 60s, albums by The Temptations such as “Puzzle People” and “Cloud Nine” began to open the door to further experimentation, meanwhile George Clinton’s Parliament/Funkadelic machine was making some noise in the underground, as well as WAR, Mandrill and others, but the album that really made it possible for RnB artists to search and explore in a commercially successful way was Marvin Gaye’s “Whats Going On”.

This album almost didn’t happen at all. Gaye was a hit machine for Berry Gordy’s very lucrative Motown label with songs like “That’s the Way Love is” and “I Heard it Through the Grapevine”, making sure his boss was one of the richest producers in the world of music. When Gordy first heard Gaye’s proposed single release of title tune, “Whats Going On”, he refused to release it, saying it was not commercial enough. Marvin countered with his own protest, refusing to record anymore songs unless Gordy allowed his ambitious project to continue. Barry finally relented, and in a rush of pent up energy, Gaye finished his album long masterpiece and released it to much critical acclaim and commercial success. In fact, to this day, many of the signature songs on this album are still played on the radio and elsewhere.

Compared to Gaye’s upbeat music that preceded this album, “Whats Going On” is dark and moody, there are no ‘love songs’, just songs about civil unrest, endless war in Vietnam, concern for the ecology and concern for the future of the children in a fast changing world. The entire album comes across like a suite, with one song segueing into another without a noticeable break. There is a strong jazz sensibility at work here, especially in the creative bass lines of Bob Babbit and James Jamerson, as well as the saxophone work of Eli Fountain. Familiar pop/blues chord progressions are uplifted with spiraling strings and wordless vocals, it sounds like Marvin wants to push his message up into the heavens in an appeal to God himself, who is also referenced frequently in the albums plaintive lyrics.

This album would definitely open some doors, Stevie Wonder soon followed with his own “Talking Book”, and later Earth Wind and Fire would take the world of RnB to all new heights. A classic album that still sounds modern and relevant today, “Whats Going On” was the peak of Gaye’s career, as well as a peak for the world of RnB and pop music in general.

MICA BETHEA Stage 'N Studio

Album · 2017 · Big Band
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The days of traveling big bands going from town to town and entertaining dancing patrons passed long ago, but in the last couple decades, big bands have been making a comeback as a vehicle for composer/arrangers to display what they can do with tone color and part arranging to achieve music that can not be done with a smaller ensemble. This leads us to Mica Bethea, an ambitious composer/arranger who works out of the University of North Florida in Jacksonville. Maybe its because Mica isn’t associated with NYC that his name is not as well known yet, but his new CD, “Stage ‘n Studio”, should help change that. This is an excellent modern big band recording with complex music that is both challenging, but also loads of fun too. Not only is Mica a top notch arranger for pieces by well known composers such as Herbie Hancock, Harold Arlen and George Gershwin, but his original compositions are often better than the aforementioned better known composers.

“Stage n’ Studio’ is a tale of two CDs in one package. CD one consists of eight tunes recorded in the studio, while CD two contains many of the same tunes, plus a couple different ones, recorded live. For my money, I think the live CD is the stronger of the two, not only is the playing more loose and energetic, but even the sound mix and production have a stronger congruence than CD one. The tunes on the two CDs are roughly 80% the same, but once again, where there are differences, the choice of tunes on CD two is better. The range of music on here is varied from fusion to bop, plus a couple ballads as well. Bethea sites Gil Evans, Bob Brookmeyer, Thad Jones and Maria Schneider as influences, and you can hear all that, plus on “Frahm out of Nowhere” you can hear a hard driving Quincy Jones TV theme effect, and that is most definitely a complement. Other top tracks include, “Birth Rite”, a beautiful Bethea original ballad that shows the Gil Evans influence, as well as a taste of French composers like Maurice Ravel. The arrangement of Herbie’s well known funk classic “Hang Up Your Hang Ups” is a total gas, excellent music to crank up in the car as you beat the traffic. “Jonesin for Thad” is another top notch Micah original that swings like crazy as complex horn lines intersect in a tribute to the arranging style of Thad Jones.

I can’t say enough good things about this CD, this is very exciting music and highly recommended for fans of modern big band. Give Micah a chance to engage your ears (and dancing feets), I don’t think you will be disappointed.


Album · 2017 · Progressive Big Band
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On first listen you will find it hard to believe that “EE-YA-GI” is only the first album released by big band leader Hyeson Hong. Such a well developed approach to arranging is rare with a debut recording, but truth be told, Hyeson is hardly a newbie as she has been leading ensembles in both Korea and New York City for some time now. Its only appropriate that she has finally been given a chance to share her sophisticated writing and arranging with the rest of the world. There are seven tracks on “EE-YA-GI”, and each one stands as their own separate colorful world of sounds and melodies. Hong’s approach is rooted in the modern big band sounds of Thad Jones and Mel Lewis, plus some exotic colors reminiscent of Don Ellis, some modern 3rd stream influence ala Marie Schneider, and even some sophisticated pop sass in a vein similar to Quincy Jones. To all this Hong often adds melodies taken from her native Korea, the end result is an infinitely interesting orchestral extravaganza that is all her own. The talented 18 piece orchestra of New Yorkers that Hong leads on her debut album is accented by Marie Schneider alumna such as Rich Perry on tenor sax and Ingrid Jensen on trumpet. The wordless vocals of EJ Park adds much exotic color to many of the melodies, and Korean vocalist, Subin Park, leads “Boat Song” with a traditional ‘Chang’ song.

The aforementioned “Boat Song” probably carries the most Korean flavor, while album opener, “Harvest Dance”, also displays much melodic content from Hong’s homeland. “Disappearing into Foam” and “Love Song” are melodic and romantic, while “Trash Digging Queen” (an ode to Hyeseon’s misbehaving pet dog), has a hectic and almost comical arrangement that features constantly shifting rhythms. Possibly an album highlight though is “Para Mi Arrigo Distante”, which features a rib-sticking melody that recalls some of Quincy Jones best work in the 60s. Modern big band enthusiasts take note, “EE-YA-GI” is complex and challenging, but also fun and buoyant too. Such an excellent balance, lets hope there will be many more albums from Hyeseon Hong in the near future.

Latest Forum Topic Posts

  • Posted 2 days ago in What are You Listening II
    Joe Marcinek   Classic and modern funk jazz.https://joemarcinekband.bandcamp.com/album/slink
  • Posted 11 days ago in Jazz Samples
    I have never bought from that site, or any other site. I can usually get my own samples.You might want to try your local DJ shop, they usually carry compilations loaded with potential samples. Also, you may want to just pick up some 60s Blue Note records, artists like Donald Byrd, Art Blakey, Herbie Hancock and Lee Morgan are all good choices.
  • Posted 20 days ago in Lee "Scratch" Perry re-issue
    For promo copies, interviews, or for additional info...   CONTACT:            Clint Weiler  |  MVD Entertainment Group  |  610.665.2012  |  [email protected] IMMEDIATE RELEASE:   Lee "Scratch" Perry & Subatomic Sound System to release"Super Ape Returns To Conquer"Perry revisits his classic Black Ark album that defined Jamaican dub music, reincarnating the magic for today's sound system generationComing to CD, Vinyl, and Digital Formats on September 22ndHere's a brief documentary by Great Big Story...41 years after Lee "Scratch" Perry defined dub music with his seminal 1976 Super Ape concept album, the musical genius at the age of 81 returns with NYC's Subatomic Sound System to conquer again, reincarnating the magic of his Black Ark studio in Jamaica, leaning even heavier on Ethiopian horns & percussion, while invigorating it for urban jungles with booming Subatomic beats and bass to capture the energy of their innovative live electronic show and crystalize for the new millennium why the album was a cornerstone in the development of independent, producer fueled, beat and bass driven music. To say that Super Ape defined dub, is to say that it created a blueprint for where most music has arrived 41 years later when it now is commonplace for a producer to be considered an artist, work from a home studio, sample and remix existing songs, and have the beat and bassline at the forefront of the song, perhaps replacing singing with rhythmic talking or with echoes and effects and no vocals at all. In 1976, it was unheard of, unimaginable, and even unacceptable to many, but Lee Perry did it and now it is commonplace from electronic music to trap. More than a re-creation, this new album breaks ground of its own; first, for its fluid combination of improvisational electronic performance with live instruments in a way that finally sees instruments and computers dynamically interacting like a live band should, while simultaneously being mixed like a studio recording (rather than live instruments simply playing over static backing tracks); and secondly, it blurs the line between a live and studio album, combining elements from tour performances based on the original studio album with new tempo synced studio recordings to get that "lightning in a bottle" chemistry of the moment. "Every night, we set up a sort of digital studio on stage as an instrument in the band, taking Scratch's whole process of dub mixing out of the confines of the studio and onto the stage so that instead of just hitting play, it allows us to remix and arrange the music in real time in a way that is not unlike a like a jazz solo. That is how we create the live show, but it also allows us to take it back into the studio to create an album with that same live energy and spontaneity," says Emch from Subatomic.Dub for Lee Scratch Perry, and particularly on Super Ape, represented a calculated move away from the vanity of superstar singers and the rising celebrity of reggae globally, in favor of a spiritual journey into the interconnectedness of the life force of nature throughout all things, represented by the all-powerful Super Ape, the conquering lion, the jungle, the ocean, the elements of thunder, lightning, rain, wind, and of course, Scratch's favorite, fire. Scratch famously burned down his own Black Ark studio in Jamaica to free himself from vampires. Twice his old as he was then, Scratch's ideology is even deeper and more relevant. "Times changed. It's not about Black Ark anymore. Evil get squeezed. Too much vanity... Now I come to conquer ragga and destroy raggamuffin, conquer raggamuffin with a new beat and a new sound of dub," said Perry.In rebuilding the album start to finish it was important to not undo any of the original magic and towards that goal, painstaking attention was given to be consistent with not only the brilliant performances and orchestration but also the unmistakable murky, mystical production sound for which Scratch is famous. While that sound of the original recordings was maintained in the high frequencies, in the low end, the goal was to provide deeper subs and punchier drums to the riddims which are now possible to capture and playback with current recording and speaker technology. According to Emch, "I'm just trying to turn what's in Lee Perry's head into reality. I wanted it to sound like Scratch teleported into 2017 and we gave him technology to bring back to 1976 and create an album 40 years ahead of its time without the limitations of 1976, because that's what he was hearing, but now listeners they can hear what was in his head then, sounding current now and more easily recognize it as groundbreaking without anyone needing to contextualize it or explain the limitations of old recording gear. Some of those limitations like tape distortion and the loss of high frequencies on high hats and horns, contributed to the sound Scratch is known for and we recreated those elements, but we could choose when and how much we wanted that to happen and as a result, you can hear much more of the detail of the layers, a level of orchestration far beyond what is typical in reggae."The compositions alone make this album worth revisiting. Created just after Scratch broke off working with Bob Marley & The Wailers, having written and produced what many consider some of the greatest songs of the century (Sun Is Shining, Kaya, Natural Mystic and dozens more), Super Ape included dub versions of two more of reggae's most enduring songs "Chase the Devil" and "War Ina Babylon" that Scratch had recorded with Max Romeo, which on this new album, combine unique elements of their 1976 Super Ape dub versions with the original vocal versions. Songs like "Zion's Blood", "Dread Lion", and "Super Ape" are heavy spiritual meditation vibes but now turn up the throbbing bass pressure to 11 and extend the improvisational style of Ethiopian jazz hinted at in the horns on the originals. The ganja tune "Underground Roots" originally mostly instrumental, features Ari Up, pioneering singer of the first all-female UK punk band The Slits, joining Scratch on vocals for an exploration of the metaphor of underground roots and culture. Sadly it seems this was Ari's last recording, shortly before


Please login to post a shout
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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