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555 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
COUNT BASIE - Count Basie and his Orchestra Big Band | 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
DUKE ELLINGTON - Money Jungle Hard 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 Smiles Post Bop | review permalink

See all reviews/ratings

Jazz Genre Nb. Rated Avg. rating
1 Classic Fusion 78 3.74
2 Avant-Garde Jazz 42 3.95
3 Hard Bop 31 3.95
4 Soul Jazz 31 3.35
5 Post Bop 28 4.27
6 Jazz Related Rock 26 3.79
7 World Fusion 26 3.63
8 (Post-70s) Eclectic Fusion 25 3.74
9 Funk Jazz 23 3.59
10 Jazz Related RnB 22 3.41
11 Big Band 22 3.93
12 Nu Jazz 19 3.34
13 Funk 18 3.92
14 Bop 17 3.94
15 Pop Jazz/Crossover 17 2.53
16 DJ/Electronica Jazz 16 3.28
17 Progressive Big Band 15 4.13
18 Third Stream 15 3.87
19 Exotica 14 3.50
20 Cool Jazz 11 3.95
21 Jazz Soundtracks 11 3.55
22 Dub Fusion 8 3.88
23 Jazz Related Blues 7 3.64
24 Post-Fusion Contemporary 7 3.50
25 Latin Rock/Soul 6 3.75
26 Swing 5 4.00
27 Acid Jazz 4 3.50
28 Jazz Related Improvisation 3 3.50
29 Latin Jazz 3 3.83
30 Vocal Jazz 1 4.50
31 Afro-Cuban Jazz 1 4.50
32 Dixieland 1 3.50
33 Bossa Nova 1 3.50
34 Classic (1920s) Jazz 1 5.00

Latest Albums Reviews

THELONIOUS MONK Thelonious Monk Plays Duke Ellington

Album · 1956 · Bop
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“Thelonious Monk Plays Duke Ellington” is an album that comes early in Monk’s career. He had started out at the Prestige label, where he recorded a handful of albums that featured his original compositions that were on the cutting edge of modern be-bop. These albums did not sell well as many jazz fans felt Monk’s music was too ‘difficult’, and sometimes downright foreboding. Frustrations with Prestige finally reached a head and Monk was let go, which is when upstart label Riverside entered the picture. Eager to have a known artist on their roster, Riverside gladly took on Monk and began advising him on how to expand his audience. The whole idea behind ‘Monk Plays Ellington’ was to have Monk record some familiar tunes by a well known master, and then possibly a wider audience may come to appreciate him.

Many hardcore Monk fans are dismissive of ‘Plays Ellington’, and consider it somewhat of a commercial sellout with less than top notch playing. This harsh evaluation is hardly true, although this is not one of Monk’s more outside albums, he hardly plays it safe or checks his creativity at the door. Instead these tunes carry all the trademarks of Monk’s playing; the weird rhythmic juxtapositions, the jagged phrasing and the surprise note choices, its all here, plus Ellington too. Choosing Oscar Pettiford and Kenny Clark as his backup also shows that Monk was striving for more credibility and acceptance by picking two of the top and best known performers of that time. Pettiford gets a couple short solos, and also engages in some interesting interplay with Thelonious.

Monk’s playing easily fits with Ellington’s music, as they both come from this sophisticated and abstract blues perspective. Monk’s playing on here may seem somewhat restrained compared to some of his other albums, but I doubt that was due to a lack of creativity or commercial concerns, instead it seems that Monk doesn’t want to take all the ‘Ellington’ out of the music and make it too much of a Monk joint. His perceived restraint probably has more to do with Monk’s integrity and artistic respect than anything else.

Monk does not perform any major transformations on any of these tunes, probably the only noticeable change comes when “Mood Indigo” is played like a blues, instead of the languid lounge number it usually is. Possibly top tune honors could go to “I Let a Song Go Out of My Heart’ , which is given a joyous romp with a dissonant solo, and ends up sounding a bit like Monk’s “Let’s Cool One”. Also memorable are “Black and Tan Fantasy” and Monk’s moving solo work on “Solitude”. Overall this is a good album, but possibly more interesting to Ellington fans than Monk fans.

DEWA BUDJANA Hasta Karma

Album · 2015 · Classic Fusion
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Dewa Budjana has been putting out high quality fusion records at the rate of about one per year for quite some time now, and fortunately, each album has its own unique flavor. His latest, “Hasta Karma”, is somewhat of a return to the big orchestrated sound of 2011’s “Dewa in Paradise”, but with some differences too. Having Ben Williams on upright bass and Joe Locke on vibes gives the band more of a loose and ‘jazzy’ sound this time around, and less of the power jazz-rock sound of 2014’s “Sura Numaskar”. Joe’s vibes also provide a nice counter voice to Dewa’s guitars during solo sections, as the band is apt to break it down and play in a more sparse fashion during the vibe solos.

“Hasta Karma” opens strong with an ambitious opening track called “Saniscara”. Its big sound and driving South Asian/Latin fusion rhythms sound similar to Pat Methny’s new popular Unity band. Follow up track “Desember” is slower and darker and has one of Budjana’s best guitar solos. This burning intense noise fest of a solo may remind some of the young Robert Fripp. Follow up track, “Jayaprana” returns us to the world fusion drive and bustle of the opening cut. After hearing the unified approach of these first three songs, it would appear that Budjana is really going for a wider western audience this time around, and possibly pointing straight at Pat Methany’s recent successes, but he throws us a total curve ball on track four, “Ruang Dialisis”.

“Ruang Dialisis” is a lengthy track dedicated to Dewa’s father and features a recording of his grandmaother, Jro Ktut Sidemen, chanting Mamuit in the form of a traditional funeral song. This chant is accompanied first by mournful guitar arpeggios, followed by a free section in which Dewa and his band really cut loose and then a return to the opening section. It’s a powerful and moving track and unlike anything I’ve heard from Dewa before, and certainly well beyond any commercial considerations or ‘crossover’ appeal. The following two closing tracks are good, but not as focused as the first four. “Just Kidding” is a patchwork of decent jazzy jam sessions, and “Payogan Rain” is a mid-tempo contemporary jazz, almost pop, number with relaxed solos for everyone.

Another excellent album for Dewa Budjana, he and Joe Locke turn in good solos on almost every track, and the first four tracks in particular feature Dewa’s usual skills at arranging and composing.

CHARLES MINGUS Mingus at the Bohemia (aka Chazz!)

Live album · 1956 · Hard Bop
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“Mingus at the Bohemia” comes from a live concert early in Mingus' career and features some of his first originals in the avant-blues style that will come to be the hallmark of his career. Album opener, “Jump Monk”, is driving hard bop with a catchy and insistent arrangement that teeters on the verge of chaos. This tune would go on to be one of Mingus’ most played classics, and it sums up so much of what his career would be about. The other tunes on here are no slouches either, and they present the variety that Mingus was working with. “Serenade in Blue” and “Work Song” continue the hard bop wrapped in interesting arrangements initiated by “Jump Monk”, and “Septemberly” has Mingus combining “September in the Rain” with “Tenderly” in an odd arrangement that has the two horn players each playing one of the tunes simultaneously. Likewise, “All the Things You C Sharp Minor” is an unlikely mix of “All the Things You Are” with a theme from Rachmaninoff, and “Percussion Discussion” is avant-garde third stream chamber music with Mingus on bass and guest Max Roach on percussion. Apparently Charles added a piccolo bass part to this one in the studio. All combined, the tunes on this CD constitute a very imaginative collection of music that was well ahead of its time.

The music on here is great, but the recorded sound is not as great. The horns and drums come in loud and clear, but the bass and piano are low and can almost disappear if you don’t turn it up. This is unfortunate because the virtuoso piano playing of Mal Waldron is the star of the show here. Mal’s ability to fuse blues with humorous extravagances and deconstructionist blunt force mixes well with Mingus’ musical vision, as both seem to draw upon a combination of Ellington, Monk and the new avant-garde. Mal gets to show off his well developed classical chops when he combines the structures of the standard “All the Things You Are”, with a well known Rachmaninoff theme, its one of those typical musician rehearsal jokes that made it to the stage, and it’s a surprisingly clever trick when Mal pulls it off.

Conventional wisdom maintains that the two horn players on here were a bit old school for what Mingus and Waldron were up to, but they both do a great job playing Mingus’ unusual arrangements and plunge right into the spirit. Their solos, particularly trombonist Eddie Bert, are more conventional, but Eddie’s soft swinging style just adds to the interesting incongruities of the entire project. This isn’t Mingus’ best recording, the sound is uneven, his musical vision is not totally unified yet, and his ensemble is not exactly on his same beam, but this is still an interesting and eclectic album for any Mingus fan to own.

QUINCY JONES I Dig Dancers

Album · 1960 · Big Band
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With “I Dig Dancers”, Quincy Jones continued his gradual shift from a pure jazz artist to a pop artist with a jazzy slant, but with no real drop off in quality or creativity. As the title suggests, this album is geared toward dancing, but not of the rockin RnB variety, instead this is more of a throwback to jazz’s ballroom dancing days in the heyday of the swing band, but the music isn’t particularly retro, its Quincy’s fresh 60s sound all the way. The band assembled here was an all-star aggregation that was put together to support a European tour of “Free and Easy”. When that show ended, Jones took this great band, that featured Benny Bailey, Clark Terry, Phil Woods and others, on a tour of Europe and also made many of these recordings. After returning to the states, Jones made some more recordings, this time with Freddie Hubbard and Oliver Nelson on board.

Along with Henry Mancini, Quincy Jones was inventing the soundtrack for life in the 60s and the new middle-class suburban hip. This is the sound of double martinis, James Bond movies, Playboy magazine and car commercials featuring Sting Rays and Thunderbirds. Some of this music might be a bit cute for the serious jazz fan, but for those who enjoy 60s soundtracks, albums like this are the pinnacle of a distinct sound and nuance. Although much of this music leans pop, there is no lack of artistry; Melba Liston’s “Tone Poem” is interesting in its 3rd stream abstractions, “The Midnight Sun Will Never Set” is a beautiful ballad featuring one of the best Phil Woods solos you will ever hear and “G’wan Train” has some nice driving RnB horn riffs. Its also interesting to note that the version of "Midnight Sun" on here is far jazzier than the straighter version that will appear on "Birth of a Band Vol 2".

Although this music is not as pure jazz as Jones’ early albums, such as “How I Feel About Jazz”, its not near as cute and corny as the pop tunes that will surface on “Birth of a Band Part 2” or the bonus tracks on “The Complete Birth of a Band”. Instead, the music on “I Dig Dancers” walks a fine line between big band jazz and artsy pop music. I think most Quincy Jones fans will find a lot to like here, the orchestrations and recorded sound are excellent.

CARLO MUSCAT The Sound Catalogues Vol. 1

Album · 2014 · Post Bop
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“The Sound Catalogues Volume 1” is the debut album from saxophonist Carlo Muscat, and it certainly sounds more mature and developed than your typical first outing. Muscat and his group play modern post bop, and take full advantage of that genre’s open nature. Sometimes they play to the changes, and sometimes out, sometimes they free up the rhythm, and sometimes they stay in the pocket, there’s lots of nice variety here. Muscat’s playing will have you thinking Wayne Shorter sometimes, he also sites Mark Turner as an influence, and the group reflects an interest in Shorter’s work with Miles in the mid-60s, but these are not mere copyists. Trumpeter Daniele Raimondi doesn’t sound much like Miles, but he instead features his own pure brassy sound with less affectation than your typical Miles influenced player.

The album opens with the moody “Fatman and Little Boy”, lots of nice spacious phrasing on this one. “Dust Bowl” follows with a hard groove and semi-free soloing with a wide open texture that recalls early Ornette. The following tunes explore a variety of styles with “Another Sun’ having a bit of modern downtown fusion drive, while “Wilbur’s Rise” features a striking melody. There is no dead weight on here, all of the tunes are excellent. Some of the playing on here is cool in that modern European way, but this is not the sterile music of a certain well known label, but is instead a music of deep soul and natural grit.

One of the nicest things about “Sound Catalogues” is the excellent natural sound, no phony reverb or excessive compression to kill the spirit of the music. There are some other well known saxophonists who would be wise to copy this approach and ditch the cheezy digital effects. Like the rest of you, I have a lot of music to choose from these days, but this one has been getting a lot of repeat spins, and there’s always something new to hear, highly recommended for fans of modern jazz.

Latest Forum Topic Posts

  • Posted 1 day ago in What are You Listening II
    I used to have a bunch of 78s, some fairly good early jazz etc, but I decided to trade them off rather than get into another expensive 'collectibles' binge. I'm already up to my neck in LPs, vintage keyboards and other types of bulky gear. 
  • Posted 1 day ago in Minnie Minoso dies at 90
    Major league baseball's 1st black Latino star Minoso dies By JAY COHEN1 hour ago.View gallery..CHICAGO (AP) — Minnie Minoso, the seemingly ageless Cuban slugger who broke into the majors just two years after Jackie Robinson and turned into the game's first black Latino star, has died, a medical examiner in Illinois said Sunday.The Cook County medical examiner's office did not immediately offer further details. There is some question about Minoso's age but the Chicago White Sox say he was 90.Minoso played 12 of his 17 seasons in Chicago, hitting .304 with 135 homers and 808 RBIs for the White Sox. The White Sox retired his No. 9 in 1983 and there is a statue of Minoso at U.S. Cellular Field."We have lost our dear friend and a great man," White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf said in a release. "Many tears are falling."Minoso made his major league debut with Cleveland in 1949 and was dealt to the White Sox in a three-team trade two years later. He became major league baseball's first black player in Chicago on May 1, 1951, and homered in his first plate appearance against Yankees right-hander Vic Raschi.It was the start of a beautiful relationship between the slugger and the White Sox.View galleryFILE - In a March 9, 1957 file photo, Chicago White Sox outfielder Orestes "Minnie" Minoso …Minoso, regarded as baseball's first black Latino star, was a Havana native who spent most of his career in left field. He is one of only two players to appear in a major league game in five different decades. He got his final hit in 1976 at age 53 and went 0 for 2 in two games in 1980 for the White Sox, who tried unsuccessfully over the years to get the "Cuban Comet" into baseball's Hall of Fame."When I watched Minnie Minoso play, I always thought I was looking at a Hall of Fame player," Reinsdorf said in an informational package produced by the team for a 2011 Cooperstown push. "I never understood why Minnie wasn't elected."He did everything. He could run, he could field, he could hit with power, he could bunt and steal bases. He was one of the most exciting players I have ever seen."Saturnino Orestes Armas Minoso Arrieta was selected for nine All-Star games and won three Gold Gloves in left. He was hit by a pitch 192 times, ninth on baseball's career list, and finished in the top four in AL MVP voting four times.Despite the push by the White Sox and other prominent Latin players, Minoso has never made it to Cooperstown. His highest percentage during his 15 years on the writers' ballot was 21.1 in 1988. He was considered by the Veterans Committee in 2014 and fell short of the required percentage for induction.View galleryFILE - In a April 6, 2001 file photo, Chicago White Sox legend Orestes "Minnie" Minoso sig …"My last dream is to be in Cooperstown, to be with those guys," Minoso said in that 2011 package distributed by the White Sox. "I want to be there. This is my life's dream."Minoso, who made his major league debut with Cleveland in 1949, hit .298 for his career with 186 homers and 1,023 RBIs. The speedy Minoso also led the AL in triples and steals three times in each category.Playing in an era dominated by the Yankees, Minoso never played in the postseason."Every young player in Cuba wanted to be like Minnie Minoso, and I was one of them," Hall of Fame slugger Tony Perez said. "The way he played the game, hard all the time, hard. He was very consistent playing the game. He tried to win every game. And if you want to be like somebody, and I picked Minnie, you have to be consistent."Minoso appeared in just nine games in his first stint with the Indians, but he took off when he was dealt to Chicago as part of a three-team trade in 1951 that also involved the Philadelphia Athletics. He went deep in his first plate appearance against Yankees right-hander Raschi, and hit .375 in his first 45 games with the White Sox.Minoso finished that first season in Chicago with a .326 batting average, 10 homers and 76 RBIs in 146 games for the Indians and White Sox. He also had a major league-best 14 triples and an AL-best 31 steals.It was Minoso's first of eight seasons with at least a .300 batting average. He also had four seasons with at least 100 RBIs."I have baseball in my blood," Minoso said. "Baseball is all I've ever wanted to do."___
  • Posted 1 day ago in What are You Listening II
    German jazz karaoke cabaret https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h_QuuDNRH2c

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Warthur wrote:
941 days 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:
988 days ago
js - please clear some space in your PM inbox, I'm trying to send you something.

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