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John
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Favorite Jazz Artists

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

See all reviews/ratings

Jazz Genre Nb. Rated Avg. rating
1 Fusion 102 3.69
2 Avant-Garde Jazz 60 3.98
3 Hard Bop 48 3.84
4 Post Bop 45 4.11
5 World Fusion 42 3.67
6 Soul Jazz 40 3.40
7 Big Band 36 3.85
8 Eclectic Fusion 35 3.76
9 Jazz Related RnB 31 3.60
10 Jazz Related Rock 29 3.78
11 Funk Jazz 26 3.60
12 Bop 26 4.04
13 Nu Jazz 23 3.39
14 Progressive Big Band 23 4.09
15 Funk 21 3.90
16 Jazz Related Pop/Art Song/Folk 20 2.75
17 Jazz Related DJs/Electronica/Rap 18 3.39
18 Exotica 18 3.44
19 Third Stream 16 3.84
20 Cool Jazz 12 3.75
21 Post-Fusion Contemporary 11 3.55
22 Vocal Jazz 10 3.75
23 Jazz Related Soundtracks 10 3.95
24 Dub/Ska/Reggae 10 4.05
25 Jazz Related Blues 9 3.72
26 Latin Jazz 8 3.94
27 Swing 8 4.00
28 Jazz Related Improv/Composition 7 3.43
29 Latin Rock/Soul 6 3.75
30 21st Century Modern 6 4.33
31 Acid Jazz 4 3.50
32 Classic (1920s) Jazz 2 4.50
33 Jazz Education 1 3.50
34 Afro-Cuban Jazz 1 4.50
35 Dixieland 1 3.50
36 Bossa Nova 1 3.50

Latest Albums Reviews

ERIC DOLPHY The Eric Dolphy Memorial Album (aka Conversations aka 1928-1964 aka Memorial aka Music Matador aka Jitterbug Waltz)

Album · 1963 · Post Bop
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Although its been known by many names over the years, the album that Eric Dolphy released in 1963 is mostly known by the title, “Conversations”, so that is the title we will use for this review. “Conversations” is a sort of pivotal album for Eric, coming after the expansive neo-bop of “Far Cry” and right before the avant-garde art jazz of 64’s “Out to Lunch”. “Conversations” does not possess the unity of those two, but instead is rather eclectic as it features both Dolphy’s bop side, as well as his more artsy ‘long haired’ leanings.

The album opens with the classic “Jitterbug Waltz”, played somewhat faithfully but with some decidedly ‘outside’ flourishes. Eric plays flute on here and turns in a dazzling solo. Woody Shaw also turns in a hot ride that toys endlessly with the original melody. Side one of the original LP closes out with “Musical Matador”, a rambling Caribbean number that features a rather large ensemble in joyous near cacophony. Side two features a lengthy duet with bassist Richard Davis that is neither free jazz, concert hall chamber music or relaxed post bop conversation, but contains elements of all of those. The album closes with Eric playing solo alto sax on a virtuoso and passionate rendition of “Love Me”.

The salient feature to “Conversations” is the second side on which Dolphy’s playing is isolated without a backing ensemble. It is on these tracks that his melodic skills are given free reign and the inventiveness of his playing achieves greater clarity.

ERNEST TURNER My Americana

Album · 2019 · Post Bop
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Ernest Turner has been working with some top names in jazz and pop for over 20 years, but he did not record as a leader until he put out “My Americana” this year. In many ways it has been worth the wait as this is not the work of a newbie, instead, “Americana” presents the well developed artistry of someone who has had plenty of time to formulate their approach to the piano trio. The CD’s title is reference to the fact that Turner is presenting his idea of a ‘great American songbook’ from an African-American perspective, hence the inclusion of tunes by Stevie Wonder, and Thelonious Monk, as well as a couple of well known gospel songs. The variety in the choice of songs is also reflected in Turner’s eclectic approach to the piano where his playing can range from cutting edge current to old school funky and down home soulful.

The album opens on that cutting edge tip with the turbulent intensity of “Return of Thanos”, a Turner original that carries one of the hottest piano solos you will hear this year. This, along with the other two Turner originals are probably the highlights of the album, the covers are all great, but Turner turns in his best solos on his self-penned numbers. Of the covers, Wonder’s “If It’s Magic” takes on a Brad Mehldau type air as Turner plays a hypnotic art pop vamp topped with an elastic solo that slips in and out of time. Fats Waller’s “Aint Misbehain” is barely recognizable as it has been altered and modernized to the extreme, I didn’t even know that was the tune I just heard until I saw the track list. Gospel music is something that cannot be faked, either you grew up in the church playing it, or it will be obvious you didn’t. Turner’s rendition of “Precious Lord” is drenched in all of those classic church rhythms and phrases, you can almost see the older women with their fans working back and forth.

There are so many great pianists these days, but Ernest Turner is ready to take his place along side the best of them. Much in the way of Jason Moran or Herbie Hancock, Ernest can play as technical and complicated as anyone, but he can also reach deep into the blues and play something that is just plain fun. His solos are never dull and I find myself wishing they would go on longer. I should also mention that Jon Curry on drums and Lance Scott on bass comprise a killer rhythm section and their well placed solo spots add to the overall arrangements.

ERIC DOLPHY Iron Man

Album · 1968 · Post Bop
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Although it was not released until 1968, the tracks for Eric Dolphy’s “Iron Man” were recorded in 1963 at the same sessions that produced the album “Conversations”. This all went down about one year before Dolphy released his art jazz masterpiece, “Out to Lunch”, so needless to say, the material on “Iron Man” is outstanding and a must have for any Dolphy fan. Although Eric and Sun Ra are both well known leaders in the world of avant-garde jazz, you do not normally hear much similarities in their music, except on this CD on which Dolphy is working with a mini big band ensemble that often carries a very Ra like sound in its arrangements and orchestrations.

“Iron Man” opens with two high energy bebop numbers that show Dolphy taking the musical innovations of Charlie Parker just one step further. Both of these tracks are sheer joy and feature great solos from Eric, Woody Shaw and Bobby Hutcherson. The large horn ensemble on these two returns on “Burning Spear”, for an ambitious arrangement that sounds like some of today’s cutting edge jazz. Two other tracks feature Dolphy in ballad duets with bassist Richard Davis. These two songs are played a bit more straight ahead, but with no lack of melodic invention and creativity.

Some versions of “Iron Man” carry a bonus track called “A Personal Statement”. This one features Eric in duet with an opera singer and a small combo performing a bizarre waltz and some other strange stuff that would be hard to describe. This track displays Dolphy’s interest in the avant-garde concert hall music of his time. There is a piano player on this one that carries a strong Sun Ra influence, and surprise surprise, its Bob James, who would later go on to become one of the most successful money making pop jazz artists ever.

BRANFORD MARSALIS Branford Marsalis Quartet : The Secret Between the Shadow and the Soul

Album · 2019 · Post Bop
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For those who like their jazz on the more heated side of things, Branford Marsalis’ “The Secret Between the Shadow and the Soul” should fit the bill. Its been said by more than a few that Branford’s studio recordings are no match for the fire of his live performances, and that may still be true, but this new one is probably the one studio recording that gets the closest to his live intensity, and likewise, this is also one of the better recordings in Branford’s lengthy career. Not everything on “Secret” is high energy, there is a variety of styles at work here, but it’s the ones on which Marsalis cuts loose that really mark this album as something special.

Opener “Dance of the Evil Toys” sets a modernist tone with its blend of a loping African rhythm, Stravinsky like snaky melody and harsh piano smashes. They throw a change up by introducing the ballad, “Conversation Among the Ruins”, as the second number, but it is a remarkable composition, something worthy of inclusion in future standard collections. The rest of the album is made up of a variety of 21st century post bop meets 60s free jazz with Branford and pianist Joey Calderazzo knocking out one high intensity solo after another. This all culminates with album closer, Keith Jarret’s “The Windup”, whose wacked out punky be-bop melody and arrangement sounds like something from today’s NYC scene, not the 70s when Keith wrote it. If there is one track that doesn’t quite fit, it’s the laid back Latin groove of “Cianna”, whose somewhat restrained solos don’t fit the energy and creativity of the rest of the album. Maybe that one is supposed to be the radio friendly song.

AKIRA TANA Love's Radiance (Ai San San)

Album · 2019 · World Fusion
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"Ai San San (Love’s Radiance}” is the third album for Akira Tana’s Otonowa group. Akira formed the band in 2012 to try and raise money for the coastal victims of Japan’s devastating earthquake and tsunami of 2011. Since 2014, the band has toured the most damaged areas as they do what they can to help out. The four main members of the group are all Japanese American jazz musicians, and for this recording, Akira added three more musicians playing more traditional Japanese instruments. The goal of this CD is to take traditional and popular Japanese melodies and transform them through the use of many different jazz idioms. When it comes to cultural potpourris, “Ai San San”, may take the cake. Along with a variety of Japanese and Western instruments mixing it up on here, you also get a variety of musical styles such as post bop, tango, calypso, Latin jazz, pop and free jazz. Due to the immense variety on here, each song represents a totally separate musical universe.

Hardcore jazzers will probably enjoy “Antagata Dokosa”, “Taiyo Hoero” and “Kando” on which the band plays energetic post bop and free jazz reminiscent of Herbie Hancock’s VSOP group. “Mura Matsuri” is a calypso number with a smooth saxophone solo that recalls Sonny Rollins during his colossal days. “Habu Minato” is probably the only tango in the world performed on traditional Japanese instruments, unless there is another one I missed out on. The album closes with Horace Silver‘s “Peace”, which takes on a very Asian flavor as it is performed on the shakuhachi. Elsewhere on the CD you get a variety of ballads and contemporary jazz performed with a mix of Japanese and Western instruments. I would imagine “Ai San San” would carry even more enjoyment for those who recognize these familiar Japanese melodies, but for the rest of u,s it is still an interesting multi-cultural ride through many synthesized landscapes.

Latest Forum Topic Posts

  • Posted 3 days ago in What are You Listening II
    ^ Sure thing, here is some of the incredible piano improvisations of Art Tatum for you.[TUBE]D9Cs_zb4q14[/TUBE] js2019-05-21 20:28:34
  • Posted 3 days ago in 2018 RnB, Funk, Blues and Dub Albums
    Lotus mixes jazzy RnB and electronica in a jam band format.https://lotusvibes.bandcamp.com/album/frames-per-second snobb2019-05-21 13:15:25
  • Posted 4 days ago in 2018 RnB, Funk, Blues and Dub Albums
    Ghost Note performs an eclectic mix of funk, jazz, hip-hop and RnB.https://ghost-note.bandcamp.com/album/swagism js2019-05-21 07:48:19

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Warthur wrote:
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more than 2 years ago
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