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John
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Favorite Jazz Artists

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877 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 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 - Sun Ra And His Astro Infinity Arkestra : 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 114 3.67
2 Avant-Garde Jazz 68 3.92
3 Post Bop 56 4.10
4 Hard Bop 54 3.84
5 Soul Jazz 48 3.42
6 World Fusion 41 3.61
7 Big Band 40 3.83
8 Eclectic Fusion 40 3.73
9 RnB 37 3.61
10 Jazz Related Rock 32 3.75
11 Progressive Big Band 28 4.02
12 Nu Jazz 28 3.45
13 Bop 28 4.04
14 Funk Jazz 26 3.60
15 Pop/Art Song/Folk 23 2.80
16 Third Stream 22 3.89
17 Funk 21 3.90
18 Exotica 18 3.42
19 Jazz Related Electronica/Hip-Hop 18 3.39
20 Latin Jazz 15 3.80
21 Post-Fusion Contemporary 13 3.46
22 Cool Jazz 13 3.69
23 Dub/Ska/Reggae 12 4.04
24 Vocal Jazz 12 3.54
25 Jazz Related Soundtracks 11 3.91
26 Jazz Related Improv/Composition 10 3.40
27 Blues 10 3.80
28 21st Century Modern 10 4.20
29 Swing 8 4.00
30 Latin Rock/Soul 6 3.75
31 African Fusion 5 4.00
32 Acid Jazz 4 3.50
33 Classic (1920s) Jazz 2 4.50
34 Dixieland 1 3.50
35 Afro-Cuban Jazz 1 4.50
36 Bossa Nova 1 3.50
37 Jazz Education 1 3.50

Latest Albums Reviews

MAHAVISHNU ORCHESTRA Apocalypse

Album · 1974 · Fusion
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Apocalypse” was the third album for Mahavishnu Orchestra and saw the band going through some changes. The first two albums were probably some of the most divisive albums in jazz history. There was nothing subtle about Mahavishnu’s first two outings. Their heavy rock approach and bombastic sound were a turn off to many jazzers, but a definite attraction to the prog rock crowd who flocked to them in droves. As if the band was not cumbersome enough already, this third album was recorded with the London Symphony Orchestra, a sign that the big prog rock sensibilities might reign supreme on this one, but upon hearing it, fortunately its not really all that. To their credit, Mahavishnu always had top notch musicians and their fiery solos could raise the roof, and with this third album they raise that ante with some new exciting players. Bassist Ralphe Armstrong and violinist Jean-Luc Ponty were just a notch above the people they replaced and now McLaughlin finally had some people in the band who could hold their own against him. Michael Walden replacing Billy Cobham was a fairly even trade and Walden does a great job of fitting into the Cobham style while supplying his own unique syncopations and energy.

The first side of the album presents a surprisingly coherent musical vision as John steps up as a worthy composer and arranger fitting band and orchestra passages together to build a dynamic musical piece. Some highlights include a heavy string motif that sounds like a cross between Mussorgsky and King Crimson and a middle section where John lays down a repeating impossibly funky riff, one of his best since “Jack Johnson”. The closing ballad, sung by Gayle Moran, is one of the finest bits of composition in McLaughlin’s long career. On side two, things get a bit more disjointed, but separate sections still have nice things to offer. There is one high energy trio jam with John, Ralphe and Michael that allows Armstrong to show what an incredible bass player he is, but it is marred by an overly processed sound on the guitar. On the bad side of things, the section towards the end that features furious trading of fours with a string section is just kind of ridiculous, this is the sort of excess that dragged down many a 70s prog rock opus.

GRANT GEISSMAN Blooz

Album · 2022 · Soul Jazz
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Grant Geissman has recorded a lot of albums during his busy career, but never one quite like “Blooz”. Geissman has always been a fan of the blues but this is the first album he has recorded featuring the genre. Its not really a ‘pure blues’ album, or as Grants says himself, “ The album is called “Blooz” because its my take on the blues. It’s a fairly wide interpretation, and not always traditional.” So with that in mind, its no surprise we find many variations on the blues featuring influences from jazz, Latin rock, rockabilly, rhumba, boogaloo and more. A rotating cast of musicians are featured here, and many you have probably heard of before such as Tom Scott, Randy Brecker, Robben Ford and Joe Bonamassa. In many ways this may seem like a guitar player’s album, with Grant listing which vintage guitar he is using on each track, but horns and keyboards, especially the B3, all add their own colors.

“Carlos En Siete” is Latin rock in 7/4 time and is Grant’s tribute to Carlos Santana. Geissman’s solo on this one reflects the influence Carlos has on Grant’s playing. “Rage Cage is a rock boogie in the style of ZZ Top, with Jim Cox’s B3 solo taking the jam into soul jazz territory. “Preach” and “Fat Back” sound like classic 60’s Blue Note with Randy Brecker adding his horn to the former, and Tom Scott adding his saxophone to the latter. “One G and Two J’s” has a Bo Diddley beat and features a three guitar lineup when Grant is joined by Josh Smith and Joe Bonamassa. “Blooz” is a fun ride, liven up your nest outdoor BBQ with some contemporary takes on the blues and soul jazz.

ANTONIO ADOLFO Octet and Originals

Album · 2022 · Latin Jazz
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Antonio Adolfo is one of the top composer/arrangers in Brazil, not only in jazz, but also pop, RnB and all manner of Latin styles. His latest album, “Octet and Originals”, is an album made up entirely of his original compositions, some of which have been recorded before, but now they have been given new arrangements for this new album. It is a very talented octet that Adolfo has assembled here, and their many tone colors bring a mini-big band flavor to the album. Adolfo handles the piano and brings his Bill Evans and Herbie Hancock influenced style to fill out the ensemble.

Rhythmic diversity is a big part of this new album. “Boogie Baiao is so named because the tune shifts from a Brazilian baiao to a stateside RnB boogie for the closing section. “Cascavel” mixes maracatu, calango and sambao and “Emau” is based on the quadrilha, a Brazilian folk dance that is characterized by the accent on the upbeat. “Feito Em Casa” combines baiao and samba, but closes with some grooving soul jazz riffs. Some of the tunes on here are already well known as vocal numbers, but Adolfo decided to re-record them as instrumentals. The original “Heart of Brazil” was sung by Dione Warwick and expressed concern for preserving the rain forests of Brazil. “Pretty World” is a pretty ballad whose lyrical version has been covered by Stevie Wonder, Herb Alpert and others.

“Octet and Originals” should have strong appeal to Adolfo’s large fan base and fans of contemporary Brazilian jazz in general. The large ensemble presented here is capable of so many different shades and tone colors, often sounding much like French classical composers such as Debussy and Ravel, yet pushed by exciting Brazilian and US rhythms and topped by hot jazz solos. All of the soloists are great but special mention should go to the tenor sax and flute work of Marcelo Martins.

KEITH JARRETT Fort Yawuh

Live album · 1973 · Avant-Garde Jazz
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Throughout his lengthy career, Keith Jarrett has been one of the most important pianists of our time, but there was something different about his youthful playing that you don’t hear as much over the years. Before the Koln concert, the classical performances and the association with the somber 80s ECM sound, Jarrett’s playing was a lot funkier and bluesy soulful with plenty of gospel and roots country riffs to go around for everyone. Its from this earlier phase of his career that we get the loose, experimental and mostly high energy live concert known as “Fort Yawuh”. Joining Keith on this concert is his very talented, ‘American Quartet”, with Dewey Redman on tenor, Charlie Haden on bass and Paul Motian on drums. Part-time member, Danny Johnson, joins on percussion.

The album starts with the free post bop of “If the Misfits (Wear It)”, which opens with what sounds like the musicians imitating a North African field recording before going into high speed free-bop mode. Keith’s piano runs are both lightning fast and harmonically interesting at the same time. Dewey follows him with a strong tenor solo that shows the Coltrane and John Gilmore influences of the time. The album title track follows, and features the piano trio in free mode, but when they kick into an African rock groove, Redman joins with a Chinese musette solo that works really well with this sort of non-western rhythm. Side two kicks off with the gospel groove of “De Drums”, halfway through the track the rhythm picks up the tempo as Redman leads the band in a high energy soul jazz romp. Album closer “Still Life, Still Life”, is a ballad, but during Jarrett’s opening solo improv, he takes the tune into some very complex twisting turning twelve tone treatments.

The salient features on this album are enthusiastic energy and an open mind towards any possible musical influence. This group pulls from all the various musical influences described above, yet all those influences come together to make one sound and nothing sounds contrived or unnatural. There is a real joy at work in this album that is rare to come by.

DANA FITZSIMONS Fault Lines

Album · 2022 · 21st Century Modern
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I had just finished listening to a large part of the Paul Bley discography when the “Faultlines” CD by Dana Fitzsimmons showed up in the mail. Call it coincidence or divine intervention if you will, but the similarities to Dana’s album and a typical album by Bley were striking. Here you have artists that are both just as at home with a lyrical ballad as they are with pure exploratory improvisation, as well as artists who know how to freely improvise in ways that are subtle and attractive to a wide variety of listeners. In Fitzsimmon’s press release, Bley is not mentioned as an influence, but other contemporaries of his are, including Chick Corea and Keith Jarrett, but most importantly to Dana as a drummer, the music and drumming of Paul Motian figures prominently on this album. Joining Dana for this outing is pianist Bill Graham and Bassist Brandon Boone. This is not a typical jazz album on which the rhythm section acts only as support, instead all three musicians interact equally in a constant three way conversation. Much of this music is freely improvised, but it is still mostly tonal and rhythmic, but at the same time, very loose and unpredictable. This is Dana’s album, but Graham’s piano work is one of the most salient features on the album with his often relaxed swinging right hand figures that recall Keith Jarrett and Brad Mehldau, and Bill also wrote many of the tunes on the album too.

The band engages in Tristano styled brainiac bop on “Slant Anagrams” and “Number Six”, and rocks out some on “Borders”, which closes with Graham playing Brubeck style block chords in stubborn repeating rhythms against Dana’s free drumming. The trio gets more avant-garde on “Weeble Wobbles” and “Intersections”, but contrasts that with a fairly straight ahead reading of Richard Rogers’ “Where or When”. Much of the rest of the album centers around rather abstract and spacious moody pieces that aren’t typical ballads, but lean in that direction. The trio closes with Joni Mitchell’s “Amelia”, which picks up a sort of Neil Young flavor with Dana’s lazy but pronounced snare backbeat and Bill’s country flavored piano work. Musically, “Fault Lines” is brilliant, but the production could use a little better focus and clarity, especially on Brandon’s bass and Fitzsimmon’s cymbals, but this is a minor complaint really, overall this album is highly recommended for fans of today’s post-post bop.

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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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