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651 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
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
MILES DAVIS - Nefertiti Post Bop | review permalink

See all reviews/ratings

Jazz Genre Nb. Rated Avg. rating
1 Classic Fusion 86 3.72
2 Avant-Garde Jazz 51 3.96
3 Hard Bop 42 3.86
4 Big Band 34 3.87
5 Post Bop 33 4.20
6 Soul Jazz 32 3.38
7 (Post-70s) Eclectic Fusion 32 3.77
8 World Fusion 31 3.65
9 Jazz Related Rock 28 3.77
10 Jazz Related RnB 25 3.44
11 Funk Jazz 23 3.59
12 Bop 21 4.00
13 Nu Jazz 21 3.38
14 Funk 20 3.92
15 Pop Jazz/Crossover 19 2.68
16 Progressive Big Band 18 4.08
17 Exotica 17 3.41
18 DJ/Electronica Jazz 16 3.28
19 Third Stream 15 3.87
20 Jazz Soundtracks 11 3.55
21 Cool Jazz 11 3.95
22 Dub Fusion 9 4.00
23 Post-Fusion Contemporary 9 3.50
24 Latin Jazz 7 3.93
25 Jazz Related Blues 7 3.64
26 Latin Rock/Soul 6 3.75
27 Vocal Jazz 6 3.67
28 Swing 5 4.00
29 Jazz Related Improv/Composition 5 3.40
30 Acid Jazz 4 3.50
31 21st Century Modern 2 4.50
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

Latest Albums Reviews


Album · 2016 · World Fusion
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Although Dwiki Dharmawan has been a well known performer in Indonesia for over 30 years, he only recently received more international recognition in 2015 when he released “So Far So Close” on the MoonJune label, a label which gave him much more access to a western audience. That album was broad and ambitious in itself, but on Dharmawan’s new CD, “Pasar Klewer, Dwiki takes the idea of ambition to a whole new level with a sprawling cinematic soundscape that could be called the “Sgt Pepper” of Indonesian fusion. There is literally a ton of intricate music on these two CDs, and the number of styles that are fused on here take us on a trip around the world, and several times at that.

Sprawling tracks like the opening title track, and track three, “Tjampuhan”, are like Indonesian fusion symphonies that mix gamelin, free jazz, electric fusion, prog rock and movie soundtracks in multi-movement suites that build to energetic climaxes, only to subside and build again. Dwiki is an intense pianist with a very developed technique and a massive sound that can recall McCoy Tyner, Chick Corea, Vijay Iyer and Matthew Shipp. Master Indonesian musicians provide gamelin and traditional Indonesian instrumentation and vocals, while Mark Wingfield burns on electric guitar and Nicolas Meier on acoustic. Gilad Atzmon’s clarinet lends an oriental/East European slant to the international mix and Boris Salvoldelli brings his odd art rock vocals to a couple cuts, including a cover of Robert Wyatt’s “Forest”. Although there are plenty of high energy tracks on both CDs, on CD 2 Dharmawan includes a couple of ballads, including a Hank Marvin styled guitar instrumental of the afore-mentioned Robert Wyatt cover.

CHARLES MINGUS The Great Concert of Charles Mingus

Live album · 1971 · Post Bop
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This review is written using the original 3 LP set in a huge foldout gate sleeve cover. If you had to pick the number one top recorded jazz performance known to mankind, you would have a hard time finding one that topped “The Great Concert of Charles Mingus”, a live set that was recorded in Paris in 1964, but not released until the early 70s. It doesn’t hurt that two of the greatest performers of all-time, Mingus and Eric Dolphy, have possibly the best performances of their careers on here, but also the brilliant supporting cast of Jaki Byard, Dannie Richmond and Clifford Jordan are likewise inspired for possible career topping performances as well. Johnny Coles was supposed to be on trumpet, but sickness knocked him off of every performance except the very first cut. This opening cut, by the way, is mis-labeled as “Goodbye Pork Pie Hat”, when it actually is “So Long Eric”, a better choice for an opening tune anyway.

The concert opens with a nice bluesy groove for the first couple solos, but when Dolphy steps up for his solo, all hell breaks loose and things continue to unravel from there in a rainbow kalediscope of colliding musical ideas. Remaining tracks like “Parkeriana” , “Meditations on Integration” and “Fables of Faubus” feature bizarre complex arrangements that show that both Mingus and Dolphy were very capable modern concert hall composers. When the band is cut loose from the arrangements, they burn with an unprecedented intensity. So much of the music on here pre-dates what is happening in jazz in the early 21st century, such as tonality blended with atonality and compositional structure blended with free blowing. Add to that, something unique to this session, intellectualism blended with emotional fire.

Eric Dolphy is often incorrectly grouped with early 60s “free” players such as Albert Alyer and Archie Shepp. While Dolphy did play free jazz on occasion, and was quite adept at it, this recording is a good example of how Dolphy’s true calling was working with melody and chord changes. Eric’s attempts to take these things to extremes made him more an extension of the Charlie Parker school of music, which is reflected in the mash-up of Parker melodies presented during “Parkeriana”.

If there is one problem with this recording, it would be in Jaki Byard’s volume level, he just sounds a little distant compared to the others, which is a shame because he is a brilliant and under-rated pianist. Byard never really got with the modern minimal sound of Bud Powell and Monk, instead he played more in the old school huge stride based sound of Earl Hines and Art Tatum, which Byard would modernize with atonal clusters of notes and noisy clatter which blended great with the Mingus-Dolphy approach. There is always a lot of mischievous humor to what Jaki serves up as well.

If you ever wonder why jazz fans make a big deal out of Charles Mingus, this record should help you understand why

MUSIC SOUP Cut to the Chase

Album · 2016 · Hard Bop
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You don’t hear a lot about jazz music from Greece, which is a shame, as they apparently have a very happening scene there. Music Soup may help heighten awareness of Greek expertise in the jazz world with their new CD, “Cut to the Chase”, which features a self-proclaimed ‘eclectic’ approach that covers hard bop, RnB, fusion and more. Music Soup is essentially B3 organist Evgenia Karlafti and guitarist Nestor Dimopoulos, with Vagelis Kotzabasis taking the drum chair for most of this outing. A couple tracks on “Cut to the Chase” also feature a small horn section. Both Evgenia and Nestor are virtuoso performers. Evgenia sometimes has the expected bluesy soul jazz sound often associated with the B3, but she often takes on the more abstract post bop sounds of Larry Young, and even some European jazz-rock along the lines of Dave Stewart. Nestor reveals that he is a fan of Wes Montgomery, Pat Methanay and others, but often his mix of abstract harmonies and rhythmic blues may have you thinking John Schofield.

“Cut to the Chase” opens strong with the title cut that mixes driving post bop with Greek influenced odd-metered fusion. This is an excellent direction for the band to pursue, and they return to a similar sound on “Senior Citizen” and “A New Start”. Other instrumental cuts include the bluesy groove of “Movin” and the Bossa-Nova flavor of “Skywalk”. The remaining four tracks feature Evgenia’s vocals on songs that range from ballads to dance oriented RnB. Evgenia is a great singer, and the vocal numbers probably add a lot of interest and variety during live shows, but for the home listening experience, I think a lot of B3 fans would rather hear more numbers like the opener. Overall “Cut to the Chase” makes for a great introduction for Music Soup, and the flow of the tracks is very much like a live show.

JEFF BECK Loud Hailer

Album · 2016 · Jazz Related RnB
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You have to admire an artist who can keep changing and challenging themselves, even late in their career. After decades of fusion and instrumental rock albums, Beck has thrown us a serious left turn curve here with the recent “Loud Hailer”. Its as if Beck has discovered political punk rock 40 years after the fact, but its never too late to try something new as “Loud Hailer” turns out to be one of the hottest and most emotionally charged albums of Beck’s very successful and lengthy career. The way this album came about is interesting in itself, apparently Jeff was at a party, thrown by friend Roger Taylor, at which the ‘entertainment’ was the noisy post-punk RnB of vocalist Rosie Bones and guitarist Carmen Vandenberg. Jeff was so impressed with what he heard that he invited them to help make his new album, and also enlisted their producer, Fillipo Cimatti.

Not much from Jeff Beck’s past could prepare long time fans for this new album. Although Jeff is well known for his virtuoso guitar solos, there is very little of that on here, instead the emphasis is on Rosie Bones and her angry and passionate political musings. Beck’s supporting guitar work is rough and bluesy, drawing heavily on rootsy Missippii delta riffs that are turned into massive industrial sledge hammers via Fillipo Cimatti’s very modern and bigger than life production. Although the sound on here is thoroughly modern, the rawness of the music recalls classic hell raisers like Iggy Pop, the MC5 and early Funkadelic.

Some have been critical of Rosie’s lyrics, possibly searching for something more eloquent and definitive, but great rock lyrics are never about surety, instead the random energy of doubt, frustration, and confusion have been the hallmark of rock’s passion since the early days of ‘My G..g..g..generation". Along with her anti-’new order’ anarcho political lyrics, Rosie also sings about current vacuous pop culture, difficult relationships, the price we pay in pursuit of carnal pleasure, and some hope for the future. It helps that Rosie is a great singer who can veer from punky raps to sweet melodies and anything else in between. The icing on the cake is Fillipo Cimatti’s massive industrial strength production. Jeff Beck’s guitar has never sounded so huge and destructive, and the beats supply the crushing blows to back it all up.

Those looking for Jeff Beck’s fusion guitar playing best pass on this one, but if you are looking for raw angry poetic gut level rock/RnB that combines the best of John Lennon, Iggy Pop, Curtis Mayfield, Curt Cobain and Black Flag, then you have to come to the right place. “Loud Hailer” will be one of the best rock records to come out this year. Put this in the car and turn it up loud and I bet people will get out of your way, this music is an unstoppable tidal wave.

SUN RA The Sub-Dwellers

Album · 2011 · Avant-Garde Jazz
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There was a time when Sun Ra recordings were rare and fans and collectors had to look far and wide in obscure places to locate them. Somewhere in the mid 80s, all this changed as certain small labels found there was a market for Ra’s strange music, and thus began an outpouring of all sorts of previously unreleased Sun Ra music, some of it of fairly dubious quality, which leads us to the 2011 archival release of “The Sub-Dwellers” on a vinyl LP. “The Sub-Dwellers” consists of recordings of Sun Ra reciting his poetry in a very low-fi setting. Hardcore Ra fans may find this interesting, but probably not too many others will.

Side one of “The Sub-Dwellers” was recorded in 1982, while side two was recorded in 1966. On side one Ra’s voice is backed by incidental music played by synthesizers and the whole orchestra. The sound is ultra low-fi as it sounds like the music is coming from a portable cassette player that Ra may be holding while he recites his words. On side two the accompaniment seems to come from two or three performers on African instruments. The sound on side two is even more low-fi than the previous side. The poetry itself is an acquired taste, sometimes very clever and profound, while other times it seems like Ra may be pulling our leg. Much of Ra’s content has similarities to ancient holy books like the Bible, Koran or I Ching, other times he seems to delight in word play, almost child-like in its repetitive petulance, like Dr Suess run through a LSD blender.

There is definitely an audience for this future obscurity. First of course are fans of Ra’s poetry and collectors who need everything Ra ever recorded. Also, there are those who seek particularly odd recordings and low-fi field recordings who will find this record to be a treasure. Finally, home recording artists looking for s spoken word snippet to go on their latest spaced out groove will find plenty of quotable quotes on “the Sub-Dwellers”.

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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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