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John
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Favorite Jazz Artists

All Reviews/Ratings

841 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 111 3.68
2 Avant-Garde Jazz 63 3.94
3 Hard Bop 54 3.84
4 Post Bop 54 4.13
5 Soul Jazz 43 3.40
6 Big Band 40 3.83
7 World Fusion 39 3.60
8 Eclectic Fusion 37 3.76
9 RnB 36 3.61
10 Jazz Related Rock 31 3.74
11 Bop 28 4.04
12 Nu Jazz 27 3.44
13 Progressive Big Band 26 4.04
14 Funk Jazz 26 3.60
15 Funk 21 3.90
16 Pop/Art Song/Folk 21 2.81
17 Third Stream 21 3.90
18 Jazz Related Electronica/Hip-Hop 18 3.39
19 Exotica 18 3.42
20 Post-Fusion Contemporary 13 3.46
21 Latin Jazz 12 3.88
22 Cool Jazz 12 3.75
23 Dub/Ska/Reggae 12 4.04
24 Blues 10 3.80
25 Jazz Related Soundtracks 10 3.95
26 Jazz Related Improv/Composition 10 3.40
27 Vocal Jazz 10 3.75
28 21st Century Modern 9 4.22
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

HERBIE HANCOCK In Concert Volume 2 (Stanley Turrentine, Freddie Hubbard, Jack DeJohnette, Ron Carter, Eric Gale)

Live album · 1974 · Fusion
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Although the first installment of the CTI In Concert series comes across more like a Freddie Hubbard release, 'Volume Two' belongs to Herbie Hancock. The first side features his working quartet at that time, and on the second side they are augmented by Hubbard and Stanley Turrentine. This was an interesting one time only ensemble Herbie gathered for these live dates that apparently took place after he disbanded his Sextet, and before he assembled his new Headhunters group. The big plus here is Jack DeJohnette on drums. The free-form jazz rock jams of the early 70s were DeJohnette's domain, his fierce driving style that mixed hard rock, groovin swing and avant-garde freedom into every blistering phrase had already driven other masterpieces of that time including Miles' legendary sets at The Fillmore. On side one DeJohnette and Herbie push each other relentlessly as Hancock does an extended work out on the static avant-garde funk groove of 'Hornets'. Always known for his delicate beauty and harmonic innovations, this album shows Hancock in a harsh and energetic mode as he rivals Jon Lord and Sun Ra for sheer sonic power and pushes his distorted Fender Rhodes through dissonant Echoplex settings while building sheets of syncopated dissonant chords and angular scales. Although this album may seem a bit dull to many music fans, to fans of really intense keyboard soloing, this is a must have.

Side two brings on Hubbard and Turrentine on horns as the band launches into a side long agro-bossa hyper groove that borders on free jazz during it's long course. It's really interesting to hear Stanley Turrentine, the king of smooth RnB jazz, go off like Bennie Maupin channeling Coltrane. The always fiery and intense Hubbard takes an extended ride before they break down for some quiet spaciness and then onto one more psychedelic Fender Rhodes onslaught from Hancock. In the tradition of Mahavishnu's 'Between Nothingness and Eternity', King Crimson's 'Earthbound' and Miles' 'Live at the Fillmore', this is a rough and tumble live album that favors raw energy over slick production. I would highly recommend this to fans of live early 70s jazz rock jams, and it also contains some of the most intense Herbie Hancock solos ever recorded.

KERRY MOFFIT What Goes Around Comes Around

Album · 2021 · Hard Bop
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Today’s entry in the ongoing series on musicians who deserve wider recognition goes to Kerry Moffit and his debut album as a leader, “What Goes Around Comes Around”. Kerry has been performing, arranging and composing for over 40 years, yet chances are you are not familiar with him. One reason for this is that much of Moffit’s career has been in working with US Air Force bands, both in the states and in Europe. The Air Force band program provides a great resource for musicians who need to be working steadily because they have a family to raise. Its just not practical for a struggling musician to take his family to a small cold water apartment in NYC while he searches for work, so the Air Force provides top notch professional gigs for those who choose that route. Since leaving the Air Force in 2015, Kerry has been working with top talent such as Chuck Mangione, Louis Bellson, Arturo Sandoval and more.

The music on “What Goes Around…” centers around contemporary hard bop plus some Latin grooves and a few impressionistic ballads. Moffit is a virtuoso on trumpet who mostly avoids gimmicks and ’sounds’ and instead plays clean and fast streams of notes. I suppose this would be a continuation of the Clifford Brown school of boppin trumpet. The rest of the band is equally adept at their instrument with special mention going to Seth Ebersole’s sweet and fluid alto sax that recalls Phil Woods and Cannonball Adderly. A big plus on this record are Kerry’s creative arrangements. Moffit treats his three horn front line like a mini big band with sectional trade off’s that recall Duke Ellington and other Moffit influences such as Sammy Nestico and Neal Hefti. My ears also hear a lot of 60s Quincy Jones, especially in the TV theme flavored “This I Dig of You” and “Katrina Ballerina”.Half the tunes on here are standards and the other half are Moffit originals. Some top originals include “Free for All”, which is high speed hard bop with an interesting Ornette styled stop-start opening theme, and “20-4” Jam”, which has a Latin fusion flavor and features simultaneous soloing from all the horns towards the end of the track.

SUN RA The Solar-Myth Approach Vol. 1

Album · 1971 · Avant-Garde Jazz
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“The Solar Myth Approach Volume 1” may not be Sun Ra’s worst album, but it is far from his best. A combination of mostly lackluster music, bad sound balance and bad recording quality all come together to make an album that only the most ardent Ra fan can enjoy. The most creative track comes at the opening of side one on which a repeating bass note and some low horn tone clusters topped with a few high pitched squeaky horns imitate the sounds of electronic keyboards. The end result is more similar to the music of Stockhausen or Xennakis rather than what one would expect from a ‘jazz’ big band. Unfortunately the rest of side one meanders between percussion workouts and what sounds like someone vocalizing through a horn. The percussion is okay, but the vocalizing gets annoying pretty quickly. Side one closes with a uninspired and poorly recorded version of “The Satellites are Spinning”, there are much better versions of this song out there on other Sun Ra records.

Side two picks things up with some free jazz that would sound better if Sonny’s clavinet wasn’t louder than the horns. This is followed by a solo synthesizer track that shows off Ra’s unique approach to that instrument. Next up is a brief big band arrangement, one of the few on the album. Side two closes out with more percussion, as well as some electronic keyboard interludes. Overall, side two is an improvement over one.

MARIUS GUNDERSEN Arrangements For Guitar By Marco Pereira

Album · 2021 · Third Stream
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“Arrangements for Guitar by Marco Pereira” is the second installment in a series of tributes to Pereira by guitarist Marius Noss Gundersen. Marius is a Norwegian who specializes in classical music and Brazilian traditions, which makes him a perfect fit to play the arrangements of Pereiera which walk a fine line between Brazilian art pop and contemporary classical music. Marco is a super star in Brazil, his career has found him working with top performers such as Antonio Carlos Jobim, Gilberto Gil and Milton Nascimento and he is well known for his arrangements, compositions and performances on classical guitar which have won him many awards and competitions over the years. On this new album, Gundersen has picked out twelve Pereira arrangements of art songs by well known Brazilian composers such as the previously mentioned Jobim and Nascimento, as well as Egberto Gismonti and Chico Buarque. Gundersen faithfully recreates Marco’s arrangements, which makes this very much like a contemporary Brazilian classical concert.

Every piece on here is a gem. Marius has technique to burn, but he never resorts to pure flash in his playing, consider him the exact opposite of a certain ‘elegant gypsy’ in that regard. These are, for the most part, melodic and somewhat somber or sentimental tone poems, but if you are looking for some fire, the demanding chart for “Frevo” should satisfy those looking for some burning Latin passion. Also “Modinha” and “Chega de Saudade” lean a bit in that direction as well. The Brazilian take on rhythm is present here, but don’t expect any cliché type bossa nova or samba, the tunes and arrangements on here lean in a more sophisticated and classical tradition. Quite simply, this is beautiful music performed by someone with commanding technique and complete mastery over their instrument.

SUN RA Crystal Spears

Album · 2018 · Avant-Garde Jazz
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This is a tale of two record sides, one better than the other. Sun Ra’s “Crystal Spears” was recorded back in 1973, and was supposed to be released in 1975, but a changing of the guard at ABC records left Ra with a less than sympathetic record label and Sonny’s bizarre offering remained unreleased until Modern Harmonic finally brought it to the public in 2018. Back in 73 when this was recorded, Ra was very much into electronic keyboards and music that only had a tangential relationship to what most would call jazz. For a possible reference, “Astro Black”, is also from this era in his career.

As mentioned already, side one is a lot more interesting than side two, but for the hardcore Ra fan, the whole record will have something worth checking out. Title track, “Crystal Spears”, opens things with Ra filling a lot of space with busy organ and synthesizer work while backed with a wall of percussion and topped with Marshal Allen on oboe. This one is a winner and well worth the price of the whole album. Follow up track, “The Eternal Sphynx”, is one of those classic Sun Ra hypnotic two chord vamps that goes through some interesting morphing as it progresses. Fortunately there are no vocal chants added on as those can wear thin sometimes. Side one closes with sound explorations that bear some resemblance to avant-garde concert hall composers, but ultimately sound like no one but Ra and his band.

Side two is one long track with vague percussion in the background and Sonny coming and going in and out of the mix with his electronics. Various horn players supply horn solos, often one at a time, but occasionally in duo or trio format. The horn solos are not energetic free jazz, nor are they particularly melodic in any way, but instead feature that kind of playing unique to Ra’s band that sounds like someone exploring what a horn can do the very first time they picked it up. You have to give these guys credit for sounding like no one else on the planet, and that includes the entire universe of avant-garde jazz and ‘serious’ composers, but this track seems to go on forever and just gets tedious after a while. All the same, those who appreciate Sun Ra at his most obtuse and obstinate may find much to enjoy here.

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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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