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829 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 108 3.69
2 Avant-Garde Jazz 61 3.99
3 Post Bop 54 4.13
4 Hard Bop 52 3.85
5 Soul Jazz 43 3.40
6 Big Band 39 3.82
7 World Fusion 39 3.60
8 Eclectic Fusion 36 3.76
9 RnB 36 3.61
10 Jazz Related Rock 31 3.74
11 Bop 28 4.04
12 Funk Jazz 26 3.60
13 Nu Jazz 26 3.44
14 Progressive Big Band 25 4.08
15 Pop/Art Song/Folk 21 2.81
16 Funk 21 3.90
17 Third Stream 20 3.90
18 Exotica 18 3.42
19 Jazz Related Electronica/Hip-Hop 18 3.39
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

RICHARD "GROOVE" HOLMES Supa Cookin (with Jimmy McGriff)

Boxset / Compilation · 1974 · Soul Jazz
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Supa Cookin’ is one of those jazz records that throws all attempts at subtlety out the window and goes for high energy good time jams in which the players gladly show off their most dexterous high speed licks in a crowd pleasing display of showmanship. This sort of thing can be embarrassing if the players can’t deliver, but Holmes and McGriff come through with fierce solos and the energy never drops for a second.

This is a two record live set that features the duo B3s of Holmes and McGriff, plus two or three guitars, one drummer and a percussionist on each side. There is a change of lineup on the second disc with Leon Cook and Mark Elf replacing George Freeman on second (plus third) guitar, and Mike Moss replacing Bernard Purdie on drums. I don’t know if the lineup change is the reason, but the music on the second record is better and more modern than the first disc.

Record one is mostly swing based hard bop and the guys really work it to death, but I prefer record two on which they play in a 70s funk jazz style on ‘The Preacher’s Tune’, and a modern African fusion style on ‘Mozambique’. The fast bop tunes on record two also go at a more furious pace than the ones on record one. Overall, disc one is more like the old Holmes-McGriff soul jazz style we‘ve heard before, but disc two shows them becoming more modern and more high energy as well.

This is a live recording and the B3s have great natural distortion for a rock like aggressive energy. The double and triple guitar player effect is also nice as they complement each other with interlocking funky riffs. If you like virtuoso B3 playing, this is a good one.

VIKTOR TÓTH Viktor Tóth & Mahasimbadavi Players : Lamu

Live album · 2018 · Eclectic Fusion
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Jazz and rap coming together should be no surprise to anyone. Jazz musicians have been rapping since the turn of the previous century, Louis Jordan was known for his hip poetry and so was Duke Ellington, which brings us to this outstanding rap/jazz fusion CD from Viktor Toth’s Mahasimbadvi Players titled “Lamu”. Toth’s players are an international group that features Toth on sax, Bart Maris on trumpet, Simple One on lyrics and poetry, Matyas Szandi on bass and Hamid Drake and David Hodek on drums. Does anything sound more jazz than a boppin alto sax and trumpet front line. Toth and Maris’ energetic harmonies and unisons recall similar classic frontlines like Diz and Bird, Ornette and Don Cherry, and Dolphy and Booker Little. The Mahasimbadvi rhythm section provides kinetic support, often with African and Afro-Brazilian grooves, but also with forays into hip-hop and funk. The way in which this ensemble can combine an earthy backbone with avant-garde tendencies may remind some of The Art Ensemble of Chicago or The World Saxophone Quartet.

The make or break for this album is the rapping of Simple One, who comes through by perfectly balancing his role with the other musicians. If you were afraid that the rapping would dominate this recording, rest assured your fears are unwarranted. In fact, I found myself wishing Simple One had been given a little more room to go off. The man has a beautiful flow that is very syncopated and just as rhythmically complex as his fellow musicians. His word play is both thoughtful and humorous and holds up well to repeated listens. If you know your classic hip-hop than you will recognize when Simple One pulls out an old Q Tip audience call and response, “Can I Kick It …”, which the audience gladly calls back on. During some of his raps the horn players pull out Herbie Hancock’s modernized intro to “Watermelon Man”, which provides a very Africanized backdrop for our MC. Speaking of MC, Simple One also plays the part of the classic ‘emcee’ by giving props to the musicians and providing some humorous interplay with the audience. The musicians also get plenty of space to go off with solos and interlocking group rhythms. Toth has a hard edged alto sound that recalls Steve Coleman and Jackie McLean, and Bart Maris takes a very no gimmicks approach to the trumpet that recalls the aforementioned Booker Little, as well as Marquis Hill.

BLAZIN' QUARTET Sleeping Beauty

Album · 2021 · Nu Jazz
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There is certainly a lot of great new jazz coming from NYC, London and LA these days, but you may also want to check out some more unexpected sources such as the Balkans, where drummer/keyboardist Srdjan Ivanovic pulls a lot of his inspiration for his ongoing ensemble, Blazin Quartet. Srdjan describes his Balkan influence as being a place where the East meets the West and then is expressed through the freedom of jazz. His latest CD, “Sleeping Beauty”, bears these Balkan melodic influences as well as a cool European atmosphere brought to the project from the various other band members who hail from Greece, Italy and France. This CD bears some similarities to some of the best work from the ECM catalog. Srdjan’s abstract approach to the drums may remind some of Paul Motian, while Federico Casagrande’s relaxed guitar work sometimes recalls what John Abercrombie often brought to the label. Trumpater Andreas Polyogopoulos, bassist Mihail Ivanov and guest flautist Magic Malik (on some tracks) round out the rest of the band.

The “Intro” takes on a Silent Way vibe and is accompanied by the sound of the morning birds outside the band’s country recording studio. This track sets a perfect vibe for the rest of this album which relies on sensitive group interplay rather than jazz solo grandstanding. The different musicians on here do take solos here and there, but usually against a conversational background that breaks down clichés and expectations. Some of the best tracks, such as “Guchi” and “Rues de Balkans” get somewhat heated as the entire band solos freely while being careful not to step on each other’s toes. Srdjan claims that ‘Melody is king’, and backs that claim by taking on two classic Ennio Morricone melodies, “The Man with the Harmonica” and “A L’Aube Du Cinquieme Jour”. Both of which are given Blazin Quartet’s unique and personal treatment.

The album ends with the sound of the night birds outside their studio and thereby closes the circle of this musical journey. “Sleeping Beauty” lives up to its title, there is much to be found here, but you may need to listen closely to catch it, this is subtle music, sensitive in a way, but hardly devoid of motion and energy.

GENE HARRIS AstralSignal

Album · 1974 · RnB
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In the early to mid 70s, many a jazz musician was drawn to both the growing impact of the new funk groove, as well as the psychedelic sound borne from the 60s. Gene Harris was no exception as his “AsrtralSignal” album from 1974 bears trademarks from that groovy early 70s era, which is also reflected in the very ‘cosmic’ title of the album. Gene Harris was no stranger to mixing jazz with dance rhythms, in fact his entire career was built around a solid reputation as one of the top soul jazz artists from the mid 50s until the 70s and beyond. With “AstralSignals”, Gene took things one step further from his gospel based roots to embrace the new funk style of Sly Stone and James Brown. On this funk foundation, Harris layered multiple horns, vocals and electronic instruments to build his imaginative arrangements.

The album opens with a heavily reverbed cosmic statement from Gene before we launch into an exotic instrumental topped with wordless vocals. Next up, a very funky synth intro leads the band into Sly Stone’s well known song chant about racial name calling. After a laid back instrumental with more wordless vocals, Harris closes out side one with some of his signature gospel riffs on the piano in a double tracked solo performance.

Side two kicks off with a rockin instrumental version of Credence’s “Green River”. On Chicago’s “Beginnings”, Gene handles the lead vocals and sheds some new tone colors on this well known number. This side closes out with some more funk-jazz jams with Harvey Mason’s “Higga Boom” being a real highlight. This album has its ups and downs, but the ups make it well worth it for fans of funk jazz, exotic lounge music, rare groove and other jazz related crate digging.


Album · 2021 · 21st Century Modern
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Today’s installment in the ongoing series on jazz musicians who deserve wider recognition brings us to guitarist Matt Panayides. Matt spends a lot of his time in NYC as well as South Korea and China where he works with some of the top musicians in each location. Matt has been leading his own groups and composing original music since 2016 which leads us to his latest album, “Field Theory”. Matt’s approach is high energy as he draws from post bop, jazz rock and free jazz in his solos and in his compositions. Matt can fire off high speed runs that never sound gratuitously flashy, and he provides enough interesting twists and turns so that expected clichés are avoided. Despite his well developed technique, there is something appealingly rough and gritty about his playing that recalls Michael Gregory Jackson and the youthful version of John McLaughlin. Helping Panayides out on this album are synth reed player Matt Vashlishan, tenor sax player Rich Perry, Robert Sabin on bass and Mark Ferber on drums. These guy’s credits as accompanists range from Wadada Leo Smith to Norah Jones and Lee Konitz, plus many more. Vashlishan’s contributions on synth reed in particular add some interesting colors to the group’s sound.

“Field Theory” opens with the tough modern hard bop of “Kite Flying”, but from there Matt keeps things unpredictable as the next three tracks mix modern jazz with arrangements that may remind some of avante garde math rock. Title track, “Field Theory”, in particular has a rock like energy that has Panayides putting some distortion and overdrive on his ‘axxe’. “Energy Mover” is just that as the band swings into high octane neo be-bop with rapid fire solos from the three man front line. The last half of the album wanders a bit as the band swerves from short free jazz segments to folkish tunes and a couple more open ended fusion jams. A big plus throughout the whole album is drummer Mark Ferber’s beats that recall Jack DeJohnette’s ability to swing while smacking a rocking backbeat at the same time. If you are familiar with Jack’s playing on Miles Live at the Fillmore you’ll know what I mean.

Matt Panayides’ guitar has enough ‘shredding’ to appeal to the fusion fans, but also enough swing and melodic invention for the jazzers. His compositions are complex and full of unexpected twists and are very much on top of what is happening in jazz today. Overall this CD displays an excellent balance between clever intellect and hard workin sweat.

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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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