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681 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
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 Davis Quintet : Miles Smiles Post Bop | review permalink
MILES DAVIS - Nefertiti Post Bop | review permalink
MILES DAVIS - Big Fun Classic Fusion | review permalink

See all reviews/ratings

Jazz Genre Nb. Rated Avg. rating
1 Classic Fusion 88 3.71
2 Avant-Garde Jazz 55 3.97
3 Hard Bop 46 3.85
4 Post Bop 35 4.14
5 Soul Jazz 34 3.37
6 Big Band 34 3.84
7 World Fusion 34 3.66
8 (Post-70s) Eclectic Fusion 32 3.77
9 Jazz Related Rock 28 3.77
10 Jazz Related RnB 26 3.46
11 Funk Jazz 24 3.60
12 Bop 22 3.98
13 Nu Jazz 21 3.38
14 Progressive Big Band 20 4.10
15 Funk 20 3.92
16 Pop Jazz/Crossover 19 2.68
17 Exotica 17 3.41
18 DJ/Electronica Jazz 16 3.25
19 Third Stream 15 3.87
20 Cool Jazz 10 3.85
21 Dub Fusion 9 4.00
22 Post-Fusion Contemporary 9 3.50
23 Jazz Soundtracks 9 3.94
24 Latin Jazz 8 3.94
25 Jazz Related Blues 8 3.69
26 Swing 8 4.00
27 Vocal Jazz 8 3.75
28 Jazz Related Improv/Composition 6 3.33
29 Latin Rock/Soul 6 3.75
30 21st Century Modern 4 4.50
31 Acid Jazz 4 3.50
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
36 Jazz Education 1 3.50

Latest Albums Reviews

HYESEON HONG JAZZ ORCHESTRA EE-YA-GI

Album · 2017 · Progressive Big Band
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On first listen you will find it hard to believe that “EE-YA-GI” is only the first album released by big band leader Hyeson Hong. Such a well developed approach to arranging is rare with a debut recording, but truth be told, Hyeson is hardly a newbie as she has been leading ensembles in both Korea and New York City for some time now. Its only appropriate that she has finally been given a chance to share her sophisticated writing and arranging with the rest of the world. There are seven tracks on “EE-YA-GI”, and each one stands as their own separate colorful world of sounds and melodies. Hong’s approach is rooted in the modern big band sounds of Thad Jones and Mel Lewis, plus some exotic colors reminiscent of Don Ellis, some modern 3rd stream influence ala Marie Schneider, and even some sophisticated pop sass in a vein similar to Quincy Jones. To all this Hong often adds melodies taken from her native Korea, the end result is an infinitely interesting orchestral extravaganza that is all her own. The talented 18 piece orchestra of New Yorkers that Hong leads on her debut album is accented by Marie Schneider alumna such as Rich Perry on tenor sax and Ingrid Jensen on trumpet. The wordless vocals of EJ Park adds much exotic color to many of the melodies, and Korean vocalist, Subin Park, leads “Boat Song” with a traditional ‘Chang’ song.

The aforementioned “Boat Song” probably carries the most Korean flavor, while album opener, “Harvest Dance”, also displays much melodic content from Hong’s homeland. “Disappearing into Foam” and “Love Song” are melodic and romantic, while “Trash Digging Queen” (an ode to Hyeseon’s misbehaving pet dog), has a hectic and almost comical arrangement that features constantly shifting rhythms. Possibly an album highlight though is “Para Mi Arrigo Distante”, which features a rib-sticking melody that recalls some of Quincy Jones best work in the 60s. Modern big band enthusiasts take note, “EE-YA-GI” is complex and challenging, but also fun and buoyant too. Such an excellent balance, lets hope there will be many more albums from Hyeseon Hong in the near future.

MARQUIS HILL Marquis Hill, Jeff Parker, Joachim Floren, Denis Fournier : Escape Lane

Album · 2017 · Avant-Garde Jazz
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There was a time when the idea of a relaxed or even ‘mellow’ approach to free jazz improvisation would have been quite the oxymoron in a genre usually given to intense emotional outbursts, but those days have long passed. It was the Art Ensemble of Chicago and other AACM artists who introduced the idea of free improv as a collection of minute events that could easily move from quiet to very intense, depending on the intent of the performer. Since then, the innovations of this Chicago Ensemble have taken root and today’s free jazz improviser is freer than ever, and welcome to explore his craft in any mood desired, including this mostly very mellow set by the new ensemble, Escape Lane, on their equally new release of the same name. This may be somewhat relaxed sounding music, but the concentration of these performers, and their imaginative approach to their instruments is just as intense as a room full of screaming tenor saxophonists of times past, or present.

There is an interesting mix of approaches here amongst the four musicians involved. Trumpeter Marquis Hill remains mostly melodic throughout, recalling similar approaches by fellow trumpeters such as Booker Little and Don Cherry, who also kept a melodic approach while often being surrounded by a maelstrom of activity. Drummer Dennis Fournier often recalls Paul Motian’s ability to sound vaguely busy, yet relaxed, while on cuts like “Lever de Soliel…” he introduces a Billy Higgins style African influenced groove, only to let it go halfway through the proceedings. Guitarist Jeff Parker can recall Jim Hall, but also is the one most apt to go for pure sounds and noises, which he finds without any effects or devices by using the physical quality of his strings and the volume knobs on his guitar. Bassist Joachim Florent, like many a jazz bassist, is a bit in the background and could have used a little more boost in the mix, but he still gets a few moments to step forward.

Most of the music played on here is truly ‘free’ in that the band rarely gets on a shared groove except for the aforementioned opening to “Lever de Soliel …”, as well as the closing of that same lengthy (20 minutes plus) track when Fournier goes into a bit of a post bop ride. “Rough Grooved Surface” is a break from their usual relaxed approach as the band builds to a climax driven by Fournier’s free bop drive and capped by Jeff Parker’s frantic guitar solo that recalls AACM’s Michael Gregory Jackson. After this, the album closes with “Une Petit”, which ends things with Hill soloing melodically over Parker’s sparse string noises.

“Escape Lane” is a highly creative and focused album and one of the best jazz albums of 2017, avant-garde or otherwise. Its also one of the better free jazz records in the entire 55 plus years of the genre. Listening to the unobtrusive approach of these musicians might have you wondering, is this the sound of lounge music in the new century, now that would be something.

MILES DAVIS Facets (CBS France)

Boxset / Compilation · 1965 · Progressive Big Band
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An interesting obscurity in the Miles Davis discography, I would imagine even some of the most ambitious Miles collectors do not have the compilation “Facets Number 1” in their collection, which is a shame because this is an outstanding collection of tracks, and most surprising of all, none of these tracks appear on any Miles Davis albums. Arrangements and orchestrations are a big part of this collection, with six cuts featuring a big band ensemble, two more played by a sextet, and finally two more performed by a quintet. As for the source of these recordings, four tracks come from Michael Legrand’s ‘Jazz’ album, two are from a Jazz and Classical Music Society compilation called “Music for Brass”, and the rest come from various compilations released in the mid 50s and early 60s. The one thing all these tracks have in common is that they all feature great solo work from Miles, who was at the top of his game during this time.

Side one opens with two tracks from a sextet that features the young and exuberant Wayne Shorter, as well as the humorous and sarcastic lyrics and vocals of Bob Dorough on the second track. These two are followed by two more high energy cuts with a quintet that features John Coltrane on tenor. Side one closes out with a lengthy experimental 3rd stream creation from John Lewis. Side two opens with four tracks from Michael Legrand’s jazz album with Miles. Michael is a master of 50-60s exotic orchestration on the level of Quincy Jones and Les Baxter. On an album of great songs, these four may be the best. The album closes out with another lengthy 3rd Stream excursion, this time from J J Johnson.

Creative, witty and energetic, “Facets” has it all. Although Miles continued to come up with creative musical concepts for the rest of his career, his actual playing and performance on the trumpet were at a peak during this time period. I doubt this compilation will ever come out on CD, so your best chance of finding a copy will be at used record stores or from online sellers.

TINA RAYMOND Left Right Left

Album · 2017 · Post Bop
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Certainly a lot of people were upset at the outcome of the last US presidential election. Finding a way to voice their disappointment and frustration may have been difficult for many, but for drummer Tina Raymond, the solution became obvious, and that was to record her first album and have it reflect her concerns about her country in the present, as well as her hopes for the future. The end result is the CD “Left,Right Left”, a collection of instrumental protest songs and patriotic songs. The CD title itself refers to the political divide in the US, often strongly amplified by an overly hyped media, that is more than happy to point out that the coasts of the US tend to represent left leaning politics, while the heartland represents the right. To help her with these musical portraits, Tina enlisted two highly skilled musicians, bassist Putter Smith and pianist Art Lande. Smith also contributed two politically themed originals to help fill out the album.

It’s a varied smorgasbord of styles and tunes that greet us on “Right, Left, Right”. “Union Maid’ and “Saigon Bride” are pretty ballads, while “The Fiddle and the Drum” and “Battle Hymn of the Republic” are borderline avant-garde. “Lift Every Voice and Sing” is gospel, while the rest more or less falls into a contemporary post bop vein, but no two tracks seem similar. All three musicians are brilliant, but Lande steals the show with his inventive playing that moves from lyrical to abstract, sometimes within the same track. Two standout tracks include the hard swinging “White Flight”, possibly the best number for straight ahead energy, and the inventive “Battle Hymn of the Republic”, that Lande gives an almost 12 tone treatment that recalls Charles Ives’ avant-garde work with traditional American songs.

Taken on its own merits, “Left, Right, Left” is a fine collection of contemporary jazz, but one can’t help but wonder, if Tina really wanted to make an impact, why didn’t she include songs with lyrics and vocals. If you were to hear any of these instrumental tracks by themselves on the radio, you would probably have no idea about Tina’s intentions.

CRAIG TABORN Daylight Ghosts

Album · 2017 · 21st Century Modern
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Always working at the forefront of what is new and interesting in today’s jazz scene, Craig Taborn has produced one of the better albums of his career, and also one of the better new jazz albums this year with, “Daylight Ghosts”. Building on the style he established on 2013’s brilliant “Chant”, Craig continues to use repeating rhythmic figures to construct his compositions that some have compared to minimalism. Taborn’s ‘minimalism’ has very little to do with composers like John Adams or Phillip Glass, but instead reflects the timeless music of Africa and Indonesia, as well as composers who pull from that deep well such as Steve Reich. To these insistent rhythms Taborn adds a swinging flow borrowed from today’s post bop, as well as some rhythmic drive from the fusion side of things and the end result is a musical style that sounds like no one else but Craig Taborn.

One of the salient differences between “Ghosts’ and the preceding “Chant” is the addition of Chris Speed on tenor sax and clarinet, a musician who totally gets the Taborn musical vision and interacts with Craig as one mind. Much of the solo space on here finds the two musicians ‘soloing’ at the same time, almost in a method reminiscent of the earliest days of New Orleans jazz. Therein lies the roots of Taborn’s musical creation, Africa and New Orleans reconfigured for the modern age. Another new feature on “Ghosts” includes moments of reflective melody, such as “The Great Silence”, on which Chris Speed’s lonely clarinet sounds like isolated quotes from a Stravinsky recital.

Some of the best cuts on here include the opener, “The Shining One”, which features one of Craig’s best aggressive piano solos, and the hard charging “Ancient”, on which the band’s repeating rhythms take on a rock like push similar to a modern math rock combo. “New Glory” also reveals Craig’s renewed interest in melody with a high flying closing chorus that sounds like Weather Report from their Caribbean influenced mid-70s output . “Daylight Ghosts” is highly recommended for anyone who wants to hear what is new and happening in jazz.

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Warthur wrote:
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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.

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more than 2 years ago
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