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595 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 81 3.72
2 Avant-Garde Jazz 47 3.99
3 Hard Bop 36 3.89
4 Post Bop 31 4.23
5 Soul Jazz 31 3.35
6 (Post-70s) Eclectic Fusion 29 3.74
7 Big Band 28 3.86
8 World Fusion 27 3.63
9 Jazz Related Rock 26 3.79
10 Funk Jazz 23 3.59
11 Jazz Related RnB 23 3.37
12 Nu Jazz 19 3.34
13 Pop Jazz/Crossover 18 2.61
14 Funk 18 3.92
15 Bop 18 4.00
16 Progressive Big Band 17 4.09
17 DJ/Electronica Jazz 16 3.28
18 Exotica 15 3.47
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 8 3.56
24 Jazz Related Blues 7 3.64
25 Latin Rock/Soul 6 3.75
26 Latin Jazz 5 3.90
27 Swing 5 4.00
28 Jazz Related Improv/Composition 4 3.50
29 Acid Jazz 4 3.50
30 Vocal Jazz 3 3.83
31 Afro-Cuban Jazz 1 4.50
32 Dixieland 1 3.50
33 Bossa Nova 1 3.50
34 Classic (1920s) Jazz 1 5.00

Latest Albums Reviews


Album · 2015 · Post Bop
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Dave Douglas is one of the more consistent artists today, turning out several albums every year that always position him at the forefront of today’s jazz scene. With just a couple months left in 2015, Douglas and his quintet have unleashed “Brazen Heart”, a fireball of creativity and energy that should be a strong contender for album of the year. Its hard to stick a genre tag on “Brazen Heart”, you could tag this avant-garde, modern fusion or post bop, and any of those tags would fit. The music swings, but this isn’t your father’s swing. Drummer Rudy Royston doesn’t just ride the ride cymbal, but instead swings the beat with every piece of the kit in a dizzying avalanche of rhythms.

Every player on here is great, but the real star is Douglas’ compositions that twist and turn in unpredictable ways. Most of these tracks are abstract and intense, yet there are some surprising change-ups such as a gospel ballad (“Deep River”), introduced early on in the track two spot, and another gospel tune, ("There is a Balm in Gilead"), that comes much later. Along with Douglas’ sophisticated and non-cliche structures, which often allow for two or three instruments soloing at the same time, the next salient feature on “Brazen Heart” is the drumming of the aforementioned Rudy Royston. Rudy is part of that cutting edge that is re-defining how the drums operate in a jazz tune. Influenced by the busy ‘all the drums at once’ approach of Ronald Shannon Jackson, Royston constantly shifts the rhythm and often provides rhythms that are a counterpoint to the soloist. Playing against someone like Rudy can’t be easy, I would imagine trying out for this band would quickly separate the lambs from the wolves.

If you want to hear the best that the modern jazz world has to offer, “Brazen Heart” would be a great place to start. This music is intellectual and abstract, but this isn't just technical exercises, this music is also fun, energetic and exciting. When I initially wrote this review, I did not know that this album was dedicated to the recent passing of Dave's brother. Knowing that now, I would say this music comes across more as a celebration of his brother's life, rather than a lament.


Album · 2003 · Classic Fusion
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Dave Douglas is usually known for his very complex and demanding music that tests his fellow musician’s skills to their limit, but on “Freak In”, Douglas takes a bit of a vacation and re-visit’s the 70s and the sound of psychedelic fusion, particularly Miles Davis albums such as “Big Fun” and “In a Silent Way”. While a little more casual than Douglas’ difficult acoustic post bop sets, “Freak In” still presents some excellent tracks, plus a few that are less than excellent. Dave gets a lot of help on here from an all-star cast of modern electronic jazz musicians, particularly Jamie Saft on keyboards and Marc Ribot on guitar. Meanwhile, Karsh Kale on tabla and Ikue Mori on electronic percussion provide the exotic tone colors that are necessary to make this style of fusion interesting.

“Freak In” opens strong with the blazing title track, which is probably one of the more intense fusion tracks recorded n this new century. Unfortunately, opening a CD with your best track means it’s a bit downhill from there. Only “The Great Schism” and “Traveler There is No Road” come close to capturing the fire of the opener. Of the more atmospheric tracks, “November”, “Porto Alegre” and “Maya” are all very nice. The rest of the tracks include a couple of plodding rockers and some incidental music that is not particularly memorable. With a little editing this could have been a very good 40 minute album, but stretching it into an 80 minute CD means some of the additional music is not on a par with the best tracks. Usually Douglas’s compositional skills are very high, but that doesn’t show much on this CD until you get to the bizarre closer, “The Mystic Lamb”, which is a short closing theme stretched into infinity with all manner of variations. Possibly this cut is a tongue-in-cheek humorous salute to Miles’ time stretching classic, “Great Expectations”.

As is the case with this sort of psychedelic music, the sounds and tone colors are almost more important than the notes, and in this respect, Douglas and his crew do not disappoint as they provide plenty of pretty electronic ear candy. Overall “Freak In” is not one of Douglas’ better albums, but it is an enjoyable departure from his usual, and with a little editing, you can put together a very good modern/retro fusion joint.


Album · 2015 · Avant-Garde Jazz
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Walking Distance’s “Neighborhood” was released back in January and seemed to slip under the radar as it has not received near the attention it deserves. In this era of cool and somber reserved jazz, its nice to hear something this ‘hot’, and “Neighborhood” is one of the hottest jazz albums to come out in a while. Walking Distance is an acoustic four piece that consists of two saxophones, bass and drums. The lack of a rhythm section gives them a distinctly open sound in which you can hear every note. Although the horn section consists of two saxes, their unison lines and interactions often recall classic trumpet-sax pairings such as Diz and Bird, Ornette and Don Cherry, and Dolphy and Booker Little. Although Walking Distance can evoke classic past artists like the aforementioned, this is not a even close to a retro act, instead, Distance has that modern nervous ‘punky’ energy and quick-change sensibility that informs much of today’s downtown NY scene. Still, if you appreciate the manic energy of early be-bop, Walking Distance is one of the few modern bands I’ve heard that can play with that kind of emotional dedication and fire.

Although Walking Distance’s music is definitely on the avant-garde side of the jazz world, there is not much on here in the way of old school free jazz, instead, many of Distance’s tunes seem to work with vague harmonic structures that give soloists some sort of framework to deal with, but nothing is laid out in a too obvious fashion. Walking Distance also gives us some interesting variety, with “Cartoon Element” and “Neighborhood” providing high speed frenetic energy, while “April 10th” and “Singing in Circles” are abstract and more relaxed. There is a lot of free wheeling humor to this band, and that comes out on album closer “Willoughby Greene”, on which the band builds into one of those repeating “Hey Jude” style chord sequences to close the album in a manner which mocks a classic 70s art rock album.

“Neighborhood” is walking Distance’s first album, and at this point it seems like the future potential for this band is very high. It will be interesting to see what this band’s next album will be like, as there is a restless creativity to this group that will probably avoid anything too predictable.

CLIFFORD BROWN Clifford Brown Big Band in Paris

Album · 1970 · Big Band
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Much like Hendrix, Dolphy and Charlie Parker, Clifford Brown was one of those brilliant artists who died way too young, and just like the aforementioned three artists, his fans still scramble to find anything he recorded and put it out in various slapped together collections. The title “The Clifford Brown Big Band in Paris”, is misleading, as the musicians on here were never part of any Clifford Brown Big Band. Instead, this is a collection of tracks that were recorded by musicians who were on a 1953 tour of Europe with Lionel Hampton’s big band. This core of American jazz musicians was supplemented by some local French musicians as well. The sessions were put together by French pianist Henri Renaud, and heavily feature the solos of Clifford, who was a rising star at that time. Also of note is the presence of the young Quincy Jones, who provides some compositions, arrangements and even piano comping on one track. There is some good music on here, but some tracks feature less than great recording quality, and the inclusion of alternate takes and little incomplete excerpts make this much more for Clifford Brown collectors than casual listeners.

The CD opens with a big band playing two takes of “Brown Skins”, two takes of “Keeping Up with Jonesy” and one take of “Bum’s Rush”. The alternate takes on any of these songs can only be interesting to Cliff Brown fanatics, and since they are placed in sequence with the good tracks, they become a nuisance to someone who just wants to hear some good music. Having said that, the playing is quite good, but the recording is not great, it sounds like there was one mic for the whole band in a small radio performance style recording setting. On the plus side, Brown plays some great solos, and Quincy Jones fans can hear the young Quincy working out his new big band style on his two originals.

The rest of the CD features two different eight piece bands playing two takes each of “Chez Moi” and “All Weird”. Once again, the alternate takes are sub-par, while the two good takes feature much better recording quality than the previous big band tracks. The final takes of these two tracks are what make this CD worth the purchase, even if some of the musicians seem to struggle with the complex changes to Brown’s “All Weird”. The other factor that makes this CD worth the purchase is its extensive and helpful liner notes. Clifford Brown collectors should also note that this CD is the third in a three part series that deals with Brown’s 1953 tour of Europe. Of course this CD is highly recommended for Clifford Brown completionists, and be-bop collectors, but for someone just looking for something to listen to, the weak alternate takes and incomplete tracks need to be taken out, then you might have an okay CD.

LINCOLN CENTER JAZZ ORCHESTRA Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis : Live in Cuba

Live album · 2015 · Progressive Big Band
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“Live in Cuba” is a collection of live cuts that the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra performed during their historic 2010 visit to Cuba. Due to a long standing embargo between the governments of Cuba and the US, it had been many years since an ensemble of this size had visited Cuba bringing the sounds of US jazz mixed with the rhythms of Cuba. These concerts were a big deal and the excitement shows in the performances. Its hard to bottle enthusiasm, but there is no doubting the passion involved when musicians and their audience have a chance to reach out to each other on this level. The people who were lucky enough to attend these shows were treated to a wide variety of jazz styles from modern Afro-Latin fusion to Ellington and everything thing else in-between.

The music on here is hot, but there is something a bit squeaky clean about the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra. As one of the few state supported jazz groups in the US, the LCJO doesn’t have to compete on the street for jobs, they already have a steady gig, and much of that gig is about education. This bent towards young audiences and education explains the huge variety of music that the LCJO performs, and it also helps explain the nature of their sound and approach. More than just entertainment, the LCJO is a living, breathing education in jazz history. This is furthered by their director, the well known trumpeter, composer and arranger, Wynton Marsalis. Wynton’s approach to jazz has always had a tendency towards trying to educate people to the big picture. Despite his sometimes ill-considered remarks about some forms of fusion and the avant-garde, Marsalis should be given credit for his ability to discern those aspects of jazz that make it a unique art form, and his ability to illustrate those unique aspects in real performance.

As mentioned earlier, there is a large variety of music on here, but the tracks are arranged thoughtfully and the whole CD has a very logical flow to it. Modern original compositions sit side by side with covers of Ellington and Monk without anything sounding out of place. So many great tracks to mention here, some highlights include the spacey Latin fusion of “Dali”, the semi-free high energy post bop of “Inaki’s Decision” and “Doin (Y)our Thing” and the Ellington/Strayhorn tone poem colors of “Sunset and the Mockingbird”. All of these are nice, but possibly the best comes near the end when the band launches a high speed version of Dizzy’s “Things to Come”, on which Wynton unleashes one of the hottest trumpet solos you will ever hear anywhere.

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  • Posted 7 days ago in Lemon-flavored Xylophones and Improv Room
    Interesting translation from Japanese to English requesting a review ... no?LONG WAYISSEI NORO INSPIRITSFrom the Album: 432h2015/9/9Do not write a customer review?
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    It appears Patti McCrory is having some computer problems, hopefully that will be sorted out soon and we can resume with some interesting conversation.Stay tuned. 
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    Looks like Patti McCrory has joined the site, so my first question will be:Are you still in touch with any of the other women in the photo?


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Warthur wrote:
1163 days 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:
1210 days ago
js - please clear some space in your PM inbox, I'm trying to send you something.


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