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Favorite Jazz Artists

All Reviews/Ratings

760 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 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 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 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 102 3.69
2 Avant-Garde Jazz 60 3.98
3 Hard Bop 48 3.84
4 Post Bop 41 4.12
5 World Fusion 41 3.67
6 Soul Jazz 40 3.40
7 Big Band 36 3.85
8 Eclectic Fusion 34 3.75
9 Jazz Related RnB 31 3.60
10 Jazz Related Rock 29 3.78
11 Funk Jazz 26 3.60
12 Bop 26 4.04
13 Nu Jazz 23 3.39
14 Progressive Big Band 23 4.09
15 Funk 21 3.90
16 Jazz Related Pop/Art Song/Folk 20 2.75
17 Jazz Related DJs/Electronica/Rap 18 3.39
18 Exotica 18 3.44
19 Third Stream 16 3.84
20 Cool Jazz 12 3.75
21 Post-Fusion Contemporary 11 3.55
22 Vocal Jazz 10 3.75
23 Jazz Related Soundtracks 10 3.95
24 Dub/Ska/Reggae 10 4.05
25 Jazz Related Blues 9 3.72
26 Latin Jazz 8 3.94
27 Swing 8 4.00
28 Jazz Related Improv/Composition 7 3.43
29 Latin Rock/Soul 6 3.75
30 21st Century Modern 6 4.33
31 Acid Jazz 4 3.50
32 Classic (1920s) Jazz 2 4.50
33 Jazz Education 1 3.50
34 Afro-Cuban Jazz 1 4.50
35 Dixieland 1 3.50
36 Bossa Nova 1 3.50

Latest Albums Reviews

XAVI REIJA The Sound Of The Earth

Album · 2018 · Fusion
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Lately there has been a sort of cult for free improvisation fusion bands developing within the MoonJune label, particularly among some of their more King Crimson offshoot oriented bands. The Crimson connection makes sense as it was the Fripp and Bruford version of the band that really began experimenting with the idea of a free form jazz rock jam, no chord progression, no pre-determined soloist, and no plan at all. The Hendrix Experience, Cream, The Allman Brothers and others had already made some noise in that direction, but it was Fripp and crew that set the bar for the ‘free rock’ jam. On “The Sound of the Earth”, drummer Xavi Rieja has put together a crew that is well suited for a jam like this with the versatile Dusan Jevtovic on guitar, King Crimson veteran Tony Levin on bass and Crimson ProjeKCt leader Markus Reuter on touch guitar. It helps that all four of these guys have worked with each other before in similar type bands, and the communication that comes from experience shows as they take on the tricky endeavor of making music without much of a blueprint.

Some of the best music on this CD goes down on the first three tracks, plus the first part of track four. Track 2, “The Sound of the Earth I” sounds like David Gilmour at his early 70s best, and “From Darkness” sounds like a beehive of interlocking math guitar riffs. On “The Sound of the Earth II”, the band displays the risks inherent in a free jam when Xavi changes the beat half way through and catches the band off guard and not sure what to do with the sudden change in beat. From here the guys continue through varying tracks that often deal with floating ambience and slow paced space rock. Track 7, “Lovely Place” is a bit of a surprise as the band goes into a chord progression borrowed from “Hotel California”, which Reuter uses as a backdrop for a soaring guitar solo.

What happens on “The Sound of the Earth” is pretty much what you could expect when a talented bunch of guys get together for a free form jam session, there are plenty of exhilarating moments of discovery, as well some time spent searching for the next hot idea, its bound to happen. If a modern heavy improv with a King Crimson flavor to it is your idea of a good time, you will not be disappointed in this one.

DAVE HOLLAND Uncharted Territories

Album · 2018 · Avant-Garde Jazz
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Possibly “Uncharted Territories”, and its emphasis on free improvisation, is a bit of a nostalgia trip for Dave Holland. Back in the late 60s, Holland had performed with saxophonist Evan Parker in John Steven’s Spontaneous Music Ensemble, and although Holland would go on to leave the ‘free scene’, Parker made a career of it. Some time in recent years, Holland contacted Parker about the two of them recording some free duets like back in the day. As Dave reflected on this proposed endeavor, possibly he was drawn to another avant-garde memory, the group Circle he performed in with Chick Corea and Anthony Braxton, because when Holland decided to add Craig Taborn and Ches Smith to he and Evan’s recording date, he re-created an ensemble quite similar to the original Circle.

The tracks on “Uncharted Territories” are almost entirely spontaneous improvisations, with just a few tracks featuring some pre-conceived composition. To keep things interesting, the musicians vary the lineups for the sessions into various ensembles of 2,3, or 4 people. The tracks are usually fairly short by free improv standards and feature a wide variety of music. This is a very versatile and talented foursome, so the music can vary from interesting sound sculptures to quiet chamber passages to be-bop gone berserk and all out free jazz explosions. The integrity of the musicians involved shines through as they very carefully interact with each other.

This is a very good modern free jazz album, yet somehow disappointing too. Especially with a modernist like Taborn on board, one might expect something a little different from a classic free session. Electronics are listed in Craig’s instrument arsenal and yet they barely make an appearance. Judging by the musicians and instruments listed, it would be easy to expect some modern sound exploration and compositional constructs, and that does happen occasionally, but as mentioned earlier, this recording may be a lot about Holland’s attempt to re-visit his past.

JUSTIN MORELL Justin Morell Concerto for Guitar and Jazz Orchestra (feat. Adam Rogers)

Album · 2018 · Third Stream
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I’ve probably listened to hundreds of works that combine jazz and classical music, but I really have not heard anything similar to Justin Morell’s new opus, “Concerto for Guitar and Jazz Orchestra”. There are some familiar elements at work here, but overall Justin’s vision of what a jazzy concerto can sound like is unique to himself. The press package that comes with this CD is somewhat misleading as it references classical concerto composers such as Mozart and Beethoven, and although Morell may have used some of their compositional forms, there is nothing on here that sounds remotely like Beethoven, which is probably good as I can hardly imagine jazz mixing well with Ludwig’s German sensibilities. Instead, what we hear on hear is rooted in the early jazz classical mixers such as George Gershwin and Duke Ellington, plus modern big band arrangers along the lines of Thad Jones and Bob Mintzer, as well as mid-20th century composers such as Paul Hindemith and Darius Milhaud, and finally, the unexpected use of modern minimalism in its more melodic aspects in the style of John Adams and some of Phillip Glass’s less repetitive pieces. Its this subtle use of the minimalist’s style that helps give Morell’s work its unique sound.

“Concerto for Jazz Orchestra” is divided into three movements stated quite simply as fast-slow-fast. The opening movement introduces the aforementioned minimalist approach in a very subtle and disguised manner. Do not expect the pounding repetitions of some of Phillip Glass’s work, instead Morell’s method uses melodic fragments that get passed around by the orchestra while the guitar keeps a steady stream of notes flowing. Toward the end of this movement guitarist Adam Rogers is given a chance to solo over the orchestra's rhythmic punches. Movement two is almost ballad like and features a section in which Rogers trades solos with a saxophonist, but the CD cover does not tell us which saxophonist does the soloing. The third movement picks up the pace in a style similar to the first.

This CD is not easy listening, like much of today’s jazz and concert hall music, the sounds on here are abstract and fragmented and not always easily absorbed with just a few listens. Still, fans of contemporary 3rd stream music will want to check this out. As mentioned earlier, Morell’s vision is singular and you will probably end up agreeing with me that this concerto does not sound like anyone else.

BLACK TIE BRASS Mostly Covered

EP · 2019 · Funk Jazz
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I would imagine more than a few young jazz musicians have noticed Snarky Puppy’s meteoritic rise to success and wondered if that could possibly happen to them too. Most jazz musicians assume that they will earn a modest living at best, and more than likely will be supporting themselves with a day job in another profession. Possibly the Snarky crew is more surprised than anyone that they are now traveling the world and playing the big shows like rock stars. What happened to them wasn’t luck though, not only did they work hard to get where they got, but they also put together a very youthful concoction of pop, dance and jazz that has appeal far outside the jazz world and into the lucrative world of the college party circuit and the international jam band scene. There is probably plenty of room for some more bands in this scene, and Black Tie Brass is one band that may have that potential.

Black Tie are doing their own thing and really don’t sound much like the Puppies, but there is a similar formula at work here, a youthful brass band with jazz chops and dance floor sensibilities. Yes, these guys could be heading ‘straight to the top’. “Mostly Covered” is their second release and is more like an EP than an LP due to its abbreviated length, but there is enough here for anyone to get a good taste for what they do. The album opens with three originals including the fast JBs shuffle of “Night Moves” and the hip-hop flavored “Sunshine”. All of the songs feature punchy horn arrangements and short to the point solos, the overall feel is more like a pop band than a jazz band, but the boys can lay it down when they want to.

The rest of the record finishes out with three well known covers including Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean”. Trumpeter Randolph Smith plays the melody with a mute, possibly in tribute to Miles’ version of Michael’s “Human Nature”. These guys are still a little green around the gills, but give them time to build their chops with endless gigs and roadwork and this could be the next jazz group to find larger success outside the jazz world without selling out their jazz sensibilities.

BILL LASWELL Hear No Evil

Album · 1988 · World Fusion
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“Hear No Evil” comes fairly early in Bill Laswell’s career as it is only his second solo album apart from his band, Material. Of course Bill would go on to release about another 50 million albums, but that’s a subject for another review, at this point in his career he was still taking some time with his albums. Back in the day “Hear No Evil” seemed somewhat profound in its somber ambient atmosphere and cultural mixtures, and its still a good album, but as the years have passed, it doesn’t have quite the same impact as it once did. For one thing, albums that feature cultural hodge-podges are much more common now, as well as records that feature ambience with a rhythmic groove.

At his very best, Bill Laswell can produce an almost religious sobering atmosphere filled with vague longing that is a skill at which he alone excels at. “Hear No Evil” is probably one of the first albums in which Bill displayed this talent, and on here he looks to southern US delta blues for the inspiration for his mournful and lonely melodies. Both Bill and guitarist Nicky Skopelitis play a lot of laid back slide work on here, which they then mix with Asiatic influences. Three percussionists, including Zakir Hussain, provide the percussion, but they are somewhat hemmed in by fairly standard Western time signatures. Indian fusion violinist, Shankar provides excellent solos that match with Bill’s background perfectly. Along with the somewhat straight rhythmic grounding, the other main fault with this album is the almost pop structure of the songs, which can push things in a new age direction.

There is one track that doesn’t quite fit, and that’s the clumsy funk of “Assassin”, take it out and you have a better album. The best tracks are the last two, and on the finale, “Kingdom Come”, the percussionists finally get a chance to go off. This album’s appeal can change with your mood, need some music for reflection, put this on, sometimes it almost seems to have the same impact it had back in the late 80s.

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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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