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570 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
DUKE ELLINGTON - Money Jungle Hard 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

See all reviews/ratings

Jazz Genre Nb. Rated Avg. rating
1 Classic Fusion 79 3.73
2 Avant-Garde Jazz 44 3.97
3 Hard Bop 31 3.95
4 Soul Jazz 31 3.35
5 Post Bop 29 4.24
6 (Post-70s) Eclectic Fusion 27 3.72
7 Jazz Related Rock 26 3.79
8 World Fusion 26 3.63
9 Big Band 25 3.88
10 Funk Jazz 23 3.59
11 Jazz Related RnB 23 3.37
12 Nu Jazz 19 3.34
13 Funk 18 3.92
14 Bop 17 3.94
15 Pop Jazz/Crossover 17 2.53
16 DJ/Electronica Jazz 16 3.28
17 Progressive Big Band 15 4.13
18 Third Stream 15 3.87
19 Exotica 14 3.50
20 Cool Jazz 11 3.95
21 Jazz Soundtracks 11 3.55
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 Acid Jazz 4 3.50
29 Jazz Related Improv/Composition 3 3.50
30 Vocal Jazz 2 4.00
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

PETE OXLEY Pete Oxley & Nicolas Meier : Chasing Tales

Album · 2015 · Post-Fusion Contemporary
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“Chasing Tales” was released earlier this year on MGP Records, and it seemed to slip beneath the radar and not get the attention it deserved, which is a shame because fans of guitar picking duos may find this to be one of the top albums of the year. Hopefully this album’s re-release on MoonJune might help bring the recognition this CD deserves. The interplay between Pete Oxley and Nicolar Meier, as they field a variety of string instruments centered around nylon string guitar and clean tone jazz guitar, is incredible as they sound very much like one mind. This album is the exact opposite of those sort of chest-beating acoustic guitar extravagances fueled by the likes of Dimeola and McLaughlin, there are no furious trade off solos on here, instead, you get music made through sensitive interplay and co-operation.

The guitar sound on here is of the softer variety, along the lines of Jim Hall, George Benson and Pat Methany, but just like those three mentioned virtuosos, the light tone does not imply light content, instead, this music is complex and holds up very well to many repeat listens. Oxley and Meir display many sources in creating their thick tapestries, besides modern jazz mixes of fusion and post bop, they also pull from art pop, middle eastern music and folk derived finger picking. They share writing duties, with Oxley’s tunes favoring abstract jazz, while Meir leans towards more forthright melodic material. Their compositions tend to alternate in sequence which makes for a great blend. These are all original compositions, and they are for the most part excellent, very original and personal, but two tracks don't seem to fit. "The Bridge" uses a nasal guitar synth sound that doesn't seem to fit the rest of the album, and "Breezin On" uses 'humorous' vocoder vocals that fit even less, but the rest of the album is superb.

Although labeled a contemporary jazz album, “Chasing Tales” probably has appeal far beyond just a jazz audience. Fans of world fusion acoustic guitar summits such as Strunz and Farah will probably enjoy this, as well as fans of that whole acoustic guitar world that includes new grass, Leo Kotke followers and David Grisman's ‘dawg music’. The interplay on here is very special and the compositions are fresh and inventive, hopefully this album will get the attention it deserves.


Album · 1979 · Dub Fusion
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If you ask most lovers of Dub music, what was the album that got them started, or what is still their favorite album, there is a very good chance they will pick Prince Jammy’s classic “Kamikaze Dub”. Jamaican Dub music first appeared in the mid-70s under the guidance of the creative master mind, King Tubby. By the late 70s, two of his top co-workers, Scientist and Prince Jammy were ready to branch out on their own, and they did. Both Jammy and Scientist were poised to take dub to a whole new level, but Jammy’s record came out first, and that’s why “Kamikaze Dub” is often cited as the album that raised the bar for good. After its release, many Jamaican producers aspired to create the same swirling psychedelic sound that Jammy presented on these near perfect tracks.

This music has aged very well, there is a certain economical neatness on here that implies the digital age, but this was all done painstakingly by hand towards the end of the analog era. This is truly a labor of love as each echo and phase shifter is placed logically, no gratuitous tacky effects mar the final product. The intelligent choice of effects adds to the quality of ‘Kamikaze’, I’m not sure if they were using the new Electro-Harmonix small stone phase shifter, but it sure sounds like it, or something similar. The musicianship on here is outstanding as well, with other Dub stars taking part such as Sly and Robbie on drums and bass, Augustaus Pablo on keyboards, Headley Bennett and Bobby Ellis on horns, as well as many others. The bright effects treated piano and organ parts that borrow from art rock and classical music are often the icing on the cake.

As mentioned earlier, when “Kamikaze Dub” came out in 1979, it became the gateway drug for many a future dub addict. At that time, Miles Davis had retired his psychedelic fusion band, and psych-rock pioneers, Pink Floyd, were slipping into corporate sludge, the time was right for something new, and Price Jammy hit the spot.

XADU Xavi Reija / Dusan Jevtovic : Random Abstract

Album · 2015 · (Post-70s) Eclectic Fusion
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Xadu is a modern jazz/rock duo made up of drummer Xavi Reija and guitarist Dusan Jevtovic. Although “Random Abstract” is their first album under this new moniker, this is the second album they have recorded together, as Dusan played guitar on Xavi Reija’s “Resolution”, which was released just last year. The only difference between the groups that perform on both albums is that Reija’s album featured Bernat Hernandez on bass, while “Random Abstract” has no bass player, and that lack of a third band member does make a difference.

Dusan is an interesting guitarist, although he started out as a more typical fleet fingered fusion guitarist, his solo album, “Am I Walking Wrong”, found him working more with distorted sounds and heavy sonic noise textures. On “Random Abstract”, he seems to mix these two worlds, still relying on a lot of distorted sounds, but also working in more of his earlier fusion style too. The balance of these two styles has resulted in a more interesting and musical approach for Dusan than on his previous solo album. This mix of noise and jazz-rock chops may remind some of Sonny Sharrock‘s work in the 80s and 90s. Xavi Reija provides his usual virtuoso drumming that combines fusion, free jazz and heavy rock. The two sound great together, but that third voice is missed sometimes.

Most of the tracks on this CD are good, with the best material coming in the middle of the album where back to back tracks, “New Pop” and “Something In Between”, feature the best solos and energetic duo interplay on the album. The weakest tracks happen on the second and third cuts where the duo makes the mistake of using some sort of looping device to provide something like a repeating bass line. As either song wears on, the automatic repeating lines become more of a nuisance than anything else. The duo format may sound a bit thin at times, but adding a dull repeating voice doesn’t help.

There is a lot of potential here, and there are moments on “Random Abstract” where that potential is reached, but its possible there is a better album still to come from these two. Much of this CD comes across as a recorded jam session, which isn’t bad, but more developed material would probably serve these guys well, as well as someone on bass.

CHICO HAMILTON The Best Of Chico Hamilton

Boxset / Compilation · 1969 · Latin Jazz
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“The Best of Chico Hamilton” is a collection of music that Hamilton recorded for the Impulse label. These songs were recorded between 1963 and 66, and were so ahead of their time, that even though “Best of” did not come out until 1969, most of these songs were still ahead of the curve. Much of that first wave of fusion and Latin fusion that will hit in the late 60s can be traced back to Hamilton’s mid 60s albums on Impulse. Even following the musicians tells a story, as Hamilton’s saxophonist on several of these cuts, Charles Lloyd, will leave Hamilton’s band to form an early proto fusion group with Jack DeJohnette and Keith Jarret, both of whom will eventually join Miles Davis’ early fusion group. You can also hear the beginnings of the west coast Latin rock movement on many of these songs too.

Almost all of these tracks feature a core group of Al Stinson on bass, Gabor Szabo on guitar and Hamilton on drums. Gabor is by far the main soloist, with Charles Lloyd showing up on a few tracks, and Larry Coryell covering guitar on one blues track that sounds out of place with the rest of the material. Most of the cuts on “Best of Chico” are pretty solid, with a few that are not the best, which leads to the question, did the producers of this album pick the best material? Overall it seems they didn’t do too bad of a job; songs like “Forest Flower” and “Conquistadors” are essential early Latin fusion, and “Evil Eye” is an excellent exotic gem, but two well known pop ballades, while played imaginatively, maybe could have been replaced with something a little more substantial. Finally, Coryell’s bluesy “Larry of Arabia” is pure fluff and a waste of space.

Chico Hamilton played a wide variety of styles during the course of his career, and this album is a fairly good, but not outstanding, sampling of what he was up to during the mid 60s.

VIJAY IYER Break Stuff

Album · 2015 · (Post-70s) Eclectic Fusion
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Breaks in music often refer to gaps of silence, some long, and some very short. Its a consideration of these ‘breaks’ and their importance that fuels much of Vijay Iyer’s new album, “Break Stuff”. Despite the pioneering work of Morton Feldman, John Cage and Stockhausen, some consider the manipulation of silence to still be an uncharted frontier in music. Besides the previously mentioned highbrow composers, breaks have found their way into popular music via the art of dubbing and other DJ tricks. Breaks in today’s music world can also refer to break beats and other DJ derived rhythms, and that sort of break also shows up on “Break Stuff”.

There is so much variety on here, Iyer is a restless creator and he fills all 70 minutes of this CD with a wealth of ideas and styles. “Break Stuff” opens somewhat pensively as Iyer explores some very interesting tone colors on the piano. I’m not sure how he gets all of his striking sound effects, possibly by going inside the piano, or that’s how it sounds at least. Partway through the second track, Iyer shifts into fusion mode playing strong rhythmic right hand solo lines that echo the young Chick Corea. On fourth track, “Hood” (named for DJ Robert Hood), Iyer and his group show their appreciation for Detroit techno, the form of techno that imitates African music in its complex rhythmic relationships. Other groups, such as Dawn of Midi, have attempted this sort of thing, and it seems Iyer and his group have achieved the best synthesis of techno and jazz yet.

The variety on this CD continues as Iyer takes on Monk’s “Work”, and shows a Monk styled playful sense of mischief. Other original tracks show Iyer and his rhythm section working with dense textures that recall recent works by Craig Taborn. Bassist Stephan Crump and drummer Marcus Gilmore supply intelligent support throughout, with Gilmore’s bold and original contributions taking on more importance due to the highly rhythmic nature of this album. To Iyer's credit, one of the very best tracks on the album is a solo piano take on Billy Strayhorn’s sublime “Blood Count”, which Iyer plays elegantly, allowing the rich harmonies to speak for themselves.

Where is modern jazz heading these days, “Break Stuff” offers a lot of possibilities, and despite this album's very eclectic material, it all fits together and makes sense. The uniting factor that ties all these tracks together is the band's stuttering modern rhythms that utilize silence, as well as sound.

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Warthur wrote:
1026 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:
1072 days ago
js - please clear some space in your PM inbox, I'm trying to send you something.


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