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Favorite Jazz Artists

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924 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
JOHN COLTRANE - Giant Steps Hard Bop

See all reviews/ratings

Jazz Genre Nb. Rated Avg. rating
1 Fusion 118 3.66
2 Avant-Garde Jazz 73 3.92
3 Post Bop 60 4.08
4 Hard Bop 58 3.81
5 Soul Jazz 49 3.42
6 World Fusion 43 3.60
7 Big Band 42 3.81
8 Eclectic Fusion 41 3.72
9 RnB 41 3.60
10 Jazz Related Rock 33 3.74
11 Progressive Big Band 30 4.02
12 Funk Jazz 30 3.55
13 Nu Jazz 29 3.47
14 Bop 28 4.04
15 Third Stream 24 3.90
16 Funk 23 3.85
17 Pop/Art Song/Folk 23 2.80
18 Jazz Related Electronica/Hip-Hop 18 3.39
19 Exotica 18 3.42
20 Latin Jazz 17 3.74
21 Post-Fusion Contemporary 14 3.46
22 Jazz Related Soundtracks 13 3.85
23 Cool Jazz 13 3.69
24 Dub/Ska/Reggae 13 4.04
25 Vocal Jazz 12 3.54
26 Blues 11 3.82
27 21st Century Modern 10 4.20
28 Jazz Related Improv/Composition 10 3.40
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 3 4.33
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

CALVIN KEYS Detours into Unconscious Rhythms

Album · 2000 · Funk Jazz
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By the time the year 2000 rolled around, Calvin Keys was already a veteran of the soul jazz scene, having played his first gigs when he was a teenager back in the 60s. Originally from the mid-west, Calvin worked with all the major Hammond B-3 artists such as Jimmy Smith, Jack McDuff, Jimmy McGriff and Groove Holmes before moving to LA in the early 70s. In the 90s Calvin re-located to the SF Bay Area just in time to enjoy that scene’s acid jazz explosion which made a musician with a good soul jazz resume an artist in demand. A lot of small labels sprang up in SF at this time to capitalize on a growing interest in mixing soul jazz with current hip-hop sensibilities. This was a scene that was unique to SF within the US, but it mirrored similar scenes in Europe, especially England. So it came to pass that Calvin was tapped by the Wide Hive label to record his first album as a leader in some time, as Wide Hive tried to capitalize on the Bay Area’s fascination with the merger of hip-hop and jazz.

“Detours into Unconscious Rhythms” is a very solid funk jazz record, and although there are nods to some trendy hip-hopisms, things do not get too watered down in an attempt to sound hip. Instead, Calvin and his crew focus on making great music that would fit any time period. Like most soul jazz cats, Calvin’s playing is based in the blues, but he eschews that Wes Montgomery octave sound that influenced so many other hard bop guitarists and instead goes for a more fleet fingered solo note style in a George Benson vein, but driven with fusion style repeating solo riffs that recall John McLaughlin and Larry Coryell. Calvin gets some good backing from his crew, particularly Chester Thompson who performs on several tracks with his Hammond B3.

Most of the tracks are great, “Tierra Naranja” is uptempo fusion with vibraphone contributions from Roger Glenn. Chester Thompson plays some Larry Young style organ work on “Perfection is Instant Death” with its almost prog rock sounding chord progression buildups and “Landing Pad” has some nice spacey psych Fender Rhodes from Kat Ouno. There is only one track with gratuitous record scratching. a feature that does date this album, but it is brief. There is one choral vocal track that some may find inspiring, while others may find it overwrought and dated, but otherwise this album is filled with top notch funk jazz fueled by Calvin’s very deft fret work.

MARIUS GUNDERSEN Chamber Music by Marco Pereira

Album · 2023 · Third Stream
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It certainly seems the world has taken a turn towards the ugly lately. Not only do we hear WWIII type saber rattling, but political leaders in the news seem determined to outdo each other with how callous and downright mean they can be. Possibly one of the best remedies for all this harshness is the beauty that can be found in music. “Chamber Music by Marco Pereira”, the new album by guitarist Marius Noss Gundersen, is almost radical in its difference to today’s culture of crude stupidity. Marco is blessed with the ability to touch us with melody, texture and mood. His music provides sensitivity and delicateness as nourishment to a world that is in need.

Periera is a Brazilian composer who works with a mix of Brazilian rhythms, (chorro, samba, bossa, bolero etc) plus neo-classical long forms and art pop songs. This seems not unusual in Brazilian music where high art and rhythmic songs are not necessarily exclusive of each other. Gunderson provides some nicely detailed liner notes where he expresses his gratitude to Periera for teaching him all things Brazilian in the world of music. Likewise, Marco also provides notes explaining aspects of each of his compositions. Its nice when artists take time with presentation. The music on here is a varied mix, sometimes upbeat and uptempo and sometimes more somber. Some pieces take on a more neo- classical type development, while others lean more towards Brazilian pop or jazz ballads. The closing number features some blazing fretwork for those that know that Marius is capable of such.

There is a lot of variation within the musical ensembles presented on each track, some pieces feature small chamber orchestras, while others may be performed with duos or trios. There are also female vocals on a couple tracks too. With so many different ensembles, recording locations and recording engineers, it’s a surprise how well this album flows from track to track. The production on here is excellent and the sound is crystal clear and fortunately devoid of any digital sugar coating.

THE PALOMAR TRIO The Song in Our Soul

Album · 2023 · Classic (1920s) Jazz
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The Palomar Trio is an all-star three piece made up of some of the top names in early jazz performance. Dan Levinson on clarinet and saxophone, Mark Shane on piano and Kevin Dorn on drums are all first call performers when it comes to 20s classic jazz and early 30s swing. Dan has worked with Wynton Marsalis, Dick Hyman and Mel Tome, while Mark continues to work with the Smithsonian Jazz Ensemble and the Twyla Tharpe Dance Company, and Kevin has worked with Harry Allen, Ken Peplowski and others. Despite the number of other artists available to these three, they all maintain that their favorite group is with each other in The Palomar Trio, which is why they have kept this group alive for over 20 years. All three point to how much the swing feel is in them and how much they see this in each other, or as Mark says, “There’s a center of deep swing inside of me, which emerges every time I play with Dan and Kevin.”

The band points to various influences, pointing out that the make-up of their trio, sans-bass, was inspired by their favorite tgroup with a similar makeup, Bennie Goodman’s trio with Teddie Wilson and Gene Krupa. They also perform a lot of tunes from Jimmie Noone’s swing band that played nightly in Chicago during the late 20s. Mark likes to point to Earl Hines, Fats Waller and Alex Hill as some of his favorite piano inspirations. For their latest album, “The Song in Our Soul”, the band purposefully left out tunes that have been over recorded and settled on their personal favorites such as the uptempo party flavor of “River, Stay Way from My Door, the sentimental balladry of “Sweetheart of Mine”, the noire blues of “Delta Bound” and the pounding backbeat of “Wake Up Chillun Wake Up” that almost leans towards RnB. The production on the album is kept simple with very little, or none, modern digital candy coating and compression. Sounds like they just used a simple room mic and that is all. Overall the clarinet sounds better in the room than the tenor, which can get a little boomy with the room reverb, but that’s easy to get used to.

There are those that find some of this 20s to 30s music hard to listen to, it seems corny or old fashioned as our ears have become accustomed to a certain heavyness and dreariness centered around the power of the minor third and a big pounding beat. Yes, this music has a different tonality from a different era, and some can’t get past that. A good way to open one’s ears up is to get away from heavy western music and enjoy field recordings from Africa, the Orient, South America or Eastern Europe. Once liberated, our ears now find it much easier to enjoy music from cultures we are not used to. Late 20s jazz had a lot of wit and sass to it, this element in jazz seemed to disappear with the passing of the bebop era. Some artists still come along, Henry Threadgill or Anthony Braxton for example, that still have that early jazz wit.

MILES DAVIS Filles de Kilimanjaro

Album · 1969 · Fusion
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Miles Davis’, “Filles Des Kilimanjaro”, is one of the most experimental and forward looking albums in his vast discography, and it is also one of his most misunderstood. Most reviews of this album talk about it being a transitional album in between his post bop years and his fusion years, but really it is not exactly either of those musical tendencies. It is a fusion album of sorts, but not the ‘jazz-rock’ fusion that will bring Miles much money and fame in the coming years. Instead, on this album Miles begins his exploration of static musical forms, music that is somewhat the same from beginning to end, much like traditional African music, or also similar to Stockhausen’s Momente form which is based on the idea of a musical continuum with no particular beginning or end. All of this is in difference to Western notions of linear musical progressions. In Momente form, each moment is as important and pertinent as the next. Miles was influenced by Stockhausen, but also by the very African sound of James Brown’s new funk style. It all ties together. After this album, Miles will get a lot of attention with some star-studded jazz-rock fusion albums that got a big advertising push from Columbia, but after the hoopla dies down, Miles will get back to his experiments in static music with albums like “On the Corner”, “Big Fun”, “Get Up With It” and a trio of live albums recorded in Japan.

On the back liner notes of the album, Ralph Gleason offers one take on this album as being a concerto for drummer Tony Williams, and in many ways, Tony is the central glue here with everyone else backing him, or interjecting on top of him. Album opener, “Frelon Brun”, is sort of a funky RnB jam until Tony just keeps taking it further out there. The next two tracks that fill side one are almost free jazz, although they are more or less tonal and seem to hang with an implied pulse, but very little literal time keeping. If you are familiar with the barn burning, “Miles Live at Fillmore”, than you may recognize these two “Filles” tracks as supplying the scattered material that happens on the live “Fillmore” album in between the sections that have a more pronounced groove. On the side one closer, Miles plays some melodies that will show up later on “In a Silent Way”, as well as melodies that will show up in various live jam tracks and from the “Directions” album.

Side two opens with the album’s title track and is the one track where the band hits a familiar groove. It has an ear grabbing melody and an overall relaxed atmosphere. This side closes out with “Miss Mabry”, which uses a static compositional tool that is a favorite for Miles. On this track different sections repeat and come around again, but the song never really gets anywhere. This compositional technique will hit a zenith for Miles when he records “Great Expectations” for the “Big Fun” album. Its important to note that Miles wrote everyone of these tracks, instead of leaning on Wayne Shorter as he had in the past. Only Miles had the vision of what he wanted here, it would take others some time to catch up to this concept of music, and apparently very few have.

MAX ROACH The Max Roach Trio featuring the Legendary Hasaan

Album · 1965 · Avant-Garde Jazz
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One of the most innovative and interesting piano players in jazz history, Hasaan Ibn Ali, was almost never recorded, but fortunately Max Roach put pressure on Atlantic records to record the guy and Atlantic finally relented under the stipulation that the album featuring Hasaan be released under Max’s name, hence the album, “The Max Roach Trio Featuring the Legendary Hasaan’ came to pass. After the release of this album there was enough interest in Hasaan to have him come record some more, but unfortunately incarceration over drugs got in the way and his recordings were shelved and presumed lost. Fortunately some of those recordings have been dug up and released, so now there are a few more recordings under the Hasaan name, but without this one Roach album, everything would have probably been forgotten.

All of the song’s on ‘Max Roach Featuring Hasaan’ are Hasaan’s compositions, and they reveal his very personal take on what jazz could be. It is an avant-garde album for its time, but it is far from free jazz. Hasaan lays out what he wants from his musicians, and Roach and bassist Art Davis are creative enough to pick up on his vision. A casual listen might reveal a rather dissonant hard bop album, but closer listens show that the rhythmic concepts of this album were way ahead of their time. The musicians seem to hold a pulse together, but it is constantly morphing and changing every couple of bars. The musicians seem to be almost independent of each other, yet they manage to keep it all together somehow.

Tonally, Hasaan is often compared to a cross between Monk and Cecil Taylor, more or less a very dissonant hard bopper. He was also heavily influenced by outside bebopper Elmo Hope and can sometimes recall Herbie Nichols, Jaki Byard and maybe some of Mal Waldron’s more outside excursions. Throughout the album, harsh atonal tone clusters can come slamming down followed by scattered skittish rapid flurries of single notes tempered with unpredictable rhythmic variations. Since Hasaan’s music sounds right at home in the 21st century, you could also reference Matthew Shipp and Jason Moran as pianists who cover somewhat similar ground. This is one of those albums you can listen to over and over again and always find something new.

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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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