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613 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 84 3.73
2 Avant-Garde Jazz 48 3.99
3 Hard Bop 37 3.86
4 (Post-70s) Eclectic Fusion 32 3.77
5 Post Bop 32 4.22
6 Soul Jazz 31 3.35
7 Big Band 30 3.85
8 World Fusion 27 3.63
9 Jazz Related Rock 27 3.80
10 Funk Jazz 23 3.59
11 Jazz Related RnB 23 3.37
12 Bop 21 4.00
13 Funk 19 3.87
14 Nu Jazz 19 3.34
15 Pop Jazz/Crossover 18 2.61
16 Progressive Big Band 18 4.08
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 Vocal Jazz 4 3.75
29 Jazz Related Improv/Composition 4 3.50
30 Acid Jazz 4 3.50
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

BERNIE WORRELL Retrospectives

Album · 2016 · Funk
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When you think of 70s keyboard heroes who manned giant stacks of futuristic keyboards and synthesizers while mixing their jazz and classical training with the rock and RnB sounds of the day, names like Chick Corea, Keith Emerson and Herbie Hancock all come to mind. No doubt those were the names that topped all the keyboard player polls year after year back then, but there was another artist who did all the same things, but his name slipped under the radar, and that keyboardist is the ultra creative Bernie Worrell. Possibly because Bernie worked behind the huge shadows of larger than life characters like George Clinton and Bootsie Collins, in the various P-funk ensembles (Parliament, Funkadelic etc), that Bernie did not get the notice he deserved. Still, if you listen to those old P-funk tracks, no one contributes more than Bernie, and P-funk’s hugely elaborate arrangements would not have been possible without someone with Bernie’s training and classical background.

After leaving P-funk, Bernie has continued to work as a sideman with artists like Bill Laswell, Buckethead, various Talking Heads, Govt Mule, Les Claypool and others in the jam band scene. Worrell occasionally records as a leader, but he still does not grab a lot of attention, maybe its because his albums as a leader are not as strong as his contributions as a sideman. His latest release, “Retrospectives”, may be a good example of this. The premise behind “Retrospectives” sounds very promising at first, basically this is an album on which Bernie re-visits some of his favorite P-funk tracks and records instrumental versions of those tracks. To any long time Worrell and P-funk fan this is an exciting idea, but unfortunately the album does not come through as strongly as you wish it could. Some tracks are okay, but others are fairly lackluster.

Probably the biggest problem with this album is that it sounds like Worrell covered everything by himself. The drum tracks are not strong, nor is the production. An over reliance on ‘silly’ synthesizer sounds from the exotica era also becomes tedious and overbearing after a while. Many of these songs could use a little breathing room from all the persistent synthesizers. Overall this album sounds like a fun hobby home project, not the keyboard powerhouse it could have been. Possibly Worrell could get a good producer like Bill Laswell involved, and a real drummer, and these tracks could get a better life.

Despite the problems, there are some good tracks on here, “You Hit the Nail on the Head” is played reggae style with a melodica lead, and perennial favorite, “Flashlight”, is cloaked in string synth arrangements that Beethoven would be proud of. Possibly the two strongest tracks come at the end with “Balance” featuring a stronger drum sound and less synth clutter and “The Moment”, a punchy Prince style synth-rocker with the best production on the whole album. There are enough good moments on “Retrospectives” to make it worthwhile to Bernie Worrell fans, but you have to wonder what this would have sounded like if more time had been taken.

ADAM MAKOWICZ Adam Makowicz & George Mraz ‎: Classic Jazz Duets

Live album · 1982 · Bop
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Adam Makowicz started out his musical career as a classical piano student at the Chopin Conservatory in Krakow Poland. Sometime in the mid-50s, Adam became interested in the jazz music that he heard on underground radio broadcasts. Poland was under USSR domination at this time and jazz was mostly forbidden. Once it was learned that Adam was playing jazz, he was kicked out of the university and spent many years as a mostly homeless person. Despite the hardships, Makowicz continued to develop an outstanding technique as a jazz pianist. Interestingly enough, the style that Makowicz developed was an older style, one rooted in the physical demands of stride piano and artists such as Art Tatum and Earl Hines. Early jazz piano required that the pianist be like an orchestra by themselves, with both hands pounding out fistfuls of notes. This was quite different from the more minimalist style pioneered by Monk and Bud Powell that had become the popular style with most modern pianists. This older style that Adam leaned towards could have been caused by his cultural isolation, or it could have been the style he preferred, or maybe a bit of both of those causes. Still, it is also interesting to note that those early jazz pianists who developed the big two-handed stride style were also very influenced by the Chopin pieces they learned in their youthful piano lessons. It would not be too far off to say that Chopin may be the connecting factor between Makowicz and the jazz pianists he admired.

In 1977, famed producer John Hammond brought Makowicz to the US where Adam began to record many albums. Cut forward to 1982 and Adam enters a jazz club called Bechts with fellow European bassist, George Mraz, to record “Classic Jazz Duets”. Side one of the album contains four bebop standards played brilliantly by the two artists. There is a lot of creative interplay as the two effortlessly slip in and out of double time, or reel off precise unison passages at blinding fast tempos. This could have been an outstanding neo-bop album, but problems emerge on side two. This side opens with a blazing version of “Cherokee” which keeps the good vibes flowing, but then the duo decides to cover the cheezy 70s pop song, “If”, yes the song by ultra-cheezy soft rock group Bread. Unfortunately, Adam’s very busy technique becomes quite tacky in the hands of this very trite pop dead end. After this, the album closes with yet one more tune more associated with lounge music than bebop. Its unfortunate these two clunkers undermine what could have been a much better album.

Despite the two questionable tunes, this album is still worth picking up for fans of that sort of heavily technical playing featured by artists like Oscar Peterson, or the aforementioned Art Tatum and Earl Hines. Adam’s playing, and his interactions with Mraz are at times mind-boggling.

ROB REDDY Bechet: Our Contemporary

Album · 2015 · Progressive Big Band
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Rob Reddy has been working out of the New York City jazz scene since the early 90s, mostly leading his own ensembles that play modern creative music that often draws a lot of influence from ‘roots music’, and early Americana. Given his interest in early jazz, its no big surprise that Reddy’s latest CD, “Bechet: Our Contemporary”, uses 1920s-50s jazz saxophonist Sidney Bechet, and his music, as an inspiration. The connection between the two is furthered by the fact that both play(ed) soprano sax, and both consider(ed) themselves as avante-gardists for their time. On this CD, Reddy presents a mix of original tunes and Bechet covers that seamlessly blend modern NYC with Bechet’s late 20s NYC. The two eras work well together because the late 20s was a very eclectic and experimental era in jazz, an era that produced many fast moving changes. A sly and subversive NYC centered fast paced hustle defines both eras.

This album opens with a Rob Reddy original, “Up South”, that uses Bechet type riffs to build an energetic punky jump blues chaos that features hot guitar from Martin Sewell. After this, Rob uses the colors of his mini orchestra to paint a cinematic tango version of Bechet’s “Petite Fleur”. From here, the album continues to alternate Reddy originals with Bechet covers, and the blend works perfectly. As is often the case with these sort of ambitious projects, there is a wide variety of musical styles at work, including; traces of Ornette Coleman, avant country blues, floating psychedelia, New Orleans style jam sessions gone beserk and plenty more. The music is pushed by hot solos from artists such as Curtis Fowlkes, Charlie Burnham, John Carlson and others.

All of the tracks on here are strong until we get to the album closer, “Broken Windmill”, on which Reddy and his crew try to play a Bechet arrangement from the 20s. Today’s players are clever and resourceful, but they don’t have the sort of physical commitment that it takes to play this kind of music. Reddy’s cover of this tune is interesting and humorous, but not entirely successful, still its inclusion is important for painting the big picture. Overall this is a great album, fans of modern NYC eclectic jazz will know what to expect, and fans of 20s jazz may be surprised at how well this all goes together. How many ensembles can use Sidney Bechet riffs to build floating pastoral Pink Floyd type textures.

MATTHEW SHIPP Matthew Shipp Trio: The Conduct of Jazz

Album · 2015 · Avant-Garde Jazz
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Possibly one of the most prolific producers of new CDs in the world of jazz, Matthew Shipp seems to be coming up with almost three or more albums every year. With such an abundant flow of output, one is tempted to question the quality of Shipp’s work, but if “The Conduct of Jazz” is any indicator, Matthew continues to hold high standards for each and every new CD he puts out. “The Conduct of Jazz”, like much of Shipp’s music, falls roughly into an area we can call ‘avant-garde jazz’, but this music really does not sound much like any one else who might fall under the same genre umbrella. Instead, Shipp and his trio continue to make music that exists in a world all its own.

There is so much variety on here, each track opens a door to a unique musical universe. After the opening procession of “Insensitive Touch”, the CD’s title track follows with some obvious references to Monk’s music, but mixed up with Shipp’s trio’s ability to play in different, but related tempos at the same time. The following two cuts are almost more like concert hall pieces, but not in any formal way, but more in the fact that we are far from be-bop here, or anything that most people would call ‘avant-garde jazz’ for that matter. Both of these tracks display constructions that suggest structure mixed with improv.

On track five, “Stream of Light”, Shipp plays something that you could almost call jazz-rock, his piano pounding on this one might have something in common with some recent work by Robert Glasper. Track six is a real treat as Shipp plays piano alone and produces a lush, almost romantic ballad that sounds like Art Tatum run through a blender. Album closer, “The Bridge Across”, is familiar territory for most fans of ‘free jazz’, if there is such a thing as “traditional” avant-garde jazz, this would be it.

“The Conduct of Jazz” is yet one more outstanding album for Matthew Shipp this year, and is highly recommended for his fans, or the curious wanting to check out his music for the first time. Its also recommended for those who want to hear modern innovative music that sounds like no one else.

BRAD MEHLDAU Where Do You Start

Album · 2012 · Post Bop
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In 2012 the Brad Mehldau trio released two albums, “Ode” and “Where do You Start”. With its lineup of all original tunes, “Ode” seemed like the heavier album compared to “Where do You Start”, which consisted of a mish-mash of modern pop tunes, hard bop standards and a couple originals that are mostly jam sessions. But its worthwhile to give “Where do You Start” a timely re-listen though, because although “Ode” may still be the stronger album, there are plenty of gems on “Start” as well. As mentioned earlier, this is an eclectic album, with about four moody pop ballads, a couple hard bop standards, two Latin jazz tracks and a couple of excellent Mehldauish modal grooves. Most of the songs are good, but fans of Brad’s ‘jass’ playing could probably use a few less of the pop tunes.

The two best tracks,“Got Me Wrong” and “Jam”, are both superb modal jam sessions on which Mehldau channels a timeless early 60s coffeehouse groove with a modern fracturing in his solos. All through this album, Mehldau’s ability to spin original solos that grab your ears and don’t let go is in full effect. Brad’s elastic sense of rhythm, uncanny ability to separate his hands, plus his ability to play phrases that sound like no else continue to make him one of the most interesting musicians today. Elsewhere on this album, its great to hear Brad spin some original solos on hard bop standards by Clifford Brown and Sonny Rollins, Brad doesn’t cover material like this all that often, but he can play a very intense Bud Powell flavored neo-bop.

A good portion of this album is taken up with the sort of moody pop playing that Brad is famous for. Certainly he is the master of this sort of languid phrasing and impressionist sounds, but with so many good energetic tracks on here too, sometimes you wish the more droopy numbers would move along and make way for another jam session. This isn’t Brad’s best album, but his playing on here is outstanding and there are enough good tracks that his fans will probably want to pick this up. Those who wish to hear more serious jazz playing from Brad and his trio may want to check out his “Art of the Trio” series.

Latest Forum Topic Posts

  • Posted 3 days ago in Earth, Wind & Fire soul Maurice White dies
    If you saw EW&F live in the 70s, you were in for an incredible concert. Every show took you from earliest Africa, to modern electronica and everything in between. They had crazy jazz horn charts, best rhythm section in the business and choir like vocals. Their tour with Ramsey Lewis' late 70s fusion band was a peak for both artists. On album, EW&F's compositions combined jazz with art pop and soul and influenced modern harmonic approaches in jazz and pop to this day.
  • Posted 9 days ago in "Live from the House of Soul"
    Charles Bradley & Menahan Street Band -Live From The House Of Soulcoming to DVD on February 12thThe first installment of Daptone Records' new video seriesDaptone Records, the fiercely independent label that has been delivering the gold standard for real soulful music for over a decade, is launching a video series of performances by its artists recorded live in the backyard of their Bushwick studio headquarters, affectionately known as "The House of Soul".Live from the House of Soul will debut with a full concert byCharles Bradley, followed by episodes from Antibalas,Menahan Street Band, The Mystery Lights, and more. The first installment of Live From The House Of Soul is directed by Poull Brien and shot in the backyard of Daptone's House of Soul in Bushwick, Brooklyn. It features Charles Bradley at his best with the Menahan Street Band. Bradley's voice has evolved from a lifetime of paying dues, having nomadically labored for decades at various day jobs from Maine to Alaska - singing and performing in his spare time - before re-settling in his hometown Brooklyn and eventually finding a musical home at Dunham. In his distinctively rough-hewn timbre, one hears the unmistakable voice of experience - each note and gruff inflection a reflection of his extended, sometimes rocky, personal path. It's only fitting that producer, Brenneck (also a member of The Dap-Kings and The Budos Band), would recognize in Bradley a kindred musical spirit - a singer whose performances exude both raw power and poignant beauty.This Live From The House Of Soul series gives viewers an intimate look into the legendary stable of Daptone artists performing at home in a unique setting. The series will be completely produced in-house and feature the tough sound that Daptone has become famous for. More episodes are currently in production.Bradley's upcoming album, Changes, is out April 1st, 2016 on Daptone Records. For more info contact Shazila Mohammed - Shazila (at) MotorMouthMedia (dot) com.This Live From The House Of Soul -Track Listing:"Love Bug""Where Do We Go From Here?""Victim Of Love""Confusion""The World (Is Going Up In Flames)""Crying In The Chapel""Strictly Reserved For You"The DVD also includes bonus music videos for "Where Do We Go From Here?," "Strictly Reserved For You," "The World (Is Going Up In Flames)," and "Heartaches & Pain."Hi Res Cover Art: http://mvdb2b.com/i/300dpi/DAPV-101.jpgPre-order: http://bit.ly/1QpUli1Amazon: http://amzn.com/B018ELUCTUDVD Product Details:Format: DVDSKU: DAPV-101UPC: 760137813293Street Date: 02/12/16PreBook Date: 01/08/16Label: Daptone Records »Genre: R & BRun Time: 60 minsNumber of Discs: 1Audio: STEREOYear of Production: 2013Director: Poull BrienBox Lot: 30Territory: WORLDLanguage: English
  • Posted 13 days ago in What is Jazz???
    [QUOTE=mischeli]What is Jazz???The existence does not depend on thought.It is where you choose to place your silence, which converts sound into music.Sound and silence make music.Sometimes when my solo, I do not play anything.Just schedule blocks of silence.The notes are an afterthought.Silence is what makes music sexy.Silence is cool.-Nicholas Payton[/QUOTE] Interesting quote from Payton, silence is definitely under-rated, especially in today's world.Miles Davis once, in his typically brusque way, summed up what he learned from listening to Karlheinz Stockhausen's Asiatic influenced 'Momente" form music,  "..the note is either on or off", and the deeper implications of this non-western approach resonated in a lot of Miles' mid-70s recordings.


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Warthur wrote:
1284 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:
1331 days ago
js - please clear some space in your PM inbox, I'm trying to send you something.


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