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562 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 28 4.27
6 Jazz Related Rock 26 3.79
7 World Fusion 26 3.63
8 (Post-70s) Eclectic Fusion 25 3.74
9 Big Band 24 3.88
10 Funk Jazz 23 3.59
11 Jazz Related RnB 22 3.41
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 8 3.88
23 Jazz Related Blues 7 3.64
24 Post-Fusion Contemporary 7 3.50
25 Latin Rock/Soul 6 3.75
26 Swing 5 4.00
27 Latin Jazz 4 3.88
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

QUINCY JONES Quincy Jones And His Orchestra At Newport '61

Live album · 1961 · Big Band
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If if you’re in a hurry, we can wrap up a quick review of Quincy Jones’ “Newport 1961” by saying that this CD contains a spirited performance that often involves material that is not up to this big band‘s talent, and its poorly recorded as well. These Newport live recordings tend to lean toward crowd pleasing type material as the festival was known to attract many curious non-jazz fans and people who just wanted to hang out. “Air Mail Special” has some great bop flavored high speed unison horn lines, and Phil Woods supplies a moving solo on “Evening in Paris”, but much of the rest of this CD is given to foot-stomping, hand-clapping pop RnB dance tunes that probably had the crowd on its feet, but as a home listening experience, it doesn’t quite carry over.

Despite the repetitious material, the band is excellent and burns bright all the way through. Checking the band lineup, its interesting to note that Pat Patrick, from Sun Ra's big band, was riding with Quincy at this time. The biggest problem with this CD is the sound. It sounds like everything was recorded through the soloist’s microphones, so needless to say, the soloists come through loud and clear, while the ensemble lines and rhythm section are too much in the background. How bothersome this is depends on the system you are listening to. I found this CD to be bearable in the house, but almost un-listenable in the truck.

Some people hold this CD in high regard, but a much better live Quincy Jones big band CD from this same time period is “The Great Wide World of Quincy Jones Live”. It has better material, and better sound too.

MATTHEW SHIPP To Duke

Album · 2015 · Avant-Garde Jazz
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It seems the inevitable Duke Ellington tribute album has become a rite of passage for major jazz performers, so it comes as no big surprise that one of today’s top musicians, Matthew Shipp, has taken on the formidable task of re-interpreting the works of the master on Shipp’s new CD, “To Duke”. Shipp is a fairly diverse and unpredictable artist, so there was no telling which way he was going to take Duke’s music. Would he go totally avant-garde on the pieces, or would he stay somewhat within Duke’s musical language? The answer to both questions is yes as Shipp treats some of the songs to free wheeling de-construction and radical re-make, while others sound fairly close to the original. It’s this varied approach that makes “To Duke” a total success as both a tribute to Duke, as well as an expansion of his music.

The first thing that might hit you about this CD is the song choices. Common knowledge would expect Shipp to pick out interesting obscurities and some of Duke’s more harmonically complex pieces, but instead, Shipp picked the most common and over played songs in the Duke songbook. “Satin Doll”, “Take the A Train”, “Mood Indigo” etc, it reads like one more budget label “The Best of the Duke’s Greatest Hits” type albums. Is this Matthew’s sense of humor at work? Maybe, but possibly they just happen to be his favorites songs to play, or possibly those song’s familiarity made them a bigger challenge to re-interpret. If that is the case, then Shipp and his band-mates meet the challenge with unpredictable approaches and unbridled creativity.

The most radical re-makes take place on “Satin Doll” and “A Train”, as the band takes some of the basic riffs to launch furious assaults that can be very intense at times, and funny as hell other times. Shipp is one of the few performers in today’s jazz world who realizes that much of the great jazz in the past always had a sly wit. Elsewhere on this CD, “Mood Indigo” and “Prelude to a Kiss” stay close to the originals as Shipp expands on their lush harmonies. There are also a couple Shipp originals, with “Sparks” being an excellent high energy avant-bop number.

The person who might have appreciated these pieces the most is, of course, no longer with us. Duke did not care to have his music become museum pieces. His band rarely played songs the same way twice, and re-recordings of songs always featured new arrangements. He also did not like any attempt to write down a definitive arrangement of any of his pieces. Duke preferred that his music continue to grow and change, much like it does on "To Duke".

CHICO HAMILTON El Chico

Album · 1965 · Latin Jazz
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Chico Hamilton is one of the more overlooked artists to come out of the west coast’s creative music scene in the late 50s and early 60s. A second look at his career is deserved as he helped originate that peculiarly west coast style of jam session that draws on Latin and Asian influences, as well as an open “anything goes’ sort of attitude. His combination of Latin rhythms and raga style modal excursions will blossom during the late 60s Latin rock explosion involving Santana, Malo, Azteca, El Chicano and more, and his music will also influence many of the new fusion bands such as the early Return to Forever.

In many ways, Chico’s “El Chico” is mostly a collection of jam sessions, and there are plenty of great solos, mostly from guitarist Gabor Szabo, but much of this record is more about the Latin grooves and the way the band’s three member percussion section rides those grooves. Gabor shines with his ‘raga’ style guitar solos that slowly build, many songs feature only Gabor, but there are also occasional flute and sax solos from the brilliant Sadao Watanabe.

Some highlights on here include side two opener “Conquistadors”, with its driving Latin boogaloo beat, and “El Moors”, a percussion driven exotic flute melody with a bit of Sun Ra flavor. The albums peaks though with “Strange”, an alto sax ballade that Hamilton used to play with Eric Dolphy. This is Sadao ‘s moment to shine as he plays the beautiful melody while invoking Dolphy’s idol, Charlie Parker, as well as Eric himself. Fans of west coast jazz from the late 50s to the early 60s know that this music exists in a world all its own, and Chico’s “El Chico” is a great example of that world of bongo beating beatniks that will soon give way to acid rock and jazz fusion.

SUSAN KREBS Simple Gifts

Album · 2015 · Vocal Jazz
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Susan Krebs and her Chamber Band definitely get off of the beaten path on their new release, “Simple Gifts”. There is nothing particularly startling or “avant-garde” going on here, but Krebs and her band sound like no one else in today’s jazz world. Krebs is a jazz vocalist with a lengthy background on both of the US coasts, and on this disc she leads a rather unusual quartet made up of percussion, piano, woodwinds and violin. The album opens with a couple jazz standards before veering into something more Latin on “So Many Stars”. The group goes on to show they are no light weights when they tackle the difficult and abstract changes to Steve Swallow’s “Falling Garce”. The final three tracks take on a Middle-Eastern feel as Scott Breadman’s percussion accompaniment takes on a stronger role. The eclectic choice of tunes almost suggests a cabaret type effect, but Krebs and her group have none of that corny schtick associated with cabaret, instead the vibe here is contemporary jazz drawing from many influences from the past.

The musicians on here are outstanding and are very careful as they weave their individual instrumental voices around Krebs vocals. The band is referred to as ‘chamber jazz’, as this group tends to perform in intimate salon settings, often at Kreb’s home, but this is a much warmer sound than is usually associated with contemporary chamber jazz groups of the North European slant. There is no artificial ‘spacious’ reverb on here, instead every instrument is recorded au naturale with a bright clear precision, it really sounds like you are in the room with Krebs and her band. Paul Cartwright's violin, in particular, gives the band an earthy sound that cuts across the decades. Susan is an excellent singer, blessed with a strong voice that understands jazz nuance, but she sometimes resorts to a sort of “stage whisper” type delivery. Possibly this is due to the intimate setting of her concerts, but she sounds best when she just belts it out, she has the pipes, as they say.

QUINCY JONES The Great Wide World Of Quincy Jones: Live!

Live album · 1984 · Big Band
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“The Great Wide World of Quincy Jones Live” is a recording of Jones’ big band live on tour in Zurich Switzerland on March 10, 1961, but it was not released until the mid-80s. This is one of Jones’ last recordings as a full-time jazz musician and big band leader, soon the world of studio music will take him to more lucrative fields. The band on here is based on Quincy’s previous studio album, “The Great Wide World of Quincy Jones”, but there are a few different performers and an almost entirely new set of tunes. This was Quincy’s second big band tour of Europe, having just completed a fairly difficult tour the previous year.

Despite Quincy’s sometimes leanings towards pop, this album is pure jazz from start to finish, and it is smoking hot all the way through. Quincy has a great band on here, featuring Freddie Hubbard on trumpet, Phil Woods and Bud Johnson on saxes and Curtis Fuller on trombone and many more greats. The ensemble work is super tight and the solos are intense. The recorded sound of this live concert does not have all the bright sparkling colors of Jones’ studio albums, but it replaces all that finesse with sheer energy and passionate performances.

There’s lots of great tunes on here, “Air Mail Special” is always played fast, but never before like this, the high speed ensemble horn lines on here will raise the hair on your neck, turn it up loud! Elsewhere, both “Banja Luka” and “Stolen Moments” are lengthy hard bop/blues jams with lots of solos. Phil Woods shines as always on the beautiful ballad, “Bess You is My Woman Now”. Overall, this is an excellent big band album with a decent, but not remarkable recorded sound. Quincy’s legacy as a big band leader has almost been forgotten, overshadowed by his work in movies and pop, but this album is proof that Quincy’s short lived band ranked up there with the best.

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Warthur wrote:
988 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:
1034 days ago
js - please clear some space in your PM inbox, I'm trying to send you something.

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