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Favorite Jazz Artists

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631 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 49 3.98
3 Hard Bop 38 3.87
4 Big Band 34 3.87
5 Post Bop 32 4.17
6 Soul Jazz 32 3.38
7 (Post-70s) Eclectic Fusion 31 3.76
8 World Fusion 29 3.64
9 Jazz Related Rock 27 3.80
10 Jazz Related RnB 24 3.42
11 Funk Jazz 23 3.59
12 Bop 21 4.00
13 Funk 20 3.92
14 Nu Jazz 20 3.35
15 Pop Jazz/Crossover 19 2.68
16 Progressive Big Band 18 4.08
17 Exotica 17 3.41
18 DJ/Electronica Jazz 16 3.28
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 Vocal Jazz 6 3.67
26 Latin Rock/Soul 6 3.75
27 Swing 5 4.00
28 Latin Jazz 5 3.90
29 Jazz Related Improv/Composition 4 3.50
30 Acid Jazz 4 3.50
31 21st Century Modern 2 4.50
32 Afro-Cuban Jazz 1 4.50
33 Bossa Nova 1 3.50
34 Classic (1920s) Jazz 1 5.00
35 Dixieland 1 3.50

Latest Albums Reviews

DARREN ENGLISH Imagine Nation

Album · 2016 · Post Bop
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Listening to “Imagine Nation”, its hard to believe that this is trumpeter Darren English’s first album, his playing and compositional skills sound far beyond a beginner. Darren has a well developed technique, and a bright clean sound reminiscent of Clifford Brown, or possibly Wynton Marsalis. When things get heated, he brings on a full brassy attack that recalls Freddie Hubbard or Lee Morgan. “Imagine Nation” opens up strong with an original rambunctious post bop workout that bears the title of the album. After this, Darren settles into a ballad rendition of “Body and Soul” and although it’s a nice version, it may seem like a non-sequitur after the opener, but that is the nature of this disc, its very eclectic. Whether or not this sort of eclecticism works is probably a matter of taste. I suppose you can’t blame Darren for using his first album as a leader to showcase the variety of skills he has.

If you are keeping score at home, here is the breakdown on the styles Darren presents on here; two high energy lengthy post bop numbers similar to Dave Douglas or Herbie’s VSOP, a couple of be-bop numbers that show English has a much better feel for this idiom than a lot of today’s players, a couple vocal numbers featuring Carmen Bradford, some rugged hard bop and a tone poem featuring the recorded voice of Nelson Mandela. It is a smorgasbord, but everything is handled with sensitivity to the style being played. Darren’s backup band handles the variety well too, with honorable mention going to Greg Tardy on sax, who really burns on the intense numbers, and unique pianist Kenny Banks Jr, who eschews pyrotechnics in favor of something interesting to say.

There is probably no harm in Darren presenting such a mish-mash on his first time out, his very polished technique comes through no matter what he is playing, but if he wants to grab more attention on future outings, he may want to refine his focus. His two original post bop numbers, “Imagine Nation” and “The Birth”, show the most promise for the future. Then again, if he ever wants to cut a retro album with his very be-bop sounding muted trumpet, it would probably be a blast too.

EARTH WIND & FIRE That's the Way of the World

Album · 1975 · Jazz Related RnB
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Although as the 80s dragged on, they eventually became a talented, yet sometimes bland pop group, this was not how Earth Wind and Fire started. Many would be surprised to know that the roots of this group go back to Chicago’s avant-garde AACM, and their first album was the soundtrack to the outsider classic, “Sweet Sweetback’s Badass Song”, on which EW&F played furious psychedelic fusion in the style of Herbie’s Sextet. After this rather obscure beginning, founder Maurice White decided to keep the creativity intact, but also aim for some radio play too. With all this in mind, EW&F grew to be a powerhouse in the world of RnB, fusion, rock and pop during the 70s, and many would agree that they hit their first major peak with the 1975 studio masterpiece, “That’s the Way of the World”.

In the mid 70s, no other RnB or rock band carried as much pure talent as EW&F, their horn section could outplay many jazzers, their rhythm section could hold their own against WAR, Santanna or Weather Report, vocally they took arrangements to new heights in harmony and range, and finally, their compositions were modern, complex and way ahead of the field. Throughout the 70s, EW&F’s compositional approach was more influential on fusion artists than most other jazz artists. All through “That’s the Way”, EW&F tops driving syncopated African rhythms with floating abstract harmonies that recall Ellington and Debussy.

Almost every song on here is a classic, with only one sore thumb, the rather cliché ballad, “All About Love”. Modernist ballads with soaring harmonies were EW&F’s trademark, so its hard to understand how this less than stellar cut made the grade, but its all made up when it is followed by a short and attractively bizarre synth instrumental. For fans who already like this album, you need to check out the album “Gratitude”, on which the band plays these songs live and takes their mix of Ellington, Beatles, Stevie Wonder and Ohio Players, to new levels. As mentioned earlier, as the 80s dragged into the 90s and beyond, EW&F, much like their musical compadres Chicago and Genesis, became more wind and earth, and much less fire.

BORIS SAVOLDELLI Savoldelli Casarano Bardoscia : The Great Jazz Gig In The Sky

Album · 2016 · Nu Jazz
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The world doesn’t need another faithful tribute to Pink Floyd’s much ballyhooed “Dark Side of the Moon”, which is why Boris Savodelli’s “The Great Jazz Gig in the Sky” is such a relief. This isn’t a tribute as much as it is a radical deconstruction and subversive re-creation, while still maintaining a sense of integrity with the original album. This new album sounds like “Dark Side” in a post-apocalypse future, the original album’s big stadium rock sound has been gutted and replaced with whispering industrial drift, echoed sax melodies and mournful bowed strings. Although Savodelli is one of the top singers of today, he delivers these songs with a dry raspy voice that sounds like someone telling their last tale before checking out for good. ’Great Jazz Gig’ is dark and troubled, yet oddly attractive, and even ‘pretty’ at times due to Raffaele Casarano’s sweet tone on the saxophone.

Only three musicians make up this album, the aforementioned Savoldelli and Casarano, and double bass player Marco Bardoscia, who supplies lonely walking bass lines and faux string quartet bowing. All three musicians expand their presence via various looping and echo devices, and everyone in the group manipulates various electronic processing devices. Their overall sound together is of the hypnotic psychedelic ‘nu-jazz’ variety, with an uneasy industrial hum lurking in the background. Fusion guitarist Dewa Budjana joins for a lengthy psychedelic solo on “Us and Them”.

Many consider the original “Dark Side of the Moon” to be a rock and/or ‘progressive rock’ classic, yet when ’Dark Side’ first came out, it was actually met with some trepidation amongst early Pink Floyd fans, as well as fans of early prog rock. Many saw the album’s big stadium sound and simplified music as a calculated move by bassist Roger Waters to achieve greater popularity and more money. This proved true as Floyd paved the way to the heartland of US suburbia for other bands who adopted a similar approach. Savoldelli’s off-the-wall ‘Great Jazz Gig’ returns Floyd to their original intricate and experimental state as originally initiated by Syd Barret, Richard Wright, Nick Mason ... and Roger Waters when he was younger.

LOUIS HERIVEAUX Triadic Episode

Album · 2016 · Hard Bop
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Pianist Louis Heriveaux has been active in the Atlanta jazz scene for some time now, but only recently released his first album as a leader. One listen to “Triadic Episode” will make you wonder why this opportunity didn’t come sooner because it sounds like Louis is ready to take his place alongside some of today’s best players. Louis sites Bud Powell, Oscar Peterson and Mulgrew Miller as some of his influences, and the Peterson influence is obvious in that Heriveaux has a similar precise and clean attack, but Louis’ solos tend to move a little more to the outside than Oscar’s. Louis is one of those jazz pianists who has a big two-handed sound that is often common with those who have a classical background. Although his press kit makes no mention of a gospel background, you can definitely hear that southern US African-American church sound in his playing. If I had heard this CD in a blindfold test, I would have guessed that he was from the south.

The music on “Triadic Episode” falls roughly into the hard bop genre, but not in an overly cliché way. Many of the tune’s arrangements have interesting changeups, and drummer Terreon Gully plays all over the kit in that modern way that drummers do these days. Herriveaux’s piano solos tend to be rooted in the blues, but he uses this as a jumping off point, somewhat similar to Cedar Walton. There is a lot of inventive interaction between all three players, but don’t expect anything to leap out at you, subtlety and an avoidance of grandstanding are hallmarks of this brilliant trio.

About half of these tracks are originals, and the rest standards, some of which have been noticeably altered. Some standout cuts include a high energy deconstruction of “All the Things You Are” in 7/8 time, and album opener, “From Day to Day”, which is a sophisticated post bop waltz by Mulgrew Miller. This is hard bop for the new century, and a great CD for those who don’t need gimmicks, just really smart and soulful playing.

STAN KENTON Kenton in HI-FI

Album · 1956 · Big Band
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One of the more polarizing artists in the history of jazz, there seems to be no middle ground with Stan Kenton, people either love him or hate him. Kenton kicked off his band leading career in the 1940s and quickly established himself as a bit of a radical as his bands often dealt with rather complicated charts and concert hall type concepts that some saw as at odds with the essence of jazz. His bands could be huge and often emphasized sheer power and volume over more subtle qualities. Critics often pointed out that Kenton’s music was clumsy and it didn’t ‘swing’. As is often the case with polarizing figures, the truth about Kenton’s music lays somewhere in the middle of popular opinion. His music may be a bit heavy-handed at times, and his charts may lack the grace and charm of other classic big bands, but there is still a lot of interesting music within the Kenton catalog, and saying his bands couldn’t swing is overstepping a bit.

In the mid-50s it became very popular for big band leaders to re-record their more famous hits in the new ‘hi-fidelity’ stereo format. So it is in 1955 that Kenton joins this growing trend by recording “Stan Kenton in Hi-Fi”, a collection of past hits re-recorded with a massive modern (50s) stereo sound. Listening to these tracks is exciting, this is a very dynamic band and they play plenty of high energy swing numbers with a few more reflective numbers scattered throughout. Kenton’s often reliance on sheer power is in evidence with plenty of screaming trumpets, but overall these are fun tracks with an upbeat positive vibe. There are plenty of good solos, but honorable mention should go to tenor player Vido Musso who has a very original voice and is one sax player who deserves wider recognition.

Kenton’s sound was heavily influenced by Jimmie Lunceford, and you can also hear some Ellington too. Comparing Kenton to the other big band greats, you could say that he does not have the irresistible groove of Count Basie, nor the slinky subtle tone colors of Ellington, but Kenton’s band has good youthful energy and then there is always that sock-to-the-jaw sheer power. That youthful energy is always a part of the Kenton appeal, and this album reveals just a hint of mid 50s rock-n-roll as it seems that Kenton was often aiming for that frat boy party vibe.

There are plenty of good cuts on here and no duds. Some standouts include the up-tempo rush of “Artistry Jumps”, the Latin groove of “Peanut Vendor” and the third stream ambitions of “Concerto to End All Concertos”. Sure Kenton may not be as cool as Duke or the the Count, but people should not write him off, despite his reputation for stiffness, this is decadently fun and dynamic music.

Latest Forum Topic Posts

  • Posted 4 days ago in What are those 3 Jazz Songs?
    Yeah, I do hear some similarities to "Old Man River", hard to tell though.Too bad the op is not looking for 2:19 to 2:32, thats clearly "Night in Tunisia".
  • Posted 13 days ago in Feedback needed over a standard
    That does work. I'm heading out right now, but I will check it later and leave a comment. Are you the guitar player or sax player?
  • Posted 13 days ago in Feedback needed over a standard
    This is the correct place to post this, but often live youtube links don't work on this site anymore. Unfortunately yours didn't work for me.Post the video address as a copy and paste and it should work fine. js2016-05-15 20:42:43

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Warthur wrote:
1395 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:
1442 days ago
js - please clear some space in your PM inbox, I'm trying to send you something.

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