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Favorite Jazz Artists

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558 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 43 3.95
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 23 3.93
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 Acid Jazz 4 3.50
28 Jazz Related Improvisation 3 3.50
29 Latin Jazz 3 3.83
30 Vocal Jazz 1 4.50
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

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.

MARK WINGFIELD Proof of Light

Album · 2015 · Classic Fusion
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“Proof of Light” is the latest offering from guitar virtuoso Mark Wingfield, and it shows him taking on new horizons with his expressive guitar style and contemporary concert hall influenced compositions. This is fusion of the abstract variety, often leaning towards a modern post-bop openess similar to Terje Rypdal, Jan Garbarek or John Abercrombie. Wingfield’s heavily nuanced and fluid sound may remind you of Allan Holdsworth, Steve Vai and the aforementioned Rypdal. Influenced much by horn players, Mark likes to make every note count with constant subtle changes in tone color and slight note bends. Wingfield is working with a bare backdrop of just bass and drums on here, which leaves him plenty of open space for his melodic explorations. Drummer Yaron Stavi supplies that sort of free style drumming that works well with Wingfield’s abstract approach.

Opening track “Mars Saffron” starts things off in a heavy rock fashion, but most of this CD is more in that “ECM” flavored melancholic post bop/fusion style. On “Voltaic”, the band goes absolutely free and crazy for a big sonic blowout that changes things up for a bit. Wingfield has a strong following among fellow guitarists, and that may be his best source of fans, because some listeners are going to find some of this to be a bit on the ethereal and intellectual side of things, Mark’s melodies are more interesting than they are memorable. Although both members of the rhythm section are given solos here and there, for much of this album the only lead voice is Mark’s, and once again its probably best if you are devoted fan of his playing. It does help that Wingfield is a very creative and modern guitarist who is good at avoiding the cliches.

CREATIVE CONSTRUCTION COMPANY Creative Construction Company

Live album · 1975 · Avant-Garde Jazz
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Although “Creative Construction Company” did not come out until the mid-70s, this is actually a recording of a concert in May 1970. Also, even though this is the first album to bear the name of the group, this is actually a continuation of the same group Anthony Braxton led on his first two albums, only its a slightly larger ensemble this time around. This is an all-star group, with the core trio of Braxton, Leo Smith and LeRoy Jenkins augmented with Muhal Richard Abrams, Steve Davis and Steve McCall. Some critics think that adding a rhythm section to the original trio destroyed some of their more sensitive interplay, and this may be true, but really what is recorded here is just a different type of music than the original trio, but not necessarily worse.

Along with The Art Ensemble of Chicago and others within Chicago’s AACM, the CCC presented a new style of free jazz improvisation. Unlike the more emotive and solo based excursions of the NYC crowd, the new Chicago scene favored group interplay and building ensemble tone colors instead of incendiary solos. This album represents this new style well with a fascinating 36 minute excursion that winds its way through many different textures and distinct sections. LeRoy Jenkins is credited with being the composer, and there does seem to be some sort of loose leadership to point the way from one section to the next.

Several of the musicians on here can play more than one instrument, which adds to all the tone colors available to them as they navigate from quiet string duos, to noise makers and percussion, to shrieking horns and pounding drums. All of this music has a nice flow to it, as if there was a conducted beat as in a concert hall piece. Overall an excellent album and a notch above much of the other avant-garde jazz albums of the time.

THELONIOUS MONK Thelonious Monk Plays Duke Ellington

Album · 1956 · Bop
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“Thelonious Monk Plays Duke Ellington” is an album that comes early in Monk’s career. He had started out at the Prestige label, where he recorded a handful of albums that featured his original compositions that were on the cutting edge of modern be-bop. These albums did not sell well as many jazz fans felt Monk’s music was too ‘difficult’, and sometimes downright foreboding. Frustrations with Prestige finally reached a head and Monk was let go, which is when upstart label Riverside entered the picture. Eager to have a known artist on their roster, Riverside gladly took on Monk and began advising him on how to expand his audience. The whole idea behind ‘Monk Plays Ellington’ was to have Monk record some familiar tunes by a well known master, and then possibly a wider audience may come to appreciate him.

Many hardcore Monk fans are dismissive of ‘Plays Ellington’, and consider it somewhat of a commercial sellout with less than top notch playing. This harsh evaluation is hardly true, although this is not one of Monk’s more outside albums, he hardly plays it safe or checks his creativity at the door. Instead these tunes carry all the trademarks of Monk’s playing; the weird rhythmic juxtapositions, the jagged phrasing and the surprise note choices, its all here, plus Ellington too. Choosing Oscar Pettiford and Kenny Clark as his backup also shows that Monk was striving for more credibility and acceptance by picking two of the top and best known performers of that time. Pettiford gets a couple short solos, and also engages in some interesting interplay with Thelonious.

Monk’s playing easily fits with Ellington’s music, as they both come from this sophisticated and abstract blues perspective. Monk’s playing on here may seem somewhat restrained compared to some of his other albums, but I doubt that was due to a lack of creativity or commercial concerns, instead it seems that Monk doesn’t want to take all the ‘Ellington’ out of the music and make it too much of a Monk joint. His perceived restraint probably has more to do with Monk’s integrity and artistic respect than anything else.

Monk does not perform any major transformations on any of these tunes, probably the only noticeable change comes when “Mood Indigo” is played like a blues, instead of the languid lounge number it usually is. Possibly top tune honors could go to “I Let a Song Go Out of My Heart’ , which is given a joyous romp with a dissonant solo, and ends up sounding a bit like Monk’s “Let’s Cool One”. Also memorable are “Black and Tan Fantasy” and Monk’s moving solo work on “Solitude”. Overall this is a good album, but possibly more interesting to Ellington fans than Monk fans.

DEWA BUDJANA Hasta Karma

Album · 2015 · Classic Fusion
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Dewa Budjana has been putting out high quality fusion records at the rate of about one per year for quite some time now, and fortunately, each album has its own unique flavor. His latest, “Hasta Karma”, is somewhat of a return to the big orchestrated sound of 2011’s “Dewa in Paradise”, but with some differences too. Having Ben Williams on upright bass and Joe Locke on vibes gives the band more of a loose and ‘jazzy’ sound this time around, and less of the power jazz-rock sound of 2014’s “Sura Numaskar”. Joe’s vibes also provide a nice counter voice to Dewa’s guitars during solo sections, as the band is apt to break it down and play in a more sparse fashion during the vibe solos.

“Hasta Karma” opens strong with an ambitious opening track called “Saniscara”. Its big sound and driving South Asian/Latin fusion rhythms sound similar to Pat Methny’s new popular Unity band. Follow up track “Desember” is slower and darker and has one of Budjana’s best guitar solos. This burning intense noise fest of a solo may remind some of the young Robert Fripp. Follow up track, “Jayaprana” returns us to the world fusion drive and bustle of the opening cut. After hearing the unified approach of these first three songs, it would appear that Budjana is really going for a wider western audience this time around, and possibly pointing straight at Pat Methany’s recent successes, but he throws us a total curve ball on track four, “Ruang Dialisis”.

“Ruang Dialisis” is a lengthy track dedicated to Dewa’s father and features a recording of his grandmaother, Jro Ktut Sidemen, chanting Mamuit in the form of a traditional funeral song. This chant is accompanied first by mournful guitar arpeggios, followed by a free section in which Dewa and his band really cut loose and then a return to the opening section. It’s a powerful and moving track and unlike anything I’ve heard from Dewa before, and certainly well beyond any commercial considerations or ‘crossover’ appeal. The following two closing tracks are good, but not as focused as the first four. “Just Kidding” is a patchwork of decent jazzy jam sessions, and “Payogan Rain” is a mid-tempo contemporary jazz, almost pop, number with relaxed solos for everyone.

Another excellent album for Dewa Budjana, he and Joe Locke turn in good solos on almost every track, and the first four tracks in particular feature Dewa’s usual skills at arranging and composing.

Latest Forum Topic Posts

  • Posted 3 days ago in What are You Listening II
    Yeah, "No Name on the Bullit" rocks. All of this talk reminds me of their work with Black Uhuru a few years earlier.
  • Posted 4 days ago in What are You Listening II
    I've owned both of those albums, I used to spin "Language Barrier" almost everyday. I believe there's a Miles tune on there, if I remember correctly.
  • Posted 12 days ago in What are You Listening II
    I'm guessing your other email address had some sort of spam block.

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Warthur wrote:
969 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:
1016 days ago
js - please clear some space in your PM inbox, I'm trying to send you something.

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