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John
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Favorite Jazz Artists

All Reviews/Ratings

779 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
MILES DAVIS - Big Fun Fusion | review permalink

See all reviews/ratings

Jazz Genre Nb. Rated Avg. rating
1 Fusion 102 3.69
2 Avant-Garde Jazz 60 3.98
3 Hard Bop 48 3.84
4 Post Bop 47 4.14
5 Soul Jazz 40 3.40
6 World Fusion 37 3.62
7 Big Band 36 3.85
8 Eclectic Fusion 35 3.76
9 RnB 32 3.59
10 Jazz Related Rock 30 3.77
11 Funk Jazz 26 3.60
12 Bop 26 4.04
13 Progressive Big Band 23 4.09
14 Nu Jazz 23 3.39
15 Pop/Art Song/Folk 21 2.81
16 Funk 21 3.90
17 Exotica 18 3.44
18 Jazz Related Electronica/Hip-Hop 18 3.39
19 Third Stream 18 3.89
20 Post-Fusion Contemporary 13 3.46
21 Cool Jazz 12 3.75
22 Dub/Ska/Reggae 11 4.00
23 Jazz Related Soundtracks 11 4.00
24 Blues 10 3.80
25 Vocal Jazz 10 3.75
26 Latin Jazz 9 3.89
27 Swing 8 4.00
28 Jazz Related Improv/Composition 7 3.43
29 Latin Rock/Soul 6 3.75
30 21st Century Modern 6 4.33
31 African Fusion 5 4.00
32 Acid Jazz 4 3.50
33 Classic (1920s) Jazz 2 4.50
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

KELLEY SUTTENFIELD When We Were Young

Album · 2019 · Pop/Art Song/Folk
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Right now Kelley Suttenfield’s “When We were Young” is my number one pick for sleeper surprise masterpiece for this year, and unfortunately, its also an album that may fly under the radar and be missed by many who would enjoy it because she is not yet well known. On paper the idea of a female jazz singer covering the songs of Neil Young looks like the sort of thing that could go wrong in many directions. Do we really want to hear Neil’s classics treated to adventurous chord substitutions, metric modulation or scat vocalizing. Of course we don’t, and thankfully you won’t find any of that on Kelley’s sublime covers of both well known and somewhat obscure Neil Young compositions. Sattenfield and her small backing group keep things cool and relaxed and don’t try too hard to make the songs more ‘jazzy’, although it should be no surprise that many of Young’s songs are very similar to classic pop jazz tunes in the first place, particularly “Fool for Your Love”. It also helps that Kelley’s band mates all have diverse backgrounds and can dish out the country, folk and rock licks that are needed to keep Young’s songs sounding ‘real’.

One of the first things you may notice about Suttenfield’s interpretations of Neil’s lyrics is that she never changes his words to fit her gender. All of the lyrics that Young sings about his relationship with women remain as is which creates a very interesting atmosphere in which we are hearing Neil’s thoughts from a curiously feminine side of himself. If she had changed the words the album would be much less mesmerizing in its exploration of Young’s yearnings for his ‘better half’. In some ways the album sounds like Young’s lover has discovered his personal diary and is reading his thoughts out loud to herself.

The arrangements on here are outstanding, deceptively simple, but always serving the song, not the musicians. A string trio is used economically here and there and the keyboards and guitar engage in occasional short solos to help build momentum. Kelley’s vocal delivery is very much of the ‘cool’ school, but on songs like “The Needle and the Damage Done” and “Down by the River” she belts out some emotional chorus buildups. “When We were Young” has so much crossover potential and if given some decent promotion could find fans in the worlds of folk, country, pop, vocal jazz and classic rock. Do give this one a try, its probably better than what you are expecting.

STEVIE WONDER Innervisions

Album · 1973 · RnB
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Stevie Wonder was on a roll in the 70s, knocking out one great album after another that placed at the top of the game in RnB, pop and singer/songwriter productions. With so many good albums to choose from, picking the best would be hard, but you couldn’t be too far off if your choice was 1973’s “Innervisions”. Here we have a near perfect Wonder album, with each song being a polished gem that bears the obvious fruits of endless care and toil. When you listen to all the ornate instrumental details, you can hear the immense amount of labor that went into this project, but just let the songs sing and you will be immersed in emotional narratives that cover the spectrum from mournful to celebratory.

“Innervisions” is an eclectic album that ranges from the hard funk of “Living for the City”, to the art balladry of “Visions” and “All in Love is Fair”, to the jazzy abstractions of “Too High”. The music is inventive and became very influential over the years, but likewise, the lyrics are heartfelt and can hit hard in their insights and unflinching truth as Stevie address personal turmoil in relationships, as well as the irrational hatred and fear of his fellow man. Wonder performs almost every instrument on here himself, with some limited help from guests on a few tracks, but the result does not sound stifled as some home recording projects can sound, instead, Stevie by himself sounds like one hell of a hot jam session, no easy task.

RICARDO PEIXOTO Scary Beautiful

Album · 2019 · Latin Jazz
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I don’t know if it is just coincidence, but lately I have received several new CDs that mix Brazilian jazz with contemporary classical composition. If this is a ‘new thing’, its really working well as borne out in the latest album I was sent along these lines, Ricardo Peixoto’s “Scary Beautiful”. Ricardo is an acoustic guitarist who has worked with some top names including, Flora Purim, Bud Shank, Dom Um Romao, Arturo Sandoval and many more. “Scary Beautiful” is his third album and it finds him presenting ten original compositions, each with its own unique sound and flavor. No two tracks on here feature the same backing musicians as Ricardo moves from large ensembles to intimate duets and everything in between. The many guests on here include some well known artists such as Paul McCandless, John Santos and Marcos Silva.

Album opener “Circles” recalls early Oregon, so its no surprise to find that group’s McCandless on soprano sax. “Morro de Paixao” is a lively samba that will remind many of the celebratory nature of much Brazilian music. This track also features a horn section whose rhythmic accents recall a salsa band or even the Earth Wind and Fire horns. Title track, “Scary Beautiful” shows Ricardo’s compositional side with interlocking minimalist rhythms that build momentum throughout the piece. “Pixinguina” features a chamber woodwind ensemble and more contemporary composition. The relatively short “Nereids” is one of the more striking tracks with its floating wordless vocals from Claudia Villela that create a movie soundtrack like atmosphere. Although each of the cuts on "Scary Beautiful" feature a different sound, the whole album flows together nicely like a Brazilian contemporary tone poem.

RAY OBIEDO Carousel

Album · 2019 · Post-Fusion Contemporary
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Even if you don’t recognize his name, if you are a fan of contemporary jazz and RnB you have probably heard the guitar playing of Ray Obiedo many times by now. Ray is a busy session guy who has recorded with just about everyone in his field, including heavy weights like Herbie Hancock, Sheila E and George Duke. Ray also releases his own albums, and many of those are favored by the jazz radio crowd, so there is a good chance when you are hearing jazz as background, that might be Ray as well. “Carousel” is Obiedo’s latest CD and it finds him serving up an eclectic mix of RnB, Brazilian, Cuban, smooth jazz and more.

Ray invited 32 musicians to work with him on “Carousel”, with many coming from his hometown area of Northern California where they work with local stalwarts such as Tower of Power and Santana. Some of the better known guests include Bob Mintzer, Toots Thieleman, Peter Garibaldi and Andy Narell. As mentioned earlier, every track carries a distinctive rhythm and flavor as Ray attempts to cover all the bases. Two of the more energetic songs come early on with the RnB of “Jinx” and the Latin drive of “Sharp Aztec”. Bob Mintzer’s funky sax solo on “Modern World” is also a winner. Possibly the top track though is a mystical cover of Mancini’s, “Lujon”. First of all, it is a Mancini composition, and secondly, the ambient drift and arrangement on this track has a more modern sound. A couple other songs seem geared towards the radio in a smooth jazz context. Throughout “Carousel”, Obiedo plays soulful licks and solos that recall George Benson and Wes Montgomery, two other guitarists who were adept at combining hard bop grit with pop sheen.

MICKEY TUCKER SoJourn

Album · 1977 · Post Bop
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Mickey Tucker is one of those ‘best musician you may have never heard of’ kind of guys. Well known amongst fellow jazz musicians, Mickey is less known to the general public because he mostly worked as a sideman, albeit with some top names such as Art Blakey, Rahsaan Roland Kirk and Phil Woods. Another factor working against Tucker was the fact that he never got with the whole commercial fusion/smooth jazz trip, and so he probably did not get much attention, or help, from the record labels. Much like Woody Shaw and Joanne Brackeen, Mickey played jazz straight through the 70s, but just like those two, his post bop was wild and energetic, sometimes hanging on the edge of pure mayhem. Released in 1977, when most fusion had run out of steam, “Sojourn” is a blast of hot swing rhythm in a modern stylle with plenty of intense solos to go around. Given the mundane state of affairs at that time, “Sojourn” was probably one of the best jazz albums of the year.

Side one opens with the jagged arrangement of the high octane, “Fast Train to Zurich”. This one recalls Eric Dolphy in the early 60s as the players hang on and try to ride a very up tempo rush of chord changes. Another side one highlight is the African groove of “Tunisian Festival”. Side two opens with a McCoy Tyner style modal jam and closes with some funky hard bop, one of the few medium tempo ensemble numbers on the album. In between these two you get an incredible solo piano piece which has Mickey mixing modern concert hall atonality with abstract blues and old school stride. Tucker was different from the popular 70s trio of Corea/Hancock/Jarret, he drew from a deeper well of some older methods, much like Jaki Byard or Sun Ra, and it would be no surprise if Tucker was an influence on the somewhat similarly oriented Matthew Shipp.

As mentioned earlier, “Sojourn” was probably one of the best jazz records of 1977, Herbie Hancock’s “VSOP” return to post bop came out that same year and look at how much attention that got. Mickey’s album is just as good, and in a rugged honest sort of way, maybe better. Too bad it was barely noticed, if at all.

Latest Forum Topic Posts

  • Posted 13 days ago in Name of a song???
    What style of music was the song?
  • Posted 13 days ago in Name of a song???
    You will probably need a better description than that, what you just described could be about a 100 different songs.If it was RnB with a jazz guitar part, try "Give Me the Night" by George Benson.If it isn't a jazz song, try "Turn up the Night" by Black Sabbath. There are many more I'm sure. js2019-09-05 07:32:14
  • Posted 14 days ago in Who *Collect*Jazzmen Autographes.??.
    Thanks, I moved this over to Get the Word Out.

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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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