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Favorite Jazz Artists

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714 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 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 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 - 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 95 3.69
2 Avant-Garde Jazz 55 3.98
3 Hard Bop 47 3.85
4 Post Bop 38 4.14
5 Soul Jazz 35 3.37
6 Big Band 35 3.84
7 World Fusion 35 3.64
8 Eclectic Fusion 33 3.74
9 Jazz Related RnB 29 3.57
10 Jazz Related Rock 28 3.77
11 Bop 26 4.04
12 Funk Jazz 24 3.60
13 Nu Jazz 22 3.39
14 Progressive Big Band 21 4.10
15 Funk 20 3.92
16 Jazz Related Pop/Art Song/Folk 19 2.68
17 Exotica 18 3.44
18 Jazz Related DJs/Electronica 16 3.25
19 Third Stream 15 3.87
20 Post-Fusion Contemporary 11 3.55
21 Dub/Ska 11 4.05
22 Cool Jazz 10 3.85
23 Jazz Related Blues 9 3.72
24 Jazz Related Soundtracks 9 3.94
25 Latin Jazz 8 3.94
26 Vocal Jazz 8 3.75
27 Swing 8 4.00
28 Jazz Related Improv/Composition 7 3.43
29 Latin Rock/Soul 6 3.75
30 21st Century Modern 5 4.40
31 Acid Jazz 4 3.50
32 Classic (1920s) Jazz 2 4.50
33 Jazz Education 1 3.50
34 Afro-Cuban Jazz 1 4.50
35 Dixieland 1 3.50
36 Bossa Nova 1 3.50
37 Ragtime 1 4.00

Latest Albums Reviews


Album · 1980 · Dub/Ska
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The Beat, or The English Beat, as they were known in the states, were a musical super nova that burned bright for about four years and then abruptly broke up while they were still successful. Sporting a mix of Caribbean rhythms and punk rock energy, they were a natural to ride the ska revival of the early 80s, but The Beat was always way more than ska imitator wannabes. With at least three band members with bona fide reggae/ska musical roots, The Beat had an authenticity and natural nimble grace to their music that was not matched by their counterparts in the two tone movement. All of this was on full display when they released their opening opus, "I Just Can't Stop It", one of the best dance-able art pop albums in the 80s or in any decade.

In a manner similar to other rhythmically kinetic groups such as The Meters or the JBs, everything great about The Beat starts at the drum set and works its way forward from there. Everett Morton is one of the most overlooked innovative drummers in contemporary music. His ability to play syncopated Caribbean rhythms at break neck tempos made The Beat an irresistible sonic force. Add to that beat foundation a driving dub style bass, two interlocking guitars and Saxa's melodic Jamaican horn lines and you have a rich sonic tapestry. The icing on the cake was the duo vocals of Englishman Dave Wakeling and the Jamaican toasting and harmonies from Ranking Roger which gave The Beat a broad pallet of vocal deliveries.

The icing on the icing is the fact that these guys could write great songs and lyrics that were often either politically clever or sardonically dismayed with relationships. On "I Just Can' Stop It", they also include some creative covers that blend well with their originals. THere are no bad cuts on here, but if you are looking for the high energy barn-burners, try "Click Click", "Noise in this World" or "Two Swords".


Live album · 2018 · Fusion
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Its hard to know what to expect from a Dusan Jevtovic album, his music has veered from heavy noisy post rock to more fleet-fingered jazz fusion, depending on which album you are listening to. On his new live opus, “Live at Home”, Dusan brings all his different influences together and presents his strongest and most coherent musical statement yet. He is joined again by keyboardist Vasil Hadzimanov, who trades in the ivories on the last album for a funky Fender Rhodes which meshes better with Jevtovic’s distorted guitar sound. The rhythm section of bassist Pera Krstajic and drummer Pedja Milutinovic are first timers in the Dusan army, but they prove themselves up for the variety of fusion to rock rhythms. Vasil is also given more solo space this time around as he and Dusan share equally, and sometimes play duo solos.

“No Answer” from the previous album of the same name opens things and right off the bat you can hear this live version both rocks and swings better than the original, it really sounds like Jevtovik and his band are hitting their mark. The rest of the album doesn’t let up as there is plenty of free fusion with intense solos from both Dusan and Vasil, plus some rockin numbers too. Of the rockers, “Babe” sounds like an outtake from a mid-70s King Crimson album, and “New Pop” sounds like one of those good times 70s Jeff Beck numbers. Most of the rest of the album deals with freer jazz-fusion rhythms and solos, often with a Middle-Eastern or East-European influence. There is a short vocal love song that is kind of a surprise and no one is credited with vocals on the liner notes either.

This is Dusan Jevtovic’s best album yet. There are plenty of excellent jazz fusion solos backed by a very elastic and interesting rhythm section, plus there is also Dusan’s dark heavy psychedelic sounds too. Looks like he has found a way to balance his different interests.


Album · 1979 · Jazz Related RnB
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During the 60s, Quincy Jones was one of the more successful jazz composers and arrangers in the business, creating a unique style that became the sound of American movie and TV themes, as well as background incidental music too. As the 70s developed, Quincy’s concise and economical approach didn’t jibe as well with the more excessive hippiefied era, and although his soundtracks were still happening, he no longer had the same impact anymore. In 1976 Jones hooked up with brand new RnB phenoms, The Brothers Johnson, and helped them mold a new lean and clean funk sound that pointed towards the future. A few years after this, the already rising star of Michael Jackson was showing even greater potential when he teamed up with his brother Randy to create a striking new dance hit with the song, “Shake Your Body Down to the Ground”, that brought new life to a somewhat dismal late 70s RnB/dance scene. Late 70s RnB radio had become dominated by a decaying disco scene that pumped out one bland and predictable track after another. The stage was now set for Quincy and Michael to team up and turn the world of commercial dance music inside out in a fire burst of creativity in the form of the album, “Off the Wall”.

As soon as the first track, “Don’t Stop till You get Enough”, opened, you could tell the days of boring thump thump thump disco music were on their way out. With this fresh new track we were given a melodic syncopated kick drum pattern surround by Latin and African percussion figures. Interlocking horn, string and guitar patterns sounded like a sophisticated big band, and over it all were Michael’s floating complex vocal arrangements. A new day had dawned indeed. The rest of side one is just one masterpiece after another with “Workin Day and Night” providing some of the hottest horn and guitar riffs since the heyday of James Brown, and “Rock with You” supplying something that hadn’t been heard of in dance music in a long while, an interesting melody and original chord changes. The quality drops a bit on side two, with the last two tracks not quite up to the rest of the album, but even those tracks could beat the competition of the day with the possible exception of Rick James and the occasional Funkadelic/Parliament track.

Almost forty years later, Quincy and Michael’s creation still stands as one of the top RnB, dance or pop albums of all time. Still, this album would not be the pinnacle of this duo’s efforts. That peak would come on the next album, “Thriller”, on which Jones and Jackson would take their creativity just one notch higher.

MICA BETHEA Suite Theory

Album · 2018 · Progressive Big Band
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For the modern big band enthusiast who wants to keep up with what’s new, there is a name you should know if you don’t already, and that is Mica Bethea. Mica released his first big band album back in 2011, but then nothing until last year’s “Stage n’ Studio”, followed quickly by this year’s “Suite Theory”. What a difference a year makes as Mica’s new one shows him starting to really evolve and develop as a writer and arranger. “Stage n’ Studio” is a good CD and it pulled positive reviews, but on this new one, for the first time, Bethea has written every composition himself, and his compositions have grown in complexity and ambition. “Suite Theory” is a four movement composition that attempts to illustrate Mica’s life starting from a carefree young man to a post-car accident (entirely not his fault) quadriplegic, through post-accident depression, and finally to a life reaffirming decision to press on with his work as a composer. Certainly these are all vividly personal events that would make one reach deep into one’s creativity.

Movement one, “Crystal Clear”, is a swingin number that seems to reference Ellington as Mica’s opening melody is passed around among the various band sections as they introduce endless variations on the opening theme. The many wide open solos that follow continue the melodic variance. Movement two, “Destiny’s Boat”, deals with waking up in a hospital bed with one’s life changed in ways that no one could possibly anticipate. This track is more mysterious and the odd colorful orchestrations recall Herbie Hancock’s Sextet, or his “Speak Like a Child” album. Todd Guidice delivers a killer sax solo on this one, which Bethea liked so much that he closes the CD with a second take of this movement so that Todd could take his solo even further out. Movement three, “Meniscus”, carries an Afro-Cuban influence with more grooving solos. The final movement, “Guardian of Forever”, features long complex rapid unison horn lines that fall in between neo-bebop and an over the top prog rock arrangement. The rockin element is pushed by James Hogan’s guitar solo that is part earthy blues rock and part soaring Allan Holdsworth style fusion.

Modern big band fans need to take note, Mica Bethea is one that you need to check out as he looks to be in this for the long haul. Its truly impressive how “Suite Theory” has shown such growth in the areas of composition and arrangement, but if there is anything I miss from his previous album, it’s the hardcore funk of his “Hang Up Your Hang Ups” cover, and the neo-classical melody of “Birth Rite”. Given the strength of these last two albums, it should be interesting to see what Micah comes up with next, hopefully he won’t keep us waiting too long.


Album · 2017 · Jazz Related RnB
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I am sure there are plenty of RnB fans who miss the golden age of the late 60s to mid 70s when artists like Stevie Wonder and Curtis Mayfield wrote artistic music with deep challenging lyrics that tackled the issues of the day. There has been new hope recently as musicians such as Esperanza Spaulding, Robert Glasper and Thundercat have been bringing a much needed creativity and social consciousness to the world of RnB. Much of this new music comes from the LA scene, far from RnB’s roots in the deep south, but a new voice, Mike Burton, has come up from Jackson Mississiippi bringing that deep southern soul mixed with modern cosmopolitan elements and featuring profound and spiritual lyrics that take on many troubling issues. Mike is mostly known as a saxophonist who has worked with Jill Scott and others, but on this new album, “Say What”, he also takes control of the vocal mic so that he can bring his thoughtful lyrics to the table. The end result is one of the best RnB albums of recent times, as it features earthy tones from the past mixed with a modern sheen from the present amongst a spiritual background in southern gospel music.

That mix of hip-hop modern and funky traditional is a big part of the appeal on“Say What”. The vocoder enhanced vocals, and stuttering broken hip-hop beats carry the sound of today, while the gritty rhythm guitar and the New Orleans influence of the accompanying Good Times Brass Band are all very familiar to fans of the classic southern Staxx label sound. Jackson is just a short hop down the Mississippi River from Memphis, and this album is drenched in that Memphis/Mississippii Delta vibe.

Mike’s writing style is unique and often avoids cliché chord sequences. On tracks like ‘Pray” and “Walk”, modern harmonic progressions seem to spiral endlessly upwards reflecting the spiritual nature of the lyrics. On “Messin it Up” and “Sick and Tired” Burton presents hard funk rhythms powered with big brassy horn refrains. Songs such as “Come Back" and “Daddy’s Little Girl” deal with being a father, his lyrics are truly touching, but never cloy or overly sentimental. Mike does not shy away from the difficulties of being an African-American, but he does so in a way that should make any person feel included in his concerns. Do you miss that golden age of meaningful and artistic RnB, pick up “Say What” and you won’t have to anymore.

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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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