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662 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 Davis Quintet : 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 86 3.72
2 Avant-Garde Jazz 52 3.96
3 Hard Bop 45 3.84
4 Post Bop 34 4.19
5 Soul Jazz 34 3.37
6 Big Band 34 3.87
7 World Fusion 33 3.67
8 (Post-70s) Eclectic Fusion 32 3.77
9 Jazz Related Rock 28 3.77
10 Jazz Related RnB 25 3.44
11 Funk Jazz 23 3.59
12 Bop 22 3.98
13 Nu Jazz 21 3.38
14 Funk 20 3.92
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 9 3.50
24 Latin Jazz 7 3.93
25 Jazz Related Blues 7 3.64
26 Latin Rock/Soul 6 3.75
27 Vocal Jazz 6 3.67
28 Swing 6 4.00
29 Jazz Related Improv/Composition 5 3.40
30 Acid Jazz 4 3.50
31 21st Century Modern 2 4.50
32 Classic (1920s) Jazz 2 4.50
33 Dixieland 1 3.50
34 Afro-Cuban Jazz 1 4.50
35 Bossa Nova 1 3.50

Latest Albums Reviews

STEVE HECKMAN Legacy: A Coltrane Tribute

Live album · 2016 · Hard Bop
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You certainly can’t accuse Steve Heckman for aiming low when he decided to call his new CD a ‘Coltrane Tribute’, that is quite a big claim to stake, and fortunately for the listener, Heckman mostly comes through on his promise of a tribute to a jazz legend. On “Legacy: A Coltrane Tribute”, Heckman covers various parts of Coltrane’s multi-faceted career, including his harmonically complex hard bop, the modal jams, some spiritual melodies and one from Coltrane’s famous ballad album too. All through this CD Heckman displays a beautiful tone that owes much to Coltrane, but is not a mere imitation. Steve is also well supported by a trio that features pianist Grant Levin, a particularly lively player who deserves wider recognition.

This CD is a live concert, and maybe the recording process was a little intimidating because the band sounds a little shy and tentative on the opening high energy numbers. On the third track, the ballad “Its Easy to Remember”, Heckman and his band find their footing and Steve hits wonderful heights with a soulful solo on which he finally starts cutting loose. Throughout the rest of the album, it seems Heckman’s strength is the meditative numbers, such as “Dear Lord” and “Reverend King”, where his playing takes on a more unfettered nature. On the more up-tempo numbers, pianist Grant Levin’s frenetic solos help push the energy level. Grant’s scatter shot, and sometimes humorous piano playing can recall off-the-wall chance takers like Jaki Byard, or a more tonal version of Matthew Shipp.

HAMPTON HAWES All Night Session!, Volume 3

Album · 1958 · Hard Bop
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All Night Session 3” is the third part of a recording session by Hampton Hawes and his quartet, recorded live at Contemporary Studios in Los Angeles on November 11, 1956. Being the third and final part of a lengthy session, by the time the quartet got to this one, they were ready to relax and stretch out, and for half the album, they leave the standards alone and play some free form blues based jams. Although highly acclaimed in his youth, Hawes has become somewhat of a forgotten figure in jazz, unfortunate because he could play with the best of them, which is well documented on this excellent album. Hampton has a wide range of expressions he can draw on, sometimes intense with Bud Powell flavored torrents of high speed swinging bop runs, and other times more quirky and clever ala Ahmad Jamal or Herbie Nichols. It also helps that Hawes has guitarist Jim Hall on board, another modernist with a penchant for unexpected twists of phrase. Musically this album could be called west coast hard bop, not really cool jazz per se, but drummer Bruz Freeman’s tendency to play quietly with brushes does lend a ‘cool’ flavor.

There is a lot of great playing on here, four geniuses stretching out on the blues, but the added bonus is the 5 star recording quality. I’m not sure what people were doing right then that they are not doing right now, possibly it has something to do with digital effects or overzealous compression, but this is what acoustic jazz is supposed to sound like. At the correct volume level, it sounds like you are in the same room with them, and every single line from every musician is crystal clear. Hearing the individual lines is important because when these guys jam the blues, they are not following any standard progression, instead the four are quickly tossing around ideas about possible direction, and then quickly changing again. The rate of communication in this band is intense.

THUMBSCREW Convallaria

Album · 2016 · Avant-Garde Jazz
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Thumbscrew is a ‘super group’ of sorts in the world of avant-garde jazz. Mary Halvorson on guitar, Michael Formanek on bass and Tomas Fujiwara on drums are all heavyweights who have worked with some of the top names in modern jazz, so one can’t be blamed for having high expectations for this talented trio, and on their new album, “Convallaria”, your expectations may be often met, but possibly not on every track. According to the band, they use a fair amount of composition in their music, as well as improvisation, but to most listeners it will be hard to hear a distinct difference between the two, the improvs may sound composed, and the composed sections may sound improvised.

The three tracks that open the album are some of the best. “Cleome” is an off-kilter jazz rock number that features a heavy distorted guitar that sounds like a cross between Sonny Sharrock and Robert Fripp. The opening of “Barn Fire Slum Brew” has Halvorson channeling a fractured Jim Hall before the band stumbles into some modern broken swing that the band grooves on naturally. “Sampson Rhythms” has the band in a more abstract style as they play interlocking phrases as if finishing each other’s sentences. On the next two tracks the band loses some momentum on indulgent noise sections that drag on a little too long. The rest of the album is more hit than miss, with some highlights including avant math rock on title track “Convallaria”, and a slippery island groove on album closer, “Inevitable”.

Overall “Convallaria” is a good album that should please the fans. The strengths on this album do not usually come from the supplied compositions, which sometimes seem stretched thin, but instead come from the creativity of the musicians involved. Mary Halvorson is one of the more original voices in jazz today, and her back up band is intuitive in following her, as well as striking out on their own.


Album · 2016 · Soul Jazz
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Although Jocelyn Michelle has been playing the Hammond B3 for many years in Florida, Los Angeles and Hawaii, she has not been given a chance to lead her own CD until this year’s “Time to Play”. Eager to show what she is capable of, Jocelyn does not hold back and treats us to the myriad styles she works with in the fields of jazz, blues, rock and RnB. Although personal varies a bit per song, most songs feature a small horn section, as well as guitar, drums and percussion. Husband John Rack plays the guitar on the RnB tunes, while Bruce Forman carries the jazzier numbers. Likewise, the smooth tone of saxophonist Doug Webb covers the be-bop flavor, while Steve Mann is featured on the funkier tracks.

The first four tracks on “Time to Play” are probably the best, or at least the most energetic. “Englewood Cliffs” is driving up-tempo hard bop, “Sylvia’s Song” is Latin soul in the style of early Santana, “Trouble Man” is a Marvin Gaye cover given a Steely Dan style swing, and “A Sister’s Love” is hot funk jazz ala Eddie Harris or Grover Washington. Things get a little more mellow when Gina Saputo sings Michelle’s Bossa Nova original, “Oh No, I Could be in Love”. Although the high energy level drops a bit here, it is a very well written original, both in music and lyrics, and it is well sung too. The rest of the CD is good as it moves from more bossa to bop and a dramatic instrumental ballad in “Never Let Me Go”. “The Pink Panther Theme” may seem like an odd choice for a serious jazz band, but Jocelyn makes it work by using enough horns to give it some interesting arrangements. The CD closes with another vocal original called “The Loss”. Once again, it’s a well composed tune, and sung emotionally by Regina Leonard Smyth, but its country-gospel style that recalls Bonnie Raitt or Don Henley, is a bit of a surprise on this otherwise jazzy CD.


Album · 1963 · Soul Jazz
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Illinois Jacquet was one of the hottest saxophone players of the be-bop 40s. As the 60s rolled around, with interest in bop declining, Illinois began to try out different sounds, including this 1963 foray into commercially viable soul jazz called “The Message”. As far as 60s soul jazz goes, “The Message” isn’t too bad of a recording, not the best you will hear in this genre, but far from the worst too. It’s a rather large ensemble on here, with Jacquet being joined by the great Kenny Burrell on lead guitar, and Ralph Smith on B3. Four others round out a rhythm section of bass, drums, percussion and rhythm guitar. With such a large group you are guaranteed some interesting rhythmic interplay, and all the musicians are careful not to step on each other’s toes. Burrell, Jacquet and Ralph share equally in the solos, and all three sound great. Ralph often prefers a big full stop organ sound, suped-up with massive vibrato. This sort of excessiveness may seem corny to some, but he handles the style well.

There is a variety of music on here, with most cuts leaning towards something that might be commercially profitable. Probably the top track is the fiery uptempo hard bop of “Wild Man”, which features some of the hottest solos on the album. “Turnpike” is a mid tempo blues that fits perfectly with Illinois’ gruff sound and Burrell’s bluesy licks. “On Broadway” is a fun kitsch number that is played in the style of “Tequila” and probably carries some appeal for the exotica crowd. Likewise, “Bonita”, with its Latin rhythms and Persian flavored organ solo may also appeal to the exotica fans. Overall, Ralph Smith’s exaggerated organ style probably carries more appeal for exotica fans than it does for jazz fans. Possibly the weakest cut is “Bassoon Blues’ on which Jacquet plays the blues on the bassoon. He’s not a bad bassoon player, but his chops on this instrument are nowhere near his chops on the tenor.

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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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