kev rowland

Kev Rowland
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Registered more than 2 years ago · Last visit 26 days ago

Favorite Jazz Artists

All Reviews/Ratings

96 reviews/ratings
MAHOGANY FROG - Senna Jazz Related Rock | review permalink
MORAINE - Manifest Density Jazz Related Rock | review permalink
MORAINE - Metamorphic Rock Jazz Related Rock | review permalink
MARBIN - Last Chapter of Dreaming Fusion | review permalink
DEWA BUDJANA - Dawai in Paradise World Fusion | review permalink
KBB - Four Corner's Sky Jazz Related Rock | review permalink
THE AVENGERS - On a Mission Fusion | review permalink
DIALETO - The Last Tribe Jazz Related Rock | review permalink
I KNOW YOU WELL MISS CLARA - Chapter One Fusion | review permalink
DEWA BUDJANA - Joged Kahyangan Post-Fusion Contemporary | review permalink
DEWA BUDJANA - Surya Namaskar Fusion | review permalink
SUSAN CLYNES - Life Is... Pop/Art Song/Folk | review permalink
OLIVER LAKE - Oliver Lake Featuring FLUX Quartet ‎: Right Up On Third Stream | review permalink
MIRIODOR - Cobra Fakir Jazz Related Rock | review permalink
DUŠAN JEVTOVIĆ - No Answer Fusion | review permalink
MACHINE MASS TRIO / MACHINE MASS - Plays Hendrix Fusion | review permalink
ED PALERMO - The Adventures Of Zodd Zundgren Progressive Big Band | review permalink
MARK WINGFIELD - Lighthouse Fusion | review permalink
SLIVOVITZ - LiveR Eclectic Fusion | review permalink
DWIKI DHARMAWAN - Rumah Batu World Fusion | review permalink

See all reviews/ratings

Jazz Genre Nb. Rated Avg. rating
1 Fusion 23 4.46
2 Jazz Related Rock 15 4.27
3 World Fusion 11 4.14
4 Eclectic Fusion 7 4.14
5 Hard Bop 7 4.00
6 Latin Jazz 5 3.60
7 Jazz Related Improv/Composition 3 4.33
8 21st Century Modern 3 3.67
9 Vocal Jazz 3 3.67
10 Swing 2 3.75
11 Third Stream 2 3.75
12 Avant-Garde Jazz 2 3.75
13 Pop/Art Song/Folk 2 4.00
14 Post Bop 2 3.75
15 Post-Fusion Contemporary 2 4.75
16 Progressive Big Band 2 4.50
17 RnB 2 3.00
18 Soul Jazz 1 3.50
19 Big Band 1 5.00
20 Jazz Related Soundtracks 1 4.00

Latest Albums Reviews

LE REX Escape of the Fire Ants

Album · 2019 · Eclectic Fusion
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It is safe to say there are few bands quite like Le Rex. While there are many who are challenging existing musical forms there can be few who can be said to be attacking quite like this. For a start, I can’t think of another band who have a line-up quite like this, as we have alto saxophonist Benedikt Reising, tenor saxophonist Marc Stucki, trombonist Andreas Tschopp, tuba player Marc Unternährer and drummer Rico Baumann. Yes, you read that correctly, four horns and a drummer, no guitar, bass or piano in sight, and of course no room whatsoever for a singer. Although arguably it can be said that the tuba does sometimes play the role of a bass as it anchors the bottom end of the sound, it is far more common for Unternährer to be a key part of the melody and there are times when he takes on the lead role.

Although jazz is the starting point, on the way to the end Le Rex are actually incredibly progressive in their outlook as they bring their eclectic bent into songs which are always fascinating and interesting, moving in directions one can rarely fathom: there is no way to predict what is going to happen next. But these are all songs as opposed to improvisations, and originally were scored, although the band rehearsed them so they could play them live in the studio without reference. When I play this, I have discovered that sometimes my ear is following one particular musician through the threads, at others I am jumping between them, and others when I open my mind and try to take it all in at once. Interwoven, complex and complicated, one would imagine that this might be a hard album to listen to, but nothing could be further from the truth as it is such a delight from beginning to end. I can imagine fans of the likes of Art Zoyd getting as much from this as those who would consider themselves to be more traditional jazz lovers as opposed to prog. Yet another great release from Cuneiform Records, so glad they are back on the scene.

KENNEY POLSON For Lovers Only Volume II

Album · 2019 · Pop/Art Song/Folk
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It is strange to hear an album like this in 2019 as in many ways it is about forty years out of time, even down to the backing vocals on the opener “Stella by Starlight”. This is very cleverly performed lounge jazz with often a latin feel, with production, sounds and guitarwork very reminiscent of what was happening with the music scene as they attempted to move away from disco, but were unsuccessful. It is very clever, and Polson is a great soloist playing within arrangements which always have him to the fore, but even the use of electronic keyboard/synths makes it all feel very dated indeed. In many ways I get the impression I am going to get a sugar overload, as there is just so much sweetness, but much of the raw heart has been ripped out of this and it becomes just too bland. Playing one or two songs is fine, but working my way through the album, which I have done multiple times, is still something of an effort as it all feels too plastic, too false, too veneered. I am sure that anyone into this style of jazz will get a great deal from it as there is no doubt that it is very well performed and produced indeed, just not for me.

JORDON DIXON On!

Album · 2019 · Hard Bop
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Jordon Dixon was born and raised in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. He started playing tenor sax when he was twelve and was performing in local clubs within just three years. After high school, he enlisted in the Marines, serving the country for 11 years and having many opportunities to perform music. After his honourable discharge, he moved to Washington D.C. and enrolled in the music program at the University of the District of Columbia, meeting and playing with Allyn Johnson, who has been the director of the jazz program there since 2005. He graduated in 2016, the same year that he made his recording debut with ‘A Conversation Among Friends’.

He has now returned with ‘On!’, which like his debut is solely comprised of original numbers, and again sees him working with Johnson. The line-up is completed by Herman Burney (bass) and Carroll V. Dashiell, III (drums), while J.S. Williams (trumpet) guests on two numbers as he did on the debut. So, sometimes a quintet, sometimes a quartet, and often even working as a trio (no drums), this is a very interesting album indeed: it certainly doesn’t sound like the work of a band leader who in many ways is new to his craft. This is a string album of complex and interwoven songs, and although everyone has their turn at showing off their chops, this is very much a band designed to work together. The key is definitely the relationship between Johnson and Dixon, as they bounce off each other, repeating each other’s themes and melodies. It is Johnson who takes the singular melody from Dixon and drives it, finessing and stretching the themes so that they provide a curtain against which Dixon can stay within it or move tangentially.

There is a great deal on here to enjoy, from frenetic hard bop to numbers which are far more laid-back and delicate, and it is one of these to which I find myself often returning, “She Meant It When She Said It”, which uses space very much as an additional musician. It is slow, respectful, and Johnson’s production and mastering captures it all in manner which makes the listener feel they are there in that small room during the performance. The bass here is simply sublime, working with the piano to provide the perfect backdrop, while a few delicate cymbal touches here and there is all we hear from Dashiel. Delicate yet powerful, this song typifies what this album is all about.

DAVE STRYKER Eight Track III

Album · 2019 · Soul Jazz
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It’s the lava lamp on the cover which gives an idea to what is inside this album. As one may have surmised it is the third in a series (apparently the current thinking is that it may well be the end of a trilogy, but look at Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy), and isn’t a reference to recording but instead is a trip back in time to when cars all had eight-track cartridge machines. Okay, so only those who are a certain age will remember these, but long before I investigated by dad’s jazz records (which he no longer played), I cut my teeth on jazz being played in the car. Here guitarist Stryker is leading Stefon Harris (vibraphone), Jared Gold (organ), McClenty Hunter (drums) and Mayra Casales (congas and percussion) on a trip down memory lane, revisiting songs from the Seventies in his own imitable style.

No vocals, but that doesn’t mean that the guitar is always the sole “voice”, as Harris and Gold all take turns either on their own or joined by one or both of the other melodic players. There is plenty on the album to enjoy, with songs by Stevie Wonder, Curtis Mayfield, The Temptations, Marvin Gaye and others. The slowed-down delicate take on “We’ve Only Just Begun” is a masterpiece in restraint, with brushes on the drums, delicate organ support, Stryker allows himself to take the gentle lead in a way that conjures up images of him sat on a stool bathed in a spotlight in an otherwise dark club. This is continued by Harris in the same manner, and overall takes the song in a totally different direction to the original, yet somehow still staying very close indeed – it is a masterful display of restrain and control.

Overall this is a very enjoyable release indeed.

URBANITY Urbanity

Album · 2019 · RnB
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Guitarist Albare and keyboard player/programmer Phil Turcio are back with another album of smooth, melodic, laid-back jazz. It is perfect background music, something which allows the listener to drift away on gentle sounds knowing there is nothing here which is going to cause alarm. They have been writing and recording together for more than twenty years, when Phil first became a member of Albare’s band at the tender age of 18. They have an easy relaxed knowledge of each other, so either of them can happily take the lead and the other knows exactly how to follow. There is a cover on the album, a slowed down very smooth and R ‘n’ B take on “Desperado” which is interesting yet has removed much of the emotion which was there on the original.

I think for me that is possibly the issue with the album, it is very smooth, and it is as if the heart and soul of music has gone for a walk and forgotten to return. That it is very clever and that they are masters of their craft is never in doubt, but while I enjoyed the debut this one is just too relaxed and quiet for me.

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