kev rowland

Kev Rowland
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Registered more than 2 years ago · Last visit 23 days ago

Favorite Jazz Artists

All Reviews/Ratings

86 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... Jazz Related 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 22 4.48
2 Jazz Related Rock 15 4.27
3 World Fusion 11 4.14
4 Eclectic Fusion 6 4.17
5 Latin Jazz 5 3.60
6 Hard Bop 5 4.00
7 Jazz Related Improv/Composition 3 4.33
8 21st Century Modern 3 3.67
9 Avant-Garde Jazz 2 3.75
10 Post-Fusion Contemporary 2 4.75
11 Progressive Big Band 2 4.50
12 Swing 2 3.75
13 Third Stream 2 3.75
14 Vocal Jazz 2 4.00
15 Post Bop 1 4.00
16 Jazz Related Soundtracks 1 4.00
17 Jazz Related Pop/Art Song/Folk 1 5.00
18 Jazz Related RnB 1 3.50

Latest Albums Reviews

ERNIE WATTS Ernie Watts Quartet : Home Light

Album · 2018 · Hard Bop
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Double Grammy Award-winning saxophonist Ernie Watts is back with the latest album with his quartet, which has had the same line-up of Christof Saenger (piano), Rudi Engel (bass) and Heinrich Koebberling (drums) since 2011’s ‘Oasis’, although Watts originally formed the quartet in 2004. But his own history goes back much farther than that, as he originally won a won a Downbeat Scholarship to the Berklee College of Music in Boston. While he was there, Gene Quill quit Buddy Rich's Big Band, and trombonist Phil Wilson (a professor at Berklee), was asked to recommend a student as temporary replacement. A young Ernie Watts was referred, and “temporarily” stayed with Rich from 1966-1968 and toured the world, and since then has been a professional musician who works in popular music (Aretha Franklin, Steely Dan etc.), TV and film (“Ghostbusters” among literally hundreds of others), but whose first love is jazz, ever since he was blown away by Coltrane on what was then the brand-new Miles Davis album ‘Kind of Blue’.

When someone has been playing music for as many years as Watts, it is of course no surprise that he has an amazing tone, and when four top musicians have been together for this long, they all know each other incredibly well and bounce ideas off each other with panache. Watts’ sax is often the lead melody instrument, but not always, and the feeling is that this really is a band as opposed to one person with a bunch of supporters behind him. It is fresh, it is exciting, powerful, uplifting music which also includes a sense of fun and joy. It is bright, full of life and light: the sun breaking through on the horizon is a perfectly apt photo for the cover as it ties in directly with this. The band work through different styles from bebop and gospel through to the likes of swing, always with aplomb, care and direction. Watts will even sit back out of the music for complete sections to allow the others to take the lead, knowing he doesn’t always have to be in the thick of it for magic to happen. Ian Patterson at All About Jazz has been quoted as saying about Watts “Not just at the top of his game, but at the top of THE game”, and here is yet another example of why that is the case.

DEWA BUDJANA Mahandini

Album · 2018 · Jazz Related Rock
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We all recognise certain people within the music world who we respect and admire for one reason or another. These tend to be musicians themselves, but for more than twenty years one person I have been in awe of is Leonardo Pavkovic, who when he isn’t touring with one of his bands is also discovering wonderful musicians and making them available to the wider world. Such is the case with Dewa Budjana, a guitarist who has sold millions of albums in Indonesia but wasn’t recognised outside his home country until ‘Dawal In Paradise’ was released on Moonjune, since when many of us always look forward to the next album with real interest. One of the reasons for that is Dewa is always looking to expand, branch and change. It is rare that he will use the same group of musicians from one album to the next, and records very quickly indeed, capturing energy and then moving on. This album was recorded in one day in January 2018, postproduction and overdubs took place, and then it was mixed and mastered in the March.

This album sees Dewa working with Jordan Rudess (Dream Theater, Liquid Tension Experiment), drummer Marco Minnemann (The Aristocrats, Steven Wilson, Joe Satriani, Adrian Belew, Trey Gunn, The Mute Gods, Eddie Jobson UK) and bassist Mohini Dey (Steve Vai, Guthrie Govan). There are also guest appearances by John Frusciante (Red Hot Chilli Peppers), fusion guitar veteran Mike Stern (Miles Davis, Blood, Sweat & Tears, Billy Cobham, Jaco Pastorius) and by the haunting voice of Indonesian singer Soimah Pancawati.

I don’t think I have previously come across 22-year-old Dey prior to this, and if she is playing like this at her age, I can’t even imagine what she will be doing in the next 10 or 20 years. There are times when I found I was concentrating more on what she was doing than Budjana, such is her impact on this album. There is a section at the end of “Queen Kanya” where the interplay between her and Minnemann is incredible: I would happily keep playing that on repeat as it blows me away each and every time. Rudess is one of the most important keyboard players in the scene, but due to the way the music has been arranged he is often more in the background but playing as perfectly as ever. This album starts with “Crowded”, a song not written by Budjana, a first for one of his solo works, but instead it is by John Frusciante who also provides vocals (as well as on closing song “Zone”). Rudess gently provides the introduction which allows Budjana to pick up the theme before Frusciante comes in. Here we get the flashes of genius which only come when musicians are masters of their craft, and also here coming from different musical areas and joining together to create something special. In many ways this is one of the most commercial songs ever released by Budjana, and in itself it may well create interest from those who have yet to come across him as the rock elements blast, but the gentle sections trickle along like a babbling brook.

Later in the album we are treated to the vocals of Indonesian tradition singer Soimah Pancawati, and this mix of styles works incredibly well, as America meets Asia in a way which only makes sense due to the way the music has been arranged. Each of Budjana’s albums is a delight from start to end, and this is no different. Regarding the title he says “The title Mahandini comes from two words, Maha & Nandini: Maha means means big, great and Nandini means ‘the vehicle that carries the God Shiva’ in indian. Using this word as the name for this great line-up resulted in a good sign, it sounded like I had a Great Vehicle for my music. I was lucky!” So are we.

DAVE RUDOLPH Resonance

Album · 2018 · Post Bop
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‘Resonance’ is the recording debut as a leader of drummer Dave Rudolph, who is based in Tampa, Florida. Rudolph is a veteran of the local scene for the last 25 years and is also currently the Professor of Contemporary Percussion at the University of Tampa. Inspired by his close friend Jessica Hiltabidle, who passed away recently, he realized that he was long overdue to record his own music. He has brought together a band of local musicians to bring his dream to reality, namely tenor-saxophonist Zach Bornheimer, guitarist LaRue Nickelson, pianist Pablo Arencibia and bassist Alejandro Arenas and together they perform nine of Rudolph’s originals. These are all instrumental, apart from the title song where be brought in Whitney James to provide vocals.

This is an album which takes no work at all to relax into, and the very first time I played it I knew I was in for an enjoyable time. Some jazz albums are bloody hard work, some concentrate solely on the skills of those playing. None of that is the case here, as we are treated to a band who really do feel like a band. I wasn’t surprised to discover that Rudolph started on guitar before moving onto drums, as this really is a very melodic album, and not as heavily rhythmic as some where the leader is also the percussionist. Although they are a quintet it isn’t unusual for the band to be working as a trio, such as on “Lonely Train” where Arenas keeps it all together, Rudolph displays lots of different tricks and styles, and at the front we are treated to a masterclass in understatement from Nickelson who shows there really is no need to play 9000 notes to the bar if you have an affinity to what you are doing.

Fresh, full of space, full of class, this post-bop set is creative, enjoyable, and a damn fine listen. It is possible to hear the album by going to the website at www.daverudolph.net.

SIMONE KOPMAJER Spotlight On Jazz

Album · 2018 · Vocal Jazz
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Simone is back with her thirteenth album as band leader, and for me in many ways it is full of surprises. The first of these is that Simone is Austrian, as she sings in pure unaccented English, and if someone had asked me to place her origin I would have probably guessed New York. The album itself is a mix of standards and songs she has written herself, and it is impossible to identify which is which unless the song is already known. With a wonderful supporting quintet, led by Tommy Dorsey Orchestra leader, saxophonist Terry Myers, the delicate support is absolutely perfect for her softly sung and emotional vocals.

She opens with an original, “Spotlights”, and immediately one is brought into a world of swing which is surely immediate post war as opposed to a brand-new release. The photo on the cover shows a coy Simone looking away from a very old-fashioned microphone, and in many ways, this typifies what is a truly gorgeous album from start to end. The musicians behind her are all masters, and they allow themselves to prove that here and there, but for the most part they rein themselves in and ensure they Simone is always front and centre. It is a relaxing, easy to listen to album, comforting and warm. Whether she is singing gently, or throwing vocal gymnastics as she skats, she is always in total control. This is an album for an intimate jazz club as opposed to a massive venue, dark with the spotlight just on her.

An album which has come through the time warp, sounding as if it is at least sixty years old and from an era long gone, this is a delight from start to end.

JACK MOUSE Jack Mouse Group : Intimate Adversary

Album · 2018 · Hard Bop
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Some albums feature musicians so in tune with each other and what everyone is doing that it isn’t possible to slip a sheet of paper between them, as they are just so tight, and that is exactly the case here. Jack Mouse sits at the back and drives his quintet through post-bop jazz which also contains swing and even brings in some influences of gospel blues. Jack shuffles, he fills, he never rests, and it is his energy which allows the rest of the band to relax and take the music where it needs to go and never having to force it. His last albums were improvisational, but here he has concentrated on compositions and arrangements and his band just sit in, harmonise, and play sublimely.

John McLean (guitar) and Bob Bowman (bass) do take their opportunity to shine when it is presented to them, but they are mostly here to provide support to Scott Robinson (tenor saxophone) and Art Davis (trumpet, flugelhorn) who takes their own solos when the time arises, but really come to the fore when they bounce against each other. But for me it is the drums which make this, with different rhythms and styles being put up and taken down as the melodies keep moving, and one can imagine the band playing in a circle, looking at each other, but more importantly looking at Jack. Simply superb.

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