kev rowland

Kev Rowland
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Registered more than 2 years ago · Last visit 2 months ago

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All Reviews/Ratings

79 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 14 4.21
3 World Fusion 11 4.14
4 Eclectic Fusion 6 4.17
5 Latin Jazz 5 3.60
6 Hard Bop 3 4.00
7 Jazz Related Improv/Composition 3 4.33
8 Avant-Garde Jazz 2 3.75
9 Post-Fusion Contemporary 2 4.75
10 Progressive Big Band 2 4.50
11 Swing 2 3.75
12 Third Stream 2 3.75
13 Vocal Jazz 1 4.00
14 21st Century Modern 1 4.00
15 Jazz Related Soundtracks 1 4.00
16 Jazz Related Pop/Art Song/Folk 1 5.00
17 Jazz Related RnB 1 3.50

Latest Albums Reviews

PHILLIP JOHNSTON Phillip Johnston & the Coolerators : Diggin' Bones

Album · 2018 · Fusion
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At the same time as releasing Johnston’s soundtrack album, Asynchronous are also releasing the debut album by Johnston with his band The Coolerators, a band he formed after moving to Australia in 2005. On this album he provides both soprano and alto saxophone, and he has been joined by Alister Spence (organ), Lloyd Swanton (bass) with Nick Cecire (drums). Here we have a band showing that when it comes to playing jazz and blues there is often an overlap, here brought together with a huge amount of swing and funk. Swanton and Cecire do their best to provide a structure for the other two to work on, and then stay out the way while also displaying their own wonderful musical ability. Cecire is the more flamboyant of the two, with an impressive work rate on different areas of the kit, but Swanton keeps it all tied down and doesn’t let the band get too out of control.

Given the way Johnston and Spence combine together, or against one another, mixing in multiple influences and styles that is indeed no mean task. The title song sounds influenced by South America, India, Morocco and the Middle East but somehow all comes together and makes sense as Spence allows Johnston to take a far more prominent role. Two albums released at the same time, but two very different styles indeed, and it is hard to say which one is better, so best say instead that they are both indeed well worth investigating.

PHILLIP JOHNSTON The Adventures of Prince Achmed

Album · 2018 · Jazz Related Soundtracks
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Johnston has long been pursuing his own brand of avant garde jazz, but this is the first time I have come across him outside of his band The Microscopic Septet (whose 2017 Cuneiform album ‘Been Up So Long’ is simply superb). A few years ago I was fortunate enough to attend a special showing of ‘Suspiria’ where Goblin performed the soundtrack live in front of the audience, and this album is a similar construct, in that it contains the music Johnston composed as a soundtrack for ‘The Adventures of Prince Achmed’, a 1926 silent silhouette animation that is a landmark in cinema history – the world’s first feature-length animated film. To breathe Reiniger’s silhouettes to life, Johnston composed a continuous score of 65 minutes of music to be performed live with the film by a quartet of soprano sax, trombone, and two keyboards, against a pre-recorded track of samples, loops and live drums. For this recording, the music is performed by Johnston (soprano saxophone) with Australian musicians James Greening (trombone), Alister Spence (organ, keyboards), Casey Golden (organ, keyboards), and Nic Cecire (drums), and broken by the composer into twelve individual tracks.

This is a complex album, one that needs close attention paid to it as the musicians embrace themes which may or may not be repeated, going off in tangents to the original, with trombone often playing a heavy bass part to contrast against the sax. The keyboards and drums are often in the background, with the brass taking centre stage. It is an album the definitely requires repeated listening, as the first time I felt there were certain passages and sections which were passing me by, all of which made far more sense the more time I allowed myself with the album. Well worth investigating, I just hope that Johnston will feel fit at some point to pop over the ditch from Australia and have some performances of this with the film here in New Zealand, as it would be well worth attending.


Album · 2018 · World Fusion
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This is the follow-up to ‘The One Who Makes You Happy’, which I reviewed some time ago, and contains the same core line-up of clarinetist Anna Patton, Don Anderson on trumpet and flugelhorn, pianist Eugene Uman, bassist Wes Brown and drummer Ben James, her joined by trombonist John Wheeler, flautist Carl Clements and tenor saxophonist Jon Weeks added to the group. In addition, “Leander’s Waltz” and “The Deaf Singer” have two guest artists apiece. There aren’t many percussionists or drummers who have led bands, no matter what musical style, yet here we have Julian Gerstin, who plays the tanbou bèlè drum of Martinique, along with congas, tupan and percussion, and writes all the music.

In the digipak he explains the different styles employed within the album, from rondo, mazouk, blues, Columnbian cumbia and others. This is music which feels Caribbean in many ways due to the use of percussion, which allows a joyful feel to sit within. The brass and woodwind are controlled, sometimes screaming but at others in perfect harmony, while the additional instrumentation being employed adds additional finesse. To my ears this is an incredibly solid effort, and although not quite as vibrant as his last outing is still well worth hearing.

SOFT MACHINE Hidden Details

Album · 2018 · Fusion
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There can be few British bands that can say that they have had as much impact on music as the mighty Softs, and here a mere 37 years after their last studio album they are back with a new one. Originally formed in 1966, with their debut album in 1968, they have continued to be at the cutting edge of fusion and have had some incredible musicians pass through their ranks. The band officially disbanded in 1978, then reformed briefly in 1981 and then 1984 before returning as Soft Ware in 1999, which in turn became Soft Works, before morphing into Soft Machine Legacy in 2004, and then at the end of 2015 they decided to drop the word “Legacy”. But given that guitarist John Etheridge, bassist Roy Babbington and drummer John Marshall were all in the same line-up(s) in the Seventies, they have a more than valid claim to the name. The only member of the band who wasn’t involved back then is Theo Travis, who provides sax, flute and Fender Rhodes. But, he joined Soft Machine Legacy as long ago as 2006, when he replaced Elton Dean after he had passed away.

Anyone who admits to enjoying Canterbury progressive rock or fusion will have multiple Soft Machine albums in their collection, and this one fits right in. John Etheridge is an incredible guitarist, and it takes someone very special indeed to step into the shoes of Allan Holdsworth, not once but twice. He is lyrical, dramatic, restrained yet over the top, simple yet complex, allowing the music to take him where it will. Every musician is an absolute master of his craft, and they push the envelope in so many ways. Jazz, prog, fusion, call it whatever you like but this is intricately crafted music that is both awe inspiring yet inviting, eclectic yet so very easy to get inside of, and the more time spent with it the greater the rewards. Some of these guys are nearly 80 years old now, yet show no sign at all of slowing down. This is an essential purchase.

RACHEL CASWELL We’re All in The Dance

Album · 2018 · Vocal Jazz
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As soon as this album starts, with a delicate and moving rendition of Sting’s “Fragile” (from his 1987 album ‘…Nothing Like The Sun’), one knows that this is going to be something quite special indeed. Rachel is a classic jazz singer, with a voice that is velvet and powerful, as happy providing scat as she is just rolling around the lyrics. Guitarist Dave Stryker has provided all the arrangements and also produced the album, and he has kept her voice very much to the fore and often takes a back seat himself so that Rachel is often just accompanied by drum, bass and piano. Rachel’s sister, violinist Sara Caswell, also adds her talent to proceedings but only on three songs.

Recorded in just one day in May, this really has the feeling of a jazz singer in total control at all times, bringing in a warmth and dexterity with her voice that is a total delight throughout. Jazz singing rarely gets any better than this, and one can imagine her in a New York club holding the audience in the palm of her hand. The title song, originally by Feist, is taken away from the original and moved into something that is a soft jazz classic. This is a truly wonderful album, one which shows off Rachel’s voice and talents, and is a delight from start to end.

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