kev rowland

Kev Rowland
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Registered more than 2 years ago · Last visit 6 days ago

Favorite Jazz Artists

All Reviews/Ratings

75 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 20 4.47
2 Jazz Related Rock 15 4.27
3 World Fusion 10 4.20
4 Eclectic Fusion 6 4.17
5 Latin Jazz 4 3.63
6 Hard Bop 3 4.00
7 Jazz Related Improv/Composition 3 4.33
8 Post-Fusion Contemporary 2 4.75
9 Progressive Big Band 2 4.50
10 Swing 2 3.75
11 Third Stream 2 3.75
12 Avant-Garde Jazz 2 3.75
13 21st Century Modern 1 4.00
14 Vocal Jazz 1 4.00
15 Jazz Related Pop/Art Song/Folk 1 5.00
16 Jazz Related RnB 1 3.50

Latest Albums Reviews

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.

YAGULL Yuna

Album · 2018 · Jazz Related Improv/Composition
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I have been fortunate enough to have been living with this album for a couple of months now, and I believe that it is still going to be another couple before it is actually released, but I can’t wait anymore as I have to write about it, as this is simply one of the most beautiful and entrancing albums I have ever come across. This is the third album from Yagull, the first (‘Films’) being Sasha Markovic and some guests, while the second (‘Kai’) was Sasha (guitars, bass, percussion) and his wife Kana Kamitsubo (piano) plus assorted guests. But, although I really enjoyed that album I felt they had missed an opportunity, and said “The interplay between the two musicians in simply beautiful, there is no other word for it, and I would have preferred to have heard an album filled just with their songs, with no other musicians, as there is no need for the purity of their sound to be messed with.”

When Sasha and I made contact, he asked me if I would like to hear the new album, which had just been completed and was incredibly personal to him and Kana. How personal I only found out later, as while ‘Kai’ was named after their son, ‘Yuna’ is named after the child that would have been, as Kana suffered two miscarriages during the period of time it took to record the album, and Yuna was the name they had chosen.

Musically, Sasha and Kana decided this time to concentrate on the interplay between each other, with just a backing singer used on one song: everything else is just the two of them. As previously they have included a cover version of a classic song, but interestingly the one they have chosen this time is a new version of “Sabbath Bloody Sabbath” which also appeared on the debut, but as Kana wasn’t in the band at that time they have re-recorded it. Apart from that, and “Fall Winter” (which is credited just to Kana), every song was a collaboration between them, sometimes with Sasha credited first and sometimes Kana. “Searching For The Moon” was apparently written when they were asked to just play something during a photo shoot, and took less than five minutes, so they consider it a gift

The delicacy and understanding between the acoustic piano and acoustic guitar, from two musicians who know each other intimately, is too hard to describe. To say that it is a thing of beauty, creating a new world just from carefully selected notes which hang in the air, seems both twee and ineffectual, while this is an album of considerable power and might. Sometimes the notes are rippling streams, while sometimes they just sit there, using space and time to bind them together. There is no desire to hurry, no need to fill the space with unnecessary adornment, everything has its place.

This is an incredibly special album, something that feels very personal indeed, and we have been fortunate enough to be given a glimpse behind the curtain. It almost feels that we are interlopers, listeners who are trespassing on some hidden and private moment which we came across by accident, but couldn’t turn away. Whenever I finish listening to this album I always feel honoured to have been let inside, but also saddened that for most of us the real world isn’t how this music makes me feel. This is truly a wonderful piece of work, and I feel enriched by having heard it.

XAVI REIJA The Sound Of The Earth

Album · 2018 · Jazz Related Rock
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Consummate drummer Xavi Reija is back with his fourth solo album, and as with the wonderful ‘Resolution’ from 2014, he has been joined by guitarist Dusan Jevtović. However, this time he has brought in two Stick Men with Tony Levin providing bass, upright bass and stick and Markus Reuter on touch guitar. This means that between them there are four more sounds and potential interactions on show than would be possible with any “normal” quartet. Recorded in just one day, the album is a cacophony of sounds and notes being brought together by four musicians who are consistently bouncing ideas off each other. Reuter and Levin are touring together a great deal, so know each other’s styles intimately, while Reija and Jevtović have a long history together as well, and the two pairs combine to make an album of exciting and invigorating music.

One of the joys of this album is the sheer variety, with all four playing lead (all at the same time), although it is often left to Levin and Reuter to attempt to maintain some sort of stable foundation for the others to play against. The four lengthy songs are parts I-IV of the title cut, composed by all four, as they bounce the ideas off each other and see where the music takes them. The second of these commences with Xavi shuffling on drums, Tony providing some beautifully warm upright bass, Markus creating the soundscape as only he can, before Dusan makes his entrance. It is an incredibly intense album, with so much going on at all times, yet it never overloads the senses as it continues to make music sense throughout. Putting these four into a room together, turning on the tapes and then just letting them play, was truly inspired. When it comes to fusion, bringing together jazz, progressive rock and improvisation, then it is hard to find a stronger group of players. This is an incredible album, totally essential to anyone who enjoys this style of challenging and almost avant garde music.

ROGER DAVIDSON Oração Para Amanhã (Prayer For Tomorrow)

Live album · 2017 · Latin Jazz
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Frenchman Roger Davidson (piano) and his trio of Eduardo Belos (bass) and Adriano Santos (drums), have been joined on this release by Hendrik Meurkens who provides two quite different musical embellishments by providing harmonica and vibraphone. Recorded live at the Zinc Bar in NYC last year, this collection of twelve new songs shows Roger combining his love of both jazz and Brazilian music, in a way that is both fresh and interesting. When someone has been so involved in these cultures for as many years as Roger, it perhaps isn’t surprising that the joining together of the two is seamless and faultless. He has a deft touch on the piano, and given that he has studied both orchestral and choral conducting it is also of no great shock that the arrangements are perfect for the occasion.

This is music that is living and breathing, each musician providing the others with the room they need to provide support to the main theme or to solo and improvise, whatever is right for the moment. It is laid back and reflective, music to get lost inside of, but even though the tempo may be often languid and the notes and chords meandering gently through the sun-kissed meadow, it is always something to be immersed in and never something that is boring. Beautiful and delicate, a joy from start to finish with South American inflections and tones that set this style of jazz apart.

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