Jazz Music Reviews from liontime

ROY HAYNES Out of the Afternoon

Album · 1962 · Hard Bop
Cover art 4.00 | 2 ratings
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liontime
Out of the Afternoon is something of a hidden gem that I stumbled upon and can't recommend enough to fans of that 'driving' hard bop sound.

There's an astonishing amount of energy here stemming from Roy Haynes' quick and heavy drumming. Roland Kirk really out does himself on this record on the tenor sax (and occasional flute) with lots of forceful playing to the point of overblowing at times. Tommy Flanagan takes a few nice solos but he is frequently outshone by Kirk's intensity and drive. Haynes takes a few interesting and fun solo romps but this show was stolen by Kirk.

"Fly Me To The Moon" and "If I Should Lose You" are highlights; play this album when you need an energy boost or early on in a large get together.

HERBIE HANCOCK Sunlight

Album · 1978 · Jazz Related RnB
Cover art 3.31 | 7 ratings
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liontime
This album sits in an unfortunate genre crossover. Many jazz fanatics will find this album to be trifling and even disappointing when compared to the legendary work Herbie Hancock did in the 60's and earlier 70's. On the other hand, many pop and soul fans will shy away from the meandering songs that often exceed eight minutes in length. But, to those who love both genres, this album has aged surprisingly well (especially surprising considering the extravagent suit on the front has its own credits in the liner notes).

Here, Hancock makes extensive use of a vocoder through which he sings the entire album. The result is not one of cold, robotic shrillness but rather a warm, pleasant fuzziness. Hancock's vocals freely wander through the mix and understandably blend in with the other instruments. Don't approach this album expecting technical mastery or dance floor filling beats. Find a free afternoon where you can sit in the ~sunlight~ and give this record an honest shot. It's very rewarding if you give it a chance.

DONALD BYRD Street Lady

Album · 1973 · Funk Jazz
Cover art 3.67 | 4 ratings
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liontime
This record is a lot of fun; it's extremely listenable for the first few plays and its undeniably catchy at many times. However, after the first few euphoric listens, the shimmer wears away and the record starts to fall flat. Lansana's Priestess is the star track undoubtedly and is ultimately the only essential song on the album.

Street Lady is pretty easily described as jazz disco and Lansana's Priestess is a great example of the two opposed genres melding together into something fresh and exciting. The guitar is funky and crisp, the flute and synthesizer are pastoral and Donald Byrd does a fair bit of improvisation. However, the record as a whole is a bit mind numbing and an unfortunate harbinger of bloodless over produced jazz pop of the later 70's. Don't mistake this for harsh criticism, it is meant only to be honest. As a background or party album, it's tremendous. But it's not an album that warrants repeated intensive listening.

Play this album for your friends or while working out. It's got a lot of pep and won't drag anyone's mood down.

STAN GETZ Getz/Gilberto

Album · 1964 · Bossa Nova
Cover art 4.48 | 11 ratings
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liontime
Girl from Ipanema often defines this record for many due to the song's outrageous popularity; however, the seven other songs on this record aren't just filler to try and sell a single as an LP. This album is an excellent blend of jazz and pop.

To me, this is Getz's pinnacle. There are no other recordings where Getz is as sincere, sweet or warm. Joao Gilberto backs Getz wonderfully and takes the spotlight on many occasions, singing even at times. Both sides of the record start with a jazz/pop song featuring Astrud Gilberto whose enthralling voice irresistibly draws one into warm summer nights past.

There's nothing technically ground breaking or particularly imaginative about this album but if that's your qualm, you're missing the point. It's one of the most inviting and captivating records ever made. Put this on anywhere, anytime and drift away.

MILES DAVIS Cookin' With the Miles Davis Quintet

Album · 1957 · Hard Bop
Cover art 4.71 | 20 ratings
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liontime
This is one of a tetralogy of albums Miles Davis recorded over the course of two days in 1956 to fulfill a contractual obligation with Prestige. Although this would appear to be a recipe for four lukewarm albums of tedious tune churning, these four records (Relaxin, Steamin, Workin and Cookin) are truly tremendous. These two sessions are early career highlights for both Red Garland and John Coltrane who truly shine on each of these records. Paul Chambers and Philly Joe Jones also provide an excellent rhythm section here.

Cookin' bridges the gap between cool and hard bop organically. The album opens with Garland's gentle intro to 'My Funny Valentine' and the quintet plays a beautiful and refreshing rendition of a played out classic. Blues by Five follows in a similar fashion; maintaining a gentle, intricate mood throughout the first side. On side two, Airegin offers a rare and exciting moment in Davis' career when he returns to his bebop roots and plays a fast and dense solo very much unlike his signature cool stylings. The playing is tremendous though, and a true testament to Davis' taste and technique. This solo will also foreshadow Davis' future experimentation in the following decades. The album closes with a long, meandering track much like side one. Cookin' is necessary in the collections of any Davis, Trane or Garland fans.

PHAROAH SANDERS Tauhid

Album · 1967 · Avant-Garde Jazz
Cover art 4.22 | 8 ratings
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liontime
Tauhid is an excellent work nearly on par with 1969's Karma. This record should not be overlooked by fans of avant-garde jazz, especially devotees of the trinity that is Coltrane, Ayler and Sanders. If you're here for the extraterrestrial, multi-tonal saxophone playing - you'll certainly find it.

The album begins with dense, modal piano, tremolo guitar and scattered percussion with Sanders characteristic sleigh bells periodically brightening the mix. At around five minutes, the band rests while Henry Grimes bows a few slow bars on the bass followed by Sanders coming in on the flute. The band members trade off improvising, often alone, until the nine minute mark when Dave Burrell comes in with the main piano riff that will last until the end of the first side of the record. The whole band comes in and Sanders finally lets loose on the sax; his performance is as masterful and 'out there' as ever, and if you're already a Pharoah fan - you know what to expect.

On side two of the album, my personal favorite Sanders track begins. 'Japan' only features Sanders on vocals; the melody is simple and amiable with gentle accompaniment from the rest of the band. Sanders' spiritual approach to music is perfectly manifested in this song, and one feels a harmony and closeness with Sanders that can't be found anywhere else in his discography. 'Japan' is a true highlight of the avant-garde era; its gentle approach unlike any other artist of the time.

The last track begins with a drum solo that quickly turns into group free improvisation. It is a medley with three parts that features plenty of Sanders on saxophone. This track is sonically more experimental and challenging than the first track, but there are still moments of blissful rest. The outro is sparse and quiet, with Sanders playing a slow exit.

CHICK COREA Return to Forever

Album · 1972 · Classic Fusion
Cover art 4.37 | 35 ratings
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liontime
On thing I love about this album is its ability to take on a diverse range of visceral planes while still remaining cerebrally consistent. The album is full of interesting technical instrumental and vocal work yet can jump from contemplative atmosphere churning to tart poppy jazz without betraying artistic depth.

Flora Purim is a delightful vocalist who sweetens this album to no end. Airto Moreira's percussion is also definitely worth one's attention.

Ultimately what makes this album one of my favorites is its playability. By virtue of one's ability to play it in mixed company, it grows heavy with memories and moods that other albums never have because they're meant for headphones in a bedroom. This album is good for drives, the beach, picnics, relaxed parties, anything. Go out and play it for your pop music friends.

CHICO HAMILTON Chico Hamilton Introducing Larry Coryell ‎: The Dealer

Album · 1966 · World Fusion
Cover art 4.43 | 4 ratings
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liontime
This album is one that is loved by those who know it and yet it remains virtually unknown to the contemporary jazz community at large. It has somehow been buried deep in the large stack of great, classic jazz records. But I want to try to file this one a little higher up in that pile.

It was released in 1966, an astonishingly great year for music in many genres. It has its moments of surreal experimentation ('Thoughts,' mainly), but generally stays groovy and direct. Hamilton works beautifully with Richard Davis to produce a thumpin', psychedelic rhythm section that is unlike any other. Larry Coryell makes his recording debut on this album and he does some astonishing work on the tracks that he's on. The solos throughout the album are both parts challenging and fun.

This album is one of those albums that's so fun to listen to that it almost feels like a guilty pleasure. But there's plenty of challenging, masterful work in here to satisfy any technical or cerebral listener.

BILL EVANS (PIANO) Waltz for Debby

Live album · 1961 · Cool Jazz
Cover art 4.82 | 11 ratings
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liontime
There's a wonderful, crystalline atmosphere contained in these six tracks. All were recorded (beautifully) live; soft audience chatter and glassware can be heard intermittently throughout.

Along with "Live at the Village Vanguard" this is the definitive Bill Evans. The title track is one of the most revered and adored modern jazz standards. Plus there's a tremendous take on Miles' Milestones at the end.

Evans carries you to a time and place of content stasis with his relaxed, cathartic playing. He's never aggressive yet he remains stimulating all throughout. Put this on Sunday morning or Friday afternoon when you want to amplify good vibrations. Good for mixed company, or solitary listening.

JOHN COLTRANE A Love Supreme

Album · 1965 · Post Bop
Cover art 4.85 | 78 ratings
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liontime
In my own experience, I have never known an album to have as much replay value as this one. I know that this experience isn't exclusive to myself and I believe that that can be attributed to the true genius of this album.

Not only is Trane at his best during this session, but this album is a high point for McCoy Tyner, Elvin Jones and Jimmy Garrison. The classic quartet never sounds better than on these four tracks.

Jimmy Cobb said that Kind of Blue must have been made in heaven. If that's true, then A Love Supreme must have been made somewhere beyond that.

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