Acid Jazz

Jazz music community with reviews, MP3 (free download/stream) and forums

Acid jazz grew out of the late 80s DJ scene in London in which record spinners would treat dancing patrons to difficult to find 45s released by 60s soul jazz artists. Eventually contemporary lounge/jazz performers such as James Taylor began to capitalize on this interest in 60s 'rare groove' and began to perform live music that had equal appeal for the trendy club crowd. Another aspect of early Acid Jazz involved the mixing of 60s RnB-jazz with the sounds and rhythms of acid house. Once Acid Jazz left England, confusion as to what it actually was created a diversity of influences including dub reggae, hip-hop, drumnbass and 60s psychedelic rock. More recently Acid Jazz is often seen as either 60s rare groove, or a merging of jazz with trip-hop or other club friendly electronica sounds and rhythms.

Typically the artists listed in JMA's acid jazz genre are live bands while acid jazz artists who are more DJ based are listed in our DJ/Electronica jazz genre.

acid jazz top albums

Showing only albums and live's | Based on members ratings & JMA custom algorithm

JOHN SCOFIELD überjam Album Cover überjam
JOHN SCOFIELD
4.85 | 5 ratings
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JAMIROQUAI The Return of the Space Cowboy Album Cover The Return of the Space Cowboy
JAMIROQUAI
4.61 | 10 ratings
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HERBIE HANCOCK Dis Is da Drum Album Cover Dis Is da Drum
HERBIE HANCOCK
4.69 | 5 ratings
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ERIK TRUFFAZ Arkhangelsk Album Cover Arkhangelsk
ERIK TRUFFAZ
5.00 | 2 ratings
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THE POETS OF RHYTHM Discern / Define Album Cover Discern / Define
THE POETS OF RHYTHM
4.37 | 4 ratings
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JAMIROQUAI Travelling Without Moving Album Cover Travelling Without Moving
JAMIROQUAI
4.06 | 9 ratings
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JAMIROQUAI Emergency on Planet Earth Album Cover Emergency on Planet Earth
JAMIROQUAI
4.02 | 9 ratings
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ERIK TRUFFAZ The Walk of the Giant Turtle Album Cover The Walk of the Giant Turtle
ERIK TRUFFAZ
4.17 | 3 ratings
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THE BRAND NEW HEAVIES The Brand New Heavies (N'Dea Davenport vocals) Album Cover The Brand New Heavies (N'Dea Davenport vocals)
THE BRAND NEW HEAVIES
4.04 | 4 ratings
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JOHN SCOFIELD Up All Night Album Cover Up All Night
JOHN SCOFIELD
4.09 | 3 ratings
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AIEVEA Cinema Album Cover Cinema
AIEVEA
4.00 | 2 ratings
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THE BRAND NEW HEAVIES Heavy Rhyme Experience, Volume 1 Album Cover Heavy Rhyme Experience, Volume 1
THE BRAND NEW HEAVIES
4.00 | 2 ratings
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This list is in progress since the site is new. We invite all logged in members to use the "quick rating" widget (stars bellow album covers) or post full reviews to increase the weight of your rating in the global average value (see FAQ for more details). Enjoy JMA!

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acid jazz Music Reviews

THE BRAND NEW HEAVIES The Brand New Heavies (N'Dea Davenport vocals)

Album · 1991 · Acid Jazz
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js
There is a certain amount of confusion surrounding The Brand New Heavies’ first album (also called “The Brand New Heavies”). The original release featured Jay Williamson (named Jay Ella Ruth at the time) on vocals and was released in England in 1990. It was quickly replaced by a new version with a lot of the same songs, but with the much stronger N’Dea Davenport from the US on vocals. This version of the album was released first in the US and was also used later for any re-issues of the album worldwide. This review is also based on the Davenport version, as that has become the definitive version of the album for most.

This was the first album from England’s late 80s acid jazz fad to actually connect in the US. Although popular with the rave kids in England and elsewhere, acid jazz remained a mystery in the US, with only a few big cities on the coasts picking up on its trendy mix of 60s soul jazz, 70s funk and 80s DJ music. Early English acid jazz bands such as The James Taylor Quartet were a little too exotica cute and loungey to connect with the more funkified US RnB/dance/jazz scene. The Brand New Heavies, on the other hand, carried a lot more of the street rhythms and funky grooves that made them recognizable to the Americanos.

Musically the Heavies first album is similar to what The Commodores and Kool and the Gang were playing in the late 70s, a blend of pop and funk with very dance-able rhythms, but not as down and dirty as the more hardcore early to mid-70s funk sound. Every song and every riff on here is great, but its all done with a certain cleanliness that some funk fans may find a little on the lite side. Likewise, the instrumental numbers are similar to The Brecker Brothers, but not with the same blazing bebop chops. Davenport is a great singer, but her voice lacks character and personality, she sounds like the top notch back-up singer all of a sudden promoted to lead. It all adds up, this is a good album, but it would have been tops with a little more grit and grease.

Although most of this album stays on the pop-funk vibe, “Put the Funk Back In It” slows things down for a heavy p-funk groove, while follow up song “Gimme One of Those” takes the guitar riff from Funkadelic’s “Loose Booty” and tops it with classic James Brown style synth noodling. You’ll swear you’ve heard this song before somewhere back in the 70s. Live funk bands were a rarity in 1990, and this band was a real breath of fresh air and a wake up call to other musicians that the funk was back. It also still sounds great today, although maybe not nasty enough for the hardcore funk fans.

JOHN SCOFIELD Überjam Deux

Album · 2013 · Acid Jazz
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js
“Uberjam Deux” is the second installment in a little acid jazz series John Scofield initiated about a decade ago. Nothing too serious going on here, this is mostly fun jams for folks who want to get their groove on. John doesn’t even stretch out on any long solos, mostly keeping the tunes short and to the point. You get a nice variety of rhythms on this CD with lots of RnB from old school to new, plus some Afro-beat, a bit of reggae and even a hint of electronica here and there. One thing that stands out over repeat listens is the fact that Scofield is an excellent RnB guitarist, something that isn’t always true with others from the jazz field. If you had to pick an overall tag for John’s career, it would be hard to choose between jazz and RnB, he’s quite good at both. The funky little riffs he supplies throughout this album are almost like a dictionary of RnB licks for any aspiring guitarist trying to learn the trade.

With today’s technology, drum loops and rhythm software it would have been easy for Scofield to put an album like this together himself, but fortunately he wisely chose to have a real rhythm section and even a second guitarist (Avi Bortnick) adding syncopated counter parts to John’s funky guitar licks. Keyboardist John Medeski also appears on some of the tunes with his signature B3 playing. I have to admit, on first listen I was disappointed in this CD because I had previously been listening to Scofield’s very demanding post bop workout on “ScoLoHoFo”, where four all-star musicians push each other to the max and John lays down some very creative extended solos. “Uberjam” is not that kind of a project and it began to win me over as I realized how excellent and abundantly plentiful John’s RnB riffs are.

For folks who like this sort of groove oriented RnB/jazz, this one is better than most. A lot of artists will slap these sort of projects together quickly and then phone in the results, but Scofield took the time to put something very nice together, and his playing and dictionary of riffs are a must hear for any aspiring RnB guitarist.

THE GREYBOY ALLSTARS A Town Called Earth

Album · 1997 · Acid Jazz
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In the late 80s a culture arose around DJs who would spin hard to find old funk jazz and instrumental RnB records. Eventually musicians caught on to this demand for old school dance grooves and the acid jazz movement was born. Much like an actual DJ set, these bands didn’t fuss much over melody or arrangement and headed straight for the funky groove that kept the party going. The acid jazz scene arrived a bit late in the US, but when it hit the west coast in the early to mid 90s, it hit big. The Greyboy All-Stars were probably one of the most popular bands from that 90s west coast scene and “A Town Called Earth” was their release in 97 when the scene was starting to fade.

This CD pretty much provides the vibe that people were looking for at the time with plenty of funky jazz that draws heavily on artists such as The JB’s, Eddie Harris and Herbie Hancock. Like most other bands in the acid jazz scene, the All-Stars don’t bother much with melody and their arrangements are bare bones simplicity, but the grooves and solos on here are very good for some young cats. The lack of sophistication in these younger bands might have to do with the fact that these were funk-jazz musicians who were mostly influenced by previous funk-jazz bands, instead of coming up through a more technically demanding post-bop scene as the 60s and 70s inventors of funk jazz had. For instance, by the time Herbie Hancock was experimenting with funk, he had a wealth of musical knowledge behind him in other genres.

Anyway, as mentioned earlier, the All-Stars grooves hold up well against the classic bands they emulate and the solos that fill these tracks are good too, particularly woodwinds whiz Karl Denson. Most of the funk numbers on here are solid, but the band is less successful when they head to more artsy abstract material. The CD’s title cut is an overly lengthy shot at a retro avant-garde psychedelic jam complete with amateur sitar playing and backwards noises, but these more outside type attempts are just not this band’s forte. Listening to this entire CD can get fatiguing, but there are plenty of good tracks on here that would compliment any funk/jazz/dance mix tape.

ST. GERMAIN Tourist

Album · 2000 · Acid Jazz
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By the time 2000 had rolled around, this sort of mix of house, jazz, dub and hip-hop had been done for a while, with the novelty wore off the emphasis now was on how well do you do it. On “Tourist”, Ludovic Navarre seamlessly mixes the elements in smooth ways that make early attempts to bridge house and jazz sound amateur. Opening cut “Rose Rouge” is a fine example as the beat slowly morphs from swing to ambient house and back again, slowly shifting like an aural hallucination. Subtlety is the key to this CD, the house and dub beats are unobtrusive and the jazz solos fit well with the music and never sound pointlessly flashy or gratuitous.

Some standout tracks on this album include “Land of …” where a Cypress Hill beat is topped with an irresistible horn riff that recalls the JB’s “Same Beat” and “La Goutte D” where an authentic dub groove lays the foundation for Indian flavored flute solos. Throughout this album Edourd Labor’s excellent woodwind playing keeps the songs interesting and energetic. This is a great CD, tasteful club and dub beats that are never too plastic, mixed with jazz solos that fit well with the music they are riding on.

COLIN BENDERS Kytecrash (with Eric Vloeimans)

Album · 2011 · Acid Jazz
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Colin Benders is a really popular Dutch hip-hop star who combines hip-hop with his jazz roots (his uncle is the famous French-American piano jazz musician Jacky Terrasson).In 2009 he founded Hiphop Orchestra - a 24 member collective playing jazz, rock, reggae and hip-hop all in one. He started performing under the name Kyteman with the Hiphop Orchestra and received an almost cult following in clubs around the Netherlands.

On this first album of his new project he plays as a duo with Eric Vloeimans - a respectable Dutch nu jazz trumpeter. The result is a mixed bag - a very musically diverse album that contains a mix of all the previous influences from both musicians. The obvious leader is Benders though - this album's main atmosphere is quite melodic, even pop-oriented hip-hop (with not particularly attractive rap vocals). A lot of it is catchy, even dance-able tunes, electronic rhythms and effects make this album accessible, often even openly commercial oriented. Fortunately there are some jazzy solos (in a few moments almost avant-garde by their nature)so it saves the album from being the clubbing crowd dream.

How attractive is this work for a jazz listener? If you like rap vocals, dance rhythms and catchy acid jazz tunes in your music, possibly you will enjoy this album a lot. Otherwise, a few jazzy improvs from two skilled trumpeters wouldn't be enough to attract your attention, possibly you will even change this CD in the middle of the listening.

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Artists with Acid Jazz release(s)

JMA TOP 5 Jazz ALBUMS

Rating by members, ranked by custom algorithm
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