Avant-Garde Jazz

Jazz music community with review and forums

In brief:

The Avant-garde Jazz genre at JMA generally consists of jazz that is usually atonal, and quite often a-rhythmic as well. Avant-garde jazz can be ‘free’, in that there is no prescribed structure for the musicians to follow, or there may be some sort of compositional structure being used as well. Other factors that can result in an avant-garde tag include the use of extremes, such as extremely loud music, or extremely quiet music etc. Also, experimental presentations can be considered, such as a piece where the performers are playing without being able to hear each other, or all of the musicians are submerged in water, etc. Generally the Avant-garde Jazz genre is reserved for musicians from a jazz background, but JMA also includes some non-jazz avant-garde musicians in our Jazz Related Improvisation/Composition genre.

The history:

In all arts, the term avant-garde refers to those who lead the way towards experimentalism and change. This was true in music up until about the mid-60s, when western concepts of harmony and structure hit a breaking point. Prior to the 60s, western concepts of musical advancement centered around increasingly chromatic harmonies moving towards atonality, and increasing difficulties and complexities in rhythm. This breaking point, or dead end for western ideas of continued advancement occurred in the world of concert hall music with John Cage’s chance operations, and it occurred in the jazz world with the arrival of ‘free jazz’. Both John Cage’s aleatoric music, and free jazz, turned western ideas of linear advancement on their head and instead showed the ongoing development of music to be more like a snake swallowing its tail, more circular than linear. In other words, how different was ‘free jazz’ from early man’s attempts to intuitively make music with a hollow log or reed. Surely there are differences, but there are also unmistakable similarities.

After this sort of philosophical breaking point, the term ‘avant-garde’ found a final resting place in the world of jazz as being jazz that is usually atonal, often a-rhythmic and quite often free of any structure. Over the years, many avnt-garde jazz artists began to mix compositional structure with free style playing, but there still continues to be devotees to a 60s style totally free approach.

As we move further into the 20th century, what is termed “avant-garde jazz’ may not necessarily be on the front-lines of change, instead, Avant-garde Jazz as defined by JMA, and as defined by most jazz resources stands as one more genre with its own fixed history, definitions and boundaries. Today’s artist can chose elements from the ‘avant-garde’ as well as any of the other historical jazz genres. In today’s jazz world, the elements introduced by the avant-garde are alive and well, and more common than ever, but many artists today will mix those avant-garde elements with all the other stylistic elements musicians can choose from. Today's top jazz composers and performers often challenge themselves to make music that blurs boundaries such as free and structured, or atonal and tonal.

From a musician’s point of view, the advent of free jazz opened some doors, and closed some others. The initial impact of the freedom was exhilarating as artists like Lennie Tristano, Cecil Taylor, Sun Ra, John Gilmore, Marshall Allen, Pat Patrick, John Coltrane, Ornette Coleman, Archie Shepp and Albert Alyer unleashed some of the greatest jazz ever recorded, but in time, a lack of harmonic changes (chord changes) to work with made many musicians feel like they were playing the same solo over and over. After the initial explosion of the mid 60s, many musicians were happy to go back to the eternal challenge of trying to reconstruct music from a set of complex and harmonically rich chord changes. Still, there continues to be artists such as Joe Morris, Ivo Perelman, Evan Parker and Peter Brotzmann, who continue to make meaningful modern free jazz.

avant-garde jazz top albums

Showing only albums and live's | Based on members ratings & JMA custom algorithm | 24 hours caching

HENRY THREADGILL Henry Threadgill & Make A Move ‎: Everybodys Mouth's A Book Album Cover Henry Threadgill & Make A Move ‎: Everybodys Mouth's A Book
HENRY THREADGILL
4.92 | 5 ratings
Buy this album from MMA partners
CECIL TAYLOR 3 Phasis Album Cover 3 Phasis
CECIL TAYLOR
5.00 | 3 ratings
Buy this album from MMA partners
GRACHAN MONCUR III Some Other Stuff Album Cover Some Other Stuff
GRACHAN MONCUR III
4.77 | 6 ratings
Buy this album from MMA partners
GRAHAM COLLIER Darius Album Cover Darius
GRAHAM COLLIER
4.88 | 3 ratings
Buy this album from MMA partners
WILLIAM PARKER William Parker Quartet - Sound Unity Album Cover William Parker Quartet - Sound Unity
WILLIAM PARKER
5.00 | 2 ratings
Buy this album from MMA partners
SUN RA Live at Montreux Album Cover Live at Montreux
SUN RA
5.00 | 2 ratings
Buy this album from MMA partners
BILL DIXON Intents & Purposes Album Cover Intents & Purposes
BILL DIXON
5.00 | 2 ratings
Buy this album from MMA partners
JOHN COLTRANE Last Performance at Newport July 2 1966 Album Cover Last Performance at Newport July 2 1966
JOHN COLTRANE
5.00 | 2 ratings
Buy this album from MMA partners
ERIC DOLPHY 'Out to Lunch!' Album Cover 'Out to Lunch!'
ERIC DOLPHY
4.63 | 47 ratings
Buy this album from MMA partners
PHAROAH SANDERS Elevation Album Cover Elevation
PHAROAH SANDERS
4.71 | 8 ratings
Buy this album from MMA partners
CECIL TAYLOR Silent Tongues (aka I Grandi Del Jazz) Album Cover Silent Tongues (aka I Grandi Del Jazz)
CECIL TAYLOR
4.78 | 4 ratings
Buy this album from MMA partners
ARCHIE SHEPP The Magic of Ju-Ju Album Cover The Magic of Ju-Ju
ARCHIE SHEPP
4.70 | 5 ratings
Buy this album from MMA partners
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!

avant-garde jazz online videos

avant-garde jazz New Releases

.. Album Cover
Live In Chicago
Boxset / Compilation
MATT PIET
Buy this album from MMA partners
.. Album Cover
Mnemon
Album
ACHIM KAUFMANN
Buy this album from MMA partners
.. Album Cover
Ao Vivo Jazz na Fábrica
Live album
MATTHEW SHIPP
Buy this album from MMA partners
.. Album Cover
12 From 25
Live album
MYRA MELFORD
Buy this album from MMA partners
.. Album Cover
Joelle Leandre / Marc Ducret : Chez Helene
Live album
JOËLLE LÉANDRE
Buy this album from MMA partners
.. Album Cover
Nation Time
Boxset / Compilation
JOE MCPHEE
Buy this album from MMA partners
.. Album Cover
Babi [2 CDs]
Boxset / Compilation
MILFORD GRAVES
Buy this album from MMA partners
.. Album Cover
Tsunami Aquarium in Fukushima
Album
TOSHINORI KONDO
Buy this album from MMA partners
.. Album Cover
Live Constructions
Live album
DANIEL CARTER
Buy this album from MMA partners
.. Album Cover
Ships and Shepherds
Album
ALEX MAGUIRE
Buy this album from MMA partners
.. Album Cover
Martin Kuchen / Rafal Mazur : Baza
Live album
MARTIN KÜCHEN / TRESPASS TRIO
Buy this album from MMA partners
.. Album Cover
Live In The USA
Live album
HOWARD RILEY
Buy this album from MMA partners
.. Album Cover
An Ayler Xmas Volume 2
Live album
MARS WILLIAMS
Buy this album from MMA partners
.. Album Cover
Brace for Impact
Album
JOE MCPHEE
Buy this album from MMA partners
.. Album Cover
Slava Ganelin - Vladimir Homyakov : Neuma
Album
GANELIN TRIO/SLAVA GANELIN
Buy this album from MMA partners
.. Album Cover
Night Wave
Album
YUKO FUJIYAMA
Buy this album from MMA partners
.. Album Cover
Domesitc Peace
Album
SHAY HAZAN
Buy this album from MMA partners
.. Album Cover
Good Morning Universe
EP
SHAY HAZAN
Buy this album from MMA partners
.. Album Cover
Amu : Weave
Album
SATOKO FUJII
Buy this album from MMA partners
.. Album Cover
Icoci
Album
DAVE REMPIS
Buy this album from MMA partners
.. Album Cover
City In A Garden
Album
MATT PIET
Buy this album from MMA partners
.. Album Cover
Rummage Out
Live album
MATT PIET
Buy this album from MMA partners
.. Album Cover
Return to the Future
Live album
LAJOS DUDÁS
Buy this album from MMA partners
.. Album Cover
What's Next?
Album
FRIENDS AND NEIGHBORS
Buy this album from MMA partners
.. Album Cover
The Casbah Of Love
Album
ANDREW LAMB
Buy this album from MMA partners
.. Album Cover
The Art Ensemble of Chicago and Associated Ensembles
Boxset / Compilation
THE ART ENSEMBLE OF CHICAGO
Buy this album from MMA partners
.. Album Cover
Live In Rio
Live album
FULL BLAST
Buy this album from MMA partners
.. Album Cover
Dirigo Rataplan II
Album
DIRIGO RATAPLAN
Buy this album from MMA partners
.. Album Cover
Cliff
Album
PANDELIS KARAYORGIS
Buy this album from MMA partners
.. Album Cover
Pools
Album
PANDELIS KARAYORGIS
Buy this album from MMA partners
.. Album Cover
Early in the Mornin'
Album
SAMUEL BLASER
Buy this album from MMA partners
.. Album Cover
A Glorious Monster
Album
SLOTH RACKET
Buy this album from MMA partners
.. Album Cover
Tatakai Trio : Happi
Album
MARTIN KÜCHEN / TRESPASS TRIO
Buy this album from MMA partners
.. Album Cover
Utter
Album
INGRID LAUBROCK
Buy this album from MMA partners
.. Album Cover
New Thing Unit : For Cecil Taylor
Album
ERNESTO RODRIGUES
Buy this album from MMA partners
.. Album Cover
Oxy Patina
Live album
MÁRIO COSTA
Buy this album from MMA partners
.. Album Cover
Martin Küchen & Anders Lindsjö : The Stork and the Chimp
Album
MARTIN KÜCHEN / TRESPASS TRIO
Buy this album from MMA partners
.. Album Cover
Oblique (trio)
Album
PER GÄRDIN
Buy this album from MMA partners
.. Album Cover
Studio 105, Paris 1967
Live album
DON CHERRY
Buy this album from MMA partners
.. Album Cover
Christian Lillingers Grund ‎: COR
Album
CHRISTIAN LILLINGER
Buy this album from MMA partners
.. Album Cover
First Thirst : Live At Cave 12
Live album
AKIRA SAKATA
Buy this album from MMA partners
.. Album Cover
Tomasz Dabrowski AD HOC ‎: Ninjazz
Album
TOMASZ DĄBROWSKI
Buy this album from MMA partners
.. Album Cover
Live At The Alchemia
Live album
RIVERLOAM TRIO
Buy this album from MMA partners
.. Album Cover
Detail 83
Live album
DETAIL
Buy this album from MMA partners
.. Album Cover
Kaoru Abe / Sabu Toyozumi : Banka
Live album
KAORU ABE
Buy this album from MMA partners
.. Album Cover
5 Original Albums
Boxset / Compilation
ARCHIE SHEPP
Buy this album from MMA partners
.. Album Cover
The Astral Revelations
Live album
JEMEEL MOONDOC
Buy this album from MMA partners
.. Album Cover
Different Shapes / Immersion
Album
KJETIL MØSTER
Buy this album from MMA partners
.. Album Cover
Moscow Files
Album
LUCA SISERA
Buy this album from MMA partners
.. Album Cover
Derek Bailey & Company : Klinker
Live album
DEREK BAILEY
Buy this album from MMA partners
.. Album Cover
Concrescence
Album
SØREN KJÆRGAARD
Buy this album from MMA partners
.. Album Cover
Honest John with Ab Baars : Treem
Live album
HONEST JOHN
Buy this album from MMA partners
.. Album Cover
Angles 3 : Parede
Live album
ANGLES
Buy this album from MMA partners
.. Album Cover
The Center Of Contradiction
Live album
SABU TOYOZUMI
Buy this album from MMA partners
.. Album Cover
Uuskyla Øgrim & Berg : Oslo Hærverk
Live album
PEETER UUSKYLA
Buy this album from MMA partners
.. Album Cover
Jimmy Bennington, Steve Cohn : Albany Park
Live album
JIMMY BENNINGTON
Buy this album from MMA partners
.. Album Cover
Again
Album
THE THING
Buy this album from MMA partners
.. Album Cover
Jya-Ne
Live album
SABU TOYOZUMI
Buy this album from MMA partners
.. Album Cover
Pillars... at the Portal
Album
WILLIAM HOOKER
Buy this album from MMA partners
.. Album Cover
Poschiavo
Live album
CECIL TAYLOR
Buy this album from MMA partners
.. Album Cover
Elements
Live album
DOMINIC DUVAL
Buy this album from MMA partners
.. Album Cover
Something Different - First Recordings vol.1 & 2
Boxset / Compilation
ALBERT AYLER
Buy this album from MMA partners
.. Album Cover
In a Convex Mirror
Album
JOHN ZORN
Buy this album from MMA partners
.. Album Cover
Kira Kira : Bright Force
Live album
SATOKO FUJII
Buy this album from MMA partners
.. Album Cover
Juan Les Pin Jazz Festival 68
Live album
PHAROAH SANDERS
Buy this album from MMA partners
.. Album Cover
Extra Large Unit : More Fun Please
Live album
LARGE UNIT
Buy this album from MMA partners
.. Album Cover
Vandermark & Snow : Duol
Live album
KEN VANDERMARK
Buy this album from MMA partners
.. Album Cover
Carnegie Hall '71
Live album
ALICE COLTRANE
Buy this album from MMA partners
.. Album Cover
Globe Unity - 50 Years
Live album
GLOBE UNITY ORCHESTRA
Buy this album from MMA partners
.. Album Cover
The Berlin Concert
Live album
ANGELIKA NIESCIER
Buy this album from MMA partners
.. Album Cover
Free #3
Album
BLACK TOP
Buy this album from MMA partners
.. Album Cover
Of Abstract Dreams
Live album
SUN RA
Buy this album from MMA partners
.. Album Cover
Empty Castles
Album
SPECTRAL (REMPIS/JOHNSTON/OCHS)
Buy this album from MMA partners
.. Album Cover
Double Up, Plays Double Up Plus
Album
HENRY THREADGILL
Buy this album from MMA partners
.. Album Cover
Benoit Delbecq 4 : Spots on Stripes
Album
BENOÎT DELBECQ
Buy this album from MMA partners
.. Album Cover
Louis Sclavis & Bernard Lubat : Impuls
Live album
LOUIS SCLAVIS
Buy this album from MMA partners
.. Album Cover
Uncharted Territories
Album
DAVE HOLLAND
Buy this album from MMA partners
.. Album Cover
Manchester Free Trade Hall 1966
Live album
ORNETTE COLEMAN
Buy this album from MMA partners
.. Album Cover
Somewhere in the Upstream
Album
MICHAEL DESSEN
Buy this album from MMA partners
.. Album Cover
Sextet (Parker) 1993
Boxset / Compilation
ANTHONY BRAXTON
Buy this album from MMA partners
.. Album Cover
Fire
Album
DAVE LIEBMAN
Buy this album from MMA partners
.. Album Cover
Zero
Album
MATTHEW SHIPP
Buy this album from MMA partners
.. Album Cover
Mats Gustafsson & Didi Kern : Marvel Motor
Live album
MATS GUSTAFSSON
Buy this album from MMA partners
.. Album Cover
Sonic Fiction
Album
MATTHEW SHIPP
Buy this album from MMA partners
.. Album Cover
Kris Davis & Craig Taborn : Octopus
Live album
KRIS DAVIS
Buy this album from MMA partners
.. Album Cover
The Unknowable
Album
DAVE LIEBMAN
Buy this album from MMA partners
.. Album Cover
Gerry Hemingway / Samuel Blaser : Oostum
Live album
GERRY HEMINGWAY
Buy this album from MMA partners
.. Album Cover
Live At Cafe Amores
Live album
KANG TAE HWAN
Buy this album from MMA partners
.. Album Cover
Sylvie Courvoisier Trio ‎: D'Agala
Album
SYLVIE COURVOISIER
Buy this album from MMA partners
.. Album Cover
Taktlos Zurich 2017
Live album
SAMUEL BLASER
Buy this album from MMA partners

avant-garde jazz Music Reviews

DON CHERRY Complete Communion

Album · 1966 · Avant-Garde Jazz
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
js
Recorded in 1966, “Complete Communion” was Don Cherry’s first album as sole leader. Having already spent time as co-leader with the likes of John Coltrane, Ornette Coleman, Albert Ayler and Sonny Rollins, Cherry was more than ripe for his turn to lead things. On board with him is Gato Barbieri, who had met Don in Rome and was interested in trying out this ‘new thing’ called free jazz. Rounding out the band is Henry Grimes on bass and Edward Blackwell on drums. Right off the bat this album bears a strong resemblance to Cherry’s early 60s work with Ornette, which is no big surprise since Blackwell is on drums. Eddie’s drumming with Ornette and Don had helped define the group since he joined them in 1960, and likewise his unique skills also help define this outing giving it some Ornette quartet similarity. Yes, there are those similarities in basic style, but “Complete Communion” is hardly a facsimile as both Cherry and Gato spin their unique take on what can happen within this 60s free bop framework.

The whole album was recorded in one take with every tune butted up against each other without break. In fact its not often exactly clear where one song starts and the other ends, which is a good thing. This one take approach makes for a very imaginative arrangement and it is one of this album’s big pluses. The various tunes that come and go owe a large debt to the work of Bird and Diz, which is also a very good thing. Once the players dig into their solos, they often have a four way conversation going, but also there are times where any one of the performers might step to the forefront, particularly Don and Gato. While Cherry is mostly melodic on here, Gato often goes for an Archie Shepp style barrage of notes and above the normal range high pitched excursions. Despite how well he handles all of this, Gato did not stay in the avant-garde scene for long, which is another feature that makes this album unique.

This is an excellent album that, much like what Miles was playing live at this time, rides that border between free jazz and really out there post bop. Fans of Don’s early work with Ornette will dig hearing another possibility of where that music could end up. It also helps that the recording quality on ‘Communion’ is very good. Some are critical of this album claiming that Cherry will find his true voice as a leader when he starts working with African and Asian influences, but taken on its own merit, this album is one hep far out be-bop trip.

SATOKO FUJII Kira Kira : Bright Force

Live album · 2018 · Avant-Garde Jazz
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
snobb
Pianist Satoko Fujii is one among best internationally known creative jazz artist from Japan leading numerous projects (usually incl. her husband trumpeter Natsuki Tamura). Smaller groups as rule have each own name so Fujii/Tamura quartet with French duo of Peter Orins(drums) and Christian Pruvost(trumpet) is known as Kaze,all-Japanese drum-less quartet with Yasuko Kaneko(trombone) and Kazuhiko Tsumura(guitar) is known as Gato Libre(Satoko plays accordion not a piano here).

Kira Kira is Satoko's newest project to date where usual pair of Fujii and Tamura is combined with renown Australian keyboardist Alister Spence and young Japanese drummer Ittetsu Takemura who is a regular member of Satoko's big bands.

"Bright Force", project's debut, contains two polar parts both coming from same concert recorded at Knuttel House in Tokyo in 2017. Because of problems with sound quality recorded material has been seriously edited, putting the gig's opener meditative micro-tonal three-part suite "Luna Lionfish" to the end of the album and bringing energetic "Because Of The Sun" and "Nat 4" at the beginning. Not like the recordings sound became better but loud explosive two first pieces with soloing trumpet on the front prepare the listener to easier acceptance of knotty but not so catchy suite's entry.

Main music's characteristic on whole album is still a tension, build by Tamura's freer trumpet solos and Spence's Rhodes passages. The drummer is a rock-heavy and Satoko's percussive piano work adds even more muscularity in a sound. Add lot of Spence's electronic effects for full picture.

Fujii,Tamura and Spence previously already played together as quartet(with The Necks drummer Tony Buck)so there is a feel of working band in Kira Kira music.

A bit more ascetic and more complex than usual Fujii's music renown from her American,European or Japanese Orchestras,"Bright Force" is another strong release of prolific Japanese pianist. Celebrating her 60 jubilee Satoko promised to release a new album every month during all 2018(Kira Kira's debut is one of them). Big part of her program is already released, mostly all of them contains an interesting music. Waiting for more to come.

MATTHEW SHIPP Zero

Album · 2018 · Avant-Garde Jazz
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
js
Despite the many albums he has put out, its hard to think of one bum one from Matthew Shipp. The consistent quality is always there, but if you really want to hear what Shipp is capable of, you’ll want to go with his solo works. The group albums are usually good, and often great, but the music on these albums tends to be very busy and full, and Matthew’s voice has to compete against saxophones, drums and all manner of noise. On his solo albums, the runway is all clear and all we hear is how much space Shipp can fill up all by himself. Matthew comes from that old school two-fisted piano tradition of Art Tatum in which the piano is made to replicate an orchestra complete with many intertwining lines and big thick harmonies. To that foundation Shipp adds Cecil Taylor influenced atonal excursions as well as elements from the world of classical music ranging from Chopin to Charles Ives and Stockhausen.

“Zero” is Shipp’s latest solo recoding and finds him sitting in a studio and knocking out eleven improvisations that are presented on the CD without much break. Each track tends to be in a distinctly different style, so if you are listening closely, you will probably notice when a new track is on. If this CD is just playing in the background, then it will probably sound like one long piece. Matthew’s playing is somewhat different on “Zero“, more relaxed and less harsh or busy. Many passages contain material that may sound familiar, including elements of bop, blues and classical music. The end result is that this is a CD where its easier to follow how brilliant Matthew is at working ideas inside and out in mind boggling variations and just taking a strain of logic about as far as it can go. Instead of bombarding us with just how much he can be, Matthew instead gives us something to latch on to, something that takes our minds on a ride.

HENRY THREADGILL Double Up, Plays Double Up Plus

Album · 2018 · Avant-Garde Jazz
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Matt
“Double Up, Play’s Double Up Plus” is the second album featuring Henry Threadgill’s Double Up Ensemble and like the prior Henry is not playing but just using his compositions and arrangements for the band to work around. If one is not sure what the double up pertains to, it is the use of two pianos and for this current release and concerning the plus in the title we have three pianos as Henry Threadgill quotes within the album’s notes. “ It became imperative to write plus.... a third piano added to 1+1, now 1+1+1”. Elementary with the mathematical conclusion making things sound simple but the music contained within is far from that conjecture with the usual complications he inputs into his compositions inserting an Avante Garde element that is always present within. The ensemble almost remains the same as the prior album “Old Locks And Irregular Verbs” except the pianist Jason Moran is no longer here and has been replaced by David Bryant and Luis Perdomo with David Virelles remaining in both recordings. Also we still have two alto saxophonists with the addition of Roman Filiu’ inputting flute in this one which was not present in the prior release. All in all, even though Henry does not play it still sounds distinctly him.

Although the ensemble has eight members the sound at times seems almost singular with just the pianos opening for the album’s first composition being the longest running for nearly 23 minutes, “Game Is Up” with the ensemble following in later on this composition’s ever changing construction with the pianos at times solo or co-joined and other times are separated from the other instruments of primarily the alto, tuba, drums cello and David Virelle’s harmonium. It is not until over half way the ensemble come together in this extremely interesting number. The last three compositions “Clear And Distinct From The Other A”, “Clear And Distinct From The Other B” and “Clear And Distinct” have all different constructions with each starting in a low key manner and keeping with the album’s theme the piano or pianos are accompanied by either alto, flute, drums, tuba where they reside with an almost solo sound within each of the compositions gradually bringing the ensemble forward to where they are all playing together excepting “B”. My pick of them is “Clear And Distinct From The Other B” but I have always loved flute used in this musical concept but there is also some gorgeous piano to add for the last in “Clear And Distinct”. There is a fifth track registered but it is only a vocal description of the album’s theory with the band’s personnel and associated credits read aloud.

Well you cannot say it is not different or original as Henry Threadgill has always maintained that ideology when it comes to his compositions and ensembles and neither could you say it is just a follow up the his prior release “Old Locks And Irregular Verbs” being more subdued having quite different compositions containing more space. Still I had to get it and glad I have.

SADAO WATANABE Round Trip

Album · 1970 · Avant-Garde Jazz
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
js
“Round Trip” is an album that is quite a bit different from the music Sadao Watanabe is usually known for. Although not exactly a household name in the West, Sadao has been one of the top jazz saxophonists of the last six decades, putting out many albums as a leader while working as a sideman with almost every top name in the business. Watanabe is usually known for his sweet Charlie Parker influenced tone on the alto sax which he has used to cut many top notch post bop albums, as well as more commercial type fare too. “Round Trip” is a whole nother trip altogether, on here Sadao plays the soprano sax with a biting and harsh sound as he and his band mates play high octane avant-garde fusion. The band mates, Chick Corea, Jack DeJohnette and Miroslav Vitous had all been playing similar over the top free fusion at this time, with DeJohnette and Corea fresh from some insane gigs with Miles at the Fillmore.

The album opens with the title track, which is an out and out free jazz barn burner with unbelievably high speed drumming from Jack, plus Sadao’s piercing soprano that seems to be mimicking traditional Asian reed instruments. This track covers most of side one and also features a top notch solo from Corea, who at this time was still playing at his youthfully intense best. His solos during this time revealed an interest in Afro-Cuban jazz, as well as the avant-garde, with the end result sounding like a cross between Eddie Palmieri and Cecil Taylor. In a short time after this recording, he will loose some of his early fire. The only drawback to this track is some occasional hyper attacks from someone on a vibraslap, not really sure who is responsible for this bothersome sound.

Side two opens with Jack pounding out an energetic fractured jazz rock beat while the rest join in for a very 70s jam. Whereas as side side one was atonal, on this new track the band settles into a D Mixolydian modal jam, a scale with a Celtic/Indian sound that was very popular with the hippie generation. Sadao continues with his odd soprano sound that now sometimes seems to mimic a bagpipe. Chick’s piano solo takes the music way outside the modal scale for some crazy adventures and Jack follows him every step of the way before Sadao leads the way back to the original groove. The final track, “Sao Paulo”, is some sort of Brazilian jazz gone berserk. Ulpio Minucci joins the band on piano for this one and he and Chick pound out intense interlocking rhythmic patterns while Sadao joins Jack in the percussion section.

This is an okay avant-garde jazz record circa 1970, you can find worse, but you can also find better. As far as Jack and Chick playing music like this, I would check out Miles live at the Fillmore. For Miroslav, check out his first album, or the first Weather Report album. If you are looking for a first Sadao Watanabe album, I would not go with this, find one where he is playing alto sax, his playing on that instrument is sublime. As for those who appreciate the experimental excesses of the late 60s to early 70s, "Round Trip" has enough good moments to overcome the lesser moments. In accordance with the time period, they get fairly crazy on here at times, and often in a good way.

avant-garde jazz movie reviews

No avant-garde jazz movie reviews posted yet.

Artists with Avant-Garde Jazz release(s)

JMA TOP 5 Jazz ALBUMS

Rating by members, ranked by custom algorithm
Albums with 30 ratings and more
Kind of Blue Cool Jazz
MILES DAVIS
Buy this album from our partners
A Love Supreme Post Bop
JOHN COLTRANE
Buy this album from our partners
The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady Progressive Big Band
CHARLES MINGUS
Buy this album from our partners
My Favorite Things Hard Bop
JOHN COLTRANE
Buy this album from our partners

New Jazz Artists

New Jazz Releases

Sisters in Jazz Vocal Jazz
CÆCILIE NORBY
Buy this album from MMA partners
Double Screening 21st Century Modern
ÉMILE PARISIEN
Buy this album from MMA partners
Mare Nostrum III Post-Fusion Contemporary
PAOLO FRESU
Buy this album from MMA partners
Telepathy Hard Bop
CHRISTOPHER HOLLYDAY
Buy this album from MMA partners
Running Man Fusion
COWBOYS FROM HELL
Buy this album from MMA partners
More new releases

New Jazz Online Videos

Running Man
COWBOYS FROM HELL
js· 8 hours ago
Frankenstein
DALE HEAD
js· 11 hours ago
If Love Were All
WAYNE POWERS
js· 1 day ago
Laugh With Charlie
DJANGO FESTIVAL ALL STARS
js· 1 day ago
More videos

New JMA Jazz Forum Topics

More in the forums

New Site interactions

More...

Latest Jazz News

members-submitted

More in the forums

Social Media

Follow us