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jazz related top albums

Showing only albums and live's | Based on members ratings & JMA custom algorithm | 60 min. caching

SOFT MACHINE Third Album Cover Third
SOFT MACHINE
4.75 | 53 ratings
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YES Fragile Album Cover Fragile
YES
4.87 | 10 ratings
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SANTANA Caravanserai Album Cover Caravanserai
SANTANA
4.68 | 43 ratings
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PARLIAMENT Mothership Connection Album Cover Mothership Connection
PARLIAMENT
4.85 | 9 ratings
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CURTIS MAYFIELD Superfly Album Cover Superfly
CURTIS MAYFIELD
4.96 | 6 ratings
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KING CRIMSON Larks' Tongues In Aspic Album Cover Larks' Tongues In Aspic
KING CRIMSON
4.64 | 31 ratings
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STEVIE WONDER Innervisions Album Cover Innervisions
STEVIE WONDER
4.73 | 14 ratings
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JOHN ZORN Magick Album Cover Magick
JOHN ZORN
4.83 | 8 ratings
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STEELY DAN Aja Album Cover Aja
STEELY DAN
4.65 | 23 ratings
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YES The Yes Album Album Cover The Yes Album
YES
4.79 | 8 ratings
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FRANK ZAPPA The Grand Wazoo (The Mothers) Album Cover The Grand Wazoo (The Mothers)
FRANK ZAPPA
4.58 | 38 ratings
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MARTIN DENNY Exotica Album Cover Exotica
MARTIN DENNY
4.94 | 5 ratings
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jazz related Music Reviews

VP (VYACHESLAV POTAPOV) Water World

Album · 2012 · Jazz Related Rock
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
siLLy puPPy
VYACHESLAV POTAPOV or simply shortened to VP is a one man show from Almaty, Kazakhstan who released a series of albums in the 2000s in his own DIY fashion. WATER WORLD is his sixth release and what a major improvement in terms of both production and compositional finesse. When i say one man show i really mean that. Not only does VP construct all the tracks in his own eccentric style but plays all the instruments. One will hear guitar, bass, piano, drums and other percussion and many forms of sampling. Not only is VP gifted as a musician but is also responsible for his own cover art and this one depicting three green children on lily pads and intricate detail of waterfalls is not only a beautiful vision of the fantasy in the true progressive rock spirit. With WATER WORLD, everything came together and VP not only caught the attention of the prog world for his exquisite compositional and production skills but has been solicited by other artists for album artwork as well. While WATER WORLD is the sixth release of VP, it is the first to be issued on a physical format. The digital album was released in 2012 but the physical copy albeit lagging behind its initial release is finally seeing the light of day in the tender year of 2017.

Despite being a totally instrumental album, WATER WORLD is actually a concept album about two different civilizations on a planet in some far away place. They are known as the Krokuts and the Hunty. While it is impossible to comprehend the story through a mere listening of this sophisticated and dizzying complex music, VP has given me the green light to give his little story behind each track that hopefully will translate the music ideas into the heads of those who aren't music nerds! WATER WORLD is quite the eclectic mix of sounds and honestly is totally unique as i can't think of anything else i've ever heard that is an equivalent. Musically this one is all over the map with jazzy fusionist tendencies that also incorporate symphonic touches, ethnic influences, tribal drumming and absolutely bizarre transitions as one style tends to overlap with others and sometimes change things up quickly. This is music for musicians as the time signatures are so bouncy and ever changing that its practically impossible to predict where any given musical meandering will lead. Overall there is a strong jazz-fusion component in how the tracks are constructed with everything from Weather Report airy passages playing out to more erratic Return To Forever type of craziness but instrumentally speaking this is more of a rock / electronic hybrid with guitar and bass shining through in times of heaviness but ambient and ethereal atmospheres also permeating throughout.

I could have NEVER figured out the storyline by the music alone. It's far too nebulous and only with the tutelage of VP could i ever hope to assemble a sense of meaning to each track. To make this easy i have listed each track with the thematic explanation of VP in his own words. His English is very poor and i left his Google translations intact as not to corrupt the meanings. I explain a bit of the music afterwards.

------

FIRST track "Intro (Unusual Island)"

ship was off course and got lost in a thick fog. In the morning when the fog, the sailors saw a miracle-island. In the center of this island stood a giant size lot of trees woven together and resembled a huge castle.

Musically: starts out as ocean sounds. Waves churning, seagulls with a simple piano line providing the musical setup and ends with a crazy guitar entering at the last second and fading out

------

SECOND track "Vegetational Town - a: Great & Magnificient"

landed and began to explore unknown lands. All the flora and fauna differed from what they knew before.

Musically: begins the complex time signatures and changes in tempo with a frog croaking in the background. A funky bass line picks up a rhythm and then all prog hell breaks loose with mellotrons providing atmosphere, a jazzy rock with avant-prog touches. The music meanders into very complex arenas. I hear some Steve Howe inspired guitar licks, Zappa-esque jazz-fusion and even Chic Corea style keyboard runs and ultimately ends with crickets chirping in the background.

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THIRD track "Vegetational Town - b: Stem"

the study, the sailors met a miracle of nature - the tree, the stems of which gave off a glowing liquid that flowed on the ground and freezing was a very beautiful crystals. People have greed began to fill the backpacks and pockets of this strange breed. They do not know that for the local inhabitants it was the sacred tree, and exuding a fluid sacred tears of the gods.

Vegetational Town - including: Invasion of the Field Mice Night, when the sailors took a break. During a night's sleep, they are attacked by hordes of rodents. So people know that the island is not only beautiful but also dangerous.

Musically: begins with an ambient swirling effect of synthesizers in the background and then a jazzy interaction between the guitar and bass. Sounds somewhat like a psychedelic Return To Forever type of sound. The track continues mostly in jazz-fusion mode but picks up tempo with more rockin' percussion and bass.

------

FOURTH track "Night Revelation Of Antackena"

about the uninvited aliens, the tribe Khunts turned for advice to his sorcerer Antakhena. Night Adelroth did the ceremony and learned that the aliens had defiled gods currently taking tears of the gods. He got really pissed. It gave people the rodents to scatter them around the island.

Musically: Tribal drums in frenetic speeds are joined by a much slower bass line but picks up fairly quickly and jumps into a frenetic jazz-fusion riff of the guitar with heavy bass and percussion staying chilled out in comparison. It picks up steam at midpoint

------

FIFTH track "Geyser"

the same time. Race Krokus also held a ceremony. In their bogs were sacred geyser through which they learned about the aliens.

Musically: starts out slow with clean Floydian guitar lick and cymbals that quickly jump into a more jazz-fusion oriented mood setting. It becomes quite the frenetic jazz-fusion track with all the instruments creating a tempestuous rhythmic dance. The track goes through several shifts of rhythm changes as well as the usual eclectic mix of heavy bass lines with syncopated jazz-from-hell type keyboards

------

SIXTH track "Games of Herbs"

beginning of a new day or early morning. I describe as rostitel'nost'û wakes up with first rays of the sun. As dew plays on every blade of grass and every leaf.

Musically: starts off with birds singing as a guitar line gently emerges into the limelight and has a rather Baroque J.S. Bach type of feel to it. Lots of different keyboard sounds dance together. Perhaps a lost Brandenburg Concerto? Well for a while at least. Remains classically rhythmic but becomes jazzy. Really amazing musical mixture here.

------

SEVENTH track "Wandering"

a new day and two tribes are feuding with each other Khunts (humanoid) and Crokus (crocodilopolis) gathered for talks. They decided for a short time to stop the war in order to join forces against the aliens. They decided with General witchcraft to inflict on people the magic that has the property of oblivion.

Musically: a steady beat guided by frenetic guitar and groovy bass line. The keys provide atmosphere and tension builds as the recurring groove ratchets up. A brief pause and the keys become the frenetic rhythmic caffeine addicts for a while. While the general rhythmic drive stays the same, it's quite brilliant how the instruments pass the baton taking the lead and carrying it. In the middle of the track everything stops and a drumming display gradually gives way to a new jazzy guitar segment with heavy rockin' drums.

-------

EIGHTH track "Water World"

: The Taming of  the Geysers ii: ... and on the Water Surface To finish the job they collectively appeal to the mistress of the watery World. Mistress of the watery World through a ritual of "dance on water", which the sailors fall into oblivion. At first this dance is energetic and contains convulsively. The dance Mistress of the watery World produces the Taming of the Geysers. Then the dance turns into a plastic and beautiful ritual (... and on the Water Surface).

Water World. - iii: Detection woke up on the deck of his ship. They can't remember what happened with them before. Around thick fog. At this time two children of the tribe take care of Khunts found by a sailor, whom they found in the woods at night. That is why the sailor left on the island, about him no one knew.

Musically: morning sounds as birds and wolves do their thing and then a quickened groovy bass line meets a piano that seems like it's in its own world. Many counterpoints going on very early. Jazz-fusion feast of the senses with this one. There are many breaks in mood but tempo remains rather steady throughout. Style stays in jazz-fusion as well with a steady rock drum beat allowing the keys and guitars to perform jittery acrobatics all around it. Like most of this album, words don't do it justice. Too removed outside of the listener's experience to convey any sense of musical progressions.

-------

The good: WATER WORLD musically is a brilliant blend of electronic rock and jazz-fusion dished up with heavy doses of avant-prog sensibilities and sounds like no other album i've ever heard. The compositions are quite good and sophisticated and really do deliver an exciting flow of ideas within the context of the genre fusions mentioned.

The bad: unfortunately despite leaps and bounds above previous albums, this still sounds like a homemade product and in need of a more sophisticated production level. Often DIY albums sound as such because they are lacking the proper percussive drive and i feel that is also the case with WATER WORLD. The drum antics are adequate but it sounds programmed. Also i found it impossible to glean any sort of concept album as it's all instrumental and relied on the artist's input to understand it.

When all is said and done, WATER WORLD is an excellent piece of instrumental music that lover's of electronic rock, classical and jazz should appreciate quite well as the complexities of weaving these styles together is phenomenal however this is a rather heady album that requires extreme attention paid to the details for any sense to be had from it. There are really no periods of breathing room and is indeed a challenging album to appreciate, however if you are looking for something unique from an isolated geographical setting of the world, then by all means check out this fascinating sci-fi tale of different worlds all told in a Pekka Pohjola sort of narration by notes sort of way. It's really worth the effort.

MUDDY WATERS Electric Mud

Album · 1968 · Jazz Related Blues
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
js
One of the most polarizing blues albums of all time, there is no middle ground when it comes to Muddy Waters’ “Electric Mud”, people either love it or hate it, and either perspective is understandable depending on how you approach it. In 1968, when this album came out, Waters’ album sales were lagging. Meanwhile, artists like Cream and Jimi Hendrix were making big bucks playing music similar to Muddy Waters, only dressed up in the psychedelic garb of the day. Enter some overreaching producers hoping to make Waters more popular with the hippy crowd, and you get this odd album that has Muddy fronting a psychedelic rhythm section borrowed from avant-RnB group, Rotary Connection. With the use of Connection’s musicians, you get one of the best psychedelic guitarists this side of Hendrix himself, Pete Cosey, a man who would eventually go on to join Miles Davis in the mid-70s. Considering Cosey’s presence on here can help determine the best perspective on this album, this may not be Muddy Water’s best vocal performance, but it is a great slice of Cosey’s funky guitar work, a guitarist who was very under-recorded during his often underground career.

The music on here is wild and nasty funk driven blues rock, much more loose than Cream, and more loose than Hendrix’s studio albums too. Think of a cross between early Funkadelic, Sly Stone, Iggy and the Stooges and the MC5 and you might get an idea what this throw together band sounds like. Its no wonder long time Waters fans were turned off when they heard this. The album opens unevenly too, with two funk driven numbers that produce rhythms that are at odds with Muddy’s more blues groove oriented vocals, but after these two missteps, the band and Muddy settle down and start working together better in more of a blues-rock context. The cover of the Rolling Stones’ “Lets Spend the Night Together” is a barely recognizable psychedelic monster with Muddy throwing away any lyrics that don’t fit him. Most of the rest of the cuts on “Electric Mud” work well too, with some exceptions. “Tom Cat” is a good jam, but would have been better without the noodling off key soprano saxophone, and the classic “Mannish Boy” loses some of its primal power to a tempo that is a little too fast.

Apparently Muddy Waters didn't care for this album, which is understandable since it really doesn't sound like its his, but it has been said that Hendrix was enthusiastic about it. It was always obvious that Cosey was influenced by Jimi, but its interesting to find out that the influence went the other way too.

CHRISTIAN SCOTT (CHRISTIAN SCOTT ATUNDE ADJUAH) Ruler Rebel

Album · 2017 · DJ/Electronica Jazz
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
snobb
New Orleans trumpeter Christian Scott made his name during the last few years on the wave of jazz crossovers oriented to young rock, RnB or techno fans, during an explosive growth of popularity (Kamasi Washington with his triple CD is another great example).

I happened to see Scott playing live two years ago during his European tour - he demonstrated his showman and leadership abilities leading his young musician's band, and being much more than a virtuoso trumpeter. He spoke a lot (really more than he played trumpet), mostly about racial problems in his hometown of New Orleans.

Two years later, in 2017, Christian Scott announced releasing a trilogy dedicated to "re-evaluation of the social political realities of the world through sound... slavery in America via the prison industrial complex, food insecurity, xenophobia, immigration, climate change, gender inequality, fascism and the return of the demagogue". Not surprisingly, the trilogy's first album "Ruler Rebel" goes deeper into electronics/hip-hop culture and demonstrates sounds that are more usual for London clubs than for New Orleans streets.

Christian Scott leads basically almost the same band as on his previous album, with flutist Elena Pinderhughes on board. The music on here is a quite beautiful mix of African rhythms, heavily adapted to modern urban culture's ears with wide use of samplers and rhythm machines. There are lot of Scott's trumpet soloing on this album, mostly all straight-ahead clear tones flying over electronic rhythms/samples somewhat similar to smooth jazz trumpeter Chris Botti's manner. Probably the main attraction in this album's music is a quite successful mix of New Orleans positive energy and modern urban electronic sound. Not strange is that Scott is even more popular in London clubs than in native America - what may sound as exotic in New Orleans is very close to most modern London youth club's sound standards, with conspicuous difference since similar British bands are usually rooted in Caribbean rhythms.

Not so much a jazz record, this new album's great mission is first of all to introduce young communities, often associated with different musical traditions, to jazz culture and its modern possibilities.

UTOPIANISTI The Third Frontier

Album · 2016 · Jazz Related Rock
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siLLy puPPy
Third time is a charm for UTOPIANISTI as they reach the pinnacle of their creative energies on THE THIRD FRONTIER. Once again band leader and head honcho Markus Pajakkala seeks out another cast of musical talent for a whole new jazz-rock fusion experience that reels the listener in with heavy horn-laden hooks and groovy driving percussive rhythms and delivers a sonic splendorous jazzy journey through the jungles of sound. While the previous album had a whopping 31 musicians and vocalists clogging up every possible nanosecond of the album, this one was trimmed down to a mere 7 instrumentalists and two additional vocalists. While the other albums were self released this one found a home on the Pohjola Records label, former label of none other than the legend Pekka Pohjola himself. THE THIRD FRONTIER refines all of the ideas, compositional styles and genre blending to perfection. One of the reasons this album works so well is that much of the material was played live previously allowing the band members to simmer the material down into a scrumptious consummation of content. Gone is the everything-including-the-kitchen-sink approach and instead we have a perfectly balanced jazz-rock fusion album that still channels the zeitgeist of classic 70s fusion while remaining steadfastly contemporary replete with outstanding musicianship crafted with crystal clear production and mixing. The musicians on THE THIRD FRONTIER basically recorded this album live in a cabin by a lake in the Finnish countryside where they were all entrenched in the charms of their own personal Rancho Relaxo where they ate good food and hit the sauna before bed time. It sounds like my kind of party actually :)

After a psychedelic sounding intro the feisty cover depicting title “Voodoo Mammoths From Neptune” showcases the first seductive swanky sax groove that gently beckons the guitars, keys and bass in a game of tug-of-war to see who can carry the melodic development in a pass the torch kinda way. This whimsical Canterbury styled jazz-rock scene is only one of many jazz styles on display at the Pajakkala sonic museum of jazz-rock. While swing is in no short supply on the album, its dance with psychedelic organ runs on “Dr. Gravity’s Evil Plan” is just divinely delicious as the saxes, flutes and clarinets slowly ratchet up the tension to a climax that once dropped brings a fuzz guitar and bass out of the murky din to expose a most satisfying heavy psychedelic rock underpinning. While Canterbury whimsical titles are the name of the game on THE THIRD FRONTIER, further references to the greats like Hatfield and the North come fully into play with the erratic tinkling keyboards on “Universe For Dummies” that also showcases the angelic diva Suvi Väyrynen doing her best Amanda Parsons and adding an extra dimension to the track that takes the wild and groovy bass and drums culminating with a tasty guitar solo in the clouds and above. The following short track follows the Hatfield and the North theme with Dave Stewart inspired keyboards on “White Dwarf” that basically serves as an intro for the next track.

“Life As We Thought We Knew It” gracefully ratchets up the Canterbury styled jazz-rock with psychedelic touches and remains reserved in the tempo as it simply creeps along with oddly shaped time signatures punctuating a rather sparse canvass as the dominate bass and drum groove allows the swing style horn section to blurt out the recurring melody. “A Hundred Rabbits” on the other hand heads into funk rock territory as the bass and guitar deliver the solid rhythmic background with Latin-jazz flavored percussion and a sultry sax sizzling around every musical curve with Suvi Väyrynen once again joining again with her over-the-top siren vocals sending the track into heavenly bliss territory. “Spanking Season” picks up the steam with an avant-jazz-blues groove with a great Captain Beefheart vocal impression by Pharaoh Pirttikangas and is a sequel to the track on Utopianisti II but has different vocals and different musical parts even though it has similar riffs.“13 Demons In The Disco Dimension” is my favorite track on the album with a groovin’ synth funk basis and hard driving rhythm and addictive melody including vibraphone and marimba that includes the most dazzling guitar solo i’ve heard on a jazz-fusion album since John McLaughlin dazzled the world in his Mahavishnu Orchestra as Antero Mentu delivers one of the most off-kilter stylistic guitar solos i’ve heard in a long time. The album closes with the more subdued closer “The Last Reflection” that ends the album with the listener gently coming down from the jazz-fusion heavens and delivered back to Earth in a mellow mint-under-your-sleepy-time-pillow sort of way.

I can understand why some jazz-fusionists may not find this appealing. UTOPIANISTI is all about groovy, catchy melodic rhythmic developments that swing and allow a whole series of instrumental interactions to reach their full potential and may even find it slightly over-calculated in how slick it’s all pulled off. I, on the other hand, LOOOOOVE this album and find it to be sheer perfection for what is intended. The grooves and hooks are instantly addictive. The complexities of instrument interplay add layers of sonic tension and there are just enough progressive twists and turns carefully laid out in the right places to make this one extremely satisfying experience. As with the previous two releases, if crazy psychedelic reality distorting jazz-fusion is what you’re craving then this won’t fill the bill. If you crave a warm and welcoming swinging sultry good time of seasoned musicians having the time of their lives making great music together at a cabin on a lake and creating a diverse palette of retro meets contemporary, then this will not disappoint. Every track on here is carefully crafted and polished to perfection. I can’t seem to get enough of this one lately.

UTOPIANISTI Utopianisti II + Utopianisti meets Black Motor & Jon Ballantyne

Album · 2013 · Jazz Related Rock
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UTOPIANISTI II picks up where the eponymous debut left off only this time main man / band leader Markus Pajakkala got even more ambitious with his number of guest musicians and there are no less than 31, yes! 31(!!!) different vocalists and instrumentalists including an entire big band section and opera singers. The album is completely a studio album and many of the musicians had never even met, so UTOPIANISTI II was truly the studio project of Pajakkala taking his project that he began as a student at Helskinki’s Sibelius Academy to the next level. And what a big fat sound this one has! Pajakkala himself plays drums, percussion, tenor and baritone saxophones, flute and alto flute, bass clarinet, mellotron, various ethnic instruments, keys and vibraphone. The rest of the band includes 2 bassists, 4 guitarists, an additional organist, tons of vocals and others who play sitar, marimba, vibraphone, congras, accordion, fiddle, trumpet, trombone and extra saxophones! Whew! No they don’t play everything at once! The music is designed for a rotating cast of musicians to play their parts at select times but this is indeed a big band style of jazz-rock fusion so it indeed has a big, fat, beefy sound. Once again the jazz-rock basis is mostly based in easily accessible swing style where groovy, funky rhythms are easily digestible and the avant-garde comes in with the other instruments interacting. Although strange time signatures and other-worldly segments aren’t totally eschewed, this type of sound rests squarely in hooking you and taking you for a ride.

Right from the beginning with “Mekonium Fist” it’s apparent that this album is a huge step up from the first with not only more palatable grooves and rhythms but by the sheer force of the musicians on board. The beat is strong and so is the brass. This first track comes off as some 90s swing revival on steroids only has a heavy rock guitar added to the mix with a sizzling guitar solo that could rightfully grace any particular heavy metal sound. The second track “The Vultures Were Hungry” plays a rather Diablo Swing Orchestra move and adds a group of opera singers to the big band swing section only they up DSO and have not only female divas but a male baritone as well! The tracks are quite varied and laid out quite well so the listener remains thoroughly entertained. Next up is the tender starting “Pohjola” which is obviously a tribute to the great Pekka Pohjola in not only the title but in jazz-fusionist compositional style taking the music back to the 70s complete with appropriate organ runs and the proper zeitgeist touches. The next track “Tango Succubus Pt 2” changes things up totally and as you can probably guess is a tango only with a male opera singer and vibraphones joined by the brass section. And such is the entire album, chock full of hitherto unthinkable possible fusion where the world is a grocery store and UTOPIANISTI II is the shopping cart where all of the genres and styles play together awaiting check out.

While UTOPIANISTI II is a major step up from the less ambitious debut, this one suffers from being bloated with way too much of a good thing with a whopping time length of near 79 minutes of jazz-fusion doing a dance with almost every type of musical genre imaginable. Inevitably unless done to perfection an album this long loses steam at times. For example, certain tracks like the traditional Finnish folk track “Kynttilöitäkin Vain Yksi” sound out of place and frankly unnecessary as do some of the lesser tracks that fail to have strong hooks. Not to mention that some of the tracks just don’t gel so well next to each other. Despite the album not being perfect however Pajakkala paints the picture of what jazz-fusion dreams are made of. Great care is paid to the details with a crystal clear production and so much creative prowess lurks around every corner that it becomes dizzifying. Not only are there references to the jazz-fusion and swing greats of the past but surprises such as the Captain Beefheart inspired segments on “Spanking Time.” There are plenty of tributes to jazz greats themselves with John Coltrane being heavily represented as well. Some tracks like “Mechanoid Makeout Music” show not only a Canterbury type of whimsy but the music itself is quite unorthodox with a jittery almost Latin-jazz rhythmic type of freneticism with an Ornette Coleman type of free-jazz sax attack. “U.L.J.C. (The Unnecesssary Leftover Jam Compilation)” that ends the album is quite fun as is this album for the most part. While UTOPIANISTI II isn’t perfect by any means but there is more than enough strong material on this one to entice any enthusiastic jazz-fusion freak out there and while not as well polished as the followup “The Third Frontier,” UTOPIANISTI II is an extremely strong set of eclectic numbers just waiting to blow your mind.

jazz related movie reviews

KING CRIMSON Neal And Jack And Me

Movie · 2004 · Jazz Related Rock
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Sean Trane
This DVD will please many of the third Crimson phase fans combines two tours: the Beat tour and the Three Of A Perfect pair. Oddly enough, they are presented in a non- chronological order, but this is a very minor point. One of the things I was particularly uneasy about was Bruford's use of electronic percussions and drums and we get a load of those "things" and like all technology novelty, the risk is that it ages poorly and sadly here, it is the case. Another point I had not appreciated is the stage presence of Adrian Belew, which is clearly copied from David Byrne from his collaborations with The Talking Heads - I love the T Heads, but Belew's stage antics are too derivative and ill fitted for Crimson. There are a few tracks present twice and most notably the boring Mate Kusadai.

Strictly on the visual front, Crimson was clearly making efforts to look hip and appeal to a more new-wave-ish public. Those were the days! But I never said that they were good, either!

Among the bonuses, are a video clip and a few titbits, but sadly still missing is that mini- concert footage filmed for the Discipline release and them playing four tracks in front of a red curtain. I may be severe with my rating of this DVD but I am not a real fan of that era.

GONG Classic Rock Legends

Movie · 2000 · Jazz Related Rock
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seyo
This video contains live performances from 1990 Live on TV album. Four original members of GonG are present: Pip Pyle, Didier Malherbe, Gilli Smyth and an oddball-harlequin persona of the spiritus movens, Daevid Allen.

Performance is focused on their legendary Radio Gnome Invisible trilogy, with 3 starters from Camembert Electrique. Since I have no idea what GonG looked like on scene back in the early 1970s (that is, before I took a peek at several Youtube clips recently), I guess this DVD makes up a lot for that, the age of the performers notwithstanding.

In fact, seeing these unique art-performers in their senior age can just assure you how the music and art in general can surpass generations, years and ages if you wish. Musicianship is great, movie direction very good with several cameras shooting from different angles, while only the engagement of the dancers to invoke the mystical gnomey creatures may be seen as too over-stressed.

The finale presents perhaps too long goodbye with the extended "I Am You" jam, but when Daevid jumps down into the audience you can actually see the highly emotional and spiritual connection between the band and the people, done in an almost religious-like chanting. This is excellent video and should be seen by all those who have at least some knowledge of the Planet GonG trilogy repertoire!

BILL BRUFORD Bbc Rock Goes To College: Live 1979

Movie · 2006 · Jazz Related Rock
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Dick Heath
I remember seeing this originally on BBC 2 a few weeks after it was recorded in one of the canteens of Oxford Poly, and getting a mix of intense pleasure. In particular pleasure from the tour de force that Holdsworth had developed into (and screamed out at me on Feels Good To Me)and the unknown bass-wiz Jeff Berlin. But there was disappointment over Annette's contribution to the set - when her husky voice breathed sex at me on the album.

Now here from the Beeb's archives is the original 70's video quality footage as originally shown on 625 lines. The pleasure points remain, with some details emphasised. However the disappointment is worse, in particular there is a promise of something special as Peacock flounces on part way through the set, dressed as the fashion queen,(thereby drawing the contrast with the blokes in the band). However,again the expectation of something special evaporates quickly - the diva can't 'deave' live in sympathy with the music, the band i.e. her vocals are poor. Fortunately we don't have to suffer this for long and thank goodness for the skip button.

Yes this is a short recording*, and isn't there a missed opportunity here? One DVD burn (of a copy of a copy, etc.) of this gig I saw some years ago and suffering horribly from colour dropout, had the addition of two extra numbers by Bruford recorded off from the Old Grey Whistle Test - here with I think Neil Murray deputing for Jeff Berlin. Surely the Beeb could had offered these as well?

*Interesting to see another Rock Goes To College recording of Herbie Hancock & the Headhunters recorded at the now defuncted Chelsea College, that had resurfaced on BBC 4 2 years ago, was an hour long.

STING Bring On The Night

Movie · 2005 · Pop Jazz/Crossover
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Slartibartfast
The concept here is a documentary of a band forming, The Blue Turtles Band, rather than a band at their peak or breaking up. Fortunately it is heavier on the music than the documentary.

The first half takes place in a French countryside chateaux and consists of presentable songs from nine days of practice sessions for what was to be their first show. Everyone in the band seems to be having a good time. The chateaux provides nice a nice backdrop to the sessions. The second half is the show itself.

Since this was Sting's first post Police effort, there's a lot of reworked Police songs mixed in with tracks from the first album. It's sort of like the Police meets jazz with Andy Summers ejected so Sting could play guitar. The band line up is primarily younger jazz musicians that already had a good reputation for work they had done before hooking up with Sting.

There are interview excerpts between the songs. One of the more interesting ones was Miles Copeland, Sting's manager and Stewart's brother going on about negotiations with the rest of the band. He was extremely dismissive of the band in relation to Sting when it came to monetary compensation. I suspect that was more about himself getting a bigger piece of the pie than a reflection on Sting, although I do recall him guest appearing on a Saturday Night Live show with Steve Marting and Steve introducing him as Stin-gy.

I originally saw this one in a theater and was really pleased to see it released being reworked with "high definition digital anamorphic picture transfer and digitally remastered surround audio." It actually does look a little sharper than I recall and I think the orginal sound was just stereo.

BILL BRUFORD Bbc Rock Goes To College: Live 1979

Movie · 2006 · Jazz Related Rock
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Slartibartfast
This is incredible. I had the good fortune of seeing Bruford, unfortunately post Holdsworth, at the now defunct Atlanta Agora. I did get to catch Holdsworth touring for his I.O.U. album, but that's another story. My first pass through this concert really gave me the goosebumps.

It is unfortunate that this DVD is only 41 minutes, but the set list is excellent. Four tracks from Bruford's best album, One of a Kind. Annette Peacock even shows up for a couple of songs. I always thought that she didn't fit in well with this kind of music, but it's nice to see her all the same. I hope I'm wrong, but I don't think there's any live video out there of Alan Holdsworth, so seeing him in action is a special treat. One of the things I remember most from seeing Bruford was that at times Jeff Berlin's picking fingers were a blur and seeing him again live, I know I wasn't imagining it. Dave Stewart, or as I like to call him, The Dave Stewart, not that Eurythmics guy, is also a lot of fun to see in action. I noticed he had a music stand with no sheet music, but a synthesizer diagram, interesting. And then of course there's Bill. Those of you who may dislike his electronic drum work, I'm not one, will be happy to him playing strictly acoustic. What can I say? He's really one of best drummers around. The audio quality is excellent and sometimes the camera man crop off Holdsworth's left hand when I'd like to see it, but other than that, this is really nice for a concert captured in 1979.

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