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YES Fragile Album Cover Fragile
YES
4.77 | 17 ratings
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PARLIAMENT Mothership Connection Album Cover Mothership Connection
PARLIAMENT
4.81 | 11 ratings
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JIMI HENDRIX Are You Experienced (Jimi Hendrix Experience) Album Cover Are You Experienced (Jimi Hendrix Experience)
JIMI HENDRIX
4.68 | 30 ratings
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SOFT MACHINE Third Album Cover Third
SOFT MACHINE
4.64 | 55 ratings
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FRANK ZAPPA The Grand Wazoo (The Mothers) Album Cover The Grand Wazoo (The Mothers)
FRANK ZAPPA
4.64 | 43 ratings
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STEVIE WONDER Songs in the Key of Life Album Cover Songs in the Key of Life
STEVIE WONDER
4.73 | 12 ratings
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SANTANA Caravanserai Album Cover Caravanserai
SANTANA
4.58 | 46 ratings
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STEELY DAN Aja Album Cover Aja
STEELY DAN
4.61 | 24 ratings
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CURTIS MAYFIELD Superfly Album Cover Superfly
CURTIS MAYFIELD
4.85 | 6 ratings
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KING CRIMSON Larks' Tongues In Aspic Album Cover Larks' Tongues In Aspic
KING CRIMSON
4.56 | 39 ratings
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YES The Yes Album Album Cover The Yes Album
YES
4.66 | 13 ratings
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JIMMY SMITH Back at the Chicken Shack Album Cover Back at the Chicken Shack
JIMMY SMITH
4.63 | 14 ratings
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jazz related Music Reviews

YUJI MUTO & MIEKO SAKAI Reflection

EP · 2019 · Jazz Related Improv/Composition
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DamoXt7942
You cannot avoid Yuji's phantasmagoric guitar expression and Mieko's drumming in a full-minded manner. This newest call titled "Reflection" created by a super duo Yuji and Mieko was performed and recorded upon stage via an improvised gig. Quite amazing to know the reason the two brilliant artists can get perfectly harmonized and crystallized under such an improvisational situation, and you can realize each player should completely understand the other one, simultaneously tense atmosphere at a gig, in collaboration with the enthusiastic audience.

The first titled track is kinda great touch. Slow, gentle guitar stream in the beginning gives you massive expectation. Percussive, dramatic, and sometimes assertive drumming drives you crazy. Their synchronized battle of play sounds like a dragon flying up to the heaven. Through the second "Desert Yellow" you can hear sorta tough circumstance upon a desert along Yuji's crazy heavy guitar explosions, and something shining via Mieko's strict but heartwarming drumming and percussion play. Colourful sound diversity can be noticed, according to Yuji's guitar sounds inspired by rock, jazz, metal, and so on.

The last and the longest one "The Beginning" can be recognized as one of the most primitive improvisational chasing for the duo. Here is definite flexibility-flooded sound appearance. Speedy, fire-flamed musical crosstalks, dramatic phases like a moonshine, deep, heavy interactive performances will remind you of Eiliff's "Close Encounters With Their Third One". Musically "alternative" should be here for them, let me say. But at the same time simply enjoyable. It's a pity I could not attend their fantastic gig ... wish I could have peered and contemplated their super-artistic play.

And let me say too ... the sleeve is quite fantastic too!

STRATUS LUNA Stratus Luna

Album · 2019 · Jazz Related Rock
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js
Stratus Luna is a very youthful ( band members’ ages range from teens to early 20s) instrumental prog rock/fusion band from Brazil who have just released their debut album featuring music with a strong maturity that would lead you to believe you are listening to accomplished veterans. A good reference point for Luna’s music could be early 70s jazzy progsters such as those in the Canterbury scene, or even closer, famed Dutch quartet, Focus. The similarity to Focus is furthered by the band’s size (quartet), the way they alternate melodic guitar passages with Hammond B3 buildups and the fact that keyboardist Gustavo Santiago also doubles on flute. The 70s influence is there, but Luna also adds modern and personal influences from the worlds of electronica, post rock and Brazilian fusion.

Every track features those sort of eclectic arrangements favored by the prog rock crowd, but this is today’s prog, a little more streamlined and less indulgent than their 70s forebears. Ricardo is quite capable of intense fusion solos on the guitar, but he often favors a more melodic approach reminiscent of Phil Manzenera or David Gilmour. Some album highlights include, “O Centro do Labirinto” which features a classic huge Mellotron chorus that builds through upward spiraling chord progressions as it reaches for the heavenly beyond. “Zarabatana” is based on alternating sections of Brazilian fusion and Indian ambiance. “NREM-1” is free floating electronic soundscapes and “Pandas Voadores” features a sort of rock flavored swing feel. It also helps that the recording quality and production on here are excellent, the sound of Stratus Luna in the studio is massive.

ISAAC HAYES The Isaac Hayes Movement (aka Superstarshine Vol. 31)

Album · 1970 · Jazz Related RnB
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js
“The Isaac Hayes Movement” is Isaac’s third studio album and is also the immediate predecessor to his highly acclaimed soundtrack masterpiece, “Shaft”. A lot of the diverse elements that would make “Shaft” such a powerful statement are all here, just not as fully developed yet. There are four songs on “Movement”, and each one has its own distinctive flavor. Album opener “I Stand Accused” is one of those long confessional soul ballads that opens with a detailed spoken soliloquy, a technique used by Hayes before, and also favored by artists like Barry White, James Brown and Betty Wright. In this very convincing spoken word segment, Isaac confesses to his best friend’s girlfriend that he is madly in love with her. Its all here; passion, complication, human frailty and no doubt an inevitable heartache and broken friendships. Side one ends with more modern psychological drama in the form of “One Big Unhappy Family”, a story of a ‘good’ family by all appearances who do their best to hide their emotionally bankrupt lives. This one carries its message with sublime chord progressions and subtle orchestrations, all Hayes trademarks.

Side two opens with more heartache in the form of Burt Bacharach’s “I Just don’t Know what to do with Myself”, like most Bacharach creations, this one is top notch both musically and lyrically. All three of these opening songs are great, but the real masterpiece comes with Isaac’s sprawling arrangement of George Harrison’s “Something”. Its on this track that Hayes’ shows the diversity that will go on to make “Shaft” such a success. During the 12 minute multi-movement “Something” opus, Isaac combines, psychedelic pop, classical orchestral arrangements, soul balladry, big band rave ups, progressive rock, free form jazz rock freak outs and more. It’s a very early 70s sort of creative creation as it slowly builds and finally culminates in a raging electric violin solo by John Blair. If you are looking for Isaac Hayes at his most creative, “Something” has got it.

MARIUS GUNDERSEN Brazilian Guitar Music by Marco Pereira

Album · 2019 · Third Stream
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js
Something wonderful happened in the world of music starting sometime in the 1920s and continuing to today and that is the merging of jazz and European classical traditions to create new modern hybrids. Its hard to think of a composer past the 1920s that wasn’t influenced by jazz’s sophisticated syncopated rhythms, and certainly jazz musicians had no chance to escape the classical influence as more than likely most of their advanced lessons centered around Chopin, Bach and the rest. In today’s musical universe, other musical components can enter the picture as well, such as Indian ragas, Indonesian Gamelan and Latin American traditions. Its within that merger of classical, jazz and Brazilian practices that we find the new album by Marius Noss Gundersen, “Brazilian Guitar Music by Marco Pereira”.

The title says it all, Gundersen’s new album is a collection of compositions for classical acoustic guitar written by Marco Periera, who’s classical compositions are inspired by Brazilian song forms. In the album liner notes Periera expresses his gratitude to Marius for producing the first album entirely devoted to Marco’s music. Marco also includes very helpful notes for every track on the album, which is nice because very few of us are going to be familiar with all of the Brazilian traditions he is referencing, so its good to have some program notes as a guide if you want to learn more.

The compositions are excellent, deep enough for close and repeated listening, but also pleasant enough to be attractive to people who might not know a thing about Latin jazz or contemporary classical music. Marius’ guitar playing is impressive as he tends to bring out the delicate side of this rather difficult instrument. Listening to how well he can control volume as an aid to expression proves that he is definitely in that upper echelon of guitarists. Fast passages sound unrushed and handled with ease, this CD is a treasure chest for fans of nimble finger picking in any style. So many good tracks on here, but some standouts include, “Estrela da Manha” with its mystical mixolydian chord changes, “Bate-Coxa” has an almost Carribean sounding celebratory style, and album closer, Baiao Cansada” with its modernistic Lydian melodies.

DEWA BUDJANA Mahandini

Album · 2018 · Jazz Related Rock
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kev rowland
We all recognise certain people within the music world who we respect and admire for one reason or another. These tend to be musicians themselves, but for more than twenty years one person I have been in awe of is Leonardo Pavkovic, who when he isn’t touring with one of his bands is also discovering wonderful musicians and making them available to the wider world. Such is the case with Dewa Budjana, a guitarist who has sold millions of albums in Indonesia but wasn’t recognised outside his home country until ‘Dawal In Paradise’ was released on Moonjune, since when many of us always look forward to the next album with real interest. One of the reasons for that is Dewa is always looking to expand, branch and change. It is rare that he will use the same group of musicians from one album to the next, and records very quickly indeed, capturing energy and then moving on. This album was recorded in one day in January 2018, postproduction and overdubs took place, and then it was mixed and mastered in the March.

This album sees Dewa working with Jordan Rudess (Dream Theater, Liquid Tension Experiment), drummer Marco Minnemann (The Aristocrats, Steven Wilson, Joe Satriani, Adrian Belew, Trey Gunn, The Mute Gods, Eddie Jobson UK) and bassist Mohini Dey (Steve Vai, Guthrie Govan). There are also guest appearances by John Frusciante (Red Hot Chilli Peppers), fusion guitar veteran Mike Stern (Miles Davis, Blood, Sweat & Tears, Billy Cobham, Jaco Pastorius) and by the haunting voice of Indonesian singer Soimah Pancawati.

I don’t think I have previously come across 22-year-old Dey prior to this, and if she is playing like this at her age, I can’t even imagine what she will be doing in the next 10 or 20 years. There are times when I found I was concentrating more on what she was doing than Budjana, such is her impact on this album. There is a section at the end of “Queen Kanya” where the interplay between her and Minnemann is incredible: I would happily keep playing that on repeat as it blows me away each and every time. Rudess is one of the most important keyboard players in the scene, but due to the way the music has been arranged he is often more in the background but playing as perfectly as ever. This album starts with “Crowded”, a song not written by Budjana, a first for one of his solo works, but instead it is by John Frusciante who also provides vocals (as well as on closing song “Zone”). Rudess gently provides the introduction which allows Budjana to pick up the theme before Frusciante comes in. Here we get the flashes of genius which only come when musicians are masters of their craft, and also here coming from different musical areas and joining together to create something special. In many ways this is one of the most commercial songs ever released by Budjana, and in itself it may well create interest from those who have yet to come across him as the rock elements blast, but the gentle sections trickle along like a babbling brook.

Later in the album we are treated to the vocals of Indonesian tradition singer Soimah Pancawati, and this mix of styles works incredibly well, as America meets Asia in a way which only makes sense due to the way the music has been arranged. Each of Budjana’s albums is a delight from start to end, and this is no different. Regarding the title he says “The title Mahandini comes from two words, Maha & Nandini: Maha means means big, great and Nandini means ‘the vehicle that carries the God Shiva’ in indian. Using this word as the name for this great line-up resulted in a good sign, it sounded like I had a Great Vehicle for my music. I was lucky!” So are we.

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 · Jazz Related Pop/Art Song/Folk
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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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