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YES Fragile Album Cover Fragile
YES
4.73 | 28 ratings
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PARLIAMENT Mothership Connection Album Cover Mothership Connection
PARLIAMENT
4.81 | 11 ratings
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FRANK ZAPPA The Grand Wazoo (The Mothers) Album Cover The Grand Wazoo (The Mothers)
FRANK ZAPPA
4.66 | 52 ratings
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SOFT MACHINE Third Album Cover Third
SOFT MACHINE
4.65 | 66 ratings
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YES Relayer Album Cover Relayer
YES
4.67 | 25 ratings
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YES Close To The Edge Album Cover Close To The Edge
YES
4.67 | 23 ratings
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CURTIS MAYFIELD Superfly Album Cover Superfly
CURTIS MAYFIELD
4.85 | 7 ratings
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JIMI HENDRIX Are You Experienced (Jimi Hendrix Experience) Album Cover Are You Experienced (Jimi Hendrix Experience)
JIMI HENDRIX
4.62 | 40 ratings
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NATIONAL HEALTH Of Queues and Cures Album Cover Of Queues and Cures
NATIONAL HEALTH
4.67 | 19 ratings
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YES The Yes Album Album Cover The Yes Album
YES
4.63 | 23 ratings
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KING CRIMSON Red Album Cover Red
KING CRIMSON
4.59 | 46 ratings
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STEVIE WONDER Songs in the Key of Life Album Cover Songs in the Key of Life
STEVIE WONDER
4.67 | 14 ratings
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jazz related Music Reviews

CAMEO Word Up!

Album · 1986 · Funk
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CounterClockWorld
Funk has an interesting evolution to me. The 50s/60s had R&B that would go on to become a more repetitive and jam band oriented genre artists like JAMES BROWN and WAR are some examples but the 70s saw fit to evolve the genre into having synths, and larger horn sections, (PARLIAMENT being the prime example) however the 80s threw horns away, it was all about synths and drum machines and the synth funk of the 80s even started to incorporate hip hop, at its infancy. PRINCE, ZAPP and CAMEO are the big three of the 80s funk scene imo although some might disagree, this band can get very 80s at times but I honestly love it, every track here is just fun, the track "She's Mine" is a fun, funky 80s hip hop track and do I even need to mention the track "Candy"? Overall this album is a blast and has always been a personal favorite of mine, I wish I could go into greater detail about this album but tbh I don't know how to sum it up other then "It's good, it's fun" sorry if this is a lackluster review lol

SADE (HELEN FOLASADE ADU) Love Deluxe

Album · 1992 · RnB
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Matti P
The ratings of SADE albums seem to go a slight downfall, ie. the debut Diamond Life (1984) is the highest rated, and each later album scores a bit lower than the preceding one. Sade's biggest hits -- 'Smooth Operator', 'Your Love is King' etc -- indeed came early in the career. Love Deluxe is the band's fourth album. I deliberately speak of the British band, even though Sade can also refer to the gorgeous, Nigerian-born singer Sade Adu, as it undoubtedly does in the wide public. But practically it was a group effort. The songs were mainly composed together by Adu, saxophonist-guitarist Stuart Matthewman, keyboardist Andrew Hale and, to a lesser degree, bassist Paul Spencer Denman.

While the third album Stronger Than Pride (1988) had a bit more edge, Love Deluxe returns to the soft and sensitive coolness, and does it very pleasantly in my opinion. The opener 'No Ordinary Love' was the lead single released one month prior the album. I love its hypnotic and slightly melancholic atmosphere.

Sonically, songs such as 'Feel the Pain' and 'I Couldn't Love You More' come a bit closer to the bulk of r'n'b balladry, with a sticky beat I've never enjoyed. But Sade Adu's lovely voice easily lifts anything above the rest of the genre. The slow, spatial and dreamy 'Like a Tattoo' arrives just in time. Shivers!

The bright-toned 'Kiss of Life', the third single, is an enjoyable, solid Sade number. 'Cherish the Day' is again of the more average r'n'b stuff and continues on the thoroughly familiar path. The slow-tempo Adu-Hale composition 'Pearls' features an orchestral arrangement and is among the highligths. 'Bullet Proof Soul' has nice piano and rather cheesy sax. Instrumental (!) closing track 'Mermaid' paints an exotic, oceanic view.

This album may not quite be on the high level of the two first albums but is nevertheless essential for any fan who wants some more of the ear-candy.

DAVID DARLING Eight String Religion

Album · 1993 · Jazz Related Improv/Composition
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Matti P
American cellist and composer DAVID DARLING (1941-2021) came into my radar as a collaborator of Norwegian pianist and composer Ketil Björnstad on his ECM albums The Sea (1995) and The Sea II (1998), alongside guitarist Terje Rypdal and drummer Jon Christensen. The spatially impressionistic and melancholic instrumental music on those albums made a deep impression on me in the late 90's, and if I remember right, soon afterwards I also found this solo album of Darling from the library. Otherwise his output is not familiar to me.

This aptly titled album indeed has almost a "sacred" feel of introspection. Released on the New Age label Hearts Of Space, it is a wholeheartedly NewAgey collaboration between Darling on cello, piano and other miscallenous instruments plus wordless voice, and the engineer/producer Mickey Houlihan who added some field recordings of mainly water and birds. This music is thoroughly peaceful, tender and soothing, but unlike much of the so called New Age Music, definitely not clichéd or calculated in a hollow way. Of course it always depends on the individual listener how any music reaches one's "inner spirit" or "soul". In my case, listening to this album is a truly beautiful and cleansing experience. The deep-voiced cello has the key role in the magical equation.

Not necessarily each of the eight (!) pieces are anything more than harmonic and beautiful sonic tapestry for relaxation, and that's ok. Because there are deeply impressive highlights too. 'Soft Light' functions perfectly as the opener with its slow-paced dueting between piano and cello's pizzicato. 'Clouds' takes one deeper into inner visions and emotions, with a slight Oriental feel in the melodies and the delicate use of voice.

My favourite is 'Sweet River' that starts with birdsong and gentle sounds of water. The piano plays a melancholic melody, the voice is heard occasionally, and before you realize your mind is floating along the river in a timeless, placeless way. The production is perfect, each little detail serves the whole. The light percussion is a bit reminiscent of the vases in the NITS album Ting (1992). On 'Sojourn' the soft repeated pattern makes me think of BRIAN ENO at his most delicate -- yes, Ambient is another fitting category for this album -- while the cello wails beautifully at its top register, making allusions to the aforementioned The Sea albums.

On the final piece 'Remember' the voice is at its most central, in both the melodic and the sonic sense. No proper words, just d's and wovels. To sum things up, I warmly recommend this album if you appreciate calm introspection in music, the sound of cello, the ECM-like spatial production, and the Ambient genre, and are not put off by the term New Age or the sound effects of nature.

JEFF BECK Jeff Beck & Johnny Depp : 18

Album · 2022 · Jazz Related Rock
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Matti P
The last studio album of the legendary guitarist Jeff Beck (r.i.p. January 2023) was the first one since Loud Hailer (2016). It is a collaboration with Johnny Depp (b. 1963), best known as one of the most succesful movie actors of his generation. Without any knowledge on Depp's musical activities, I expected his contribution to be mainly that of a vocalist, but besides Beck obviously on lead guitars, Depp actually is the most prolific player of various instruments on this album. It's titled 18 because the creative process made the two feel young again.

Beck's distinctive electric guitar, which appears also on Roger Waters' Amused to Death (1992), gives the album's overall sound a slight resemblance to latter-day Pink Floyd here and there, but when it comes to song material, this is a widely varied set of 13 tracks. The serene instrumental opener 'Midnight Walker' composed by Davy Spillane could as well appear on a Floyd album. The first proper song 'The Death and resurrection Show' is an aggressively noisy industrial rock piece originally of Killing Joke.

'Time' (Dennis Wilson / K. L. Wilson) feels badly overproduced at places, but the calm, slow tempo backbone of the song is pretty nice and Depp's singing is pleasant. 'Sad Mother****in' Parade' is credited to Beck and Depp. It doesn't feature singing per se but spoken voice over the heavy-thumping, programmed soundscape. This far the album feels very perplexing in a negative way. 'Don't Talk (Put Your Head on My Shoulder)' is a Beach Boys song from their classic album Pet Sounds, and this atmospheric version relies mostly on Beck's wailing guitar and much less on vocals.

The album's other original new piece 'This Is a Song for Miss Hedy Lamarr' (Lamarr was an Austrian-born actress and scientific inventor) was written by Johnny Depp with Tommy Henriksen who plays the keyboards on it. A decent minor song. Funnily, against my above mentioned expectations on Depp's role, he seems to be pushing himself back as a vocalist, perhaps to underline his musician's role.

For the song material from the 60's and 70's, in my opinion things get better for the album's latter half, even if the vocals do remain in a minor role. 'Caroline, No', another Pet Sounds perennial, has been turned into a poshy platform for Beck's guitar. 'Ooo Baby Baby' is a Smokey Robinson song and among the most gratifying tunes for vocal-oriented listeners. The rest of the songs cover Marvin Gaye ('What's Going On' -- pretty good but far from the excellence of the original), Velvet Underground ('Venus in Furs'), King Curtis ('Let It Be Me'), Janis Ian ('Stars' -- a beautiful, serene highlight) and John Lennon ('Isolation' -- among the most faithful cover tunes here).

Jeff Beck fans can enjoy this album without fearing that some Hollywood star on vocals is trying to steal the spotlight. The song material and the way it's presented varies almost painfully at first but in the end offers a fairly pleasant if a bit overproduced set.

KRZESIMIR DĘBSKI Krzesimir Dębski & Tadeusz Sudnik : Borello

Live album · 2023 · Jazz Related Electronica/Hip-Hop
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snobb
My interest to music comes from my early teens, and Polish music was a huge influence during my formative period. Two years of accordion private lessons didn't impress me a lot, later I tried to become a drummer in a school band, without a significant success. My hometown, Vilnius, in Russia's occupied Lithuania wasn't a very inspiring place, with a lot of people in gray military uniforms, dark blue militiamen and civilians, wearing same gray clothes, usually silent. There was quite a lot of music on state TV and radio stations (private stations didn't exist at all at that time), but it was predominantly kitsch versions of (mostly Russian) folklore and hyper-enthusiastic Soviet propaganda-pop. Plus some classics – classics sounded especially boring for my ears.

And there was Polish Radio – one of two foreign radio stations I could listen to regularly. The other was a BBC Russian services, banned in the Soviet Union. Its signal was usually weak, but time to time it was possible to listen to their excellent Friday night radio shows, dedicated to rock music.

Differently, Polish Radio had a strong and high quality radio signal. There was lot of short talks in a language I didn't really understand, and a lot of music between the talks too. I learned my basic Polish trying to understand what the voices on the radio were talking about, and my musical aesthetics were formed under the heavy influence of music I listened to regularly on Polish Radio.

That music was similar to what I already knew, but different at the same time. Doesn't matter, what genre it was – pop, rock or even r'n'b and reggae, it sounded richer, more full-bodied, brighter, much more colorful. As a teenager, I had no idea, where this difference came from. Only later I find out, that this difference in sound (and in general aesthetics too) was the result of different arrangements. It was quite often JAZZY ARRANGEMENTS, making almost any music sound fabulous.

Some years and decades later I found the genius of Tomasz Stanko trumpet, jazz, Polish fusion and many more. But even now, from almost half-a-century time distance, Poland for me is a land where all music sounds jazzy. Crossing the country by car, every time I impatiently wait for the moment when my car's radio is able to catch the first possible Polish radio station – almost always I get that very specific soulful, sometimes slightly melancholic jazzy sound of Poland, doesn't matter who plays.

It's a shame on me. I didn't know before who Krzesimir Dębski and Tadeusz Sudnik are. True, I knew Polish fusion stars from the 80s, The String Connection, and I knew Stanko's Freelectronic project, but I never knew the names of both band's members. As a foreigner, I knew even less about Krzesimir Dębski's films soundtracks and classical works. Then, two Polish jazz seasoned artists' new work comes for me as a discovery of sort.

Listening to a lot of jazz (hundreds of albums annually) for a few decades, it's not a regular situation when you start listening to a new album of seasoned artists without expectations, you are not familiar with their music and simply don't know what to expect. It's quite a good thing, history teaches us that expectations often lead to disappointments.

So, Krzesimir Dębski and Tadeusz Sudnik Borello, present a comeback album after long pause. Four longish (between 9+ and almost 15 minutes long) free form compositions, recorded by a duo of violinist/keyboardist and a live electronics wizard. The music which could be formally tagged as “jazz-electronica” has nothing in common with New Millennium jazz related electronica, like played by Squarepusher or Flying Lotus. With an absolute dominance of analog sound, this album's electronics are much closer to American composer and early Moog player Richard Teitelbaum's music.

Album's opener, “Borro”, dedicated to Tomasz Stanko, sounds very much as a variation of early Miles abstract fusion, with Dębski's violin soloing instead of trumpet. Warm and tuneful, this song sounds very much as if had been composed, not fully improvised. “Rebo”, the album's longest piece, is of a more amorphous nature, centered around vintage electronic rhythms. Quite relaxed though.

“Lerro” is a mid-tempo song with violin soloing over the (warm) synth loops and bubbles, in moments quite unpolished and almost nervous. “Rero”, the closer, same way as a previous piece, sounds more improvised, freer than the first two album's songs. Still, there are lot of tuneful snippets and emotively colored violin.

Not really a revolutionary album, still it's a very impressive standing alone work of two masters. Maturity, knowledge of the past world without even traces of sentimental melancholy, and that soulful jazzy feel so important for Polish jazz. Bravo!

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/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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