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YES Fragile Album Cover Fragile
YES
4.76 | 16 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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PARLIAMENT Mothership Connection Album Cover Mothership Connection
PARLIAMENT
4.81 | 10 ratings
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SANTANA Caravanserai Album Cover Caravanserai
SANTANA
4.58 | 45 ratings
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STEVIE WONDER Songs in the Key of Life Album Cover Songs in the Key of Life
STEVIE WONDER
4.72 | 11 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 | 38 ratings
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FRANK ZAPPA The Grand Wazoo (The Mothers) Album Cover The Grand Wazoo (The Mothers)
FRANK ZAPPA
4.55 | 41 ratings
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JIMMY SMITH Back at the Chicken Shack Album Cover Back at the Chicken Shack
JIMMY SMITH
4.65 | 13 ratings
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YES The Yes Album Album Cover The Yes Album
YES
4.64 | 12 ratings
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jazz related Music Reviews

ERIC B. & RAKIM Follow The Leader

Album · 1988 · Jazz Related DJs/Electronica/Rap
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js
Eric B. & Rakim have long been recognized as one of the top innovators in hip-hop, but they never seem to get recognition for one of their more notable achievements, bringing the musical worlds of jazz and hip-hop together in ways that made sense. Early rap tended to either be ‘electric boogaloo’ oriented, or centered around rock beats like “We Will Rock You”. While there was a trend developing, from bands such as Stetsasonic, to bring in superficial jazz elements such as a trumpet solo or acoustic bass sample, it wasn’t until Eric and Rakim started releasing albums that a true fusion of jazz and hip-hop happened. Eric’s samples and DJ slices favored classic funk and soul jazz, while Rakim’s rhymes on the mic had a syncopated swing and non-stop flow that had him sounding like the Charlie Parker of rap. Although the pair’s first album contained much potential, it wasn’t until the sophomore follow up, “Follow the Leader”, that Eric and Rakim brought the jazz and funk elements much more into the mix.

“Follow the Leader” is the perfect title for this album because it went on to be imitated and followed by others for decades. Eric may not have been the first person to sample and loop a James Brown beat, but on this album he is one of first DJs to create a monster groove around such a technique. Needless to say, sampling Brown became an epidemic after a while, but it still sounds great on here. Sampling was still in its infant stage at this time, but Eric and crew have no problem creating mixes with soul jazz saxophone riffs, Middle Eastern melodies and funky bass lines. Most of the tracks are good, with possibly the best being “Musical Massacre”, which features a driving double time Afro-Latin riff reminiscent of Mandrill or Osibissa. There are a couple lackluster cuts, mostly a few instrumentals which sound dated and repetitious

PHILLIP JOHNSTON The Adventures of Prince Achmed

Album · 2018 · Jazz Related Soundtracks
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kev rowland
Johnston has long been pursuing his own brand of avant garde jazz, but this is the first time I have come across him outside of his band The Microscopic Septet (whose 2017 Cuneiform album ‘Been Up So Long’ is simply superb). A few years ago I was fortunate enough to attend a special showing of ‘Suspiria’ where Goblin performed the soundtrack live in front of the audience, and this album is a similar construct, in that it contains the music Johnston composed as a soundtrack for ‘The Adventures of Prince Achmed’, a 1926 silent silhouette animation that is a landmark in cinema history – the world’s first feature-length animated film. To breathe Reiniger’s silhouettes to life, Johnston composed a continuous score of 65 minutes of music to be performed live with the film by a quartet of soprano sax, trombone, and two keyboards, against a pre-recorded track of samples, loops and live drums. For this recording, the music is performed by Johnston (soprano saxophone) with Australian musicians James Greening (trombone), Alister Spence (organ, keyboards), Casey Golden (organ, keyboards), and Nic Cecire (drums), and broken by the composer into twelve individual tracks.

This is a complex album, one that needs close attention paid to it as the musicians embrace themes which may or may not be repeated, going off in tangents to the original, with trombone often playing a heavy bass part to contrast against the sax. The keyboards and drums are often in the background, with the brass taking centre stage. It is an album the definitely requires repeated listening, as the first time I felt there were certain passages and sections which were passing me by, all of which made far more sense the more time I allowed myself with the album. Well worth investigating, I just hope that Johnston will feel fit at some point to pop over the ditch from Australia and have some performances of this with the film here in New Zealand, as it would be well worth attending.

ANDREA MORELLI Black Lands - A tribute to Africa

Album · 2018 · Jazz Related Improv/Composition
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paperoga58
Take a classical and heterodox pianist, author of singular research on African cultured music, with a curriculum of over five hundred concerts and about fifteen discs in the studio and live. Add an imaginative and evocative saxophonist of equally long course with a lasting interest in modal jazz of African-American character. You will have in your hands Black Lands: A Tribute to Africa, disc entirely designed, made and produced in Sardinia, released last June of this 2018. Silvia Belfiore at the piano and Andrea Morelli at the winds deliver a beautiful and unusual record, very far from a long theory of jazz productions of great technical and compositional qualities but with reiterated and commercially reliable contents. We were talking about cultured African music, that is of music intentionally left in writing by contemporary composers of the continent. Works that find their roots in the oral and musical traditions otherwise not noted, exempt from aesthetic extemporaneousness and related to specific ritual and social circumstances of work, nomadism, marriage, death. The field research and the interpretations of Silvia Belfiore therefore go to compose the entire structure of absolute formal and executive rigor on which Andrea Morelli inserts his infinite melodic textures of improvisations and steps of scale.

The genesis of the title attributed to the album is passed by a denotative Mysterious Adventure to a more representative Black Landscapes, finally arriving at the now known Black Lands. And of purely black territories it is in fact, without the possibility of misunderstanding with western artistic interference except for the mere coming from Belfiore and Morelli from the island of Sardinia. An amazing work of a strongly identity nature, Black Lands consists of ten pieces executed at high level without interruption, qualified by an intense rhythmic component that finds its apex in the splendid Ukom on scores for talking drums by Nigerian Joshua Uzoigwe and in rhythms chasing broken Herero Wedding Dance on music by the Ghanese Fred Onovwerosuoke. In the album there are also three tributes: to Duke Ellington (Fleurette Africaine) to Abdullah Ibrahim (The Wedding) and John Cage (Mysterious Adventure), with the intimate final cameo of Andrea Morelli dedicated to Asmara, his city of choice and frequent returns, to close this latest production unexpected and of great value. Vanni Boni

Prendete una pianista classica e eterodossa, autrice di singolari ricerche sulla musica colta africana, con un curriculum di oltre cinquecento concerti e una quindicina tra dischi in studio e dal vivo. Aggiungete un sassofonista immaginifico e evocativo d’altrettanto lungo corso con un duraturo interesse per il jazz modale di impronta afro-americana. Avrete tra le mani Black Lands: A Tribute to Africa, disco interamente pensato, realizzato e prodotto in Sardegna, uscito lo scorso mese di giugno di questo 2018. Silvia Belfiore al pianoforte e Andrea Morelli ai fiati consegnano un disco bellissimo e inusuale, ben discosto da una lunga teoria di produzioni jazzistiche di grandi qualità tecniche e compositive ma dai contenuti reiterati e commercialmente affidabili. Dicevamo di musica africana colta, ossia di musica lasciata volutamente in forma scritta da compositori contemporanei del continente. Opere che trovano le proprie radici nelle tradizioni orali e musicali altrimenti non annotate, esenti da estemporaneità estetizzanti e correlate a specifiche circostanze rituali e sociali di lavoro, nomadismo, matrimonio, morte. Le ricerche sul campo e le interpretazioni di Silvia Belfiore vanno dunque a comporre l’intera struttura di assoluto rigore formale e esecutivo sulla quale Andrea Morelli inserisce le proprie infinite trame melodiche di improvvisazioni e salti di scala.

La genesi del titolo attribuito al disco è transitata da un denotativo Mysterious Adventure a un più rappresentativo Black Landscapes, approdando infine al Black Lands ora conosciuto. E di territori puramente neri infatti si tratta, senza possibilità di equivoco con interferenze artistiche occidentali eccezion fatta per il mero provenire di Belfiore e Morelli dall’isola di Sardegna. Opera sorprendente, di natura fortemente identitaria, Black Lands è costituito da dieci pezzi eseguiti ad elevato livello senza soluzione di continuità, qualificati da un’intensa componente ritmica che trova il suo apice nello splendido Ukom su partiture per talking drums del nigeriano Joshua Uzoigwe e nei ritmi a inseguirsi spezzati di Herero Wedding Dance su musiche del ghanese Fred Onovwerosuoke. Nel disco anche tre omaggi: a Duke Ellington (Fleurette Africaine) ad Abdullah Ibrahim (The Wedding) e John Cage (Mysterious Adventure), con l’intimo cameo finale di Andrea Morelli dedicato ad Asmara, sua città di elezione e di frequenti ritorni, a chiudere questa recentissima produzione inattesa e di gran pregio. Vanni Boni

ROSE ROYCE Car Wash (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)

Album · 1976 · Jazz Related Soundtracks
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js
Those who seek obscure funk jazz tracks and rare groove know that soundtracks from 70s African-American movies can sometimes be plentiful in exotic jazzy instrumentals. The movie “Car Wash” was a huge hit in the 70s, and is still popular to this day, but it seems much of its brilliant soundtrack has been overlooked. The main hits from the movie, including the title track, are all well known, but what a lot of people are missing is that this double album is loaded with excellent instrumentals. The main players here are the then brand new RnB group Rose Royce, famous Motown producer Norman Whitfield and guest guitarist Wah Wah Watson, who some may know from his work with Herbie Hancock. As the story goes, Whitfield was working with Royce on their new album when he got the call to do the soundtrack to a new movie that was bound to be big as it boasted the huge drawing power of both Richard Pryor and George Carlin. Whitfield decided the best thing to do was just take the work he had started with Royse and make that the soundtrack to the movie.

The handful of RnB pop tunes that Whitfield crafted for the album are all good, and they reflect his work with The Temptations, but the jazz and rare groove fans will want to check out the plentiful instrumentals. The hard charging funk of “Mid Day DJ Theme” and “Righteous Rhythm” are tops, and you can hear all of Wah Wah Watson’s signature guitar riffs, the same ones he used to build Herbie’s “Hang Up Your Hang Ups”. “Crying” is laid back space groove and “Sunrise” sounds like a modern nu jazz cut with its repeating minimal riffs. Really, everything on here is gold and all of it has that classic mid-70s funk sound that can’t be faked.

KALLE KALIMA Kalle Kalima & K-18 : Some Kubricks Of Blood

Album · 2009 · Jazz Related Improv/Composition
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Matt
Finnish guitarist Kalle Kalima with this release comprising a quartet has taken Stanley Kubrick’s films for inspiration with his compositions and album theme in 2009 with “Some Kubricks Of Blood” which was released on the Tum Label. Kalle Kailma has worked with quite a few well known names in Jazz prior to this with Tomasz Stanko, Marc Ducret, Juhani Aaltonen as well as having lead three different trios and currently is touring with Jim Tenor as well as teaching guitar in the music department at The University of Luzern. Quartet is the make up for this Kubrick influenced project with Kalle, on electric and acoustic guitar, Mikko Innanen, alto, soprano and baritone saxophone, Vile Kujala , quarter tone accordion with Teppo Hauta-aho on double bass and you will notice that there is no drummer included as Kalle was after a certain atmosphere for his presentation and vision of his Stanley Kubrick compositions.

It’s “Overlook Hotel” from ‘The Shining” opening with the musicians keeping things separated between bursts of guitar for this interesting opening improv number with a bit of creaky atmosphere to follow where one will realise the album is as much Experimental as it is Jazz with some delightful changes within the compositions bringing the required effects and feel for the album with the 46 second “Hal 9000” computer effect leading to the following “Room 237” with the required creeping sound and later atmosphere when one finds what is in the bath and The Shining is still the major influence with the following short composition “Overlook Bar” comprising primarily solo electric guitar. “Karova Milk Bar” has the accordion bringing the atmosphere for this “A Clockwork Orange” influence number with quite an experimental feel and as throughout the previous tracks it feels more of a Soundtrack having the gradual changes within. The longest composition is the 14 minute “Parris Island” with barely a sound apart from some clicks for the first minute for Kalle’s take on “Full Metal Jacket” with a gradual pick up to come on this original number of varying changes. There are three more compositions to follow and like the entire album’s construction it is Experimental and Avante Garde for what could be used quite easily as a Soundtrack.

I have to admit it is not something I would play every day but there are some interesting points and the album does contain a bit of atmosphere but it really is only for those lovers of Experimental and Avante Garde music. It is one of those “Got to be in the Mood “ albums but if you are?, quite an interesting listen.

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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