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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 | 51 ratings
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SANTANA Caravanserai Album Cover Caravanserai
SANTANA
4.68 | 40 ratings
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YES Fragile Album Cover Fragile
YES
4.91 | 8 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
4.65 | 30 ratings
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STEVIE WONDER Innervisions Album Cover Innervisions
STEVIE WONDER
4.73 | 13 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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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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JIMI HENDRIX Are You Experienced (Jimi Hendrix Experience) Album Cover Are You Experienced (Jimi Hendrix Experience)
JIMI HENDRIX
4.58 | 27 ratings
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jazz related Music Reviews

JIMI HENDRIX Axis: Bold as Love (Jimi Hendrix Experience)

Album · 1967 · Jazz Related Rock
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siLLy puPPy
At the beginning of 1966, JIMI HENDRIX was struggling to even make minimum wage playing R&B covers. By the end of 1966, he had finished recording his first album “Are You Experienced?” and released it to great success as THE JIMI HENDRIX EXPERIENCE band giving the rock world a must needed kick in the arse. By the beginning of 1967, the band was famous worldwide and penuriousness was replaced by every pressure known to the successful musician and piled upon the trio due to contractual obligations, thus a second album was demanded to be released within the same year of 1967. Sooooo THE EXPERIENCE rushed into the studio and recorded their second album AXIS: BOLD AS LOVE which came out in December, 1967 in the UK but was held back in the US because it was feared it would interfere with sales of the first album, so it was released in May of 1968. Typical record company malarky of the day!

AXIS: BOLD AS LOVE basically continues offering the same psychedelic, energetic and innovative blues rock concoctions that HENDRIX was so successful in constructing on album number one with his elegant display of melodic expansion in the most creative ways. The fact that this band so deftly and proficiently pumped out a majorly spectacular array of brilliant songs is a testament to the power of JIMI HENDRIX and explains how he was able to record decades worth of music in a very short time span when new material is still being released almost fifty years after his untimely passing. The tracks on this album were done with a healthy dose of studio recording techniques of the day and as a result most were never performed in a live setting with the exception of “Spanish Castle Magic” and “Little Wing” but THE EXPERIENCE successfully conjured up a brilliant followup to their spectacular ground breaking debut with grace.

Neck in neck with The Beatles in innovating rock’n’roll, AXIS: BOLD AS LOVE begins with the lysergic mind expansive trip of “EXP” which takes the art of microphone and harmonic feedback to new extreme levels for the day and simulates a strange close encounter of the third kind with extraterrestrial contact. After this strange album introduction, we get some more familiar HENDRIX action with a psychedelic funk rock narration of concerned extraterrestrial life returning to the Earth concerned of the abuses of the top dog species, namely, homo sapiens and how they are degrading the ecosystems upon which their lives are dependent. HENDRIX was totally in tune with the ecological issues plaguing humankind and was ahead of the rest of the world in adapting these issues to music. That would have made a great concept album actually but the album continues on a track by track basis with each song having its own theme and meaning.

Brilliantly THE EXPERIENCE eschews AXIS: from being a clone of “Are You…?” Instead it creates a somewhat similar but more nonchalant way of incorporating the recent upgrades in the rock universe with the usual psychedelic rock guitar riffage of HENDRIX himself with the jazz inspired drum workouts of Mitch Mithcell while the bass guitars of Noel Redding provide the most stable and grounding attributes of the music with the occasional jazz inspired methods as well. The album also adds lots of new instruments to the mix adding a more diverse feel from the debut. HENDRIX contributes piano and recorder, Mitchell adds some glockenspiel and Redding offers his best foot stomping percussion. AXIS: also has the best album cover of all THE EXPERIENCE years releases!

THE JIMI HENDRIX EXPERIENCE is certainly an archival type of band beyond most our musical experiences unless you are well into you 60s at this point. I did not start out loving this album by any means. In fact i always thought HENDRIX was fairly boring! However, there is something about these albums including this second one that has the power to burrow into the future and into my DNA that has infected me with admiration. True this is not technically as adept as what has come to develop over the decades that follow, but this was truly innovative at the time and if the listener simply resonates with the music, it will surely reveal its time period prowess and charm with merely a few attentive and open-minded listens. I now regard this album as much as a brilliant masterpiece as the debut. The musical elements sewn together with the concepts are outstanding and considering this was a trio makes it all the more impressive.

JIMI HENDRIX Are You Experienced (Jimi Hendrix Experience)

Album · 1967 · Jazz Related Rock
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siLLy puPPy
Most of the time in music history progressions are made by tiny increments of experimentation where an artist tries something new and it is incorporated into the works of others and so forth and so on but the 1960s were one of those decades that was a musical equivalent of the big bang of ideas and innovation and JIMI HENDRIX and his EXPERIENCE were one of the innovators of this musical explosion with a totally new sound, style and approach on the musical landscape.

ARE YOU EXPERIENCED? was an immediate and outstanding success. Only a year before Jimi was struggling to survive covering R&B songs as a back-up guitarist but as his latent talent was gestating he managed to capture the attention of Keith Richards' girlfriend who ultimately introduced him to Chas Chandler (of the Animals) who catapulted him from rags to rock'n'roll riches in a very short time.

This album took the world by storm. Jimi perfected the feedback guitar sound that the psychedelic world only hinted at and delivered a burst of energy to the whole musical industry that single-handedly inspired the whole world we know today. He was the prototype for heavy metal as well as blues rock, psychedelic music and outlandish stage antics such as his famous burning his guitar on stage or playing with his teeth. Mr Hendrix literally dropped the equivalent of a musical bomb on the world which reverberates into the present world. Although it took me a while to appreciate the album as a whole (I always liked a few cuts) I now can't imagine how the world of rock music would be the same if Jimi hadn't contributed his signature sound to it and this album has grown on me. The varied influences ranging from soul, blues and total freakouts conspire to make one of the most influential releases in the entire history of music.

This is another one of those albums where the UK and US versions differed substantially. The UK version had the rather uninspiring black backdrop with the members posed while the much better US version had the Summer-Of-Love psychedelic cover. The track listings were different as well. For some strange reason the most familiar songs “Purple Haze,” “Manic Depression” and “Hey Joe” were left off the UK version despite being huge hit singles there.

JAZZFAKERS Hallucinations

Album · 2016 · Jazz Related Improv/Composition
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js
Free improvisation is probably the oldest music tradition known to man. No doubt this is where it all began, back when early humanoids tried to figure out what to do with some hollowed out logs, reeds or bamboo. As music developed throughout the globe, some forms of improvisation remained in many cultures, but not so much in the Western world. Flash forward a few centuries and a new generation in the US and Europe 'discovered' free improvisation, both in the concert hall domain, as well as in the worlds of jazz and rock too. Moving into the 21st century, the worlds of 1960s free jazz and 80s post punk noise collided into new improvisational hybrids, which leads us to The JazzFaker’s new CD, “Hallucinations”. The JazzFakers are a talented bunch who know their chosen genre well, and I would imagine their live shows are good, and some of that comes across on the new CD, but some parts of this CD are undermined by sound issues.

Probably the biggest concern many have about ‘free improv’ is that they assume the musicians are playing this way because they lack the technique or discipline to play anything else. That may be true of some post punk wannabes, but not the Fakers, especially drummer Matt Luczak, saxophonist David Tamura, and bass player Raphael Zwyer, who all have decent chops and maybe have even taken some ‘giant steps’ somewhere along the way. There is no lack of skill here, but there is something lacking in the mixing and production department. The biggest problem is that the sound of the drum set lacks definition and presence, mostly you can only hear the cymbals, which is a shame, as Matt sounds like a good drummer, if only you could hear him a little better. Another problem is the use of overly loud clack-clack-clack persistent mechanical rhythms, probably played by a looping device of some kind. This problem mars both the beginnings of track one and two. When the band is allowed free reign without the repetitive sounds, they sound great. Some highlights include an incredibly creepy violin solo on “Delirium Tremens”, a classic free jazz drums vs. sax duo on “The Sacred Disease”, and excellent all out mayhem on the closing track.

The JazzFakers are a good band, and “Hallucinations” shows that in many places, but it could have been better with a different mix. All the same, this is good enough to recommend to those looking for something in between 70s Sun Ra, Stockhausen and early Pink Floyd, but in a modern NYC stylee.

THORS HAMMER Thors Hammer

Album · 1971 · Jazz Related Rock
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VerticalUprising
Thor's Hammer are a bit of an unknown bunch picked out from the 70's prog scene, but usually in my experiences obscure bands produce the best music, and that's definitely true here. The band's sole album and debut was released in 1971 and is as energetic as the best of them. A problem that I've found with eclectic prog bands is they feature too much emphasis on experimentation and not enough on, well, the music. Here however Thor's Hammer combines all sorts of dazzling elements, like operatic rock, symphonic rock, and hell why not throw in a few crunchy riffs here and there. It truly takes a lot of effort to be a consistent, but TH pull it off very well. Although extremely eclectic, the album is refined even when it gets to it's most climactic points. As for jazz influences, they aren't exactly prominent aside from Simon Koppel's drumming and Jesper Neehammer's occasional saxophone breaks. Hell, King Crimson used saxophone and I still don't consider them to be very jazzy. The song selection, although short is extremely well done and each track has careful time and care put into it. A major highlight is 'Not Worth Saying', a powerhouse of a song where there is not one, but two solos from guitarist Michael Brunn and from Koppel. I would sort of say that the following track 'Blind Gypsy Woman' is so similar in atmosphere that it is just a continuation of the former.

The only problem I would say I have with the album is after the third track the erratic powerful nature the album has starts to lose it's punch; there aren't any really breaking points or slower sections. I'd hate to parallel this with VDGG but on Pawn Hearts, after the loud rocker 'Lemmings', 'Man-Erg' started with a beautiful piano opening to sort of calm you down and prepare you for the rest. If the album were to have at least a few interludes that calmed the atmosphere a bit, this would be close to a perfect experience. Other than that I have no problems except for the cover. But I mean if the music's good what does that matter?

So I'd suggest take a look at this one. Eclectic prog, next to jazz-fusion is the prog sub-genre where I found has usually the best musicians. Give these guys more attention because they deserve it.

JONI MITCHELL Song to a Seagull

Album · 1968 · Pop Jazz/Crossover
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siLLy puPPy
Roberta Joan Anderson aka JONI MITCHELL emerged from the frosty plains of Canada in the Saskatchewan heartlands and developed her unique poetic prowess that took on social issues along with emotional heart string tugs from a very young age. She further stood out by developing her unique contralto vocal style as well as with alternative guitar tunings. While generally considered a folk artist, she incorporated aspects of jazz, rock, classical and R&B into her compositions. While she is much more noted for her 70s releases such as “Ladies Of The Canyon,” “Blue,” “Court And Spark” and my favorite title of all “The Hissing Of Summer Lawns,” JONI began her career all the way back in the early 60s and released her debut album SONG TO A SEAGULL in 1968.

While that was the intended title from the get go, a major boo boo at the printing press omitted the title and the album became known as simply as JONI MITCHELL. The title was supposed to be spelled out by seagulls on the cover and has since been corrected but will immortally live on as a bititular release. The album is divided into two halves. The first five tracks which were originally side one on LP fall under the banner of “I Came To The City” while the following five tracks which composed side two constitute the “Out Of The City And Down To The Seaside” half of the album. They pretty much simply create a filing system as to group subject matter of lyrics. This is very much an insider’s folk music album as it features Stephen Stills on bass and David Crosby as the producer.

While this debut release often gets forgotten in favor of the more successful releases from the 70s, this one should not be missed. This is pure JONI through and through. Perhaps the most pure and unrestrained JONI without any record company and music career pressures to perform. JONI’s vocal performances on this one are simply angelic. As she reaches for the light with her goddess wails, she achieves a state of sublimity that few other could. While the songs are light hearted and acoustically driven, there is a sincere heart felt discharge of emotions going on here. While the JONI sound on the debut won’t sound alien to anyone familiar with her later releases, this is where it all started with all those lovable elements already in place. There is not one track that isn’t captivating as hell on this one. From “I Had A King” to the prickly free “Catcus Tree,” this is a brilliant folk melodrama that injects itself straight into the bloodstream and delivers directly into the heart. A woefully underrated album in her discography.

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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