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jazz related top albums

Showing only albums and live's | Based on members ratings & JMA custom algorithm | 5 min. caching

SOFT MACHINE Third Album Cover Third
SOFT MACHINE
4.73 | 48 ratings
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SANTANA Caravanserai Album Cover Caravanserai
SANTANA
4.69 | 38 ratings
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PARLIAMENT Mothership Connection Album Cover Mothership Connection
PARLIAMENT
4.85 | 9 ratings
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STEVIE WONDER Innervisions Album Cover Innervisions
STEVIE WONDER
4.75 | 12 ratings
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FRANK ZAPPA The Grand Wazoo (The Mothers) Album Cover The Grand Wazoo (The Mothers)
FRANK ZAPPA
4.63 | 36 ratings
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KING CRIMSON Larks' Tongues In Aspic Album Cover Larks' Tongues In Aspic
KING CRIMSON
4.64 | 28 ratings
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STEELY DAN Aja Album Cover Aja
STEELY DAN
4.66 | 22 ratings
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JOHN ZORN Magick Album Cover Magick
JOHN ZORN
4.83 | 8 ratings
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CURTIS MAYFIELD Superfly Album Cover Superfly
CURTIS MAYFIELD
4.99 | 5 ratings
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YES Fragile Album Cover Fragile
YES
4.90 | 6 ratings
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MARTIN DENNY Exotica Album Cover Exotica
MARTIN DENNY
4.94 | 5 ratings
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ROBERT WYATT Rock Bottom Album Cover Rock Bottom
ROBERT WYATT
4.63 | 18 ratings
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jazz related Music Reviews

LEO DIAMOND Subliminal Sounds

Album · 1960 · Exotica
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js
Anyone interested in bizarre music needs to know about Leo Diamond’s “Subliminal Sounds”, there is no other record like this weird mix of incongruous elements. Leo Diamond was a virtuoso on an unlikely instrument, the harmonica. Despite his choice of ‘axxe’, Diamond made a good living as one of the top harmonica players of his day. He also worked in writing and arranging and had a huge easy listening hit with “Off Shore”. Diamond’s taste in music leaned towards banal, and even tacky pop, but this was leavened by an unlikely interest in expanded musical forms and studio electronics. In 1956 he released “Skin Diver Suite”, a bizarre third stream concoction that alternated between extreme Hollywood schmaltz and creepy ‘watery’ sound effects. At times overly sentimental, and at other times just plain disturbing, this one needs to be heard to be believed.

After “Skin Diver Suite”, Diamond released a few pop albums and then came the album in question here, “Subliminal Sounds”. The title already sounds creepy and Diamond doesn’t disappoint as he presents twelve mostly corny arrangements of pop standards that are cloaked in ‘subliminal’ electronic sound effects. For the first couple of minutes, this album is absolutely fascinating as you hear Diamond’s weird and subtle effects, but then you realize many of these tunes are almost unbearable, thus the Diamond dichotomy. Easily the tunes on here that work the best are the one’s that lean in a more exotica direction, that would include “Jungle Drums”, “Dream Train” and “House of Dreams”, meanwhile some of the more sentimental fare gets tiresome right quick.

Despite a couple of really good exotica tracks, this album doesn’t seem to get a lot of attention from the weird music collectors, that’s why you can still find it for cheap occasionally at thrift stores. People who appreciate David Lynch’s idea of wholesome ‘normalcy’ gone berserk may also appreciate Leo’s musical vision.

SAPO Sapo

Album · 1974 · Latin Rock/Soul
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dreadpirateroberts
It's a shame these guys didn't release at least one more record but the single LP they have is still pretty ace.

Once lead singer and composer Bean left Malo he formed a new band to pick up with pretty much the same feel; rock-Latin rhythms mixed with salsa, punchy horns and some great songs. Maybe he's not the greatest singer it doesn't really impact my enjoyment of the songs - especially the charging 'Get it On' or opener 'Been Had.'

'Can't Make It' borrows clearly from the Bean's hit with Malo (Suavecito) and 'Nina' is pretty catchy too - overall, if you're into Latin Jazz and want something like Malo but still with a few subtle differences, have a look at Sapo.

SOT King Of Saltz

Album · 2011 · Jazz Related Rock
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dreadpirateroberts
There's such a great sense of fun to SOT's songs here that is both surprising and welcome for me. It seems too much of the jazz history can sometimes be focused on the very serious, so I really enjoyed hearing an album that's fun without being trite in anyway whatsoever.

On each listen I find myself more and more certain that there's a definitely Mr Bungle influence but the quirkiness of the songs goes beyond one reference point.

'King of Saltz' is a fascinating mix of tech metal and jazz and its substitution of tuba for bass is a big draw, it really adds to the lower end. Great stuff - definitely check this out if you're looking for something complex and surprising.

YES Tales From Topographic Oceans

Album · 1973 · Jazz Related Rock
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siLLy puPPy
This is one of if not THE most divisive album in prog history. This double album that followed CLOSE TO THE EDGE had the unfortunate problem of being compared to the last album (another masterpiece) and being panned by critics (but not universally so) and Rick Wakeman himself who left the band afterwards because of it.

The concept is of a magnanimous nature. It is based on Jon Anderson's interpretation of four classes (called shastras) of Hindi scripture. A concept that allowed the band to build huge sprawling tracks around. After several albums of increasing timespans for the tracks, YES decided to go for broke on this one, recording only 4 tracks and none under 18-minutes long. The consequences of building this symphonic prog behemoth resulted in many fans, who were used to instant gratification with YES' music, bewildered and unsure what to make of the whole thing.

It is a shame, because I consider this one of the best prog albums in all of history. This is my favorite YES album, not by a long shot but it sits right up there with all the other masterpieces that bookend it. The secret to unlocking the inaccessibility of this album is not one, not two, not three listens but a committed return to it. I have been listening to this since the 90s and I still hear new things. The nature of the music is like that of the religious dogma it is based on, it is a practice, a ritual and it's certainly not easy listening. For those who continue to listen to this album, they will find great pleasure and it only gets more cohesive and meaningful over time. For those who do not have it in them to commit the time to really understand this release, it might be better just to avoid it altogether.

Pretentious? Maybe. Enjoyable? Definately!

YES Time And A Word

Album · 1970 · Jazz Related Rock
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siLLy puPPy
YES were showing their desire to progress rapidly. TIME AND A WORD is only their second album and they were already deciding to add an orchestrated string section to their more ambitious songwriting. This album like their debut is one that I neglected in the past in favor of the masterpieces that follow, but after revisiting the first two albums I discovered that they have grown on me without my knowing it! I used to own this but lost it a long time ago and only recently acquired the newer remastered edition in order to refamiliarize myself with their early releases. I remembered liking the first track “No Opportunity Necessary, No Experience Needed” an ambitious and progressive take on a Ritchie Havens song, but other than that one I couldn't remember any tracks. As with the debut album I was pleasantly surprised that I actually like this 2nd release quite a bit as well. It was obviously gestating its essence in my brain for years only to surprise me when I finally got back to it.

TIME AND A WORD progresses the songwriting and YES have moved forward another few steps towards their more popular sound that would come to full fruition on the next album. The songs on here are still very 60s sounding but the band is more adventurous. They keyboards are much more lively as are the other instruments. They lyrics are more cosmic and fantasy based. The string section is one that isn't as pronounced as I would imagine. The orchestral arrangements by Tony Cox are subtle and serve as a background filler more than as an actual member of the band. In this regard it works fairly well but I would like to have heard a little loosening of the reins in this department. As with the debut album, i'm quite surprised that I have warmed up to this sophomore release but upon revisiting it, I am quite taken but its beauty and charm and find this to be a worthy 4 star release. The rest is history. Peter Banks was asked to leave the band and Steve Howe joined at this time. He actually appeared on the photos on the US edition. “The Yes Album” would launch this band into the stratosphere, but this album is an interesting pre-masterpiece edition to your musical collection.

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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