Jazz Related Improv/Composition

Jazz music community with review and forums

The art of improvisation in music did not begin with jazz, but the appearance of jazz in the early 20th century has certainly heightened the popularity of improvisation in all styles of contemporary music.

The artists featured in JMA's Jazz Related Improvisation genre play improvised music that has strong similarities to jazz, especially avant-garde jazz. The boundary between the Jazz Related Improvisation genre and the Avant-Garde Jazz and Fusion genres may not always be clear, but generally the JMA Avant-Garde jazz artist comes from a jazz background, while the Jazz Related Improviser may come from a more eclectic background. Also, the artists listed in this genre may include groups that mix jazz artists with other experimental artists.

jazz related improv/composition top albums

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CLAUDIO MILANO (NICHELODEON) Il gioco del silenzio (as NichelOdeon) Album Cover Il gioco del silenzio (as NichelOdeon)
4.95 | 2 ratings
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SUPERSILENT 5 Album Cover 5
4.67 | 3 ratings
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BACK DOOR Back Door Album Cover Back Door
4.44 | 7 ratings
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ROBERT FRIPP The Gates Of Paradise Album Cover The Gates Of Paradise
4.50 | 2 ratings
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THINKING PLAGUE In Extremis Album Cover In Extremis
4.50 | 2 ratings
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MARC RIBOT Spiritual Unity Album Cover Spiritual Unity
4.20 | 5 ratings
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TOM WAITS Franks Wild Years Album Cover Franks Wild Years
4.25 | 2 ratings
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BOBBY PREVITE The 23 Constellations of Joan Miró Album Cover The 23 Constellations of Joan Miró
4.25 | 2 ratings
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TOM WAITS Bone Machine Album Cover Bone Machine
4.17 | 3 ratings
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FRED FRITH Speechless Album Cover Speechless
4.07 | 7 ratings
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MARC RIBOT Asmodeus: Book of Angels, Volume 7 Album Cover Asmodeus: Book of Angels, Volume 7
4.06 | 6 ratings
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RADIATA 5TET Aurelia Aurita Album Cover Aurelia Aurita
4.09 | 4 ratings
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jazz related improv/composition Music Reviews

DOKO Ikebana

Album · 2019 · Jazz Related Improv/Composition
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Doko is a Belgian duo of reedist/synth player Gregor Siedl and drummer Nicolas Chkifi playing free jazz scented rhythmical improvs.

Different from more popular nowadays electronics improvisers, their music isn't too abstract or psychedelic. Rooted in minimalism and obviously influenced by Berlin school of the 70s, they often sound as a freer deviation of Can.

Often well framed by real drum/ drum machine rhythmical frames, they sound most interesting when they incorporate African rhythms to bold Teutonic marching pulsation. Freer analog module filled pieces sound more nostalgic, but don't work such well.

Free sax soloing is presented too, but rhythms and analog synth loops are still dominating. In moments their music recalls early Japanese avant-rock, but the latter is much more chaotic and brutal.

Cross-genre music for required taste which has its moments.

MARKUS REUTER Markus Reuter, Mannheimer Schlagwerk ‎: Sun Trance (World Premiere Performance)

Live album · 2017 · Jazz Related Improv/Composition
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Its funny how synchronistic events can be sometimes. I was halfway through reading Mark Prendergast’s informative book on minimalism and ambient music, “The Ambient Century”, when this excellent CD of contemporary minimal music arrived in the mail, Markus Reuter’s “Sun Trance”. For those not yet aware of Markus, he is an imaginative electric guitarist and sound sculptor known mostly for his work with ex-King Crimson alumni in The Stick Men, where he displays his affinity for innovative guitarists such as Robert Fripp, Terje Rypdal and Sonny Sharrock. “Sun Trance” is very much in the minimalist tradition with its repeating motifs and slowly unfolding structure, but thanks to some inventive compositional techniques and inspired playing this CD rises above the sameness that can sometimes mar more generic offerings in the minimal approach.

Reuter composed this piece for the Mannheimer Schlagwerk, an eleven person ensemble that uses a variety of tuned and non-tuned percussion, electronic instruments and a bass clarinet to produce interweaving melodies that Markus eventually begins to solo over. Fripp fans will recognize Reuter’s solo guitar sound as it bears a strong resemblance to Robert’s beautifully sustained tone on “The Heavenly Music Corporation”. The trick to good minimal and ambient music is not letting the use of repetition and slow movement become trite or boring. One clever technique that Markus uses is to occasionally supply complete breaks in the music so that the ensemble can return with a different set of melodic figures. Another helpful element is the drum beat, a very down tempo dub influenced part that is played with enough syncopation and shifting accents that it totally disguises the time signature and keeps things from being too predictable.

ROBERT FRIPP (No Pussyfooting) (with Eno)

Album · 1973 · Jazz Related Improv/Composition
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Robert Fripp and Brian Eno’s “No Pussyfooting” will probably be regarded as a ground breaking recording in the long run of music history, but it was barely noticed when it came out in the mid-70s. In fact, I would imagine that many who bought this back then were pretty disappointed in what they had just purchased. Both artists at the time were enjoying successful art rock careers and I am sure many were looking for a cross between Fripp’s King Crimson and Eno’s Roxy Music, only to find that their collaborative effort sounded nothing like either of those bands. This album is not the first ambient album, but it is one of the first to be marketed toward a rock/pop audience, and as such it broke all sorts of new ground that both artists would go on to enjoy as ambient music continued to be a big part of their careers, as well as the careers of the thousands of artists that they inspired. Ever since the mid-90s electronica boom, ambient music has become a very popular genre, and you can trace the roots of that popularity right back to Fripp and Eno.

Side one opens with an F# drone that Fripp solos over in a raga like style in the Dorian minor mode. His solos are given infinite sustain via Eno’s tape loop methods. Once again, Eno was not the first person to use tape loops like this, but possibly the first to use them in this sort of Hendrix meets Shankar psychedelic sound that would eventually attract the more experimental side of the rock world. Side two uses a busier backdrop via Eno’s VCS3 synthesizer as Fripp solos in E Ionian, Mixolydian and Lydian modes before finally fading out. Fortunately Robert is a very talented soloist who has no problem constructing an interesting narrative over a drone like background, otherwise, this album could have been a real snooze-fest.

Given the long history of ambient music at this point, this album does not sound particularly unusual anymore, but back in the day many of us were watching the record spin around for the first time and wondering when was the drum beat going to kick in, ha. It never kicks in. Welcome to your brave new ambient future.


Live album · 2020 · Jazz Related Improv/Composition
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"Fission" was released in May 2020 as the second shot of Yuji's improvisation series, in collaboration with a female metalcore drummer Mako KIMATA. Each of them has already been renowned as a session musician in other metal / jazz / avantgarde units as you know, and you have definitely been looking forward to such a instrumental battle between the two talented artists. Wondering where two eccentric originality would go ... if they could be united or not. An everlasting amazement will end up with this brilliant stuff.

The first track "Killer Hornet" kicks you away from the real world, along with Yuji's deep, heavy, explosive but sincere, polite guitar play and Mako's eccentric, complicated, strict drumming. An improvised magnificence is perfectly concordant with another play. Let me say at first, this superb session was live upon stage, actually. "Killer Hornet 2" gets more impressive and innovative. The middle part full of melodic cores and dramatic drumming is kinda killer. You can easily suppose such a powerful, complex stuff could not be played at one stretch without breathing.

On the contrary, the second one "Fission Improvisation" gets started with Yuji's quiet, gentle, but eccentric guitar phrases. Sounds like his guitar might give a speak to the audience in front of him, and Mako's drumming be supportive of Yuji's attempt to be a poet, especially the former part of this track. However, the latter stage is crazy ectopic and dissected. Their excessive play reminds you slightly of Behold ... The Arctopus, in spite of the fact they are only two.

In "A World Inside A Dew Drop" Mako's percussion play fills your brain with percussive dew drops. A gorgeous, beautiful tune really ... happy to imagine the audience listened to this one with tremendous emotion. The last "20-6", that I don't know the real meaning of, is quite relaxing. Apparent is such an expression the two instrumental atmosphere got merged and crystallized completely. You can feel aftereffects of comfort, after being knocked out by their bombastic plays.

An evaluation for improvisational creations should owe a lot to how technical and completely harmonized. In this sense, their works are great indeed. On the other hand, quite difficult to find and get to so-called sound innovation via such material. All the same, this album is fantastic.


Album · 2019 · Jazz Related Improv/Composition
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Jason Harnell is a top notch jazz session drummer who has worked with big names such as Dave Douglas, Maynard Ferguson, Larry Goldings, Alan Pasqua and many more. “Total Harnage” is his first and only solo release and finds him playing selections from the drum solo show he performs at the Oyster House Saloon in Studio City Ca. Jason doesn’t just play the drums, but instead acts as a one man band by singing and utilizing electronics, loops, samples and apps to accompany his compositions. Essentially what we have here are oddly orchestrated drum solos, each with a totally different sound and approach. When I mention ‘drum solos”, don’t picture the thunder and flash of the Billy Cobham and Neil Peart crowd, instead, Jason is a subtle “thinking man’s” drummer and is more similar to masters of abstraction such as Eddie Blackwell, Paul Motian, Chico Hamilton and Max Roach. There is also a lot of Africa and India in Jason’s percussive excursions. Although there are many different tracks on here, they all seem to flow together, connected by Jason’s rambling rhythms.

It does not matter how much avant-garde music you have listened to, you have never heard anything like “Total Harnage”, not because it is particularly difficult or dissonant, in fact when Jason sings “When Your Smiling” to sparse drum accompaniment, it just sounds like an old radio broadcast, only a little off kilter when it ends with the sound of a Pac Man session closing down. Jason isn’t just off the beaten path on here, this album is it’s own path by itself. This LP should have special appeal to fellow drummers, in fact much of this reminds me of drummer comedian, Fred Armisen, who has entire comedy routines best appreciated by other drummers and pro musicians who have to deal with that one guy in the band ‘who really isn’t a musician’. Some highlights on here include Jason drumming along with Glenn Gould performing a Bach prelude, and another cut that has him adding percussion to Quint the Shark Hunter’s ‘bad fish’ speech from the movie “Jaws”. Harnell also performs George Crumb’s “The Magic Circle of Infinity”, as well as some ambient trance compositions of his own.

“Total Harnage” is a very non-cliché listen that has grown on me as I hear more, and many of these tracks would work great as change ups in a radio show or mix tape of unique music.

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Artists with Jazz Related Improv/Composition release(s)


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