RnB

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The line between jazz and RnB is often blurry. Both styles of music come from the same sources and both influence each other as they constantly cross paths. The Jazz Related RnB genre at JMA pays tribute to RnB bands that are not jazz bands in name only. For example, the early to mid-70s version of Earth Wind and Fire caught the attention of many jazz and fusion fans with their virtuoso horn charts, poly-rhythmic foundation and extended harmonies over modern jazz chord changes. Many of the RnB artists listed in this genre had a strong impact on the development of jazz.

rnb top albums

Showing only albums and live's | Based on members ratings & JMA custom algorithm | 24 hours caching

STEVIE WONDER Songs in the Key of Life Album Cover Songs in the Key of Life
STEVIE WONDER
4.73 | 12 ratings
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STEELY DAN Aja Album Cover Aja
STEELY DAN
4.59 | 25 ratings
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STEVIE WONDER Innervisions Album Cover Innervisions
STEVIE WONDER
4.60 | 16 ratings
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STEELY DAN Countdown to Ecstasy Album Cover Countdown to Ecstasy
STEELY DAN
4.50 | 20 ratings
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EARTH WIND & FIRE Gratitude Album Cover Gratitude
EARTH WIND & FIRE
4.70 | 6 ratings
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STEVIE WONDER Fulfillingness' First Finale Album Cover Fulfillingness' First Finale
STEVIE WONDER
4.46 | 10 ratings
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CURTIS MAYFIELD Curtis/Live! Album Cover Curtis/Live!
CURTIS MAYFIELD
4.79 | 3 ratings
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ISAAC HAYES Hot Buttered Soul Album Cover Hot Buttered Soul
ISAAC HAYES
4.37 | 9 ratings
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STEVIE WONDER Talking Book Album Cover Talking Book
STEVIE WONDER
4.27 | 11 ratings
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EARTH WIND & FIRE All 'n' All Album Cover All 'n' All
EARTH WIND & FIRE
4.29 | 8 ratings
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SADE (HELEN FOLASADE ADU) Diamond Life Album Cover Diamond Life
SADE (HELEN FOLASADE ADU)
4.36 | 5 ratings
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EARTH WIND & FIRE That's the Way of the World Album Cover That's the Way of the World
EARTH WIND & FIRE
4.24 | 6 ratings
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This list is in progress since the site is new. We invite all logged in members to use the "quick rating" widget (stars bellow album covers) or post full reviews to increase the weight of your rating in the global average value (see FAQ for more details). Enjoy JMA!

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rnb Music Reviews

STEVIE WONDER Innervisions

Album · 1973 · RnB
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js
Stevie Wonder was on a roll in the 70s, knocking out one great album after another that placed at the top of the game in RnB, pop and singer/songwriter productions. With so many good albums to choose from, picking the best would be hard, but you couldn’t be too far off if your choice was 1973’s “Innervisions”. Here we have a near perfect Wonder album, with each song being a polished gem that bears the obvious fruits of endless care and toil. When you listen to all the ornate instrumental details, you can hear the immense amount of labor that went into this project, but just let the songs sing and you will be immersed in emotional narratives that cover the spectrum from mournful to celebratory.

“Innervisions” is an eclectic album that ranges from the hard funk of “Living for the City”, to the art balladry of “Visions” and “All in Love is Fair”, to the jazzy abstractions of “Too High”. The music is inventive and became very influential over the years, but likewise, the lyrics are heartfelt and can hit hard in their insights and unflinching truth as Stevie address personal turmoil in relationships, as well as the irrational hatred and fear of his fellow man. Wonder performs almost every instrument on here himself, with some limited help from guests on a few tracks, but the result does not sound stifled as some home recording projects can sound, instead, Stevie by himself sounds like one hell of a hot jam session, no easy task.

BERNARD FOWLER Inside Out

Album · 2019 · RnB
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snobb
Native New Yorker singer and percussionist Bernard Fowler was a back up vocalist for Rolling Stones during last twenty years. Is lesser known he was a member of Bill Laswell Material and participated recording Philip Glass ("Songs from Liquid Days"), Herbie Hancock("Future Shock" & "Sound-System") and James Blood Ulmer("America – Do You Remember the Love?") albums among many others.

His third album as a leader is a true success. Fowler takes "Rolling Stones" early years songs (far not only hits)and rework them deeply to beatnik-rap minimalist straight-to-your-face singing poetry, in a tradition of Gil Scott-Heron. It's always a risky business working with such renown material as Rolling Stones legacy, but here on "Inside Out" Fowler finds very his own and perfectly working take on material.

Predominantly rapping over the minimalist quartet of three percussionists and one of three drummers, Bernard takes renown songs lyrics on the front, and them almost always sound both very actual and poetical at the same time. Rarely if ever the Rolling Stones songs' lyrics have been so much in the center of attention when played by original authors during 60s or 70s.

There are very tasteful addition of some more musicians on separate songs, as wah-wah guitars from Geo Evan and Ray Parker Jr. on "Dancing with Mr.D" or long sax soloing from Tim Ries on "Must Be Hell".

Probably most difficult target was reworking of two bigger hits, "Undercover of the Night" and "Sympathy for the Devil", but even here Fowler generally succeeded. Differently from British r'n'b we so well know from Stones' originals Fowler offers very American album of proto-rap, African percussion and funky rhythms.

Started once, you can't stop listening it again and again.

URBANITY Urbanity

Album · 2019 · RnB
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kev rowland
Guitarist Albare and keyboard player/programmer Phil Turcio are back with another album of smooth, melodic, laid-back jazz. It is perfect background music, something which allows the listener to drift away on gentle sounds knowing there is nothing here which is going to cause alarm. They have been writing and recording together for more than twenty years, when Phil first became a member of Albare’s band at the tender age of 18. They have an easy relaxed knowledge of each other, so either of them can happily take the lead and the other knows exactly how to follow. There is a cover on the album, a slowed down very smooth and R ‘n’ B take on “Desperado” which is interesting yet has removed much of the emotion which was there on the original.

I think for me that is possibly the issue with the album, it is very smooth, and it is as if the heart and soul of music has gone for a walk and forgotten to return. That it is very clever and that they are masters of their craft is never in doubt, but while I enjoyed the debut this one is just too relaxed and quiet for me.

ISAAC HAYES The Isaac Hayes Movement (aka Superstarshine Vol. 31)

Album · 1970 · RnB
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js
“The Isaac Hayes Movement” is Isaac’s third studio album and is also the immediate predecessor to his highly acclaimed soundtrack masterpiece, “Shaft”. A lot of the diverse elements that would make “Shaft” such a powerful statement are all here, just not as fully developed yet. There are four songs on “Movement”, and each one has its own distinctive flavor. Album opener “I Stand Accused” is one of those long confessional soul ballads that opens with a detailed spoken soliloquy, a technique used by Hayes before, and also favored by artists like Barry White, James Brown and Betty Wright. In this very convincing spoken word segment, Isaac confesses to his best friend’s girlfriend that he is madly in love with her. Its all here; passion, complication, human frailty and no doubt an inevitable heartache and broken friendships. Side one ends with more modern psychological drama in the form of “One Big Unhappy Family”, a story of a ‘good’ family by all appearances who do their best to hide their emotionally bankrupt lives. This one carries its message with sublime chord progressions and subtle orchestrations, all Hayes trademarks.

Side two opens with more heartache in the form of Burt Bacharach’s “I Just don’t Know what to do with Myself”, like most Bacharach creations, this one is top notch both musically and lyrically. All three of these opening songs are great, but the real masterpiece comes with Isaac’s sprawling arrangement of George Harrison’s “Something”. Its on this track that Hayes’ shows the diversity that will go on to make “Shaft” such a success. During the 12 minute multi-movement “Something” opus, Isaac combines, psychedelic pop, classical orchestral arrangements, soul balladry, big band rave ups, progressive rock, free form jazz rock freak outs and more. It’s a very early 70s sort of creative creation as it slowly builds and finally culminates in a raging electric violin solo by John Blair. If you are looking for Isaac Hayes at his most creative, “Something” has got it.

GQ Disco Nights

Album · 1979 · RnB
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js
The other day I was digging through piles of albums I’ve picked up over the years at garage sales and thrift stores and I see GQ’s “Disco Nights” and I was kind of surprised that I had picked this one up in the first place. My memory of this short lived band was that they came on at the very tail end of the dying disco scene with some rather generic fodder in a vain attempt to grasp the last few dollars left in this quickly drying up former bottomless money well. I’m glad I gave this band one more chance as they are much better than I remember and are actually a fairly hot jazz influenced funky RnB dance band. Like most 70s RnB bands, the members of GQ were basically jazz and gospel musicians who took on RnB because that was where the party was at. The interplay between guitarist Emanuel Raheim LeBlanc and bassist Keith “Sabu” Crier is super hot as they push these songs with driving funk and fusion riffs. All four band members sing, but once again, LeBlanc takes the lead spot with his soaring EW&F style melodies. EW&F makes for a good reference for the GQ sound, also The Brothers Johnson, but GQ’s songs are a little more stripped down for the dance floor.

Every track is a dance floor burner, “Disco Nights” was definitely meant to be a high energy party album. The only thing close to a ballad is the album closer, “I Do Love You”, which hits a medium groove for the one slow dance number. Do you remember this band, do you remember how bad RnB radio got in the late 70s ("Ring My Bell")? Give GQ another chance, you may be as surprised as I was, these guys can groove and rock your party.

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JMA TOP 5 Jazz ALBUMS

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