Jazz Related 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.

jazz related rnb top albums

Showing only albums and live's | Based on members ratings & JMA custom algorithm | 60 min. caching

STEVIE WONDER Innervisions Album Cover Innervisions
STEVIE WONDER
4.73 | 14 ratings
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STEELY DAN Aja Album Cover Aja
STEELY DAN
4.65 | 23 ratings
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EARTH WIND & FIRE Gratitude Album Cover Gratitude
EARTH WIND & FIRE
4.93 | 5 ratings
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STEELY DAN Countdown to Ecstasy Album Cover Countdown to Ecstasy
STEELY DAN
4.62 | 17 ratings
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BOOKER T & THE MGS Green Onions (aka Booker T & The MG's) Album Cover Green Onions (aka Booker T & The MG's)
BOOKER T & THE MGS
4.79 | 5 ratings
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EARTH WIND & FIRE All 'n' All Album Cover All 'n' All
EARTH WIND & FIRE
4.67 | 7 ratings
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STEVIE WONDER Talking Book Album Cover Talking Book
STEVIE WONDER
4.59 | 10 ratings
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STEVIE WONDER Fulfillingness' First Finale Album Cover Fulfillingness' First Finale
STEVIE WONDER
4.58 | 9 ratings
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ISAAC HAYES Hot Buttered Soul Album Cover Hot Buttered Soul
ISAAC HAYES
4.64 | 7 ratings
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CURTIS MAYFIELD Curtis/Live! Album Cover Curtis/Live!
CURTIS MAYFIELD
4.89 | 3 ratings
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STEVIE WONDER Songs in the Key of Life Album Cover Songs in the Key of Life
STEVIE WONDER
4.46 | 11 ratings
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RAY CHARLES Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music Album Cover Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music
RAY CHARLES
4.48 | 3 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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jazz related rnb Music Reviews

MARVIN GAYE What's Going On

Album · 1971 · Jazz Related RnB
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js
Although the term ‘Progressive RnB’ never really caught on the same way as ‘Progressive Rock’ did, what happened in the world of RnB in the early 70s was quite similar to what was happening in the rock and pop world at the same time. Influences from jazz, modern classical and psychedelia all converged on many RnB artists to push their creations to new heights. In the late 60s, albums by The Temptations such as “Puzzle People” and “Cloud Nine” began to open the door to further experimentation, meanwhile George Clinton’s Parliament/Funkadelic machine was making some noise in the underground, as well as WAR, Mandrill and others, but the album that really made it possible for RnB artists to search and explore in a commercially successful way was Marvin Gaye’s “Whats Going On”.

This album almost didn’t happen at all. Gaye was a hit machine for Berry Gordy’s very lucrative Motown label with songs like “That’s the Way Love is” and “I Heard it Through the Grapevine”, making sure his boss was one of the richest producers in the world of music. When Gordy first heard Gaye’s proposed single release of title tune, “Whats Going On”, he refused to release it, saying it was not commercial enough. Marvin countered with his own protest, refusing to record anymore songs unless Gordy allowed his ambitious project to continue. Barry finally relented, and in a rush of pent up energy, Gaye finished his album long masterpiece and released it to much critical acclaim and commercial success. In fact, to this day, many of the signature songs on this album are still played on the radio and elsewhere.

Compared to Gaye’s upbeat music that preceded this album, “Whats Going On” is dark and moody, there are no ‘love songs’, just songs about civil unrest, endless war in Vietnam, concern for the ecology and concern for the future of the children in a fast changing world. The entire album comes across like a suite, with one song segueing into another without a noticeable break. There is a strong jazz sensibility at work here, especially in the creative bass lines of Bob Babbit and James Jamerson, as well as the saxophone work of Eli Fountain. Familiar pop/blues chord progressions are uplifted with spiraling strings and wordless vocals, it sounds like Marvin wants to push his message up into the heavens in an appeal to God himself, who is also referenced frequently in the albums plaintive lyrics.

This album would definitely open some doors, Stevie Wonder soon followed with his own “Talking Book”, and later Earth Wind and Fire would take the world of RnB to all new heights. A classic album that still sounds modern and relevant today, “Whats Going On” was the peak of Gaye’s career, as well as a peak for the world of RnB and pop music in general.

URBANITY Urban Soul

Album · 2016 · Jazz Related RnB
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kev rowland
The collaboration between Albare and Phil Turcio started 27 years ago when Albert Dadon – aka Albare – was looking for a new pianist for his band. At the time, Phil had just turned 18. Albare recalls, “He was not even the youngest member of the band then; our drummer just turned 17.” “These guys sounded so good, it was a pleasure already to play with them.” Phil explains that he and Albare hear music in the same way, “Everything I throw at Albare comes back as if I would have played it myself.” Albare and Phil Turcio have now formed a new band with just the two of them, with Albare providing guitars and sitar, and Phil providing keyboards, piano and programming.

Each time I play this I think of George Benson, and the smooth jazz scene from the late Seventies. There is a strong relationship between the two musicians, with fluid soloing and harmonisation between the lead instruments, and the feeling is of two guys just relaxing and having fun with what they are doing. The stand out song is a cover, namely an emotional and delicate take on “Angie”, which almost deconstructs the original as it turns it into something very special indeed. It is a song I have always enjoyed, and I prefer this to the original, such is its power. Overall, this is a good album to wind down to at the end of the day, and although this isn’t my favourite form of jazz, they certainly do it well.

OTIS REDDING Otis Redding / The Jimi Hendrix Experience ‎: Historic Performances Recorded At The Monterey International Pop Festival

Live album · 1970 · Jazz Related RnB
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js
This review is based on the order in which the various bands appear in the film/documentary about the 1967 Monterrey Pop Festival. The band order was actually a bit different at the actual concert.

The Monterey Pop Festival of 1967 was one of the most significant cultural events of the 20th century. For the first time, the new style of loud rock n roll that had been hatched in London and on the west coast of the US was unleashed on the whole world via international media coverage of this groundbreaking event. Although the slew of west coast bands that opened the event seemed daunted by the challenge and floundered amongst out-of-tune guitars, amateur drug-addled performances and deer-in-headlights intimidation, three non-west coast bands followed and delivered a much needed 1-2-3 knockout punch to send this concert into musical history. The Jimi Hendrix Experience, The Who and Otis Redding changed rock forever with incendiary performances that fueled nothing short of a revolution. This record presents two of those performances as best as possible, but cannot convey the feeling of shock and disbelief felt by the people who witnessed these three bands. The first side of this album presents a fairly typical Hendrix outing for that time; a Dylan song, a blues classic, a fusion flavored Hendrix original and a psychotic version of Wild Thing. Despite some innovative Hendrixian chord voicings, "Like a Rollin Stone" is a bit repetitious, but the other songs have that incredible urgent punk/jazz feeling that only Mitchell and Hendrix can pull off. Particularly striking is "Wild Thing" with it's crazy 'Strangers in the Night' guitar solo and sheets of bizarre noise. As the song approaches it's end, shouts from the stage blend with crowd noise and guitar feedback to produce a nightmarish soundscape that would make the most avant-garde composer proud. All through this side Jimi treats us to mumbled hippie lingo mumbo-jumbo in between songs that is both funny and embarrassing.

Although the Hendrix side is good, the Otis side is even better. Having played mostly in the south, the huge crowd of hippies in California was a new thing for the countryish Redding. His response was to tell his band to play everything at double tempo. The end result lifted Redding's southern funky RnB to punk/gospel hyper workouts that generated enough energy to even outshine all other performers. Otis seems to go into a trance as the band keeps pushing the tempo and he repeats words like a man possessed. This is early rock at it's very best, and his band delivers with a professionalism that was severely lacking from all the west coast bands.

Early fast and heavy rock and RnB at it's very finest delivered by two yanks who grew up playing music in the southern US where an ability to sweat and deliver is placed above style and current trend. Music this kinetic and energetic barely exists anymore.

MADHOUSE 8

Album · 1987 · Jazz Related RnB
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siLLy puPPy
MADHOUSE was a pseudonym of the late great purple funk master Prince who was much more famous for dominating the pop charts and cranking out one R & B hit after another in the 80s and 90s. However it is little known is that all throughout the 80s, the purple one was quite interested in releasing an all instrumental jazz-funk album that resulted from extra tracks that were created from countless other recording sessions. Originally intended to be released as a band named The Flesh with an eponymous album title, the idea was scrapped and it was modified to MADHOUSE. Two albums were released. The first one titled 8 and the second 16. While the second album was more of a band effort with contributions from Sheila E, Matt Fink and Levi Seacer Jr, on 8 it was basically a one man show with PRINCE handling all instrument duties except for the sax and flute parts which were covered by Eric Leeds. There are 8 tracks and each one is simply titled 1, 2, 3 etc.

8 is somewhat of a mellow lounge lizard mid tempo affair and never really rocks out. Think Weather Report and you’re getting close. The music generally consists of a steady drum beat with the jazzified rolls accenting cadences accompanied by a thick atmospheric synthesized sound swooping around in the background. PRINCE shows off his funk chops with sinewy bass riffs and masterful piano playing techniques. While the music flows freely and doesn’t get into the complexities of highly adventurous jazz-fusion bands such as Return To Forever, there are little outbursts of syncopation and familiar jazzy riffs with the funk features never far from the dominating flow of things. Although this was a PRINCE dominated album, this was a band in a live setting and they actually opened up for PRINCE himself and donned Godfather type costumes that added a gansta imagery to their persona.

I’m amazed at how i’ve missed this one in the past being somewhat buried under the bulk of the gazillion albums PRINCE released during his truncated life. This one offers a a glimpse into the purple one’s deeper musical appreciation into more progressive arenas with jazz dominating his R & B soundscapes. However well done MADHOUSE 8 is, it still lacks a certain distinguishing originality and merely proves PRINCE was capable of musical styles beyond the funky pop hits he was churning out in the 80s. The emphasis is more on the pop side than the jazz despite those elements popping up in impressive outbursts from time to time. After all is said and done i would prefer if there were more upbeat tracks and that really let it all loose. Everything on 8 seems a little reserved and a tad too easy listening oriented for its own good and could easily be tagged with the oft loathed “smooth jazz” tag. Still though, MADHOUSE 8 is a decent listen that all PRINCE fans should acquaint themselves with.

JEFF BECK Loud Hailer

Album · 2016 · Jazz Related RnB
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js
You have to admire an artist who can keep changing and challenging themselves, even late in their career. After decades of fusion and instrumental rock albums, Beck has thrown us a serious left turn curve here with the recent “Loud Hailer”. Its as if Beck has discovered political punk rock 40 years after the fact, but its never too late to try something new as “Loud Hailer” turns out to be one of the hottest and most emotionally charged albums of Beck’s very successful and lengthy career. The way this album came about is interesting in itself, apparently Jeff was at a party, thrown by friend Roger Taylor, at which the ‘entertainment’ was the noisy post-punk RnB of vocalist Rosie Bones and guitarist Carmen Vandenberg. Jeff was so impressed with what he heard that he invited them to help make his new album, and also enlisted their producer, Fillipo Cimatti.

Not much from Jeff Beck’s past could prepare long time fans for this new album. Although Jeff is well known for his virtuoso guitar solos, there is very little of that on here, instead the emphasis is on Rosie Bones and her angry and passionate political musings. Beck’s supporting guitar work is rough and bluesy, drawing heavily on rootsy Missippii delta riffs that are turned into massive industrial sledge hammers via Fillipo Cimatti’s very modern and bigger than life production. Although the sound on here is thoroughly modern, the rawness of the music recalls classic hell raisers like Iggy Pop, the MC5 and early Funkadelic.

Some have been critical of Rosie’s lyrics, possibly searching for something more eloquent and definitive, but great rock lyrics are never about surety, instead the random energy of doubt, frustration, and confusion have been the hallmark of rock’s passion since the early days of ‘My G..g..g..generation". Along with her anti-’new order’ anarcho political lyrics, Rosie also sings about current vacuous pop culture, difficult relationships, the price we pay in pursuit of carnal pleasure, and some hope for the future. It helps that Rosie is a great singer who can veer from punky raps to sweet melodies and anything else in between. The icing on the cake is Fillipo Cimatti’s massive industrial strength production. Jeff Beck’s guitar has never sounded so huge and destructive, and the beats supply the crushing blows to back it all up.

Those looking for Jeff Beck’s fusion guitar playing best pass on this one, but if you are looking for raw angry poetic gut level rock/RnB that combines the best of John Lennon, Iggy Pop, Curtis Mayfield, Curt Cobain and Black Flag, then you have to come to the right place. “Loud Hailer” will be one of the best rock records to come out this year. Put this in the car and turn it up loud and I bet people will get out of your way, this music is an unstoppable tidal wave.

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JMA TOP 5 Jazz ALBUMS

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