Jazz Related Rock

Jazz music community with reviews, MP3 (free download/stream) and forums

Like its close cousin RnB, rock grew out of the 1940s jazz genre known as jump blues. Needless to say, rock and jazz have had a close relationship from the very beginning. The jazz related rock section at JMA pays tribute to those rock artists who display a certain amount of competent jazz influence in their music. This influence can be displayed via virtuoso extended jam sessions, jazz influenced harmonic language, big band style horn charts or a combination of all this and more.

Jazz artists who utilize rock in their music can be found in the Classic Fusion, (Post 70s) Eclectic Fusion and Post-Fusion Contemporary genres.

jazz related rock top albums

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 | 52 ratings
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YES Fragile Album Cover Fragile
YES
4.92 | 9 ratings
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KING CRIMSON Larks' Tongues In Aspic Album Cover Larks' Tongues In Aspic
KING CRIMSON
4.64 | 31 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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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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HATFIELD AND THE NORTH The Rotters' Club Album Cover The Rotters' Club
HATFIELD AND THE NORTH
4.58 | 19 ratings
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FRANK ZAPPA One Size Fits All (as Frank Zappa And The Mothers Of Invention) Album Cover One Size Fits All (as Frank Zappa And The Mothers Of Invention)
FRANK ZAPPA
4.47 | 37 ratings
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YES The Yes Album Album Cover The Yes Album
YES
4.78 | 7 ratings
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KING CRIMSON Red Album Cover Red
KING CRIMSON
4.49 | 29 ratings
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HATFIELD AND THE NORTH Hatfield and the North Album Cover Hatfield and the North
HATFIELD AND THE NORTH
4.50 | 21 ratings
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SOFT MACHINE Grides Album Cover Grides
SOFT MACHINE
4.63 | 10 ratings
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DAVE MATTHEWS BAND Big Whiskey and the GrooGrux King Album Cover Big Whiskey and the GrooGrux King
DAVE MATTHEWS BAND
4.89 | 5 ratings
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jazz related rock Music Reviews

BRAIN TENTACLES Brain Tentacles

Album · 2016 · Jazz Related Rock
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siLLy puPPy
BRAIN TENTACLES is a newer breed of hardcore bands that strives to create the ultimate fusion effect by tackling the disparate styles of metal and jazz and making them swirl around and dance together like a ballerina in a Russian palace. This Chicago based trio is comprised of three music veterans with Bruce Lamont (Yakuza, Blloodlest, etc) contributing horns, vocals and keys, Dave Witte (Discordance Axis, Municipal Waste, etc) on drums and Aaron Dallson (Keelhaul) on bass, vocals and synth. It’s been over 25 years since John Zorn and his project Painkiller first unleashed the creative possibilities of mixing avant-garde jazz with metal elements and although a few bands like Mr Bungle, Zu and Diablo Swing Orchestra tackled the jazz meets metal thing in their own unique ways, it has not exactly been a highly tackled type of fushion and even rarer that BRAIN TENTACLES reverts back to the original Zorn formula by leaving out any trace of metal guitar whatsoever.

Despite the bass being the only stringed instrument on board here, it somewhat adequately covers the metal stomping grounds as it pummels along with the intense percussive workouts and creates a relentless rhythmic drive while Lamont channels his inner Zorn to deliver the sax lines that provide the melodic structure of the compositions. He’s also quite the accomplished soloist however he doesn’t delve into the freakazoid zone like Zorn tends to with pig squeals and unearthly torturous timbres. The music on this one tends to stay within the accessibility zone with mostly short and to-the-point tracks but delivers a few progressive treats such as the lengthy “Cosmic Warriors Girth Curse” which sounds like the disparate sounds of doom metal meeting surf rock (think Dick Dale & His Del-Tones in the horn department) and one of the few tracks to contain vocals which happen to sounds frantic enough to come from the extreme metal underground world of grind or metalcore. It’s actually one of the best tracks as it even ventures into psychedelic Krautrock meanderings while the drums churn along in their own world.

Tracks like “Hand Of God” start out sounding like a high school marching band really wanting to be a doom metal band instead and since the album was produced by Sanford Parker of Minsk and Yob fame, it’s no wonder that some doom metal aspects made it into the mix. “The Spoiler” is probably the most intense and closest to metal with screaming vocals, crushing bass and drums except for a sax instead of a guitar! The grooves are fast and frenetic. “The Sadist” is another metal monster with black metal raspy vocals and the usual bass and sax shtick however the drums are on fire on this one and perhaps the best percussion on the entire album. “Fata Morgana” takes on a post-metal type of flavor with sultry speakeasy sax ostinato that takes on a Swans type of vocal style. “Palantine” is the longest track clocking in at over 12 and 1/2 minutes and begins as a monotonous jazzy groove that extends to over 4 minutes and then turns into a lame telephone conversation that goes nowhere and seems like it will never end. I absolutely HATE these types of things tacked on to the end of the album. It’s another attempt to add some humor but fails to do so and seriously cheapens the serious effect of the rest of the album. This whole track should have been chucked. A total waste of time.

While i wouldn’t call the sound of BRAIN TENTACLES revolutionary or anything since the idea has been around for well over two decades, they do manage to create a much more melodic take of Zorn’s vision and de-emphasize the chaotic aspects to a certain degree and tame them into more digestible forms. The hypnotic repetitive parts add a solid foundation to the rhythm while the conservative solos are dished out only occasionally for contrast’s sake. Several aspects water this interesting album down for me a bit. First are the childish conversational bits such as on “Gassed” and “Palantine” which sound like some teenage funk rock bands from the 80s. Secondly is the band isn’t always adventurous enough to keep the ideas interesting. While the Zorn influences are aplenty, there is never any larger than life moments that transcend the listener into another dimension like excellent avant-garde and experimental music should. While the overall songs are themselves well composed, BRAIN TENTACLES just doesn’t go beyond an established comfort zone. A little more hot sauce on the plate please. Having said that, this is a decent debut album that shows great potential and has a great variation of styles on display. I do however think they would sound better with at least some guitar supplementation on board or even some other instrumental contribution as the music seems a little sparse at times.

UTOPIANISTI Brutopianisti

Album · 2017 · Jazz Related Rock
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siLLy puPPy
UTOPIANISTI is quite the unique act and one with which i have become quite the fan in relatively short time based solely on 2016’s stellar performances on “The Third Frontier” which found a new lease on the whole jazz-rock fusion meets brutal avant-prog thing. This project is led by the multi-instrumentalist Markus Pajakkala who specializes in saxophones, flutes, clarinets, keys and percussion. While on previous albums which consisted of whole ensembles of musicians churning out quirky rhythms and Rock In Opposition melodies, the newest release BRUTOPIANISTI seems to be more of a solo project by Pajakkala with only a handful of extras on board helping out in expanding the vocal range along with a few synth parts. Instrumentally speaking this is basically the Markus Pajakkla show as he plays drums, bass clarinet, soprano sax, xylophone and various flutes.

If you are expecting another slice of that ridiculously, superbly orchestrated avant-prog dancing in the jazz-fusion arenas of prog heaven then look elsewhere because this album goes in a completely different direction and displays a modern day trend of a quickening that is increasingly blurring the lines between metal, jazz, prog rock and ethnic world music. This music slaps you on the face from the very first frenetic drumbeats of “Gróyul Ghóul Ghò“ which combine a frenetic grindcore metal groove with Tuvan style throat singing as well as death metal growls! Despite the extreme metal feel to the whole thing, there are no signs of either guitar or bass guitar in the mix as the bass clarinet and other wind instruments pick up the rhythmic aspects of the music while screams, growls and other strange vocal utterings decorate the soundscape. This short little release barely clocks in over the half hour mark but packs a punch in its ruthless intensity and power punk attack.

While all this craziness unfolds, it sounds like the sax, flutes and bass clarinet borrow a lot from world influences ranging from Klezmer to traditional Chinese music as well as the aforementioned throat singing performed like a pro by Sampo Salonen. While the drums sound totally programed, it actually adds another layer of strangeness to the overall sound as it makes me think of such electronic wizards as Amon Tobin or other IDM (intelligent dance music) artists like Squarepusher (showing off his indietronica talents from his other project Poutatorvi). Between the metal intensity of the vocals, the electronic relentlessness along side with brutal avant-prog time signatures laced with swinging jazzy melodies and ethnic undertones with psychedelic twists and turns, we’re left with a very demanding listen indeed but not one that is too alienating even upon first listen. There is a firm sense of balance on BRUTOPIANISTI as not to overwhelm the listener with too much at any given moment.

BRUTOPIANISTI is certainly a curve ball thrown at us in the discography of UTOPIANISTI, not only in terms of how quickly it was released after the previous album as prog oriented artists of this magnitude often take many years to polish new albums into perfection, but also in how utterly different it is from their previous offerings. I would imagine that for those who don’t take a liking to this one because it strays too far too fast from the previous efforts will probably be assured that this will not likely be the style that Pajakkala intends to continue ad infinitum but rather a playful little side project that needed to be released. Be assured for as different as this album is, it is chock full of brilliant ideas mixing and melding their way into pure brilliance. Tracks such as “Hóllò” deliver a percussive beat that sounds like a warehouse of fireworks that caught on fire with lysergic ambience mellowing it out and “Zhími Bàgi Dá” with death metal growls and bass clarinet quickly morphing into an elves’ LSD party on Neptune sounds as otherworldly as the fictional language titles. This is truly bizarre stuff that will either reel you in instantly like an unfortunate bass on Lake Michigan or repel you like a mosquito from freshly deeted body in the malaria zone. Either way you won’t think that you’ve heard this before even from UTOPIANISTI itself but regardless it will leave some sort of impression. For me, i’m digging this one a lot!

DIABLO SWING ORCHESTRA The Butcher's Ballroom

Album · 2006 · Jazz Related Rock
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In the world of experimental and avant-garde metal, one can hardly know what to expect and more often than not, a band digs deep into the recesses of experimentation only to conjure up some type of music that is dense and complex and requires some serious investment of time and energy in order to find a footing in the newly created sonic universe that they have constructed. And then there’s bands like Sweden’s DIABLO SWING ORCHESTRA that not only catches your attention from the very first seconds of first contact but manages to suck you in and enjoy the music from the get go and when all has been played and you have a chance to reflect upon the crazy combo effect of the music at hand, you will ask yourself “It’s such a logical combination of things, why hasn’t someone thought of this before?” DSO is one of those blender bands that takes everything including the kitchen sink approach, alloys all kinds of disparate musical styles and throws them into a salad bowl and then tosses all the components around until they form a whole new form of musical expression.

While this music is primarily based on a healthy supply of metal guitar riffing married with the jump blues and swing revival scene that was all the rage in the 1990s and graced with the female classical soprano diva vocals of AnnLouice Lögdlun belting out operatic enunciations like there’s no tomorrow, the music also incorporates all sorts of other styles including Flamenco guitar, Middle Eastern, spaghetti western, surf rock as well as good old-fashioned rock ’n’ roll. THE BUTCHER’S BALLROOM is the full-length debut album but technically isn’t the band’s debut release since a four track EP titled “Borderline Hymns” came out in 2003, a full three years before this album. However, BALLROOM contains all four tracks from that debut EP thus rendering it completely irrelevant and a mere footnote in history. They haven’t even been re-recorded or anything so in effect this one could very well be considered the debut.

THE BUTCHER’S BALLROOM is divided up into two Acts which are supposed to represent some sort of story line but i honestly have no friggin’ clue as to what these two divided themes are all about. They probably have some reference to the band’s tongue-in-cheek approach to creating a completely faux mythology regarding their timeline which purportedly begins with their ancestral history that goes all the way back to 16th century Sweden. The current band is supposed to be the ancestors of past band members who created diabolical music that was strictly forbidden by the Lutheran church. The tale becomes more elaborate as the members of this secret musical organization had to go into hiding for centuries up until the right time would allow the inheritor’s of this secular music to expose their musical world to the public. Well, wait no longer, DOS is here to stay!

While all these styles sound like a possible road to disaster and very likely could have been if DOS weren’t so skilled in how they pull all these disparate styles off. Daniel Håkansson is the sole songwriter on this one and clearly has the knack of knowing just how much of the different ingredients to add to this musical salad and just like a fine cuisine knows when too much lettuce and too many tomatoes can throw off the balance of the whole. It’s fairly uncanny in how accessible the music is upon first listen but has ways of letting you dig deeper into the song constructs once the initial WOW factor has waned. In addition to the aforementioned styles that dominate THE BUTCHER’S BALLROOM, the listener will also be floored with all sorts of other instruments that aren’t supposed to work here but somehow do. A didgeridoo can be heard accompanying surf rock and jazzy opera singing. Flamenco dances side by side with electronica and cellos happily accompany heavy distorted metal riffs.

The trick to enjoy DIABLO SWING ORCHESTRA’s conglomerating mass of styles is to not become too enthralled in any one particular genre style. While often fitting into the vague descriptive category of avant-garde metal, this is definitely no headbanger’s paradise as metal is not the dominate force on this one but more of an accompanying sound effect to wrap itself around the dominating gypsy swing, classical and jazzy undertones that swing from one musical thread to another. This is simply wild and crazy stuff and the only band that comes to mind with their ability to mix and meld so many styles and still create a very melodic and musical experience is the Japanese band Sigh. THE BUTCHER’S BALLROOM truly was like no other album or band that came before. DOS truly found a total unique identity from their inception and nothing else has even come close to copying it and with a lineup that includes not only guitars, bass, drums and keys but ample extras such as lute, flute, cello, double bass, violin as well as a few ethnic touches here and there, you know you’re in for a wild ride unlike another other. Love it!

DIABLO SWING ORCHESTRA Borderline Hymns

EP · 2003 · Jazz Related Rock
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siLLy puPPy
BORDERLINE HYMNS is technically the debut release by DIABLO SWING ORCHESTRA and came out a full three years before they would release their first full-length album “ The Butcher’s Ballroom.” This EP contains only four tracks and all of them would be included on the first full-length release thus rendering this one completely irrelevant and a mere footnote in history and therefore could be considered only a demo of sort despite being released as a full fledged CD. While the music on this is totally excellent, this is basically inessential given that the tracks are all included on “The Butcher’s Ballroom.” I struggle as how exactly to rate this. Excellent music plus inessential seem to equal 3 stars. For descriptions of the music itself go to my review for “The Butcher’s Ballroom.”

THE WINSTONS The Winstons

Album · 2016 · Jazz Related Rock
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siLLy puPPy
Don’t even think that this version of THE WINSTONS is the American funk and soul band that scored a top 10 hit way back in 1969. This band of the same name may SOUND like they’ve been sent here through a time machine from the past but they are in reality a contemporary animistic assembly of like minded individuals adamantly and unapologetically putting the CAN back in the Canterbury Scene by channeling the classics of the past while whipping up the whimsey, rousing the zeitgeists of the jazz-rock rabble and simultaneously sewing the different seeds of the 60s together into so far unforeseen ways thus proving (along with a few other contemporaries such as Amoeba Split) that the classic sounds of Soft Machine, Robert Wyatt, Gong and Caravan have long since left the jurisdiction of the River Stour in the English historic cathedral city and has in this case possessed three indie rock Italians from the modern metropolis of Milan. This power trio are all multi-instrumentalists going by the pseudonyms of Linnon Winston (Lino Gitto - vocals, organ, drums), Rob Winston (Roberto Dell’Era - vocals, bass) and Enro Winston (Enrico Gabrielli - organ, sax, bass clarinet, electric piano) but there is also a fourth guest musician: Roberto D’Azzan who brings some mean trumpet to this party!

Let the raucousness commence! As it all begins as an early Soft Machine reference with Robert Wyatt intonations then quickly leads to an organ drone with a sultry sax seeping in. Soon thereafter the organs are joined by the bass and it’s party time! A beefy brash bass bellows out a grooviliscious pop hook with a Syd Barrett era Pink Floyd keyboard run that screams 1967 and the Summer Of Love with Soft Machine harmonies creating a melodious cantabile and oh yeah! Did i mention that organ? Perhaps the strongest instrument on board doubling as a time machine to the swinging 60s. This is a pure Canterbury tribute on this one with healthy doses of 60s psychedelic and garage rock all dancing happily together around the campfire with visions of paisley and tie-dye along for the ride. I can smell the patchouli! This is some serious retro-prog let loose and it’s utterly amazing how this self-titled debut by THE WINSTONS gives nary a clue to the true time and date when this was released a mere five decades later in 2016.

While the two starters are hellbent on psychedelic 60s cross-pollinating with all things Canterbury Scene, the beauty of this album is how different the ten tracks laid out are from one another. “Play With The Rebels” brings more of a Procal Harum vibe to the mix while “….On A Dark Cloud” eschews the short song norm of the album for a longer more jam based psychedelic freakout frenzy. Once again the organs debut the oscillating rhythm while the bass picks up allowing the trumpet to add a slight Mariachi feel to the mix. And this just wouldn’t be a proper Canterbury Scene genre inclusion if it didn’t contain ample amounts of whacked out whimsy and adroit crapulous quirkiness. The first noticeable head scratching moment comes from the two tracks written and sung in the Japanese language. “カンガルー目 (Diprotodon)“ and “番号番号 (Number Number)“ were in fact written and by Gun Kawamura who also created the mondo bizarro album cover artwork and with hysterically named tracks such as “She’s My Face” and “Dancing In The Park With A Gun,” you can almost taste a Daevid Allen seal of approval.

While nostalgic purists may find this album in bad taste and too derivative of sacred cows, i find THE WINSTONS to take many puzzle pieces of the past and simply place these elements side by side in fresh creative ways. The Canterbury Scene is amongst progressive rocks greatest treasure trove of musical gems and oft cited as one of true prog lover’s most beloved subgenres, therefore it seems quite the shame that this particular quirkily subset of jazzy rock has nearly gone extinct in recent decades. THE WINSTONS prove beyond a doubt that it is indeed possible to pay tribute to all the greats who came before and still come up with new ways of breathing some resuscitated life into the oldies but goodies. Brash and daring yet respectful and reverent. Despite not being English themselves, THE WINSTONS achieve in going to where even native Brits have gone over the years in faithfully capturing all those wonderful sounds that erupted in the 1960s UK without missing a beat.

jazz related rock 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.

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.

HATFIELD AND THE NORTH Classic Rock Legends

Movie · 2001 · Jazz Related Rock
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Sean Trane
Actually, this is nothing more than the TV special that got released some 12 years later after the live album. And this release does make a difference, compared to the live Cd. Actually only the respect I have for H & TN, stopped from giving less than two stars for that Cd because the recording was atrociously flat , poor quality and listless.

However, the DVD of that concert is much better and the sound quality is much better than the original Cd release. So the line-up is the same as Miller, Pyle and Sinclair are present and Sophia Domancich is replacing Dave Stewart. Although the newcomer is an impressive player, she does not however fill such gigantic shoes of Stewart. Actually on the latest 2005 tour , Alex Maguire does a credible job, though!

Highlight includes live favourites Matter Anyway and Going For a Song. A much fitter souvenir of that live one-shot reunion tour.

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