Jazz Related Rock

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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 | 53 ratings
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YES Fragile Album Cover Fragile
YES
4.87 | 10 ratings
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KING CRIMSON Larks' Tongues In Aspic Album Cover Larks' Tongues In Aspic
KING CRIMSON
4.64 | 32 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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YES The Yes Album Album Cover The Yes Album
YES
4.79 | 8 ratings
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HATFIELD AND THE NORTH The Rotters' Club Album Cover The Rotters' Club
HATFIELD AND THE NORTH
4.58 | 20 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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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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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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SOFT MACHINE Grides Album Cover Grides
SOFT MACHINE
4.63 | 10 ratings
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jazz related rock Music Reviews

VP (VYACHESLAV POTAPOV) Water World

Album · 2012 · Jazz Related Rock
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VYACHESLAV POTAPOV or simply shortened to VP is a one man show from Almaty, Kazakhstan who released a series of albums in the 2000s in his own DIY fashion. WATER WORLD is his sixth release and what a major improvement in terms of both production and compositional finesse. When i say one man show i really mean that. Not only does VP construct all the tracks in his own eccentric style but plays all the instruments. One will hear guitar, bass, piano, drums and other percussion and many forms of sampling. Not only is VP gifted as a musician but is also responsible for his own cover art and this one depicting three green children on lily pads and intricate detail of waterfalls is not only a beautiful vision of the fantasy in the true progressive rock spirit. With WATER WORLD, everything came together and VP not only caught the attention of the prog world for his exquisite compositional and production skills but has been solicited by other artists for album artwork as well. While WATER WORLD is the sixth release of VP, it is the first to be issued on a physical format. The digital album was released in 2012 but the physical copy albeit lagging behind its initial release is finally seeing the light of day in the tender year of 2017.

Despite being a totally instrumental album, WATER WORLD is actually a concept album about two different civilizations on a planet in some far away place. They are known as the Krokuts and the Hunty. While it is impossible to comprehend the story through a mere listening of this sophisticated and dizzying complex music, VP has given me the green light to give his little story behind each track that hopefully will translate the music ideas into the heads of those who aren't music nerds! WATER WORLD is quite the eclectic mix of sounds and honestly is totally unique as i can't think of anything else i've ever heard that is an equivalent. Musically this one is all over the map with jazzy fusionist tendencies that also incorporate symphonic touches, ethnic influences, tribal drumming and absolutely bizarre transitions as one style tends to overlap with others and sometimes change things up quickly. This is music for musicians as the time signatures are so bouncy and ever changing that its practically impossible to predict where any given musical meandering will lead. Overall there is a strong jazz-fusion component in how the tracks are constructed with everything from Weather Report airy passages playing out to more erratic Return To Forever type of craziness but instrumentally speaking this is more of a rock / electronic hybrid with guitar and bass shining through in times of heaviness but ambient and ethereal atmospheres also permeating throughout.

I could have NEVER figured out the storyline by the music alone. It's far too nebulous and only with the tutelage of VP could i ever hope to assemble a sense of meaning to each track. To make this easy i have listed each track with the thematic explanation of VP in his own words. His English is very poor and i left his Google translations intact as not to corrupt the meanings. I explain a bit of the music afterwards.

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FIRST track "Intro (Unusual Island)"

ship was off course and got lost in a thick fog. In the morning when the fog, the sailors saw a miracle-island. In the center of this island stood a giant size lot of trees woven together and resembled a huge castle.

Musically: starts out as ocean sounds. Waves churning, seagulls with a simple piano line providing the musical setup and ends with a crazy guitar entering at the last second and fading out

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SECOND track "Vegetational Town - a: Great & Magnificient"

landed and began to explore unknown lands. All the flora and fauna differed from what they knew before.

Musically: begins the complex time signatures and changes in tempo with a frog croaking in the background. A funky bass line picks up a rhythm and then all prog hell breaks loose with mellotrons providing atmosphere, a jazzy rock with avant-prog touches. The music meanders into very complex arenas. I hear some Steve Howe inspired guitar licks, Zappa-esque jazz-fusion and even Chic Corea style keyboard runs and ultimately ends with crickets chirping in the background.

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THIRD track "Vegetational Town - b: Stem"

the study, the sailors met a miracle of nature - the tree, the stems of which gave off a glowing liquid that flowed on the ground and freezing was a very beautiful crystals. People have greed began to fill the backpacks and pockets of this strange breed. They do not know that for the local inhabitants it was the sacred tree, and exuding a fluid sacred tears of the gods.

Vegetational Town - including: Invasion of the Field Mice Night, when the sailors took a break. During a night's sleep, they are attacked by hordes of rodents. So people know that the island is not only beautiful but also dangerous.

Musically: begins with an ambient swirling effect of synthesizers in the background and then a jazzy interaction between the guitar and bass. Sounds somewhat like a psychedelic Return To Forever type of sound. The track continues mostly in jazz-fusion mode but picks up tempo with more rockin' percussion and bass.

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FOURTH track "Night Revelation Of Antackena"

about the uninvited aliens, the tribe Khunts turned for advice to his sorcerer Antakhena. Night Adelroth did the ceremony and learned that the aliens had defiled gods currently taking tears of the gods. He got really pissed. It gave people the rodents to scatter them around the island.

Musically: Tribal drums in frenetic speeds are joined by a much slower bass line but picks up fairly quickly and jumps into a frenetic jazz-fusion riff of the guitar with heavy bass and percussion staying chilled out in comparison. It picks up steam at midpoint

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FIFTH track "Geyser"

the same time. Race Krokus also held a ceremony. In their bogs were sacred geyser through which they learned about the aliens.

Musically: starts out slow with clean Floydian guitar lick and cymbals that quickly jump into a more jazz-fusion oriented mood setting. It becomes quite the frenetic jazz-fusion track with all the instruments creating a tempestuous rhythmic dance. The track goes through several shifts of rhythm changes as well as the usual eclectic mix of heavy bass lines with syncopated jazz-from-hell type keyboards

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SIXTH track "Games of Herbs"

beginning of a new day or early morning. I describe as rostitel'nost'û wakes up with first rays of the sun. As dew plays on every blade of grass and every leaf.

Musically: starts off with birds singing as a guitar line gently emerges into the limelight and has a rather Baroque J.S. Bach type of feel to it. Lots of different keyboard sounds dance together. Perhaps a lost Brandenburg Concerto? Well for a while at least. Remains classically rhythmic but becomes jazzy. Really amazing musical mixture here.

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SEVENTH track "Wandering"

a new day and two tribes are feuding with each other Khunts (humanoid) and Crokus (crocodilopolis) gathered for talks. They decided for a short time to stop the war in order to join forces against the aliens. They decided with General witchcraft to inflict on people the magic that has the property of oblivion.

Musically: a steady beat guided by frenetic guitar and groovy bass line. The keys provide atmosphere and tension builds as the recurring groove ratchets up. A brief pause and the keys become the frenetic rhythmic caffeine addicts for a while. While the general rhythmic drive stays the same, it's quite brilliant how the instruments pass the baton taking the lead and carrying it. In the middle of the track everything stops and a drumming display gradually gives way to a new jazzy guitar segment with heavy rockin' drums.

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EIGHTH track "Water World"

: The Taming of  the Geysers ii: ... and on the Water Surface To finish the job they collectively appeal to the mistress of the watery World. Mistress of the watery World through a ritual of "dance on water", which the sailors fall into oblivion. At first this dance is energetic and contains convulsively. The dance Mistress of the watery World produces the Taming of the Geysers. Then the dance turns into a plastic and beautiful ritual (... and on the Water Surface).

Water World. - iii: Detection woke up on the deck of his ship. They can't remember what happened with them before. Around thick fog. At this time two children of the tribe take care of Khunts found by a sailor, whom they found in the woods at night. That is why the sailor left on the island, about him no one knew.

Musically: morning sounds as birds and wolves do their thing and then a quickened groovy bass line meets a piano that seems like it's in its own world. Many counterpoints going on very early. Jazz-fusion feast of the senses with this one. There are many breaks in mood but tempo remains rather steady throughout. Style stays in jazz-fusion as well with a steady rock drum beat allowing the keys and guitars to perform jittery acrobatics all around it. Like most of this album, words don't do it justice. Too removed outside of the listener's experience to convey any sense of musical progressions.

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The good: WATER WORLD musically is a brilliant blend of electronic rock and jazz-fusion dished up with heavy doses of avant-prog sensibilities and sounds like no other album i've ever heard. The compositions are quite good and sophisticated and really do deliver an exciting flow of ideas within the context of the genre fusions mentioned.

The bad: unfortunately despite leaps and bounds above previous albums, this still sounds like a homemade product and in need of a more sophisticated production level. Often DIY albums sound as such because they are lacking the proper percussive drive and i feel that is also the case with WATER WORLD. The drum antics are adequate but it sounds programmed. Also i found it impossible to glean any sort of concept album as it's all instrumental and relied on the artist's input to understand it.

When all is said and done, WATER WORLD is an excellent piece of instrumental music that lover's of electronic rock, classical and jazz should appreciate quite well as the complexities of weaving these styles together is phenomenal however this is a rather heady album that requires extreme attention paid to the details for any sense to be had from it. There are really no periods of breathing room and is indeed a challenging album to appreciate, however if you are looking for something unique from an isolated geographical setting of the world, then by all means check out this fascinating sci-fi tale of different worlds all told in a Pekka Pohjola sort of narration by notes sort of way. It's really worth the effort.

UTOPIANISTI The Third Frontier

Album · 2016 · Jazz Related Rock
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Third time is a charm for UTOPIANISTI as they reach the pinnacle of their creative energies on THE THIRD FRONTIER. Once again band leader and head honcho Markus Pajakkala seeks out another cast of musical talent for a whole new jazz-rock fusion experience that reels the listener in with heavy horn-laden hooks and groovy driving percussive rhythms and delivers a sonic splendorous jazzy journey through the jungles of sound. While the previous album had a whopping 31 musicians and vocalists clogging up every possible nanosecond of the album, this one was trimmed down to a mere 7 instrumentalists and two additional vocalists. While the other albums were self released this one found a home on the Pohjola Records label, former label of none other than the legend Pekka Pohjola himself. THE THIRD FRONTIER refines all of the ideas, compositional styles and genre blending to perfection. One of the reasons this album works so well is that much of the material was played live previously allowing the band members to simmer the material down into a scrumptious consummation of content. Gone is the everything-including-the-kitchen-sink approach and instead we have a perfectly balanced jazz-rock fusion album that still channels the zeitgeist of classic 70s fusion while remaining steadfastly contemporary replete with outstanding musicianship crafted with crystal clear production and mixing. The musicians on THE THIRD FRONTIER basically recorded this album live in a cabin by a lake in the Finnish countryside where they were all entrenched in the charms of their own personal Rancho Relaxo where they ate good food and hit the sauna before bed time. It sounds like my kind of party actually :)

After a psychedelic sounding intro the feisty cover depicting title “Voodoo Mammoths From Neptune” showcases the first seductive swanky sax groove that gently beckons the guitars, keys and bass in a game of tug-of-war to see who can carry the melodic development in a pass the torch kinda way. This whimsical Canterbury styled jazz-rock scene is only one of many jazz styles on display at the Pajakkala sonic museum of jazz-rock. While swing is in no short supply on the album, its dance with psychedelic organ runs on “Dr. Gravity’s Evil Plan” is just divinely delicious as the saxes, flutes and clarinets slowly ratchet up the tension to a climax that once dropped brings a fuzz guitar and bass out of the murky din to expose a most satisfying heavy psychedelic rock underpinning. While Canterbury whimsical titles are the name of the game on THE THIRD FRONTIER, further references to the greats like Hatfield and the North come fully into play with the erratic tinkling keyboards on “Universe For Dummies” that also showcases the angelic diva Suvi Väyrynen doing her best Amanda Parsons and adding an extra dimension to the track that takes the wild and groovy bass and drums culminating with a tasty guitar solo in the clouds and above. The following short track follows the Hatfield and the North theme with Dave Stewart inspired keyboards on “White Dwarf” that basically serves as an intro for the next track.

“Life As We Thought We Knew It” gracefully ratchets up the Canterbury styled jazz-rock with psychedelic touches and remains reserved in the tempo as it simply creeps along with oddly shaped time signatures punctuating a rather sparse canvass as the dominate bass and drum groove allows the swing style horn section to blurt out the recurring melody. “A Hundred Rabbits” on the other hand heads into funk rock territory as the bass and guitar deliver the solid rhythmic background with Latin-jazz flavored percussion and a sultry sax sizzling around every musical curve with Suvi Väyrynen once again joining again with her over-the-top siren vocals sending the track into heavenly bliss territory. “Spanking Season” picks up the steam with an avant-jazz-blues groove with a great Captain Beefheart vocal impression by Pharaoh Pirttikangas and is a sequel to the track on Utopianisti II but has different vocals and different musical parts even though it has similar riffs.“13 Demons In The Disco Dimension” is my favorite track on the album with a groovin’ synth funk basis and hard driving rhythm and addictive melody including vibraphone and marimba that includes the most dazzling guitar solo i’ve heard on a jazz-fusion album since John McLaughlin dazzled the world in his Mahavishnu Orchestra as Antero Mentu delivers one of the most off-kilter stylistic guitar solos i’ve heard in a long time. The album closes with the more subdued closer “The Last Reflection” that ends the album with the listener gently coming down from the jazz-fusion heavens and delivered back to Earth in a mellow mint-under-your-sleepy-time-pillow sort of way.

I can understand why some jazz-fusionists may not find this appealing. UTOPIANISTI is all about groovy, catchy melodic rhythmic developments that swing and allow a whole series of instrumental interactions to reach their full potential and may even find it slightly over-calculated in how slick it’s all pulled off. I, on the other hand, LOOOOOVE this album and find it to be sheer perfection for what is intended. The grooves and hooks are instantly addictive. The complexities of instrument interplay add layers of sonic tension and there are just enough progressive twists and turns carefully laid out in the right places to make this one extremely satisfying experience. As with the previous two releases, if crazy psychedelic reality distorting jazz-fusion is what you’re craving then this won’t fill the bill. If you crave a warm and welcoming swinging sultry good time of seasoned musicians having the time of their lives making great music together at a cabin on a lake and creating a diverse palette of retro meets contemporary, then this will not disappoint. Every track on here is carefully crafted and polished to perfection. I can’t seem to get enough of this one lately.

UTOPIANISTI Utopianisti II + Utopianisti meets Black Motor & Jon Ballantyne

Album · 2013 · Jazz Related Rock
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UTOPIANISTI II picks up where the eponymous debut left off only this time main man / band leader Markus Pajakkala got even more ambitious with his number of guest musicians and there are no less than 31, yes! 31(!!!) different vocalists and instrumentalists including an entire big band section and opera singers. The album is completely a studio album and many of the musicians had never even met, so UTOPIANISTI II was truly the studio project of Pajakkala taking his project that he began as a student at Helskinki’s Sibelius Academy to the next level. And what a big fat sound this one has! Pajakkala himself plays drums, percussion, tenor and baritone saxophones, flute and alto flute, bass clarinet, mellotron, various ethnic instruments, keys and vibraphone. The rest of the band includes 2 bassists, 4 guitarists, an additional organist, tons of vocals and others who play sitar, marimba, vibraphone, congras, accordion, fiddle, trumpet, trombone and extra saxophones! Whew! No they don’t play everything at once! The music is designed for a rotating cast of musicians to play their parts at select times but this is indeed a big band style of jazz-rock fusion so it indeed has a big, fat, beefy sound. Once again the jazz-rock basis is mostly based in easily accessible swing style where groovy, funky rhythms are easily digestible and the avant-garde comes in with the other instruments interacting. Although strange time signatures and other-worldly segments aren’t totally eschewed, this type of sound rests squarely in hooking you and taking you for a ride.

Right from the beginning with “Mekonium Fist” it’s apparent that this album is a huge step up from the first with not only more palatable grooves and rhythms but by the sheer force of the musicians on board. The beat is strong and so is the brass. This first track comes off as some 90s swing revival on steroids only has a heavy rock guitar added to the mix with a sizzling guitar solo that could rightfully grace any particular heavy metal sound. The second track “The Vultures Were Hungry” plays a rather Diablo Swing Orchestra move and adds a group of opera singers to the big band swing section only they up DSO and have not only female divas but a male baritone as well! The tracks are quite varied and laid out quite well so the listener remains thoroughly entertained. Next up is the tender starting “Pohjola” which is obviously a tribute to the great Pekka Pohjola in not only the title but in jazz-fusionist compositional style taking the music back to the 70s complete with appropriate organ runs and the proper zeitgeist touches. The next track “Tango Succubus Pt 2” changes things up totally and as you can probably guess is a tango only with a male opera singer and vibraphones joined by the brass section. And such is the entire album, chock full of hitherto unthinkable possible fusion where the world is a grocery store and UTOPIANISTI II is the shopping cart where all of the genres and styles play together awaiting check out.

While UTOPIANISTI II is a major step up from the less ambitious debut, this one suffers from being bloated with way too much of a good thing with a whopping time length of near 79 minutes of jazz-fusion doing a dance with almost every type of musical genre imaginable. Inevitably unless done to perfection an album this long loses steam at times. For example, certain tracks like the traditional Finnish folk track “Kynttilöitäkin Vain Yksi” sound out of place and frankly unnecessary as do some of the lesser tracks that fail to have strong hooks. Not to mention that some of the tracks just don’t gel so well next to each other. Despite the album not being perfect however Pajakkala paints the picture of what jazz-fusion dreams are made of. Great care is paid to the details with a crystal clear production and so much creative prowess lurks around every corner that it becomes dizzifying. Not only are there references to the jazz-fusion and swing greats of the past but surprises such as the Captain Beefheart inspired segments on “Spanking Time.” There are plenty of tributes to jazz greats themselves with John Coltrane being heavily represented as well. Some tracks like “Mechanoid Makeout Music” show not only a Canterbury type of whimsy but the music itself is quite unorthodox with a jittery almost Latin-jazz rhythmic type of freneticism with an Ornette Coleman type of free-jazz sax attack. “U.L.J.C. (The Unnecesssary Leftover Jam Compilation)” that ends the album is quite fun as is this album for the most part. While UTOPIANISTI II isn’t perfect by any means but there is more than enough strong material on this one to entice any enthusiastic jazz-fusion freak out there and while not as well polished as the followup “The Third Frontier,” UTOPIANISTI II is an extremely strong set of eclectic numbers just waiting to blow your mind.

UTOPIANISTI Utopianisti

Album · 2011 · Jazz Related Rock
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UTOPIANISTI is the project of Markus Pajakkala emerging from Tampere, Finland where he hunts down the absolute most brilliant musicians from every nook and cranny of the musical world and gives a serious boost to the jazz-rock fusion scene with some of the most addictive creative compositions that i’ve experienced this decade. Every album is designed for a rotating cast of musicians on each album. While the project only began in 2010, fertile grounds were afoot and the project released it’s very first eponymous album the following year. While Pajakkala appears alone on the album cover, this is hardly a one man show but includes a huge cast of no less than 18 musicians covering bass, guitar, sitar, xylophone, marimba, vibraphone, clarinet, alto sax, trumpet, trombone, french horn, accordion, fiddle, violin, viola and cello. However when it comes to writing the music itself, this is Pajakkala’s baby and he plays band directer much like the role of Frank Zappa in the day. This album is his early work that emerged as a school project while he was studying music at the Sibelius Academy, a prestigious music school in Helsinki.

Despite being a mere debut, Pajakkala had a firm grip on his vision and worked it out meticulously. While his main instruments are the flute and saxes, on this one he also plays drums, keyboards and contributes vocals as well where they show up. The music is mostly based in jazz-rock fusion but this is really a smorgasbord of genres that incorporate everything from Balkan gypsy, klezmer and heavy rock to heavy doses of experimental touches. Tracks range from the heavy rock oriented “Plutonium First” that has a rather 50s rock ’n’ roll feel to it with a heavy brass and rock section making it feel more like a 70s TV adventure show theme to the funky bass chop led “Avaruuden Shammaanit” which sounds like a swing band got a sudden itch to incorporate 60s style funk into the mix although the jazzy time signatures keep it all in the grounds of challenging music despite the instantly addictive grooves. While most tracks are fairly upbeat with heavy percussive and bass driven rhythms accompanied by heavy brass section, a few tracks like “Waltz For FZ” are more laid back without feeling too slow or sappy.

I have to admit that i’m not as keen on this debut since my UTOPIANISTI journey began with perfection of “The Third Frontier.” While everything on this debut is extremely professional and well executed, the album as a whole doesn’t come off as outstanding as the following releases. While i’m totally impressed that this album was basically a school project brought to fruition via the passionate conduits of quite the number of musicians involved, i don’t think the compositions are as well developed and of the caliber that the next couple albums would include. This one has plenty of excellent fusion ideas stirring in the pot but no one has quite turned up the heat enough just yet to fully unify the possibilities that can be heard in the nascent processes. Still though, an impressive debut that paves the way for things to only get better. Personally i’d probably skip this and head straight to the second album modestly titled “UTOPIANISTI II” since most of the ideas presented here are present and perfected later. It should also be stated that this is melodic jazz with syncopation, dissonance and other jazzy characteristics but much more on the accessible side of the fence with groovy, funky rhythms that are designed to be addictive upon first listening. Those seeking a psychedelic detachment from reality should look elsewhere.

BRAINSTORM Smile A While

Album · 1972 · Jazz Related Rock
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It was all the way back in the late 60s that the seeds of BRAINSTORM were planted in when four school buddies in Baden Baden, Germany discovered rock 'n' roll in the late 60s and soon they would form a band called Fashion Pink (after their psychedelic heroes Pink Floyd) where they would nurture all their musical fantasies. First they started out merely as a blues rock band but after future Guru Guru member Roland Schaffer decided to yield his guitar hero worship to indulge in the sax and clarinet, the band focused on a much more aggressive jazzy style of rock with bands like Soft Machine, The Mothers of Invention and Caravan as the main influences. The band also latched on to aspects of the burgeoning Krautrock scene in their native Germany and as a result managed to craft some extremely demanding and exquisitely designed jazz-fusion chops tinged with vestiges of 60s psychedelia lurking around unexpected corners between sizzling sax solos and flirtatious flute melodies.

While still Fashion Pink, the band gained popularity as a stellar live act but one fateful day the band was involved in a serious accident which left them injured and dismayed so of course they decided to change their name to Fashion Prick! With German labels sniffing out new talent the new name was deemed unacceptable when it was at last their turn for a record deal and the new name BRAINSTORM was quickly adopted before the release of their first album "SMILE A WHILE." This album has it all really. "SMILE A WHILE" is one of those rare releases that manages to successfully stew many ingredients into the cauldron and have the end result a musical delicacy that retains its tastiness decades after its release. While heavily inspired by the free jazz greats of the era such as John Coltrane and Pharaoh Sanders, the wild complex polyrhythms bring the top dogs of the jazz fusion era to mind and BRAINSTORM has been rightfully called the German equivalent of France's Moving Gelatine Plates. Add the passion of rock with Hendrix inspired blues rock and the Krautrock influences that incorporate ÜBER bizarre harmonics and you are in for some serious royal treatment with this one.

The sheer diversity of style is the album's strongest attribute with different styles of jazz intermingled with rock, blues and even tango! The Kraut elements are never far behind as slinking 60s organ runs collide with Soft Machine frenzied distorted sax runs and Hatfield and the North styled vocal jazz styles before the supergroup ever came to be (courtesy of Soft Machine no doubt.) The tracks also vary in length from the feisty barely over 2 minute "Snakeskin Tango" to the 15 and a half minute epic Krautjazz title track that goes through no less than six movements. "SMILE A WHILE" is a true gem for the audacious audiophile who loves a good musical workout. With adventurous tight groovy rhythms chock full with 5/8 and 7/8 timings and beyond, the jazzy prog fusion workouts are replete with unpredictable variations in dynamics, tempo and style. It simply amazes me that this brilliant gem from 1972 hasn't been more highly regarded. Yeah, it's the ghastly album cover is to blame i'm sure. Not only do the members don grandma's underwear with a rather bland blank background but the album is filled with other photo ops with the group posing in their ridiculous regalia. For sure i give the album cover artwork a dismal 1/2 star on the dismal scale of doom but the MUSIC is what counts and BRAINSTORM whipped up a veritable musical smorgasbord of rock and jazz fusion like no other. I'm amazed at how much i love this one and can't recommend it enough. Just close your eyes when you reach for it and pull it out of the packaging!

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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