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 | 5 min. caching

SOFT MACHINE Third Album Cover Third
SOFT MACHINE
4.73 | 48 ratings
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FRANK ZAPPA The Grand Wazoo (The Mothers) Album Cover The Grand Wazoo (The Mothers)
FRANK ZAPPA
4.63 | 36 ratings
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KING CRIMSON Larks' Tongues In Aspic Album Cover Larks' Tongues In Aspic
KING CRIMSON
4.64 | 28 ratings
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ROBERT WYATT Rock Bottom Album Cover Rock Bottom
ROBERT WYATT
4.63 | 18 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
4.52 | 34 ratings
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YES Fragile Album Cover Fragile
YES
4.90 | 6 ratings
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HATFIELD AND THE NORTH The Rotters' Club Album Cover The Rotters' Club
HATFIELD AND THE NORTH
4.58 | 18 ratings
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JIMI HENDRIX Are You Experienced (Jimi Hendrix Experience) Album Cover Are You Experienced (Jimi Hendrix Experience)
JIMI HENDRIX
4.54 | 23 ratings
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SOFT MACHINE Grides Album Cover Grides
SOFT MACHINE
4.69 | 9 ratings
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KING CRIMSON Red Album Cover Red
KING CRIMSON
4.48 | 25 ratings
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FRANK ZAPPA Over-Nite Sensation (The Mothers) Album Cover Over-Nite Sensation (The Mothers)
FRANK ZAPPA
4.46 | 28 ratings
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HATFIELD AND THE NORTH Hatfield and the North Album Cover Hatfield and the North
HATFIELD AND THE NORTH
4.51 | 18 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 rock Music Reviews

AREA 1978 Gli Dei Se Ne Vanno, Gli Arrabbiati Restano!

Album · 1978 · Jazz Related Rock
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siLLy puPPy
The bizarre musical outfit known as AREA who was one of the most unique entities to emerge from the avant-prog and jazz-fusion scene in Italy continued their string of challenging and eclectic releases with their fifth studio album 1978 GLI DEI SE NE VANNO, GLI ARRABBIATI RESTANO which translates into “The gods depart and the angry ones remain!” This album immediately sounds like AREA but it also feels different than the previous four and there are legit reasons. Firstly Paolo Tofani had left as guitarist and there is less guitar as a result. Bassist Ares Tavolazzi picks up any needed guitar parts on this which mostly shine through as acoustic. They are now a quartet and there also lacks the ensemble of guest musicians who helped out previously. Demetrio Stratos also contributes as a composer on GLI DEI... something he had not done before.

The feel of this album is totally different. Many of the songs seem to be more accessible. There are plenty of avant-jazz passages and frenzied instrumental “noodling” to be found but the tracks are primarily composed of catchier melodies more akin to “Crac” than the other albums but even more so by incorporating funky disco and poppy fol and even some Mothers inspired doowop. The tempo is slower on this one with fewer blitzkrieg fusion attacks but not totally devoid of them either.

AREA is one of my faves because I really love their uniqueness and fearless approach but I have to admit that on this album it starts to feel like they are beginning to recycle many of their ideas and that they are one album away from becoming a total parody of themselves. Thankfully that doesn't happen here as there are plenty of fresh influences to keep this album interesting from beginning to start. Although I don't understand Italian fluently I don't mind the spoken parts as the vocal style is so emotive as to convey the mood of what's being said.

Sadly this would be the last album with Demetrio Stratos before he died from complications caused by a severe case of aplastic anemia at the age of 34. It is so sad that such a talent was taken from the world but at the very least the band was wise enough not to try to replace the irreplaceable and decided to call it quits keeping the legacy from falling into mediocrity like many innovative bands from the 70s did. This album, while not their best, is still an excellent addition to any avant-prog lover's collection but I do recommend skipping the horrible all instrumental album “Tic & Tac” that several members released under the AREA name a few years later.

AREA Maledetti (maudits)

Album · 1976 · Jazz Related Rock
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siLLy puPPy
Although many artists in the 70s were recording albums in English, most of the Italian groups including AREA continued to use their native language. One of the plights of this decision is for non-Italian speakers to be utterly clueless what the album is about. Not speaking much of the lingo I formed my opinion solely on the music. What a surprise to learn that this is actually a concept album about an imaginary bank in which history is stored and loses data from the 15th century causing people to forget how to govern the world. The outcome of which leads to society learning how to divide power amongst the different demographics. Hmmm. More socialist proganda? Maybe....

Did that change my perception of this album? Well, YES! and it made me appreciate that AREA was an even more complex band that I thought and made me realize how much we can miss when taking an album out of the context of its place and time. What once seemed like random and chaotic tracks now seem like they were placed there for a reason.

About this album! AREA continue their strange mish-mash of rock, jazz, Balkan and Mediterranean music that separated them from other prog acts of the day. MALEDETTI incorporated all of the elements that made up their sound and went the experimental route once again. After a spoken word opener (in Italian) that explains the evaporation of information we get a rather straight forward jazz-fusion track “Diforisma Urbano,” followed by “Gerontocrazia” which incorporates a txalaparta (a Basque xylophone type instrument) to the mix. This is a track that Mr Stratos really steps up to the plate and delivers a stunning vocal performance. “Scum” is a track that is clearly inspired by the jazz classics but takes it into a frenetic and ecstatic state of virtuosity. “Il massacro di Brandeburgo numero tre in sol maggiore” is the most unexpected track in all of AREA's disocraphy. It is an excerpt of J.S. Bach's Brandenburg Concerto. WTF?!! After that unexpected tidbit we continue with “Giro, Giro, Tondo.” This is yet another ecstatic jazz-fusion fest which everyone shines especially keyboardist Patrizio Fariselli. The last track “Caos (parte seconda)” is probably the track that leaves most casual listeners alienated and running for the hills. This is one of the strangest tracks on the album. It is indeed a piece of musical insanity but there is a bass piano piece that is the underpinning of the whole thing (kinda reminds me of The Pink Panther theme). Very wild and has something to do about the whole structured system falling apart.

In conclusion, this album started out as a 4 star album but after many listens and then another few after the discovery that it is a concept album I have to say this has weaseled itself into my heart as the 4th masterpiece in a row. The details are dizzifying. Just read the amount of guest musicians and instruments involved in the whole thing. AREA continue to make me believe they were one of the best musical entities of the ages. I wish I knew Italian better so I could understand their lyrics. This album requires multiple listens and dedication to appreciate it. Sorry, no easy listening with this one.

JAM IT! Following the Unknown

Album · 2015 · Jazz Related Rock
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snobb
Three decades ago one great Russian rock musician sung "It's time for retirement, I'm tired to be an rock'n'roll ambassador in non-rhythmic country...". It was pretty much a pose though - in a country under strict Communists control rock music has been banned,but at the same time it was absolutely dominating religion of younger generation, far ahead of Orthodox Christianity or Communism dogmas.

Things changed a bit during these decades - rock isn't under the ban in today's Russia(at least till it doesn't criticize ruling regime too openly) and it's hardly a new religion anymore.But the country is same "non-rhythmic" - centuries of cultural history with absolute domination of melodic/emotive content against any rhythmic elements in folklore are too influential legacy to accept fast changes even in modern time.Then it's not strange at all that instrumental rock bands aren't national heroes there, even more - it's a small miracle that time to time Russia gives to the world classy instrumental rock music.

Few years ago it was Alko Trio - excellent heavy fusion collective, that silently faded away without any notable recognition. Jam It! are a new generation quartet,based in most European of Russian cities - St.Petersburg.

Guys mention Dream Theater and related projects as their main inspiration,and one can hear it - as well as many other influences in quartet's music. Complex, well played and technically no-nonsense,it contains 80s heavy progressive metal tradition, but (for good) doesn't misuse aggressiveness and heaviness as main components, oppositely - it sounds surprisingly light (but far not lightweight)and bright.

Tunes (probably coming more from classical legacy than from rock) and jazz fusion influences are obvious, and as a result whole album represents perfect balance between complexity and accessibility, rock energy and jazzy improvisational creativity,melodic and rhythmic.

Being a step ahead from classic Dream Theater early works in sense of modernity, quartet is obviously influenced by 80s King Crimson angular rhythmic constructions and their renown "loud/silent" repetitive shifts.

But most of all their music attracts by its immediacy and even freshness - in this field Jam It! are way ahead from many still active "big names" and their influences,who often sound tired to death with playing what they are playing again and again.

And at the end - excellent cover art, distancing musical content from classical progressive metal tradition towards more modern aesthetics, perfectly fits to their music.Bravo!

YES Fragile

Album · 1971 · Jazz Related Rock
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siLLy puPPy
In 1971 YES was riding the prog wave by releasing not just one but two classics that year. After going through several lineup changes it was time for yet another. Tony Kaye was asked to leave the band for not wanting to adapt to the group’s ever expanding musical vision and incorporating more modern keyboard sounds to the mix and as a result the band scouted out Strawbs keyboardist Rick Wakeman cementing the band’s most famous and celebrated of lineups in their several decade career. Noticeably different between “The Yes Album” and FRAGILE is on the former it had a bluegrass and countrified feel at times whereas with the addition of the classically trained Wakeman, the emphasis is much more in the classical music arena but plenty of jazz related influences can be found as well especially in Bill Bruford's excellent drumming department.

This album marked huge success in the YES world. The album proved the power of prog and its holy progginess hit the top 10 on the Billboard album charts and even spawned a top 40 hit with “Roundabout.” FRAGILE also marks a new beginning with Roger Dean hopping on board to create his fantasy inspired artwork which would be a staple of the band throughout the 70s. Without doubt the album cover and title are inspired by the recently invented Earth Day and the global awareness of just how delicate and FRAGILE the life support systems on this planet can be.

The album does have one thing in common with “The Yes Album.” The four longer full band tracks alternate with five shorter tracks that each member of the band contributed as to give each member a glimpse into their musical vision that isn’t always apparent when melding in a band situation. The idea was conjured up more for a money saving one than an act of brilliance because it saved time and money in the recording process. Consequently the album may sound a little disjointed but after listening to this for years i have kinda come to the point where it is ok and i actually like the turbulent changes ranging from Wakeman’s Brahms cover (Cans And Brahms), to Anderson’s vocal dubbing fantasy (We Have Heaven), to Bruford’s 4/4 timing with proggy-to-the-max dressing (Five Per Cent For Nothing) and Howe’s beautiful classical guitar piece (Mood For A Day).

The longer tracks, “Roundabout,” “Long Distance Roundabout” and “Heart Of The Sunrise” have to be some of the most catchy sounding progressive music ever! Each delivers a different mood mixing beautiful melodies with hearty instrumental workouts. The new lineup melds well together and although this album could be deemed a rehearsal for the following more sophisticated albums, FRAGILE works wonderfully in its own right providing yet another transitory experience in the fluidity of YES’ ever-changing career. This is one of my first prog albums so it has that specialness attached as well, but even listening to it now with a more objective ear, it rings a uniqueness and warmth that very few other albums in history do.

TORTOISE Standards

Album · 2001 · Jazz Related Rock
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siLLy puPPy
TORTOISE doesn't believe in stagnation. They have proved from album to album that they are only interested in experimenting in any direction they please. With their fourth album STANDARDS they make avant-garde and experimental rock even weirder and more extreme than previous releases. While they can still be classified as a post-rock act, they have a much looser approach to their music this time around borrowing equally from free form jazz and electronic sound effects all sewn together with a post-production effect. In fact it all kinda makes me think of a trippy electronic band like Coil who delved into the avant-garde jazz world. It is all fairly mellow so don't expect energetic outbursts or anything of the sort.

The music is just weird! It has interesting electronic beats competing with jazzy lounge music and at times the different parts seem to drift off into their own worlds creating a detached sounding wild ride but it usually comes back together somehow. There is a whole random feel to this album as well as it meanders from track to track with little keeping a unifying feel but somehow all being alien enough to make you feel like you are walking through a giant forest of bizarre plant-like creatures on another world where carbon isn't the main bonding element in organic chemistry.

It took many more listens to get into this one as opposed to the albums that came before but it did click with me after I accepted its bizarre charm and adapted to the strangeness that unfolds. TORTOISE prove to me again that they are a unique musical outfit that demands new directions with every move they make and if you have what it takes to keep up with their ambitiousness then you will not be disappointed by this strange concoction of post-rock gone astray.

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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