Jazz Related Rock

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

The appearance of rock had a massive effect on jazz that was both disaterous to the old guard, and 'electrifying' to those seeking change. Over the years, some rock artists have had a stronger effect on the development of jazz than many jazz artists. Here at JMA we pay tribute to those influential rock artists, as well as to those rock artists who draw a lot of respect from the jazz world, with our genre called Jazz Related Rock. Jimi Hendrix is the epitome of a rock musician who had a major impact on jazz.

jazz related rock top albums

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

FRANK ZAPPA The Grand Wazoo (The Mothers) Album Cover The Grand Wazoo (The Mothers)
FRANK ZAPPA
4.67 | 33 ratings
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SOFT MACHINE Third Album Cover Third
SOFT MACHINE
4.62 | 47 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
4.61 | 31 ratings
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FRANK ZAPPA Over-Nite Sensation (The Mothers) Album Cover Over-Nite Sensation (The Mothers)
FRANK ZAPPA
4.58 | 25 ratings
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FRANK ZAPPA Hot Rats Album Cover Hot Rats
FRANK ZAPPA
4.51 | 45 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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FRANK ZAPPA Waka/Jawaka Album Cover Waka/Jawaka
FRANK ZAPPA
4.55 | 20 ratings
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AREA Arbeit Macht Frei (Il Lavoro Rende Liberi) Album Cover Arbeit Macht Frei (Il Lavoro Rende Liberi)
AREA
4.61 | 13 ratings
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SOFT MACHINE Grides Album Cover Grides
SOFT MACHINE
4.69 | 9 ratings
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FRANK ZAPPA Shut Up 'n Play Yer Guitar Album Cover Shut Up 'n Play Yer Guitar
FRANK ZAPPA
4.83 | 5 ratings
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NATIONAL HEALTH National Health Album Cover National Health
NATIONAL HEALTH
4.57 | 9 ratings
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FRANK ZAPPA Imaginary Diseases Album Cover Imaginary Diseases
FRANK ZAPPA
4.89 | 4 ratings
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jazz related rock Music Reviews

JACK BRUCE Harmony Row

Album · 1971 · Jazz Related Rock
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Sean Trane
Third album from JB, but this time, he drops the Colosseum connection to snatch some Nucleus (Ian Carr’s band) members, just at the time where the band’s original line-up was imploding. To say the least, despite both having played on JB’s Tailor album, John Marshall and Chris Spedding are relatively odd choices, given the album’s shorter song format. I’ve always failed to see the link of the album’s relatively positive title and its dreary artwork, and to be honest, the album’s all-too-wordy nature (it seems that Pete Brown was never this loquacious) always discouraged me of investigating further. As usual, JB sings, plays keys and bass.

A few songs have a hard time hiding their inspiration (or is it that they inspired someone else’s?) and sometimes, JB evens sounds a tad Cat Stevens-ish in Folk Song; while some songwriting is definitely kistchy and disputable: Royal Wood and the closing almost-stinky Spanish-crooner Consul At Sunset. And it’s in the simpler more RnR songs that JB’s often-too busy bass playing is mostly evident, as Letter Of Thanks proves. Among the album’s highlights is the impressive and adventurous Morning Story, and while the vocals of Smiles And Grins might just be a little rough/harsh, the playing is brilliant.

Harmony Row has always been an album I’ve felt uncomfortable with, partly because it isn’t all that accessible, too much all over the map, and even noisy in parts. To be honest, if it wasn’t for the album’s two longer songs, I’d give it a much smaller rating.

JACK BRUCE Songs for a Tailor

Album · 1969 · Jazz Related Rock
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Sean Trane
Fresh out of Cream, JAcj Bruce went out shopping for heavy friends to make his debut solo album, and one can only be impressed by who he managed to lure back in the studio. Outside Harry Georgesson (only present on the opening track, but remember Goodbye’s Badge song?), we also find Swinging London jazz-scene stalwarts jazzers Harry Beckett and Henry Lowther (both on trumpet) and Art Themen (sax). From another side of JB’s alumni, Colosseum dudes DHS (sax) and Hiseman (who had replaced Jack and Ginger in Graham Bond’s ORGANization), and Chris Spedding (most likely via lyricist Pete Brown’s Ornaments), future Nucleus drummer John Marshall (then with Graham Collier) and finally Papparlardi (the Mountain man and Cream producer). Heavy friends, uh?? Gladly the really heavy dude Leslie West was out of reach ;o))). As for the megalomaniac JB, he sings, basses, pianoes, organs and even cellos on one track.

SFAT is actually JB’s second album, since TWL was recorded in 68, but only released two years later (after the present), and this “debut” album is filled with songs intended for Cream but unused, due to that band’s early demise. And in some ways, despite some sometimes drastically different arrangements, it’s clear that some tracks could’ve been featured on any of the last three Cream releases, but it’s hardly a rule of thumb. Take away the brass from the opener Never Tell, and you’ve got an almost-classic Cream tune. Other Cream-related tunes are Weird Of Hermiston, Boston Ball and Clearout, all three written during the Cream-lifetime, but neither are particularly strong (IMHO), but two of them features the heavy brass section.

You’ll also find two of JB/PB tunes that have been most inspirational to loads f musicians (including Colosseum, who used both tracks in their live shows) like Imaginary Western and Rope Ladder, both could’ve been Cream numbers, but here dramatically changed, the latter featuring Jack’s cello talents. Ministry Of Bag and Richmond are average, but don’t feel like fillers. Isengard’s intro is the album’s most acoustic moment and it also features Felix on vocals alongside JB, but halfway in JB’s bass comes unleashed and Spedding’s guitar follows

The album’s title was a dedication to Jeannie Franklin, a hip LA tailor that made clothes for cream and that died in the Fairport Convention van accident that also killed drummer Lamble. SFAT is JB’s most emblematic solo album, but don’t expect loads of Cream histrionics or even TW’s Lifetime delirium. This is a bunch of fairly-short songs (max 3:30, except for the lengthier Isengard), but little space for major solos. The album is relatively uneven (read too diverse to be really cohesive), but has no real weakness either, and is certainly an important release for its time, and has managed to remain in the publics’ subconscious ever since.

TONTON MACOUTE Tonton Macoute

Album · 1971 · Jazz Related Rock
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siLLy puPPy
TONTON MACOUTE released their sole album in 1971 on RCA's shortlived progressive Neon label (which also hosted Spring, Indian Summer and Dando Shaft). The band started out in 1968 when Nigel Reveler (drums) and Paul French (vocals, keyboards, vibes) answered an ad in a magazine and joined up with Chris Gavin (bass, guitars) and Dave Knowles (alto/tenor saxes, flute, clarinet). After several label changes they finally landed their debut album on Neon.

The name was taken from a Haitian paramilitary force created in 1959 which was known for its reign of terror, so what an unlikely name for a band that delivers some of the most breezy and pleasant music that I would refer to as the Camel of jazz-fusion because they only deliver highly soft, melodic and light breezy bluesy jazz-fusion that was in stark contrast to the heavyweights of the era. Traffic and even Chicago come to mind at times. Many of the tracks are long and complex but all are different from one another.

The beginning track “Just Like A Stone” sets the relaxed flute and organ dominated sound that sets the mood of the entire album. The rest of the album follows suit with interesting interplay between the wind intruments, the piano/organ, guitars and bass with occasional vibes. Great riffs, excellent melodies and sizzling solos. Unfortunately the band and the label both went under shortly after this interesting debut. Although this isn't the OMG long lost obscurity that everyone hopes to find, it is nevertheless a very satisfying listen that definitely deserves to have the dust blown off of it.

FRANK ZAPPA Sheik Yerbouti

Live album · 1979 · Jazz Related Rock
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Chicapah
In 1977 Frank Zappa’s contract with Warner Brothers ended and he finally got the unfettered freedom that he’d been yearning to have for years. “Sheik Yerbouti” was the first release on Zappa Records and I get the feeling that Frank wanted to celebrate the occasion by having some fun. While many might consider this double LP too frivolous I beg to differ. The man’s humorous side was never hidden from public view so to expect him to conceal it as if it were something he was ashamed of is to dismiss a huge part of his personality for no good reason. For those inclined to limit themselves to his more “serious” endeavors there’s plenty of albums available that more readily accentuate Zappa’s adventurous jazz/rock fusion explorations but I think to do so hampers one’s ability to completely understand his genius. This wasn’t just some wise guy with distinctive facial hair who surrounded himself with eclectic collections of musical virtuosos, this was FRANK ZAPPA! He was openly rebellious and to expect him to play by the rules was pure folly. This is no masterpiece of prog rock or modern jazz but I doubt that he was trying to make one this time around. I think he just wanted to reiterate to the industry that in his realm there were no sacred cows to be revered and, by combining live tracks with studio add-ons and effects, demonstrate that he refused to be restricted or corralled by traditional methodology. “Sheik Yerbouti” displays splendidly the mixture of wit and immense talent that made Frank the stellar, one-of-a-kind 20th century savant who influenced millions of musicians worldwide during his too-short 52 years on Terra Firma.

The first five cuts are a non-stop medley of tunes that appear to be a lampoon of the trends that surfaced and thrived (at least for a while) during the 70s, starting with a hilarious send up of R&B Doo-Wop sensibilities entitled “I Have Been in You.” I find the crude lyrics and the high-pitched backup vocals to be an absolute hoot because Motown was never this brutally honest about sex although they sang about it all the time. From there he cruises into “Flakes,” a great skewering of Californians in general coupled with proggy interludes and rhythm guitarist Adrian Belew’s faux Bob Dylanisms that only the mind of Mr. Zappa could make work. “Broken Hearts are for Assholes” is next, a rocking stab at the New Wave movement that also gives a wink to the pretentious performance artists of that era via free-form word association. “I’m So Cute” then barges in. It reminds me of some of the silly British glam acts that tried so hard to be outrageous but were only successful at becoming ridiculously dated. The southern-fried boogie craze gets its turn on the grill with “Jones Crusher,” a driving number faithfully rendered complete with inane words and an overblown concert finale. “Whatever Happened to All the Fun in the World?” is the first of several brief forays into an abstract dimension that’ll give you cause to grin. It’s not all vaudeville, though. On “Rat Tomago” Frank cuts loose on the fret board and proceeds to dazzle and stun your ears with his inimitable axe-wielding ferocity. It’s pretty much a droning on-stage jam but who cares when the guitar playing is this fierce? “Wait a Minute” is another short spasm of incidental hijinks. Those of the politically correct persuasion had best skip “Bobby Brown Goes Down,” a bold slice of satire that’s bound to offend the sensitive. My opinion is that if you can’t enjoy a chuckle over this song then you’re taking yourself way too seriously (Something Zappa avoided like the plague.) Lighten up, for heaven’s sake.

“Rubber Shirt” is an experimental detour into jazz land where Terry Bozzio’s drums and Patrick O’Hearn’s bass guitar roam free. Frank, ever the mad scientist, combined two totally unrelated tracks to construct something intriguing. It goes to show that he was never afraid to “put it all out there.” He wasn’t as concerned about the common man’s acceptance of his fearless craft as he was of staying true to it. “The Sheik Yerbouti Tango” is a strange journey into Latino territory where Zappa colors far outside the well-defined lines. It’s definitely not for the musically conservative ear. On the odd little ditty, “Baby Snakes,” it’s back to unapologetic funny business for a few minutes. “Tryin’ to Grow a Chin” is a sly poke at rock & roll theatrical productions. (Makes me wonder what FZ would’ve thought of extravaganzas like the recent insipid “Rock of Ages” stage show and movie.) “City of Tiny Lites” is a prime example of why there’ll never be another Frank. It’s a tightly-compacted conglomerate of rock, prog, funk, jazz and humor that’s a testament to his unmitigated gall. “Dancin’ Fool” follows, an incredibly spot-on swipe at the vapid disco phenomenon. (The tune actually crossed over into dance clubs for a spell in ’79 to Zappa’s astonishment.) “Jewish Princess” is Spike Jones on LSD. Sometimes making music can be made for no other purpose than to elicit a giggle or two and I’m okay with that. Let it be exactly what it is and don’t overanalyze. “Wild Love” is a highly complex, intricate arrangement of musical passages and assorted absurdities that defies description. Think jazz/rock fusion tossed in a blender. The album ends with 12:36 of “Yo Mama,” an epic that showcases Frank’s progressive leanings eloquently. Here structure and spontaneity get swirled together brilliantly. I realize that a lot of folks won’t “get it” but I’m glad that I do. It’s greatness.

“Sheik Yerbouti” went on to become Zappa’s biggest seller. It rose to #21 on the LP charts and, to date, has sold over 2 million copies. Not bad for an anti-establishment non-conformist. While I can dig that this stuff ain’t for everybody I think it’s still better than most of the self-righteous garbage I hear on radio and TV today. No one dares to be sarcastic anymore for fear of reprisals from the right or left and that’s a shame because we need to be reminded from time to time that we’re all crazy, neurotic messes that don’t seem to know when to take a chill pill and have a good laugh at ourselves. Frank Zappa took on that dirty job with pleasure and, in hindsight, it’s obvious that he didn’t scar anybody for life with his playful jabs. “Sheik Yerbouti” is a harmless yet entertaining escape from the hum drum.

OZRIC TENTACLES Arborescence

Album · 1994 · Jazz Related Rock
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Miler72
Might as well review the very first Ozric CD I ever bought, this was in 1997, I saw this one, as well as Jurassic Shift, both the American pressings on IRS, and I never regretted it! I was just so blown away to see a 1990s band of this quality. This one is often though of in a lesser light compared to Jurassic Shift, but in my opinion, it's one of their best! They take on a bit more guitar-oriented approach this time around, but Joie Hinton (and Ed Wynne) still provides some nice spacy synths to go with it, on top of Ed's over-the-top guitar playing. "Astro Cortex" is Ozrics at your most typical, heavy on guitar with spacy synths to go with it. The guitar playing borders on heavy metal. "Yog-Bar-Og" is a real interesting piece where it goes through several changes, including a really nice spacy synth solo. The title track has a real nice ambient feel it with, while "Al-Salooq", unsurprisingly has a Middle Easter feel to it. "Dance of the Loomi" has a more techno feel to it, a nice spacy synth rhythm to it, while "Myriapod" has more of that rocking Ozric feel. "There's a Planet Here" is another ambient piece where Zia Geelani gives some nice bass lines to go with it, while "Shima Koto" has more of a Japanese influence. I have often felt Ozrics make perfect nighttime listening, and they often come up with this mystical vibe I so love, so perfect at night. Thanks to this, and Jurassic Shift, it was no surprise that I dug deeper into the Ozrics catalog, and waiting for new releases when they came my way. I know many people believe the Ozrics have played the same song for 30 years now, but for me, they really delighted me with some of the finest space rock ever. Arborescence comes highly recommended.

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.

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