Modern Jazz

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Showing only albums and live's | Based on members ratings & JMA custom algorithm | 5 min. caching

MILES DAVIS Kind of Blue Album Cover Kind of Blue
MILES DAVIS
4.92 | 97 ratings
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CHARLES MINGUS The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady Album Cover The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady
CHARLES MINGUS
4.88 | 52 ratings
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JOHN COLTRANE A Love Supreme Album Cover A Love Supreme
JOHN COLTRANE
4.86 | 72 ratings
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MCCOY TYNER Sahara Album Cover Sahara
MCCOY TYNER
4.97 | 12 ratings
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MILES DAVIS Miles Smiles Album Cover Miles Smiles
MILES DAVIS
4.78 | 31 ratings
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ERIC DOLPHY 'Out to Lunch!' Album Cover 'Out to Lunch!'
ERIC DOLPHY
4.76 | 43 ratings
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JOHN COLTRANE Giant Steps Album Cover Giant Steps
JOHN COLTRANE
4.76 | 46 ratings
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MILES DAVIS 'Round About Midnight (aka Miles Davis) Album Cover 'Round About Midnight (aka Miles Davis)
MILES DAVIS
4.78 | 27 ratings
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LEE MORGAN Search for the New Land Album Cover Search for the New Land
LEE MORGAN
4.88 | 11 ratings
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ALICE COLTRANE Ptah, the El Daoud Album Cover Ptah, the El Daoud
ALICE COLTRANE
4.79 | 24 ratings
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CHARLES MINGUS Let My Children Hear Music Album Cover Let My Children Hear Music
CHARLES MINGUS
4.82 | 14 ratings
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ESBJÖRN SVENSSON TRIO Live in Hamburg Album Cover Live in Hamburg
ESBJÖRN SVENSSON TRIO
4.94 | 7 ratings
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modern jazz Music Reviews

KIRK KNUFFKE Garden of Gifts

Album · 2009 · Avant-Garde Jazz
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snobb
Originally from Colorado, but Brooklyn-based for last decade,cornetist Kirk Knuffke is a musician who belongs to leading representatives of younger New York jazz scene of today."Garden Of Gifts" is his second album, released six years ago - being still relatively unknown newcomer.

Recorded in another trio's member,Italian improvisational drummer Federico Ughi Brooklyn house (and with Federico's made photo used as cover art), this album is already very much Knuffke work. Judging by the cover this album can contain whatever you want - from esoteric electronics noodling to free-form lo-fi nature-friendly sound salad to soundtrack to National Geographic themes. Fortunately, it doesn't.

It's a Knuffke lively colorful trumpet what brings sense and beauty in the trio's music. Still very slow, atmospheric, even sad in moments,this music surprisingly avoids being bulky,repetitive or monotonous. There are no regular structure, rhythm frame or obvious direction here, but all compositions are no way static, there is permanent flow and ever-changing actions. Knuffke's trumpet sounds in best Bill Dixon tradition filling quite liquid space with bits and snippets of tunes.

Third trio member Chris Welcome's guitar produces some abstract sounds here and there,adding more surrealistic colors to drummer's build dense basis. In all this album is surprisingly accessible for free-form musical recording and avoids loud and dissonant sounds,making it attractive for wider circle of listeners. Not properly noticed and evaluated at the time of release, "Garden Of Gifts" requires a second chance and I expect it can be really positively accepted by many fans of more current and much better known Kirk Knuffke music.

CHARLES KYNARD Woga

Album · 1972 · Funk Jazz
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Rokukai
Charles Kynard never burns like his Hammond B3 contemporaries, but he has the funkiest band around. Chuck Rainey and Paul Humphrey highlight a crack band that funktify jazz like few others. "Slop Jar" "Rock Steady" and especially the extended album closer "Shout" highlight this tremendously underrated set. Beat aficianados and crate diggers are sure to find a ton to like in this gem. Charles Kynard didn't record too often, and listening to this album one wonders if he couldn't have had a career renaissance like Dr Lonnie Smith or Jimmy McGriff. The badass looking black dude wearing headphones on the cover addsl appeal.

See if your local vinyl store has it.

THE GREYBOY ALLSTARS West Coast Boogaloo (with Fred Wesley)

Album · 1995 · Funk Jazz
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Rokukai
The Greyboy AllStars debut album, West Coast Boogaloo, is a fresh reinvention of an old jazz theme - chill grooves fortified with killer musicianship make for great listening. in 2016, these guys are well known. In 1995, it was the presence of Fred Wesley of James Brown fame that lent name credibility to this project. It still went unnoticed, but is a terrific addition to those who like their jazz straight with a smooth chaser. "Tenor Man" would become saxman Karl Denson's signature song. These guys have become legends on the jam band circuit. The more jazz less funk formula works for them. This album should interest all collectors from the Sonny Stitt/Groove Holmes/Rusty Bryant Prestige Records era of the '60's and '70's. Wesley is in top form and his funky jazz chops blend well with the young musicians from California.

BOBBY PREVITE The Coalition of the Willing

Album · 2006 · (Post-70s) Eclectic Fusion
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Rokukai
All one needs to know for a hell of a rock inspired jazz roll is a little background and a look at the credits

Drums, Percussion – Bobby Previte,Stanton Moore Guitar [Electric,12-string,Slide], Bass [Electric] – Charlie Hunter Harmonica – Stew Cutler Organ [Hammond], Bass [Electric] – Jamie Saft Saxophone [Tenor] – Skerik Trumpet – Steve Bernstein Tambourine [Occasional] – Dark Star

To know this has the makings of a true classic. Inspired by allout jazz musicians and their fondness for classic rock energy, this album rises above the rest and truly brings fusion to the contemporary scene. Any fan of the collision of rock and jazz should look listen to this and turn it up to 11. The Coalition of the Willing did several gigs in NYC that can be found on Internet Archive for nothing. Run to it.

DR LONNIE SMITH Funk Reaction

Album · 1977 · Soul Jazz
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Rokukai
(Dr) Lonnie Smith had settled into funky lite fuzak by the end of the seventies, trying his best to appeal to the jazz buying masses. Smith's appeal is his tasteful, elegant delivery of properly chosen and, most often, composed material. As with most of his output from the mid 1970's The Doctor's keyboards never dominate this session. It reads as super chill starsky and hutch type lounge music. While performed expertly, it can seem a little stale on the palettes of some. Sax Solos on "Bobbitt's Other Song" and "For the Love of It" add energy to this almost lost jazzfunkssoul gem/typical late seventies record riding the waves generated by Herbie Hancock and a host of others. The good news for the weary is there's no dabbling in disco, as Lonnie does on his next, and last record for sixteen years. The cover art adds to the cheese factor.

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WEATHER REPORT Live in Germany 1971

Movie · 2010 · Classic Fusion
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Sean Trane
Well if the world still has to find some live recording from the very first studio all-star line-up (not likely, though), at least we've got now something very close to and we can even see the quintet at work with this just-as-famous version in the form of a German TV show called the Beat Club. With only Airto Moreira gone, replaced by Brazilian countryman Um Romao, the other four being Vitous, Shorter, Mouzon and Zawinul, Weather Report embarked on this TV show adventure not knowing that Alphonse Mouzon would leave the band in a while.

As you'd expect this broadcast consisted mainly of tracks from the debut album, but some are fairly different as WR always made improvisation their force. So you'll recognize 'Umbrellas generic structure, but drafted fairly differently, not just because of Romao's constant change of percussions instruments - he's one of the visual focus of the group, who otherwise remains fairly static and even blows a flute (and later some whistles) for a short while. One of the big difference between the studio album and this broadcast is that Miroslav has taken up the electric bass (his contrabass is still very present but mainly played with a bow), thus allowing even more energy to invade the quintet's shared space. The group's steaming-hot improvised fusion is simply awesome and flows naturally from your speakers like a river of fresh lave spewing out from your volcanic woofers.

Clearly the gravitational centre of the band is Zawinul's Rhodes, but it is clear that it is the group's tightness its main force. Morning Lake is much needed breathing space, starting out slowly with Shorter's sax signalling the dawn for Romao's birdsongs. Just past that Dom pulls an Brazilian berimbau . Drummer Alphonse sings funkilly (rather well, too) a rare sung track in the closing medley, but it's will veer into the Dr Honoris Causa - later on the Body Electric album.

A while later, Mouzon would leave the band and be replaced by drummer Erik Gravatt and this line-up would go on to record Body Electric and the Tokyo concert (released in 77, but part of it in the ISTBE album) and in the process become the definitive line-up of the Vitous- era Weather Report But for now, this German TV broadcast is an inestimable witness of the group's almost original line-up, and is just as essential as their debut album, the Tokyo concert or Body Electric.Too bad it's relatively short, though. Run for this baby...

MEDESKI MARTIN AND WOOD Fly In A Bottle

Movie · 2011 · (Post-70s) Eclectic Fusion
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js
“Fly in a Bottle” is a documentary that follows Medeski, Martin and Wood while they are on tour developing the music that will become “Radiolarians”, as well as some of the recording sessions for that same album. The music on here is excellent, MM&W have a come a long way over the years. They were always a talented band from the start, but their confidence has grown. The funky tunes are funkier than ever, and the psychedelic jazz-rock tunes are more powerful, imaginative and original. Almost any music fan might enjoy watching their concerts and even some of their recording sessions, but a lot of the rest of this DVD is for hardcore fans only.

Along with the footage of MM&W playing music, you also get a lot of footage of them on tour visiting ecological tourist spots and talking, hanging out etc, which is where I think a lot of non-fans will probably start losing interest. They seem like nice sincere guys, but they aren’t particularly entertaining or charismatic, which is often the case with nice sincere guys. There are also some artsy short videos that follow the main feature, some more entertaining than others. Fans of MM&W may want to pick this up, it’s a well-made video and the music is excellent, but non-fans may find this lacking in substance in places.

DIXIE DREGS Live At The Montreaux Jazz Festival

Movie · 2005 · Classic Fusion
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Slartibartfast
This was the Dixie Dregs lineup that I first come to know live and otherwise. The Montreaux Jazz Festival performance was used for side two of the LP Night of the Living Dregs. I had no idea the concert was filmed. This represents the band at their prime. Keyboardist Mark Parrish, would soon be replaced by T Lavitz, who is a better keyboard player, but this as this performance testifies, he was no slouch either. Oddly enough, the back cover of this DVD shows a band picture with the original keyboardist from Freefall, Steve Davidowski (guess there was only room for one Steve in this band). Steve Morse was at his most inspired around this time, even though he has certainly grown in skill over the years.

The set list is a little disappointing as it lacks some of the prime cuts from What If (Night Meets Light, Odyssey, Travel Tunes, What If), but I'm not complaining. Now I have something more than just memories of the many Dregs shows I saw back then. It is more of a forward looking set which includes Attila The Hun, that didn't show up on an album until three years later. Also of note, but of less interest to progressive rock fans, is the bluegrass style ditty, Kathreen, never released on a regular album, but only showed up on their demo album, The Great Spectacular, from 1975. If you have a copy of that album, you have something rare, indeed.

Thrown in for bonus are two live TV appearances, one on American Can'tstand (Bandstand) and one on Don Kirschner's Rock Concert. On the former, you get to see them both try out a vocalist, in an attempt to appeal to a more mainstream audience, and with Mark O'Connor, who only played with them for one album, but a few great live shows before the band disbanded for a few years.

As great as the band studio albums were, the live shows took things to an even higher level. Now you can see what you missed, unless you didn't.

JOHN MCLAUGHLIN Abstract Logix Live! / The New Universe Music Festival 2010

Movie · 2011 · Classic Fusion
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js
Abstract Logix’s New Universe Festival of 2010 was probably one of the more significant fusion concerts in recent history, and it is all captured in excellent form on this concert video. Many of the top names in current fusion are here and what a great varied and colorful approach they all bring to this music that will always be associated with its 70s roots. Ranjit Barot fuses fusion with Indian flavors and orchestral music, Human Element bring back the beautiful noise and chaos that has been absent since the early days of jazz-rock, Wayne Krantz takes on the modern NYC flavor with his harsh jarring free funk, Jimmy Herring plays sentimental, sometimes delicate, progressive rock flavored fusion, and of course the great John McLaughlin rounds it all up with high speed post bop mixed with funk and contemporary fusion. Every single performance is top notch and very convincing in letting us know that there is still plenty of life left in this sometimes maligned genre.

The music on here is great, but the video itself is even better. Its amazing how far concert videos have come over the years. This one is clear as a bell and features lots of accurate close-ups of the musicians as they display their virtuoso skills. They say that fusion is a musician’s music, if that is the case, then this video is a great learning tool for the aspiring player. Much of the footage on here goes right to the source and features the musician’s hands as they work their scales and fret boards. Any aspiring fusionist can pick up a lifetime of high speed licks and extended technique by studying this video and even stop-starting it it frame by frame. Long gone are the days of vague camera angles from way far away and pointless shots of musicians grimacing while they play, this video is all about accuracy and showing you exactly how this music goes down. This is a spirited and enthusiastic concert and highly recommended for fans of modern fusion.

MAHAVISHNU ORCHESTRA Live At Montreux 74/84

Movie · 2007 · Classic Fusion
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Slartibartfast
The 1984 appearance of the MO was a lineup that didn't have any of the previous MO lineup of musicians except for John. Still there was a pretty impressive roster. Jonas Hellborg, on bass, steals the show. I suspect he's been rather influenced by Jaco at this point. Also, we also have Bill Evans, fairly fresh out of his stint saxing with Miles Davis. There's also a fine drummer, Danny Gottlieb, who'd played with Pat Metheny prior. Don't know much about Mitchell Forman. With John experimenting with the Synclavier Guitar so much, the keyboards are almost redundant in this ensemble. I had a hard time sitting through this at first. It definitely has that '80's taint, if you know what I mean. But I've warmed up to it. It's a bit like an attempt to return to the magic of the original lineup that doesn't quite get there. Still, if you judge it in the context of the time, it's not too bad.

I got this for one reason and one reason only, it was the two video bits from the Apocalypse lineup of Mahavishu Orchestra. Actually calling them bits isn't quite accurate. Wings of Karma and Hymn to Him are actually decently long pieces. I was pleasantly surprised to see that they had some actual orchestra musicians with them there at Montreaux. The first inkling I got that there was some live footage from this MO lineup was a poor quality video of Smile of the Beyond on a certain video clip web site many of us know of. It's very disappointing that we only get two clips from the show with video and the rest are audio only. I'm guessing the rest of the original footage has been lost. One can only hope that it will resurface. The performance is a bit more structured than the more compact MO's could be live, but that's to be expected due to the larger number of musician's involved. Still the core band does get to work in some improvisation, McLaughlin in particular.

This release is all in all a pleasant surprise for 2007, but there's more video out there from the older Mahavishu Orchestras, and I hope to see that material surface soon. It gets a four on the round up.

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JMA TOP 5 Jazz ALBUMS

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Albums with 30 ratings and more
Kind of Blue Cool Jazz
MILES DAVIS
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The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady Post Bop
CHARLES MINGUS
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A Love Supreme Post Bop
JOHN COLTRANE
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Miles Smiles Post Bop
MILES DAVIS
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'Out to Lunch!' Avant-Garde Jazz
ERIC DOLPHY
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