Soul Jazz

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Soul jazz is a subset of the hard bop genre and carries the hard bop tendency towards RnB and blues just a bit further. It was the original intention of JMA to list the soul jazz artists in hard bop, but the line was drawn at the bluesy B3 organ players such as Groove Holmes and Jack McDuff. Put simply, soul jazz is instrumental RnB or blues with a swing or funk beat topped with virtuoso jazz solos. You can also find soul jazz artists on JMA in the hard bop, funk jazz, and acid jazz genres.

soul jazz top albums

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

LES MCCANN Swiss Movement (with Eddie Harris) Album Cover Swiss Movement (with Eddie Harris)
LES MCCANN
4.74 | 6 ratings
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ROY AYERS Live at Montreux Jazz Festival Album Cover Live at Montreux Jazz Festival
ROY AYERS
4.95 | 2 ratings
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STANLEY TURRENTINE Blue Hour Album Cover Blue Hour
STANLEY TURRENTINE
4.95 | 2 ratings
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LOU DONALDSON Mr. Shing-A-Ling Album Cover Mr. Shing-A-Ling
LOU DONALDSON
4.95 | 2 ratings
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EDDIE HARRIS Exodus to Jazz Album Cover Exodus to Jazz
EDDIE HARRIS
4.95 | 2 ratings
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EDDIE HARRIS Excursions Album Cover Excursions
EDDIE HARRIS
4.73 | 3 ratings
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REUBEN WILSON Blue Mode Album Cover Blue Mode
REUBEN WILSON
4.73 | 3 ratings
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JOHN PATTON Got a Good Thing Goin' Album Cover Got a Good Thing Goin'
JOHN PATTON
4.72 | 3 ratings
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CANNONBALL ADDERLEY Mercy, Mercy, Mercy! (aka V.I.P.-Jazz 3) Album Cover Mercy, Mercy, Mercy! (aka V.I.P.-Jazz 3)
CANNONBALL ADDERLEY
4.66 | 4 ratings
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MELODIA  ENSEMBLE Labyrinth (Лабиринт) Album Cover Labyrinth (Лабиринт)
MELODIA ENSEMBLE
5.00 | 1 ratings
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JIMMY SMITH Root Down Album Cover Root Down
JIMMY SMITH
4.40 | 8 ratings
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DAVE PIKE Noisy Silence - Gentle Noise Album Cover Noisy Silence - Gentle Noise
DAVE PIKE
4.48 | 3 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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soul jazz Music Reviews

CORNELL DUPREE I'm Alright (aka Doin' Alright)

Album · 2011 · Soul Jazz
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Rokukai
Call it Blues, Jazz, or RandB, this terrific album could be the crown jewel in Cornell Dupree's solo career. Bluesy and funky, this treat seems to hit it's mark square in the bullseye - parts King Curtis, parts Booker T, parts Kenny Burrell, parts Albert Collins - Cornell Dupree is a polished vet who unearthed the rarest gem in the twilight of an outstanding career - a career spanning effort boiled down to eleven songs. I hope fans don't have to wait 13 years for another album, because Dupree could have a renaissance like Booker T, Andre Williams, Loretta Lynn, and Dr. John. I don't know who anybody in the band is but they simmer when they should simmer and boil when they should boil. Props to Dialtone records for ringing this one

"BROTHER" JACK MCDUFF Do It Now!

Album · 1967 · Soul Jazz
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js
There was a lot of change in the air in 1967 when Jack McDuff released “Do it Now”, and that is reflected on many of the tracks on this fine soul jazz disc. In 67 James Brown was still developing the new funk sound, he had already hit us with the semi-funk of “I Feel Good”, but had not quite hit the pure funk heights of “I Got the Feelin” and “Say it Loud”. The first and last cuts on side one of McDuff‘s “Do it Now” are not quite full-on funk jazz numbers, but you can clearly hear the influence of James’ recent hits. In fact, side two closer and title cut, “Do it Now“, sounds like its based on that famous walk down riff from “I Feel Good”.

Along with the two lively proto funk numbers, “Do it Now” also contains two tracks with the expected bluesy hard bop swing, an odd country RnB track, a cheezy rendition of “Summer Samba” and a very interesting album closer called “Mutt and Jeff”. This closing track is a sort of up-tempo post bop, almost avant-garde in its odd chord progressions and semi-free rhythm, it sounds a bit like what Larry Young and Tony Williams will be playing in their new Lifetime group.

So you get the picture, there is a lot of variety on here, but almost every cut is good, with the exception of the overly cute version of “Summer Samba”. McDuff’s playing on here is solid, not his flashiest best, but not watered down either. All of the band members get a turn too, but most of the solos go to Jack. The double horn section and electric guitar go a long way in filling out the sound. Fans of Jack McDuff and 60s soul jazz in general will want to pick this up, this isn’t Jack’s best effort, but its far from his worst either. For McDuff fans seeking Jack at his very best, check out the fiery and somewhat experimental “Heatin System”.

DIZZY GILLESPIE Sweet Soul

Live album · 1977 · Soul Jazz
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js
Dizzy Gillespie started out his career as one of jazz’s most important trailblazing innovators. Like most musicians who stick around long enough, Dizzy’s later career was a mixed bag with the always good-natured Diz willing to participate in endeavors that were sometimes less than stellar, which leads us to this pop-RnB soul jazz LP that is sometimes titled “Sweet Soul”, and other times, “Azure Blue”. Whatever it is titled, it is actually Dizzy's "Soul and Salvation", released in 1969, and it sounds very much like a 60s RnB production geared for am radio and automobile dashboard speakers.

Soul jazz in itself is a genre that ranges from excellent sides by folks like Eddie Harris and Herbie Mann, to pure commercial fluff put out by others. “Sweet Soul” falls somewhere in-between those two extremes with about half the cuts featuring solid RnB/jazz riffs, while the other half can range from trite to outright annoying. The credits on here are very sketchy, but there is a very prominent saxophonist on here who carries most of the melodies and a lot of the solos too, quite possibly it is James Moody, but there are several other saxophonists on here as well as a couple more trumpeters besides Diz.

“Sweet Soul” starts out fairly strong with the first five cuts all being fairly catchy RnB pop songs, third track “Azure Blue” is particularly striking with a great solo from Diz. Track six, “Party Man” introduces one of this album’s biggest faults, wordless vocals (“yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah”) that repeat every couple of bars throughout the entire song in a very mind-numbing fashion. Its really hard to make it through the entire song after you have heard that refrain more than three or four times. A couple more songs also contain the overbearing vocals and as the album wears on you begin to realize that a lot of these songs are very similar to each other. Adding to this album’s cheapness and lack of credibility is this hilariously polite canned applause that starts and ends each song. I seriously doubt this is a “live” record as the applause is exactly the same every time it comes around.

The main plus on here is that Dizzy’s soloing is high energy on every cut, even the banal ones. Fans of rare groove and classic soul jazz may want to pick this up, there are just enough good cuts on here to make it worthwhile, but anyone looking for Gillespie’s outstanding contributions to jazz will want to pick up something from earlier in his career.

HERBIE MANN The Best Of Herbie Mann

Boxset / Compilation · 1970 · Soul Jazz
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js
“The Best of Herbie Mann” is a collection that was put out by Atlantic in 1970 that covered Mann’s years with them during the 60s. This was probably the height of Herbie’s popularity and found him playing a lot of RnB/jazz, as well as Latin Jazz. The focus of this LP is Herbie’s most popular songs, and there are some good cuts on here, but overall this is a fairly uneven record. “Comin Home Baby” is probably his most popular song ever and they put two live versions on here that take up about half the record. Its a fun groovy beatnik number in typical Herbie Mann style, but did we really need two versions.

The rest of the album consists of Herbie’s classic “Memphis Underground”, the high energy RnB of “Philly Dogg” and two Latin numbers. Of the two Latin cuts, “This Little Girl of Mine” is a fun blast of sunshine, but its hard to imagine why they included “A Man and a Woman”. First of all the song has been played to death by others and Herbie barely solos on this one either. Of the two versions of “Comin Home”, the first one is cool and relaxed and the second has a bigger band and a stronger Latin flavor. On both versions Herbie turns in excellent lengthy solos.

The best thing about this record is that you can find it in used record stores for very cheap. Its not a bad record for someone looking for a first try at Herbie’s music, and could be useful to a DJ looking for a vinyl version of “Memphis Underground”, but there are certainly better Herbie Mann records out there.

RICHARD "GROOVE" HOLMES Jazz Milestone Series

Boxset / Compilation · 1966 · Soul Jazz
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js
The “Jazz Milestone Series” was put out by the Pacific records label and was designed to showcase a “best of” series for their various artists. This Groove Holmes album covers the early part of his career when he recorded and performed in LA during the early 60s. The music on here is what we would expect from Holmes, blues based jazz played in swing time, the very early roots of the soul jazz sound. When it comes to the B3 greats, Jimmy Smith has the high speed licks and McGriff and McDuff have the hard edged funk, but Groove Holmes is the master of the swing and the hard driving B3 bass pedals. Most of these cuts are pretty solid, with no particular duds, nor many particular stand-outs either. Side one centers around shorter RnB/gospel flavored tunes, while side two stretches out and gets a little jazzier. Album closer, “Comin’ thru the Apple”, is probably the best with a high speed romp based around the Parker tune of a similar name.

Holmes’ playing sounds great throughout, and there are also many stellar guests including Joe Pass, Ben Webster and Les McCann on piano. That double keyboard sound is real effective on the gospel and RnB flavored numbers. If you are a fan of the early 60s B3 jazz sound and you see this at your local used record shop for a reasonable price, go ahead and pick it up, there are not a lot of surprises on here, but sometimes that’s a good thing.

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Artists with Soul Jazz release(s)

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