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54 reviews/ratings
JOHN COLTRANE - A Love Supreme Post Bop | review permalink
BILL EVANS (PIANO) - Waltz for Debby Cool Jazz | review permalink
HORACE SILVER - The Cape Verdean Blues Hard Bop | review permalink
STAN GETZ - Jazz Samba (with Charlie Byrd) Bossa Nova | review permalink
HERBIE HANCOCK - Maiden Voyage Post Bop | review permalink
BILL EVANS (PIANO) - Sunday at the Village Vanguard (aka Live At The Village Vanguard) Cool Jazz | review permalink
THELONIOUS MONK - Brilliant Corners Hard Bop | review permalink
MILES DAVIS - Kind of Blue Cool Jazz
KEITH JARRETT - Arbour Zena Third Stream | review permalink
MILES DAVIS - Sketches of Spain Third Stream | review permalink
DAVE BRUBECK - Time Out Cool Jazz
SONNY ROLLINS - Saxophone Colossus Hard Bop
MILES DAVIS - Nefertiti Post Bop
JOHN COLTRANE - Giant Steps Hard Bop | review permalink
CHARLES MINGUS - Mingus Ah Um Hard Bop
CANNONBALL ADDERLEY - Somethin' Else Hard Bop
GRANT GREEN - Idle Moments Hard Bop
CHICK COREA - Return to Forever Fusion | review permalink
STAN GETZ - Getz/Gilberto Bossa Nova

See all reviews/ratings

Jazz Genre Nb. Rated Avg. rating
1 Hard Bop 13 4.54
2 Post Bop 11 4.00
3 Cool Jazz 7 4.57
4 Bossa Nova 6 4.00
5 Third Stream 3 4.67
6 Fusion 3 4.50
7 Progressive Big Band 2 4.00
8 Post-Fusion Contemporary 1 3.50
9 Vocal Jazz 1 4.00
10 World Fusion 1 4.00
11 21st Century Modern 1 4.00
12 Afro-Cuban Jazz 1 4.50
13 Jazz Related Gospel 1 3.00
14 Latin Jazz 1 3.50
15 Nu Jazz 1 4.50
16 Pop/Art Song/Folk 1 3.00

Latest Albums Reviews

BILL EVANS (PIANO) Unknown Session (aka Loose Blues)

Album · 1983 · Post Bop
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What originally drew me to the obscure Bill Evans album known as "Loose Blues" was primarily the lineup. This was the first album I'd come across where Bill Evans was playing with the bassist Ron Carter, who I'd known primarily through his work with Miles Davis' second great quartet as well as on other quintessential albums of the 60's. The appearance of Philly Joe Jones on drums wouldn't be a first for Evans.

It came as no surprise from the start of track 1, "Loose Bloose," that the groove created between bass and drums swung significantly stronger than the more airy atmosphere usually created in Bill's more usual rhythm sections. What made the mix all the more interesting was the obvious contrast between the rhythm section and the rest of the band. Playing the tenor sax was the soft-spoken Zoot Sims, who I admit to having little knowledge of. Jim Hall, who makes appearances on other Bill Evans albums, plays guitar. The resulting effect, perhaps an exaggeration, is that the bass and drums swing harder than anybody else in the band. Everybody else floats over the groove like a pillow fort built on cinderblocks.

Plus, the combination of piano, guitar, and Sims' delicate tone made for very nice timbres. Whether it's in "My Bells" where the tenor sax is placed with a backdrop of cascading guitar and piano chords, or in the beginning of "Loose Blues" where the melody is played monophonically by Evans and Sims with Hall complimenting the bass line, the combination is unique and enjoyable.

According to the linear notes, Orrin Keepnews actually found the experience and circumstances of recording this album to be quite stressful and frustrating. One of the tunes, "My Bells" features a tempo change partway through the form. It makes the solos interesting to listen to, but recording it was another story. The studio had little money for rehearsal, and the group went as far as Take 25 before having enough material capable of splicing together. As haphazard as the circumstances turned out, the album was ironically not released until 20 years later.

KENNY BARRON Book Of Intuition

Album · 2016 · Hard Bop
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What an album name! A mysterious title like "Book of Intuition" didn't fail to catch my eye. The album cover is pretty cool too.

According to the linear notes, Kenny Barron has been playing with this trio for the last several years but hasn't made a studio recording with them until now. Now I personally haven't listened to Kenny Barron's other groups so my expectations were pretty open.

Regarding the lineup, one thing I struck by was the amount of intensity in the drummer Jonathan Blake. He didn't play particularly loud or in the way, but managed to add a lot of energy to Kenny Barron's playing. "Cook's Bay" has a memorable moment where Kenny plays a short lick with both hands two octaves apart, giving it a distinct samba-type sound. Blake responds to it immediately with a samba-type fill.

Most of the tunes on the album are Kenny Barron originals. The others are two Thelonious Monk tunes (Shuffle Boil, Light Blue) and a ballad by Charlie Haden (Nightfall). Although I have enjoyed Kenny Barron play Monk tunes in the past (he's quite good at imitating him), I found these to be among the weaker ones on the album. Kenny's own tunes, such as "Magic Dance," "Cook's Bay," or "Lunacy" are filled with a lot of fun harmonic colors that give this album a nice taste. "Cook's Bay" in particular is my favorite track on the album.

Kenny Barron is a fantastic soloist, but I couldn't help but feel like many of his solos had too many long lines. There comes a point in his solos when it sounds like an idea would need to end, but would keep on going like a run-on sentence. I don't want to overly critique Kenny Barron, but it makes the listening experience less accessible.

Overall, "Book of Intuition" is a fun album. Kenny Barron and his trio offer the modern jazz world a nice album that gives original sounds within a more traditional vocabulary.

TORD GUSTAVSEN Tord Gustavsen Quartet : Extended Circle

Album · 2014 · Post-Fusion Contemporary
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Extended Circle was my introduction to the Norwegian pianist Tord Gustavsen and his quartet.

As an ECM release, this album lives up to its name. It is spacious, contemplative, and has a slight trace of third-stream classical romanticism. The spacious quality is most present in "Entrance", a free track where the tenor sax quietly plays notes into the dark silence, joined occasionally with high and quiet chords in the piano.

Because I was given this album as a gift, I was disappointed to find a lack of virtuosity. Rarely throughout the album does anybody play a compelling lick that I would want to transcribe and work into my own playing. However, the value in this album comes not from the licks, but from the group as a whole. The quartet does a fantastic job communicating with each other. Everybody in the group contributes perfectly to what each track is expressing. For example, the drummer and bassist are always unified in establishing the light, delicate groove in a way that could be easily messed up by other rhythm sections. Nobody ever gets in the way of any of the others, either.

In spite of its excellent execution, I would personally say this falls within the 3-3.5 star range. It's a good one, but certainly not a masterpiece.

CHRIS POTTER Imaginary Cities

Album · 2015 · 21st Century Modern
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This album was my personal introduction to Chris Potter's Underground Orchestra. Being the first one on the ECM label, this album also features a string quartet in addition to the lineup.

The use of the string quartet adds a nice color and variety to the album. On tracks such as "Dualities" and "Shadow Self" the string quartet is used in a way that even has classical implications - one might not be wrong in calling this third-stream at points. Fortunately the string quartet is neither overused or underused, but disappears and reappears throughout the album with perfect balance.

With an ensemble of this type, each track was written with creative form. Rather than follow the typical pattern of playing the head, going into a solo section, and going back to the head to close, most of the tracks on this album have complicated forms that feature instrumentals with the string quartet between solos. "Disintigration" even starts as an open, rubato free jazz track before everybody joins in on a unison melody. "Shadow Self" starts as a literal classical string quartet in the style of Dmitri Shostakovich before Potter comes in with a short bass clarinet solo.

My personal favorite of the album is Lament. Chris Potter plays one of the most memorable solos I have ever heard him play and it builds perfectly from start to finish.

One disappointment I had with this album was that it only features the piano player, Craig Taborn, on one track. His solo on "Sky" is pretty good, but I was hoping for more.


Album · 1965 · Post Bop
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The best way to understand what makes this a good Bill Evans album is to compare it with its precursor studio album, "Trio '64" and the change of the lineup.

"Trio '64" was the last studio album with long-time drummer Paul Motian, who had played with Evans since 1959's "Portrait in Jazz". His departure was replaced with Larry Bunker, who had already played with Evans at the Trident Club in the 1964 "Bill Evans Trio Live" album and with Monica Zetterlund in "Waltz for Debby" the same year. As a result this album is the first studio album for the Bill Evans Trio with drummer Larry Bunker, allowing for one to see the contrast between his playing and Paul Motian's.

Larry Bunker is something of a "feisty" drummer. Whereas Motian had a more spacious and laid-back way of playing that contributed to the cool jazz aspect of Bill Evans' playing, Bunker pushes forward and makes energetic grooves that encourage Evans to play quicker and more rhythmically interesting licks. The change is most noticeable in the tune "If You Could See Me Now". Strangely enough, it is the tune on the album that gets the closest to being a ballad. Other tunes, like "Who Can I Turn To (When Nobody Needs Me)?", begin sounding like a ballad but quickly change to medium swing when Bunker comes in. In "If You Could See Me Now," Bunker submits, perhaps unwillingly, to the slower ballad style. But while doing so he fidgets around with quick, little fills with his brushes like an impatient child with ADHD. Eventually he succeeds in turning the tune into medium swing and even goes double-time at one point. The overall effect is actually really cool and gives a lot of personality to the music.

In the end I would say Larry Bunker's drumming style well fits Bill Evans' piano style, progressing Bill Evans to newer places in his music that would intrigue those used to hearing the Paul Motian days of the Bill Evans Trio.

Latest Forum Topic Posts

  • Posted more than 2 years ago in Jazz Avatar: The Last Bop Bender
    Bop. Cool. Afro-Cuban. Fusion.Long ago, the four jazz nations lived together in harmony. Then, everything changed when the Fusion Nation attacked.Only the Jazz Avatar, master of all four genres could stop them. But when the world needed him most, he vanished. One hundred years passed and my brother and I discovered the new Jazz Avatar, a bop bender named Sonny. And although his bop bending skills are great, he has a lot to learn before he's ready to save anyone.But I believe Sonny can save the world.PREVIOUSLY ON JAZZ AVATARSonny has mastered all four genres...but can he face Fusion Lord John Zorn??EPISODE 61: HANCOCK'S COMETSonny faces off with the Fusion Lord! Unfortunately the appearance of Hancock's Comet only strengthens Zorn's Fusion Bending abilities, and he attacks Sonny with an incredible onslaught of upper structure triads at 400 beats per minute! Sonny feels his strength failing. Can he go on? The spirit of one of the past Jazz Avatars, John Coltrane, appears to him in a vision. "I can't go on," says Sonny to Coltrane, "The bpm is just too fast. I'm going to fail. I just can't do it."The spirit of John Coltrane opened his mouth and spoke:"Damn the rules, it's the feeling that counts. You play all twelve notes in your solo anyway."The incredible wisdom fills Sonny with power and his eyes explode with shimmering blue light, bringing him into Jazz Avatar state. He brings his mouthpiece to his lips, and blows. The wave of sound slammed into Fusion Lord Zorn with immeasurable force, and the ground around him exploded. He flew backward and smashed through the wall.THE END
  • Posted more than 2 years ago in Recently Watched Films
    Did anyone see the French silent film "The Artist" that came out last year? The movie takes place in California from 1927-1933ish and the soundtrack is really good. Very American sounding, in fact.
  • Posted more than 2 years ago in Recently Watched Films
    [QUOTE=dreadpirateroberts] [QUOTE=Amilisom]I saw The Hobbit a couple weeks ago. To be honest I was pretty disappointed. On another note, I saw the Tarantino movie "Django Unchained", and was surprised at how much I liked it. It's certainly not for everybody, though. Lots of blood. [/QUOTE] That sounds like Tarantino, huh? I'm interested in seeing Django Unchained, absolutely. I think the Hobbit might be a bit disappointing for me, personally - for one, as I don't think it needs to be a trilogy. But I'll go see it and have a look, what was it specifically that you didn't enjoy, Amilisom? The acting? CGI? Did they change too much? Curious, as I reckon I'll go see it soon[/QUOTE] First of all, they attempted to combine the original light-hearted tone of the Hobbit book with the darker tone of the Lord of the Rings. The result was silly and strange at times, and led to too much unnecessary corny violence (almost slapstick humor, in a way) that wasn't in the book. Also added was a man-to-man conflict between Thorin Oakenshield and some random Ork leader who looks like the character Killface from the show Frisky Dingo. Now, I would be fine with this Ork leader if he were a cool bad guy that actually had substance to him. In this case, he's terribly one-dimensional. For the sake of making three films, they incorporated extra elements of a side-plot that somebody told me came from Tolkien's unpublished works. I personally felt like it took away from the original simplicity of the original Hobbit story. Then there's the music. From what I remembered hearing, the music seemed to be just recycled material from the Lord of the Rings. Theme variation is fine by me, but there were specific moments that in my opinion almost ruined the original soundtrack by applying them to less-epic scenes. But this is just me being a picky critic, and as my signature says at the bottom of every post...


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