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897 reviews/ratings
LOUIS ARMSTRONG - The Louis Armstrong Story, Volume I: Louis Armstrong And His Hot Five Classic (1920s) Jazz | review permalink
MILES DAVIS - Agharta Fusion | review permalink
EARTH WIND & FIRE - Gratitude RnB | review permalink
HERBIE HANCOCK - Speak Like a Child Post Bop | review permalink
FRANK ZAPPA - One Size Fits All (as Frank Zappa And The Mothers Of Invention) Jazz Related Rock | review permalink
HERBIE HANCOCK - Crossings Fusion | review permalink
PARLIAMENT - Mothership Connection Funk | review permalink
HERBIE HANCOCK - Thrust Funk Jazz | review permalink
SUN RA - Angels and Demons at Play Progressive Big Band | review permalink
SUN RA - Sun Ra And His Astro Infinity Arkestra : Atlantis Avant-Garde Jazz | review permalink
SANTANA - Santana Latin Rock/Soul | review permalink
FUNKADELIC - America Eats Its Young Funk | review permalink
MILES DAVIS - Live At The Fillmore East Fusion | review permalink
HERBIE HANCOCK - V.S.O.P. Post Bop | review permalink
MILES DAVIS - Get Up With It Fusion | review permalink
JIMI HENDRIX - Electric Ladyland (Jimi Hendrix Experience) Jazz Related Rock
MILES DAVIS - Miles Davis Quintet : Miles Smiles Post Bop | review permalink
MILES DAVIS - Nefertiti Post Bop | review permalink
MILES DAVIS - Big Fun Fusion | review permalink

See all reviews/ratings

Jazz Genre Nb. Rated Avg. rating
1 Fusion 117 3.66
2 Avant-Garde Jazz 70 3.91
3 Post Bop 58 4.09
4 Hard Bop 57 3.82
5 Soul Jazz 48 3.42
6 World Fusion 42 3.61
7 Big Band 41 3.82
8 Eclectic Fusion 40 3.73
9 RnB 37 3.61
10 Jazz Related Rock 33 3.74
11 Progressive Big Band 29 3.98
12 Nu Jazz 29 3.47
13 Bop 28 4.04
14 Funk Jazz 27 3.56
15 Pop/Art Song/Folk 23 2.80
16 Third Stream 23 3.89
17 Funk 22 3.86
18 Exotica 18 3.42
19 Jazz Related Electronica/Hip-Hop 18 3.39
20 Latin Jazz 15 3.80
21 Post-Fusion Contemporary 13 3.46
22 Cool Jazz 13 3.69
23 Dub/Ska/Reggae 13 4.04
24 Jazz Related Soundtracks 12 3.92
25 Vocal Jazz 12 3.54
26 Jazz Related Improv/Composition 10 3.40
27 Blues 10 3.80
28 21st Century Modern 10 4.20
29 Swing 8 4.00
30 Latin Rock/Soul 6 3.75
31 African Fusion 5 4.00
32 Acid Jazz 4 3.50
33 Classic (1920s) Jazz 2 4.50
34 Dixieland 1 3.50
35 Afro-Cuban Jazz 1 4.50
36 Bossa Nova 1 3.50
37 Jazz Education 1 3.50

Latest Albums Reviews


Album · 2023 · Fusion
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It is interesting to note how many busy session musicians and sidemen finally had time to record a long awaited album as a leader during the pandemic lockdowns. Bassist Dewayne Pate is one of those artists, and his new album, “On the Upside”, is his first album as a leader in fourteen long years, but it has been well worth the wait because this is a star studded opus with dynamic production and hot performances to boot. Dewayne usually spends his time as a first call session and tour guy and has worked with Arturo Sandoval, Huey Lewis, Boz Scaggs, Tower of Power, Robben Ford and many more. In his session work he bumps shoulders with top names in the music world, so it was not hard for him to make some calls and bring on some real heavies for this album.

Overall one could call this a fusion album, but it is very eclectic with detours into Latin Jazz, blues, funk and vocal ballads. Album opener “4 the 5 of it” is in 5/4 time of course and carries a Weather Report resemblance, especially in the very Wayne Shorter sounding soprano sax work of Norbert Stachal. “Blues Ala Monmouth” is swinging bluesy horn section driven and soaked in Hammond B3 soul jazz with the king of jazz-blues, Robben Ford, leading the way on guitar. “People Get Ready” has been recorded many times, but Dewayne’s upbeat version with only himself on bass and Amikaeyla Gaston on vocals and Karl Perazzo on percussion is far less heavy-handed than most versions that you may have heard before. “Ellen” is a guitar instrumental ballad that has Stef Burns channeling Jeff Beck during the melody, but leaning more towards Carlos Santana during the ride out soloing. But wait, there’s more, so much more that we won’t cover it all here, but it is worth mentioning that Dennis Chambers shows up on two tracks to deliver his outstanding drum chops. Finally, the production on here is excellent. it’s a big bright full spectrum digital sound which can sound great on albums like this that lean in an electronic direction.


Album · 2023 · Post Bop
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Chances are you probably have not heard of Esthesis Quartet yet, and that’s a shame, this is one of those new up and coming bands that should be getting much more recognition. These four women play a modern form of post bop with forays into fusion and free jazz, all framed within unique arrangements. Esthesis is unusual for a high energy jazz band in that they are led by a flute player, Elsa Nilsson, who manages to give the flute much more aggressive presence then we are used to hearing, and her ‘sheets of sound’ attack may remind some more of a tenor sax player than the typical flautist. The band is filled out with pianist Dawn Clement, who takes an almost opposite approach from Elsa with her Monk/Mehldau style of careful note selection and off kilter phrasing, but she too can take flight at times as well. Tina Raymond is a powerhouse on the drums as she sports today’s approach to swinging all over the entire kit as opposed to just the ride cymbal. Emma Dayhuff is a solid anchor on bass, almost sounding rock like in places with her strong presence.

Their new album, “Time Zones”, makes reference to the fact that these four musicians all live in different time zones within the US. Album opener, “Blue Light” is one of the album’s strongest cuts as it opens with Craig Taborn style pointillism before going into a full fusion onslaught with rock like energy. Follow up track, “Brush Fire”, is similar, but a little more subdued. “Hollywood” is a slinky hard bop groove that shows their ability to experiment when Emma starts pushing the beat faster and then brings things back to the original tempo. “Getting Through” is the other bop number and shows the band in fast tempo high flight. “Serial” is the avant-garde number that is based on a pod cast of the same name that tells the true story of a young man who allegedly murders his girlfriend. The song opens with classic noire detective show riffs in the style of “Peter Gunn”. On the gentler side of things, “First Light”, is a flute based instrumental ballad, and “The New Yorker” is sung by Clement with words that detail a relationship that has to deal with a sudden change that has one person moving to Paris while one must stay in New York.


Album · 1974 · Funk
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In 1974 James Brown was, to cop one of his favorite expressions, standing at the crossroads. In the late 60s and early 70s James was one of the most influential artists in popular music, his introduction of a new syncopated music called the ‘funk’ had a huge influence on RnB, rock, jazz, blues and gospel, but as the 70s progressed, new younger bands like Parliament, Earth Wind & Fire and the Ohio Players were making him seem more and more like yesterday’s news. Brown’s ‘74 opus, “Reality”, had some good tracks on it, but it also showed signs that James was starting to turn to material that was not of the same caliber as his previous output. There are no musician credits on “Reality“, so more than likely these are just studio cats, plus James and his long standing horn arranger, Fred Wesley.

The album opens fairly strong with the title cut and “Funky President”. Both songs have James rapping more politics than usual as he expresses concerns about the US being in a moral tailspin while also encouraging his fellow African - Americans to show unity with one another while expanding their independence and self reliance when dealing with the world of ‘the man’. The next two tracks are in an almost older RnB style, but real signs of trouble come when James tries to funkify folk classic, “Don’t Fence Me In”. Side two starts off on the ‘good foot’, but “I’m Broken Hearted” drags things down again with overlays of cringy male sex sounds. The album closes out with James’ version of “Who Can I Turn to”, a lounge classic that is just a bad fit for the Godfather of Soul.

The production on this album is super slick and orchestrated, far different from the raw power of his late 60s band, but the sparkly sheen is attractive in places, especially the flute arrangements and some well placed corny exotic harp glissandos. James voice is still in good shape on here and his energy level is high. There are enough good tracks on here to make this worthwhile to the James Brown fan, but for the newcomer, check out what James was doing previously with Bootsy on bass, that is some of the most kinetic music ever recorded on to vinyl.

SUN RA Hours After

Album · 1989 · Progressive Big Band
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When Sun Ra started his Arkestra in the mid-50s, he was a total fire brand, the leader of the avant-garde in jazz. He continued in this vein for several decades, but sometime in the 80s he felt a desire to re-visit the music of his pre-Arkestra days. Back in those early days, like most hungry musicians, Ra took jobs wherever he could; playing piano with the Fletcher Henderson orchestra, touring with BB King, providing background music for burlesque shows in Chicago and many other far reaching gigs. These shows in which the Arkestra delved into the past were a mixed bag, sometimes they were magical journeys to musical worlds that no longer exist, other times it sounded like the band was just going through the motions to get their pay at the end of the evening. “Hours After”, a studio album that Sonny recorded in 1989, falls somewhere in between those two extremes. Its not a great album, by Sun Ra standards, but it has its good moments too.

Side one opens with the standard “But Not for Me”, the band plays it straight ahead in swinging style and Sonny shows off his considerable chops as a stride pianist. It’s a decent jam, but before its over the song fades. Studio fades can sound good on a pop song with a repeating chorus, but on a jazz blowing session, it sounds so wrong it hurts. Jazz songs that fade in mid solo are very rare and there is a reason for that. Next up is the title track on which Sonny re-visits his burlesque show roots with a sleazy vamp driven by a jump blues backbeat. This one could have been good, but the band sounds like they are just going through the motions. Once again there is an odd ending when the band just sort of stops playing. “Beautiful Love” closes this side with Ra on vocals. Sonny is not a great singer, but he does have an interesting ‘character’ voice with a certain amount of pathos.

Side two opens with a classic Arkestra free jazz onslaught, but once again the band just doesn’t sound inspired until halfway through the jam someone, probably John Gilmore, takes a tenor solo and interjects some personality and inspiration. Ra follows with some great tone colors on the synthesizer. Album closer, “Love on a Far Away Planet”, is the top track and features the band in spiritual jazz groove mode with only a few solos here and there, mostly this one is all about that African rhythm. The flute voicings in the melody are pure ethereal Ra.

STEPHAN THELEN Fractal Guitar 3

Album · 2022 · Nu Jazz
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“Fractal Guitar 3” is of course Stephan Thelan’s third installment in his fractal guitar series. The overall sound of ‘3’ is similar to the first two, but there are changes as well. Whereas early Fractal installments leaned heavily on extended guitar solos, on 3 the emphasis now is more on composition and arrangement. There are still plenty of hot guitarists on hand here, but the solos are shorter and are used to add meaning to the arrangements. Whether these arrangements were pre-composed or created on a computer program after the fact would not make any difference to what our ears are hearing. If this music was playing in the background you might would only notice a cool groove topped with interesting guitars and electronics, but give the music a closer listen and you will hear how each track tends to morph and grow as it goes along. There is a sort of overall similarity to every track, making the whole album flow like one tone poem, but once again, extra attention reveals the individual nature of each song. The main thing each track holds in common is layered poly-rhythms that can recall music from Africa and Indonesia, as well as minimalist composers such as Steve Reich or Terry Riley.

Track 1 has the most guitar solos and also features a bubbling synth sequencer going through the sort of filter modulation that is essential to a good rave jam. 2 is one of the quieter tracks and drops the rhythm towards the end for some floating ambience. 3 uses a lot of drop breaks and has some insistent double time electronic interjections. On 4 we get layered sustained guitars as a sort of choir and some string parts taken from a string quartet that Thelan wrote. 5 ends with a long ambient break as if the album is ready to fade into the ether, but wait, there’s more. The final track is a bonus re-mix of track 1 with more focus on Elvind Aarset’s guitar parts.

The guitar work on here is outstanding, if you like the long sustained tones of Robert Fripp, Steve Vai, Phil Manzenera or Terje Rypdal then you will enjoy all the textures the Fractal crew conjures up, but probably the best feature on this album is the production. The sound of this album is near perfect within the digital electronic niche in which it resides. Every little riff, echo, guitar melody or keyboard interjection is arranged perfectly.

Latest Forum Topic Posts

  • Posted 14 hours ago in 2022 World Fusion & World Beat Albums
    Rosa Brunello    "Sounds like Freedom"https://rosabrunello.bandcamp.com/album/sounds-like-freedom snobb2023-03-28 07:41:47
  • Posted 2 days ago in 2022 Jazz Rock Fusion & Jam Band Albums
    Emisfero Boreale      "Pulsa Zioni"  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LQg2R5FNYYM&list=OLAK5uy_mG9BiQQ8n7jTnfZ2NmPPlNLun4Q90yNa8 snobb2023-03-26 22:16:14
  • Posted 2 days ago in 2022 RnB, Funk, Dub & Electronica Albums
      Wojciech Jachna            "Earth Re-mixed"https://wojciechjachna.bandcamp.com/album/earth-remixed snobb2023-03-26 08:47:53


Please login to post a shout
Warthur wrote:
more than 2 years ago
Hey dude,

You've banned me from the forums but I can still access the review submission system and site interactions.

If that is intentional then fair enough but if not I thought it'd only be honest to give you a heads up.

Warthur wrote:
more than 2 years ago
js - please clear some space in your PM inbox, I'm trying to send you something.


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