Matthew T
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207 reviews/ratings
MILES DAVIS - In a Silent Way Fusion | review permalink
MILES DAVIS - Miles Davis Quintet : Miles Smiles Post Bop | review permalink
HERMETO PASCOAL - Slaves Mass World Fusion | review permalink
STEELY DAN - Aja RnB | review permalink
STEELY DAN - Pretzel Logic RnB | review permalink
STEELY DAN - Countdown to Ecstasy RnB | review permalink
STEELY DAN - Can't Buy a Thrill RnB | review permalink
MILES DAVIS - Kind of Blue Cool Jazz | review permalink
RAY BARRETTO - Acid Afro-Cuban Jazz | review permalink
ALEGRE ALL-STARS - Lost and Found, Volume III Afro-Cuban Jazz | review permalink
MCCOY TYNER - The Real McCoy Post Bop | review permalink
RUBÉN BLADES - Tiempos Afro-Cuban Jazz | review permalink
DEXTER GORDON - A Swingin' Affair Hard Bop | review permalink
JOHN COLTRANE - My Favorite Things Hard Bop | review permalink
TALVIN SINGH - OK Jazz Related Electronica/Hip-Hop | review permalink
LOUIS ARMSTRONG - Louis Armstrong Plays W.C. Handy Classic (1920s) Jazz | review permalink
HENRY THREADGILL - Henry Threadgill & Make A Move ‎: Everybodys Mouth's A Book Avant-Garde Jazz | review permalink
HANK MOBLEY - Workout Hard Bop | review permalink
FRANK SINATRA - A Swingin' Affair! Vocal Jazz | review permalink
TIPICA 73 - Charangueando con la Típica 73 Afro-Cuban Jazz | review permalink

See all reviews/ratings

Jazz Genre Nb. Rated Avg. rating
1 Afro-Cuban Jazz 36 4.58
2 Vocal Jazz 32 4.34
3 Hard Bop 27 4.54
4 RnB 15 4.27
5 Post Bop 12 4.42
6 Dub/Ska/Reggae 11 3.95
7 Blues 7 4.64
8 African Fusion 6 4.67
9 Pop/Art Song/Folk 6 3.67
10 Post-Fusion Contemporary 5 4.20
11 Avant-Garde Jazz 5 4.30
12 21st Century Modern 5 4.30
13 Classic (1920s) Jazz 4 4.88
14 Original New Orleans Jazz 4 4.63
15 World Fusion 4 4.13
16 Exotica 3 3.83
17 Fusion 3 4.00
18 Bop 3 5.00
19 Bossa Nova 3 4.67
20 Cool Jazz 2 4.75
21 Acid Jazz 2 3.75
22 Jazz Related Soundtracks 2 4.25
23 Soul Jazz 2 4.75
24 Swing 1 4.50
25 Progressive Big Band 1 4.50
26 Latin Jazz 1 4.50
27 Nu Jazz 1 4.50
28 Jazz Related Electronica/Hip-Hop 1 5.00
29 Jazz Related Improv/Composition 1 3.50
30 Big Band 1 5.00
31 Dixieland 1 4.00

Latest Albums Reviews

ESPEN ERIKSEN Espen Eriksen Trio with Andy Sheppard : Perfectly Unhappy

Album · 2018 · Post-Fusion Contemporary
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For this latest release “Perfectly Unhappy” from Norwegian Espen Eriksen and his Trio, one of Britain’s most well saxophonists Andy Sheppard joins them bringing a change in texture to their current slightly minimal but still highly melodic sound that the Trio display within their compositions. Their first album release garnered extremely good praise and many great reviews for “You Had Me At Goodbye” with the following two albums “What Took You So Long” and “Never Ending January” keeping the standard right up there. If you have not heard of them before Espen Eriksen is the pianist, Lars Tormond Jenset, bass and Andreas Bye is the drummer with the Trio performing together since 2007 with this album being the ensemble’s fourth release. Andy Sheppard’s addition of saxophone in the album works beautifully bringing quite a bit of a fresh sound for the Trio and keeping things in an interesting manner but still keeping them well within the melodic style that they have become known for.

“Above The Horizon” opens with a beautiful piano and bass interchange before stating the composition’s theme before Andy Sheppard’s saxophone to joins on this lovely inward piece with the following “1974” having a beautiful contemplative sound where Espen’s piano is more prevalent. The melancholy and contemplation just keeps on coming with the album’s title ‘Perfectly Unhappy” with Andy’s saxophone and Espen’s brief solo providing a lovely wistfulness within the number. “Indian Summer” just keeps the dreamy spaced melody prevalent, where “Suburban Folk Song” has a slightly more intricate opening and all these melodies that are intertwined with space and beautiful timing just keep coming with “Naked Trees”, the following “Revisited” containing a delightful solo from Espen and the beautiful melancholic closing composition “Home”.

Lovely album and an absolute delight to have on with the compositions being in a similar realm to Mathias Eick’s of maintaining a strong melody and quite a lovely contemporary sound. One other note is Andy Sheppard plays quite a major part and is in the majority of all the compositions with that gorgeous deep tone that he resonates.

WAYNE HORVITZ The Snowghost Sessions

Album · 2018 · Nu Jazz
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In 2015 Wayne Horvitz headed out to Montana to record this album at Snowghost studios, hence the title “The Snowghost Sessions”. Comprising a trio with Wayne on piano as well providing keyboards and electronics, Geoff Harper who had previously appeared with Wayne on his 2014 release “At The Reception” on Contrabass and Eric Eagle who also had appeared with Wayne on “At The Reception” as well the 2015 release which was a tribute to the writer Richard Hugo “Some Places Are Forever Afternoon” is playing drums. Wayne Horvitz states that he had not recorded a Trio album since the eighties and took quite a few tunes and sketches to this session with the majority of the album recorded Live and Wayne providing some overdubs with keyboards. He actually says that he did not set out to make an album but just wanted to try some ideas that he had with amplified and processed piano as the studios at Snowghost are in a class of their own for acoustics with the addition of an already installed Steinway Grand Piano. For these sessions the studio owner Brett Allen is the album’s engineer and co-producer with Wayne.

Fifteen tracks on the album if one counts the bonus with none running over five minutes which keeps things quite fluent with the beautiful “The Pauls” opening being a lovely spaced composition and as with the majority of the album it is down tempo with the following composition “No Blood Relation #1” bringing the electronics into the mix but in a subtle manner with wonderful recurring chords from Wayne on piano with superb support from the bass and drums by just being there in a minimal fashion which is how their support is performed right throughout the majority of the album. There is “No Blood relation #2” being the eighth track and that composition is its own without borrowing from the prior #1. More of that gorgeous piano space and time for “Trish” with many people describing this as contemplative but it sure has that Wayne Horvitz piano tone. “IMB” does bring out the Electronics and would be the album’s most up tempo composition with Eric Eagle having quite a shot on the drum kit within the number.There a quite a few more interesting and beautiful compositions included with the following “Apart From You #1” , “Northampton”, “For James Tenney”, “The Trees”, Yukio and Noa’s Duet” with these four tracks divided by the short piece “Flies On Friday”. All of those compositions having something different to say and some are straight while others have that subtle electronic keyboard effect added. “55 6 (21) Variations” has that organ addition and “55 6 (7) Variations” has a much deeper bass and piano sound bring us to the album’s end with “Apart from You #2” comprising the trio with more of those subtle electronics appearing more to the fore as the composition progresses.

Wonderful and quite different piano based Trio album from Wayne Horvitz and band which requires a few listens to fully appreciate and gets better with every play. Well worth the purchase as Wayne Horvitz albums are.


Album · 2016 · African Fusion
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Sam Mangwana has lived, played and sang Rumba right through the golden period of African music accompanying and packing stadiums with Franco Luambo’s TPOK Jazz throughout the seventies to the early eighties and prior with Tabu Ley Rochereau in the late sixties in his African National Fiesta with another stint to follow in the late seventies with him. Considered one of the elder statesman of African music pertaining more to the Central area with his take on Congolaise music with touches of Angolan and Zimbabwean at times thrown in from his parents birth place one could say he pretty much had done it all within this genre with the popularity to go with it. Although Sam was in Franco’s TPOK Jazz and Tabu Ley’s band Afrisa he was still doing solo material and releasing his own albums as well with his second one giving him the big hit “Maria Tebbo” in 1982 albeit his biggest one with Franco was still to come in the same year being “Cooperation” ( Odongo). Still within all these bands and solo material Sam Mangwana has been far from one dimensional with Rumba being his staple and later heading towards a not so hard Soukous Sound as well as taking on Caribbean rhythms, Acoustic albums but in his later material he has returned to his Rumba roots which is what the majority of “Lubamba” contains with a beautiful laid back palm tree sound added with a slight Caribbean influence included.

It’s the album ‘s title track “Lubamba” with the horns opening within this Rumba having Sam’s smooth vocals to follow with mentions to his native Africa throughout with a delightful guitar solo placed within the song. The following “Felicite” the tempo picks up slightly with more of that beautiful Rumba guitar taking the song to a chorus with a beautiful guitar input. “Juventude Actual” based on today’s youth and sung in Portuguese has another African statesman present being the great Cameroon saxophonist Manu Dibango included within the song’s predominant guitar Latin influence with Manu just providing sax throughout the chorus and the addition of a beautiful solo included but no vocals with just Sam doing that job within this number. The tempo and bounce picks up for “Georgeta Marcory” with that Sam swing included and the following song has an electronic keyboard opening for “Luvueso” which quickly is put to the side for more of that Rumba guitar and great African chorus. “J.B. Kavungu”, “Lokossa Yo Nzombo”, Luzingu Ke Novela Ko” are the last three of the eight songs included and all are Rumba based of course within this delightful album keeping up the Tropical theme.

He has come a long way from singing in The Salvation Army choir as a child in Kinshasa up until today and I for one was pleased to see a new release from Sam Mangwana as I have always loved his take on Congolaise music with all its swing. It has been a long break for fresh material from Sam as his last prior album was “Cantos De Esperanca” in 2003 with only reissues that have followed to the release of “Lubamba” in 2016. Still the album is good but really it is for the fans and if you are looking for Soukous you won’t find any here just the old beautiful Rumba influence but really, Sam actually does not have a lot to say that’s new.


Live album · 2013 · Post-Fusion Contemporary
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Commissioned by the Molde International Jazz Festival and Recorded Live in 2010 at the Norway Festival for later release By ECM records has the multi talented Norwegian Ketil Bjørnstad presenting his perception in music on Italian Filmmaker Michelangelo Antonioni with his 1961 film sharing the title of this very album from Ketil Bjørnstad “La Notte” ( The night). Ketil Bjørnstad has been around since the late sixties since playing Classical piano in his later teens but in the seventies headed for Jazz and Folk with a distinct Northern European influence of retaining Classical elements within his compositions. He has recorded over fifty albums as well most likely written as many books, hence the multi talented which is often used to describe his artistic output. Although this album was recorded in 2010 ECM did not release it until three years later in 2013 due to most likely the fact they already had an album recorded by Ketil prior, still in the can being “The River”.

The album line up is a Sextet with the majority involved having played with each other in various ensembles and bands with Arild Anderson the bassist having the most extensive experience with Ketil Bjørnstad and just about everyone else in European Jazz. The cellist David Darling who has played with Ketil extensively in the past is not present and has been replaced with the stunning German born Anja Lechner who usually you will find in ECM’s New Series having played with the Rosamunde Quartet, Tarkovsky Quartet, the pianists Vassilis Tsabropoulos and Francois Couturier as well as the great Bandoneon player Dino Saluzzi. Andy Sheppard who is usually in Carla Bley’s ensembles or leading his own these days is on tenor and soprano saxophone, Marilyn Mazur is on percussion and drums having played with Jan Garbarek for one as well as doing her own albums and also included is Eivind Aarset also an artist in his right as well as playing with Andy Sheppard above and who also has many well known productions behind him is playing guitar and providing electronics.

Ketil Bjørnstad has composed eight parts within the album’s structure with “La Notte I” commencing with a slight electronic drone and touches of bass and percussion with the sound picking up as the introduction of piano and cello is added in this mediative opening number. Andy Sheppard’s tenor and Eivind Aarset’s guitar inject two lovely pieces with Ketil’s piano and Marilyn’s percussion as the base in the bolder “La Notte II”. The ensemble delivers a delightful mix within “La Notte III” with Andy Sheppard’s saxophone barely noticeable coming in over Anja Lechner’s cello with a superb middle timed underlay from the rest of the musicians within the piece. It’s a slow tempo for “La Notte IV” primarily comprising piano and more of that beautiful cello from Anja Lechner who I have to say is the star amongst all these musicians within these beautiful compositions from Ketil Bjørnstad. The album continues with more of the stunning mediative input for “La Notte V and VI” with more stunning cello, soprano sax and Marilyn Mazur’s just right percussion comprising the odd chimes, beat etc with the ensemble picking things up again in “La Notte VII” with Arild Anderson’s superb bass opening and Eivind’s fabulous guitar solo. The album comes to an end with another beautiful slow relaxing piece in “VIII”

Leaning towards Classical at times and leaning towards some great Fusion at others in this highly interesting album which after quite a few plays with many in a row, I still have not tired of. One other note although the album states it is Live there is not a whisper of audience sound to be heard.


Album · 1968 · African Fusion
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There had been 3 compilation albums released in 1967 with Guinean orchestra’s and artists prior to this release in the sixties but this actually is the first number in the Syllart’s label catalogue (SLP 1) “Orchestra De La Paillote Vol 1", The band actually was one of two at the very beginning which had morphed from one big Orchestra during this time of change in Guinean music which started after independence in 1958 when Sekou Toure came to power and as he said ‘if you can’t play the music of one’s own country then one should stop playing altogether”. One of the bands was led by Balla Onivogui later recognised as the leader of the legendary Balla Et Se Balladins and for this one it was Keletigui Traore who led “Orchestra De la Paillote” named after the Paloitte where they played but in the sixties the band changed their name to “Keletigui Et Ses Tambourinis”. The basis on how many of these songs were composed was using Traditional material, Cuban music and Jazz which became the backbone for so many West African orchestras with Bembeya Jazz to become the leader of this music style. Here for this release “Orchestra De la Pailotte’ as they were known at that time we have the beginning of modern West African music containing many a beautiful and delightful piece contained within this essential album from the late 1960’s.

The Cuban based “Diarby” get things going beautifully with the required groove and superb guitar input with Balla Et Se Balladins doing this one as well on their upcoming “Jardin De Guinea” release but listening here you will know that Orchestra De la Paillote had the best. The following “Mariama” the trumpet rules the chorus with Kante Manfila’s vocals with excellent support from Kerfal Camara on trumpet with this song becoming one the band’s classics. The more up tempo “Nadia’ follows with more superb trumpet and a totally delightful saxophone solo from Keletigui Traore included. The beat and groove keep coming within “Mone Magnin” but the following slow Cuban timed “La Guinee Moussolou” being a homage to Guinean women who helped rebuild the country sung by Kante Manfila with some stunning repetition in the vocal chorus and some absolutely gorgeous saxophone and guitar accompaniment with the band following in is another album highlight. More up tempo groove in “Nankoura” and “Wouyamagnin” with the later being my pick containing great percussion. The delightful “Orchestra Paillote” follows which will have you tapping your foot in amongst the horns in this self explanatory song title with “Bandian” next and it is another of those slow greasy Cuban burners “N’Djiguinira” to finish off this all time African Music Classic in that reminiscing manner.

Of course you need this! Total West African Classic!

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