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John
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Favorite Jazz Artists

All Reviews/Ratings

837 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 111 3.68
2 Avant-Garde Jazz 61 3.99
3 Post Bop 54 4.13
4 Hard Bop 53 3.84
5 Soul Jazz 43 3.40
6 Big Band 40 3.83
7 World Fusion 39 3.60
8 Eclectic Fusion 37 3.76
9 RnB 36 3.61
10 Jazz Related Rock 31 3.74
11 Bop 28 4.04
12 Nu Jazz 27 3.44
13 Progressive Big Band 26 4.04
14 Funk Jazz 26 3.60
15 Funk 21 3.90
16 Pop/Art Song/Folk 21 2.81
17 Third Stream 20 3.90
18 Jazz Related Electronica/Hip-Hop 18 3.39
19 Exotica 18 3.42
20 Post-Fusion Contemporary 13 3.46
21 Latin Jazz 12 3.88
22 Cool Jazz 12 3.75
23 Dub/Ska/Reggae 12 4.04
24 Blues 10 3.80
25 Jazz Related Soundtracks 10 3.95
26 Jazz Related Improv/Composition 10 3.40
27 Vocal Jazz 10 3.75
28 21st Century Modern 9 4.22
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

DAVE FLIPPO Dedications

Album · 2021 · Fusion
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Dave Flippo is a veteran of the Chicago jazz scene where has worked for years as a pianist, arranger, bandleader, vocalist and arranger. “Dedications” is his latest album and derives its name from the fact that Dave wanted to write original tunes dedicated to his band members, with each tune bearing a stylistic request from said band member. The end result is a very eclectic album on which Dave fulfilled his percussionist’s wish for an odd-metered Greek dance tune and his drummer’s request for a free flowing piece in which he could play outside the rhythm and so on. Adding to this eclectic mix, Dave also threw in some cover tunes in a wide variety of styles. It is a very talented quartet (quintet on two tunes) that Dave has assembled here, and they often sound much bigger than just four people. Woodwinds player Dan Hesler adds to their diverse sound by picking just the right instrument to flavor each tune, moving from flute to a variety of saxophones as well. Everyone in the band is a powerful soloist, which helps keep every track cookin from start to finish.

Lots of fun tracks on here. Amy Winehouse’s “Rehab” makes for an excellent soul jazz groove number in the style of Eddie Harris or Stanley Turrentine. Stevie Wonder’s “Too High” flies high as a re-harmonized post bop cooker and Radiohead’s “Karma Police” works well as a melancholy jazz waltz. Of the many originals, “Giraffe Trek”, takes off as an African Latin groove topped with several fiery solos and “Syrotic” is the aforementioned high energy Greek dance tune in 14 time. Elsewhere on the album you get plenty of gritty hard bop on tracks like “Spring Joy” and the aptly titled “Freewheelin”. “Metamorphosis” is the lengthy closing number on which drummer Heath Chappell is allowed to play freely while the band moves through a variety of styles and tempos.

STEPHAN THELEN Fractal Guitar 2

Album · 2021 · Nu Jazz
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“Fractal Guitar 2” is the second installment in Stephan Thelan’s ongoing fractal guitar series and it bears a lot of similarity to the first album, although you can also hear some improvement as Stephan and his returning all-star cast of electronic guitar heroes refine and develop their approach to modern day spatial guitar explorations. The emphasis on “2” is a little more focused on rhythm and mood, but you still get a good share of fret board fireworks from Stephan, David Torn, Jon Durant, Markus Reuter, Henry Kaiser and others. I don’t know how directly Stephan may have been influenced by contemporary African music on this one, but the carefully interlocking guitar patterns and poly rhythms bear strong similarities to today’s African fusion. Despite a healthy dose of great solos here and there, the real pleasure in “2” are those chiming guitar riffs that mix together and create kaleidoscope textures floating in a very welcome outer space.

The best tracks are the first four which seamlessly flow together as just one long song. The final two tracks are still good, but “Celestial Navigation” has a stop-start ¾ time feel that doesn’t flow as well as the previous tracks, and closer, “Point of Inflection” has a slightly different production that leans a bit in a rockish direction, although the song’s fade to ambiance does make for a good album closer. These are minor complaints and are only included so that this evaluation does not come across as too glib. Overall, “Fractal Guitar 2” is an e4xcellent choice for fans of cosmic guitar and ambient groove music along the lines of Bill Laswell, Steve Hillage, Ozric Tentacles, Terje Rypdal, and Miles’ mid 70s band with Pete Cosey on guitar.

YUSEF LATEEF The Doctor Is In ...And Out

Album · 1976 · Fusion
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Coming out in 1976, Yusef Lateef’s “The Doctor is in …and Out” was a late comer to jazz’s short lived psychedelic phase, but like many of the somewhat obscure psych-jazz of that era, its found a second life among collectors of rare groove and jazz exotica. In many ways, Lateef was a natural for this style, his many African flavored long winded spiritual modal jazz jams were already one foot in the psyche world as it was. Throughout his career, Yusef was an artist who was interested in fusing jazz with whatever he felt like trying. “The Doctor…” isn’t a great album, nor a particularly bad one, but it is worthwhile for those who like those somewhat off the beaten path kind of opuses.

Side one opens with three rather laid back groove based fusion jams on which Lateef spins solos on flute and oboe. Joining him on keyboards is the great Kenny Barron, who shows up on more of these kind of albums than anyone except maybe Herbie Hancock. Before he became the king of contemporary hard bop, Kenny was all about his arsenal of synthesizers, effects and other electronic keyboards. As usual, Barron turns in a great job with his rhythmic accompaniment and hot solos. Side two picks up steam a bit with two grittier funk jazz numbers, the first recalling Eddie Harris and the second, Herbie’s Headhunters.

For the last three tracks of the album, Yusef takes a very hard left turn with some rather out there outings. “Technological Homosapien” is some sort of talk about technology that is hard to make out sometimes because the words are being over powered by odd sounds on the synthesizer. “Street Musicians” is just that, a recording of some street musicians performing a rather sad and mournful melody. The album closer takes the cake for oddness though, as Lateef solos along side an old sentimental pop song that may be altered electronically somewhat. As mentioned earlier, this album is mostly good for someone into acid jazz putting together a DJ set or mix tape that will have listeners trying to guess ‘where did you find that exotic jam‘.

STEVE GADD Steve Gadd Band : At Blue Note Tokyo

Live album · 2021 · Fusion
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If you were a jazz fan in the 70s then you no doubt are very familiar with the drumming of Steve Gadd. Possibly only Herbie Hancock and Chick Corea left a bigger jazz footprint in the 70s than Steve, whose creative drumming showed up on so many jazz, funk, RnB and pop albums throughout the decade, and of course right up to today as well. “At Blue Note Tokyo” is Steve’s latest album and it showcases his band at a relaxed and very groove oriented live show at the famous club in Japan. Joining Steve are his usual band mates of Kevin Hays on keys and vocals, Jimmy Johnson on bass, Walt Fowler on trumpet and longtime associate David Spinozza filling in on guitar.

This being a live gig, the band keeps things mostly cool in a crowd pleasing way, and even includes a couple vocal numbers that are always a good way of building a stronger report with an audience. The CD opens with “Where’s Earth” with a touch of psychedelic mystery. The following two tracks, “Doesn’t She by Now” and “Timpanogos” are two of the best on the album with their catchy melodic content and no sweat infectious groove. The following blues and vocal tracks seem more like crowd pleasers and they work well that way.

The band picks up some steam on the Latin flavored “One Point Five” with Kevin Hays turning in a short but intense montuno driven piano solo and Gadd giving us his only solo on the album. The two following funk numbers keep the energy level up there with “Way Back Home” pushing Hays into another hot piano solo, this time with a New Orleans flavor. “Rat Race” keeps the funk flowing with Spinozza turning up the saturated distortion for his most rocking solo on the album.

MILES DAVIS Quiet Nights

Album · 1963 · Progressive Big Band
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“ Quiet Nights” could have been a much better album, but unfortunately the meddling greed of Columbia never let this project develop naturally. Miles and Gil had a sincere interest in Brazilian music and put together a couple of art pop covers of Brazilian songs which Columbia jumped on in an attempt to ride the new Bossa Nova fad. The songs did not make the pop charts so the whole project was shelved for a while. Later Miles and Gil recorded several more songs in a Brazilian style and then again the project sat for a while. At a later date, in an anxious move to satisfy the suits at Colombia, Theo Macero dug up a ballad Miles had recorded with his previous combo, slapped that with the other tunes and released the album which now contained only 25 minutes of music. Miles was quite angry with the move and broke relations with Macero and Columbia for some time.

It’s a shame that it turned out as it did because much of the music on “Quiet Nights” is excellent. Most, but not all, of the tunes are complex and interesting, and Gil Evan’s orchestrations are as imaginative as ever, while Miles delivers one soliloquy after another in some of the better ballad playing of his life. The album’s mix of jazz and lounge sensibilities foreshadow the modern era of ambient nu jazz, and this album has a strong following amongst fans of 60s exotica. In another bad moment of commercialism, Columbia touts this album on its back cover notes as being a Bossa Nova album, but although it is very Brazilian, standard Bossa Nova it isn’t.

One issue with this album that I have never seen raised before is the high volume at which the trumpet is mixed. Miles is front and center and quite a bit louder than the orchestra background and the frustratingly faint percussion. In the era when this was recorded, popular ballad instrumentals, often played by a tenor sax, sounded better coming out of a car dashboard speaker if there was not too much orchestral clutter. Possibly this is the sound they were going for. Still, I think some of tone colors might have sounded more interesting if there had been more of an attempt to blend Miles with Gil’s imaginative orchestrations.

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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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