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871 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 113 3.67
2 Avant-Garde Jazz 66 3.92
3 Post Bop 56 4.10
4 Hard Bop 54 3.84
5 Soul Jazz 47 3.41
6 World Fusion 41 3.61
7 Big Band 40 3.83
8 Eclectic Fusion 40 3.73
9 RnB 37 3.61
10 Jazz Related Rock 32 3.75
11 Progressive Big Band 28 4.02
12 Nu Jazz 28 3.45
13 Bop 28 4.04
14 Funk Jazz 26 3.60
15 Pop/Art Song/Folk 23 2.80
16 Third Stream 22 3.89
17 Funk 21 3.90
18 Exotica 18 3.42
19 Jazz Related Electronica/Hip-Hop 18 3.39
20 Latin Jazz 14 3.82
21 Post-Fusion Contemporary 13 3.46
22 Cool Jazz 13 3.69
23 Dub/Ska/Reggae 12 4.04
24 Vocal Jazz 12 3.54
25 Jazz Related Soundtracks 11 3.91
26 Jazz Related Improv/Composition 10 3.40
27 Blues 10 3.80
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

BILL ORTIZ Points Of View

Album · 2022 · Latin Jazz
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Trumpeter Bill Ortiz has worked with many well-known artists over the years, but possibly he is best known for his sixteen years with Carlos Santana (2000-2016) Along with Carlos, Bill has also toured with Bay Area RnB groups like Tony Toni Tone and En Vogue, and has also performed with top jazz musicians such as Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter and Chick Corea. Add to that list many RnB, blues and Latin jazz performers and you get an idea of how much Bill gets around. His latest album, “Points of View”, takes Ortiz in more of a Latin jazz and fusion direction, which is different from his previous albums which were more RnB and hip-hop oriented. There is an amazing all-star cast assembled for this album, too many stars to list, but two of the top contributors include Dennis Chambers on drums and Azar Lawrence on tenor saxophone. Although “Points of View” is very much a modern album, there is a spiritual connection to the 70s with songs by artists like Eddie Henderson, Lonnie Liston Smith and Brian Jackson, but it’s Azar’s big soulful tenor sound that brings that organic 70s vibe more than anything else.

There is a wide variety of music on here, each song has its own unique flavor that stands on its own. Looking at some album highlights, opening track “Sunburst” brings the jazz-rock energy. Although Bill rarely sounds like Miles, on this rockin track he seems to channel Miles’ aggressive riffs from his Live at the Fillmore album. “Okonkole y Trompa” is a mystical African flavored rumba with Bill’s deep toned flugelhorn sounding like an ancient African horn sounding over a percussion groove. The psychedelic Afro-Cuban sound is also found on “Fusion/Noche Cubana", on which Ortiz plays echoed trumpet lines over the percussion backdrop. “Aint Gon Change a Thang” is funky Latin RnB and has Bill playing a processed trumpet that sounds like Randy Brecker’s work combining mutes and wah pedals. And there are plenty more tracks of course. Though out the album, Ortiz’s trumpet playing is bold and forthright, very much in the Latin tradition, and also similar to power trumpeters like Freddie Hubbard and Jon Faddis.

JOHNNY "GUITAR" WATSON A Real Mother For Ya

Album · 1977 · RnB
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You have to admit that “Real Mother For Ya” has a pretty funny, campy album cover. Yes that’s Johnny’s mom pushing him in a baby carriage that has been made to look like a gold Rolls Royce, implying that young Johnny has grown up to do pretty well for himself in the music business, which indeed he did. Starting in the 50s, Watson was a star guitarist and vocalist in the blues world, especially in Houston where he was from. Moving out to LA, Johnny made the transition to a modern funk sound, and did so convincingly, scoring several big hits, while still maintaining much of his blues flavor. One such big hit was this album’s title track, with its humorous tales of ironic disappointment, rip-offs and plain bad luck. These are the kind of lyrics that anyone can relate to and Watson delivered them with plenty of funny asides in his distinctive twangy voice. The song became a real mover on the dance floor with its double heavy bass reinforced with a heavy analog synthesizer. As is typical for dance records, the title track comes first on side one so that DJs will have no problem finding it.

Sometimes albums like this, which are centered around a big hit, have nothing but filler after the hit passes, but the rest of “Real Mother” contains some well written and creatively produced tracks. Johnny covers all the bases on here, writing all the songs, playing all the instruments except horns and drums, and taking care of production as well. Watson is a great producer, different parts stand out and shimmer as he achieves great separation and clarity, and often puts some semi-psychedelic glitter on things. Johnny’s writing style combines blues, RnB, jazz and art pop, like a mix of Curtis Mayfield, The Ohio Players, The Crusaders and The Beatles. Some interesting tracks include the somewhat spacey, “Your Love is My Love”, on which Watson delivers all the vocals through a vocoder foreshadowing today’s frequent use of such vocals and, “I Wanna Thank You”, on which Johnny reveals he is just as good on the piano as he is on the guitar. “Nothing Left to be Desired” has a dreamy middle section on which Watson builds vocal layers over a jazzy chord progression. Johnny’s lyrics are never deep or heavy, but he delivers them with plenty of clever humor and spoken asides. Looking at the horn section, I see frequent Frank Zappa sideman Walt Fowler on trumpet. As many already know, Watson delivered some humorously over the top vocals on Zappa’s “One Size Fits All”.

JOHN COLTRANE John Coltrane/Archie Shepp : New Thing At Newport

Live album · 1966 · Avant-Garde Jazz
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This review of “New Thing at Newport” is based on the original LP on the Impulse! label, and what a beautiful production it is. You get a gatefold album cover with plenty of inside liner notes written by Nat Hentoff and Archie Shepp, plus a nice photo of Archie on the back cover decked out in about the coolest sports jacket you have ever seen. Shepp and John Coltrane share this album, but they do not play together. One track from Coltrane’s evening performance leads off the album, which is followed by four Shepp tracks that took place earlier that day in the afternoon.

Coltrane’s “One Down, One Up” is an absolute powerhouse performance from arguably the hottest quartet in jazz history. This is the last year that Elvin Jones and McCoy Tyner will stay with John, but they certainly found their mountainous peak before moving on. The recording quality is pretty bad, but John and McCoy come through loud and clear. The lead melody is a short little RnB riff, but listen how Coltrane works it and develops it. There is a reason why other musicians consider him to be a genius and worthy of emulating. Possibly knowing what Coltrane was going to be doing that evening, Archie decides not to go for the same intensity during his afternoon performance. Instead, he presents an eclectic set of almost chamber-like avant-garde jazz, possibly somewhat similar to Eric Dolphy’s “Out to Lunch” album.

The recording quality on the Shepp tracks is much better, possibly the Coltrane set just had way too much sonic volume to deal with. “Rufus” is a free post bop number with great playing from Archie, as well as Bobby Hutcherson on vibes who is excellent all though his part of the album. “Le Matin des Noire” has some interesting arrangements and sometimes resembles a 20th century avant-garde classical piece. “Tracks” is a short little spoken diatribe against heroin and the injustices that encourage it, and “Call Me by My Rightful Name” is a ballad of sorts with Archie shifting between a pretty melody and very odd atonal excursions.

BRAD MEHLDAU Jacob's Ladder

Album · 2022 · Eclectic Fusion
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Well here it is, Brad Mehldau’s somewhat ballyhooed alleged return to his youthful progressive rock roots. Truth be told, “Jacob‘s Ladder“ is not exactly a prog rock album, which may be a good thing for some, but prog does play a big part on this rather eclectic album. Along with covers of some classic songs like “Tom Sawyer“, “Cogs in Cogs“ and “Starship Trooper”, you also get a fair share of ‘trappy’ electronica nu jazz, a synthesizer fugue, some readings from the Bible, semi-classical instrumental ballads, some art pop and more. In the prog tradition, this is a very ambitious album, but how does it all add up to the listener. To paraphrase from David Byrne, “some good points, and some not as good points”. Ambitious musically, but also literally as Brad muses on man’s relationship with God in his very thoughtful opening liner notes. Second track, “Herr und Knecht”, presents intense music as Tobias Bader screams out an internal debate from Hegel’s “Phenomenology”. Yes, some of this album is far from easy listening.

“Cogs in Cogs” gets three different treatments, first a nu jazz dubish instrumental, then a cover with vocals, and then finally a synthesizer fugue that sounds like a tribute to Wendy Carlos. “Tom Sawyer” gets a jazzy treatment and overall sounds a lot better without Geddy Lee’s vocals. On “Jacob’s Ladder II”, we get an excellent Mehldau piano solo over an electronic trap groove. “Jacob’s Ladder III” has Bible verses over sampled choirs and then ends with some very intense anguished screaming and yelling, you have been warned. Closing track “Heaven …” is an album highlight as the assembled all-star band does an excellent cover of “Starship Trooper”. Cecile McLorin Salvant’s beautiful wordless vocals open the track before Safia McKinney-Askeur comes into handle the lyrics. It closes out with Brad’s relaxed and lyrical piano solo over Yes’ famous closing three chord vamp.

I didn’t come close to covering all the material on here, there is just too much to cover. Brad seems to be wrestling with the big issues here, both spiritual and philosophical. It takes a certain amount of guts and integrity to release an album that aspires to be all that Mehldau presents here.

JOHN COLTRANE Concert In Japan

Live album · 1973 · Avant-Garde Jazz
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“John Coltrane Concert in Japan” does not have very good sound quality, but it is an important example of an important group at a time of important development. Back when this album was recorded (1966), it seemed all avant-garde jazz was poorly recorded, as if that was one more way of avoiding commercialism and/or the establishment. To this day I sometimes wonder if that was the case for some of the early free jazz albums. By 1966, free jazz was not exactly new anymore, but it was still fairly new to a lot of people and it would still take a few more years for free jazz to become an accepted part of the jazz world.

Although very much an avant-garde album when it was recorded, Coltrane’s playing on here is mostly tonal as he delivers sheets of modal scales and pentatonic colors. Pharoh Sanders, on the other hand, is more apt to slip into screams and exclamations, as well as making his saxophone sound like a pre-colonial African reed instrument no where near the European concert invention it is. Rashied Ali’s drumming continues the African vibe as he is able to sound like a large African percussion ensemble by himself. Alice Coltrane supplies cascading scales and chords, often imitating an Indian tamboura in the way she provides a constant background for the soloists. Jimmy Garrison on bass is the only person left from Coltrane’s more traditional previous group, but unfortunately you can barely hear him at all.

If Sanders and Ali bring an African sound, the Coltranes often seem to be channeling classical Indian music with John’s relaxed opening to “Peace on Earth” sounding much like a morning raga. The way the two Coltranes build their improvisations again recalls Indian ragas. Although, “Peace on Earth”, mostly lives up to its name, the rest of the music on here is quite intense, especially when Sanders gets everyone fired up with his fierce repeating atonal scales. On the closing track, Sanders and Coltrane finally solo together and what a hell raiser that is. Too bad there was not more of their simultaneous improvs on here.

Latest Forum Topic Posts

  • Posted 7 days ago in 2020 jazz rock fusion and jam band albums
    The Next Generation of Sound presents the other Armstrong:https://music.youtube.com/playlist?list=OLAK5uy_mOtxqLHF2BM1rlWOUJA6y5PqQ6IDydpQk snobb2022-06-27 13:47:42
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  • Posted 18 days ago in What are You Listening II
    [TUBE]o5TmORitlKk[/TUBE]

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Warthur wrote:
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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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