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769 reviews/ratings
LYUBOMIR DENEV - Lyubomir Denev Jazz Trio And Petko Tomanov Fusion | review permalink
SOFT MACHINE - Third Jazz Related Rock | review permalink
SOFT MACHINE - The Peel Sessions Fusion | review permalink
KRZYSZTOF KOMEDA - Astigmatic Post Bop | review permalink
SOFT HEAP / SOFT HEAD - Rogue Element (as Soft Head) Fusion | review permalink
ROBERT WYATT - Rock Bottom Pop/Art Song/Folk | review permalink
KAZUTOKI UMEZU - Eclecticism Eclectic Fusion | review permalink
JAN GARBAREK - Afric Pepperbird Avant-Garde Jazz | review permalink
DAVID TORN - Polytown Nu Jazz | review permalink
MASADA - 50⁴ (Electric Masada) Eclectic Fusion | review permalink
ANTHONY BRAXTON - Dortmund (Quartet) 1976 Avant-Garde Jazz | review permalink
MATANA ROBERTS - Coin Coin Chapter One: Gens De Couleur Libres Avant-Garde Jazz | review permalink
FIRE! - Fire! Orchestra : Exit! Avant-Garde Jazz | review permalink
MAL WALDRON - Reminicent Suite (with Terumasa Hino) Post Bop | review permalink
JOE MCPHEE - Nation Time (Live at Vassar College) Fusion | review permalink
WILDFLOWERS - Wildflowers 1: The New York Loft Jazz Sessions Avant-Garde Jazz | review permalink
MAL WALDRON - What It Is Avant-Garde Jazz | review permalink
SEI MIGUEL - Salvation Modes Avant-Garde Jazz | review permalink
WADADA LEO SMITH - Wadada Leo Smith & Bill Laswell ‎: The Stone Avant-Garde Jazz | review permalink
ADAM LANE - Adam Lane's Full Throttle Orchestra ‎: Live In Ljubljana Progressive Big Band | review permalink

See all reviews/ratings

Jazz Genre Nb. Rated Avg. rating
1 Avant-Garde Jazz 256 3.65
2 Post Bop 79 3.51
3 Fusion 78 3.40
4 Eclectic Fusion 54 3.67
5 Nu Jazz 33 3.62
6 World Fusion 31 3.11
7 21st Century Modern 31 3.77
8 Jazz Related Rock 30 3.27
9 Hard Bop 22 3.32
10 RnB 22 3.34
11 Jazz Related Improv/Composition 21 3.55
12 Third Stream 16 3.47
13 Post-Fusion Contemporary 15 3.17
14 Progressive Big Band 15 3.83
15 Pop/Art Song/Folk 11 2.86
16 Vocal Jazz 10 3.15
17 Funk 9 3.39
18 Jazz Related Electronica/Hip-Hop 7 3.29
19 African Fusion 7 3.71
20 Funk Jazz 4 3.38
21 Jazz Related Soundtracks 4 3.25
22 Soul Jazz 3 3.33
23 Cool Jazz 2 3.50
24 Exotica 2 3.00
25 Big Band 2 2.75
26 Blues 1 2.00
27 Afro-Cuban Jazz 1 3.50
28 Acid Jazz 1 3.00
29 Jump Blues 1 3.50
30 Latin Jazz 1 3.50

Latest Albums Reviews


Album · 2004 · Avant-Garde Jazz
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Sax player Rodrigo Amado was one of the key figures in new Portuguese adventurous jazz during first decade of the new Millennium. On the wave of his homeland avant-garde jazz scene's popularity explosion, Amado's lead projects won respectful reputation around Europe and partially in the States. Still, differently from series of recordings under his own name, Rodrigo's earlier project Lisbon Improvisation Players stays in the shade, and it's a shame since Player's music is right on the level of any of Amado's later bands, and in moments even overtakes many of them.

For "Motion" Rodrigo forms Portuguese-American quartet where he plays tenor and baritone in a company with American soprano/tenor Steve Adams with support from Portuguese drummer Acacio Salero and American double bassist Ken Filliano.

All of the album's material is pure improvisation, but same way as with many other Amado's works, it sounds well organized, full of tunes and generally quite accessible. Based on so-called "improvisational composition" techniques, Amado adds a lot of tuneful snippets to his music and even if each of the four quartet's members are soloist here nothing sounds too chaotic or extremely "out". Even more - the opener "Perpetual Explorers", is an improvisational composition of rare beauty containing lots of lyrical tones, fragile grace and in all sounds quite close to modern academic composed music. "Motion" coming after has more muscle and is more free-jazz rooted still having all that melodic charm.

If only the whole album was like these two songs it could be crowned as modern creative jazz masterpiece. Still, the album's central part loses this highest level of sharpness a bit still staying an excellent example of truly reflective high-class musician's collaboration.

Lasting near an hour, this album doesn't leave a feeling it's too long or too complex what is quite a common case with improvisational music. The main reason is Rodrigo's ability to make even quite quirky music to sound attractive and accessible (this ability with no doubt is a main reason of the success of many of his other albums as well).

More relaxed, more experimental and surprisingly often more beautiful music than one can find on other better known and more popular Rodrigo Amado albums, it can become a great surprise for fans of Amado's later works and with no doubt is a "must have" release for everyone with interest to Portuguese creative jazz.


Album · 2020 · RnB
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Japanese jazz is traditionally accepted as an unorthodox deviation from predominantly Western (or being more precise - Western of African roots) genre. Still fans familiar with at least some of the Japanese scene know that there was an extremely creative period of time there lasting from the end of 60s and up to mid 70s, which gave to the international jazz world such artists as pianists Yosuke Yamashita, Masahiko Satoh or sax player Akira Sakata among others. Still, from the late 70s partially influenced by the wave of fusion popularity, Japanese jazz for decades became better known by its quantity than quality.

There are a few name players of world level there on the Japanese scene, incl. Satoko Fujii, fusion pianist Hiromi and still active Akira Sakata among others, but they are shamefully rare for one of the world's biggest jazz lover nations. And even more rare are brighter jazz artists coming from a younger generation.

With "Fly Moon Die Soon" Kobe-born forty year old trumpeter Takuya Kuroda makes a serious request to the A-list. New York-based from early 00'. Kuroda already released five albums before playing music ranging from hard bop to funk jazz and electronics. On "Fly Moon..." he brings all of his influences together mixing them in one stylish cocktail of old and new without plagiarism.

From the very first second of album's opener "Fade", the listener is invited to dreamy neo-soul with flying soloing trumpet and Corey King's vocals. Richly arranged and instrumented piece sounds as you're in 70s and in today's world at once."ABC" with horn section, African rhythms and funky groove is again something what comes from Earth Wind & Fire golden era, or today's vibrant London scenes.

Many pieces are funky, but not physically deep, more flat and electronically danceable, but that more modern sound is heavily influenced by the Moog, not 21st century electronics. Ohio Players "Sweet Sticky Thing" cover (with Russia-born singer Alina Engibaryan) sounds as brass-decorated pop-soul song. Herbie Hancock's "Tell Me a Bedtime Story", coming right after, will remind you the fusion of the late 60s and Miles Davis.

Title track is more nowadays music, with electronic rhythms, neo-soul vocals and Kuroda soloing trumpet over it. Being very versatile in genres, this album doesn't sound as an overly eclectic collection at all. Kuroda successfully mixes different influences to new music with respect to tradition and a touch of modernity. This album is for a much wider circle of listeners than just regular jazz fans, and one of the rare great releases from today's Japanese jazz.

* UK vinyl edition, released month or so later after original Japanese release contains one song less comparing with the Japan edition.

HARDCELL (BERNE + TABORN + RAINEY) Electric And Acoustic Hard Cell Live

Live album · 2004 · Avant-Garde Jazz
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Some years ago sax player Tim Berne started recording for German ECM label and his music received much wider distribution (and some additional glances for working with one of the most prestigious jazz labels ever). He already had a chance to be contracted by major labels in the States in the mid-late 80s, but the few albums he released didn't satisfy Columbia's people, so Tim returned back to the half-underground scenes in New York, having a cult following from fans of "New York new avant-gard jazz", whatever it was.

For those knowing Berne from most current ECM works he most probably associates with well-composed modern complex jazz, perfectly played but a bit too chamber (or not raw enough - you choose). Then a journey to Berne's 90s and 00s recordings (mostly on tiny labels or his own Screwgun) can offer plenty of pleasant surprises. "Electric And Acoustic Hard Cell Live" is a good example and there are some more with no doubt.

Hard Cell was a short-lived super-trio of sorts uniting Tim Berne with his regular keyboardist Craig Taborn and Californian drummer Tom Rainey. Just two albums have been recorded, both live (both released on Berne's own Screwgun label). Four tracks (lasting between 7 and 16 minutes each) are raw, muscular tuneful and surprisingly post-bop influenced. Recorded during two different gigs, the material presented is of quite good sound quality and contains a lot of audience emotional evidences, all for good.

Two tracks sound like an audience recording, but as on some better bootlegs, this fact even adds more blood and adrenaline into the music and common atmosphere. There are no traces of Berne's later chamber sobriety to be found here and Craig's use of electronics only adds effect of modernity. Being energetic, music here sounds far from some noisy free jazz chaos clichés, it is melodic and combines improvisations with well composed material.

This is one of Berne's better recordings which can be recommended for his more current fans - most probably you will find a lot of things you will like here.

MASAHIKO SATOH 佐藤允彦 Masahiko Satoh Trio : Transformation '69/'71

Album · 1971 · Post Bop
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Almost all of Japanese pianist Masahiko Sato's albums were released solely in Japan which means they are not easily accessible in the Western world. For those interested in the best Japanese jazz, his name is probably heard, but the problem is where to start with his prolific discography.

Being one of the very best Japanese jazz pianists of the last half-a-century (the other equal name is Yosuke Yamashita), Sato released plenty of albums, and they all are quite different stylistically. He was one of the leading stars of the early Japanese avant-garde jazz scene, switched towards fusion later, returned back to freer forms, collaborated with more modern electronics wizards, etc, etc.

Still, if you are new to his music, and want to chose the one album where to start, "Transformation '69/'71" is the place.

Side A is recorded in 1969 and the music is excellent post-bop, groovy and elegant, with Sato's original "Tigris" being almost a jazz standard level song. This material comes from exactly same sessions (March 17 and 20, 1969) which are presented on Sato's debut album "Palladium"(1969).

Side B is recorded with the same trio (including another Japanese avant-garde jazz scene legend drummer Masahiko Togashi and more straight and lesser known acoustic bassist Yasuo Arakawa), but two years later. The album's title comes from those two session dates and the second one is polarly different from the first one.

Still with some beauty and grace, the trio here plays knotty jazz with lots of air inside. As it is characteristic almost exclusively to early avant-garde jazz, being a free form music here radiates some spiritual energy and doesn't sound as formalistic experiment at all. It's interesting that "cosmic" effects on side B are produced by Togashi percussion, not early synth.

It doesn't evidence Satos' evolution from mainstream towards free jazz though, since during these same few years he played very different music (the good example of his r'n'b / jazz rock album is 1970 "Bridge Over Troubled Water").

This short (less than 35 minutes) album is a quintessence of Satoh's music, and it's sound quality is extremely high even for so high raised Japanese jazz recordings sound standards of the early 70s. Original vinyl is a rarity, but 2011 CD reissue (of same excellent crisp sound) being out of press still circulates on secondary market.


Live album · 2020 · Eclectic Fusion
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Five years ago I saw Christian Scott playing live on his European tour with almost the same band (vocalist Isadora Mendez Scott is not on board, sax player Braxton Cook instead of current Alex Han and percussionist Joe Dyson instead of Weedie Braimah). He sounded quite similar to what is recorded on this newest album "Axiom", just here he sounds a bit better.

Exactly as during the gig I saw live, Scott speaks a lot, plays trumpet and manages his band well. Flutist Elena Pinderhughes is a night's star filling space with nice solos generally, not too knotty for the band's music. Lawrence Field's retro keys sound great and add a lot of 70s spirit.

Comparing with some of Scott's last studio albums, music here is much more organic, and that's for good. There is a groove and a lot of African percussion, and in general this album is not much different from today's popular London based African fusion influenced sound.

Exactly as during the concert I saw, songs here are quite long, being accessible and not too complex, the lengthiness can make the album simply sound a bit bulky as a result. Still, taking in account all the pros and cons, "Axiom" is probably the best Scott album I have ever heard.

Latest Forum Topic Posts

  • Posted 7 days ago in The Black roots of Chinese pop music
    From Louis Armstrong to Buck Clayton to Li Jinhui: The surprising connection between early American jazz and present-day Chinese pop.David VolodzkoLouis Armstrong spent the last days of his life eating Chinese food and playing music on the front stoop with the neighborhood kids, who adored him. He lived with his wife Lucille and their two schnauzers, Trumpet and Trinket, in Corona, a neighborhood in Queens just across from the world’s largest Chinatown in Flushing. Armstrong had grown up among Chinese immigrants in New Orleans and adored Chinese food. While touring in Africa in 1961, he tracked down the only Chinese restaurant in Nairobi, Kenya — and kept the menu too. He also covered a few China-themed songs throughout his career, such as the 1931 recording of “Chinatown, My Chinatown,” a song commonly sung at the time by Chinese-American vaudevillians.In 1970, one year before his death, he wrote about visiting his favorite restaurant in Corona, the Dragon Seed, and not being able to eat his food before it got cold because the neighborhood kids would always spot him and plead for autographs. “So by the time I finished,” he wrote, “hmm my food were very cold.”No doubt, Armstrong would have been happy to hear that his music would ultimately revolutionize not only American music, but Chinese music as well. That’s because Armstrong had a profound influence on the jazz trumpet player Wilbur Dorsey “Buck” Clayton, a leading member of Count Basie’s Orchestra. In 1934, Clayton moved to Shanghai as the leader of the jazz group the Harlem Gentlemen. There, his music would in turn influence Lí Jǐnhuī 黎锦晖, the father of modern Chinese pop music, or C-pop.“It is true to say that Louis Armstrong was a significant influence on Buck Clayton,” says David Moser, the academic director at CET Chinese studies at Beijing Capital Normal University. “He was a huge influence on all trumpet players of that era. And it is true that Li Jinhui was strongly influenced by Clayton, but there’s no evidence that the two of them ever directly collaborated.”This, Moser notes, is despite a few mentions on the internet that would seem to indicate otherwise. In reality, they probably never did meet, but Clayton’s Harlem Gentlemen played Li Jinhui’s music for the dancers at the Canidrome Ballroom in Shanghai.In the 1920s and 1930s, jazz was pop music — brought to China by bands like Clayton but also records and Hollywood movies.In 1934, the notorious gangster Jack Riley started a fight with the band, causing them to lose their gig at the Canidrome Ballroom, writes Andrew Field, a Shanghai-based scholar and author of the book Shanghai’s Dancing World. The band eventually found work as Ladow’s Casanova, a lower-class ballroom frequented by sailors, soldiers, and middle-class Chinese where, Field told SupChina, Clayton was often forced to perform Chinese pop songs.Part of this exchange between jazz and early C-pop was made easier by the fact that many of the main figures moved in the same circles. In his autobiography Buck Clayton’s Jazz World, Clayton says he learned local Chinese pop tunes for his work at a lesser club.“Some of these songs would almost surely have been written by Li Jinhui,” says Andrew Jones, professor of Chinese literature and media studies at the University of California at Berkeley, since Li had such a dominant role in the early Chinese pop music scene. It was also at one of these nightclubs or dancehalls, possibly the Canidrome, where Li Jinhui likely heard Clayton perform, says Jones.But another thing that made the back-and-forth possible was that both sides spoke the same language. In the 1920s and 1930s, jazz was pop music — brought to China by bands like Clayton but also records and Hollywood movies. Chinese pop music adopted standard jazz forms such as 8 and 16 bar structures with chorus and verses, instrumentation such as string bass, strummed guitars, and horns, as well as dance rhythms such as fox trot, swing, and blues. Meanwhile, the tonality of jazz and blues meant that for Clayton, it was easy to pick up Chinese folk songs that used pentatonic scales. From here, Chinese music continued to adapt, evolving from Li to Jay Chou (周杰伦 Zhōu Jiélún), Jolin Tsai (蔡依林 Cài Yīlín), and the U.S. rapper Yudes.There are other stories of musical exchange between American jazz artists and C-pop musicians. For instance, there’s the theory by the late journalist and poet Nick Tosches that scat singing originally came from jazz musicians such as Louis Armstrong imitating the sound of Chinese that they heard in the streets around them. Or the more self-conscious adoption of East Asian forms in the 1960s, as in the music of John Coltrane or Pharaoh Sanders. But none were as influential as the tie between Clayton and Li.Sadly, after founding C-pop, Li was not celebrated as a hero. He was persecuted for having created an immoral genre and later killed during the Cultural Revolution. Clayton, fortunately, met with a better ending. After he returned home from China, he continued to travel and spend a lot of his time on the road, playing gigs. At the age of 40, he became a father, though he still traveled often and had precious little time to spend with his family.“But he was a devoted family man,” says his daughter, Candice Bryson, who is now 66 years old and lives in Florida with her family. “And when he did have time, he made up for it.”He also made music a central part of family life. “We went to a lot of shows together,” Bryson says, adding that in her home growing up, her father’s music was just a regular part of life. Clayton was a quiet man, she says, but when his friends came around, the house was full of laughter. Laughter and jazz.“I do remember he talked about China,” says Bryson. “I think he had a good time there. I have a lot of his music, and Illinois Jacquet — we listen to a lot of that around here too, same as my dad.”And, she says, “He liked
  • Posted 16 days ago in What are You Listening II
  • Posted 18 days ago in Paco de Lucia’s influence on Turkish music
    From Andalusia to the shores of the Bosphorus: Paco de Lucia’s influence on Turkish musicPaco de Lucia passed away around 6 years ago. The musician, whose real name was Francisco Gustavo Sánchez Gomes was born in 1947 in Algeciras, Andalusia. From Doğan Canku to bağlama players, Paco de Lucia's influence on Turkish music and musicality is an extensive topic that constitutes be a field of research in itself.  Mustafa AvcıPaco de Lucia passed away around 6 years ago. The musician, whose real name was Francisco Gustavo Sánchez Gomes was born in 1947 in Algeciras, Andalusia. A Paco documentary was broadcast in 1973 and is the 78th episode of an epic Flamenco documentary series (1971-1973) entitled “Rito y Geografía del Cante,” which consists of a total of 100 episodes. Introducing the 26-year-old young Paco, the documentary also showcases the one of the most famous rumbas of all times, named “Entre dos Aguas.” Paco's revolution in Flamenco music is significant on three aspects. Firstly, he brought harmony to the genre, second, he improved its formal structure and finally, he introduced the technical capacity of the solo guitar.Paco de Lucia's right and left hand technique is almost unmatched, not only in Flamenco, but amongst all guitarists. Playing the guitar at a maddening speed yet never compromising clear notes remains one of his trademarks. Besides, Paco never suffocated the audience. This is perhaps what made Paco’s flamenco so special – combining top-notch technique with intense improvisations.Paco began playing the guitar at the age of 8, and by the time he was 14, he was able to play every piece in the flamenco repertoire. He was only 14 when he recorded 'Los Chiquitos de Algeciras” (The Little Ones of Algerias) with his brother Pepe.Meanwhile, Paco went on several tours with prominent musicians. He was only 16-years-old when he first played in New York. Later, he was invited to the Berlin Jazz Festival when he was just 20 years old, where jazz legends such as Miles Davis and Thelonious Monk performed. In the wake of that festival, jazz music profoundly impacted Paco’s music.What is more, the jazz/rock genre also influenced the musician. Paco played with Latin rock star Carlos Santana. In 1976, he played in the album “Elegant Gypsy” by prominent jazz guitarist Al di Meola. By 1979, Paco de Lucia, John Mclaughlin and jazz guitarist Larry Coryell formed a guitar trio, “The Guitar Trio.” In the 1980s, Al di Meola replaced Coryell.The trio's 1981 album “Friday Night in San Francisco” became a huge hit, containing several legendary songs. Among them is the song Paco and Mclaughlin played together, the one Egberto Gismonti actually wrote for the piano and which has been adapted for two guitars.But as Paco de Lucia rocked the world, what effect did he have in Turkey?Doğan Canku first discussed the importance of Paco de Lucia in the history of Turkish music. During his journey as a classical guitarist, Doğan Canku came across flamenco and, of course, the music of Paco de Lucia. And one day, Paco turned up at the venue where Paco was playing.As Doğan Canku himself recounted it in a interview:"Doğan Canku: I like flamenco. I try to play it and that is reflected in my pieces. […] One day, for example, Rene, Ayhan and I were playing at a venue on the Bosphorus. The club’s boss told me, ‘Paco de Lucia is coming.’ He also said, ‘He’s coming for you.’ I thought he was kidding. I did not believe him, but when it was midnight, the guy came. When he arrived, I was shocked. They told me, ‘Here you go. You’re going to play.’ I mumbled, ‘don't be silly.’ I was shaking from top to bottom. What does one do in such a situation; what do we do? The club was full with a good audience and the Pacos sat down. We took the stage of course. We welcomed them. I told him, ‘I will play a special piece for you.’ Then I played Sultanıyegah Sirto.”“Ilgaz Benekay: It really was one of the most beautiful things you've ever done in that sense. What Entre dos Aguas was for Paco’s recognition, Sultanıyegah Sirto was exactly the same for you. Today, everybody is playing it, including my students.”“Doğan Canku: Paco is a person who has matured as a musician. He is one of the best in the world now. Meanwhile, in the club, they were served their food but did not touch it. He went on listening to my piece. He listened intently and applauded enthusiastically. Then a young man came up to me. He was a former guitar student of mine. It turned out that he brought him. I went to meet him. My former student took Paco there forcefully because he was very tired. He told me, ‘I’m glad I came.’ He said, ‘I see Pacos wherever I go in the world.’ He told me ‘You played flamenco for me, but you interpreted my music with your own music, synthesized it, and offered me something beautiful, adding into the music that I made to the music that you made.’ We all sat down; started chatting. Years later, I heard that he told this to somebody else, but I don’t know how true that is. He allegedly said: ‘Doğan Canku is the best in synthesizing Flamenco with his own music.’ This is very flattering, if it is true.”Beyond Doğan Canku, Paco's magic made its way to Turkey in Leven Yüksel’s ‘Tuana’. This legendary piece, for which Sezen Aksu wrote the lyrics, Erdem Sökmen played the guitar and Levent Yüksel played the bass captured the entire country.Guitarist İbrahim Odak has also written about Tuana: “Out of these kinds of pieces [Flamenco], the catchiest one is undoubtedly the song ‘Tuana,’ which Levent Yüksel performs in Turkish and which originally belongs to Paco de Lucia. Erdem Sökmen played Paco's guitar falsetto and Levent Yüksel, Carlos Benavent’s bass guitar scores exactly like them. At the time, Paco de Lucia was almost a myth on Flamenco guitar and he carried the limits of Flamenco guitar to places never imagined that would be reached in technique


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