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YES Fragile Album Cover Fragile
YES
4.77 | 17 ratings
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PARLIAMENT Mothership Connection Album Cover Mothership Connection
PARLIAMENT
4.81 | 11 ratings
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JIMI HENDRIX Are You Experienced (Jimi Hendrix Experience) Album Cover Are You Experienced (Jimi Hendrix Experience)
JIMI HENDRIX
4.68 | 30 ratings
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SOFT MACHINE Third Album Cover Third
SOFT MACHINE
4.64 | 55 ratings
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FRANK ZAPPA The Grand Wazoo (The Mothers) Album Cover The Grand Wazoo (The Mothers)
FRANK ZAPPA
4.64 | 43 ratings
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STEVIE WONDER Songs in the Key of Life Album Cover Songs in the Key of Life
STEVIE WONDER
4.73 | 12 ratings
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SANTANA Caravanserai Album Cover Caravanserai
SANTANA
4.58 | 46 ratings
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CURTIS MAYFIELD Superfly Album Cover Superfly
CURTIS MAYFIELD
4.85 | 6 ratings
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KING CRIMSON Larks' Tongues In Aspic Album Cover Larks' Tongues In Aspic
KING CRIMSON
4.56 | 39 ratings
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YES The Yes Album Album Cover The Yes Album
YES
4.66 | 13 ratings
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STEELY DAN Aja Album Cover Aja
STEELY DAN
4.58 | 26 ratings
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JIMMY SMITH Back at the Chicken Shack Album Cover Back at the Chicken Shack
JIMMY SMITH
4.63 | 15 ratings
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jazz related Music Reviews

TONY ADAMO Did Mark Murphy Believe in UFOS?

EP · 2020 · RnB
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tonyrocadamo
By NICHOLAS F. MONDELLO Allaboutjazz

The interrogative title of this fine track shares an interesting insight, as well as its supposition. Whether the late singer literally did buy into UFOs—a la Sun Ra who saw "space as the place"—or he didn't is irrelevant. What is key is the fact that Mark Murphy has had a definitive and lasting impact on jazz vocalists today—and very much so on the High Prince of sing-speak, Tony Adamo who salutes Murphy on this infectious single. Further, the savvy integration of Michael Franks' "Don't Be Blue" into the performance adds encouragement and a positive sheen on the proceedings. It's a brilliant production choice.

Adamo, the ultimate hipster's hipster, is dead on his game on this hip-hop grooved masterpiece. Brilliantly performed and laid down over a killer rhythm, Adamo speaks "jazz gospel" and offers verbal high praise to Murphy by way of his own poetics about Murphy's verbiage on Oliver Nelson's "Stolen Moments." (Murphy wrote a well-known version of lyrics for the classic tune.)

https://www.allaboutjazz.com/did-mark-murphy-believe-in-ufos-tony-adamo-ropeadope-records

DEWA BUDJANA Dewa Budjana, Tohpati : Janapati

Album · 2019 · Third Stream
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js
Dewa Budjana and Tohpati are the two top guitarists in Indonesia’s thriving fusion scene, and on “Janapati”, they join forces for a musical extravaganza backed by a full orchestra. Even the album title refers to their union as it is comprised of syllables taken from both of their names. With two well known guitarists on board, one world probably expect a non-stop shred fest, but instead, the music on here is often created with lush orchestral passages which leave space for their solos, mostly on acoustic guitars. The orchestral music itself draws on both Indonesian and Western melodies, and bears some resemblance to late 19th century classical romanticism, but much of this very robust ensemble work is actually more reminiscent of Broadway spectaculars and panoramic film scores. The orchestra hits you full blast when the CD first opens, and continues to dominate for much of the album. It is a well recorded bright orchestra sound that is just massive in its scope and presence.

On a couple tracks they set the orchestra aside for some great guitar duets. 'D Romance" features some of the best fret work as they open the song with intertwining classical melodies that open into a jazzy middle section. The electric version of title track, “Duology”, is a high energy rocker that carries the most all out shredding. “Duology” also appears again later on the album, this time in an acoustic format. In some ways, the electric version may seem out of place on this album, but I would imagine fans of both guitarists wouldn’t have minded hearing some more jams in that style.

JASON HARNELL Total Harnage

Album · 2019 · Jazz Related Improv/Composition
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js
Jason Harnell is a top notch jazz session drummer who has worked with big names such as Dave Douglas, Maynard Ferguson, Larry Goldings, Alan Pasqua and many more. “Total Harnage” is his first and only solo release and finds him playing selections from the drum solo show he performs at the Oyster House Saloon in Studio City Ca. Jason doesn’t just play the drums, but instead acts as a one man band by singing and utilizing electronics, loops, samples and apps to accompany his compositions. Essentially what we have here are oddly orchestrated drum solos, each with a totally different sound and approach. When I mention ‘drum solos”, don’t picture the thunder and flash of the Billy Cobham and Neil Peart crowd, instead, Jason is a subtle “thinking man’s” drummer and is more similar to masters of abstraction such as Eddie Blackwell, Paul Motian, Chico Hamilton and Max Roach. There is also a lot of Africa and India in Jason’s percussive excursions. Although there are many different tracks on here, they all seem to flow together, connected by Jason’s rambling rhythms.

It does not matter how much avant-garde music you have listened to, you have never heard anything like “Total Harnage”, not because it is particularly difficult or dissonant, in fact when Jason sings “When Your Smiling” to sparse drum accompaniment, it just sounds like an old radio broadcast, only a little off kilter when it ends with the sound of a Pac Man session closing down. Jason isn’t just off the beaten path on here, this album is it’s own path by itself. This LP should have special appeal to fellow drummers, in fact much of this reminds me of drummer comedian, Fred Armisen, who has entire comedy routines best appreciated by other drummers and pro musicians who have to deal with that one guy in the band ‘who really isn’t a musician’. Some highlights on here include Jason drumming along with Glenn Gould performing a Bach prelude, and another cut that has him adding percussion to Quint the Shark Hunter’s ‘bad fish’ speech from the movie “Jaws”. Harnell also performs George Crumb’s “The Magic Circle of Infinity”, as well as some ambient trance compositions of his own.

“Total Harnage” is a very non-cliché listen that has grown on me as I hear more, and many of these tracks would work great as change ups in a radio show or mix tape of unique music.

KENNEY POLSON For Lovers Only Volume II

Album · 2019 · Pop/Art Song/Folk
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kev rowland
It is strange to hear an album like this in 2019 as in many ways it is about forty years out of time, even down to the backing vocals on the opener “Stella by Starlight”. This is very cleverly performed lounge jazz with often a latin feel, with production, sounds and guitarwork very reminiscent of what was happening with the music scene as they attempted to move away from disco, but were unsuccessful. It is very clever, and Polson is a great soloist playing within arrangements which always have him to the fore, but even the use of electronic keyboard/synths makes it all feel very dated indeed. In many ways I get the impression I am going to get a sugar overload, as there is just so much sweetness, but much of the raw heart has been ripped out of this and it becomes just too bland. Playing one or two songs is fine, but working my way through the album, which I have done multiple times, is still something of an effort as it all feels too plastic, too false, too veneered. I am sure that anyone into this style of jazz will get a great deal from it as there is no doubt that it is very well performed and produced indeed, just not for me.

KELLEY SUTTENFIELD When We Were Young

Album · 2019 · Pop/Art Song/Folk
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js
Right now Kelley Suttenfield’s “When We were Young” is my number one pick for sleeper surprise masterpiece for this year, and unfortunately, its also an album that may fly under the radar and be missed by many who would enjoy it because she is not yet well known. On paper the idea of a female jazz singer covering the songs of Neil Young looks like the sort of thing that could go wrong in many directions. Do we really want to hear Neil’s classics treated to adventurous chord substitutions, metric modulation or scat vocalizing. Of course we don’t, and thankfully you won’t find any of that on Kelley’s sublime covers of both well known and somewhat obscure Neil Young compositions. Sattenfield and her small backing group keep things cool and relaxed and don’t try too hard to make the songs more ‘jazzy’, although it should be no surprise that many of Young’s songs are very similar to classic pop jazz tunes in the first place, particularly “Fool for Your Love”. It also helps that Kelley’s band mates all have diverse backgrounds and can dish out the country, folk and rock licks that are needed to keep Young’s songs sounding ‘real’.

One of the first things you may notice about Suttenfield’s interpretations of Neil’s lyrics is that she never changes his words to fit her gender. All of the lyrics that Young sings about his relationship with women remain as is which creates a very interesting atmosphere in which we are hearing Neil’s thoughts from a curiously feminine side of himself. If she had changed the words the album would be much less mesmerizing in its exploration of Young’s yearnings for his ‘better half’. In some ways the album sounds like Young’s lover has discovered his personal diary and is reading his thoughts out loud to herself.

The arrangements on here are outstanding, deceptively simple, but always serving the song, not the musicians. A string trio is used economically here and there and the keyboards and guitar engage in occasional short solos to help build momentum. Kelley’s vocal delivery is very much of the ‘cool’ school, but on songs like “The Needle and the Damage Done” and “Down by the River” she belts out some emotional chorus buildups. “When We were Young” has so much crossover potential and if given some decent promotion could find fans in the worlds of folk, country, pop, vocal jazz and classic rock. Do give this one a try, its probably better than what you are expecting.

jazz related movie reviews

KING CRIMSON Neal And Jack And Me

Movie · 2004 · Jazz Related Rock
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Sean Trane
This DVD will please many of the third Crimson phase fans combines two tours: the Beat tour and the Three Of A Perfect pair. Oddly enough, they are presented in a non- chronological order, but this is a very minor point. One of the things I was particularly uneasy about was Bruford's use of electronic percussions and drums and we get a load of those "things" and like all technology novelty, the risk is that it ages poorly and sadly here, it is the case. Another point I had not appreciated is the stage presence of Adrian Belew, which is clearly copied from David Byrne from his collaborations with The Talking Heads - I love the T Heads, but Belew's stage antics are too derivative and ill fitted for Crimson. There are a few tracks present twice and most notably the boring Mate Kusadai.

Strictly on the visual front, Crimson was clearly making efforts to look hip and appeal to a more new-wave-ish public. Those were the days! But I never said that they were good, either!

Among the bonuses, are a video clip and a few titbits, but sadly still missing is that mini- concert footage filmed for the Discipline release and them playing four tracks in front of a red curtain. I may be severe with my rating of this DVD but I am not a real fan of that era.

GONG Classic Rock Legends

Movie · 2000 · Jazz Related Rock
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seyo
This video contains live performances from 1990 Live on TV album. Four original members of GonG are present: Pip Pyle, Didier Malherbe, Gilli Smyth and an oddball-harlequin persona of the spiritus movens, Daevid Allen.

Performance is focused on their legendary Radio Gnome Invisible trilogy, with 3 starters from Camembert Electrique. Since I have no idea what GonG looked like on scene back in the early 1970s (that is, before I took a peek at several Youtube clips recently), I guess this DVD makes up a lot for that, the age of the performers notwithstanding.

In fact, seeing these unique art-performers in their senior age can just assure you how the music and art in general can surpass generations, years and ages if you wish. Musicianship is great, movie direction very good with several cameras shooting from different angles, while only the engagement of the dancers to invoke the mystical gnomey creatures may be seen as too over-stressed.

The finale presents perhaps too long goodbye with the extended "I Am You" jam, but when Daevid jumps down into the audience you can actually see the highly emotional and spiritual connection between the band and the people, done in an almost religious-like chanting. This is excellent video and should be seen by all those who have at least some knowledge of the Planet GonG trilogy repertoire!

BILL BRUFORD Bbc Rock Goes To College: Live 1979

Movie · 2006 · Jazz Related Rock
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Dick Heath
I remember seeing this originally on BBC 2 a few weeks after it was recorded in one of the canteens of Oxford Poly, and getting a mix of intense pleasure. In particular pleasure from the tour de force that Holdsworth had developed into (and screamed out at me on Feels Good To Me)and the unknown bass-wiz Jeff Berlin. But there was disappointment over Annette's contribution to the set - when her husky voice breathed sex at me on the album.

Now here from the Beeb's archives is the original 70's video quality footage as originally shown on 625 lines. The pleasure points remain, with some details emphasised. However the disappointment is worse, in particular there is a promise of something special as Peacock flounces on part way through the set, dressed as the fashion queen,(thereby drawing the contrast with the blokes in the band). However,again the expectation of something special evaporates quickly - the diva can't 'deave' live in sympathy with the music, the band i.e. her vocals are poor. Fortunately we don't have to suffer this for long and thank goodness for the skip button.

Yes this is a short recording*, and isn't there a missed opportunity here? One DVD burn (of a copy of a copy, etc.) of this gig I saw some years ago and suffering horribly from colour dropout, had the addition of two extra numbers by Bruford recorded off from the Old Grey Whistle Test - here with I think Neil Murray deputing for Jeff Berlin. Surely the Beeb could had offered these as well?

*Interesting to see another Rock Goes To College recording of Herbie Hancock & the Headhunters recorded at the now defuncted Chelsea College, that had resurfaced on BBC 4 2 years ago, was an hour long.

STING Bring On The Night

Movie · 2005 · Pop/Art Song/Folk
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Slartibartfast
The concept here is a documentary of a band forming, The Blue Turtles Band, rather than a band at their peak or breaking up. Fortunately it is heavier on the music than the documentary.

The first half takes place in a French countryside chateaux and consists of presentable songs from nine days of practice sessions for what was to be their first show. Everyone in the band seems to be having a good time. The chateaux provides nice a nice backdrop to the sessions. The second half is the show itself.

Since this was Sting's first post Police effort, there's a lot of reworked Police songs mixed in with tracks from the first album. It's sort of like the Police meets jazz with Andy Summers ejected so Sting could play guitar. The band line up is primarily younger jazz musicians that already had a good reputation for work they had done before hooking up with Sting.

There are interview excerpts between the songs. One of the more interesting ones was Miles Copeland, Sting's manager and Stewart's brother going on about negotiations with the rest of the band. He was extremely dismissive of the band in relation to Sting when it came to monetary compensation. I suspect that was more about himself getting a bigger piece of the pie than a reflection on Sting, although I do recall him guest appearing on a Saturday Night Live show with Steve Marting and Steve introducing him as Stin-gy.

I originally saw this one in a theater and was really pleased to see it released being reworked with "high definition digital anamorphic picture transfer and digitally remastered surround audio." It actually does look a little sharper than I recall and I think the orginal sound was just stereo.

BILL BRUFORD Bbc Rock Goes To College: Live 1979

Movie · 2006 · Jazz Related Rock
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Slartibartfast
This is incredible. I had the good fortune of seeing Bruford, unfortunately post Holdsworth, at the now defunct Atlanta Agora. I did get to catch Holdsworth touring for his I.O.U. album, but that's another story. My first pass through this concert really gave me the goosebumps.

It is unfortunate that this DVD is only 41 minutes, but the set list is excellent. Four tracks from Bruford's best album, One of a Kind. Annette Peacock even shows up for a couple of songs. I always thought that she didn't fit in well with this kind of music, but it's nice to see her all the same. I hope I'm wrong, but I don't think there's any live video out there of Alan Holdsworth, so seeing him in action is a special treat. One of the things I remember most from seeing Bruford was that at times Jeff Berlin's picking fingers were a blur and seeing him again live, I know I wasn't imagining it. Dave Stewart, or as I like to call him, The Dave Stewart, not that Eurythmics guy, is also a lot of fun to see in action. I noticed he had a music stand with no sheet music, but a synthesizer diagram, interesting. And then of course there's Bill. Those of you who may dislike his electronic drum work, I'm not one, will be happy to him playing strictly acoustic. What can I say? He's really one of best drummers around. The audio quality is excellent and sometimes the camera man crop off Holdsworth's left hand when I'd like to see it, but other than that, this is really nice for a concert captured in 1979.

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