Eddie Henderson – Heritage

★★★★☆ = Quality release and suggested listening

Sounds like?

Jazz rock fusion

Moods

Jamming: as if the head hunters were playing under miles direction during his electric period.

Thoughts

Great fusion. Starts out groove focused and adds dark space as the album goes on. The later tracks remind me an awful lot of miles fusion, not a lot of other records are able to capture that sound.  

Patrice rushen is on keys, awesome! I always appreciated her solo work but I've gained a new respect here. She wrote one of the better tracks Kudu. I like the tight rhythm work too, Dr. mganga is a prime example of this.

More Info

https://www.discogs.com/Eddie-Henderson-Heritage/release/823311

Listen!

Youtube

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eaStlmO_AbQ

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qb3yT74C1cE

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=psxzgnUiWT4

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fJzwXA0N6fk

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E6JPtqhR770

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Eddie Henderson – Heritage

Description: Album Review of Eddie Henderson – Heritage


Rating: 4 out of 5

 

Ronnie Foster – Two-Headed Freap

★★★☆☆ = Good!

Sounds like?

tight keys driven funky soul jazz rock

Moods

Groover

Thoughts

Real good keys playing, dude lays it down. Like the rest of the atmosphere though wish he would breakup the super tight and quick keys playing into something chiller at times (kind of happens on let's stay together but it's a little to direct, I appreciate his loose-r approach when it feels like he's just letting the scales fly).

Overall this works with the rest of the band laying down groovy soulful tight jams. Feels like a record that would translate well to fans of modern jam bands.

On repeat listens I really only like the first half as the similar and quite busy playing started to get fatiguing.

More Info

https://www.discogs.com/Ronnie-Foster-Two-Headed-Freap/release/7659623

Listen!

Youtube

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ul08TkjnuEo

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GKWHH5j-iOc

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BWp6ngco92c

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bhhpMvmCTtw

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z_Y9MDo5Tc0

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Ronnie Foster – Two-Headed Freap

Description: Album Review of Ronnie Foster – Two-Headed Freap


Rating: 3 out of 5

 

Donald Byrd – Places And Spaces

★★★★☆ = Quality release and suggested listening

Sounds like?

energetic jazz funk, has a bit of disco too

Moods

70’s

Thoughts

I like the Donald Byrd + Mizell brothers brand of hip jazz funk that he was cranking out in the 70s (excellent article by bluenote that lays out the history  http://www.bluenote.com/spotlight/disco-byrd-donald-byrd-in-the-70s ). This is one of the better albums if that era, sounds a little dated but the smooth soul still works.

There's an excellent interplay between the musicians. Even with Byrd himself, he'll drop in for a trumpet solo but it never feels fully focused on him; more just part of an overall vibe. Tracks feature super tight drumming, string arrangements, picking bass, Byrd's trumpet hovering around and sometimes cheesy lyrics (my only major fault).

Night Whistler is probably my favorite where an effect laden trumpet loop adds some interesting character.

More Info

https://www.discogs.com/Donald-Byrd-Places-And-Spaces/release/435058

Listen!

Youtube

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M1vDcSPs_6I

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i3bdrBPFh2Q

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nU1PyzEVPdg

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=chxtrT591oU

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6tFRIsRbEO0

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Donald Byrd – Places And Spaces

Description: Album Review of Donald Byrd – Places And Spaces


Rating: 4 out of 5

 

Wes Montgomery – A Day In The Life

★★☆☆☆ = Eh, fine

Sounds like?

Light guitar driven jazz

Moods

Wedding cocktail reception

Thoughts

A bunch of covers done in this kinda corny, guitar driven light jazz; overly dramatic string arrangements don't really help things much.

As much as I don't like this record I do include these tracks in mixes when entertaining. Easily recognizable melodies in this 'soft’ format serve well as background music.

More Info

https://www.discogs.com/Wes-Montgomery-A-Day-In-The-Life/release/10040768

Listen!

Youtube

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sjHiSePn1ts

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=86oaCxW2daU

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z0KZk2Ojxn8

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jJyarNALJFc

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Vp4O3fOLy8

Spotify


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Wes Montgomery – A Day In The Life

Description: Album Review of Wes Montgomery – A Day In The Life


Rating: 2 out of 5

 

Jeff Beck – Blow By Blow

★★★★☆ = Quality release and suggested listening

Sounds like?
Guitar driven classic rock

Moods
Collins Basement

Thoughts

The songwriting reminds me of prog rock due to a series of time changes and chops but at its core this is ‘classic rock’ through and through.

Songs are structured around Beck’s guitar playing and feature some great keys solos and impeccable drumming and bass. Beck’s style is fantastic: technical and precise while still maintaining a groove.

While later tracks like ‘scatterbrain’ kick things into full-on rock, I really like the easy-going, latin-tinged ‘she’s a women’.

Solid record.

More Info

https://www.discogs.com/Jeff-Beck-Blow-By-Blow/release/1929704

Listen!

Youtube
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fwUq8ZE3d7c
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wcGlc45uHOo
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i_9C5MUJVHQ


Spotify

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Jeff Beck – Blow By Blow

Description: Album Review of Jeff Beck – Blow By Blow


Rating: 4 out of 5

 

Vels Trio – Yellow Ochre

★★★☆☆ = Good!

Sounds like?
Funky modern jazz trio with rock chops

Moods
Couldn’t get into Snarkypuppy so I saw the vels trio instead

Thoughts
Damn this is a tight group. Add vels trio onto the list of recent good modern jazz releases. Has just the right amount of funky keys and rock chops to keep the songwriting engaging.

This feels like a great release to get a friend into jazz as it’s got enough groove for anyone to hook into.

More Info

https://www.discogs.com/Vels-Trio-Yellow-Ochre-/release/10484847

Listen!

Youtube





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Vels Trio – Yellow Ochre

Description: Album Review of Vels Trio – Yellow Ochre


Rating: 3 out of 5

 

Idris Muhammad – Power Of Soul

★★★★☆ = Quality release and suggested listening

Sounds like?
Funky soulful jazz

Moods
Feeling Fine

Thoughts
Not crazy about the title track (though the guitar work is good) but the rest of the album is really good:
* ‘Piece of mind’ is hip and soulful with an easy free-floating vibe.
* ‘Lorans dance’ is a masterpiece and one of my favorite tracks in recent years: cool, nocturnal, soulful.

More Info

https://www.discogs.com/Idris-Muhammad-Power-Of-Soul/release/3643207

Listen!

Youtube

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Idris Muhammad – Power Of Soul

Description: Album Review of Idris Muhammad – Power Of Soul


Rating: 4 out of 5

 

Idris Muhammad – House Of The Rising Sun

★★★★☆ = Quality release and suggested listening

Sounds like?
Upbeat kinda groovy quick jazz funk

Moods
Having a good time with some smart ass music

Thoughts
I love Muhammad’s drumming which gives this an incredibly quick backbeat that only a true master can provide. Add in some punchy bass and solos that carry with energy and character, has a 70s grit to it.

The writing is great too, taking pop and turning them into jazz songs (really well done, not just half-baked covers) Sudan is a great piece where I feel the band gels more and feels slightly less arranged. (Admittedly the track I said to myself ok this is a really good album). I don’t want you know more is a greater closer. Bit new Orleans brass with a floating keys line and funky get up and dance drum beat, ends with the right energy.

Allmusic got it right:

But the complete disregard for the political correctness of “Jazz” itself, in order to get the deeply funky and soulful grooves across, is what makes this set so damn special and even spiritual in its inspiration. Jazz purists lost all credibility when they slagged this one off, caught as they were in tainted, even racist views of the past that made no allowances for jazz musicians to actually follow their time-honored tradition of mining the pop music of the day to extend the breadth and reach of jazz itself. Anybody who wants to believe that George Gershwin is somehow more important than George Porter Jr. is already lost in his own cultural fascism. Muhammad, who understands this better than anyone, pulled out all the stops here and blasted out one amazingly tough, funky slab. Brilliant.

More Info

https://www.discogs.com/Idris-Muhammad-House-Of-The-Rising-Sun/release/3429650

Listen!

Youtube



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Idris Muhammad – House Of The Rising Sun

Description: Album Review of Idris Muhammad – House Of The Rising Sun


Rating: 4 out of 5

 

Steely Dan – Aja

★★★★★ = Classic, essential listening

What’s it sound like?
Intellectual light radio rock

Thoughts
I’ve begun to appreciate Steely Dan more as I grow older. Their brand of breezy light rock with this lingering darkness appeals to me. They capture life’s disappointments in a distinct way, as if they’re always sitting on the border of being cheesy; like an inside joke at times. Is this Satire?

Humor aside, this is really catchy pop rock with articulate and relatable lyrics. A classic rock staple.

More Info

https://www.discogs.com/Steely-Dan-Aja/release/3366636

Listen!

Youtube





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Steely Dan – Aja

Description: Album Review of Steely Dan – Aja


Rating: 5 out of 5

 

Gene Harris – Instant Party

★★☆☆☆ = Eh, fine

What’s it sound like?
Light groovy jazz

Thoughts
Great playing is on display here but I didn’t find anything that memorable. This would work well as jazzy daytime background music.

More Info
https://www.discogs.com/Gene-Harris-Instant-Party/release/6358953

Listen!
Spotify

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Gene Harris – Instant Party

Description: Album Review of Gene Harris – Instant Party


Rating: 2 out of 5