Ahmad Jamal – Blue Moon – The New York Session

★★★★☆ = Quality release and suggested listening

Sounds like?

post bop

Moods

A modern, rhythmic post bop delight played by a master

Thoughts

I feel like Ahmad Jamal is one of the best kept secrets in jazz. Of course jazz fans know him, but outside not a brand name.

Here we have a decidedly modern jazz record compositionally played with a heavy rhythmic focus by the awesome Herlin Riley which interplays nicely with Jamal's expert piano playing – melodic and with a natural swing, quick if the band pushes him, easy if not.

There's a lot to like here. Worthy of deep listening as well as energetic atmosphere if more removed settings.

More Info

https://www.discogs.com/Ahmad-Jamal-Blue-Moon-The-New-York-Session/release/3624058

Listen!

Youtube

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FcUvkO4A5Vo

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7qkaEf4C6FI

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sS2Lvw8HV84

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

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

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Ahmad Jamal – Blue Moon – The New York Session

Description: Album Review of Ahmad Jamal – Blue Moon – The New York Session


Rating: 4 out of 5

 

The Ramsey Lewis Trio – The In Crowd

★★★★★ = Classic, essential listening

Sounds like?

swinging bop

Moods

Effortless cool, the quintessential jazz dinner-party album

Thoughts

I've been searching for this for unpretentious but engaging jazz and the trio here nails it. There's a comfortable loose feel to this, as if they know what they've got is gold.

When I refer to jazz dinner albums it means bop but not so technical that it's distracting. This succeeds with it's cool, samba like swing, busy downtown vibe and appropriate moments of somber builds.

More Info

https://www.discogs.com/The-Ramsey-Lewis-Trio-The-In-Crowd/release/4746742

Listen!

Youtube

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jsFST-7Hx-Y

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

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M_SwYDL5Imc

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nm4-JSKi9k0

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aX8BS_nINfI

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The Ramsey Lewis Trio – The In Crowd

Description: Album Review of The Ramsey Lewis Trio – The In Crowd


Rating: 5 out of 5

 

Louis Cole – Live Sesh And Xtra Songs

★★★★☆ = Quality release and suggested listening

Sounds like?

quick funky synth pop jazz

Moods

A distinct capture of Louis Cole's live magic

Thoughts

Louis Cole has some of my favorite musical moments on YouTube. He uses the "broadcast yourself" mentality in the best way. To get a sense check him out on YouTube with his solo project, the synth project knower or Jacob Mann big band.

Some of this set is on YouTube accompanied by a large horn section and backup singers. The unfriendly acoustics of the house this was recorded in give it a DIY quality. Usually I would dislike this as the levels are a little fucked up but here it adds charm. He's coming out swinging with a highly energetic set of songs that displays the 'fun' of his songs which can only be captured in a live setting as opposed to the studio where his tracks can feel awkward.

I realize none of this describes the sound, just gotta hear it.

More Info

https://www.discogs.com/Louis-Cole-Live-Sesh-And-Xtra-Songs/release/13450294

Listen!

Youtube

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2kLHN29qorg

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

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Louis Cole – Live Sesh And Xtra Songs

Description: Album Review of Louis Cole – Live Sesh And Xtra Songs


Rating: 4 out of 5

 

Andrew Hill – Black Fire

★★★★★ = Classic, essential listening

Sounds like?

Avant garde hard bop

Moods

Damn good experimental hard bop, a turning point in jazz modernism

Thoughts

An enjoyable entry in Hills landmark outings, a turning point in jazz modernism. 5. This sits right on the line between solid hard bop and Avant garde experimentalism, incorporating disparite melodies and rhythmic techniques well still remaining formally in the structure of bop.

The allmusic review is perfect. Hills work during the 60s is landmark and this is a very fine example of things starting to turn into modernism.

More Info

https://www.discogs.com/Andrew-Hill-Black-Fire/release/6688097

Listen!

Youtube

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

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V_CnHr8G_fE

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

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FMdKD5GdCbU

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

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Andrew Hill – Black Fire

Description: Album Review of Andrew Hill – Black Fire


Rating: 5 out of 5

 

The Crusaders – Gold

★★★★☆ = Quality release and suggested listening

Sounds like?

jazzy funk rock

Moods

Don't usually like best of's but this is a fantastic 2-disc set

Thoughts

hard to go wrong with the crusaders and this is a great collection. Lots of funk and jazz flavors but they feel very much a rock band especially on disc 2, I'm guessing the band changed directions. I tend to prefer looser styles but it's hard to deny this band.

More Info

https://www.discogs.com/The-Crusaders-Gold/release/5971189

Listen!

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The Crusaders – Gold

Description: Album Review of The Crusaders – Gold


Rating: 4 out of 5

 

Yusef Lateef – The Blue Yusef Lateef

★★★☆☆ = Good!

Sounds like?

Hip bluesy jazz with some eastern experimental mixed in

Moods

East meets west on this hip bluesy hard bop LP with moments of eastern experimental

Thoughts

The bluesy rocking tracks are great, thankfully this makes up most of the album. Unfortunately there are these eastern experimental interludes that disrupt the flow creating an uneven listen.

The Good

'Like it is' centers around a particularly effective 'sad' sax solo with a piano and intimate percussion.

'six miles next door' is swinging blues jazz.

'Othelia' is a swinging blues thing with a blazing sax solo, harmonica. As much a blues track as it is jazz. The swing borrows from a specific type of rock and roll of the era.

The bad

'Moon cup' is a let down after. Eastern in influence with cringey Cantonese singing that just doesn't work.

'Back home' continues the Eastern sound and I'm just not a fan.

More Info

https://www.discogs.com/Yusef-Lateef-The-Blue-Yusef-Lateef/release/376373

Listen!

Youtube

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A3z7853uxgw

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LVhov-Y6ToI

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PSMVJTrUS4M

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nXN-P4qPl5U

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

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Yusef Lateef – The Blue Yusef Lateef

Description: Album Review of Yusef Lateef – The Blue Yusef Lateef


Rating: 3 out of 5

 

People Plus – Third Space

★★★☆☆ = Good!

Sounds like?

Electro jazz

Moods

Spacey electro jazz – quite nice

Thoughts

A record that is both chilled out and energetic –  ambient down tempo textures meets tight jazz-like instrumentation. Longform instrumental songwriting makes this a record for specific audiences. But it's quite nice overall.

Jungle room has a Radiohead meeting in the aisle vibe. O.S.C.1. is a tropical dub thing.

More Info

https://www.discogs.com/People-Plus-Third-Space/release/13594488

Listen!

Youtube

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M4E8qrwv6wU

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1cr9GkR_o6w

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w9dY6chQ7Wc

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

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pUy5rDnjwi0

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People Plus – Third Space

Description: Album Review of People Plus – Third Space


Rating: 3 out of 5

 

Sonny Rollins – Saxophone Colossus

★★★★☆ = Quality release and suggested listening

Sounds like?

Urban hard bop

Moods

Damn fine hardbop, one of the best 'saxophone' records ever

Thoughts

Rollins playing is fantastic on this. His solos consume most of the tracks and he plays with an impressive amount of variety. Consistently dexterous and light, it's engaging and a must hear for bop fans.

The first couple tracks are alright, Rollins early solos compliment Roaches quick percussion.

'Strode rode' is what got me into the record. Impressive

Rollins is delicate on solos like 'moritat', almost samba like in his agility.

'Blue 7' is a nice finish, nocturnal hip and cool.

All around good session if nothing incredibly inventive, the playing is fantastic and the tracks are memorable.

More Info

https://www.discogs.com/Sonny-Rollins-Saxophone-Colossus/release/3934932

Listen!

Youtube

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hCMNWVTxZI4

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UA2XIWZxMKM

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oDagrq6hcYU

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L7G4DciALDs

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ChOkkdT2zw

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Sonny Rollins – Saxophone Colossus

Description: Album Review of Sonny Rollins – Saxophone Colossus


Rating: 4 out of 5

 

Donald Byrd – Ethiopian Knights

★★★★★ = Classic, essential listening

Sounds like?

jazz with funk rock chops

Moods

Top notch jazz-funk

Thoughts

these are long cuts that give way to extended jams. Patience is rewarding:

'the emperor' is funky strum guitar and groovy picking bass line gives way to solos from xylophone and Byrd on trumpet. It's great.

'Jamie' is a brief chilled out piece in comparison, gospel like at times with the organ.

'Little rasti' brings back the groove where things are ever so slightly dirtier (think as if it were the late show at a jazz club as opposed to a cleaner early show on 'the emperor'). Things kick off with a drum solo and then get into a groovy set of solos this time include Wawa guitar, keys and of course a very confident Byrd.

I'm hard pressed to think of better funk rock jazz from this or any of the era. On par with Miles and a must for fans of the genre.

More Info

https://www.discogs.com/Donald-Byrd-Ethiopian-Knights/release/890204

Listen!

Youtube

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RtKcvoeO2vA

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vhiYaTLP8xM

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

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=av4j96aEDAA

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

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Donald Byrd – Ethiopian Knights

Description: Album Review of Donald Byrd – Ethiopian Knights


Rating: 5 out of 5

 

Quincy Jones – Walking In Space

★★☆☆☆ = Eh, fine

Sounds like?

soulful jazz arrangements

Moods

big band jazz-funk

Thoughts

Arrangements are rich and instrumentation as good as any with exceptional guitar work (best displayed on the bluesy standout 'love and peace').

However it's missing a certain rawness the great jazz-funk of the era holds, limits the appeal.

More Info

https://www.discogs.com/Quincy-Jones-Walking-In-Space/release/2560746

Listen!

Youtube

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

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ebvHk62DUtA

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

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TXQ4r4y3Wdc

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aASXNyc6xmY

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Quincy Jones – Walking In Space

Description: Album Review of Quincy Jones – Walking In Space


Rating: 2 out of 5