Crackazat – Rainbow Fantasia

★★☆☆☆ = Eh, fine

Sounds like?

Sexy electro

Moods

Cheesy modern hotel bar

Thoughts

Aside from midnight in sector seven I found this to be bland. Seemed too buttoned-up and overly polished.

More Info

https://www.discogs.com/Crackazat-Rainbow-Fantasia/release/11103373

Listen!

Youtube

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oK4Slc-uSZ8

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-eGeqsOBv4w

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zLMmbQ8_oYQ

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LUGvJkZEDZ0

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=czXi-Lctnuo

Spotify


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Crackazat – Rainbow Fantasia

Description: Album Review of Crackazat – Rainbow Fantasia


Rating: 2 out of 5

 

Joe Armon-Jones – Starting Today

★★★☆☆ = Good!

Sounds like?

Hip modern funky chill jazz

Moods

Feeling cool

Thoughts

I like the instrumentation a lot, groove focused over technical playing (he played keys on that makaya mccraven ‘where we come from’ album I enjoy). Competent bass keeps a hip hop flavor alive, ‘mollison’ is great pure dub revival that I bet is a fun jam live. Vocals really detract on 'starting today' which felt forced but work on 'too far' which reminds me of thundercat in it's melancholic mantra repetition and 'London's face' where the tempo is kicked up a bit.

More Info

https://www.discogs.com/Joe-Armon-Jones-Starting-Today/release/11972498

Listen!

Youtube

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mdz9jHg-mWM

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Joe Armon-Jones – Starting Today

Description: Album Review of Joe Armon-Jones – Starting Today


Rating: 3 out of 5

 

Mary Halvorson Octet – Away With You

★★★★☆ = Quality release and suggested listening

Sounds like?
Big, modern, swinging avant-garde jazz

Moods
Feeling.. technical

Thoughts
She’s been hyped a lot for her live shows here in New York and as my first introduction to her I can see why as this is a must hear for anyone interested in modern compositions. Meticulously arranged, this offers layers of strings, brass and rhythm executed flawlessly.

Hats off to the vision and level of playing. Nothing sexy here, its ‘dooty’ plain vanilla jazz but damn those are incredibly interesting compositions.

Side one is where it’s at. Rewards repeat listens.

More Info

https://www.discogs.com/Mary-Halvorson-Octet-Away-With-You/release/9341908

Listen!

Youtube

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Mary Halvorson Octet – Away With You

Description: Album Review of Mary Halvorson Octet – Away With You


Rating: 4 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

 

Makaya McCraven – Where We Come From (CHICAGOxLONDON Mixtape)

★★★★☆ = Quality release and suggested listening

Sounds like?
Modern jazz with a strong hip hop bend

Moods
Evening warehouse jam

Thoughts
A fine example of jazz that successfully incorporates hip hop elements, typically these hybrids are reversed (eg Kendricks backing band). This has a dynamic energy to it, making good use of effects and electronics to keep things fresh. While it plays like a live album this was stitched together in post production which benefits the experience as something that’s just one big highlight. Exploratory playful, energetic, progressive: what jazz is all about.

Recommended tracks: ox tales, repetitive drumline pushes things forward with a soulful keys solo on top, King drive utilizes a James Blake pitched down vocal to extreme effectiveness on a track already utilizing off-time signatures.

More Info

https://www.discogs.com/Makaya-McCraven-Where-We-Come-From-CHICAGOxLONDON-Mixtape/release/12364402

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Makaya McCraven – Where We Come From (CHICAGOxLONDON Mixtape)

Description: Album Review of Makaya McCraven – Where We Come From (CHICAGOxLONDON Mixtape)


Rating: 4 out of 5

 

Kamasi Washington – Harmony Of Difference

★★★☆☆ = Good!

Sounds like?
A contemporary and melodic take on a big jazz band

Moods
Classy evening at Zinc bar

Thoughts
A lovely ep with great playing by Kamasi and his band. Compared to other Kamasi releases songs are more chilled out and run shorter. I appreciate the flow with songs merging into each other.

More Info

https://www.discogs.com/Kamasi-Washington-Harmony-Of-Difference/release/10756796

Listen!

Youtube
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rtW1S5EbHgU


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Kamasi Washington – Harmony Of Difference

Description: Album Review of Kamasi Washington – Harmony Of Difference


Rating: 3 out of 5

 

Joy Orbison,Ben Vince – Transition 2

★★★★☆ = Quality release and suggested listening

Sounds like?

Energetic electro with effect laden sax

Moods

Club but still want to jam

Thoughts
Electronic music can sometimes feel too mechanical. Incorporating instrumentation into electronic productions is, generally speaking, a positive way to humanize the music while still leveraging the infinite possibilities electronic production can offer.

Enter here: a fusion record of top-notch Joy Orbison productions (hip IDM) and sax-playing by Ben Vince. While I think there’s room to grow in the electro/jam fusion space, I support explorations like this as it points to a direction I’d like to see music going. Sounds pretty good too.

More Info

https://www.discogs.com/Joy-O-Ben-Vince-Transition-2/release/11981490

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Joy Orbison,Ben Vince – Transition 2

Description: Album Review of Joy Orbison,Ben Vince – Transition 2


Rating: 4 out of 5