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Jaga Jazzist - What We Must CD (album) cover

WHAT WE MUST

Jaga Jazzist

 

Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.67 | 41 ratings

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js (Easy Money)
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars What We Must is a swirling smorgasbord of beat driven semi-ambience that draws on a wide variety of styles both past and futuristic. As one might expect from a European nu jazz band there are a lot of hazy orchestrations that recall loungey sophisticated jazz such as Herbie Hancock's late 60s small orchestral ensembles, Gil Evans and Don Ellis, as well as jazzy exotic lounge artists such as Les Baxter, Henry Mancini and Tartaglia. This record's use of wordless vocals definitely recalls the heyday of exotic background music in the late 60s. The big surprise on this record though is the post-rock influence and how well the jangly guitars and driving beats mix with the faux 60s lounge jazz sound. It is pointless to talk about individual tracks here, all the songs blend together to make one beautifully orchestrated post rock tone poem.

There are other influences at work as well, almost too many to account for. Some of the repeating wordless vocal phrases sound like Philip Glass, and some of the woodwind passages recall early Soft Machine and Frank Zappa. Other tunes almost head into an abstract Detroit influenced ambient techno tip with wonderful percolating analog synthesizers and abstract beats. Some of the members of Jaga also work with ultra dramatic instrumental prog-rock meisters Shining, and it shows when some of the songs build up into heavy prog like choruses. The last influence that hits me is the vast history of film soundtrack music from the 60s till today.

If at least two of the influences mentioned above appeal to you than I would highly recommend this huge soundscape of a record that could have used just a few more memorable melodies to be a true progressive rock masterpiece.

js (Easy Money) | 4/5 |

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