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Jazz Q - Elegie (as Jazz Q Martina Kratochvila) CD (album) cover


Jazz Q

Jazz Rock/Fusion

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Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Fourth full Jazz Q studio album (OK, this time under the name "Jazz Q Martina Kratochvila") is a great one. And different one from their previous works as well.

The band started some years ago, released common album with another great Czech jazz-rock band Blue Effect. So, their debut in studio was an eclectic mix of heavy guitar based jazz-rock and some free-jazz elements. Later in their own albums they changed many musicians, playing often guitar based jazz fusion, with some vocals.

This album (released under "Jazz Q Martina Kratochvila" name, what shows that this founder and keyboardist took a full control under the band's sound) is complex, mostly electric keys based sound. Yes, there still is enough space for electric guitar and even some vocals as well, but in whole main influence obviously is Herbie Hancock albums from early 70-s. Plenty of progressive compositions, a bit spacey sound, funk influence as well. In some moments you just can imagine them as European Headhunters!

From another hand, they have enough own ground under feet. Still melodic Eastern European roots are everywhere. Very interesting combination, and played with excellence!

Possibly most matured Jazz Q album, must have for each Eastern European jazz fusion researcher! Excellent album for every lover of keyboards-led progressive jazz fusion in Headhunters/Hancock's Trilogy key.

Report this review (#280210)
Posted Sunday, May 2, 2010 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
4 stars I have been going backwards through JAZZ Q's discography and this is the best and most consistant one so far. Many of the tracks here blend into on another as well.

"Slunovrat" reminds me of Herbie Hancock and it's kind of funky with prominant synths. The tempo shifts a lot and we get some good guitar late. A good song but my least favourite of the bunch. "Nadeje" opens with atmosphere and a calm as gentle guitar, a beat and violin come in. It's stiil laid back. When the violin stops the trumpet starts to lead, then the trumpet stops and melancholic synths lead. More relaxed trumpet leading before 4 1/2 minutes then it's the electric piano's turn late. Great sounding tune. "Citadela" kicks in right away and I love the drum work. It turns atmospheric. "Tanec" has some excellent sounding bass, drums and piano early on. The synths wash in then we get some incredible sounding guitar lighting it up. Electric piano then leads before the guitar returns to end it.

"Letavice" is melancholic with synths. Some laid back harmonica after 1 1/2 minutes and then before 4 minutes. "Toledo" is my favourite. This reminds me of MAHAVISHNU ORCHESTRA the way the guitar, keyboards and drums create fire. It settles before 1 1/2 minutes then builds. Another calm before 4 minutes then it builds again. Love the guitar and also the keys late. "Zrava Dama" like the first track has some in your face synths. This is powerful and punchy. A calm before 2 minutes as it changes with percussion and other intricate sounds. Guitar after 2 1/2 minutes then it kicks in with synths after 4 minutes as the opening section of this song is reprised. "Vestba" is the short concluding tune consisting of piano and violin.

An easy 4 stars for this one. I'm really impressed with this one.

Report this review (#772339)
Posted Saturday, June 16, 2012 | Review Permalink
3 stars Funky fusion, eh? The label seems quite apt. So is the comparisons to Herbie Hancock and Weather Report. It is fascinating to hear music from beyond the Iron Curtain that is so extremely well played and passionate. You have to give Jazz Q that. At least. I suppose one is proned to believing that no music from the western hemisphere entered the airspace of the East, leaving this a barren wasteland, at least as far as prog is concerned. That is such a misconception. Many great bands emerged, despite the pressure of the communist state and their fear of the West. Jazz Q is certainly one of those bold, skilled and highly talented musicians but is the music any good? One can be a splendid pianist but still creating rubbish. Well, no this is not rubbish. It suffers, though, from what I perceive as being fusion droning. If you are a true fusion lover I guess you would disagree but there you go.

The greatest thing about this album is the feeling of completion. By that I mean the sense of wholeness, that the music is bound together as a complete suite. The songs may differ from each other but together they form a tapestry and that to me is grand stuff. The problem, on the other hand, is that while the music is very pleasant, atmospheric and well played, it becomes more of a background soundtrack to the day. That is not bad in itsekf but few songs stick out making me go "Ooh, here's that one!" And that is a pity, I think.

When I first ventured into this album I found the first track to be outright silly. I found the riff childish and had trouble getting past that. Now I have risen from the ashes and actually like it. It is a great opener and shows clearly what this band is all about. They are a competent bunch of eager musicians. My favorite song is "Zrava dama" which sticks out in the crowd. With it's great keyboard riff and the guitar on top, it gets my blood flowing. It is a song which showcases their ability to throw themselves between hard fusion and the most delicate jazziness. A fine song, that is.

As a whole I have to confess I enjoy but I do not love it. It is one of those albums I play every now and then and find enjoyable, perfectly suited for an evening at home, reading or just relaxing. The problem for me, as I have mentioned, is the fusion in itself. I have a hard time swallowing it's neat overcoat. I have the same problem with Weather Report and others in the same league. It gets too clean. I need dirt and the Devil may care attitude found in jazz-rock of the late 60's and early 70's. While this music is flawless and extremely talented it lacks some emotion. I think there is plenty of heart in here, that is not the problem. It borders on sterile and that is not for me.

So, if you are heavily into fusion I would say that this could be your cup of tea and I belive you would do well to check it out. If you're not, I'd say you might aswell look the other way. I find the rating hard. As a fusion album it's bound to be good but my heart is not really moved. So, therefore I will rate it three stars. Good but non-essential. As it were.

Report this review (#1300976)
Posted Friday, November 7, 2014 | Review Permalink

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