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JAZZ ROCK/FUSION

A Progressive Rock Sub-genre


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Jazz Rock/Fusion definition


  1. Jazz Fusion is jazz that is strongly influenced by other styles of music. Jazz fusion is an ambiguous term that provides the first level sub-set down from Jazz. Jazz rock is a sub-sub set from jazz via jazz fusion. The ambiguity comes from an American tendency through the 90's and until now, to freely interchange jazz rock and jazz fusion, when in fact the latter term covers most hybrids of jazz fused with other forms of music. The roots of jazz rock can be traced back to RnB influenced soul-jazz artists such as Les McCann, Grant Green and Jimmy Smith, and young British jazzers such as Graham Bond, Ginger Baker, John McLaughlin, Jack Bruce, Georgie Fame, who were forced to use electronic instruments because the local club's acoustic instruments were reserved for the older established jazz musicians. Probably the first jazz artists that released recordings that mixed modern rock (circa 60s) with jazz were Larry Coryell, Jeremy Steig, Charles Lloyd, The Soft Machine, and The (Jazz) Crusaders. Meanwhile rock artists such as Cream, Grateful Dead and The Jimi Hendrix Experience were getting a lot of publicity and fame with their lengthy improvisations based on blues, rock, psychedelia and some jazz. These rock artists had an impact on Miles Davis who generated a lot of media attention to this new jazz-rock genre with his Bitches Brew album. From there the genre grew and exploded into numerous different directions. One of these directions was brass rock as exemplified by bands like Dreams, Chicago, BS&T and If. These bands combined elements of jazz, rock and classical music with arrangements for brass and woodwinds.

  2. Many other styles of music have been combined with jazz to create fusion including traditional music from around the world, R'n'B, rock, electronic music and pop music and jazz from Africa, Latin America, India and other places. One of the earliest examples of the use of the term fusion comes from the Indo-jazz fusion of Joe Harriott and John Mayer. Some of the more popular early practitioners of fusion included Weather Report and Herbie Hancock's Sextant. A few years later Shakti appears on the scene and expands the boundaries of fusion further, foreshadowing the World Fusion movement of the 90's.

  3. In part Nu.jazz grew out of the British acid jazz scene of the late 80s and early 90s, whilst modern leaders of nu.fusion cite Miles Davis and Jon Hassell as the godfathers of the genre. As the genre began to develop it took on other influences such as world beat/jazz fusion, psychedelic trip-hop, post-rock and mixtures of ambience with modern jazz. The jazz with electronia experiments that Jon Hassell was conducting in the late 80's, with the likes of Eno, were to be a major influence especially on the dance side of nu.jazz, sometimes known as nu.fusion. Three main elements make nu.jazz different from the more traditional jazz (rock) fusion. First of all there is less of an emphasis on instrumental virtuosity in nu.jazz (especially nu.fusion). Second, more use of electronics (especially skilled turntablism) and studio trickery that emphasizes sound textures. Third, nu.jazz tends to use more modern rhythms such as drum'n'bass, hip-hop, post-rock, and various mixtures of world beat rhythms. Progressive nu.jazz artists such as Bugge Wesseltoft, Nils Petter Molvaer and the Esbj÷rn Svensson Trio (E.S.T.), combine complicated compositions with modern rhythms to create new unheard of soundscapes - while the former two are leaders of nu.fusion, and with more emphasis on jazz playing, EST have been the leaders in straighter nu.jazz. Nu.jazz is loosely connected to other newer jazz fusion genres, particularly the more progressive live, jazz jam bands such as Medeski Martin & Wood or Garaj Mahal. It may seem that the only difference between the two genres is the country the artist is from or what scene they came up through.li>

Only the most progressive of nu jazz, jazz-rock and fusion artists are listed on Progarchives, although accceptability or not here may vary from person to person. All artists have elements of progressive rock in their music (e.g. Jean Luc Ponty, Bill Bruford or David Sancious) or they represent the most forward-looking and progressive element in their genre (e.g. Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock or Weather Report). It should be noted that those many Canterbury jazz rock fusion bands, e.g. Soft Machine, Soft Works, Soft Heap, Soft Machine Legacy, Gilgamesh etc. are to be found under the CANTERBURY heading in Prog Archives.

Dick Heath
John 'Easy Money'
Martin 'Alucard' Horst
(Edition 3.2. Nov 2009)

Current Team Members as at 12/24/14

Evolver (Scott)
Man With Hat (Phil)
Darkshade (Mike)
historian9

Jazz Rock/Fusion Top Albums


Showing only studios | Based on members ratings & PA algorithm* | Show Top 100 Jazz Rock/Fusion | More Top Prog lists and filters

4.36 | 973 ratings
KIND OF BLUE
Davis, Miles
4.33 | 1216 ratings
BIRDS OF FIRE
Mahavishnu Orchestra
4.30 | 678 ratings
IN A SILENT WAY
Davis, Miles
4.28 | 637 ratings
ROMANTIC WARRIOR
Return To Forever
4.27 | 920 ratings
THE INNER MOUNTING FLAME
Mahavishnu Orchestra
4.27 | 549 ratings
SPECTRUM
Cobham, Billy
4.29 | 256 ratings
WE'LL TALK ABOUT IT LATER
Nucleus
4.25 | 665 ratings
BITCHES BREW
Davis, Miles
4.26 | 275 ratings
HIROMI'S SONICBLOOM: TIME CONTROL
Uehara, Hiromi
4.23 | 673 ratings
CARAVANSERAI
Santana
4.23 | 753 ratings
ELEGANT GYPSY
Di Meola, Al
4.23 | 559 ratings
ABRAXAS
Santana
4.55 | 40 ratings
TERJE RYPDAL
Rypdal, Terje
4.24 | 315 ratings
ENIGMATIC OCEAN
Ponty, Jean-Luc
4.29 | 146 ratings
STADACON╔
Sloche
4.26 | 242 ratings
LES PORCHES
Maneige
4.34 | 90 ratings
THE COLOURS OF CHLO╦
Weber, Eberhard
4.26 | 193 ratings
TILT - IMMAGINI PER UN ORECCHIO
Arti e Mestieri
4.29 | 127 ratings
SVěT HLEDAčů
Blue Effect (Modrř Efekt; M. Efekt)
4.23 | 291 ratings
CROSSINGS
Hancock, Herbie

Jazz Rock/Fusion overlooked and obscure gems albums new


Random 4 (reload page for new list) | As selected by the Jazz Rock/Fusion experts team

STRANGE MEETING
Power Tools
CRNA DAMA [AKA: BLACK LADY]
Smak
NAWYKI PRZYRODY
Robotobibok
LAWRENCE OF NEWARK
Young, Larry

Latest Jazz Rock/Fusion Music Reviews


 Valentyne Suite by COLOSSEUM album cover Studio Album, 1969
4.21 | 362 ratings

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Valentyne Suite
Colosseum Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by jamesbaldwin

4 stars The second release of Colosseum has entered the history of progressive rock for the suite of the second side, written in large part by the keyboardist Greenslade.

On the first side we listen to four songs that, to tell the truth, are not very different from those of the previous album, apart from the first one, "The Kettle" (7,5/8), written by Heckstall-Smith and Hiseman, whose beginning is marked by a decidedly heavy guitar (Litherland), which also distinguishes the rest of the piece. Here the group tries a fusion between blues, jazz and hard-rock. The shorter "Elegy" (three minutes, 7+) and the subsequent "Butty's Blues" are both written by Litherland, which is new respect the first record. "Elegy" has a nice rhythm and a good saxophone solo, but overall it's a minor piece, a filler. "Butty's Blues" is much more consistent, in which Litherland's singing dialogues with the group's fiatistic jazz, which in some points reaches daring dissonances. The ending has a very pompous orchestral crescendo but which ends in fading (vote 7,5/8). "The Machine Demands A Sacrifice" (written by Litherland, Brown, Smith and Hiseman, vote 7) after a great start, suddenly vanishes, but then continue with a long unconvincing instrumental tail. Vote side A: 7,5/8. On balance, the first side of the debut album is better than this.

Second Side. Here's to you the famous "The Valentyne's Suite" (almost 17 minutes, vote 8,5 / 9). "Theme One: January's Search" (6:25) is very good, with continuous changes of rhythm and atmosphere. The second piece, "Theme Two: February's Valentyne" (3:33), shorter and quieter, is a reworking preparation for the third movement, "Theme Three: The Grass Is Always Greener" (6:55) where the rhythm gradually grows, the main melody is resumed, and finally we arrive at the paroxysmal climax obtained through an unstoppable progression of the guitar (Litherland) supported by a wild section rhythmic (Hiseman and Reeves). It all ends, after a pause, with the resumption of the initial melody again. Masterpiece.

Great album of fusion. Blues-jazz-rock with an instrumental suite of 17 minutes. Proto-progressive. After the first classical songs of Procol Harmu and Nice, after the first psychedelic albums of Pink Floyd and Family (1967-69), in 1969 King Crimson baptized the progressive-rock with their debut, and Colosseum contribute, sideways, in the field of jazz-rock, to put the suite (instrumental, in this case) as the standard of the new progressive music. The historical significance of this album is unquestionable, as is the beauty of the suite, which certainly is seminal for the other groups that will compete with a suite (the choruses of the second movement of "Valentyne's Suite" will be evoked in the "Atom Heart Mother" suite, a year later), up to 20 minutes. The album does not have a first side at the height of the second (not even close) and this is the reason why I do not include it in the category of 5 stars. But maybe I'm wrong.

First side, vote: 7,5/8. Second side, vote 8,5/9. Vote album: 8,5. Rating: Four Stars.

 Those Who Are About To Die Salute You by COLOSSEUM album cover Studio Album, 1969
3.62 | 132 ratings

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Those Who Are About To Die Salute You
Colosseum Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by jamesbaldwin

4 stars "Ave, Caesar, morituri te salutant" according to tradition is the phrase that the gladiators pronounced to Caesar, the Roman emperor, in the Circus Maximus, before fighting until the last blood (we read that phrase also in various books of Asterix, which appeared the first time in the late sixties, authors: Goscinny and Uderzo). Colosseum have made it the title of their first album, 1969, able to merge fiatistic jazz, swing, psychedelic blues guitar and classical music passages.

The first song, "Walking in The Park" (written by Graham Bond), is a very fast-paced song (drums and horns, including the trumpet played by Henry Lowther) that shows off Litherland's bleak, bluesy singing, and his mighty guitar, also bluesy (the guitar of Gary Green will have a similar sound, in the first records of Gentle Giant). The track is really sustained: a start with a bang. Vote 7.5.

"Plenty Hard Luck" (written by the whole group, vote 7,5/8) features a long jazz solo: before keyboards, then saxophone, and in the background you can hear the great work of the rhythm section. They are songs that you can't listen in a relaxed way because they bombard you with sound stimuli on a very stratified plan.

"Mandarin", with his wonderful instrumental beginning with a bass solo (Tony Reeves, author with Greenslade), it shows us what the band is: an ensemble of virtuosos who play their instrument as if they were soloists, because each one follows his own trajectory; and in this song they follow dissonant sounds that lick hard rock (vote 8). "Debut" (six and a half minutes, written by the whole group, except Litherland, whose guitar actually remains in the background) has another fiatistic instrumental beginning and then we can hear a saxophone solo to the rhythm of a bolero (an unleashed Hiseman). It is a music that leaves you without rest. The saxophone climbs along high pitched tones as the rhythm grows and the sound becomes increasingly saturated, then it is cleared with Greenslade's keyboards. The Colosseum tests for Valentyne Suite. Vote 7,5/8.

Side B opens with "Beware The Ides Of March", in theme with the album title; it has a classical theme ("Toccata and Fugue in D minor" by Johann Sebastian Bach), played beautifully by Dick Heckstall-Smith, but the skill of the group is manifested when the classical melody is drawn from the piano (which sounds like a harpsichord!) and then when enter the drums and the bluesy guitar of Litherland, which transform the melody in a fantastic psychedelic jam. It is the masterpiece of the album. Vote 8,5. Follows the shorter "The Road She Walked Before", where finally come back the voice of Litherland. Jazzy piano solo and... nothing else. Filler (vote 6,5).

"Backwater Blues" is a cover of a famous jazz song. Here we can listen to the performance of Litherland, on vocals and guitar, then to a tenor saxophone solo by Heckstall-Smith. Vote 7,5.

The last song, "Those About To Die" is another instrumental piece (third piece written by the whole group except Litherland), arranged in a fiatistic jazz way, with sax solo (but even with a keyboard solo, and bass solo on the background). The best parts are those where the rhythm subsides, and there are melodic breaks. Vote 7,5/8.

The debut of the Colosseum is a remarkable record, able to make an unprecedented synthesis between fiatistic jazz, blues, and psychedelic and hard rock passages. The virtuosity of the musicians (in particular Hiseman and Heckstall-Smith: Greenslade will give his best in Valentyne Suite) adds pleasure to listening.

Medium quality of the songs: 7,66 Vote album: 8+. Rating: Four Stars.

 LIVE IM SCH▄TZENHAUS by UNITED JAZZ + ROCK ENSEMBLE,THE album cover Live, 1977
4.06 | 7 ratings

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LIVE IM SCH▄TZENHAUS
The United Jazz + Rock Ensemble Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by WFV

4 stars A top notch live record from a top notch collective. Those fluent in the 70's Euro jazz scene have certainly heard of a number of musicians on this album, in fact it's a laundry list of luminaries. With a roster like this one might think the record a convoluted mess. No way! The best euro jazzers know it's the space between the notes that matters more than the notes themselves. Take the best of Eberhard Weber and add a slight rock bent with more honking horns and you get really the collision of jazz and rock, where it doesn't really melt together like a Return to Forever but the two forces kind of glide next to eachother like Jeremy Steig. I'd recommend this to any seasoned jazz fusion listener and listening to this live show is a great way to spend an evening, especially if you've been gorging on Weber, Kriegel, Dauner, Carr, Mariano, or Manglesdorff records.
 Lines in Sand by HADZIMANOV BAND , VASIL album cover Studio Album, 2018
4.00 | 1 ratings

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Lines in Sand
Vasil Hadzimanov Band Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

— First review of this album —
4 stars Interesting ethnic jazz and jazz fusion from Serbia, the music here varies enough that at-times a hear/feel classical jazz, 70s fusion ' la RTF and WEATHER REPORT, and even some Canterbury and electronic jazz in the vein of Swedish band KOOP. In short, they're all over the place!--but it's really good, highly engaging, and remarkably creative and fresh.

1. "Lines In Sand" (5:42) opens with hand drum and clapping in odd, Arabic rhythm before Arabic vocalise and electric keyboards enter. After first verse of singing, guitars, Fender Rhodes keyboard, fretless bass and drum kit conform into a more standard soft jazz structure while maintaining rhythm and pace of the opening. Electric guitar is first to solo in the third minute, keys in forth and fifth. Nice frisky drum and bass backplay throughout. Final minute returns to bare bones of opening section though drums' toms are stick played and electric instruments are just waiting in the background to occasionally pounce in. Nice song--sets a great tone for the unique sound of this album. (9/10)

2. "Mr. MoonJune" (6:59) apparently a tribute to recently deceased founder of MoonJune Records, this one sounds and feels like a very standard jazz-rock song from the late 70s. My interest is most captivated by the funky bass play. Halfway through we hear the sax for the first time. (8/10)

3. "San Snova" (4:36) opens with interesting piano play--two hands doing completely different things while both using odd time signatures. When bass, guitars, and drums join in in the second minute the song takes on a Vince Guiraldi Black Orpheus"-kind of feel. The piano solo play in the third and fourth minutes is bouncy and staccato- percussive not unlike Joe Sample, Don Pullen, or even Thelonius Monk. Very interesting piano play--like an 'tude of some theoretical idea. (9/10)

4. "Lost" (5:26) opens with piano and the airy soprano voice of Marta Hadzimanov. Quite pretty. Reminds me a bit of the KOOP music from Waltz for Koop with Yukimi Nagano singing--only a bit more jazzy. Piano-led combo takes over for some soloing for the majority of the song, though Marta does reappear in the final minute--though mixed more within the combo than forward. (9/10)

5. "Kazi" (2:25) notes a shift into Mark ISHAM-like electronic soundtrack jazz. Creative and engaging. (4.5/5)

6. "Kazi Gradiska" (4:39) takes over from the previous song turning into a spy-theme-like song with a hyper-fast- paced drum excursion moving beneath the slower, more methodical melodic weave. Cool song. Reminds me of something from later RETURN TO FOREVER (Gayle, Stanley and Gerry Brown era), really letting the drummer shine. (8.75/10)

7. "Maklik" (5:26) a funky bass and "clap" rhythm track open this one--making it sound like a 1980s Marcus Miller song. When electric keys, drums and guitar join it's an interesting conversation between synth and guitar chord play that ensue! Creative and fascinating though lacking any remarkable development save for a floating interlude in the fifth minute. Nice smooth jazz song. (8.5/10)

8. "For Clara" (6:02) highlighted by the soulful English vocal of Dean Bowman, the musical support is quite sparse, allowing Dean's voice to dominate the show. "Wild animal" synth noises kind of "battle" with Dean in the second and again in the third minutes causing a surprising rise in tension. At 3:37 there is a shift in tempo, pace, and feel as drums and percussion begin a syncopatic interplay which then provides the foil for an ensuing sax solo. I'll give it to Vasil and company here: this is new and refreshing! Great climax with rhythmic instruments and sax to finish! (9.5/10)

9. "Waiting For..." (1:46) a quiet, delicate little mostly-guitar interlude in the aftermath/fallout of the previous song. (4/5)

10. "Freedom From The Past" (4:44) back to some ethnic/folk-based music with both instruments (primarily percussion), rhythms, and melodic structure. Still, there remains a very Western WEATHER REPORT-like presentation. Excellent drumming and very creative synth play. Joe Zawinul would love to play on this one! (8.75/10)

11. "Ratnici Podzemlja" (4:21) despite the excellent bass play on this one, the straight time and fairly docile, unexceptional structure, melodies, and soli make this one a weak point--despite the interesting African choral rap. (8/10)

12. "Rege Hadzi" (7:15) again, a song kind of "cursed" for a very common chord and stylistic base. Piano and Latin- almost-Reggae-like rhythmic structure crate what becomes another "world music" song--though also feeling like a Zawinul song. (7.5/10)

Keys, drums, bass, and guitars all excel on this one, though not so much in an overly-flashy fashion but rather in creative, well balanced weaves. I love the very creative sound production from the band leader as well as guitarist Branko Trijic, but I think I'm most impressed with the skills of drummer Pedja Milutinovic and bass player Miroslav Tovirac.

Solid four stars; an excellent release of diverse, skillful, and, at timese, ethnically-flavored jazz fusion. Definitely a band and album worth checking out!

 Progressive by TUOMINEN, JARTSE album cover Studio Album, 2001
4.22 | 7 ratings

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Progressive
Jartse Tuominen Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Matti
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Finnish guitarist Jartse Tuominen has been building a career mostly in the USA - as a guitarist (sponsored by Gibson), composer, producer, and as a founder/organizer of GTR-Tour. He has released five albums officially since 1999, but this album was recorded ten years before its larger release, in 1991. It features Kilroy Koskimies on bass and Matti Takala on drums. All seven instrumental tracks are composed by Tuominen.

The opening piece 'Snack' is a lively jazz-rocker in a breath-taking fast tempo. The guitarist's and his bandmates' technical competence is amazing, no doubt, but frankly that's about the only thing that impresses me in this one. 'Flying With You' starts softly but accelerates into a faster tempo before the halfway. There are keyboards involved, even though the album info doesn't mention any keyboards, and my CD is a promo disc without the full information. Anyway, this brilliant fusion track is my favourite. 'First' returns to the adrenalin-fueled speed and technical boistering.

'Scare' builds the intense atmosphere with a march-like drumming and a wailing guitar on top of the repetitive and simple melodic phrase. As expected, the playing gets wilder but there's not much of other progression in the composition itself. 'Sledgehammer' hits hard exactly the same way as the first and third high-tempo tracks. I rather concentrate on the excellence of bassist and drummer in it. 'One Night in Tokyo' (8:02) is the longest -- 'Flying With You' close behind -- but at this point I'm up to my ears of that killer speed, and despite the length the piece has not much of else to offer. Well, there's a brief middle-part focusing on buzuki, as if a moment to catch one's breath before the run continues. 'Shaving Cream Man' gave an earlier reviewer some associations of Moving Pictures -era RUSH, and yes, I've got them too. Also this one's in a fast tempo but maybe there's slightly more dynamics in the composition and arrangement than in other fast numbers.

I guess I made it pretty clear what this music is primarily all about: technical brilliance and fast playing, starring electric guitar. If that's what you wish to hear, look no further, but personally I'm having a more critical view than all the others who have rated this album. Good, but not exactly my cup of tea, thank you.

 ▄bermorgen by SURGERY album cover Studio Album, 1980
3.04 | 8 ratings

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▄bermorgen
Surgery Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

3 stars 3.5 stars. A very good if not predictable Jazz/Rock album from this seven piece band out of Germany. Released in 1980 we get no less than three of the guys playing either drums, percussion or congas at some point. Sax and guitar are the soloing instruments and sometimes the piano. This is an all instrumental affair that is very well done, I'm just not into the sax that is smooth sounding much of the time. Some tag this with krautrock but I'm not hearing it.

"Intro" is a pretty good opener although the smooth sax doesn't do much for me. Piano replaces the sax but then the sax is back before 2 minutes. The guitar leads at 2 1/2 minutes then more sax after 3 minutes to the end. "Kernein" opens with smooth sax and sparse piano. very mellow. Drums and bass before a minute then the electric piano replaces the sax but not for long as the sax is back at 2 minutes.

"Adios S.F." is my favourite. Picked guitar as an urgent rhythm section kicks in quickly. on it's guitar soloing over top. The sax takes over then a second sax. Guitar is back before 3 1/2 minutes and the guy can play. A SANTANA vibe here with all the percussion and congas after 4 minutes. "Vurz Im Morgongrauen" sounds like a continuation of the previous song a first. The sax blasts out of the gate after 1 1/2 minutes. Drums too but then it settles with organ and guitar. Sax is back then the tempo picks up before 5 1/2 minutes.

"Intro reprise" is less than a minute of just that. "Paulchen" is a very jazzy tune with that bass. Piano, drums then sax just before 1 1/2 minutes. "Pisa" is laid back with kano before smooth sax joins in. Piano only again but the sax returns as they trade off. Not into this one. "On My Way To Ubermorgen" opens with guitar and percussion. Blasting sax before a minute and I like that bass. guitar leads before 4 minutes and he's lighting it up late.

"Sieben Plus Bossa" is the closer and the longest song at over 8 minutes. Piano and guitar to start. Very chilled then it kicks in at a minute with sax but settles quickly. A calm 5 1/2 minutes in just like the intro actually then it kicks in again. So a pretty good Jazz/Rock album that is impressive but not totally my thing.

 Two Against Nature by STEELY DAN album cover Studio Album, 2000
3.31 | 84 ratings

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Two Against Nature
Steely Dan Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by TCat
Prog Reviewer

4 stars After 20 years, Steely Dan finally released their 8th album. After the release of 'Gaucho' in 1980, the SD frontmen, Donald Fagen and Walter Becker, released several solo albums and participated in many other projects, and finally got back together, much to the delight of fans everywhere, to 'Do It Again'.

This time around, they kept the band down to just themselves, and played most of the instruments by themselves, but they also had many, many guests helping them out. For the most part, the album followed right where they left off, playing a smooth, jazz fusion with funky and rock sensibilities. Becker played all of the regular guitars, including bass, while Fagen took care of keyboards, vocals and many other instruments.

The style is very much like they had in 'Aja' and 'Gaucho', both successful albums, and they weren't about to change a good thing. And they didn't have to. This was their signature sound, and it is what people expected, that cool, hep jazz sound, with a lot of good guitar and plenty of brass, sax and clarinet.

This predictability in their sound does work to its detriment however. That is not saying this is a bad album, because you get that same clean sound as before, with emphasis on perfection in sound. But, you know exactly what you are getting, and I tend to miss some of the odd surprises that the band used to pull on their listeners, causing them to stretch a little.

Now, there are still reasons to get this album, and those reasons are tracks like 'Two Against Nature' which has a lovely sax solo. The song that follows, 'Janie Runaway' has the great funky and complex attitude found on Fagen's 'The Nightfly' title track. The opening track 'Gaslighting Abbie' is also excellent and gets you all excited for what could have been an excellent album. I even like the closer 'West of Hollywood' mostly for the instrumental sections. But, the best tracks are on the first half of the album, and even then, a few of them are a little less memorable. And nothing really stood out on the 2nd half, just more of the same, a great sound, but lacking anything new. The album starts to sound more like some great outtakes from their glory days instead of new songs, because the sound is really not much different.

Even with the strong tracks though, by the time its all done, it feels like you have heard this before. The band's quest for perfection tends to shine out all of the rough edges that used to make them so appealing. There are also no surprises here. It would have been nice to hear some more progressive sounds, like in the track 'Aja', or some blues-inflected tracks like 'Black Friday' or 'Chain Lightening'. Or even a more guitar driven track like 'Bodhistava' or rendition of a standard, like the instrumental 'East St. Louis Toodle-oo'. Variety could have gone a long ways here, but they keep things safe with the jazz style they are most comfortable with. But, at the same time, it could have been a lot worse, and at least they ended up with a decent album, just a step above 'Gaucho', but not as great as 'Aja' or 'Katy Lied'. Anyway, it's a great album, definitely not a throwaway, just not as good as it could have been. Still, it gets 4 stars for its clarity and musicianship, but it could have been a 5 with some variety or more progressiveness.

 The Fold by KARCIUS album cover Studio Album, 2018
3.95 | 46 ratings

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The Fold
Karcius Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by The Crow
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Fifth album from Karcius, and the first that I have the pleasure to hear!

The Fold is a very Porcupine Tree and Steve Wilson influenced album with glimpses of King Crimson and some jazz touches. It's a very stimulating and funny mixture between beautiful, melancholic and mellotron-infused melodies broken by very hard guitar riffs and even some hoarse vocals. Very similar to Porcupine Tree in concept and style, but maybe with some transitions between soft and hard not as good implemented and natural as the Steven Wilson's band.

The playing of the band is not virtuoso oriented, with some exceptions like the incredible bass solo in Goodbye, but they make a very good job in general terms. Nevertheless, I think that this technical playing is not necessary in The Fold because the truly important fact of this album is the songwriting, which is marvelous except for a pair of rough contrasts and some fragments which are not so splendid as the rest.

Best Tracks: the level of the album is outstanding! So, it's really challenging to pick separate tracks of this record. But if I must choose, I would pick the mellow and obscure Something, the very The Raven that Refused to Sing sounding and very well singed Goodbye, and also the incredible Burning My Dreams, which contains the best riffs of the album.

Conclusion: Karcius has created a truly remarkable modern prog-rock record with The Fold. Maybe its style is not the most original one because this music automatically brings other artists to mind, as I mentioned before. But the songwriting is so good that it's impossible not to enjoy this album if you are into modern prog.

Specially recommended for Steven Wilson and King Crimson fans!

My rating: ****

 John Scofield Band: ▄berjam by SCOFIELD, JOHN album cover Studio Album, 2002
3.97 | 10 ratings

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John Scofield Band: ▄berjam
John Scofield Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by TCat
Prog Reviewer

4 stars John Scofield established a name for himself as a jazz guitarist long before he seriously pursued a full-out solo career. He had played alongside Miles Davis, Charles Mingus, Herbie Hancock, Pat Metheny among scores of other artists and rock artists such as John Mayer and Gov't Mule. 'Uberjam' was released as The John Scofield Band and it contains several different styles of jazz influenced by electonica, funk, soul, r&b, rock and so on infused with jazz. Scofield has been known to experiment with many different styles, finding ways to meld them with jazz flavors, but sometimes has ventured far enough away from jazz to question whether he has left it all together. But he always returns. This might make you think that he is either unfocused or versatile, depending on how you look at it.

'Acidhead' starts with the psychedelic Indian sound with wordless vocals that matches the album cover. Eventually a smooth bass line and medium rhythm kicks in while guitar establishes the melody. A screechy sound counteracts the guitar as all players improvise over a funky backdrop. Nice effects and interesting sounds from the instruments turn this into an interesting opening track and prepares you for an exciting ride.

'Ideofunk' uses percussion and organ to establish the backdrop and a staccato-laden melody. A nice smooth groove eventually evokes a nice set of solos from various players including a wicked flute solo.

'Jungle Fiction' has a quick, tricky rhythm that will leave you guessing what meter it is in. But Scofield keeps a smooth guitar sound through the odd time signature which changes several times. Later, electronic and traditional drums trade off with a staccato keyboard and interesting sounding electronic effects. There is some nice and wild soloing and improvising going on in this one.

The next track takes a hip-hop funk route on 'I Brake 4 Monster Booty'. Scofield uses his signature sound effectively on this track with a heavy beat. A short rap by drummer Adam Deitch kicks in just before the 2 minute mark. I know it sounds corny, but it's actually a fun track with a lot of electronic effects that fit right in.

'Animal Farm' is a bit smoother, but has an underlying R&B drum-and-bass vibe. An interesting melody is introduced with a layered guitar that has a dissonant harmony. This also ventures into a bit of an experimental territory. There is a shaky sax riff in there too.

'Offspring' is a bit more conventional as far as a jazz fusion vibe, but with enough surprises of it's own to keep everything fresh. It has a Herbie Hancock feel at least in its interplay with an almost acid jazz format. This one also features one of the best guitar solos on the album, fast, quick and catchy. Later there is a quick percussion solo with some processed vocals.

'Tomorrow Land' slows the pace somewhat, with a softer rhythm section and a nice mellow jazz guitar. The track maintains the easy groove allowing Scofield to improvise freely.

Next is the title track 'Uberjam'. It starts out with a lot of electronic effects including the percussion. A fast paced funk pattern gets started and Scofield lays out a tricky melody which leaves room for backing instruments to show off a bit. Scofield definitely takes advantage of the track to do some tricky guitar work. Oh, and he throws the chorus of 'Blue Moon' in there if you listen closely. By the end of it all, it gets into quite an intense groove to wind it all up.

'Polo Towers' sets up a tricky rhythm section in which a layered sax lays down an unusual melody. A guitar break in the middle plays through some cool sounds and screechy textures. Later, the guitar and sax mirror each other and create a crazy vibe right at the end.

'Snap, Crackle, Pop' is another upbeat funk-fest with another great guitar solo with some unique sounds which were probably created by the electronics. The theme in this one doesn't quite match up to the faster rhythm, but that's only a minor problem. 'Lucky for Her' is the final track which ties everything up nicely in a final showcase of electronica and guitar.

In the end, it is understandable why this was released under The John Scofield Band name because the entire band makes this album what it is. But overall, it belongs to John Scofield who provides most of the solos, and to Avi Bortnick who is in charge of the electronica portion of the album, and who has a lot of say in the vibe of each track and who lays down the tricky rhythms and up-to-date sound. This is a very fun album with a lot of variety. On the surface, it may seem a little hokey, but it all pulls together nicely and leaves you feeling like you are listening to a very current recording.

John Scofield says that he like to think that Miles Davis would have loved this album because of the way it stretches Jazz fusion boundaries and how it sounds so current. Even though there are some progressive elements spread throughout the album, it is mostly just good funk fusion album and it is one that might even make you want to move around a bit. It is definitely more than just a background record, it is possibly even a party record if used in the right way, but I find that some of the tracks might be too experimental or progressive to be completely accessible. But it is definitely enjoyable and fun.

 Space Guerilla by MISSUS BEASTLY album cover Studio Album, 1978
3.59 | 22 ratings

BUY
Space Guerilla
Missus Beastly Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars After two incredible Jazz/Kraut albums MISSUS BEASTLY are back. As Uwe mentions in his review the Krautrock part of the equation has been greatly reduced here. Only two of the five members from the first two albums are back leaving Mr. Schmidl to do almost all of the composing besides playing keyboards and guitar. Despite the lack of Krautrock this album has impressed me big time. It's just really well done which is no surprise and after this record Schmidl would join EMBRYO while Richter the bass and violin player would re-join AERA. Josch by the way is so good playing flute and sax here. A really enjoyable Jazz/Rock album and this was released in 1978.

"Space Guerrilla" is the almost 11 minute opener where we do get some of that Krautrock spirit. Piano only to start as drums and more start to come and go until we get a steady sound with sax over top. I like the sound 1 1/2 minutes in as bass and a beat with flute take over. Sax is back but it's the flute showing off in a major way. Love when it calms right down to an experimental Kraut routine. A change 7 minutes in as the tempo picks up with lots of intricate sounds. Pretty much piano driven to the end.

"Guitar For Sale" has a Jazz/Fusion vibe all the way with electric piano and drums. Check out the guitar after a minute and the bass 2 minutes in. It then lightens and then another calm before 4 minutes with piano and flute. "Rahstan Rolans Kirk" is flute and percussion and not much of the latter. "Fuzzy, Don't Go To The Disco" are wise words indeed for 1978. This one has some funk to it with the bass. Sax before a minute and it will come and go. Then the violin leads the way after 2 minutes soling away.

"Hoffmannstropfen" opens with bass and a beat as sax comes and goes along with e-pinao. The flute replaces the sax after 1 1/2 minutes then the sax returns after 3 minutes. Is that clavinet 3 1/2 minutes in? Bass leads before 5 minutes. "Cose Dola" contrasts the sax with the electric piano as drums support. Violin after a minute. Bass and drums only before 2 1/2 minutes then the piano returns. "For Flu" is uptempo with piano, flute and drums leading the way. A World music vibe here with that ethnic sound arriving a minute in. Themes continue to be repeated and check out a moving section before 3 1/2 minutes with piano and flute.

"King Garlic" ends it in a Jazz/Rock style. Very classy really with piano and bass leading along with drums before the flute arrives late. An excellent album for those into the Jazz/Rock style of music. These guys are players and I think it stands up well with their previous two studio albums even if it's a notch down from those.

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AIN SOPH Japan
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AMARILLO CIAN Y MAGENTA Costa Rica
AMIGDALA Italy
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ANIMUS TRIO Argentina
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APOTHECARY United States
AQUARELLE Canada
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ARCHIMEDES BADKAR Sweden
ARCO IRIS Argentina
NEIL ARDLEY United Kingdom
ARENA Australia
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TIHOMIR POP ASANOVIC Yugoslavia
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VERT┌ United States
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WHERE'S THE NINE Canada
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