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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 Esbjörn 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 01/01/2013

Dick Heath
Evolver (Scott)
Man With Hat (Phil)
Darkshade (Mike)
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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

4.38 | 595 ratings
KIND OF BLUE
Davis, Miles
4.38 | 400 ratings
IN A SILENT WAY
Davis, Miles
4.36 | 845 ratings
BIRDS OF FIRE
Mahavishnu Orchestra
4.38 | 123 ratings
TIME CONTROL
Uehara, Hiromi
4.31 | 348 ratings
SPECTRUM
Cobham, Billy
4.29 | 607 ratings
THE INNER MOUNTING FLAME
Mahavishnu Orchestra
4.32 | 156 ratings
WE'LL TALK ABOUT IT LATER
Nucleus
4.27 | 517 ratings
ELEGANT GYPSY
Di Meola, Al
4.28 | 220 ratings
CROSSINGS
Hancock, Herbie
4.30 | 137 ratings
MAIDEN VOYAGE
Hancock, Herbie
4.32 | 112 ratings
VISITATION
Pohjola, Pekka
4.25 | 360 ratings
BITCHES BREW
Davis, Miles
4.27 | 207 ratings
ENIGMATIC OCEAN
Ponty, Jean-Luc
4.58 | 31 ratings
THE COLOURS OF CHLOË
Weber, Eberhard
4.24 | 454 ratings
CARAVANSERAI
Santana
4.24 | 396 ratings
ROMANTIC WARRIOR
Return To Forever
4.24 | 339 ratings
ABRAXAS
Santana
4.26 | 168 ratings
THE WAY UP
Metheny , Pat
4.30 | 94 ratings
MILESTONES
Davis, Miles
4.31 | 87 ratings
MODRÝ EFEKT & RADIM HLADÍK
Blue Effect (Modrý Efekt; M. Efekt)

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

SHABAZZ
Cobham, Billy
MODERN PENTATHLON
Laboratorium
CAMINO DEL CONCIERTO
Guadalquivir
DEATH WISH
Hancock, Herbie

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Latest Jazz Rock/Fusion Music Reviews


 AdC by ACCORDO DEI CONTRARI album cover Studio Album, 2014
4.13 | 6 ratings

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AdC
Accordo Dei Contrari Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by BrufordFreak

4 stars The AdC music I hear on AdC has finally achieved what their previous albums failed to do: engaged and pleased me. Melodies I actually remember after songs are over, songs I actually know by name and chose specifically, willingly, longingly to put on my iPod playlists. They have always felt accomplished as musicians--technical wizards, each--but something was missing. As it turns out, it was the fresh, original and memorable constructs that I hear on this album. I've heard that AdC's concert appearances are quite impressive--other reviewers seem to always write with a bit of a stunned awe at what they observed and heard live. Perhaps with this album they have finally captured that jaw-dropping, awe-inspiring sound that they've been reported to convey on stage. Perhaps the roles and contributions of each of the seemingly-committed band members have been clearly established so that they can write and record cohesive, joy- expressing music. If I have any complaints it is that the recording sometimes feels a bit sterile, lacking human frailty.

Favorite songs: the SANTANA/STEELY DAN-like jam, 1. "Nadir" (9/10), the Hendrix-plays-with- The-Softs-sounding, 2. "Dandelion" (9/10), the slow-building DIAGONAL-like 5. "Tiglath" (8:28) (9/10), and the lovely Windham Hill-sounding pastoral acoustic ensemble of 6. Piu Limpida e Chiara di Ogni Impressione Vissuta (Pt.2) (3:21) (8/10).

Nice work, Contrarians!

4 stars.

 Abraxas by SANTANA album cover Studio Album, 1970
4.24 | 339 ratings

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Abraxas
Santana Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by siLLy puPPy

4 stars Continuing the huge success generated by their debut album and their instant stardom generated by the Woodstock Festival in August 69, SANTANA released their 2nd album ABRAXAS the following year pretty much following the same formula of mixing rock, blues and latin jazz. The album was an even bigger hit than the debut hitting number 1 on the Billboard album charts and selling more than twice as many albums as well as hitting big with the huge hits "Oye Como Va" and the cover of Fleetwood Mac founder Peter Green's "Black Magic Woman." SANTANA was a worldwide phenomenon by now and their unique Latin big band sound was one of the hottest things going on at the time. As with the previous album there is an army of percussionists accompanying Carlos Santana's bluesy lead guitar and Gregg Rollie's keyboards.

Although this is a great album I have always liked it a tad less than the debut. It is lacking that incessant raw and fervent drive throughout its entirety that made the first album so amazing. The songs are more varied in their approach and the music is generally the same in its sound, yet something about this album just seems like a tamed down version of the debut as a whole. Whereas the debut was a energetic display of adrenaline from beginning to end, I find this one is dragged down a tad with slower numbers like the instrumental "Samba Pa Ti." Nothing on here is bad by any means and it's only a relativity issue for me. It also hasn't helped that I have heard the hit singles on this album to death! Even after giving classic rock radio a break for many years, I still find "Black Magic Woman" a song I no longer like to hear. Make no doubt about it, it is a classic of classics but some music can become toxic after too many listens and this i'm afraid is one of those tracks that I haven't been able to recover from. Despite that an outstanding album that just doesn't reach perfection in my world.

 Korni Grupa by KORNI GRUPA / KORNELYANS album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.99 | 31 ratings

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Korni Grupa
Korni Grupa / Kornelyans Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Aussie-Byrd-Brother
Special Collaborator Rock Progressivo Italiano Team

4 stars Considered one of the first and most important Yugoslavian rock albums, Korni Grupa's debut LP, this self-titled affair from 1972, saw a band, formed by ex-Indexi keyboard player Kornelije Kovac, that had previously had to focus on shorter pop songs bravely step up into more adventurous and explorative ambitious rock. Strong melodic compositions with loose improvised jams in the style of hard rock, blues, jazz fusion and fuzzy psychedelia with confident vocals and a heavy use of electric piano were the results, and it may be one of the strongest Yugo prog related albums of that time.

Opener `Glas Sa Obale Boje' jumps back and forth between a slightly downbeat acoustic ballad that comes alive with togetherness in the chorus with fiery and brooding electric guitar riffs in the middle and end. The fourteen minute four-part `Put Na Istok' shares a similar unpredictable and all-or-nothing eclectic approach to Italian band Banco del Muruo Soccorsso and well as the jazzy vibes of Samurai/The Web. Full of lengthy instrumental displays, Josip Bocek's electric guitar is all thick muscular grinding one second, dirty grooving Santana-like sweltering strutting the next, Kornelije's red-hot electric piano a dazzling swirl of movement. Drummer Vladimir Furduj is all wild yet controlled fury, and Bojan Hreljac's bass weaves throughout the background and constantly leaps forward. Plenty of tempo changes, some sedate and thoughtful rests, psychedelic dreaminess and lots of call-and-response dueling interplay between Zlatko Pjakovic's commanding vocals and the rest of the musicians makes for a thrilling extended piece that is truly infectious and addictive.

Side B's `Moj Bol' is a sultry upbeat strolling jazz workout, comprised of spiraling piano, hand percussion and slow-burn electric guitar ripples around Zlatko's voice, a mix of lustful croons and spitting deranged rants. Bojan's bass is a real highlight here, effortlessly adapting to the changing directions of the piece with ease. Right from it's opening seconds, `Bezglave Ja-Ja Horde' is a frantic jazz/fusion race, delirious electric piano runs, slithering bass and nimble drum-work running rings around each-other, the scorching electric guitar taking on a wicked snarl around Zlatko's theatrical bellowing. Closer `Tata Ko, I Mama Spo' is a warm acoustic ballad with a strong vocal melody and pleasing electric guitar fills throughout, displaying how well the band had perfected more compact pieces over the years prior to this, and the electric piano break in the middle is sublime and restrained.

The recent CD reissue by label Eastern Time in 2013 includes eight bonus tracks of singles and their b-sides, a nice way to hear the way the band evolved into what is offered on the main album here. Within two years they would rename themselves Kornelyans and release an English language album recorded in Italy called `Not An Ordinary Life', further heading in progressive rock directions. But for this first `Korni Grupa' album, it's a personal Yugoslavian favourite of mine alongside the self-titled Izvir album, and the lengthy soloing/instrumental improvisation and superior vocals makes it a winner to me.

Four stars.

 Resolution by REIJA, XAVI album cover Studio Album, 2014
4.00 | 1 ratings

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Resolution
Xavi Reija Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

— First review of this album —
4 stars Xavi is recognized as being one of Spain's top jazz drummers, and over the last fifteen years has built his reputation by working with artists such Steve Hogarth (Marillion), Gary Willis (Tribal Tech), Monica Green (The Supremes), Caco Senante, O 'Funk'illo and Pep Sala Joaquin Calderon. But he has also been working on his own bands, releasing 'Two Sides' with DX Project, two albums with the Xavi Reija Electric Quintet as well as trimming that down to the Xavi Reija Electric Trio who prior to this had released a DVD. Now he is back, again in a trio environment, with Bernat Hernández on bass, and Dusan Jevtović on guitars. Bernat also played with Dusan on the latter's album 'Am I Walking Wrong' which was released last year.

When I first started listening to jazz as a child, it was bands led by drummers that I became most interested in, and the very first jazz album I ever bought with my own money was by Gene Krupa. There is something about music being geared towards the complexity and freedom that comes from a powerhouse at the back that really lifts the overall, and if you normally listen to metal then you would have to agree that Testament's recent stunning live opus just wouldn't be half as dynamic if Gene Hoglan wasn't behind the kit. Only four of these compositions are group numbers, with the other seven all scored by Xavi, but the common theme throughout is the sheer amount of space that these guys have given themselves to work with. That they are all stunning musicians are never in doubt, but they know the importance of simplicity as well as complexity, and know the right time to deliver what is required, with fuzzed distortion adding to the overall sound.

The three musicians work off each other, and the result is an avant garde album that combines improvisation with funk and melody, distortion and feedback with clean struck notes, polyrhythmic sounds with simple timekeeping, so much so that the listener never really knows what is coming next. A very strong production tops off yet another incredibly strong release from the Moonjune label. www.moonjune.com

 Arc of the Testimony by ARCANA album cover Studio Album, 1997
4.65 | 9 ratings

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Arc of the Testimony
Arcana Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by admireArt

4 stars Pharoah Sanders, Bill Laswell, Tony Williams, Buckethead, Nicky Skopelitis and Graham Haynes add up USA's Jazz/Fusion band , ARCANA. (There are other bands that go by the same name.)

But not any band can claim such an all-star cast under their name-title. Let me start with long time sax legend Pharoah Sanders. To think that this guy more than once played alongside the great John Coltrane, well, talks a bit about his level of performance. (He also played alongside composer and piano player Alice Coltrane, John's wife). Pharoah Sanders brought the "esoteric" performance element, to both Coltrane's music, as he does in his appearances in this 1997, ARCANA "Arc of Testimony" album.

Bill Laswell, well as I mentioned somewhere, is a freaking musical genius. But what I didn't emphasize then, but do now, is that he is also a hell of a bass player, as the skilled composer, multi-instrumentalist he is. Tony Williams (who died during this recording), well, anyone aquainted with this sub-genre knows his fondness for "grandeure". Also familiar to proggers guitarist Buckethead, which spiraling and haunting licks enhance the greatest peaks this record ascends. And everybody relying on Nicky Skopelitis guitar riffs. Graham Haynes contributes with his cornet on 2 tracks. Well! This is ARCANA.

How they sound? Like blending "old school" modern Jazz with Bill Laswell's intricate music figures and ever expansive "ambiental" structures. Moving towards stilistic perfection, but within a "chaotic" environment. The "esoteric" Pharoah Sanders leaving his heart in each of his interventions, as always! But each musician takes turns in the development of each track, so creativity runs wild, but never out of place, in the hands of these musicians' extraordinary and masterful performance skills!

****4.5 "Jazz/Fusion taken on a wild ride" PA stars.

For the brave at heart Prog/Jazz fans!

 Rhesus O by RHESUS O album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.05 | 8 ratings

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Rhesus O
Rhesus O Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

3 stars An early-70's French entry with strong Magma links.It all started in late-60's, when keyboardist Jean-Pol Asseline and drummer Thierry Blanchard played with bassist Gerard Prévost, future member of Zao, and participated in several Jazz-linked concerts, before deciding to form a regular band.Asseline and Blanchard were joined by organist Alain Monier, bassist Serge Lenoir and sax player Alain Hatot, forming Guige.They were rehearsing at Monier's family basement and were discovered by CBS, signing a long-term deal, folloed by a change of name.With Lenoir out for his military service Magma's bassist Francis Moze was recruited, but by the time of the first recordings Lenoir was back and the band had now two bassists plus Guy Pedersen, a Funk bassist, who joined them on double bass.The recordings took place at Chateau d'Herouville and the debut album came out in September 1971 on Epic.

An organic amalgam of loose Jazz, smooth Psychedelic Rock and intense Fusion was what this septet was offering at the time and the combination worked pretty great at moments, switching from dreamy interplays, powerful solos, ethereal sax lines and sinister Hammond organ waves.They do sound a bit like compatriots AME SON and, of course, MAGMA, although the Jazz component is more pronounced in ''Rhesus O''.The line-up of seven musicians allowed the band to create a vast palette of jazzy rhythms and solos, either performed with some furious electric piano and deep double bass or featuring the darker sound of organ, but always including the work of Hatot on sax.The music gets very dense and closer to Progressive Rock quite often with full keyboard/piano battles, electroacoustic changes and sax interventions in pieces which also include a more active role for the bass players.And there are even a couple of parts with some sort of Classical edge, executed on organ and harsichord.Best highlights of the album appear to be the fantastic changes between emphatic, dreamy, loose Jazz Rock and a more structured and Fusion-oriented Psych/Prog.At last a couple of folky, depressive flute parts add the album yet another dimension towards the end.

When Moze left to rejoin Magma he was replaced by Bernard Paganotti (who went on to become also a member of the French pioneers) and Richard Raux, a session sax player, who also played with Magma, Laurent Thibault and Popol Ace among others.The band was moving towards a more brass-oriented sound, but soon Paganotti and Raux quit along with original drummer Thierry Blanchard to be replaced by Chad-born Manfred Long on bass, Jean-Michel Herve on sax and Christian Ducamps on drums.1972 additions included also bassist Marc Bertreaux and trumpetist Michel Boss, but just when Rhesus O started recording new pieces Monier joined the army for his service and the contract with CBS came to an end, resulting the band's dissolution.Keyboardist Jean-Pol Asseline would also meet his destiny with Magma circa 1975, meeting again with Paganotti, and was a regular musician on Jean-Pierre Alarcen's solo albums.

Good, early-70's Jazz/Fusion with progressive overtones and slight, psychedelic explorations.Musea's reissue is a good chance to meet Rhesus O's rich and jazzy sound.Recommended stuff.

 Root & Stalk & Flower Music by GUSTAVSON, JUKKA album cover Studio Album, 2012
5.00 | 1 ratings

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Root & Stalk & Flower Music
Jukka Gustavson Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Matti
Collaborator Neo-Prog Team

— First review of this album —
5 stars The botanical title is a little clumsy, but luckily this music is not something one might associate with the term "root music"! The latest album by the old fox JUKKA GUSTAVSON doesn't offer anything radically new, but it's always interesting to see how the various familiar ingredients are emphasized. For starters, all lyrics are in English this time, and - also unlike in the album I wrote about last week - the vocals are oriented to singing instead of speaking. These are surely good news especially for non- Finnish listeners.

The mood is mostly happy and relaxed. A good example is the long instrumental 'Message from the Coral Reef', or a shorter one 'In Rainy Weather'. This would be perfect music for a summer evening's outdoor concert. The track with the only Finnish title is a passionate, slow instrumental with delicious parts for flute and organ, and a very vibrating electric piano. Some of the vocal songs reveal a strong influence of Afro-American music (soul, funk, etc), but equally important is the European music tradition rooted in art music. Perhaps the album's greatest delight is 'Classical Stairs and Garden', 17 and ½ minutes of wonderful, effortlessly flowing instrumental Fusion, up there with the best of PEKKA POHJOLA or JUKKA TOLONEN.

In the very tender 'In the Long Wait of the Wedding' Jukka sings the brief lyrics in French! Beautiful arrangement featuring e.g. flute and strings. The groovy but rather peaceful song 'This Elegy Will Always Be' is a decication to a pet cat. It has nice electric piano, and presumably an ud solo by guitarist Pekka Nylund. I notice that I enjoy this album much more than in the first listening. The bluesiest things may not be so much up to my taste, but for once there's not a single irritating track around. This is an extremely solid album with 66 minutes of pure, breathing music that is never left in the shadow of more litarary approach.

 Stories From The Shed by WRONG OBJECT, THE album cover Studio Album, 2008
3.60 | 10 ratings

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Stories From The Shed
The Wrong Object Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Sean Trane
Special Collaborator Prog Folk

4 stars Third or fourth album (depending whether you consider the Elton Dean session as a TWO album) from this Liège group, still with the same line-up as before, but this time the album was released on the great Moonjune label. Once again guitarist Michel Delville is the main songwriter, though all four other members have at least two credits or co-credits. There is no real explanation for this very forest- infested album title and artwork, and to be honest, the dominance of green on the digipak doesn't match the music, which tends to red hot, even more so than the woman's red hairs ion the artwork.

Opening on a few bars of a Klezmer-Manouche tune (like we've all hear a thousand times before), Sonic Riot veers a tad Gong-esque with an excellent closing passage with spacey electronics and trons. 15/05 is building on that feeling and the electronic gizmos are gaining in importance. As the album progresses with every new rack, one can only be captivated with the typical British jazz and JR/F scene of the 70's. Indeed, the shadows of Elton Dean, then Harry Beckett and Annie Whitehead (all participants to the band's previous efforts) seem to hover all over the album, much to our delight. There is a real tension that gradually builds up through tracks like Sheepwrecked (Crimson circa Lizard meets Wyatt) and following blistering Acquiring The Taste and Lifting Belly, where a Canterburian feel seep through via fuzzed-out instruments. The adventurous explorations continue, from the trashy Matching Mole-ish Malign Siesta to the lava-boiling Waves and the out-of-this-world Saturn. The album ends with a rework of Delville's Unbelievable Truth from the Elton Dean session album of the same name.

If you must own only one album from TWO, it would be a die-hard choice between the Dean collab and this one, but if you're into a more classical progressive, their latest album After The Exhibition, which is some kind of rebirth (given the important line-up changes, we can almost guess the band came close to a term) is also quite an awesome realisation. Personally, Shed is my personal fave from these guys.

 After The Exhibition by WRONG OBJECT, THE album cover Studio Album, 2013
4.05 | 63 ratings

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After The Exhibition
The Wrong Object Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Sean Trane
Special Collaborator Prog Folk

4 stars To be honest, by the start of the last calendar year ('13), after a four to six year silence, I thought that TWO was a dead thing. It sure seems like the project certainly went through a delicate phase, since there remains only two members from the line-up that had recorded the awesome Stories From The Shed. Indeed only leader Delville and drummer Delchambre remain, the main change being the addition of Antoine Guenet (ex-PaNoPTiCoN and presently also in the new Univers Zero line-up). Actually, if memory serves, most of the newcomers come of PaNoPTiCoN, which never had a fixed line-up anyway, due to the concept of the project. Elsewhere Pollard gave way to Mottet on bass, and Melia and Lourtie are now blowing the horns, and the always excellent vibraphonist Benoit Moerlen appears as a guest on no less than four tracks. So, something did happen, and TWO's rebirth six years after is a sweet gift, courtesy of the great Moonjune label.

Despite the heavy line-up changes, you'll have no problems recognizing instantly TWO, but I would not call ATE just another Wrong Object album. This is probably the band's most "prog-rock" album, despite retaining its heavy JR/F and Zappa atmospheres. The heavy Detox Gruel is a mix of riffs and gypsy jazz music. The three-parts and almost 17-mins Jungle Cow is the centrepiece of the album, but hardly the most accessible, as the first two movements are often bordering on dissonance, but it remains reasonable, and the third really delivers the good with some cool dramatics. The following Glass Cubes features female vocals, and though it brings a breath of fresh air, though the start has a "déjà-entendu", but the second part sounds like a cross of Gong meets Kate Bush.

A fine return to affairs from a group most of us thought dead (or at least dormant), although it doesn't reach the perfection of Stories From The Shed. While ATE might not be the most representative of their usual soundscapes (given the important line-up changes), it's still very much a worthy TWO album, and ranks in my top 5 album of 2013, among with Maalouf's Illusions and Setna's Guérison. Definitely worth investigating.

 Flight of the Angel  by POHJOLA, PEKKA album cover Studio Album, 1986
4.21 | 14 ratings

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Flight of the Angel
Pekka Pohjola Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Matti
Collaborator Neo-Prog Team

4 stars Flight of the Angel ended PEKKA POHJOLA's most productive era that had started in the seventies; his next album would be Symphony No. 1 (1990), an attempt to be a serious art music composer. Haven't listened to it, but I have heard quite unfavourable criticism from experts. Elements from the classical music have naturally always been present in his unique Fusion, also in this album that features some strings too (though not very notably). As a side note, my friend had a conversation with Verneri Pohjola (jazz trumpetist-composer) and asked about his favourites of his father's discography. If I remember correctly, this was the other of the two that Verneri named.

'How About Today?' is a tight, rollicking, up-tempo composition, very rock oriented in sound; Seppo Tyni's electric guitar is in the centre. I wouldn't place this one high in Pekka's scale, or in fact, in the scale of Jazz-Rock / Fusion in genera, newcomers included. The title track is a delicate and more thoughtful piece as its name would suggest. It's built on a simple melody (not unusual in his composing style) but the way the music grows grander before returning to gentler touch is really fine. One could think there's not enough substance for 6 ½ minutes, but there is. 'Il Carillon' is a solo piano composition (played by the respected pianist Liisa Pohjola from the same big musical family). It seems to have some Sibelius influence and Debussy-like impressionism. I believe it would be considered very convincing by the art music critics too.

'Pressure' is very easily recognized as a typical Pekka Pohjola composition with the heavily repeated leitmotif and its stretching to the limit. It may be a matter of taste are there enough ideas for 10 ½ minutes or not. Well, he's done similar things more succesfully too. The synths are central in the sound. The progressivity comes mostly as dynamic changes, not in the melodies. But the best is saved for last: 'Beauty and the Beast' (10:54) is a highly progressive track full of rich details; the arrangement is very many-sided, from the funkiness of brass to the exciting synth patterns and the strings in the final section.And above all is the gorgeous bass playing! This is the masterpiece that justifies the four-star rating, even if the album as a whole is more uneven than most of his earlier works.

The 2002 CD edition includes also a brief summary of Pekka Pohjola's career up to that point.

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Jazz Rock/Fusion bands/artists list

Bands/Artists Country
3RD WORLD ELECTRIC Multi-National
4 FRONT United States
7 FOR 4 Germany
EIVIND AARSET Norway
JOHN ABERCROMBIE United States
ABLUTION Sweden
ABUS DANGEREUX France
ACCORDO DEI CONTRARI Italy
ADDISON PROJECT Canada
AERA Germany
AFROSKULL United States
AGHARTA Canada
AGORA Italy
AIN SOPH Japan
AKA MOON Belgium
JAN AKKERMAN Netherlands
ALAS Argentina
ALKEMY France
ALKOTRIO Russia
ALTRUISMOS Argentina
AMARILLO CIAN Y MAGENTA Costa Rica
AMIGDALA Italy
ANAMORPHOSE France
APOSTOLIS ANTHIMOS Poland
ANTIHÉROE Argentina
AQUARELLE Canada
ARATTA REBIRTH Armenia
ARCANA United States
ARCHIMEDES BADKAR Sweden
ARCO IRIS Argentina
NEIL ARDLEY United Kingdom
BRUCE ARNOLD United States
ARSENAL Russia
ARTI E MESTIERI Italy
TIHOMIR POP ASANOVIC Yugoslavia
ASSOCIATION P.C. Multi-National
ASSOLO DI BONGO Italy
ASTRAKAN United Kingdom
ASTRO CAN CARAVAN Finland
ATMOSPHERES Multi-National
ATTENTION DEFICIT United States
BRIAN AUGER United Kingdom
AUM Brazil
AURORA United States
AVANT GARDEN United States
AVIOLINEE UTOPIA Italy
AXIS Greece
AYERS ROCK Australia
AZIGZA United States
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