Archive for the Jazz Category

Béla Fleck and the Flecktones – Little Worlds

Posted in Jazz on September 11, 2011 by

 Jazz Fusion; 2003


In this you get three discs, two with ten songs and the third with nine. Mr. Fleck is the first name that comes to anyone’s mind when the jazz banjo scene is a topic of discussion. He is a master of the craft. Jeff Coffin plays every wind instrument that matters and quite a few more that don’t. Future Man (that’s not his real name, in case you were wondering) plays drums on his invention: the synth-axe drumitar (youtube it). And VIctor Wooten is an electric bass virtuoso. He’s in another band, SMV, which is him and two other bass virtuosos shredding on their electric basses all at the same time. It’s pretty cool. So when you get a bunch of dudes who are too good at very unnecessary things, you know critics are gonna pan it for elitism. And maybe it is elitist, considering it’s a 29-song album that runs over two and a half hours. But who cares? They called King Crimson and Yes and Emerson, Lake, & Palmer elitist. Jazz as an idea is elitist. Jazz exists for performers to show off their technical skill. These guys have a TON of technical skill. Like ridiculous amounts. So listen as these guys all make it painfully clear that they’re better than you at life. And enjoy all of it.

Disc One:
1. Bil Mon
2. The Ballad of Jed Clampett feat. Bobby McFerrin & Sam Bush
3. Puffy
4. New Math
5. Longitude
6. Latitude
7. Centrifuge feat. Derek Trucks
8. Off the Top (The Gravity Wheel) feat. Nickel Creek
9. Off the Top (Line Dance) feat. Nickel Creek
10. Follow the Line

Disc Two:
1. The Fjords of Oslo
2. Sherpa
3. What It Is feat. Bobby McFerrin
4. The Leaning Tower feat. Bobby McFerrin & The Chieftains
5. Mudslingers of the Milky Way
6. Captive Delusions feat. Brandon Marsalis
7. Costa Brava
8. Poindexter
9. Prequel
10. Return of the Mudslinders feat. Brandon Marsalis

Disc Three:
1. The Cave
2. Next
3. Pineapple Heart feat. Derek Trucks & Sam Bush
4. Snatchin’
5. Reminiscence
6. Sleeper feat. Bobby McFerrin
7. Flunky
8. The Last Jam feat. Derek Trucks, Jerry Douglas, & Bernie Williams
9. Untitled

Stand-out tracks:
Bil Mon
Costa Brava


Emil.RuleZ! – Zazie az ágyban

Posted in Jazz on June 12, 2011 by

 DOWNLOAD (my upload)

Alternative Jazz; 2001

Let it be known, I don’t believe Alternative Jazz is a real genre and I’m using it because I don’t know my jazz subgenres well enough to label it myself. This is Hungarian jazz, sang in the Hungarian language. I know people HATE Smooth Jazz but it does have some of the qualities of that subgenre. It’s got that drum beat that’s more typical for R&B in some of the songs, and there’s the HEAVY Latin music influence. I think that makes this so good though. The biggest difference between this and Smooth Jazz is probably that this is actually song-based music, where Smooth Jazz and most other types of jazz are improvisation-based. Their most famous song isn’t on this album, it’s on their second album (this being the debut), which is just as good. The song is called Hello.Tourist! and I’d suggest giving it a listen before any of the songs on this album. It’s the only song by them I’m aware of sung in English, and it’s pretty funny. It’s about a Hungarian student who barely speaks any English giving tours of Budapest to make some money. It’s also possibly the most blatant Latin rip-off they’ve written, it’s 100% Salsa. But Salsa is freaking fantastic, and combined with Jazz, it’s so relaxing but never boring.

None of this is instrumental, it’s all sang and again, sang in Hungarian. I’ve been told that it’s worth learning Hungarian JUST to understand these lyrics and with how clever Hello.Tourist! is I’m sure that has some truth to it. Hungarian is a WEIRD language, one of the stranger ones I’ve heard, probably. I’ve met people who couldn’t listen to music that they didn’t understand. I’m not that big on lyrics. But yeah don’t be like them and miss out on good music. I’m under the impression that all of their songs are at least mildly funny, maybe in a Steely Dan way if not more, biting and true and not that funny unless you actually think about it. But again that opinion is based on a single song that’s not even on this album and the title of one of the tracks on here “Szexplaneta” which isn’t that hard to translate.

What you’ll get hear is something similar to stuff you’ve heard but probably never listened to (with all the Salsa and Swing influences) but at the same time COMPLETELY brand new. I mean it’s Hungarian Jazz. Can you honestly say you’ve looked into that before?

1. Winkler és Eldée a hajóra mennek
2. Nagy Fenekű Nők Napja
3. Kerti Parti
4. Zazie az ágyban
5. Térerő
6. Szexplanéta
7. A lány, aki csak derékig látszik
8. Bell
9. Hupikék
10. Az a nő
11. Veled utazik Zazie
12. M323

Stand-out tracks:
Zazie az ágyban
M323 (Starts off slow but has an AMAZING outro)
Winkler és Eldée a hajóra mennek


Kneebody – You Can Have Your Moment

Posted in Jazz on January 5, 2011 by

Jazz Fusion/Math Jazz; 2010


^My own upload.

One of the best albums of 2010 that I missed posting before the end of the year. This one is kinda aimed at D=RT because he thought Vijay Iyer was boring. This is a lot more entertaining I’d think. A quintet featuring one person each on sax, trumpet, drums, electric bass guitar, and electric keyboard. Everything’s so heavily distorted, the drummer is the only person in the band who doesn’t play with a giant SFX pedal in front of him. Album starts with the six minute long Teddy Ruxpin, it’s mostly in 3/4 time and has a really driving rhythm. The keyboard player has a bigger part than you’d expect. His playing is dark and foreboding but it does much more than just create an atmosphere. At some points it seems like the rest of the band is his rhythm section. The drummer sounds to me like he enjoys Punk Rock. He’s extremely cymbal-happy and in Teddy Ruxpin at least, his snare hits are as sporadic as Mario Duplantier’s in The Art of Dying by Gojira, which, if you’ve heard the song, is a feat. No Thank You Mr. West, the 4th track on the album, seems like an exercise in atonal arpeggios. Almost like a 21st-century Carl Czerny composition. This song belongs to the sax player. I’ve been reading a lot of other reviews for this band. I’ll admit, I’m terrible with putting what I think about jazz into words so I like to get ideas. Common consensus among professional reviewers is that there’s a very urban undertone throughout the album and I’d have to agree. Most of the tracks do sound like heavy traffic turned into music.

I have it labeled as Jazz Fusion  and that generally means Jazz + Rock but in this case, it’s kind of hard to tell what it’s fused with. A little bit of everything. Case in point: They’ve played with Busdriver on several occasions. I found this video that might just say everything I’ve been trying to get across better than I can. If anybody’s in New York, Kneebody and Busdriver are performing together in Brooklyn on the 27th. More info here.

D=RT, if you’re gonna give this a listen, perhaps skip Held and Desperation Station. They’re pretty downbeat.

1. Teddy Ruxpin
2. Held
3. The Entrepreneur
4. No Thank You Mr. West
5. You Have One Unheard Message
6. The Blind
7. You Can Have Your Moment
8. Desperation Station
9. Nerd Mountain
10. Call
11. Unforseen Influences
12. High Noon

Stand-out tracks:
Unforseen Influences
No Thank You Mr West
Nerd Mountain


Vijay Iyer Trio – Historicity

Posted in Jazz on December 6, 2010 by

Math Jazz; 2009


I just made up the Math Jazz genre. My cousin, he’s this amazing jazz pianist, was taking me back to my Grandma’s house the other night and we were just sharing music. My iPod + his iPod + aux cable and I showed him some Math Rock, which he was unaware of, and he showed me what he had been listening to lately in the jazz world, which is pretty much the equivalent of Math Rock, except with Jazz.

The trio consists of Vijay Iyer on piano, Marcus Gilmore on drums,  and an upright bass player who I didn’t ask about plus there’s no wikipedia article on this album so I’m not about to do the googling necessary to find his name. In typical jazz, the bass player is arguably a more important rhythm section than the drummer. Since there’s not really an easy 4/4 rhythm on any of these songs I felt like the bass player just wasn’t as important as he would normally be in a jazz trio. This only applies to when he’s plucking his strings. Once he pulls out his bow (noticeable on Galang and Dogon A.D.), it does make him easier to hear and more fun to pay attention to.

On piano, Vijay has a big job. He’s necessary for providing all the melody, being the lead instrument, being as technically impressive as his bandmates, and maintaining the jazz feel. Instrumentation isn’t enough to classify a certain band under a genre and since this album definitely doesn’t have your typical jazz beats, it’s sort of up to Vijay to play the piano like a jazz player just so they can call themselves a jazz trio. He succeeds. Not sure how much of this was written versus improvised, but either way, his style is ridiculous. He plays jazz melodies, jazz chords, jazz solos, but he’s not limited by any jazz beat. Not really limited by anything really.

The drummer then. He really does sound like Zach Hill playing  jazz and maybe a little less aggressive. He’s just as good as Zach without being as prominent over the rest of the band. He lets Vijay take the spotlight I guess, which works considering the piano does the most on this album and it’s Vijay’s name on the cover.

1. Historicity
2. Somewhere
3. Galang (Trio Riot Version)
4. Helix
5. Smokestack
6. Big Brother
7. Dogon A.D.
8. Mystic Brew
9. Trident: 2010
10. Segment for Sentiment #2

Stand-out tracks
Dogon A.D.


Oliver Nelson – More Blues and the Abstract Truth

Posted in Jazz on August 31, 2010 by

Jazz; 1964


There’s very few things I know about Jazz. I like to think that I can give a few names of stuff I listen to from just about any genre anybody can think of. Unfortunately, I know very few Jazz names. I really need to fix that. Especially since my extended family is very big on Jazz and some of them are even pretty big names in the Jazz scene. I was at one of my uncles’ shows and he and the band he was fronting played a cover of Blues and the Abstract Truth, the first track on this album. I had heard it before on the intro to Pharoahe Monch’s (one of my favorite rappers) Internal Affairs LP in which the beat is a looped sample of that song. So after the show I went and talked to my uncle and asked what they had played and he told me and I went and looked it up and got the album it was on. Good thing too, cuz this is a really great album.

Hopefully that useless anecdote will be a good enough substitute for an actual review of this album >_< I don’t know enough about Jazz to do a real review.

1. Blues and the Abstract Truth
2. Blues O’Mighty
3. Theme From Mr. Broadway
4. Midnight Blue
5. The Critic’s Choice
6. One for Bob
7. Blues for Mr. Broadway
8. Goin’ to Chicago Blues
9. One for Phil
10. Night Lights

Stand-out tracks:
Blues and the Abstract Truth
The Critic’s Choice
Midnight Blue


Art Tatum – The Piano Starts Here

Posted in Jazz on August 17, 2010 by

Jazz; 1933


Art Tatum was nearly blind. Legend has it that as a kid, he had a player piano that played songs meant for a duet to play with 3 hands. Because of his disability, he didn’t realize that it wasn’t physically possible to imitate the stuff his piano was playing and he did it anyway. This isn’t with a band, it’s just a solo piano album. Most of these are live recordings but the quality is great. Most of the compositions are upbeat, classical-inspired, and quick. His hands sound like they glide over the piano keys, his staccato is the best you’ll ever hear. For anybody who understands a piano, the complexity of what he’s playing and how impossible your mind thinks it should be will awe you even more. There’s a reason Art Tatum is frequently considered the greatest jazz pianist of all time.

1. Tea for Two
2. St. Louis Blues
3. Tiger Rag
4. Sophisticated Lady
5. How High the Moon
6. Humoresque
7. Someone to Watch Over Me
8. Yesterdays
9. I Know That You Know
10. Willow Weep for Me
11. Tatum Pole Boogie
12. The Kerry Dance
13. The Man I Love

Stand-out tracks:
Tiger Rag
Tatum Pole Boogie