Saturday, March 22, 2008

Random Rotation #1 - Jazz Fusion

I've decided to start a monthly (or fortnightly, depending on my mood) music rotation just so the files I've uploaded stay there. My PC's moving at the pace of a slug on sake cause of all them music choking it up. Hence, I shall upload bits and pieces of the music here and there and delete them off my PC.
Anyway, I can't quite review well, much less tell you whether the singer had properly reach every damn note of the song. But what I can offer is my humble opinion. And I hope you'll add yours too, in order to have differing opinions for others.

So first's up: Jazz Fusion

Jazz Fusion is a sub-genre of music which combines Jazz with other genres from rock to techno to R&B. It usually comprises of instrumental music and started off in the 1960s, when Jazz musicians played around with other music types (particularly blues).

There are many who hail Jazz Fusion as a fresh face of Jazz, but other "purists" still insist that Jazz Fusion had all but ruined Jazz music.
Personally, I found this rather strange. Not strange in the LOL-WEIRDO way or WTF-IS THIS-SHIT kinda thing, but more of (....). Yeah. I don't know what to make of this. It strikes me as distorted and confusing (maybe because of the intermixing beats), but I'll probably listen to them during my restless moods.

1). John McLaughlin by Miles Davis

It's pretty strange that one of the greater contributers to Jazz Fusion would title a song after his bandmate. That aside, this track grates on my nerves at times. The piano, combined with the messy drumming in the background doesn't match and (to me) throws the entire song off-whack. I can't quite identify the 2nd genre its fused with...But this song simply doesn't work for me.

2)Noonward Race by Mahavishnu Orchestra
3)Birds of Fire by Mahavishnu Orchestra

Considered one of the greatest Jazz Fusion bands of all time, Mahavishnu Orchestra was founded by John McLaughlin (That guy in the previous track). Noonward Race is basically Jazz + Rock and it has some pretty cool electric guitar sounds in it. The guitar dominates for a better part of the song (which is why I like it).
Birds of Fire, on the other hand, starts off ominously before moving onto the slower sounds of the electric guitar. This time, both Jazz and Rock elements of the song actually complements each other. So give Mahavishnu Orchestra a try then.
Oh, and for your info, they're made up of White Men. Not Indians.

Noonward Race

. 4) Swamp Thing by The Dave Weckl Band
5) Cultural Concurrence by The Dave Weckl Band

The Dave Weckl Band was formed by Dave Weckl. Yeah, it kinda makes you wonder why Jazz Fusion musicians can be so creative with their song titles but not with their band names. Anyway, Swamp Thing is mixed with funk and a little of blues (I think). The end result is this edgy-sounding, yet relaxing piece in which the other genres hadn't overwhelmed the Jazz in it. It reminds me of this dapper guy in a black pin-striped suit and fedora (ala Chicago), swinging his way from one jazz club to another.
Cultual Concurrence doesn't contain various tribal music. I don't know how to describe this. Noise? Stamina Training Via Repitative Drumming? You decide.

. 6) Mirage by Billy Cobham
7) Avatar by Billy Cobham

Hmm....Mirage is jazzy enough and is the kind of song which made me unconciously tap my fingers to it. While Avatar, as its name suggests, starts off a mystical peal of...bells? Then it quickly dissolves into the kind of music which the old Nintendo would use. I prefer Mirage though. And like the previous artists, Billy Cobham is one of the so-called movers of Jazz Fusion and was a former bandmate to the others mentioned.

. 8) Stomping Grounds by Bela Fleck and the Flecktones
9) Lochs of Dread by Bela Fleck and the Flecktones

Stomping Grounds has country folk music mixed in. It's more suited for the polka/line-dance actually. A little too ole Western cowboy-like, but faster-paced with the minute Jazz amounts.
Lochs of Dread, while also country and ole West, reminds me of a lone ranger riding into a town over-ridden by bandits with the sunset backing him. I like the sort-of climax music around 3.35. Anyway, look at this: "The band's name is a play on the name of the 1960s rock band Dick Dale and the Del-Tones." Not much creativity as usual, but their music are worth a shot anyway.

Lochs of Dread

I've enclosed all of them in a RAR. file available for download here. Kindly delete after 48 hours (Probably sooner since I can't forsee anyone liking enough to listen to it regularly).

Click HERE for Jazz Fusion