Album Saturday — Jazz Fusion: Summary

Today’s session was a fiasco due to corrupted songs and internet failures on my side. Grooveshark broadcasts weren’t really made for album streaming. But I hope that those who stayed behind and bore with the occasional problems were rewarded with great music. I know I was, for instance.

The Soft Machine — Volume Two
★★★★

A wild, psychedelic concept album with jazz elements. Succeeds amazingly in creating a surrealistic setting. All of the instruments fuse together into one big mess, and half of the time you won’t even understand what’s going on.

Colosseum — Those Who Are About To Die Salute You
★★★★☆

I’d call this something like “hard jazz”. Possesses a dire sound, some vocals similar to Josefus (although stays mostly instrumental) and features solos for every instrument in the band: drums, guitar, synth, sax and even bass. Beware the Ides of March is actually a cover of Whiter Shades of Pale, with other well known stuff fit in between.

Nucleus — Elastic Rock
★★★★☆

A very balanced, calming album fitting its name.  Nothing that would stand out too much, perfect background music.

 

The Chicago Transit Authority — The Chicago Transit Authority

Partially unlistened.

 

Weather Report — I Sing the Body Electric

Partially unlistened due to corrupted songs.

 

Chick Corea (under Return to Forever) — Return to Forever
★★★★★

“Another” calm jazz fusion album — would be far too harsh a description. “It’s all very warm, light, and airy, like a soft breeze on a tropical beach,” Steve Huey writes on Allmusic, and I couldn’t have found better words for this. The music takes you aloft, as if it were a trifle, and you breathe the fresh air as you glide over the sea — very much like the seagull on the cover. The compositions feel genuine and pure; and, if all else fails, Flora Purim‘s vocals on What Game Shall We Play Today and Sometime Ago/La Fiesta will charm and soothe any listener’s mind.

Mahavishnu Orchestra — Apocalypse
★★★★☆

In Apocalypse, Mahavishu Orchestra develop a gentler, symphonic touch to the genre. Glimpses of such style were only occasionally heard on their earlier albums. The middle track Smile of the Beyond even features female vocals. This album differs significantly from their previous works, a fact which pleasantly surprises rather than disappoints.

All in all, it appears that I’m rather weak to jazz fusion, just as I had suspected. There aren’t many styles that would entertain the mind better, simultaneously allowing to concentrate on different tasks when necessary, yet not degrading on a close listening.

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