Most helpful critical review
8 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on 21 October 2002
I was one of those people who ran out to the shops back in May to buy this record with pretty high expectations generated by the general hype and nonsense spouted by GP et al.
And yes, at first, I have to admit that I was rather impressed by the level of musicianship and relative originality of this record, so much so, that I was itching to catch a glimpse of these guys in the basement of the North Sea Jazz Festival way back on a rainy day in July of this year. But what a disappointment. I mean, yes, they could play and all, and the crowd shuffled around approvingly but perhaps as a result of my being overwhelmed by the sheer quantity and quality of musicians in the building that night, The Cinematic Orchestra really just did not hit the spot in convincing me of their so-called 'genius', 'beauty' or whatever other 'nu-jazz' term that those imaginative Amazon reviewers can dream up.
Indeed, the vocals of Fontella Bass on '(R?)Evolution' both on the night and the LP still gives me nightmares, and for me pretty much sums up the lack of creativity and imagination on this record, 'though to be fair, there are some classic warm fusionary (hey, there's a new one) moments, albeit Portishead-laden grooves with customary West-London gibberish, that both students and dance-jazz afficionados will enjoy alike.
My apologies for sounding so negative about this CD, but really if this is supposedly one of the best records of 2002 in this genre, then roll on 2k+3. People forever talk/complain about pigeon-holing this type of music (or any type for that matter) as containing, ooh, like traces of soul or jazz or hip-hop or whatever, but one thing's for sure, it certainly falls in the category of overrated, along with so many records of this year, such as DJ Shadow, 4Hero, etc. Jazzanova was encouraging however....
At any rate, I am actually somewhat glad I had the opportunity to discover and buy this record, and would encourage people to do the same, especially those who are new to jazz styles (I must stress the j-word in its loosest sense) not least to get a benchmark as to where this whole nu-jazz (oop, that's better) thing is going. Probably much the same way as disco I expect.
But for now, let Ms Fontella Bass screech out (R)evolution! and wait until the whole thing is televised when the Jazz Cafe and its VERY Mean Fiddlers are overrun at the door by under-21s crying out for v.loud & distored guitar music, and in the meantime, simply go out and buy a REAL jazz record of undeniable quality (on Amazon of course) and sit down with a glass of Merlot, smoke and chill out....