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Customer reviews

5.0 out of 5 stars
6

on 23 November 2017
Fantastic Modern Jazz ....addition of Joshua sax makes the cd
The others are great musicians too led me to other cds by Aaron Parks .
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VINE VOICEon 21 September 2011
This may well slip under the radar of many a jazz fan, but the music on James Farm is seriously good and worthy of attention. Compositions, playing and recording quality are excellent, and the variety of influences and styles works convincingly well across the tracks on offer. Joshua Redman may never have sounded better: his playing is punchy and dramatic when needed, silky and soft when required. Harland - very much one of the top drummers of the moment - underpins the proceedings with fine stick and brush work, and even contributes a manic, but enjoyable composition of his own to the mix.

There is a contemporary, vibrant but accessible feel to James Farm - the future of jazz seems to be in good hands. Worth investigating by anyone keen to explore the current modern jazz scene - I don't think it will disappoint.
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on 30 October 2011
Five DAZZLING Stars. Outstanding compositions and performances! "James Farm" is the eponymous studio recording debut of the all-star jazz quartet that burst on the scene with its acclaimed first appearance at the 2009 Montreal Jazz Festival. It is composed of tenor and soprano sax titan Joshua Redman, Aaron Parks' keyboard fireworks, the superb Matt Penman on double-bass, and DownBeat Critics' 2-time "rising star" winner, Eric Harland, on drums. For those of us who missed the previous fanfare, like me, this 'forward looking' recording is somewhat of a shocker. On this CD, each member of the group contributes compositions and they perform as a cohesive, balanced unit that swings hard and is both highly intellectual and very emotional. Sometimes this distinctive group briefly veers away from the deeper waters of jazz within a song, adding variety to the mix. The compositions are original, very intricate, and often stunning in execution, with the faster numbers like "Chronos" and the boiler works of "I-10" riding over churning tempos, often interspersed with quieter interludes, with dazzling solos by all players. The turbulent "Coax" is a perfect example of their approach, giving as much attention to the composition's group form as to the improvisations, taking us through minutes of shifting tempos and mysterious moods before evolving into an ethereal solo by Parks, followed by more group interaction, eventually erupting into a blazing solo by Redman. While mainly an acoustical group, Parks also effectively utilizes some electronic keyboards as on "If by Air". "Polliwog" has one of Redman's many superb solos of the date, pushed along by Penman and Harland, mainly using drums and rim shots. But there are also beautiful, hip ballads like the sensual "Bijou", "Low Fives", "Unravel" and the awesome, time-shifting "Star Crossed". In summary, this is a very important new group, sometimes showing trace influences of Weather Report and Sphere, but operating in its own area code, opening up unique group interactions, dynamics, and solo possibilities. Encore, gentlemen! My Highest Recommendation. Five IMPRESSIVE Stars! (This review is based on an Amazon.com Cloud upload of 10 tracks plus PDF Digital Booklet; 10 tracks; Total time-68:51.)
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on 5 May 2011
So of course Joshua Redman is the most well-known of the group and is one of the stars of contemporary Jazz, having won awards and being the son of Dewey Redman.

However this album is far more of a collaborative or collective affair with all the members contributing original tunes that are a lot more composed than you might expect - with interesting rhythms and nice melodies. Although there is some intense soloing, you are never far from a hook or a good tune.

So Redman along with Pianist Aaron Parks and bassist Matt Penman contribute 3 tunes each while drummer Eric Harland contributes just the one. Parks contributes colour throughout with organ and synthesiser as well as piano - but this always fits into the basically "organic", Farm sound. Although Harland's tune "1-10" ventures into electronic territory with sounds reminiscent of programmed beats. This is probably the most dissonant track as well - but it has moments of calm.

Throughout the album you do find a lot of contrast and it's never too hectic or urgent - there is plenty for the listener to latch onto and enjoy. These are great musicians who know how to interest and entertain an audience.

At times, like on "Chronos" I detected elements of minimalism in the repetitive piano figures, which are unlike Jazz but more akin to contemporary classical. All the tunes provide unique atmospheres and paint a picture through composition - these are not just vehicles for soloing and on some tracks it's difficult to tell whether any of this has been improvised. But no doubt these pieces have been honed live as this is a real band that plays together and works on their music.

I felt that Parks' tunes had a lot of space and felt relaxed while Penman was more about finding distinctive rhythms. The whole band is very rhythmic and bass and drums find great grooves in some tunes. The sound is excellent and Harland's drums have great variety of texture and timbre. Redman's compositions are mature but have more improvising space. "If by Air" has a great groove and is defintely going somewhere.

Overall, this is a fantastic band at the top level of modern Jazz - but this is definitely accessible music that can be enjoyed by any listener - it requires listening to - but repays the effort! Highly recommended.
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on 7 October 2011
as stated above an excellent recording with great input from tenor sax,piano,bass and drums.it is nice to report some interesting,energetic input from redman who has
been disappointing lately(he plays so much better in other groups)
but sublime here.aaron parks makes this for me-subtle,funky and intense-not a bad track at all
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on 19 December 2016
Great album top musicians
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