An exploratory trip into combining New Age and Jazz
"Chinatown" - This was the 3rd of John's albums and I believe was like an exploratory trip into combining New Age and Jazz, because that's just what it sounds like; New Age Jazz. There are 7 tracks on the disc and it runs for a total of 53:40.
The first track, "Chinatown", starts off with some percussion rhythms which are slowly joined by some organ type chord movements, then some plucked strings, and then finally a tenor sax (being played by John's brother Tom) which begins taking over the lead melody and goes into a very jazzy "battle" with the drums and other percussion. It's a very unique instrumentation arrangement with a constant shift of a very jazzy theme! 13:26
"Grasslands" is the next track and sounds very oriental in its theme and instrumentation of percussion, organ chords, and synthesizers. This track is more laid-back than the first; kind of "let your mind wander" music. Close your eyes as you listen; see if you can pick out the sounds of imitating crickets, spring peeper frogs, wild songbirds of the fields and other grassland creatures of nature! 8:21
The third track, "Back In Brooklyn" is pure Jazz in a soft, dreamy kind of way with a instrument combination of drum, flute, string bass, guitar and piano. I really like this track! Reminds me a lot of "lounge music" where the band entertains without trying to compete with a large noisy crowd. 6:15
Track 4, "Feet On Wheels" is another jazz piece that's a little more accented than the previous track, but still makes good use of some soft synthesizer instruments. This is another track I really like. 6:55
Number 5 track, "Wind And Fire" is a real mixture in that it starts off like a low key orchestra melody, then is joined by a real jazzy combination of sax and horns, like a soft wind that starts blowing on a fire and makes it grow. This is followed by some thunder bringing a rain to quench the fire, but then the sax returns like the fire's flames fighting against the rain. Another really neat piece of music. 7:21
"Nightrider", the 6th track is a jazz argument between a piano and a sax, only, with no percussion. Interesting! 2:28
The last track is more New Age than Jazz and in fact, it reminds me a lot of the early work done by Jean Michel Jarre on his "Oxygene" album. It's kind of "other worldly" or "outer spacey." (I love inventing my own words) If you're into examining the limits of synthesizer music and "bending your mind", you'll love this track! 8:50
Overall, I would say this more of a Jazz album than New Age, even though it's done exclusively with electronic synthesizers a la New Age. It's not dinner background music, nor would I call it relaxation music. It's mostly soft Jazz with a little mind-expanding theme work here and there. Buy it accordingly.