QUEEN — Jazz

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QUEEN - Jazz cover
3.61 | 33 ratings | 4 reviews
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Album · 1978

Filed under Hard Rock
By QUEEN

Tracklist

1. Mustapha (3:01)
2. Fat Bottomed Girls (4:17)
3. Jealousy (3:13)
4. Bicycle Race (3:03)
5. If You Can't Beat Them (4:15)
6. Let Me Entertain You (3:02)
7. Dead On Time (3:23)
8. In Only Seven Days (2:30)
9. Dreamer's Ball (3:30)
10. Fun It (3:29)
11. Leaving Home Ain't Easy (3:15)
12. Don't Stop Me Now (3:29)
13. More Of That Jazz (4:16)

Total Time 44:49

Line-up/Musicians

- Freddie Mercury / vocals, piano
- Brian May / guitars, vocals,
- Roger Taylor / drums, percussions, vocals, guitar, bass guitar
- John Deacon / bass guitar, guitar

About this release

10 November 1978
EMI

Reissued in 1991 by Hollywood Records with the following bonus tracks:

14. Fat Bottomed Girls (remix by Brian Malouf, 1991) (4:22)
15. Bicycle Race (remix by Junior Vasquez, 1991) (4:59)

Reissued in 2011 by Universal Records with a bonus disc with the following tracklist:

1. Fat Bottomed Girls (single version) (3:23)
2. Bicycle Race (instrumental) (3:09)
3. Don't Stop Me Now (with long-lost guitars) (3:34)
4. Let Me Entertain You (Live in Montreal, November, 1981) (2:48)
5. Dreamers Ball (early acoustic take) (August, 1978) (3:40)

Reissued in 2011 by iTunes with the following videos

1. Bicycle Race (promo video performance, 1978)
2. Fat Bottomed Girls (Live At Milton Keynes Bowl, 1982)
3. Let Me Entertain You (Live In Japan, 1979)

Thanks to Time Signature, UMUR, Lynx33, adg211288 for the updates

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QUEEN JAZZ reviews

Specialists/collaborators reviews

siLLy puPPy
QUEEN unleashed their last album of the 70s at the height of their popularity after releasing four hit albums in a row, countless sold out shows around the world with an equally impressive series of hit singles as well. By the time the band got to the 7th album JAZZ, it seems that the band was doing a little assessment of where they had been musically since their debut “Queen I” was released in 1973. While the title of the album may suggest that the band were embarking on yet another left turn into a new genre of music where perhaps they would tackle Miles Davis covers with a swing band or something, the band was really just pulling an old Jedi mind trick and creating an album that took elements from the six albums that preceded and then turning it all into one of the biggest parties of their career.

At this point, it seemed QUEEN could do no wrong with one hit after another and album sales going the multi-platinum status. On JAZZ once again QUEEN tackles a dizzying number of musical genres with their four man democracy finding the whole team stoking the flames of the songwriting process. Two songs for bassist John Deacon, two for drummer Roger Taylor, four for guitarist Brian May and five numbers for the charismatic frontman and pianist Freddie Mercury. Best known for its two flamboyant but gleefully hilarious Single / B-Side combo “Bicycle Race” and “Fat Bottomed Girls,” JAZZ remains one of the bands funnest and most memorable albums of their career that runs the gamut from the usual piano ballads to the heavy rockers. In fact, JAZZ is one of QUEEN’s heaviest albums that takes the hard rock of the earliest albums and even brings back the some of the progressive experimental touches.

JAZZ consisted of thirteen tracks that bounce all over the place with each taking a 180 from its predecessor. Although Freddie Mercury was born Farrokh Bulsara on the island of Zanzibar (part of Tanzania in Africa) and raised both there and in India, he had mostly eschewed any ethnic and folk heritages of his youth in his music and instead swallowed the Western world’s pop pill paradigm completely. Surprisingly, JAZZ begins with a tribute to his past with the opening “Mustapha,” that consists of a mix of English, Arabic and Persian lyrics. It starts off as exotic Middle Eastern music but then incorporates the expected QUEEN pop rock bombast with Mercury belting out his famous “Allah, Allah, Allah we pray for you” in fine form. The track was a single in some countries and the intro was often used in live settings as a variation of segueing to “Bohemian Rhapsody.”

After the QUEEN’s version of silk road magic ends, the hilarious and bizarrely performed “Fat Bottomed Girls” finds the band in great harmony with Mercury and May sharing lead vocals. The official video featured a large number of naked girls riding bicycles since “Bicycle Race” was the single and this was the B-side. The track displays a standard bluesy hard rock sound that keeps the arena rock appeal while adding a more heavy metal feel with a drop D guitar tuning. The track is followed by the piano ballad “Jealousy” which begins with a bizarre sitar sound that is created from the strings of the piano, another technique dating back to the track “White Queen (As It Began)” from QUEEN II. The album takes many elements from the first album to the previous “News Of The World.”

The most recognized track on the album “Bicycle Race” is one of the most complex on the album and was inspired by the 1978 Tour de France when passing through Montreal where the band happened to be recording JAZZ at Mountain Studios. The track effortlessly fuses traditional pop music’s two verses and a chorus but adds a bicycle bell solo, unusual chord progressions and progressive time signatures that jump around. The multi-tracked vocal harmonies just kill it as do the multi-layered guitar antics of May. This is one of the most infectiously addictive songs ever, a true sing-along song if there ever was one. May also cranks out some very idiosyncratic guitar solos and the effortless deviation into an unrelated style seems like divine intervention.

Tracks like “If You Can’t Beat Them,” “Let Me Entertain You” and “Dead On Time” are more hard rockers mixed with soft parts while “Don’t Stop Me Now” and “In Only Seven Days” are lighter numbers. “Dreamer’s Ball” and “Fun It” are something completely different. The former, a tribute to Elvis Presley who had died the previous year of recording JAZZ, is a tasty bluesy number which is May’s baby with prominent guitars and has a rather dreamy high school ball charm. “Fun It” debuts QUEEN’s first foray into disco with a funky simple groove. While Taylor wrote it, he and Mercury perform shared lead vocals and while it may be the weakest track on the album, it clearly represents the direction of the future beginning with the following album “The Game’s” huge hit “Another One Bites The Dust” as the drumbeat is nearly identical.

The album ends with “More Of That Jazz” which is loop based performed entirely by May. While it’s a bona fide separate track, it morphs into a recapping medley that contains snippets of "Dead on Time", "Bicycle Race", "Mustapha", "If You Can't Beat Them", "Fun It", and "Fat Bottomed Girls” which perfectly sums up the entire feel of the JAZZ album, namely a recap of the entire 70s QUEEN experience. Hard rock with prog elements from the first two albums? Check. Sophisticated overdubs and multi-layered tracks of the “Days At…” albums? You bet. Pop based arena rock digestibility of “Sheer Heart Attack” and “News Of The World?” Oh yeah. QUEEN dished out their last great album with JAZZ and it truly feels like an end of an era in retrospect. It seems like they had already planned their next move which would be to nurture the pop elements and drop the heavier, the progressive and outlandish elements that made them, well QUEEN. Personally i never cared much for the albums that follow save a few tracks but on JAZZ they crafted another excellent assemblage of quirky catchy songs, which sadly ended here.
Stephen
Just because there are plenty of radio-friendly materials like ‘Fat Bottomed Girls’ or ‘Don’t Stop Me Now’ that’s covered by countless artists, doesn’t mean that ‘Jazz’ isn’t qualified to be among their strongest albums. Sure the poppish effect may alienate some of the early fans, but there are plenty of great moments here that reminded us of how diverse QUEEN can be.

I remember digging this album, not because of those two hits, but because of the little ballad called ‘Jealousy’. I was in awe with his vocal and also May’s skill of emulating sitar sound using the piano wire. Another beautiful track is ‘Dreamer’s Ball’, I can’t explain it but this song is just so awesome, it’ll stick in your head for days when you heard it. ‘Mustapha’ is kinda weird but after a while, you’ll get used to it, even like it.

There are few fillers that I usually passed such as ‘Fun It’ or ‘More of That Jazz’, but most of the songs here are strong enough to keep me coming back. Great album!

80%
UMUR
"Jazz" is the 7th full-length studio album by UK rock act Queen. The album was released through EMI/Parlophone in Europe and Elektra/Hollywood in the USA in November 1978. Queen opted to bring in producer Roy Thomas Baker, who had handled the production on many of the band´s earlier releases, to co-produce the album.

...maybe that´s why "Jazz" is a pretty hard rocking release compared to "News of the World (1977)". Of course that´s not the entire story. Queen have always been an exceptionally eclectic band, and that´s also the case on "Jazz" (which btw has little to nothing to do with jazz music). Vocals and choir vocals to die for, high quality hard rock riffing (check out the fast guitar riffs in "Dead on Time", which almost cross into metal territory), catchy pop/mainstream sensibilities ("Fat Bottomed Girls", "In Only Seven Days"), experimentation ("Bicycle Race", "More of that Jazz") and just generally sophisticated songwriting that thankfully never sacrifice power or memorability.

Another thing that is great about "Jazz" (and most other releases by Queen) is the humour that the band´s lyrics and music are loaded with. I know some people might find tracks like "Mustapha" and "Dreamer's Ball" silly, but I think exactly tracks like that define what an inclusive and skilled band Queen are. The fact that they are able to pull off playing as many different musical styles as they do is admirable.

"Jazz" is another great album in a long line of great albums by Queen. I´m well entertained all the way through the album and the quality of the music is also high throughout. A 3.5 - 4 star (75%) rating is deserved.
Warthur
A notch better than News of the World solely because it contains no songs as turgid and lifeless as We Are the Champions or We Will Rock You, or as doggone lazy as Sheer Heart Attack, Jazz is still a miserably cynical Queen album which leads off with a half-hearted attempt to revive the heaviness of their early days disguised by a botched attempt to imitate Middle Eastern music (Mustapha), but otherwise contains a clutch of moronic clap-along tracks that remain inexplicably popular to this day (Don't Stop Me Now, Fat Bottomed Girls, Bicycle Race) and a whole heap of utterly forgettable filler.

The hits are fun enough to sing along to on a karaoke night but aren't exactly satisfying listening material if you aren't drunk and singing along with a crowd of friends. Not even alcohol can improve the filler material. Only the Queen-obsessed should touch this one.

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