Review Summary: Jazz Fusion produced by Serj Tankian. A very well executed piece of music.
Serj Tankian is a well known artist in the World of Rock and Metal. He is the frontman of System Of A Down and has released many solo albums. He owns a recoding company, Serjical Strikes that produced artists such as Buckethead, Bad Acid Trip, Axis Of Justice, himself and Serart (Serj Tankian and Arto Tuncboyaciyan ). In a little over a year, Serj Tankian has released three solo albums (Harakiri, Orca and now Jazz-Iz-Christ), needless to say he is a busy artist. Fans know that Serj can unpredictable as to what he can produce (Serart for example) Jazz-Iz-Christ is probably one of his best surprise. Many of the listeners will find the music weird or even bad, but this Jazz Fusion is a well known genre in France with bands like Le Peuple De L'Herbe and Chinese Man. Don't expect this album to be a "normal" jazz record, it isn't.
Although Fish Don't Scream starts like a normal jazz album, you will soon understand what I mean, and understand what is jazz fusion. It is basically jazz with other influences, Serj uses Rock and Dub. The song goes from a calm and peaceful instrumentation to a heavy rocking drums that create the feeling you get when listening to a heavy metal song. That song is the perfect example of what to expect from this album. Most of the songs are instrumentals and Serj Tankian sings on only three of them (Valeri Tostlov sings on End Of Time with a sensual voice). Far from being a negative point, this might be a turn off to many fans used to the "usual" music of Serj Tankian. All of the instrumentals are very enjoyable, with solos and riffs all coming from different instruments.
The highlights of this album is probably Distant Thing, with Serj Tankian singing calmly over a peaceful atmosphere. The only downside of that song is Stewart Copeland. Don't get me wrong, he plays drum very well but on this song his potential isn't used at all, he's just here to keep a basic cymbal rhythm. Song Of The Sand is very similar to the previous song, Serj Tankian gives some of his best vocal performance since his Elect The Dead Symphony record. Miso Soup might remind you of his usual work, with a very classical instrumentation and Serj Tankian singing "miso soup/miso soup/we all like miso soup" and ends it on an awesome vocal performance. The four songs where we have some vocals will probably be the ones that stand out from this album as they are different from the others and are actually very enjoyable.
It might be hard to appreciate this album if you're not used to this genre but if you used to it, this is an excellent album. The only disappointment you can have is if you expected it to be a straight up jazz album or if you wanted to hear Serj singing on all tracks. Although the instrumentals are all very enjoyable, they lack in standing out and this is what brings this album down a little.