Big Fish Audio | Sound On Sound Magazine | Elements: Traditional Jazz Product Review
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Elements: Traditional Jazz | Sound On Sound Magazine

Rating: 4 Stars Back to Elements: Traditional Jazz product details

Elements: Traditional Jazz, from Big Fish Audio, is a construction kit-based library providing some 600MB of loops in each of three formats. I tested the Acidized WAV loops in Acid Pro 5, but the same content is also provided in Apple Loops and REX formats on the single DVD-ROM. There are no prizes for guessing the musical target here ó Elements: Traditional Jazz is exactly what its title claims. The loops consist of plenty of brushed drumming, acoustic piano, double bass and warm, smooth-sounding electric guitar. All the audio is presented in a 24-bit/44.1kHz stereo format and the recordings seem to be very well made.

A total of 22 construction kits are provided in the library and these range in tempo from a slow and seductive 65 bpm through to a somewhat hotter 129bpm, although there is nothing too frenetic here. Within each kit, there are either three or four loops, plus, for convenience when auditioning, a pre-mixed loop. The main loops always contain a drum loop and bass loop, while the other elements are either an electric guitar loop or piano loop, or both. This might sound a little on the skimpy side as far as construction kit formats go, but in many of the kits the loops are 12 or 16 bars long ó essentially a complete 'chorus' (once through the chord pattern). The other interesting feature of the library ó and this is made very clear by the inclusion of tempo and key details in the folder names used for each of the kits ó is that several of the construction kits are clearly intended to be used together. For example, six of the kits are at 90bpm in B-minor and I found these very easy to chain together into a single musical piece.

Throughout the library, the playing seems to be of a very good standard and, as I have a fondness for slow, bluesy jazz, I found the lower tempo, minor key kits particularly appealing ó suitably mellow and sleazy. That said, the up-tempo material is also very good, including a nice 123bpm kit based on a walking bass in Bb that somehow made me think of classic Tom and Jerry cartoons. Whilst only four main loops within a single kit might seem a little constraining, of course, one of the main features of jazz is improvisation and most guitar, piano, sax or violin players could while away many a happy solo by just layering the drums and bass loops and adding their own elements over the top.

Elements: Traditional Jazz is probably aimed at a fairly narrow market. While real jazz aficionados would probably prefer to roll their own, the library probably would appeal to media composers who are not jazz specialists but need a genuine-sounding resource to dip into for the occasional traditional jazz sounding cue ó although do bear in mind that, as with many other Big Fish Audio collections, the license does not allow the loops to be used for library music production. Elements: Traditional Jazz might not be the biggest jazz loop collection available, but the material sounds authentic, is well played and, at this price, will not break anyone's bank. Hmmmm.... nice!

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