Sun, 31 January 2010
Ah, the year is slowly slipping away from us, so it’s time once again for me to list some of my favorite releases of the year. It’s been an exceptionally good one for jazz for a number of reasons. A number of new indie labels like John Lee’s Jazz Legacy appeared, bringing out exceptional releases. New artists like Melody Gardot and Eldar continued to appear, and talented but overlooked performers like Jacqui Naylor and Jackie Ryan made more of an impact. Labels like Blue Note and Prestige celebrated anniversaries Lines between jazz and hip-hop were blurred by Robert Glasper, and jazz and rock by the Bad Plus. And the festival circuit, whether the big boys in Saratoga, Detroit, Monterey, and Newport, or up and comers like Portland and Boston, kept bringing the music to us all year long. Having said all that, here’s a few if my favorite things:
Vijay Iyer – Historicity
Joe Lovano – Folk Art
The Bad Plus – For All I Care
Jackie Ryan – Doozy
Robert Glasper – Double-Booked
New Things from Old Friends
James Moody – 4A
Keith Jarrett – Paris/London – Testament
Heath Brothers – Endurance
Ramsey Lewis - Songs from the Heart: Ramsey Plays Ramsey
Allen Toussaint - The Bright Mississippi
New Artists and Those Hitting Their Stride
Sharel Cassity – Relentless
Eldar – Virtue
Sachal Vasandani – We Move
E.J. Strickland – In This Day
Joey Pero – Resonance
Jacqui Naylor – You Don’t Know Jacq
Melody Gardot – My One and Only Thrill
Memorable Reissues, Archival Albums and Compilations
John Coltrane – Side Steps
Miles Davis and Sonny Rollins – The Classic Prestige Sessions 1951-1956
Ella Fitzgerald – Twelve Nights in Hollywood
Freddie Hubbard – Without A Song: Live in Europe 1969
Tony Bennett & Bill Evans – The Complete Tony Bennett & Bill Evans Recordings
Tribute Albums of Note
Marcus Roberts – New Orleans Meets Harlem, Volume One
Babatunde Lea – Umbo Weti - A Tribute to Leon Thomas
Steve Kuhn Trio – Mostly Coltrane
Chuck Owen & the Jazz Surge – The Comet’s Tail: Performing the Compositions of Michael Brecker
Kurt Elling – Dedicated to You: Kurt Elling Sings the Music of Coltrane and Hartman
Reunions and Collaborations of Note
Gary Burton Quartet Revisited with Pat Metheny- Quartet Live
Jim Hall & Bill Frisell - Hemispheres
The Monterey Quartet (Dave Holland, Gonzalo Rubalcaba, Chris Potter, Eric Harland) – Live at the Monterey Jazz Festival 2007
The Blue Note 7 (Bill Charlap, Nicholas Payton, Steve Wilson, Ravi Coltrane, Peter Bernstein, Peter Washington, Lewis Nash) – Mosaic: A Celebration of Blue Note Records.
Chick Corea and John McLaughlin – 5 Peace Band Live
Click here to listen to the Podcast, which includes the following:
Joe Lovano - "Dibango" from Folk Art. The always in demand sax player put together a unique quintet for this release, calling it Us Five, and featuring James Weidman on piano, Esperanza Spalding on bass and two drummers, Francisco Mela and Otis Brown III . This track, a tribute to the Cameroonian sax player Manu Dibango (remember "Soul Makossa"?) is highlighted by Lovano's performance on aulochrome, a double soprano sax, supplemented by a keyboard.
James Moody - "Stella by Starlight" from 4A. A shining return from the venerable sax player, as he is driven to new heights by the always brilliant Kenny Barron on piano. The rhythm section is filled out admirably by Todd Coolman on bass and Lewis Nash on drums.
Babatunde Lea - "Prince of Peace" from Umbo Weti - A Tribute to Leon Thomas. Watch for a coming podcast on this great album, with an interview with Babatunde. He anchors the band with his creative percussion, and is joined by Ernie Watts on sax, Patrice Rushen on keyboards, Gary Brown on bass and Dwight Tribe supplying the vocals.
Melody Gardot - "Your Heart is as Black as Night" from My One and Only Thrill. Coming into her own as a singer and songwriter, Melody has moved into the ranks of the best of our jazz-pop singers, joining Madeline Peyroux, Norah Jones, Jane Monheit and Diana Krall. The band is anchored by keyboardist Larry Goldings.
The Monterey Quartet - "Minotaur" from Live at the Monterey Jazz Festival 2007. To pay tribute to a legendary festival, a crack quartet of musicians came together for a special performance. Dave Holland on bass, Gonzalo Rubalcaba on piano, Chris Potter on sax, and the rock steady Eric Harland on drums perform at a high level, taking chances and making them work track after track. This Potter tune gives you an idea of just how great their performance was that night.
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 2:56am EDT