GA Russell

Your new Top Ten for 2016

30 posts in this topic

It's that time of year again.  What were your favorite ten "new to you" albums that you have opened up in the past year?

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I do like a list so I'll go for it. Focussing on new releases, my ten are in no particular order

Tyshawn Sorey -  The Inner Spectrum Of Variables (Pi Recordings)
Andrew Cyrille - The Declaration Of Musical Independence (ECM)
Full Blast - Risc (Trost)
James Blake - The Colour In Anything (Polydor)
Evan Parker - As The Wind (Psi)
Laboratorio Musicale Suono C + Peter Brotzmann - DEcomposition (Setola Di Maiale)
Fred Frith Trio - Another Day In Fucking Paradise (Intakt)
Steve Lehman - Selebeyone (Pi Recordings)
Search Ensembles - s/t (and/OAR)
Sarathy Korwar - Day To Day (Ninja Tune)

with two that may well have been in the list if I'd only got hold of them earlier

Wadada Leo Smith  - America's National Parks (Cuneiform)
Sao Paolo Underground - Cantos Invisiveis (Cuneiform)

 

 

 

 

 

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It's hard to escape the reality that with each passing year these "best of jazz" albums sound less and less like jazz. 

I enjoy, for example, Andrew Cyrille's release but it sounds more like a film soundtrack and Marc Ribot invariably comes across as the leader. We're a long way from Metamusicians Stomp. 

Can't anyone swing anymore? Can someone release an album that's fun?

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2 hours ago, dicky said:

Can't anyone swing anymore? Can someone release an album that's fun?

We may have to wait a couple weeks ...

image.jpg

 

Oddly, I hardly bought any new music last year ... but a few I liked and continue to play:

George Coleman - A Master Speaks

Will Vinson - Perfectly Out Of Place

Orrin Evans - #Knowingishalfthebattle (I love everything he puts out and had a chance to tell him so at the Jazz Showcase!)

The Cookers - The Call Of The Wild And Peaceful Heart

Misha Tsiganov - Spring Feelings

plus two on the rock side of things:

The I Don't Cares - Wild Slab (delightfully sloppy)

Alejandro Escovedo - Burn Something Beautiful

Edited by Eric

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2 hours ago, dicky said:

I enjoy, for example, Andrew Cyrille's release but it sounds more like a film soundtrack and Marc Ribot invariably comes across as the leader. We're a long way from Metamusicians Stomp. 

It's a good record. Frisell, not Ribot, is the guitarist. I don't honestly know if I'd want Cyrille to make a Metamusicians' Stomp-kind of record in 2016.

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1 hour ago, clifford_thornton said:

It's a good record. Frisell, not Ribot, is the guitarist. I don't honestly know if I'd want Cyrille to make a Metamusicians' Stomp-kind of record in 2016.

My mistake on Ribot/Frisell. I agree it's a lovely album. And I'm not advocating recreations of the past, be it bop - hard, free or otherwise. Time marches on. I get it. But I hear increasingly less connection to the tradition with each passing year. Inevitable I suppose, but there's also less ebullience and, to my ears, innovation in the music.

If Metamusicians Stomp had been shelved and released this year it would be, I think, regarded as a revelation. The same could be said of contemporaneous albums by Threadgill, McPhee, Braxton, Roscoe, Hemphill, etc. 

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Weird year for me. Just felt like listening to older stuff in general.

There were two clear standouts for me:

Anthony Braxton - Quintet (Tristano) 2014

Taylor Ho Bynum - Enter the Plustet

Those are the only new releases that i've really felt like listening to a lot this year. Many other new releases i thought were excellent on first listen (Mary Halvorson's new one especially) but somehow i just haven't felt like listening to them a lot since (or i listened to them a lot for a short period then nothing). No need to force it, i expect to revisit them in the new year and get a lot of enjoyment from them.

For the sake of documenting, i thought that all of these were excellent too, but i need to spend more time with them:

Harris Eisenstadt - Old Growth Forest

Nate Wooley/Ken Vandermark - All Directions Home

Audio One (Ken Vandermark) - What Thomas Bernard Saw

Henry Threadgill - Old Locks...

John Zorn/Nova Express - Andras

The Claudia Quintet - Super Petite

Ellery Eskelin - Trio Willisau Live

Eri Yamamoto - Life

Mary Halvorson - Away With You

A Tribe Called Quest - We Got It From Here... (not jazz but it is a new release)

Allison Miller - Otis Was a Polar Bear

 

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Of the 2016 releases I've actually heard, these are my 10 favorites:

Jane Ira Bloom -- Early Americans -- Outline

Nels Cline -- Lovers -- Blue Note

Jonathan Finlayson & Sicilian Defense -- Moving Still -- Pi

Michael Formanek Ensemble Kolossus -- The Distance -- ECM

Alexander Hawkins & Evan Parker -- Leaps in Leicester -- Clean Feed

Myra Melford & Ben Goldberg -- Dialogue -- BAG Production

Noah Preminger -- Dark Was The Night, Cold Was The Ground -- (self)

Brad Shepik & Ron Samworth -- Quartet 1991 -- Songlines

Wadada Leo Smith -- America's National Parks -- Cuneiform

Henry Threadgill Ensemble Double Up -- Old Locks and Irregular Verbs -- Pi

melford goldberg dialogue.png

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I have a bad habit of enjoying most of the music I listen to but find it very hard to pin down ten records of the year (much easier to do with 2006 where enough time has elapsed to know just how permanently they are going to feature). 

The two jazz releases that stick in mind - and probably for no other reason than that they are people I've obsessed on for decades: 

Image result for Keith Tippett Mujician IVR-9252957-1477414136-3577.jpeg.jpg

The record that returned to the CD player and iPod (!) again and again:

Songs of Separation

I think most of my newer (to me) discoveries happened in the...a-hem, adopts refined accent...'classical' part of the record shop. Sticking to the newly emerged, this one knocked my socks off:

Image result for abstract portraits

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8 hours ago, dicky said:

It's hard to escape the reality that with each passing year these "best of jazz" albums sound less and less like jazz. 

I enjoy, for example, Andrew Cyrille's release but it sounds more like a film soundtrack and Marc Ribot invariably comes across as the leader. We're a long way from Metamusicians Stomp. 

Can't anyone swing anymore? Can someone release an album that's fun?

This should meet your requirements:

MI0004015310.jpg?partner=allrovi.com

 

 

Edited by BillF

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Melissa Aldana, Back Home (Wommusic)

Ben Allison, Quiet Revolution (Newvelle))

Dejohnette Coltrane Garrison, In Movement (ECM)

Tom Harrell, Something Gold, Something Blue (High Note)

Ari Hoenig, The Pauper and the Magician

Manu Katche, Unstatic (Anteprime)

Charles Lloyd, I Long to See You (Blue Note)

David Murray, Geri Allen, Terri Lynn Carrington, Perfection (Motema)

Herlin Riley, New Direction (Mack Avenue)

Christian Scott, Live at the 2016 New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival (Munck)

Lonnie Smith, Evolution (Blue Note)

 

Edited by kh1958

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6 hours ago, BillF said:

This should meet your requirements:

MI0004015310.jpg?partner=allrovi.com

 

 

Agreed. One of my favorites from 2016.

But here's my favourite release from 2016

51f5WfAK0NL._SY355_.jpg

 

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, John Tapscott said:

Agreed. One of my favorites from 2016.

But here's my favourite release from 2016

51f5WfAK0NL._SY355_.jpg

 

 

 

 

Yes, a winner. :tup

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12 hours ago, dicky said:

My mistake on Ribot/Frisell. I agree it's a lovely album. And I'm not advocating recreations of the past, be it bop - hard, free or otherwise. Time marches on. I get it. But I hear increasingly less connection to the tradition with each passing year. Inevitable I suppose, but there's also less ebullience and, to my ears, innovation in the music.

Well... I see where you're coming from and I agree in part. Some of my favorite albums of the year are either archival releases or not at all jazz. As a critic I don't really participate in these lists but try each time I've got a chance to review something, put it in context so that even if I'm not going to tally it at the end of the year, at least it is surely validated. 

I have seen some performances that really hit on what you're looking for, however, and lately that, to me, has been where the advance lies. Any time Jaimie Branch is playing the trumpet I will try to go see her. Or if Joe Hertenstein is playing the drums in an ensemble -- that guy is really quite something. Alvin Fielder just released a new album of duets with bassist Damon Smith -- Alvin is living history of modern jazz drumming, elegant and swinging, and Damon is a player in his 40s who comes out of the European free jazz tradition. It's an interesting combination and they have been performing a lot over the last few years. For every Mary Halvorson record someone buys or listens to, I hope that same person (or another person) checks out Ava Mendoza, who comes from the rock tradition but absolutely walks on a wire in daring to find her way as an improviser. Altoist Marco Eneidi kept charging ahead full bore until the day he died, and his last few releases certainly show that (I was recently revisiting the very last one, Cosmic Brujo Mutafuka, which was his Mexico-based power trio). There's much to be heard that takes it out of the ground.

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I held off buying new CDs & LPs for most of the year, budgeting for my son's bar mitzvah.  I replaced those with re-listening to many, many albums that I've had for years.  The great stuff in jazz is so great, and seems to sound eternally fresh.  I still haven't gotten to the few new releases I did buy: Sonny Rollins - Holding The Stage (Road Shows 4), Marc Ribot & The New Philadelphians - Live In Tokyo, and John Scofield - Country For Old Men.  In general, I agree with Dicky: the "new" language has been around for decades, and doesn't much appeal to me.  Last year, I bought some of the titles on members' Top Ten lists (Anna Webber's "Simple" and Steve Lehman's "Miss en Abime") and they just left me cold.  To these (older) ears, the "new language" is now old and exhausted - a creative dead end.  Better to reverse gears and resume playing standards, while finding a better way to reconnect with the audience. I sometimes think new jazz these days is the equivalent of the university press: academics playing for other academics.  

With a larger budget, I'd support more of the HighNote and Criss Cross new releases, but there's no way to manufacture more listening time.  

Still, hope is eternally renewable.  Here's to a tuneful and swinging 2017!

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My favourites for this year:

'Larry Young In Paris - The ORTF Recordings' (Resonance)

Hadley Caliman - 'Projecting' and 'Celebration'/ The Catalyst Years (Fresh Sound)

Sun Ra 'The Singles' (Strut)

Miles Davis 'Freedom Jazz Dance - Bootleg Series Vol 5'

Tubby Hayes 'Split Kick - Live In Sweden' (Savage Solveig)

Peter Erskine Trio 'As It Was' (ECM box set)

Charlie Parker 'Unheard Bird' (Verve)

Tim Garland 'One' (Edition)

plus - add the Resonance Thad Jones/Mel Lewis once I have picked up a copy !

 

Edited by sidewinder

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I like Anna Webber's playing though her recordings haven't yet made any hypothetical best-of list. But yeah, talented musician who presumably has yet to hit that "thing." And sure, it's likely that very little could match AB's Quintet (Basel) 1977, which was freshly repressed by Hat this year, and which I'm listening to currently, but that's fine. 

Halvorson's record is good -- the best parts are where it becomes a concerto for (standard) electric guitar and pedal steel. 

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12 hours ago, clifford_thornton said:

Well... I see where you're coming from...

I believe you indeed largely do. And I didn't mean to derail the thread before it caught steam. The larger point(s) i was attempting to get at probably would be best poured over in a thread of its own.

I appreciate your recommendations, Clifford. I live in NYC. Used to regularly start my nights at the Knitting Factory and end them at St Nick's Pub. Don't quite get around so much anymore. Marco Eneidi, however, is a new name to me. Your description piqued my interest... thanks.

 

 

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David, I usually agree with you, but not this time.  I am particularly enjoying the long list of reissues/vault items.

Thanks uli!

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3 hours ago, GA Russell said:

David, I usually agree with you, but not this time.  I am particularly enjoying the long list of reissues/vault items.

Thanks uli!

Oops I deleted mine, but for the benefit of those who missed it I basically said I find all the laborious listing depressing....

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2016 will be the year when I re-discovered:

* Giuffre

* Zoot

* Pepper

* Webster

Too few recent acquisitions. Of notable mention would be Tribal Ghost!

Attended simply one gig...

And  continuing my beautiful journey listening to Duke Ellington. Time now to venture into the Pre-Blanton years!

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On 12/20/2016 at 9:10 AM, clifford_thornton said:

Alvin Fielder just released a new album of duets with bassist Damon Smith -- Alvin is living history of modern jazz drumming, elegant and swinging, and Damon is a player in his 40s who comes out of the European free jazz tradition.

Thanks for mentioning this.  I listened to it based on your post.  The album is called Song for Chico and it is excellent.  It's available on Bandcamp. 

This year, I liked:

Stephan Crump -- Rhombal

Wadada Leo Smith -- America's National Parks

Tyshawn Sorey -- The Inner Spectrum Of Variables

Esperanza Spalding -- Emily's D+ Evolution

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My favorite jazz albums from this year: 
 

Bill Evans - Some Other Time

Greg Abate & Phil Woods - Kindred Spirits (Live at Chan's)

Brad Mehldau Trio - Blues and Ballads

Kenny Barron Trio - Book of Intuition

George Coleman - A Master Speaks

Norah Jones - Day Breaks

Frank Kimbrough - Solstice

Cyrus Chestnut - Natural Essence

Fred Hersch Trio - Sunday Night at the Vanguard

Barnes/O’Higgins & The Sax Section - Oh Gee!

 

 

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