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LWayne
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As the year winds to a close, I wanted to start a "best of" thread.

Despite the pandemic, this was a wonderful year for new releases. More depth of recordings than previous years. Of my top ten, the first six never left my CD player:

    
1    Carla Bley    Life Goes On    ECM
2    Bill Frisell    Valentine    Blue Note Records
3    Maria Schneider Orchestra    Data Lords    ArtistShare
4    Thumbscrew    The Braxton Project    Cuneiform
5    Liberty Ellman    Last Desert    Pi Recordings
6    James Brandon Lewis Quartet    Molecular    Intakt Records
7    Immanuel Wilkins    Omega    Blue Note Records
8    Micah Thomas    Tide     Self-Released
9    Matthew Shipp Trio    The Unidentifiable    ESP Disk
10    Charles Tolliver Quartet    Connect    Gearbox Records
 

If this list was expanded to top twenty, there would also be Nels Cline Singers "Share the Wealth" and Charles Lloyd "Live at the Lobrero" included. Surprisingly, this would make Blue Note my choice for top label as I have pretty much passed by many of its releases in recent years.

Three reissues/previously unissued gems to mention as well: Sonny Rollins "Live in Holland", Charles Tolliver "All Stars", and Bill Evans "Live at Ronnie Scott's"

 

Although the pandemic relegated much of my listening to livetsteam broadcasts, I was fortunate to catch several great concerts in person at the beginning of the year:

1. Charles Tolliver Quintet. An Die Musik. Baltimore MD. Feb 29, 2020. Wonderful to hear the maestro along with Buster Williams and Lenny White play some of my favorite Strata East songs.

2. Ethnic Heritage Ensemble "Raise Your Spirits" Tour. First Unitarian Church, Pittsburgh PA. Feb 24 2020. Is there a more charismatic performer than Kahil El Zabar?

3. Joshua Redman "Still Dreaming" Quartet. August Wilson AACC. Pittsburgh, PA. Feb 15, 2020. Tight quartet paying tribute to the Old and New Dreams repertoire.

 

So many great livestreams to consider, but some of my favorites were:

1. In Order to Survive, Vision Festival-Healing Soul- William Parker always amazes. James Brandon Lewis and Rob Brown were a formidable duo of saxophones.

2. Thumbscrew, Roulette-Playing music from the new CD as well as previewing the forthcoming 2021 album. One of the best trios around.

3. Miles Okazaki and Trickster-The Jazz Gallery. Tight group at its peak. Both sets were amazing. His "Trickster Live" recording via Bandcamp was also a highlight.

4. Tom Harrell Trio, Village Vanguard-although some streaming problems during the broadcast, his lyrical compositions and thoughtful playing were amazing.

5. Mike Reed's Loose Assembly, Constellation-Group contained all of Chicago's finest playing some challenging, but rewarding, music. Would love this to be a recording.

 

Happy Holidays!

LWayne

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Current Jazz

Gregg August, Dialogues on Race

Alan Braufman, The Fire Still Burns

Sarah Elizabeth Charles, Tone

Mino Cinelu and Nils Petter Molvaer, Sulamadiana

Lafayette Gilchrist, Now

Charles Lloyd, Kindred Spirits (Blue Note)

Jason Marsalis Live (Basin Street)

Makaya McCraven, We're New Again

Aurora Nealand and Tom McDermott, Live at Luthjen's

Terje Rypdal, Conspiracy (ECM)

Shabaka and the Ancestors, We are Sent Here by History (Impulse)

Somi, Holy Room

Sun Ra, Swirling (Strut)

Newly issued vintage jazz

Art Blakey, Coolin' (Blue Note)

Charles Mingus, Live in Bremen (Sunnyside)

Thelonious Monk, Palo Alto (Impulse)

Non-Jazz

Bombino Live in Amsterdam

Moonlight Benjamin, Simido

Derek Gripper, A Year of Swimming

Seu Jorge and Rogge (Night Dreamer)

Seun Kuti and Egypt 80 (Night Dreamer)

Michael Olatuja, Lagos Pepper Soup

Jackie Venson, Live in Texas/Vintage Machine

 

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The top five would be in my top ten with the exception of the Frisell which I enjoyed but not as much as a lot of others.  

New albums by Irreversible Entanglements, Angles 10/9, the Thumbscrew Ours/Theirs, Charles Lloyds birthday concert, Anteloper  and Denis Gonsalez all hit the spot for me

 

 

 

9 minutes ago, mjazzg said:

The top five would be in my top ten with the exception of the Frisell which I enjoyed but not as much as a lot of others.  

New albums by Irreversible Entanglements, Angles 10/9, the Thumbscrew Ours/Theirs, Charles Lloyd's birthday concert, Anteloper  and Denis Gonsalez all hit the spot for me

 

 

 

 

Edited by mjazzg
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As for the newly issued vintage jazz, I would add:

-the new Rollins (despite its below-average sound for some of the live recordings, the edits et al... the music is GREAT!!!) 

-the Dexter Gordon Quartet with Tete at Montmartre 

-the Wilen/Tete ‘88 recordings from Grenoble

 

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In the Reissues/Vintage (some very good ones this year)

Neil Swanson ‘49th Parallel’ (Reel to Real)

Black Unity Trio ‘Al-Fatiha ’ (Salaam)

Monty Alexander ‘Love You Madly’ (Resonance)

Sonny Rollins ‘Rollins in Holland’ (Resonance)

George Coleman ‘In Baltimore’ (Reel to Real)

..plus Monk ‘Palo Alto’ of course.

 

22 minutes ago, EKE BBB said:

-the Dexter Gordon Quartet with Tete at Montmartre

-the Wilen/Tete ‘88 recordings from Grenoble

These two will be in the next JazzMessengers order with the Friends from Barcelona !

Edited by sidewinder
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These were my top 5+1 from this year:


Noah Preminger - Contemptment 

Vinny Goila - An Electric Love Supreme

Julian Arguelles - Atlantico

Immanuel Watkins - Omega

Chad Taylor - The Daily Biological

Michael Thomas - Event Horizon 

 

honorary mention: Bob Reynolds - Runway

Edited by jcam_44
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