Sunday, December 05, 2010

A quick glance at JJA's year-end bonanza

The Jazz Journalists Association webpage have invited their members to post year-end lists in their blog section (late November, early December is always too early for me to finalize a list, for various reasons, but mostly because I use the first weeks of December to catch up.)

The lists point in all different directions, which makes consensus less of a given, but on the plus side it suggests that writers out there are able to spread the word about most every strain of what we know as jazz (whether they are any good at backing up their "likes" in writing, I can't say. I've only read a few, from what I can recall.) Still, only a few of the lists have piqued my interest beynd glancing through, mostly because they contain a few or more touch-stone releases (e.g. MOPDtK, Mary Halvorson, David S. Ware or others), which suggests that our tastes may be similar enough for me to happily check out or reassess whatever else is on their respective lists (most interesting so far: Geoffrey Himes, Laurence Donohue-Greene, Gordon Marshall (still aching to hear that William Hooker record. Wish they would make some mp3s available, as the price is too steep for me to import it myself, at the time of writing), and Tim Duroche.

That said, I usually take time to listen to as many of the albums as possible, especially if they recieve multiple mentions, even if some of the choices initially may seem uninspired to me (based on my biases, that is.) Jason Moran's new record is listed plenty of times, and I've given it a quick spin (first impression: OK, nothing more. Messes up a Monk tune big time.) Another record that pops up more than a couple of times is the Ruresh Muhanthappa & Bunky Green album, which I've written about already. Fine record though it is, the "up-and-coming youngster teaming up with rediscovered forgotten older statesman" formula certainly seems like it could win you extra votes, no matter how the record actually sounds (again, based on my biases.)

Anyway, I hope to have a Listening Booth ready in a couple of weeks, containing some of the records I've been able to pick up from these lists (mostly, by using Spotify, WiMP or other streaming sources) as well as other things (for example, I came to Mike Reed's Loose Assembly's Empathetic Parts a bit late, but it does sound very good indeed.)

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