Thursday, December 20, 2018

Fave Jazz of 2018

I'm repeating myself, but doing year-end round-ups when the year isn't even over still feels a bit odd. That said, having voted in Francis Davis annual Jazz Critics Poll over the past 7 or so years, where votes are due at the beginning of December, has made me get used to a Thanksgiving to Thanksgiving "jazz season" of sorts. So, putting together a top 10 ballot for this year's edition of the Jazz Critics Poll is where and when this now expanded list was started. I do consider of whatever crosses my path after this "season" ends, of course, and have added a couple of notables here, too. Withthat out of the way, below is my list of the 50, which seemed an apt and sufficient amount at he time of posting, best jazz albums released since the turn of the year. An asterisk denotes that I've written about the album in question (see here and here for info about where and when). As has been my custom in recent year, I separate these recordings into sections rather than rank them in any strict, numbered manner. That said, they are loosely listed in order of preference.

Cream of the crop:
  • Hanna Paulsberg + Magnus Broo: Daughter of the Sun (Odin) *
  • Salim Washington: Dogon Revisited (Passin' Thru) *
  • Trondheim Jazz Orchestra & Ole Morten Vågan: Happy Endlings (Odin) *
  • Ken Vandermark, Klaus Kugel & Mark Tokar: No-Exit Corner (Not Two Records) *
  • Henry Threadgill 14 or 15 Kestra: Agg: Dirt... And More Dirt (Pi Recordings) *
Heavy rotation:
  • Angelika Niescier, Christopher Tordini & Tyshawn Sorey: The Berlin Concert (Intakt Records) *
  • Daniel Carter, William Parker, Matthew Shipp: Seraphic Light (AUM Fidelity)*
  • Erlend Olderskog Albertsen: RødssalG nEEn GlassdøR (Dugnad Rec.) *
  • Rodrigo Amado, Joe McPhee, Kent Kessler, Chris Corsano: A History of Nothing (Trost Records)*
  • Dave Holland, Evan Parker, Craig Taborn & Ches Smith: Uncharted Territories (Dare2 Records) *
  • James Brandon Lewis & Chad Taylor: Radiant Imprints (Off) *
  • The Necks, Body (Fish of Milk) *
  • Johan Lindström Septet: Music For Empty Halls (Moserobie Music Productions) *
  • Friends & Neighbors: What's Next (Clean Feed) *
  • Myra Melford Snowy Egret: The Other Side of Air (Firehouse 12) *
Thoroughly enjoyed:
  • Mia Dyberg Trio: Ticket! (Clean Feed)*
  • María Grand: Magdalena (Biophilia)
  • Kaja Draksler, Petter Eld, Christian Lillinger: Punkt.Vrt.Plastik (Intakt) *
  • Fredrik Nordström: Needs (Clean Feed) 
  • Adam Hopkins: Crickets (Out of Your Head Records)
  • Harriet Tubman: The Terror End of Beauty (Sunnyside Records) 
  • Bjørn Marius Hegge: The Creator Has a Bachelor Plan (Particular Recordings) * [review due to be published before the end of the year.]
  • Tord Gustafsen Trio: The Other Side (ECM) *
  • Moskus: Mirakler (Hubro) *
  • Fay Victor's SoundNoiseFUNK: Wet Robots (ESP Disk') *
  • Josephine Davies' Satori: In the Corner of Clouds (Whirlwind Recordings) * [published in Musikkmagasinet, Dec. 17th.]
  • Jemeel Moondoc Quartet: The Astral Revelations (RogueArt)
  • Brandon Lopez: quoniam facta sum vilis (Astral Spirits)
  • Jason Stein's Locksmith Isidore: After Caroline (Northern Spy)
  • Chris Pitsiokos CP Unit: Silver Bullet in the Autumn of Your Years (Clean Feed) 
  • David S. Ware Trio: The Balance (Vision Festival XV +) (AUM FIdelity)
  • The Heat Death: The Glenn Miller Sessions (Clean Feed) *
  • Sylvie Courvoisier Trio: D'Agala (Intakt) *
  • Tyshawn Sorey: Pillars (Firehouse 12)
  • Barre Phillips:End to End (ECM)
  • Håvard Wiik Trio: This Is Not a Waltz (Moserobie Music Productions, 2017)
  • Igor Lumpert & Innertextures: Eleven (Clean Feed) 
  • Christian McBride: Christian McBride's New Jawn (Mack Avenue Records)
  • Luke Stewart: Work for Upright Bass and Amplifier (Astral Spirit)
  • Bjørn Marius Hegge Trio: Assosiasjoner (Particular Recordings) *
  • Lauren Sevian: Bliss (Posi-Tone)
  • Steve Coleman and Five elements: Live at the Village Vanguard, Vol. 1 (The Embedded Sets) (Pi Recordings) *
  • Mette Rasmussen & Chris Corsano: A View of the Moon (From the Sun) (Clean Feed) *
  • Emmeluth's Amoeba: POLYP (Øra Fonogram)
  • Espen Eriksen Trio & Andy Sheppard: Perfectly Unhappy (Rune Grammofon)
  • Atomic: Pet Variations (Odin) *
  • Mary Halvorson: Code Girl (Firehouse 12) *
  • JD Allen: Love Stone (Savant)
  • Amaro Freitas: Rasif (Far Out Recordings) 
  • Orrin Evans and the Captain Black Big Band: Presence (Smoke Sessions)
Reissues/vault:
  • Frode Gjerstad with William Parker and Hamid Drake: Frode Gjerstad with William Parker and Hamid Drake (4 CD, NotTwo Records) *
  • Svein Finnerud Trio: Plastic Sun (ODIN) *
  • Sonny Rollins: Way Out West (Deluxe) (Craft)
  • Charles Mingus: Live In Detroit / Strata Concert Gallery / 46 Selden (BBE) *
  • Anthony Braxton: The Essential Anthony Braxton: The Arista Years (Arista/Legacy)
  • John Coltrane Quartets: Both Directions at Once: The Lost Album (Impulse!) *
  • Miles Davis & John Coltrane: The Final Tour: The Bootleg Series Vol. 6 (Columbia/Legacy)
  • Erik Andresen Quartet: GIP (Jazzaggression Records)
(The Ornette Coleman 10 LP box set The Atlantic Years (Atlantic/Rhino) would trump pretty much any music any year, but though I know the music contained here inside out, I do not own this particular box set and so I only mention this in passing here rather than add it to the list proper).
PS: If you think the album is a silly concept to care about in the era of streaming, then 1) you tell that to musicians who have spent time and energy writing compositions, hours practicing with a group of musicians (regulars or not) that they probably already had in mind when writing the music and whom they have to pay for their services as they also have to do for studio time. Go tell them that they should only record a single in stead. 2) f*ck the exploitative nature of the current streaming services, and finally 3) f*ck off!

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