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C. Michael Bailey's Best Releases of 2008

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The event horizon for jazz is set at infinity. There is no shortage of finely crafted music being performed within this uniquely American and pragmatically international genre. This year is about baker's dozens. No, make that Bailey's dozens.

Presented here are links to 14 reviews of what I considered the best recordings released between December 2007 and December 2008. Allowing that no writer can listen to or write about the bulk of the music released, 14 more reviews have been added, written by colleagues at All About Jazz, of discs the column was unable to review or that were reviewed more tellingly by other writers.

We have an embarrassment of riches among both jazz (and related) recordings released in 2008 and the writers writing about them. We should celebrate them both.

Maceo Parker

Roots and Grooves

Heads Up International

2008

In jazz, the term swing is used to describe that special thing that makes jazz jazz... continued

Connie Evingson

Little Did I Dream: Songs by Dave Frishberg

Minnehaha Music

2008

The late Tip O'Neill once said, all politics is local. This certainly can be said for jazz also... continued

The Ellis Marsalis Quartet

An Open Letter to Thelonious

elm music

2008

Pianist Thelonious Monk is jazz's biggest enigma. Called the high priest of bebop, the jazz Monk composed and performed was anything but... continued

Art Pepper

Art Pepper: Unreleased Art, Vol. III; The Croydon Concert, May 14, 1981

Widow's Taste

2008

Laurie Pepper, widow of alto saxophonist Art Pepper, has single-handedly made the most significant contribution to her late husband's legacy... < continued

Uri Caine

The Othello Syndrome

Winter and Winter

2008

Pianist Uri Caine, in his own unique way, surveyed music from the classical era with The Classical Variations (Winter and Winter, 2008)... continued

Trio West

An Upper Westside Story

Yummy House Records

2008

Tobias Gebb and Trio West debuted on disc with < Trio West Plays Holiday Songs (Yummy House Records, 2007)... continued

Perez

It's Happenin'

Zoho Music

2008

Diana Perez is the new voice of this bunch, in spite of the fact she has been actively performing as both actor and vocalist for several years... continued

The Roy Hargrove Quintet

Earfood

a target=_blank href=http://www.emarcy.com/>Emarcy

2008

Trumpeter Roy Hargrove emerged into jazz consciousness as one of the young lions who beamed into the late 1980s and early 1990s... < continued

The Carla Bley Big Band

Appearing Nightly

Watt

2008

Bandleader and musical provocateur Carla Bley is the Hector Berlioz of jazz. Her command of her large ensembles is complete and potent... < continued

The James Moody and Hank Jones Quartet

Our Delight

Ipo Records

2008

Are there any other two jazz musicians whose presence on a recording gives it more urbanity and class than pianist Hank Jones and reed player James Moody... < continued

Lee Konitz and Minsarah

Deep Lee

Enja Records

2008

Alto saxophonist Lee Konitz (born 1927) is only one of two living musicians out of the original twelve who took part in... continued

Corey Christiansen

img class="f-left s-img" width=100 height=100 src=/coverart/2008/connieevingson.jpg /> Connie Evingson

Little Did I Dream: Songs by Dave Frishberg

Minnehaha Music

2008

The late Tip O'Neill once said, all politics is local. This certainly can be said for jazz also... continued

The Ellis Marsalis Quartet

An Open Letter to Thelonious

elm music

2008

Pianist Thelonious Monk is jazz's biggest enigma. Called the high priest of bebop, the jazz Monk composed and performed was anything but... continued

Art Pepper

Art Pepper: Unreleased Art, Vol. III; The Croydon Concert, May 14, 1981

Widow's Taste

2008

Laurie Pepper, widow of alto saxophonist Art Pepper, has single-handedly made the most significant contribution to her late husband's legacy... continued

Uri Caine

The Othello Syndrome

Winter and Winter

2008

Pianist Uri Caine, in his own unique way, surveyed music from the classical era with The Classical Variations (Winter and Winter, 2008)... continued

Trio West

An Upper Westside Story

Yummy House Records

2008

Tobias Gebb and Trio West debuted on disc with Trio West Plays Holiday Songs (Yummy House Records, 2007)... continued

Perez

It's Happenin'

Zoho Music

2008

Diana Perez is the new voice of this bunch, in spite of the fact she has been actively performing as both actor and vocalist for several years... continued

The Roy Hargrove Quintet

Earfood

Emarcy

2008

Trumpeter Roy Hargrove emerged into jazz consciousness as one of the young lions who beamed into the late 1980s and early 1990s... continued

The Carla Bley Big Band

Appearing Nightly

Watt

2008

Bandleader and musical provocateur Carla Bley is the Hector Berlioz of jazz. Her command of her large ensembles is complete and potent... continued

The James Moody and Hank Jones Quartet

Our Delight

Ipo Records

2008

Are there any other two jazz musicians whose presence on a recording gives it more urbanity and class than pianist Hank Jones and reed player James Moody... continued

Lee Konitz and Minsarah

Deep Lee

Enja Records

2008

Alto saxophonist Lee Konitz (born 1927) is only one of two living musicians out of the original twelve who took part in... continued

Corey Christiansen

Roll With It

Origin Records

2008

If jazz is America's soundtrack, periodically updated by tonal seismic shifts, then Corey Christiansen's third release, Roll With It... continued

Bill Cunliffe

The Blues and the Abstract Truth, Take 2

Resonance Records

2008

Oliver Nelson (1932-1975) was a saxophonist, arranger, and composer who seemed everywhere in the 1960s... continued

Don Hales

Unified String Theory

Chicken Coup Records

2008

Guitarist Don Hales is one of those jazz musicians almost too good to be true, one who has had a lengthy local career who finally bobs to the surface with a head-turning release... continued

Enough from the C. Michael Bailey 2008 archive. Here is a Bailey's dozen of reviews by other All About Jazz writers:

Carla Bley

The Lost Chords Find Paolo Fresu

Watt

2008

Reviewed by John Kelman

Once Carla Bley finds musicians she likes, she sticks with them. Bassist Steve Swallow, also Bley's life partner, dates back... continued

Gov't Mule

Holy Haunted House

Independent

2008

Reviewed by Doug Collette

It's hardly a surprise that Gov't Mule performed Led Zeppelin's Houses of the Holy (Atlantic, 1973) in its entirety in sequence on Halloween, 2007... continued

James Carter

Present Tense

Emarcy

2008

Reviewed by Greg Camphire

Multi-reedist James Carter has been steadily chugging along as a master of many instruments and styles since his auspicious recording... continued

Marcin Wasilewski trio

January

ECM

2008

Reviewed by Chris May

With January, pianist Marcin Wasilewski, bassist Slawomir Kurkiewicz and drummer Michal Miskiewicz step out of the benign shadow of... continued

Tim Hagan

Alone Together

Pirouet Records

2008

Reviewed by Budd Kopman

Just as the term jazz is notoriously hard to define, so are many terms within its world including mainstream... continued

Enrico Rava / Stefano Bollani

The Third Man

ECM

2008

Reviewed by Laurel Gross

Italian trumpeter Enrico Rava and pianist Stefano Bollani have been collaborators for more than a dozen years... continued

Jessica Williams

Deep Monk

Red and Blue Records

2008

Reviewed by Dan McClenaghan

Do we really need another tribute to Thelonious Sphere Monk? Everybody who is anybody in the jazz game has put a Monk song on an album... continued

Corey Wilkes

Drop It

Delmark Records

2008

Reviewed by Jerry D'Souza

It was in 2002 that Corey Wilkes (trumpet, flugelhorn, cornet) made his presence on the Chicago jazz scene... continued

Bryan Beninghove

Organ Trio

Self Published

2008

Reviewed by Woodrow Wilkins

Bryan Beninghove puts a different spin on the jazz trio. Instead of piano or guitar with bass and drums, he heads a sax-organ-drums combo... continued

Roy Assaf and Eddy Khaimovich quartet

Andarta

Origin Records

2008

Reviewed by John Barron

Pianist Roy Assaf and bassist Eddy Khaimovich are true musical soul mates. Much like the legendary partnerships of saxophonist Charlie Parker and trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie... continued

Sonny Rollins

Road Shows, Vol. 1

Doxy

2008

Reviewed by Mark Corroto

The sound of saxophonist Sonny Rollins is unmistakable. Instantly recognizable when he plays just one note... continued

Gene Harris

Live in London

Concord Records

2008

Reviewed by Jim Santella

A never-before-release can be of great value or it can be entirely forgettable. this live session from London, featuring veteran pianist Gene Harris with a stellar quartet... continued

Julia Hulsmann Trio

The End of a Summer

ECM

2008

Reviewed by John Kelman

Why do some artists achieve popularity in their own country and fail to make an impression elsewhere, while others cross that boundary with apparent ease?... continued

Jeff Beck

Performing This Week...Live at Ronnie Scott's

Eagle Rock Entertainment

2008

Reviewed by Doug Collette

Performing This Week... Live at Ronnie Scott's, recorded during a 2007 run at the renowned London club, is guitarist Jeff Beck's first release on the Eagle label... continued

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