Dan McClenaghan's Top Ten for 2006

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Ornette Coleman
Sound Grammar
Sound Grammar Records


The free jazz alto saxophone legend's first CD release in a decade finds him at the top of his game, backed by two basses—Tony Falanga and Gregory Cohen, bowing and plucking, respectively—and his son, drummer Denardo.


Dom Minasi
The Vampire's Revenge
CDM Records


A sprawling unpredictable free jazz storm of sound based on the novels of Anne Rice, featuring a who's who of free jazz players: Ken Filiano, Tomas Ulrich, Jason Kao Hwang, Mathew Shipp and more.


Conjure
Bad Mouth
American Clave

Kip Hanrahan's project featuring the poetry of Ishmael Reed, Dave Murray's saxophone; a funky, bluesy, political, R&B-steeped world music gumbo.


Fred Hess Band
How "Bout Now
Capri Records
Denver-based tenor saxophonist Fred Hess found his voice four CDs ago with a loose-jointed pianoless quartet sound. He expands it here with an added sax, and comes up with his best work yet.


Cecilia Smith
Dark Triumph
CEA Music Company


Vibraphonist Cecilia Smith directs the telling of of the extraordinary life of Victoria Lancaster Smith with lush, gorgeous sounds. A story that needed to be told.


Ron Thomas Trio
Music in Three Parts
Art of Life Records


A piano trio with an amorphous, organic sound, abstract but always beautiful and engaging.


Chick Corea
The Ultimate Adventure
Stretch Records


The ever prolific pianist fashions a large ensemble sound full of bubbling percussion and swirling flutes.


Brad Mehldau Trio
House on Hill
Nonesuch Records


Pianist Mehldau's last CD release with drummer Jorge Rossy, featuring, as always, stunning trio of equals interplay.


Haroldo Mauro, Jr.
Bossa Na Pressao
Delira Musica

Brazilian pianist Haroldo Mauro's disc is the prettiest piano trio outing of the year, one that's spent more time on the sound system than any other set.


Ed Neumeister Quartet
Reflection
Artist Share
Trombonist Ed Neuemister is new to me, but he's a veteran, back from an expatriot stint. With this disc he's crafted a marvelous, understated democratic quartet sound, featuring bassist Drew Gress, drummer John Hollenbeck and pianist Fritz Pauer.


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