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2009: The Year in Jazz

By Published: December 30, 2009
Trumpeters Sonny Bradshaw, Irving Bush, Nicholas Capezuto, Agustin Caraballoso, Steve Hawdon, Edie Preston. Mike Serpas, Teddy Washington and Rubin "Zeke" Zarchy; trumpeter, flugelhorn player and singer Stacy Rowles; trumpeter and author Ian Carr; trumpeter, arranger and bandleader Jerry van Rooyen.

Vibraphonist Fats Sadi; Vibraphonist, keyboardist and singer Edward Burn.

Composers Jack Lawrence, Vic Mizzy and Aaron Schroeder; composer, theoretician, educator, pianist and bandleader George Russell; composer, arranger, producer, conductor and trombonist Billy VerPlanck.

Singer-songwriter Michael Jackson.

Blues, R&B, Soul, Zydeco, Gospel, etc. performers Barry Beckett, John E. Carter, John Cephas, Willy DeVille, Jim Dickinson, Rev. Claude Jeter, Wyclife Johnson, Uriel Jones, Willie King, Marie Knight, John "Crawlin' Snake" Mac, Haydain Neale, Fayette Pinkney, Jack Rose, Eugene Smith, Koko Taylor, David "Pop" Winans and Rev. Timothy D. Wright; artist manager Allen Klein; gospel, R&B and soul producer and broadcaster Ted Jarrett.

Artist Ali Kurt Baumgarten.

Dancers Ernest Brown and Frankie Manning; Dancer, choreographer and educator Pedro "Cuban Pete" Aguilar; Storyteller, improviser and performer Hugh Morgan Hill (a.k.a. "Brother Blue").

Arts presenter Suzanne Fiol.

Producers, promoters and recording executives Alan W. Livingston, Ralph Mercado, Skip Miller, Richard Nader, Shelby Singleton and Jackie Tracey; impresario, manager and author Werner "Josh" Sellhorn; producer, songwriter, clarinetist and big band leader Bob Keane; record producer and writer John Storm Roberts.

Recording executive Hal Gaba.

Broadcasters Ed Beach, Sam Jackson and William C. Lunt Jr; broadcaster and educator Harrison Ridley.

Club owner Art D'Lugoff.

Photographers Roy DeCarava, Ted Williams and Bob Willoughby.

Poet and saxophonist Raymond Federman.

Writers Vasily Aksyonov, Alfred Appel Jr., Joe Goldberg and Konrad Heidkamp; editor and writer Janet Cook; publisher, editor, and writer Leslie Carole Johnson; writer, educator, and jazz institute president Susan Meyer Markle; writer, broadcaster and photographer Len Dobbin; writer, editor, broadcaster and jazz society executive Don Farwell; writer and filmmaker Robert Hilferty; broadcaster, producer, club founder and writer Jacques Braunstein.

Patron of composers Betty Freeman.

Here are one writer's choices for the top jazz recordings and reissues of 2009:

The 10 best new jazz releases of 2009, listed alphabetically:
  • Lili Anel, Every Second in Between (Wall-I Records)
  • Big Band Ritmo Sinfonica Citt_ Di Verona, Restless Spirits (Velut Luna)
  • Seamus Blake, Live in Italy (Jazz Eyes)
  • Mike Clark, Blueprints of Jazz, Vol. 1 (Talking House)
  • Bill Cunliffe, Blues and the Abstract Truth, Take 2 (Resonance)
  • Kat Edmonson, Take to the Sky (Convivium Records)
  • Steve Kuhn, Mostly Coltrane (ECM)
  • LeBoeuf Brothers, House Without a Door (LeBoeuf Brothers Music)
  • John Scofield, Piety Street (EmArcy)
  • Joe Zawinul, 75 (Heads Up International)


The 10 best new songs of the year, listed alphabetically:

  • Lynne Arriale, "A Gentle Soul" from Nuance (Motema Music)
  • Jeff Ballard, "Lady B" from Fly's Sky & Country (ECM)
  • Scotty Barnhart, "Haley's Passage" from Say It Plain (Unity Music)
  • Gerald Clayton, "Peace for the Moment" from Two-Shade (ArtistShare)
  • N. Glenn Davis, "Come Right In" from Come Right In (Jazzed Media)
  • Richie Goods, "Desert Song" from Live at the Zinc Bar (RichMan Productions)
  • Fareed Haque. "Big Bhangra" from Flat Planet (Owl Studios)
  • Sean Jones, "The Ambitious Violet" from The Search Within (Mack Avenue)
  • Mark Rapp, "Thank You" from Token Tales (Paved Earth)
  • Greg Skaff, "Willie D" from East Harlem Skyline (Zoho)


The best jazz boxed set or historic recordings of 2009, listed alphabetically:
  • Dupree Bolton, Fireball, (Uptown)
  • Miles Davis and Sonny Rollins, The Classic Prestige Sessions, 1951-1956 (Prestige)
  • Lucky Thompson, New York City, 1965-65 (Uptown)
  • Freddie Hubbard, Without a Song (Live in Europe, 1969) (Blue Note)
  • Scott LaFaro, Pieces of Jade (Resonance)


The best jazz-related DVDs of 2009

'Tis Autumn: The Search for Jackie Paris (Outsider Pictures/Naxos of America)


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