Dan McClenaghan's Best Releases of 2012
Scores of excellent CDs were released in 2012. These are some of the finest. Click on the CD titles for more in depth reviews.
Pianist Hal Galper has been delving deeply into his rubato explorations of the standards, along with his own distinctive compositions, and each release is better than the last.
An extraordinarily beautiful set. Bassist Marc Johnson and his musical/marital partner, pianist Eliane Elias, joined by drummer Joey Baron and, on of five numbers, by saxophonist Joe Lovano, have created a classic.
Pianist Brad Mehldau, along with trio mates, bassist Larry Grenadier and drummer Jeff Ballard, released two great CDs this year, one of Mehldau originals and one of covers. Both could be included, but this, the trio's covers outing, grabbed me just a little harder.
Drummer Todd Bishop is an underground treasure. He doesn't boast the highest of profiles, but he has put out two consecutive great CDs for the Origin Records label: 2009's 69 Annee Erotique and now, this nod to alto saxophonist/free jazz pioneer Ornette Coleman.
Trumpeter Natsuki Tamura and pianist Satoko Fujii haven't been as prolific this year, recording-wise, as they've been in years past, but they've produced a real gem in this duo set, a follow-up to sorts to their previous duo outing, Chun (Libra Records, 2008).
Mark Soskin is, perhaps, best known as saxophonist Sonny Rollins' pianist from 1978 to 1991. On this marvelous solo outing, he explores the music of Italian composer Nino Rota, the composer behind Federico Fellini's film soundtracks, as well as the music for Francis Ford Coppola's 1972 movie, The Godfather. Extraordinarily beautiful.
Gato Libre is trumpeter Natsuki Tamura's acoustic, European-hued quartet. Joined by keyboardist Satoko Fujiion accordion herealong with bassist Norikatsu Koreyasu and guitarist Kazuhiko Tsumura, the sound is old world, with an often modern tint. An enchanting set.
Jessica Williams keeps going deeper and deeper into her art of the piano. She shines on her solo outings, never more so than here.
Pianist Marc Copland's trio outings are always mesmerizing affairs, and Some More Loves Songs is no exception.
Art of the Soprano, Vol. 1