Jazz keeps growing and evolving through all of its permutations and 2013 was another stellar year of music. It's always difficult to pick the best from a host of outstanding releases yet the task is a labor of admiration. Another cool thing about Year End" lists is discovering something new. Here are just a few of my favorites and hopefully something yet to be discovered for those unfamiliar with these fine releases. Wayne Shorter Quartet Without a Net (Blue Note) At 80 years young, the esteemed jazz patriarch continues to ...read more
From jazz to disco/dance, from alternative rock to world music, 2013 proved to be a really fruitful one. It was a banner year for good and colorful music that showed that audiences really respond to good music and this year, unlike many in recent times, it overflowed with such. It was a great year for older acts and for new music as well. These are some of the releases that kind of marked the year 2013 for me. Jazz Goce Stevkovski Seven Stories (Password Production) Ljubojna Ljubojna ...read more
The West Coast now has a jazz edifice of its own with strong roots, International Jazz Day grew in scope during year two, jazz made its mark on (and off) Broadway, and the number of musicians lost during the year was large and painful. Here's a look at significant happenings across the jazz world over the past 12 months: SFJazz Center opens Thirty years after it began as a festival and concert-producing organization, SFJazz opened its $64 million SFJazz Center on January 23. The facility is billed as the first stand-alone building designed for jazz in ...read more
All About Jazz tracks how often an album review is read, and the reviews listed below represent our top ten published in 2013. Sex Mob Cinema, Circus & Spaghetti (Sex Mob Plays Fellini) Wayne Shorter Quartet Wayne Shorter Quartet: Without a Net John Scofield John Scofield: Uberjam Deux Keith Jarrett / Gary Peacock / Jack DeJohnette Somewhere Pat Metheny Pat Metheny: Tap--John Zorn's Book of Angels | Vol. 20 Chris Potter Chris Potter: The Sirens Pat Metheny Pat Metheny: Tap--John Zorn's Book of ...read more
All About Jazz tracks how often an article is read, and the articles listed below represent our top ten published in 2013. 1. Diana Krall: Rediscovering Vaudeville in Glad Rag Doll 2. The Harlem Renaissance and American Music 3. John McLaughlin: Risk, Magic And Mystery 4. George Benson: Finding His Groove In Inspiration 5. Steven Wilson: Montreal, Canada, April 25, 2013 6. Eberhard Weber: Positive Pragmatism 7. Peter Hook: Tragic Joy, Electrified Order 8. Arve Henriksen: ...read more
Always a tricky thing is the selection of best of" lists for the year. I don't get to hear everything that comes out, so a lot of fine music is missed. Also, the selection itself is subject to whims. An album may hit you right from the get-go. Another might take time to grow on you, and maybe it never gets that time. Then there are the many good albums that fall by the wayside in the selection process. Are they not as good? So here are some of the top albums where I thought the ...read more
2013 proved to be another banner year for recorded jazz--so much wonderful music--no one could argue that this is a dying art form. These ten recordings stood out in particular. Mark Dresser Quintet Nourishments (Clean Feed) Keith Jarrett Somewhere (ECM) Wadada Leo Smith Occupy The World (TUM) Nate Wooley Sit In The Throne Of Friendship (clean feed) Lucian Ban, Mat Maneri Transylvanian Concert (ECM) Mary Halvorson Illusionary Sea (Firehouse ...read more
After seven amazing years covering jazz/creative music throughout much of South East Asia I have relocated to Ireland. It's been a real pleasure to reconnect with the music scene in my home country after a long absence. The country boasts a vibrant music scene, particularly in Dublin, where a good number of innovative musicians are producing some excellent sounds. In addition, a number of progressive music agencies are doing tremendous work in attracting outstanding international acts to Ireland. The following list is a baker's dozen of the best concerts I caught in 2013. April 12: Matthew Bourne, ...read more
So much good music and so much to choose from. Every day provides the opportunity to hear something new or rediscover the magic in old tunes. The records on this list don't have much in common, except they all sound completely fresh and open and have their own take on what it means to create jazz today. Here are thoughtful nods to tradition, genre-bending experiments, soliloquies and group efforts. In the age of streaming and digitalization, it has been a special joy to witness the care that still goes into the packaging of physical product. At best, ...read more
"Tis the season to do countdowns Fa la la la lahhh, la lahh lahh lahhhhhhh..." Okay, okay, not one of the most original openings ever written. But don't worry: There's plenty of originality to be had on the ten bundles of fabulousness listed below: 10... Etienne Charles Creole Soul (Culture Shock Music) Still in his 20's, Charles has been racking up Mozart-like career accomplishments since he left Juilliard, and his latest release kicks open a whole new door. Armed with the Afro-Caribbean beats of his native Trinidad, Charles serves up a tantalizing mix of ...read more
Every year the list gets longer and more heterogeneous. There are blockbusters and obscure little gems, loud jazz and quiet jazz, hip hop and kora music, some of it downright unclassifiable. Which is fine. Junku," a 1984 track anthologized on Herbie Hancock's spectacular box set below, is in fact both hip hop and kora music! In an interview with the New York Times earlier this year, Hancock said, The thing that keeps jazz alive, even if it's under the radar, is that it is so free and so open to not only lend its influence to other genres, but to ...read more
2013 was a fantastic year for new records. It was tough to narrow down which ones to include in this list, but I gave it my best shot. Having too many favorites isn't such a bad problem to have, I guess. Here are just a few of my favorites, listed in no particular order. Craig Taborn Chants (ECM) Taborn, bassist Thomas Morgan and drummer Gerald Cleaver delve into some very intriguing musical territory on this moody album. Taborn's inimitable style pervades every composition and the transitions between melody and improvisation are captivatingly mysterious; ...read more
The following list represents my personal favorites of those CDs I reviewed this year. I am convinced that we live in a great age for jazz/creative music. You can only ever listen to a very small percentage of what's out there, but it's still a privilege to able to access this much terrific music. Kenny Wheeler, Norma Winstone and the London Vocal Project Mirrors (Edition Records) Yuhan Su Flying Alone (Inner Circle Music) Charles Lloyd and Jason Moran Hagar's Song (ECM Records) Francesco Turrisiread more
Considering the sheer quantity of recordings issued in a year's time, attempting to mention every notable session would result in a list of epic proportions. These ten records represent a fertile cross-section of some of the most compelling modern jazz issued in 2013, highlighting sophisticated new developments in composition and improvisation with an unintended (but entirely justified) focus on inexorable pan-global fusions. Barry Altschul The 3dom Factor TUM Records Legendary drummer Barry Altschul's first album as a leader in over a quarter century draws on original compositions from across his entire oeuvre, ranging ...read more
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