Publisher's Top Picks for 2008

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It was another productive year for "Team AAJ" as we delivered some new features and upgraded several others across the website. We also beefed up our editorial staff to better manage the increasing number of contributors.

The programming staff (Mike Lorenz and myself) continued to build on our foundation that has firmly established AAJ as the nexus for jazz online. And the esprit de corps is stronger than ever as we forge ahead in 2009.

Last year's accomplishments ranged from subtle refinements to dramatic improvements and our impressive spike in traffic has kept us inspired and focused. Musicians have also encouraged us with their praise and suggestions. Thanks everyone!

2009 is already proving to be another exciting year. We're developing a new photo gallery, we're working on a streaming audio solution (so musicians can showcase their music), we're building a gathering place for students, and we're reviewing how best to deliver video.

Back to 2008 and the music.

I heard somewhere (NPR?) that 2008 wasn't a very good year for jazz music. That person and I are obviously not on the same service lists, as I was exposed to consistently strong efforts every day. From the thousands of CDs that arrived at AAJ HQ, here are some that received the most ear play. I highlighted some specific releases from Sunnyside Records as well as some standout vocal releases.

In no particular order...










Rudresh Mahanthappa
Rudresh Mahanthappa
Rudresh Mahanthappa
b.1971
sax, alto

Kinsmen
(Pi Recordings)
Reviews

Leonardo Cioglia
Contos
(Self Produced)
Reviews

Ulf Wakenius
Ulf Wakenius
Ulf Wakenius
b.1958
guitar

Love is Real
(ACT Music)
Review











Joe Locke
Joe Locke
Joe Locke
b.1959
vibraphone

Force of Four
(Origin Records)
Reviews

Kurt Rosenwinkel
Kurt Rosenwinkel
Kurt Rosenwinkel
b.1970
guitar

The Remedy: Live at the Village Vanguard
(ArtistShare)
Reviews

Nik Bartsch
Nik Bartsch
Nik Bartsch
b.1971
keyboard

Holon
(ECM Records)
Reviews













Rob Mosher
Rob Mosher
Rob Mosher

sax, soprano

The Tortoise
(Self Produced)
Reviews

Elephant9
Dodovoodoo
(Rune Grammofon)
Review

Bobby Previte
Bobby Previte
Bobby Previte
b.1957
drums

Set the Alarm for Monday
(Palmetto Records)
Review











Brad Mehldau
Brad Mehldau
Brad Mehldau
b.1970
piano

Live
(Nonesuch Records)
Review

Aaron Parks
Aaron Parks
Aaron Parks
b.1983
piano

Invisible Cinema
(Blue Note Records)
Reviews

Todd Sickafoose
Tiny Resistors
(Cryptogramophone)
Review













Christian Scott
Christian Scott
Christian Scott
b.1983
trumpet

Live at Newport
(Concord Music Group)
Review

Brian Blade
Brian Blade
Brian Blade
b.1970
drums

Season of Changes
(Verve Music Group)
Review

Revolutionary Snake Ensemble
Forked Tongue
(Cuneiform Records)
Reviews











David Sanchez
David Sanchez
David Sanchez
b.1968
sax, tenor

Cultural Survival
(Concord Picante)
Reviews

e.s.t.
Leucocyte
(ACT Music)
Review

Gonzalo Rubalcaba
Gonzalo Rubalcaba
Gonzalo Rubalcaba
b.1963
piano

Avatar
(Blue Note Records)
Reviews











Matt Penman
Catch of the Day
(Fresh Sound New Talent)

Bill Cunliffe
Bill Cunliffe
Bill Cunliffe
b.1956
piano

The Blues and the Abstract Truth, Take 2
(Resonance Records)
Review

Ben Schachter
Ben Schachter
Ben Schachter
b.1962
sax, tenor

Omnibus
(Ben-Jam Music)
Review




Label Spotlight: Sunnyside Records










Guillermo Klein
Filtros
Reviews

JD Allen
JD Allen
JD Allen

sax, tenor

I Am I Am
Review

Fernando Huergo
Provinciano
Review




Style Spotlight: Vocal



















Alyssa Graham
Alyssa Graham
Alyssa Graham

vocalist

Echo
(Sunnyside Records)
Review


Rebecca Martin
The Growing Season
(Sunnyside Records)

Reviews


Melody Gardot
Melody Gardot
Melody Gardot
b.1985
vocalist

Worrisome Heart
(Verve Music Group)


Alison Ruble
Alison Ruble
Alison Ruble

vocalist

This is a Bird
(Origin Records)

Review




More picks...

Marcin Wasilewski's January, Steve Turre's Rainbow People, Tom Tallitsch's Medicine Man, Roy Hargrove's Earfood, Massimo Biolcati's Persona, Avishai Cohen's Flood, The Wee Trio's Capitol Diner Vol. 1, Matt Jorgensen's Another Morning and Francisco Mela's Cirio.

And two very late 2007 releases well worth mentioning: Felipe Salles's South American Suite and Christof May's MAYGUS.


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