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 work was fine. In some cases the approach intrigued me and I thought it was pulled off in a great way. Other music just pleased me greatly. (despite some tendencies that being complex is the only aesthetic, I think making beautiful music is difficult. And necessary).
So, here it is. In no special order. Read it and weep... or jump for joy.
, Magnetic (Blue Note). This guy can play. But it's the group that makes his recording so fine. Drummer Kendrick Scott continues his wizardry. Everyone is tight, and Blanchard uses compositions from the talented people in his group, as well as his own fine writing.
, Alone and Together (Cap Records). Outstanding, clear, robust harmonica sound on exquisite tunes. Joined by outstanding guests. This is beautiful music.
These were all new to meexcept Porterand delightful finds. Each has a nice style and way of phrasing that is captivating. Salvant has tremendous pipes and soul. The others achieve sweet satisfaction with their own approach and treatment of their material. All impressive. Porter continues to be a soulful force, sweet and swinging. And he can write!
Nancy Harris, Dreams In Apartments (Gazelle Records)