As 2013 drew to a close the Jazz Police appeared to be resurgent, at least in the UKbusily condemning those foolish enough to make and/or enjoy popular music and entertainment rather than listen to the latest cutting-edge ensemble from somewhere or other. Thankfully, the musicians just got on with it. In at least ten cases, they produced recordings of outstanding wonderfulness and gave me the chance to hear them. This is my list of ten whose wonderfulness was particularly outstanding.
Why are they all so wonderful? Signs took me through every emotion I possess in barely an hourlots of them involved smiling and feeling generally quite well-disposed. A South Asian Suite made me danceno easy task. Wedding Music and Don't Overthink It proved that improvisation through co-operation is a marvellous thing. Blues For The Hitchhiking Dead and All Hands On Deck showed in their very different ways that the old days aren't just for reminiscence and nostalgia while Something's Coming demonstrated the sheer delight to be had from the sound of a big band.
Liquid Spirit re-affirmed its maker's talents and The Poet's Embrace was a joyous celebration of past masters and past technologies. As for A Beautiful Friendship... Well, these records are presented in no particular order, but this stylishly-packaged four-track vinyl 12" was my Record Of The Year.
I love jazz because next to my kids, it's the love of my life.
I was first exposed to jazz by Joe Rico from a tiny station in Niagara Falls in 1954 when I was 13.
The best show I ever attended was Maynard Ferguson who blew the roof off Massey Hall in the late 50s.
My advice to new listeners is to listen to everything you can and then listen again.