C. Michael Bailey's Best Releases of 2018


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The Pocket Philharmonic Orchestra, Peter Stangel
Beethoven Revisited Symphonies 1-9

One thing that can be bragged on regarding Beethoven's nine symphonies is their artistic durability and persistence. As the pinnacle of Western Musical thought, we might not expect any less of this music, seemingly forged in humanity's collective unconscious, as well as possibly encoded in our spiritual genome... continue.

Tiffany Austin

One of the greatest talents of the great talent, vocalist Betty Carter, was her ability to sing in different voice personalities. She could purr the purest ballad, scat the fastest bop run, and dig the deepest in the blue notes. Carter's legacy has been wanting for a new talent to bestow its mantle...and that talent is Tiffany Austin... continue.

Cory Weeds
Little Big Band: Explosion

Renaissance Man Cory Weeds has the Midas Touch. Since attaining Vancouver-local escape velocity with his Cellar Jazz Club and then his record label with the same imprint, the musical entrepreneur has parlayed his notice worldwide with excellent recordings of himself and other noted artists... continue.

Rory Block
A Woman's Soul: A Tribute To Bessie Smith

Blues guitarist and vocalist Rory Block serves up an inspired portrait of and homage to Bessie Smith on A Woman's Soul: A Tribute to Bessie Smith. Block has recorded several "tribute" albums, including Blues Walkin' Like a Man: A Tribute to Son House (Stoney Plain, 2008)... continue.

Steve Reich: Drumming

If it can be beaten with a stick, a mallet, a brush or a hammer, Kuniko beats it. The master percussionist elevates the musical art of universal percussion to a level that forces it to not only be taken seriously, but to encourage an effort to learn about it. That is the measure of an artist... continue.

Art Pepper
Unreleased Art Pepper Vol. 10: Toronto

Laurie Pepper, widow of alto saxophonist Art Pepper, achieved a life milestone in her brilliantly liberating sequel to Straight Life—The Story Of Art Pepper By Art And Laurie Pepper (Da Capo Press, 1983), where she rhetorically asked... continue.

E.J. Decker
Bluer than Velvet: The Prysock Project

First, Arthur Prysock. Arthur Prysock was one of those artists who straddled the jazz and R&B genres who, while gaining attention, never became a household word except to those listening closely, like vocalist E.J. Decker, who effectively pays homage to this unsung hero on Bluer than Velvet: The Prysock Project.... continue.

Mark Murphy
Pocketful of Rainbows

Mark Murphy again? No. This is a different Mark Murphy, one who is trying to approximate more closely the folksy Eva Cassidy than the hip and urbane same name. Pocketful of Rainbows follows 2016's Slip Away (the latter being considered one of Downbeat Magazine's recordings of that year... continue.

Cyrille Aimée
Cyrille Aimée —Live

Cyrille Aimée is an artist who inspires anticipation. Her 2016 recording, Let's Get Lost (Mack Avenue Records) revealed a fully formed artist immune to classification: as at home with "Lights are Low" as she is with "Stand by Me... continue.

Jamie Shew
Eyes Wide Open

Art is not conceived in a vacuum and need not stand on its own, independent of all else, for validity and necessity, as New Criticism would design. The essence of being human is the story behind being human... continue.

Lorraine Feather
Math Camp

Award Lorraine Feather a Grammy already! Math Camp contains the most cleverly composed original songs since, well, Feather's last recording, Flirting with Disaster (Jazzed Media, 2015)... continue.

Kelly Green Trio
Kelly Green Trio, Volume 1

Pianist/composer/vocalist Kelly Green released her debut recording, Life Rearranged (Self Produced, 2017) not so long ago by today's output standards... continue.

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