As 2010 draws to a close, I am taking this opportunity to look back at some of the new, standout recordings I've encountered over the course of the year. Some of my new favoriteslike Paul Motian's Lost In A Dream (ECM, 2010), the new three-disc collection from the SFJAZZ Collective, and People Time: The Complete Recordings (Sunnyside, 2010), from Stan Getz and Kenny Barronspent a good deal of time in my CD player, but never made it into my review pile. Other highly praised discs, like Vijay Iyer's first solo piano disc and Charles Lloyd's Mirror (ECM, 2010) are on my holiday wishlist, but haven't made it into my hands as of this writing. Over the course of this year, I had the opportunity to write 100+ reviews for All About Jazz and these were the nine discs that stood out:
I've always loved jazz ...my mother was a classical pianist and my aunt was a blues singer, who was managed by Clarence Williams (Bessie Smith's producer). As a young boy, they introduced me to people like Louis Armstrong, Sarah Vaughan, and Jimmy Smith
I've always loved jazz ...my mother was a classical pianist and my aunt was a blues singer, who was managed by Clarence Williams (Bessie Smith's producer). As a young boy, they introduced me to people like Louis Armstrong, Sarah Vaughan, and Jimmy Smith. We hung out at my Aunt Kate's Soul Food restaurant in Harlem after the matinees at the Apollo where I listened to their stories. I knew I wanted to be a jazz musician from then on. My mother wanted me to play piano, but my Aunt bought me a guitar. I've been playing ever since.
At my mother's early prompting, I first sang Blue Velvet at my Catholic elementary school...and all the nuns came running in and asked me to sing again, so I knew I must have sounded pretty good. I've been singing ever since.
I met Tony Bennett in Miami and he inspired me to return to New York. He was a great mentor.
The best show I ever attended is mpossible to say, I've seen so many great shows. From Tony Bennett to Pat Martino, Return to Forever to Weather Report...I've seen some great performances.
My advice to new listeners is don't let jazz intimidate you, the music has something for every listener and it is our American gift to the world.