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Year in Review

Dan McClenaghan's Best Releases of 2010


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These are the CDs that never roamed away from the current listening shelf.

Jessica Williams


Origin Records

Masterpiece isn't a word to be tossed around lightly. Jessica Williams, with the eighty-eight piano keys and a lifetime of musical immersion, has created one with this recording.

Keith Jarrett/Charlie Haden


ECM Records

A sublime duo outing with jazz veterans, pianist Keith Jarrett and bassist Charlie Haden—a sort of accidental recording, an understated set of familiar standards exploring the themes of love and love lost.

Matt Jorgensen

Tattooed by Passion

Origin Records

Drummer/band leader Matt Jorgensen continues to push the music forward on this tribute to his late father-in-law, abstract expressionist painter Dale Chisman.

Denny Zeitlin


Sunnyside Records

Denny Zeitlin, a jazz Renaissance man who day jobs as a psychiatrist, has offered up one of the finest recordings of his career, a stunningly beautiful solo piano set, recorded live.

Paul Motian / Chris Potter / Jason Moran

Lost In A Dream

ECM Records

Drummer Paul Motian, who came to prominence in the late fifties as a member of pianist Bill Evans' Trio, is still going strong ten years into the new century, with saxophonist Chris Potter and pianist Jason Moran.

Dave Liebman Group

Turnaround: The Music of Ornette Coleman

Jazzwerkstatt Records

Veteran saxophonist Dave Liebman goes deep into Ornette Coleman's music with his long-standing quartet, adding a new harmonic depth to Coleman's Harmolodics.

Pete Malinverni Trio

A Beautiful Thing

Saranac Records

Pete Malinverni has been a top level jazz pianist for a good while, but this highly spontaneous set is a breakout recording effort that lives up to its title and then some.

Bill Carrothers

Joy Spring

Pirouet Records

Pianist Bill Carrothers' tribute to early bop legend, trumpeter Clifford Brown, rollicks and rolls in freewheeling territory, and, in the case of the title tune, slows the pace for an near religious rumination on the music of the died-too-young legend.

Christian Weidner

The Inward Song

Pirouet Records

German alto saxophonist/bandleader Christian Weidner has crafted a fresh, unique and very modern ensemble sound with his stellar quartet.

Dave Douglas and Keystone

Spark of Being: Expand

Greenleaf Music

Trumpeter Dave Douglas and his "soundtrack band," Keystone, add superb atmosphere to yet another take on the Frankenstein theme.

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