Scores of excellent CDs were released in 2012. These are some of the finest. Click on the CD titles for more in depth reviews.
Hal Galper Airegin Revisited Origin Records
Pianist Hal Galper
has been delving deeply into his rubato explorations of the standards, along with his own distinctive compositions, and each release is better than the last.
Marc Johnson / Eliane Elias Swept Away ECM Records
An extraordinarily beautiful set. Bassist Marc Johnson
and his musical/marital partner, pianist Eliane Elias
, joined by drummer Joey Baron
and, on of five numbers, by saxophonist Joe Lovano
, have created a classic.
Brad Mehldau Trio Where Do You Start Nonesuch Records
Pianist Brad Mehldau
, along with trio mates, bassist Larry Grenadier
and drummer Jeff Ballard
, released two great CDs this year, one of Mehldau originals and one of covers. Both could be included, but this, the trio's covers outing, grabbed me just a little harder.
Todd Bishop Group Little Played Little Bird Origin Records
Drummer Todd Bishop
is an underground treasure. He doesn't boast the highest of profiles, but he has put out two consecutive great CDs for the Origin Records label: 2009's 69 Annee Erotique
and now, this nod to alto saxophonist/free jazz pioneer Ornette Coleman
Satoko Fujii / Natsuki Tamura Muku Libra Records
Trumpeter Natsuki Tamura
and pianist Satoko Fujii
haven't been as prolific this year, recording-wise, as they've been in years past, but they've produced a real gem in this duo set, a follow-up to sorts to their previous duo outing, Chun
(Libra Records, 2008).
Mark Soskin Nino Rota Kind of Blue Records Mark Soskin
is, perhaps, best known as saxophonist Sonny Rollins
' pianist from 1978 to 1991. On this marvelous solo outing, he explores the music of Italian composer Nino Rota, the composer behind Federico Fellini's film soundtracks, as well as the music for Francis Ford Coppola's 1972 movie, The Godfather
. Extraordinarily beautiful.
Enfants Terribles Live at the Blue Note Half Note Records
Alto saxophonist Lee Konitz
, along with bassist Gary Peacock
, drummer Joey Baron and guitarist Bill Frisell
, delivers an hour of some of the most inspired spontaneity imaginable.
Gato Libre Forever Libra Records Gato Libre
is trumpeter Natsuki Tamura's acoustic, European-hued quartet. Joined by keyboardist Satoko Fujiion accordion herealong with bassist Norikatsu Koreyasu and guitarist Kazuhiko Tsumura, the sound is old world, with an often modern tint. An enchanting set.
Bobo Stenson Trio Indicum ECM Records
Swedish pianist Bobo Stenson
, along with trio mates Anders Jormin
(double bass) and Jon Fält, has created another stellar outing. This is one of today'sor any day'stop trios.
Jessica Williams Songs of Earth Origin Records Jessica Williams
keeps going deeper and deeper into her art of the piano. She shines on her solo outings, never more so than here.
Marc Copland Some More Love Songs Pirouet Records
Pianist Marc Copland
's trio outings are always mesmerizing affairs, and Some More Loves Songs
is no exception.
Sam Newsome Art of the Soprano, Vol. 1
This is soprano saxophonist Sam Newsome
solo, sounding percussive and haunting, driving into enduring classics from pianist Duke Ellington
and saxophonist John Coltrane