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Dan McClenaghan's Top Ten for 2009


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2009 was a fantastic year for music. Every disc on this list is a marvelous set of sounds. This is what keeps me excited about the art form.

Jessica Williams
Art of the Piano
Origin Records

Always a fine pianist, Jessica Williams has driven deeper into her artistry since she started her own record label. This live set features Jessica Williams at the peak of her solo piano powers.

Edmar Castaneda
Entre Cuerdas

An unusual combination of Castaneda's harp with trombone and percussion blending into a uniquely exuberant sound.

Steve Kuhn Trio with Joe Lovano
Mostly Coltrane
ECM Records

Pianist Kuhn's stint with John Coltrane was brief, but he soaked up the saxophonist's spirit. This quartet doesn't try to copy the Trane's sound; interprets the spirit of it.

Greg Reitan
Some Other Time
Sunnyside Records

An extraordinary debut by a pianist with a with a supple touch and an elegant, classic approach to the piano trio format.

Rudresh Mahanthappa's Indo-Pak Coalition
Innova Records

Following his much praised Kinsmen (Pi Recordings, 2008), altoist Rudresh Mahanthappa continues his exploration of Western jazz mixed with Indian music with guitarist Rez Abassi and tablaist Dan Weiss.

Gary Peacock/Marc Copland
Pirouet Records

Two veterans immerse themselves in this duo outing of the highest order. Just beautiful!

Todd Bishop's Pop Art 4
69 Annee Erotique
Origin Records

A meticulously-crafted jazz/pop mix nod to the music of the late French musical Renaissance man, Serge Gainsbourg.

Bridge Quartet
Origin Records

A top notch quartet, sax and piano/bass/drums, sounding devil-may-care relaxed, giving some familiar tunes a wild ride.

Fred Hess Big Band
Hold On
Dazzle Records

Saxophonist Fred Hess expands his pallet from small group to big band with excellent results.

Jan Garbarek Group
ECM Records

The Norwegian saxophonist's first ever live set, a double disc that won't leave the CD player and encourages a journey of discovery into his catalog.

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