Learn How

We need your help in 2018

Support All About Jazz All About Jazz is looking for 1,000 backers to help fund our 2018 projects that directly support jazz. You can make this happen by purchasing ad space or by making a donation to our fund drive. In addition to completing every project (listed here), we'll also hide all Google ads and present exclusive content for a full year!

8

Jakob Baekgaard's Best Releases Of 2016

Jakob Baekgaard By

Sign in to view read count
The world seems more uncertain than ever before, but in times of uncertainty, music provides comfort and a hope that it is actually possible to communicate across borders, whether they be physical or psychological.

Among the releases that caught my attention this year, the one that meant most to me by far is not on this list, and it was not even reviewed on All About Jazz, not by me or any other writer. Bassist, composer and poet, William Parker's Stan's Hat Flapping in the Wind is a record that is special in many ways. Parker is not even on it and yet his spirit lingered all over the album in the words and music. It is an intimate chamber record with pianist Cooper-Moore and singer Lisa Sokolov, who interpret Parker's poetic songs in the most profound way. It is only in art we can encounter words about "The Death of Death," an impossible paradox, and experience the words of a "Soul in Heaven" being lifted into eternal, heavenly beauty, filled with light, sadness and forgiveness.

Stan's Hat Flapping in the Wind is a keen reminder that the real masterpieces are sometimes outside lists like these. Some music waits to be found, a secret that hides in the shadow, waiting for its particular listener. On the other hand, lists are fun to read and make. So here we go, eleven records from the year gone by that deserve to be heard.

Eri Yamamoto
Life
Aum Fidelity

Why should you check it out? Eri Yamamoto is one of the unsung poets of the piano and her trio with bassist David Ambrosio and drummer Ikuo Takeuchi is consistenly brilliant. Life is the latest highlight in her discography. Admirers of pianist Bill Evans will find much to like about this trio.

Chris Cheek
Saturday Songs
(Sunnyside Records)

Why should you check this out? Few jazz saxophonists dare to include a pedal steel player on their record, but Cheek did so successfully on his wonderful Saturday Songs. An accessible saxophonist who is not afraid of pop, country or rock, but has the intellectual edge of an avant-gardist. This is just what jazz needs today.

Jeff Parker
The New Breed
(International Athem)

Why should you check this out? Words such as "talented" do not suffice anymore to describe guitarist Jeff Parker. By now, he is a leader in every way, paving the way for a new sound in contemporary guitar jazz. The New Breed was just one of three noteworthy Parker-releases in 2016, the others being the solo effort Slight Freedom (Eremite) and a duo record with trumpeter Rob Mazurek, Some Jellyfish Never Die (Rogue Art).

Hailu Mergia
Wede Harer Guzo
(Awesome Tapes from Africa )

Why should you check this out? The uncrowned king of ethio-jazz, Hailu Mergia, returned with another gem from his archives: Wede Harer Guzo. The tight, funky bass groove, arabesque organ riffs and choir on the opener "Embuwa Bey Lamitu" set the record straight from the beginning. Mergia still rules!

Arthur Blythe
Lenox Avenue Breakdown / In The Tradition / Illusions / Blythe Spirit
BGO Records

Why should you check it out? Some reissues are more necessary than others. The re-release of four Columbia albums from saxophonist Arthur Blythe: Lenox Avenue Breakdown, In The Tradition, Illusions, and Blythe Spirit confirms Blythe as a superb stylist who is able to combine funk, bop and avant-garde.

Various Artists
Celestial Blues: Cosmic, Political And Spiritual Jazz 1970 To 1974
(BGP)

Why should you check it out? It is hard to think of a better compendium of cosmic funk jazz than this compilation from BGP. saxophonist Kamasi Washington did not come out of nowhere. This is the tradition he takes to new heights today.

ZAKS
Live at 5e
(ILK Music)

Why should you check it out? Saxophonist Jesper Zeuthen has been compared to Albert Ayler, but he has his own thing going and the official live bootleg-release from the group ZAKS shows him in full flight. Raw and spiritual. Lightning caught in a bottle.

Rune Klakegg & Scheen Jazzorkester
Fjon
(Losen Records)

Why should you check it out? The zen-like sounds of pianist Rune Klakegg's Scheen Jazzorkester captures the Nordic sound at its most beautiful in a sophisticated big band setting.

Jeremy Cunningham
Re: Dawn (From Far)
(ears&eyes Records)

Why should you check it out? ears&eyes is a promising label from Chicago. They released this excellent debut from drummer Jeremy Cunningham. High quality writing throughout and a contemporary jazz sound. Guitarist Jeff Parker's presence is an added bonus.

Jacob Anderskov
Resonance
(Stunt Records)

Why should you check it out? Anyone who thinks third stream is dead should listen to pianist Jacob Anderskov's album Resonance. It is possible to combine jazz and violins, romanticism and avant-garde.

Tomasz Dabrowski
S-O-L-O: 30th Birthday/30 Concerts/30 Cities
(Barefoot Records)

Why should you check it out? A Polish trumpeter named Tomasz, but not Stanko. Right now, Dabrowski is the one to watch and his poetic journey into the inner workings of his instrument was both a bold experiment and emotionally engaging.

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Geno Thackara's Best Releases of 2017 Best of / Year End Geno Thackara's Best Releases of 2017
by Geno Thackara
Published: December 17, 2017
Read Jerome Wilson's Best of 2017 Best of / Year End Jerome Wilson's Best of 2017
by Jerome Wilson
Published: December 17, 2017
Read Troy Dostert's Best Releases of 2017 Best of / Year End Troy Dostert's Best Releases of 2017
by Troy Dostert
Published: December 16, 2017
Read Dan McClenaghan's Best Releases of 2017 Best of / Year End Dan McClenaghan's Best Releases of 2017
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: December 15, 2017
Read Mark Corroto's Best Releases of 2017 Best of / Year End Mark Corroto's Best Releases of 2017
by Mark Corroto
Published: December 14, 2017
Read Mark Sullivan's Best Releases of 2017 Best of / Year End Mark Sullivan's Best Releases of 2017
by Mark Sullivan
Published: December 13, 2017
Read "What We Liked: 2016" Best of / Year End What We Liked: 2016
by Michael Ricci
Published: January 5, 2017
Read "James Nadal's Best Releases of 2016" Best of / Year End James Nadal's Best Releases of 2016
by James Nadal
Published: December 20, 2016
Read "Jakob Baekgaard's Best Releases Of 2016" Best of / Year End Jakob Baekgaard's Best Releases Of 2016
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: December 28, 2016
Read "Troy Collins' Best Releases of 2017" Best of / Year End Troy Collins' Best Releases of 2017
by Troy Collins
Published: December 7, 2017
Read "Mark Sullivan's Best Releases of 2017" Best of / Year End Mark Sullivan's Best Releases of 2017
by Mark Sullivan
Published: December 13, 2017
Read "Nenad Georgievski's Best Releases of 2016" Best of / Year End Nenad Georgievski's Best Releases of 2016
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: December 23, 2016

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!