Jakob Baekgaard's Best Releases of 2017

Jakob Baekgaard BY

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2017 was another good year for music and while there is much unrest in the world, it is a source of comfort that it is still possible to bring people together from different corners of the world to play and sing together. Here are twelve records that stood out for me.

Matthew Shipp
Piano Song
Thirsty Ear

Why? Matthew Shipp continues to define and redefine the piano with great respect for tradition. Piano Song could very well turn out to be a classic in his canon of recorded works.

Paula Shocron / Germán Lamonega / Pablo Diaz
Hat Hut Records

Why? The SLD Trio with pianist Paula Shocron, bassist Germán Lamonega and drummer Pablo Diaz develop a timeless and experimental language on Tensegridad.

LMB Music

Why? Music to relax to. Music to find strength in. Jeff Oster's pure trumpet lines sing out in a comforting landscape of piano, warm acoustic guitars and gentle percussion.

Torhild Ostad / Carsten Dahl
Jeg roper til deg

Why? A future Norwegian classic? Singer Torhild Ostad and pianist Carsten Dahl had a special chemistry on these deep, poetic psalms. It is indeed ironic that the prolific Dahl who brought Ostad out of the shadow has currently decided to retire from his instrument to dedicate himself to painting. Hopefully, he and Ostad will get together again and make more music.

Charles Rumback
Threes/Tag Book
ears&eyes records

Why? A wonderful take on the piano trio on two companion releases that show the versatile drummer Charles Rumback as an inspiring composer in a democratic trio.

David S. Ware Trio
Live in New York, 2010
AUM Fidelity

Why? David S. Ware was able to use his instrument, the saxophone, to convey a world of feelings that can hardly be expressed in any ordinary language.

Lilly feat. Gilad Hekselman
Self Produced

Why? A superb example of close communication in a duo. Hekselman's guitar playing supports Lilly's pure voice and they sing together in perfect harmony.

Simon Eskildsen
Introducing the Simon Eskildsen Trio
Self Produced

Why? A strong debut from a Danish piano trio with memorable, original compositions. The communication here is empathic and shows that the Aarhus jazz scene in Denmark is worth looking out for.

Sinne Eeg
Stunt Records/Artist Share

Why? This could be the big breakthrough for singer, Sinne Eeg, who has created one of her best efforts so far in the company of such A-list players as drummer Joey Baron.

Jackie Shane
Any Other Way
Numero Group

Why? Not exactly jazz, but soulful music. Jackie Shane's music has finally gotten the attention it deserves and Rob Bowman tells her story in the excellent, extensive liner notes.

ensemble, et. al
The Slow Reveal
Imaginator Records

Why? Post-rock as jazz meets percussion. The Slow Reveal was recorded by Tortoise's John McEntire, who added that extra something to ensemble, et. al's music.

Anouar Brahem
Blue Maqams
ECM Records

Why? I never reviewed this release myself, but was made aware of it when I read John Kelman's excellent review. Thanks John!

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