By most measures 2017 was not the best of years. In the jazz world however, the creativity and dedication of musicians worldwide was a beacon of positivity and purpose. Matt Wilson and Jane Ira Bloom made superb connections between poetry and jazz, new artists like Simon Millerd and Laura Campisi made strong first impressions and veteran powerhouses like Vijay Iyer and Wadada Leo Smith kept on doing what they do. Here are the 12 recordings that moved me the most in the past year.
Rhythm Abstraction: Azure is the first volume of new compositions created as a follow up to 2018’s
release Rhythm Kaleidoscope. As with that release, Brock Avery improvised drum and percussion
solos. Frank Macchia then composed music for woodwinds and orchestra to Brock’s creations. Azure
is the first of three extended play albums of 6-7 compositions which will be released starting in
January and followed up in April and July. In Azure we have a created a group of pieces that continue
our quest for honoring the art of improvisation with a “stream-of-consciousness” sense of
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