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Publisher's Top Picks for 2008

Michael Ricci By

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It was another productive year for "Team AAJ" as we delivered some new features and upgraded several others across the website. We also beefed up our editorial staff to better manage the increasing number of contributors.

The programming staff (Mike Lorenz and myself) continued to build on our foundation that has firmly established AAJ as the nexus for jazz online. And the esprit de corps is stronger than ever as we forge ahead in 2009.

Last year's accomplishments ranged from subtle refinements to dramatic improvements and our impressive spike in traffic has kept us inspired and focused. Musicians have also encouraged us with their praise and suggestions. Thanks everyone!

2009 is already proving to be another exciting year. We're developing a new photo gallery, we're working on a streaming audio solution (so musicians can showcase their music), we're building a gathering place for students, and we're reviewing how best to deliver video.

Back to 2008 and the music.

I heard somewhere (NPR?) that 2008 wasn't a very good year for jazz music. That person and I are obviously not on the same service lists, as I was exposed to consistently strong efforts every day. From the thousands of CDs that arrived at AAJ HQ, here are some that received the most ear play. I highlighted some specific releases from Sunnyside Records as well as some standout vocal releases.

In no particular order...










Rudresh Mahanthappa
Kinsmen
(Pi Recordings)
Reviews

Leonardo Cioglia
Contos
(Self Produced)
Reviews

Ulf Wakenius
Love is Real
(ACT Music)
Review











Joe Locke
Force of Four
(Origin Records)
Reviews

Kurt Rosenwinkel
The Remedy: Live at the Village Vanguard
(ArtistShare)
Reviews

Nik Bartsch
Holon
(ECM Records)
Reviews













Rob Mosher
The Tortoise
(Self Produced)
Reviews

Elephant9
Dodovoodoo
(Rune Grammofon)
Review

Bobby Previte
Set the Alarm for Monday
(Palmetto Records)
Review











Brad Mehldau
Live
(Nonesuch Records)
Review

Aaron Parks
Invisible Cinema
(Blue Note Records)
Reviews

Todd Sickafoose
Tiny Resistors
(Cryptogramophone)
Review













Christian Scott
Live at Newport
(Concord Music Group)
Review

Brian Blade
Season of Changes
(Verve Music Group)
Review

Revolutionary Snake Ensemble
Forked Tongue
(Cuneiform Records)
Reviews











David Sanchez
Cultural Survival
(Concord Picante)
Reviews

e.s.t.
Leucocyte
(ACT Music)
Review

Gonzalo Rubalcaba
Avatar
(Blue Note Records)
Reviews











Matt Penman
Catch of the Day
(Fresh Sound New Talent)

Bill Cunliffe
The Blues and the Abstract Truth, Take 2
(Resonance Records)
Review

Ben Schachter
Omnibus
(Ben-Jam Music)
Review




Label Spotlight: Sunnyside Records










Guillermo Klein
Filtros
Reviews

JD Allen
I Am I Am
Review

Fernando Huergo
Provinciano
Review




Style Spotlight: Vocal



















Alyssa Graham
Echo
(Sunnyside Records)
Review


Rebecca Martin
The Growing Season
(Sunnyside Records)

Reviews


Melody Gardot
Worrisome Heart
(Verve Music Group)


Alison Ruble
This is a Bird
(Origin Records)

Review




More picks...

Marcin Wasilewski's January, Steve Turre's Rainbow People, Tom Tallitsch's Medicine Man, Roy Hargrove's Earfood, Massimo Biolcati's Persona, Avishai Cohen's Flood, The Wee Trio's Capitol Diner Vol. 1, Matt Jorgensen's Another Morning and Francisco Mela's Cirio.

And two very late 2007 releases well worth mentioning: Felipe Salles's South American Suite and Christof May's MAYGUS.


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