Tuesday, December 3, 2013

My Picks of the Best New Jazz for 2013


This year was a particularly fertile year for new, contemporary music by young composers. If the music has to be categorized at all it probably falls into that all encompassing genre we call " jazz.," a label that many consider too limiting. It was also a year when some of the more seasoned players brought their "A" game to the studio with predictably satisfying results.

 I personally have an affinity for a good melody,  good rhythm and lyricism and yet sometimes good music may lack an identifiable melody or contain rhythmic diversity that is so complex that it can only be  savored by a mathematically attuned brain. Music can be so arrhythmic as to cause  the internal rhythms of our bodies to react as if we are mainlining adrenaline. Some music is so atonal and dissonant that it can strain credibility with the listener, mimicking purposeful cacophony, but yet bringing with it a sense of expression, creativity  and occasionally a  sense of majesty. Acknowledging that it is all part of artistic expression, not everyone will find all the choices to be to their liking, but one thing is for sure they are all worthy of consideration. To paraphrase Duke Ellington's famous tome there are just two kinds of music, good music and the other kind. I believe these selections all fall into the good category. So go out and listen and support these talented artists.

With that in mind I offer my picks for the best of Jazz's New Music in  2013. My apologies to those fine offerings that I didn't have a chance to listen to this year and are necessarily excluded from my list.


My List of the best of Jazz for 2013


In no particular order:

Brian Landrus' Kaliedescope: Mirage, Blueland Records



Charles Lloyd and Jason Moran: Hagar's Song, ECM

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John Hollenbeck's Claudia Quintet: September, Cunneiform Records



Jan Ira Bloom: Sixteen Sunsets, Outline Records


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John Wirtz: Tourist, John Wirtz Music




The Jamie Baum Septet: In This Life, Sunnyside Records


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John Escreet: Sabotage and Celebration




Rudresh Mahanthappa's : Gamak, ACT Records


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Cecile McLoren Savant: Woman Child, Mack Avenue Records




Steve Gadd Band: Gadditude, BFM


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Geri Allen: Grand River Crossings, Motema




Steve Turre: The Bones of Art, High Note Records


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Dave Douglas Quintet: Be Still, Greenleaf Music




Christian McBride+ Inside Straight: People Music, Mack Avenue


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Chuck Owen & The Jazz Surge: River Runs, MAMA Records




Ethan Iverson/Lee Konitz: Costumes Are Mandatory, High Note


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Tomasz Stanko New York Quartet: Wistawa, ECM




Antonio Sanchez: New Life, CamJazz




Michael Blanco: No Time Like the Present, Cognitive Dissonance
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Jonathan Kreisberg: One, NFN




Antonio Adolfo: Finas Misturas, AAM

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David Weiss & Point of Departure: Venture Inward, Positone

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Aaron Diehl, The Bespoke Man's Narrative, Mack Avenue



Joe Lovano Us Five: Cross Culture,  Blue Note

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Eddie Daniels & Roger Kellaway; Live in Santa Fe, Duke at the Roadhouse, IPO

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Will Calhoun: Life in This World, Motema

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John Hollenbeck: Songs I Like A Lot, Sunnyside



Honorable Mentions:

Amir El Saffar: Alchemy, Pi Recordings
Jonathan Finlayson: Moment & The Message, Pi Recordings
Eric Hoffbauer: American Grace, Creative Nation Music
Adam Rudolph's Go Organic Orchestra: Sonic Mandela
Frank Wess: Magic 101, IPO Recordings
Dave Holland Quartet: Prism, Dare2 Records
Bill Frisell, Big Sur, Okeh
Giacomo Gates: Miles Tones: Savant Records
Nicole Mitchell & Ice Crystals: Aquarius, Delmark
Tim Berne: Snakeoil, ECM
Jameo Brown: Transcendence, Motema
Christian McBride Trio: Out There, Mack Avenue

Best Historical Releases:

Volker Kreigel, Lost Tapes Mainz 1963-69, Jazz Haus
Modern Jazz Quartet: Lost Tapes, Gremany 1956-58, Jazz Haus
George Shearing: At Home, Jazzknight Records
Oscar Pettiford, The Lost Tapes Germany 1958-59, JazzHaus

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