2018 Jazz Favorites

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’ve written before about best-of-the-year summaries. And while I haven’t done much writing about music for commercial publications these past 12 months (still mostly focused on health and recovery), I’ve done enough focused listening to document the new releases in jazz that gave me the most pleasure this year. Here they are, in no particular order:

 

Cecile McLorin Salvant “The Window” (Mack Avenue)

Charles Lloyd and The Marvels featuring Lucinda Williams “Vanished Gardens” (Blue Note)

Matt Stevens, Walter Smith III, et al “In Common” (Whirlwind)

Joe Locke “Subtle Disguise” (Origin)

David Virelles “Igbo Alakorin (The Singer’s Grove), Vol. I and II” (Pi)

Carlos Henriquez “Dizzy Con Clave” (Redbros)

Joel Harrison “Free Country Vol. 3 (High Note)

Cannonball Adderley “Swingin’ In Seattle” (Reel to Real)

Aaron Parks “Little Big” (Ropeadope)

Chucho Valdes “Jazz Bata” (Mack Avenue)

Charlie Haden & Brad Mehldau “Long Ago and Far Away” (Impulse)

Jonathan Finlyson “Three Time Round” (Pi)

Keith Jarrett “La Fience” (ECM)

Luciana Souza “The Book of Longing” (Sunnyside)

Wadada Leo Smith “Rosa Parks: Pure Love” (TUM)

Thumbscrew “Ours” and “Theirs” (Cuneiform)

Brad Mehldau “Seymour Reads the Constitution” (Nonesuch)

Jure Purkl “Doubtless” (Whirlwind)

JALC Orchestra “Una Noche con Ruben Blades” (Blue Engine)

Dominique Eade & Ran Blake “Town and Country” (Sunnyside)

Kenyon Harrold “The Mugician” (Legacy)

Andrew Cyrille “Lebroba” (ECM)

Woody Shaw “Tokyo 1981” (Elemental)

Tyshawn Sorey, “Pillars” (Firehouse 12)

Dave Liebman & John Stowell “Petite Fleur” (Origin)

Miles Davis and John Coltrane “The Final Tour” (Legacy)

Aaron Goldberg “At the Edge of the World” (Sunnyside)

Sasha Mashin “Outside The Box” (Rainy Days)

Henry Threadgill “Double Up, Plays Double Up, Plus (Pi)

Joshua Redman/Ron Miles/Scott Colley/Brian Blade “Still Dreaming” (Nonesuch)

Norma Winstone “ Descansado-Songs For Films” (ECM)

Ambrose Akinmusire “Origami Harvest” (Blue Note)

Sons of Kemet “Your Queen is a Reptile” (Impulse)

Allison Miller/Carmen Staaf “Science Fair” (Sunnyside)

Mark Turner/Ethan Iverson “Temporary Kings” (ECM)

Wayne Shorter “Emanon” (Blue Note)

Gregory Porter “Nat “King” Cole & Me” (Blue Note)

Miles Okazaki “Work” (self-produced)

Trygvie Seim “Helsinki Songs” (ECM)

Freebird by Walking Distance featuring Jason Moran (Sunnyside)

Iro Haarla/Ulf Krokfers/Barry Altschul “Around Again” (TUM)

 

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Interview with Astor Piazzolla

Just in time for my Astor Piazzolla birthday celebration broadcast today, I found this aircheck buried deep in my closet. It’s from a program we did nearly 30 years ago when Piazzolla was about to bring his new sextet to the Warner Theater. The 3rd voice is one of my listeners Roberto Cucullu, who knew far more about Piazzolla than I did (he also brought a lot of rare Piazzolla recordings he’d collected over the years). Good memories. I miss Astor Piazzolla, who would have turned 97 today.

 

The Three Graces: “Larry Applebaum”

More than 10 years ago, my former boss at work, Michael Donaldson (an inveterate 45 collector), brought me a little something he picked up at a thrift store. It was super rare 45 of a New York-based vocal trio named The Three Graces singing a song dedicated to their latest heartthrob, Larry Applebaum. I was startled to see the title of the recording, issued by Golden Crest in 1960, written by Cy Levitan.

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It has many of the characteristic pop sounds of the day: jangly guitars, sax solo, vocal harmony and several very catchy hooks. It’s taken me many years to find a clean copy, so I’m grateful to Jeff Krulik, Gary Levine and Lee Michael Demsey for tracking it down for me. I now have my new closing theme for my radio show!

 

 

Before & After: Steve Wilson

Steve Wilson

By Larry Appelbaum

 

Multi-instrumentalist and educator Steve Wilson is busier than ever these days. He’s got his own group and has appeared on more than 150 recordings from duets to big bands. In addition to being a much-in-demand clinician, Wilson teaches at Virginia Commonwealth University, the City College of New York and the Juilliard School. His most recent release as a leader was Live in New York: The Vanguard Sessions (Random Act), and his next vinyl-only release Sit Back, Relax, & Unwind (J.M.I.) is due out later this year.  We carved out some focused listening time at the Watergate Hotel prior to Maria Schneider’s Orchestra sound check at the Kennedy Center.

 

 

 

Nate Smith

“Bounce Parts I & II” from Kinfolk: Postcards From Everywhere (Waterbaby Music). Smith, drums; Kris Bowers, keyboard; Fima Ephron, electric bass; Jeremy Most, guitar; Jaleel Shaw, alto saxophone; Chris Potter, tenor saxophone. Recorded in 2014.

 

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