Friday, December 12, 2014

These Are a Few of My Favorite.....(Pt 1)

At the risk of repeating myself from the 10,000th time, what a great year for creative music, Black American Music and contemporary classical music.  I have voted in several polls including the NPR Music Jazz Critics Poll, in which the writers are limited to 10 new releases and 3 Re-issues or Historical releases. If you followed this blog as well as the column/blog published by the Hartford Courant from from 1997-2009, being confined to 13 is not easy for me.

For this post, I'll start with the list for the NPR poll. Next week, I'll get to the ones  that just missed making that list but deserve recognition. Click on the labels to go to pages that tell you more about the albums and more.

J.C. Sanford Orchestra (pictured above) - View From the Inside - Whirlwind Recordings)

Wadada Leo Smith - The Great Lakes Suite - TUM Records - features Henry Threadgill, John Lindberg and Jack DeJohnette (above left).

Darryl Harper - The Need's Got To Be So Deep - HiPNOTIC Records - This could easily have been at the top - the music and the concept are so fresh.

Kavita Shah - Visions - Inner Circle Records - Co-produced by Lionel Loueke, also chosen as my best vocal album of the year. Her show at The Side Door Jazz Club earlier this year was a knock-out.

Hafez Modirzadeh - In Convergence Liberation - Pi Recordings - stunning music from an ensemble that includes ETHEL, trumpeter Amir ElSaffir and the great vocal work of Mili Bermejo.

Arturo O'Farrill & The Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra - The Offense of the Drum - Motema Music - Also my choice for Latin Jazz album of 2014.

Eric Hofbauer Prehistoric Jazz Volumes 1 & 2 - The Rite of Spring + Quintet For The End of Time - Creative Nation Music - Brilliant arrangements of truly classic works by Stravinsky and Messien for the guitarist's top-notch quintet.  (For the Top 10, I only listed "The Rite..." but both are excellent.)

Orrin Evans & The Captain Black Band - Mother's Touch - Posi-Tone Records - Soulful, bluesy, creative and exciting, Mr. Evans struck it rich this year with this ensemble plus his work with Tarbaby.

The David Ullmann 8 - Corduroy - Little Sky Records -  Going back to this CD, I realize just his fresh this guitarist's music is - could easily be higher in the list.

Noah Garabedian Big Butter and The Eggmen - BJU Records - The music created by this bassist for his debut (!) is quite mature and great fun.

My picks for Historical Albums and/or Reissues include Charles LloydManhattan Stories (Resonance Records), Jimmy Guiffre 3 & 4 – New York Concerts (Elemental Music) and Charlie Haden/Jim Hall – Live 1990 (Impulse Records)

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