But, 2015 was different. My teaching load was heavier but not so bad (plus I met some very smart and curious young people) and I actually stepped down from a part-time job. There were numerous health issues in the family, good friends moved and, invariably (as it happens when one ages), friends passed away.
After a particularly tough few weeks (in October), several new recordings wormed their way into my ears and the excitement returned. You'll see them listed below in this first set of "Best of 2015."Also, on the night of the Paris terrorist attacks, I saw and heard the Dave Douglas Brazen Heart quintet at The Side Door Jazz Club in Old Lyme; the power of the music, whether it was the gospel songs that were woven n and out of the 2 sets or the splendid interactions of the 5 musicians, gave me back a piece of my heart that is continuously torn away at by the horrendous stupidity and callous yet calculated disregard for human life and basic rights at home and around the world. Every semester, I ask my students "Can music change the world?", a question that begs to answered in the affirmative. I think many of them humor me by saying "Of course it does" but, in the long run, I fall back on telling them that music certainly changes the way I see the world, thereby avoiding the possibility of having them say "not really."
Well, these recordings brought me joy, often challenged my world views, made me sit down and take notice, and even gave a sense of peace (if only for a few hours at a time).
There is no one overall favorite but this group are the ones I returned to time and again.
Go to pirecordings.com/album/pi58.
For more information, go to www.mariaschneider.com.
For more information, go to posi-tone.com/whisperer/whisperer.html.
ncluding Fabian Almazan (piano), Loren Stillman (alto saxophone), Ryan Ferreira (guitar), Linda Oh (bass) and Justin Brown (drums). In my review, I called this "music for healing" and this music resonates even more as I return.
For more information, go to www.chrisdingman.com/the-subliminal-and-the-sublime/.
For more information, go to samsadigursky.com.
For more information, go to www.ryantruesdell.com/gilevansproject/.
For more information, go to pirecordings.com/album/pi62.
including Brian Blade(drums) and John Hébert(bass) plus a front line of Jason Rigby (tenor saxophone, clarinet, bass clarinet). Dick Oatts (alto & soprano saxes, flute), Marvin Stamm (trumpet, flugelhorn), Mark Patterson (trombone), and Kate McGarry (voice). Second is the great choice of material, mostly originals but with 2 prominent covers. I love the intimacy of this music, the splendid musicianship, the intelligent writing, and just how great Kate McGarry sounds in the midst of the arrangements.
For more information, go to mikeholober.com/discography/.
For more information, go to rosshammond.bandcamp.com/album/flight. While you're on his Bandcamp page, check out "Reindeer Songs", his album of Christmas songs - it certainly makes the season lighter and brighter!
For more information, go to www.lorrainefeather.com/albums/flirting-with-disaster/.
Needless to say, there's more and it'll show up in the next few weeks. Thanks for reading!