Sunday, November 25, 2012

The best of 2012 - my take

T’is the season for the outpouring of Top 10 lists, and their many variations, for jazz, world events, etc. The jazz lists tend to have a lot of variation depending on the individual reviewer's personal tastes, as well as what he or she had a chance to hear during the year.* Bottom line, all are very subjective.

My choices below (except for the top 10 new songs of the year) have been submitted to the Jazz Times and 2012 compilations (the latter a Francis Davis-produced poll that through 2010 was published by The Village Voice.) My lists have also been posted to the Jazz Journalists Association's website, where you can get a sense what other writers and reviewers liked this year.

As I begin preparing my review of significant events and trends in jazz in 2012 for posting on, I thought I'd share my "best of 2012" lists. *Always keep in mind the above caveats.

The 10 best new jazz releases of 2012
1. Ryan Truesdell, Centennial: Newly Discovered Works of Gil Evans (artistShare)
2. Gregory Porter, Be Good (Motéma)
3. Paolo Fresu & Omar Sosa, Alma (Otá)
4. Ahmad Jamal, Blue Moon (JazzVillage)
5. Jeff Hamilton Trio, Red Sparkle (Capri)
6. Kurt Elling, 1619 Broadway – The Brill Building Project (Concord Jazz)
7. Pat Metheny, Unity Band (Nonesuch)
8. Edmar Castaneda, Double Portion (Arpa y Voz)
9. Stacey Kent, Dreamer in concert (Blue Note)
10. Lisa Hilton, American Impressions (Ruby Slippers Productions)

Top Historical/Reissues of 2012 (includes any recordings made over 10 years ago, whether newly released or merely reissued):
1. Wes Montgomery, Echoes of Indiana Avenue (Resonance)
2. Preservation Hall Jazz Band, The 50th Anniversary Collection (Legacy)
3. Bill Evans, Live at Art D’Lugoff’s Top of the Gate (Resonance)
4. Benny Goodman Orchestra featuring Anita O’Day, Big Bands Live (Jazzhaus)
5. Brecker Brothers, The Complete Arista Albums Collection (Legacy)   

2012’s best vocal recordings
1.     Gregory Porter, Be Good (Motéma)
2.     Kurt Elling, 1619 Broadway – The Brill Building Project (Concord Jazz)
3.     Stacey Kent, Dreamer in concert (Blue Note)
4.     Kat Edmonson, Way Down Low (Spinnerette)
5.     (tie) Paula West, Live at Jazz Standard (Hi Horse)
5.    (tie) Alison Wedding, This Dance (groundUP)

2012's best debut recording
Ryan Truesdell, Centennial: Newly Discovered Works of Gil Evans (artistShare)
The 10 best new songs of the year, listed alphabetically
- Harry Allen, “Great Scott” from Harry Allen & Scott Hamilton, “Round Midnight (Challenge)
- Joey Calderazzo, “As Summer Into Autumn Slips” from Branford Marsalis Quartet, Four MFs Playin’ Tunes (Marsalis Music)
- Kat Edmonson, “Nobody Knows That” from Way Down Low (Spinnerette)
- Jon Gold, “Samba Ballet” from Bossa of Possibility (BluJazz)
- Tamir Hendelman and Jeff Hamilton, “Hat’s Dance” from Jeff Hamilton Trio, Red Sparkle, (Capri)
- Lisa Hilton, “Subway” from American Impressions (Ruby Slippers Productions)
- Kazuo Ishiguro and Jim Tomlinson, “Postcard Lovers” from Stacy Kent’s Dreamer in concert (Blue Note)
- Jonny King, “Neither Here Nor There” from Above All (Sunnyside)
- Hailey Niswanger,“Tale of the Dale” from The Keeper(Calmit Productions)
- Gregory Porter, “Painted on Canvas” from Be Good (Motéma)

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