Tuesday, December 1, 2015

2015’s Top 10 jazz listings – one scribe’s take

'Tis the season for the outpouring of Top 10 lists, and their many variations, for jazz, world events, etc. The jazz lists always 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 of these are very subjective. 

My choices below (aside from top 10 new songs of the year) were submitted to the JazzTimes and NPR Music 2015 compilations. (The latter is a Francis Davis-produced poll that previously was published by The Village Voice and Rhapsody.com).

As I begin preparing my review of significant events and trends in jazz in 2015 for posting on allaboutjazz.com, I thought I'd share my "best of 2015" lists. *Always keep in mind the above caveats.

The 10 best new jazz releases of 2015

1.    Maria Schneider Orchestra, The Thompson Fields (artistShare)
2.    Jason Miles/Ingrid Jensen, Kind of New (Whaling City Sound)
3.    Jimmy Greene,Beautiful Life (Mack Avenue)
4.    Harry Allen/Jan Lundgren Quartet, Quietly There (Stunt)
5.    Ryan Truesdell’s Gil Evans Project, Lines of Color (Blue Note/artistShare)
6.    Dave Stryker, Messin’ With Mister T (Strikezone)
7.    Joanna Wallfisch, The Origin of Adjustable Things (Sunnyside)
8.    Kenny Werner, The Melody (Pirouet)
9.    George Robert All-Star Quartet, New Life (GPR)
10.  Bjørn Solli, Aglow: The Lyngør Project Vol. 1 (Lyngør)

The best debut recording of 2015:
Joey Alexander, My Favorite Things (Motéma)

The best historical/reissues of 2015 (includes any recordings made over 10 years ago, whether newly released or reissued):
1.    Red Garland Trio, Swingin’ on the Korner (Elemental)
2.    Wes Montgomery, In The Beginning (Resonance)
3.    Erroll Garner, The Complete Concert by the Sea (Legacy)
4.    John Coltrane Quintet, So Many Things: The European Tour 1961 (MVD Entertainment)
5.    Wolfgang Lackerschmid, Wolfgang Lackerschmid Quartet (TCB)

The 10 best new songs from CDs released in 2015, listed alphabetically:

-    Dave Bass, “Baltic Bolero” from NYC Sessions (Whaling City Sound)
-    Chantale Gagné, “Moon Gazing” from The Left Side of the Moon (self-produced)
-    Laszlo Gardony, “Bourbon Street Boogie” from Life in Real Time (Sunnyside)
-    Paul Keeling, “Hearth” from Ancient Lights (self-produced)
-    Jeremy Pelt, “The Old Soul of the Modern Day Wayfarer” from Tales, Musings and Other Reveries (HighNote)
-    John Raymond, “Chant” from Foreign Territory (Fresh Sound New Talent)
-    Maria Schneider, “The Monarch and the Milkweed” from The Thompson Fields (artistShare)
-    Bjørn Solli, “Calenture” from Aglow: The Lyngør Project Vol. 1 (Lyngør)
-    Donald Vega and Lauren Meccia, “If You Can Fly” from Lauren Meccia’s Inside Your Eyes (Spirit Music)
-    Joanna Wallfisch, “Satin Grey” from The Origin of Adjustable Things (Sunnyside)

2015’s best vocal recording

Joanna Wallfisch, The Origin of Adjustable Things (Sunnyside)
2015’s best Latin/Brazilian jazz recordings:
1.    Arturo O’Farrill & The Afro-Cuban Jazz Orchestra, CUBA: The Conversation Continues (Motéma)
2.    Chris Washburne & The SYOTOS Band, Low Ridin’ (Zoho)
3.    Bill O’Connell and the Latin Jazz All-Stars, Imagine (Savant)
4.    Gabriel Alegria Afro-Peruvian Sextet, 10 (Zoho)

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