Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Looking back at 2017's best jazz recordings

‘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 listened to during the year.* Bottom line, all are extremely subjective.
These choices below (aside from top 10 new songs of the year) were submitted to the Jazz Times, Jazz Journalists’ Association and NPR Music 2016 compilations (the latter is the annual 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 2017 for posting on allaboutjazz.com, I thought I'd share my "best of 2017" lists. *Always keep in mind the above caveats.

The 10 best new jazz releases of 2017

1.   Jimmy Scott, I Go Back Home (Eden River)
2.   Hudson, Hudson (Motéma)
3.   Matt Wilson, Matt Wilson’s Honey and Salt (Palmetto)
4.   Jeff Rupert and Richard Drexler, Imagination (Rupe Media)
5.   Ingrid and Christine Jensen, Infinitude (Whirlwind)
6.   Benedikt Jahnel Trio, The Invariant (ECM)
7.   Yoko Miwa Trio, Pathways (Ocean Blue Tear Music)
8.   Joachim Kühn New Trio, Beauty & Truth (ACT)
9.   Gary Meek, Originals (self-produced)
10. University of Northern Colorado Jazz Lab Band I, The Romeo and Juliet Project (Artist Alliance)
   
2017’s best vocal recording:
Jimmy Scott, I Go Back Home (Eden River)

The best historical/reissues of 2017 (includes any recordings made over 10 years ago, whether newly released or reissued):
 
1.  Wes Montgomery / Wynton Kelly Trio, Smokin’ in Seattle: Live at the Penthouse (1966) (Resonance)
2.  Thelonious Monk, Les Liaisons Dangerouses 1960 (Sam/Saga)
3.  The Three Sounds featuring Gene Harris, Groovin’ Hard: Live at the Penthouse 1964-1968 (Resonance)
4.  Nat King Cole Trio, Swiss Radio Days Vol 43 – Zurich 1950 (TCB)
5.  Art Pepper, Art Pepper Presents West Coast Sessions! Vol. 3: Lee Konitz (Omnivore)

2017’s best Latin/Brazilian jazz recordings:
1.  Eliane Elias, Dance of Time (Concord Jazz)
2.  Ignacio Berroa, Straight Ahead from Havana (Codes Drum)
3.  Antonio Adolfo, Hybrido – From Rio to Wayne Shorter (AAM)
4.  Steve Khan, Backlog (Tone Center)
5.  Gabriel Alegría Afro-Peruvian Septet, Diablo en Brooklyn (Saponegro)

The 10 best new compositions from CDs released in 2017, listed alphabetically:   
  • Ambrose Akinmusire, “Withered” from A Rift in Decorum (Blue Note)
  • Lili Añel, “Another Place, Another Time” from Another Place, Another Time (Wall-I)
  • Roxy Coss, “Free to Be” from Chasing the Unicorn (Posi-Tone)
  • Jack DeJohnette, “Song for World Forgiveness“ from Hudson (Motéma)
  • Akua Dixon, “Let’s Dance” from Akua’s Dance (Akua’s Music)
  • Miles Donahue, “The Bug” from The Bug (Whaling City Sound)
  • Art Hirahara, “Kin-Ka: Gold Coin” from Central Line (Posi-Tone)
  • John Hollenbeck, “The Kiss” from University of Northern Colorado Jazz Lab Band I, The Romeo and Juliet Project (Artist Alliance)
  • Benedikt Jahnel, “The Circuit” from The Invariant (ECM)
  • Mike Longo, “Only Time Will Tell” from Mike Longo Trio, Only Time Will Tell (Consolidated Artists Productions)

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