Thursday, December 5, 2019

My take on the best jazz recordings of 2019

‘Tis 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 each 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 2019 compilations (The latter is the 14th annual Francis Davis-produced poll previously published by The Village Voice and The Davis poll is the largest, most-trusted year-end survey of its kind.
As I begin preparing my review of significant events and trends in jazz in 2019 for All About Jazz, I thought I'd share my "best of 2019" lists. *Always keep in mind the above caveats.

The 10 best new jazz releases of 2019

1.       Tierney Sutton Band, ScreenPlay (BFM)
2.       Something Blue, Maximum Enjoyment (Posi-Tone)
3.       Tom Harrell, Infinity (HighNote)
4.       Charlie Dennard, Deep Blue (Deneaux)
5.       Akiko Tsuroga, Jeff Hamilton and Graham Dechter, Equal Time (Capri)
6.       Lisa Hilton, Oasis (Ruby Slippers)
7.       Brandon Goldberg, Let’s Play! (independent)
8.       Dave Zinno Unisphere, Stories Told (Whaling City Sound)
9.       Five Play, Live From the Firehouse Stage (5Play)
10.    James Suggs, You’re Gonna Hear From Me (Arbors)

2019’s best vocal recordings:
1.     Tierney Sutton Band, ScreenPlay (BFM) 
2.     Laurie Antonioli, The Constant Passage of Time (Origin) 
3.     Nancy Kelly, Remembering Mark Murphy (SubCat)
4.     Nora York with Jamie Lawrence, Swoon (Good Mood) 
5.     Polly Gibbons, All I Can Do (Resonance)

The best historical/reissues of 2019 (includes any recordings made over 10 years ago, whether newly released or reissued):
1.     Cannonball Adderley, Swingin’ in Seattle, Live at the Penthouse 1966-67 (Reel to Real)
2.     Michel Petrucciani Trio, One Night in Karlsruhe (SWR Jazzhaus)
3.     Betty Carter, The Music Never Stops (Blue Engine)
4.     John Coltrane, Blue World (Impulse!)
5.     Miles Davis, The Complete Birth of the Cool (Blue Note/Ume)

2019’s top debut recording: 
   - Brandon Goldberg, Let’s Play! (independent)

2019’s best Latin/Brazilian jazz recordings: 
1.     Señor Groove, Little Havana (Zoho)
2.  Jane Bunnett and Maqueque, On Firm Ground/Tierra Firme (Linus) 
3.     Wayne Wallace Latin Jazz Quintet, The Rhythm of Invention (Patois)
4.     David Sanchez, Carib (Ropeadope/Malaza)
5.     Antonio Adolfo, Samba Jazz Alley (AAM), Steve Khan Patchwork (Tone Center)

The 10 best new compositions from CDs released in 2019, listed alphabetically:
   - Dave Bass, “Agenbite of Inwit” from No Boundaries (Whaling City Sound) 
   - Polly Gibbons and James Pearson, “If You Had the Chance” from All I Can Do (Resonance) 
   - Miho Hazama, “Somnambulent” from Dancer in Nowhere (Sunnyside) 
   - Clifford Lamb, “Blues & Hues” from Blues & Hues (Weberworks) 
   - Bevan Manson, Cecily Gardner and Tierney Sutton, “Caramel” from Bevan Manson, The Jazz Cave (Meistero)
   -  Bennett Paster, “Belgrade Booty Call” from Indivisible (self-produced) 
   - Michael Thomas, “Without Doubt” from Terraza Big Band, One Day Wonder (Outside In) 
   - Akiko Tsuruga, “Osaka Samba” from Akiko, Hamilton and Dechter, Equal Time (Capri) 
   - Mike Tucker, “Requiem” from Dave Zinno Unisphere, Stories Told (Whaling City Sound) 
   - Noriko Ueda, “Uneven Pieces” from Five Play, Live From the Firehouse Stage (5Play)

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