Monday, December 27, 2004

Top 10 Jazz 2004

10. Albert Ayler - Holy Ghost

Too big with dodgy sound and superfluous material, it's still a fascinating artifact of Ayler's development in a live setting. From warped bebopper to free jazz Messiah to gospel r&b this is quite a package.

9. The Bad Plus - Give

A moldy fig's worst nightmare, The Bad Plus continue their mix of jazz and pop, creating an acoustic fusion all their own.

8. Dead Cat Bounce - Home Speaks to the Wandering

An out of left field disc, this creative group from Boston keeps alive the swinging bluesy jazz that Charles Mingus' groups made famous.

7. Sam Rivers - Celebration

Recorded just prior to his 80th (!) birthday, Rivers switches effortlessly between tenor and soprano sax, flute and piano. The ageless one.

6. Fred Hersch - Fred Hersch Trio + 2

After years of playing solo or trio formats Hersch hooks up with a couple of horns and proves that his lyrical, thoughtful style of piano is comfortable in any setting.

5. Dave Douglas - Strange Liberation

Dave Douglas and Bill Frisell seemed like a match made in heaven and the music bore this out. Not a polite meeting of leaders, this disc had a true group feel to it.

4. Chris Potter - Lift

Chris Potter adds his name to an impressive array of musicians who have made their mark at the Village Vanguard.

3. Marilyn Crispell Trio - Storyteller

Beautiful, haunting piano music. Crispell and her colleagues play music that is crystalline and elegiac but never maudlin or sentimental.

2. Don Braden - The New Hang

Braden's New Hang is pretty close to his old hang. If there was any saxophonist today who was meant to play with a groovin' organ trio, he is it. At any tempo from cooker to ballad, the group just nails it.

1. Susie Ibarra - Folkloriko

When I saw Susie Ibarra's trio in concert a few years ago I know they were on the verge of something great and this proves it. Portraying the day of a Filipono laborer in music, the music is exploratory and deeply moving.

Honorable mention:

Jenny Scheinman - Shalagaster
Branford Marsalis - The Steep Anthology
Cecil Taylor & the Italian Instabile Orchestra - The Owner of the Riverbank
Spaceways Inc. VS. Zü - Radiale
Vincent Herring - Mr. Wizzard
John Scofield Trio - EnRoute: Live
Greg Osby - Public
David Murray - Gwotet
Vandermark 5 - Elements Of Style, Exercises In Surprise
Myra Melford's The Tent - Where the Two Worlds Touch
Andrew Hill Jazzpar Octet + 1 - The Day the World Stood Still
Charles Mingus - The Great Concert Of Charles Mingus
Tim Berne's Big Satan - Souls Saved Hear
Thelonious Monk - Monk 'Round The World
Geri Allen - Life of a Song
Grachan Moncour III - Exploration
Charlie Hunter & Bobby Previte's Groundtruther - Latitude
Bill Frisell - Unspeakable
Matt Wilson's Arts & Crafts - Wake Up! (to what's happening)
Sam Rivers/Adam Rudolph/Harris Eisenstadt - Vista
Alice Coltrane - Translinear Light
Larry Young - Of Love and Peace
Jimmy Smith - Retrospective
Peter Brotzmann - Medicina
Nels Cline Singers - The Giant Pin

Send comments to: Tim