Saturday, December 24, 2005

Best of 2005

11. Ben Monder - Oceana: This is some very deeply layered and atmospheric music, with a moody mix of guitar, bass and drums with wordless vocals. Deeply textured and cinematic music.

10. White Stripes - Get Behind Me Satan: The most mature album of their career, Jack and Meg branch out into bluegrass and country without losing their garage rock edge.

9. Fast 'n' Bulbous - Blue Pork Chop Around the Rind: Guitarist (and Beefheart alum) Gary Lucas' little big band to plays instrumental versions of Captain Beefheart's music with joy and verve.

8. Marc Ribot - Spiritual Unity: Ribot hooks up with Albert Ayler alum Henry Grimes and some other heavyweights to explore the Ayler songbook of folk and gospel themes.

7. Jason Moran - Same Mother: A deeply felt exploration of the blues in jazz. The ringer on this session is the addition of guitarist Marvin Sewell who adds his urgent, earthy tone to several of the tracks.

6. Sam Rivers - Purple Violets: Interesting small band with vibes reminds me for the classic mid-60's records Rivers cut for Blue Note.

5. Yo Miles - Upriver: The third double disc in the series of albums where Henry Kiaser and Wadada Leo Smith explore the electric music of Miles Davis to great effect.

4. John Coltrane - One Up, One Down: Sure, bootleg version of these gigs from the Half Note have been around forever, but they never sounded this good. Epic slabs of music from one of the most legendary bands in jazz history.

3. Thelonious Monk w/ John Coltrane - Live at Carnegie Hall: This previously unavailable concert with Monk and Coltrane set the jazz world on its ear this year and for good reason. Kudos to the Library of Congress for making this music available.

2. The Bad Plus - Suspicious Activity: This quirky ensemble is really coming into its own, with wonderful compositions and impeccable execution.

1. Wayne Shorter - Beyond the Sound Barrier: This band has come together as a deeply powerful unit, and the interplay between Shorter and Perez is truly amazing, so much so that I almost long to hear the two make a duo album.

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