Friday, January 04, 2013

Top Ten New Releases of 2012

1. Paul Dunmall & Tony Bianco - Thank You to John Coltrane (SLAM) - Tenor and soprano saxophonist Paul Dunmall and drummer Tony Bianco take a minimalist approach to their Coltrane tribute, touching on some of his most famous themes and crafting their own improvisations out of them. Both Dunmall and Bianco are completely invested in the music, giving all they can and the effect is breathtaking.
2. Black Music Disaster (Thirsty Ear) Led by Matthew Shipp this is a fantastic collaboration between musicians of different backgrounds coming together to perform an epic improvisation that stretches the very nature of space and time.
3. Vijay Iyer - Accelerando (ACT) Iyer’s trio takes a wide ranging view of modern music by playing potent originals along with compositions by great jazz composers and interpretations of popular songs. Absorbing and infectious, this is jazz about not only the mind but the body.
4. Sam Rivers-Dave Holland-Barry Altschul, Reunion: Live in New York (Pi) The band is totally focused in the moment, like artists walking up to a blank canvas and extemporaneously creating in real time with no preconceived notions.
5. Neneh Cherry & The Thing, The Cherry Thing (Smalltown Superjazz) The album works really well, covering music from a wide range of genres and neither the musical group or the singer make any concessions to each other, but rather collaborate beautifully. Both Cherry and the band buy into each other’s sound world without hesitation and produce a powerful album.
6. Steve Lehman, Dialect Fluorescent (Pi) Lehman is now at the forefront of modern jazz and is pushing the boundaries even further with each release. They play with aggressive commitment to forward thinking improvisational music, bringing laser like focus and strong listening skills.
7. Matthew Shipp, Elastic Aspects (Thirsty Ear) The combination of the intellectual and the emotional is seamless and creates a transcendent whole that goes beyond jazz to evoke a universe of distinctive musical possibility.
8. Charles Gayle, Streets (Northern Spy) Gayle uses his musical alter-ego "Streets" where he is free to step outside of himself and let his musical exuberance truly fly.
9. Donny McCaslin, Casting for Gravity (Greenleaf) Embracing elements of electronic instruments and fusion to create new avenues for expression, McCaslin develops music that remains jazz at its heart but draws fresh inspiration from the world around him.
10. Jon Irabagon - I Don't Hear Nothin' But The Blues Volume 2: Appalachian Haze (Irabbagast) A one track album of pure excitement is a continuous blast of energy. This thrilling album isn’t for the faint of heart, but its not a one-trick pony either.

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