[JPL] Top Jazz Picks 2007
philipbooth at tampabay.rr.com
Tue Dec 4 21:23:56 EST 2007
I'm with you all the way on Pilgrimage - It's at the top of the lists that
I'm submitting to several publications this year -- just remarkable playing
and group interplay, and amazing compositions.
And Terence's CD is on my list, too -- tremendously affecting pieces,
beautifully played. It would be great to see concert halls/festivals all
over the country present Terence's group with strings for performances of
the music from the CD.
----- Original Message -----
From: "Jae Sinnett" <jaejazz at yahoo.com>
To: <jazzproglist at jazzweek.com>
Sent: Monday, December 03, 2007 4:28 PM
Subject: [JPL] Top Jazz Picks 2007
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> 10. Ryan Cohan - "One Sky" - Motema - Writing, writing, writing...Very
> intelligent writing. In and in a strange way it makes me think about
> Ellington in how Duke played the piano like he arranged. There was this
> unique parallel. I hear this in Ryan's playing. He plays like he writes.
> Quirky and soulful in spots and played and written with humor. The songs
> have a forward moving quality to them that keeps me looking forward to
> what is coming next. Void of predictability from beginning to end and
> texturally sophisticated... "One Sky" is certainly one of the top picks of
> the year.
> 9.Jerry Bergonzi - "Tenorist" - I love the openness on this recording.
> Old school in a way in concept but with very advanced harmonic passages.
> In the tradition of the classic blowin sessions. Jerry is one of the great
> improvisers playing jazz today and why he hasn't become one of the marquee
> saxophonists to the "jazz public" is beyond me. Deep, deep, deep. His
> sound is huge and and he's one of the few I could sit and listen to just
> play changes all day. A great recording as well for John Abercrombie. A
> wonderful fit indeed.
> 8. Antonio Sanchez - "Migration" - One of the things I've never
> particularly care about the Metheny Group is the top heavy sound. I've
> never really "felt" the band. Lots of colors and textures and melodic
> beauty but little beef. Antonio brings a unique sense of time to the group
> but it's still that Metheny Group sound. That's okay because they have
> one. Here Sanchez brings home the point that he's considerably more
> versatile than what you hear from him in that organization. Also, out of
> the great Latin drummers playing today he's come closest in my opinion to
> demonstrating a clear understanding of swing... the American groove. The
> writing in spots is so so but the playing is fantastic.
> 7. Bob Mintzer Quartet - "In the Moment" - Art Of Life Records - One of
> the most versatile and complete musicians playing today. Doesn't matter
> with him....big band, jazz quartet, Yellowjackets...he's always musically
> interesting. His writing has such clear logic and direction. What gets
> lost in how you listen to him is the fact that he swings. Swings hard.
> Phil Markowitz is one of the most underrated pianist playing today.
> 6. Terence Blanchard - "A Tale Of God's Will" - Blue Note - One of the
> first things I listen for when I put on a new recording is how much does
> the sound relate to that particular artist. Are they creating an
> environment that is shaped on their conceptual direction? I think that is
> the sign of a great artist...one that creates their own avenue of art.
> Terence has succeeded in doing this. Like Mintzer and Bergonzi, his voice
> is clearly identifiable. His tone is warm and big and his maturity is
> evident in his use of space. At times a breathtakingly beautiful recording
> and certainly one with vision and originality.
> 5. Steve Smith and Vital Information - "Vitalization" - Hudson Music -
> One of the great drummer/educators and drumming historians playing today.
> Some of the world rhythmic concepts demonstrated here...mainly from
> India...are still played with it's roots in the American groove. That
> familiar and soulful elasticity. The addition of Vinny Valentino puts more
> of a "jazz" touch in the group. Knowing the perfectionist Steve is...his
> organization is a thing of study. Perfect balance and variation and while
> I wouldn't call Steve a composer... the conceptual direction of each piece
> is built around what he plays.
> 4. Kurt Elling - "Nightmoves" - Concord - Wow...his interpretation of
> "Body and Soul" is alone worth putting this in my top picks. Extraordinary
> really. Taking Dexter's solo....singing for almost seven minutes straight!
> When have we heard something like that? He's the jazz singer of our
> time...period. Every aspect of his game raises the bar in jazz vocals.
> Pitch, phrasing, tone, rhythm...etc...doesn't matter. He can sing through
> anything. If you are listening just from the mechanics position...
> "Nightmoves" should give any singer a better point of departure in how
> they deal with approaching the composition.
> 3. Maria Schneider Orchestra - "Sky Blue" - Artist Share - The thing
> that every jazz artist strives for...or should...is to establish their
> individual voice. Maria has done that as a composer and arranger. There's
> no question when you listen to her music...that it's her. Simply
> magnificent. Her ability to float through the time is a thing of beauty
> and her music no doubt requires the top soloists to play it. I'm not sure
> there is an arranger today that has taken the jazz orchestra in such a
> different direction. I'm sure that's why she took the "jazz" out of the
> title because it transcends the pure concept of what is usually expected
> from the jazz orchestra.
> 2. Jonathan Kreisburg - "The South Of Everywhere" - Mel Bay Records -
> Well, I never heard of this guy before this recording and it reflects the
> common dilemma in jazz...great players that few know anything about. His
> tone, writing, line construction and improvisational ability are at such a
> high level that he's obviously been out there for many years playing and
> shedding. I'm personally not a big fan of the standards for dummies
> recordings that is so pervasive in jazz today but if musicians do one lets
> use his example of "Stella By Starlight" for approaching it "his" way.
> While meter changes and harmonic substitutions aren't new with doing
> familiar material... here with his arrangement he's forcing the musicians
> to think differently in how they approach it. The high point though for me
> is his writing and guitar work. Fresh and performed with outstanding
> musicianship from all involved and beautifully recorded.
> 1. Michael Brecker - "Pilgrimage" - Heads Up - I think any critic that
> would perhaps pick this as their favorite might have that feeling of some
> thinking that they are giving him the sentimental vote. Understandable but
> not the case here. This is simply a brilliant recording...from point A to
> point Z. Intense, complex, artistic, visionary, profound...everything is
> here. Then there is that individual voice thing again.... Having
> established that is one of the most profound statements an artist can
> make...good, bad or indifferent. Michael was the tenor saxophonist of our
> time but for some odd reason his writing...in my opinion... didn't get the
> credit I think it deserved. His writing here is astonishing in its
> textures, direction and thought. The advantage on "Prigrimage" is that
> besides the great writing you have an unbelievable level of
> improvisation... and it's not just about these guys knowing that Michael
> was sick and them giving their all. They've always played like
> this on his recordings. This is because Michael created that type of
> environment...he put the ultimate challenge up to them every single time
> out of the gate. He was beautiful that way...and the musicians loved
> playing with him. I think he knew what he created here...as did the other
> musicians involved. It was special. No doubt a masterpiece that will be
> embraced for years to come and hence...my top pick of the year.
> Honorable mention:
> Alvin Queen - "I Ain't Lookin At You"
> Josh Nelson - "Let It Go"
> Ron DeSalvio - "Essence Of Green"
> Rob Lockard - "Parallel Lives"
> Jackie Ryan - "You and the Night and the Music"
> New York Voices - "A Day Like This"
> Jae Sinnett
> WHRV FM
> Norfolk, VA
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