Since moving to New York five years ago, my relationship to jazz has changed completely. Where recordings once were my primary medium for hearing the music, performance is how I mostly get my jollies now. An ACTUAL Top 10 list would therefore include such moments as discovering Tim Berne’s new quartet with Michael Attias at Barbes a few weeks ago—one of a zillion great shows I saw at the tiny Park Slope socio-politico-culturo hub this past year—and standing stage left as Ornette Coleman scattered “Bird” food for the seagulls (and about 7,000 listeners) at the 50th anniversary of the Newport Jazz Festival. Matthew Shipp1s “Boxing and Jazz” gig at the Knitting Factory’s main space was as thrilling as music gets, the opening showcase concert for Jazz at Lincoln Center (televised on PBS) was as misbegotten as the music gets. (How I wish I had slipped over to the Allen Room for the Afro-Latin orchestra, surely more to the point). And so on. My list is more like a sample of the CDs that have accumulated on top of the TV set this year, destined for repeat spins. Unfortunately, it would be easier for me to pinpoint a good 20 CDs by “name” players that failed to hold my interest in 2004 (even though everyone else seems to like them)—as well as another 20 or 30 discs that I have yet to hear and should have.
Still the best reason to get married: So Steven Bernstein can headline the reception.
RIP: Raymond Ross. Sure hope he had a chance to see the Ayler box.
Steve Dollar is a freelance writer living in Brooklyn. He writes about jazz for Stereophile, and is a frequent contributor to Newsday, playboy.com, and various other publications. His book, Jazz Guide: New York City was published last year by the Little Bookroom.
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