Archive for the ‘Top 10, 2009’ Category

W. Royal Stokes’ Best CDs of 2009

December 29th 2009

Each category is in alphabetical order

10 Best CDs

Fred Anderson, 21st Century Chase (Delmark)
Joshua Breakstone Trio, No One New (Capri)
The Diva Jazz Trio, Never Never Land (Arbors)
Keith Jarrett, Testament, Paris/London (ECM)
Ramsey Lewis, Songs From the Heart: Ramsey Plays Ramsey (Concord)
Irwin Mayfield and the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra, Book One (World Village/Harmonia Mundi)
Resonance Big Band Plays Tribute to Oscar Peterson (Resonance)
Roswell Rudd, Trombone Tribe (Soundscape)
Carol Sudhalter, The Octave Tunes (Alfa Music)
Mark Weinstein and Omar Sosa, Tales From the Earth (Otà)

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Andrey Henkin: Top 10 Albums of 2009

December 27th 2009

DAVE DOUGLAS BRASS ECSTASY – Spirit Moves (Greenleaf Music)
PETER EVANS – Nature/Culture (psi)
VLADIMIR VOLKOV – In Search Of A Standard (Leo)
ABDULLAH IBRAHIM – Senzo (Solo Piano) (Sunnyside)
HÅKON KORNSTAD – Dwell Time (Jazzland)
SEX MOB MEETS MEDESKI – Live in Willisau 2006 (Thirsty Ear)
THE TIPTONS SAX QUARTET – Laws of Motion (Zipa!/Spoot Music)
TORDEN KVARTETTEN – Devil’s Last Call (Ninth World Music)
MIROSLAV VITOUS – Remembering Weather Report (ECM)

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Bob Protzman: Ten 2009 Jazz CDs Worth Having

December 24th 2009

It seems someone’s always claiming jazz is dead. Well, a prominent jazz writer this year reported on his blog that he received 1,000 recordings for review. End of that discussion. After listening to a slightly lower number of CDs, I’ve come up with 10 that I found special for various reasons. Maybe you’ll agree.

In no particular order:

Dr. Lonnie Smith: “Rise Up!’’ (Palmetto) Jazz organ is everywhere, sometimes creating a “when you’ve heard one you’ve heard ‘em all feeling.’’ The soulful, funky, inventive “Dr.’’ Smith is a wonderful exception.

Joe Locke/David Hazeltine: “Mutual Admiration Society 2’’ (Sharp Nine)

Locke (vibraphone and marimba) and Hazeltine (piano) attest to their musical compatibility, complementing each other beautifully in a shimmering, swinging blend of their instruments and ideas.

Jackie Ryan: “Doozy’’ (OpenArt)

It all begins with the song, and the talented, versatile vocalist ‘s double CD has the most varied, surprising repertoire imaginable, plus smart arrangements and great playing.

Gary Burton, Pat Metheny, Steve Swallow, Antonio Sanchez: “Quartet Live’’ (Concord)

The warm, singing sounds of Burton’s vibes and Metheny’s guitar thrilled listeners 30-plus years ago. This CD from a recent reunion tour proves the thrill is not gone.

Chuck Owen & the Jazz Surge: “The Comet’s Tail: Performing the Compositions of Michael Brecker’’ (MAMA)

Owen and his outstanding big band recorded this terrific album several months after the 2007 death of exceptional and influential tenor saxophonist Michael Brecker. The CD, just released last August, affirms that Brecker also was a talented composer in the group’s performance of seven of his tunes, all given expanded and highly appealing arrangements by Owen and others. It’s a marvelous mostly high-energy fusion and modern jazz tribute (, balanced by a pair of impassioned ballads) to Brecker.

Tom Harrell: “Prana Dance’’ (HighNote)

Among trumpeters, Terell Stafford and Pittsburgh’s Sean Jones also produced high quality recordings, but Harrell gets the nod for maturity and consistency as player, composer and leader.

Elder: “Virtue’’ (Sony Masterworks)

Some would dismiss this 22-year-old Russian-born pianist as merely a virtuoso, but what a scintillating mix of various acoustic/electric styles and power and delicacy he offers. Whew!

Gerald Wilson Orchestra: “Detroit’’ (Mack Avenue)

On this commissioned suite of tunes honoring the Motor City, the senior citizen (91!) among today’s bandleaders proves again that his orchestra comes closest to having real style (ala Basie or Ellington) that is immediately recognizable and thrilling to hear.

Stefon Harris & Blackout: “Urbanus’’ (Concord)

Vibraphonist and marimba player Harris and Blackout are a hip combo of contemporary and straightahead jazz–funky, bluesy, bop-ish, grooving, and natural sounding rather than forced which so often is the case in this situation. Drummer Terreon Gully is as important as or more so than the leader.

Kurt Elling: “Dedicated to the One I Love: Sings the Music of Coltrane and Hartman’’ (Concord) Only the creative Kurt Elling among today’s singers would have the audacity to “cover’’ the revered Johnny Hartman-John Coltrane collaboration, and the voice, skill, and imagination to not only pull it off, but also make it his own.

Bob Protzman, Erie (PA) Life Magazine; “Everything Jazz,”  ng Jazz,” 3-6 p.m. Fridays, JAZZ FM, 88.5 & 104.9 (streams at

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Dan Ouellette: Top 10 jazz (+12) Top 10 pop

December 22nd 2009

Jazz Journalists Association Poll 2009
Jazz & pop

Submitted by Dan Ouellette (DownBeat, Stereophile, Billboard,

Web site re: biography: “Ron Carter: Finding the Right Notes”—

As I have in past years, I’m including two lists…one for jazz and one for pop, which I also cover…

Top 10 jazz albums for 2009…

1. Anouar Brahem: The Astounding Eyes of Rita (ECM)
2. Ben Allison: Think Free (Palmetto)
3. Joe Lovano Us Five: Folk Art (Blue Note)
4. Henry Threadgill Zooid: This Brings Us To, Volume 1 (Pi Recordings)
5. Dave Douglas & Brass Ecstasy: Spirit Moves (Greenleaf Music)
6. KD Allen: Shine! (Sunnyside)
7. Nels Cline: Coward (Cryptogramophone)
8. Medeski Martin & Wood: Radiolarians II (Indirecto)
9. The Bad Plus: For All I Care (Heads Up)
10. Jon Balke: SIWAN (ECM)

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Ken Franckling: Year End Rundown

December 21st 2009

The 10 best new jazz releases of 2009, listed alphabetically:

– Lili Añel, “Every Second in Between” (Wall-I Records)

– Big Band Ritmo Sinfonica Città Di Verona, “Restless Spirits” (Velut Luna)

– Seamus Blake, “Live in Italy” (Jazz Eyes)

– Mike Clark, “Blueprints of Jazz, Vol. 1” (Talking House)

– Bill Cunliffe, “Blues and the Abstract Truth, Take 2” (Resonance)

– Kat Edmonson, “Take to the Sky” (Convivium Records)

– Steve Kuhn, “Mostly Coltrane” (ECM)

– LeBoeuf Brothers, “House Without a Door” (LeBoeuf Brothers Music)

– John Scofield, “Piety Street” (EmArcy)

– Joe Zawinul, “75” (Heads Up International)

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Lyn Horton: Top Ten +1+1 2009

December 20th 2009

1. Joe McPhee, Michael Bisio, Dominic Duval, Paul Rogers, Claude Tchamitian: Angels, Devils and Haints, cJr7;
2. Evan Parker Electro-Acoustic Ensemble: The Moment’s Energy, ECM;
3. Ben Neill: Night Science, Thirsty Ear;
4. The Indigo Trio: Anaya, Rogueart;
5. Joe McPhee, Paal Nilssen-Love: Tomorrow Came Today, SmallTown SuperJazz;
6. Matthew Shipp Trio: Harmonic Disorder, Thirsty Ear;
7. Nate Wooley, Fred Lonberg-Holm, Jason Roebke: Throw Down Your Hammer and Sing, Porter;
8. Burton Greene, Perry Robinson: Two Voices in the Desert, Tzadik;
9. Cargo Cult: If You Should Go, Cadence;
10. Dom Minasi String Quartet: Dissonance Makes the Heart Grow Fonder, Konnex;
11. Bobby Previte: 110, Bandcamp;
12. Wadada Leo Smith, Jack DeJohnette: America, Tzadik.

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Ken Dryden’s 2009 Favorites

December 16th 2009

Ken Dryden’s 2009 Favorites

With between 800 and 1000 CDs arriving annually, it is impossible to hear everything, let alone the titles I didn’t obtain. My choices, in no particular order, represent some of my favorites from 2009.

Top 10 New Releases:

Charles Tolliver Big Band: Emperor March: Live at the Blue Note (Half Note)

Roberta Gambarini: So in Love (Emarcy)

Fred Hersch Pocket Orchestra: Live at Jazz Standard (Sunnyside)

Mel Martin: Where the Warm Winds Blow (Jazzed Media)

Oliver Jones & Hank Jones: Pleased to Meet You (Justin Time)

Terell Stafford-Dick Oatts Quintet: Bridging the Gap (Planet Arts)

The Heath Brothers: Endurance (Jazz Legacy)

Bud Shank Quartet: Fascinating Rhythms (Jazzed Media)

Geoff Keezer: Aurea (ArtistShare)

Ted Kooshian’s Standard Orbit Quartet: Underdog, and Other Stories… (Summit)

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Laurence Donohue-Greene’s Top 10+ of 2009

December 16th 2009

(listed ABC)
Steve Adams Trio – Surface Tension (Clean Feed)
Bill Dixon – Tapestries for Small Orchestra (Firehouse 12)
Agustí Fernández – Un Llamp Que No S’Acaba Mai (psi)
Jim Hall/Bill Frisell – Hemispheres (ArtistShare)
Indigo Trio (Nicole Mitchell/Harrison Bankhead/Hamid Drake) – Anaya (Rogue Art)
Mary Halvorson/Reuben Radding/Nate Wooley – Crackleknob (hatOLOGY)
Håkon Kornstad – Dwell Time (Jazzland)
Masada Quintet – Book of Angels, Vol.12: Stolas (feat. Joe Lovano) (Tzadik)
Bobby Previte – Pan Atlantic (Auand)
Miroslav Vitous Group – Remembering Weather Report (with Michel Portal) (ECM)

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Fred Kaplan’s Top 10 for 2009

December 16th 2009

1. Ella Fitzgerald, Twelve Nights in Hollywood

2. Keith Jarrett, Paris / London: Testament

3. Jim Hall & Bill Frisell, Hemispheres

4. Steve Kuhn Trio w/ Joe Lovano, Mostly Coltrane

5. Fly, Sky & Country

6. Dave Douglas’ Brass Ecstasy, Spirit Moves

7. Nellie McKay, Normal As Blueberry Pie

8. Masada Quintet, Stolas: The Book of Angels, Vol. 12

9. The Bad Plus, For All I Care

10. Ran Blake, Driftwoods

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Bill Milkowski’s Top 100 (+30) for 2009

December 12th 2009

1. Henry Threadgill Zooid, This Brings Us To, Vol. 1 (Pi Recording)

2. Miguel Zenon, Esta Plena (Marsalis Music)

3. Jim Hall/Bill Frisell, Hemisphere (ArtistShare)

4. The Monterey Quartet, Live at the 2007 Monterey Jazz Festival (MJF)

5. Freddie Hubbard, Without a Song: Live in Europe, 1969 (Blue Note)

6. Jeff “Tain” Watts, Watts (Dark Key)

7. John Patitucci, Remembrance (Concord)

8. Scott LaFaro, Pieces of Jade (Resonance)

9. Joe Lovano Us Five, Folk Art (Blue Note)

10. Masada Quintet Featuring Joe Lovano, Stolas: The Book of Angels, Vol. 22 (Tzadik)

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