Lyn Horton: Making One Last Point

February 6th 2010

During the last two weeks in January of 2010, the jazz media flooded the avant-garde jazz public with descriptions of the persona of Matthew Shipp in anticipation of the release of his “last” solo recording, 4D, scheduled on the 26th of the month. JazzTimes featured a story; Signal to Noise did a cover story; and published a piece, which I wrote. Several blogs, as well as Bulletin Boards, were delving into conversations about Shipp’s profane language, his casting aspersions on his elders, his self-involvement, his arrogance as well as the sheer amount of coverage given to the musician. In this entire hullabaloo, as I remember it, the music was only touched upon.

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Antonio Terzo’s 2009 Top CD’s

January 20th 2010

Not in any specific order:

  • Okkyung Lee/Peter Evans/Steve Beresford “Check For Monster” (Emanem)
  • The Bad Plus joined by Wendy Lewis “For All I Care” (Heads Up)
  • Satoko Fuji-Myra Melford “Under the Water” (Libra)
  • Carla Kihlstedt Satoko Fujii (Minamo) “Kuroi Kawa” (Tzadik )
  • Louis Moholo-Moholo/Duets with Marilyn Crispell “Sibanye — We Are One” (Intakt)
  • Matthew Shipp “Harmonic Disorder” (Thirstyear)
  • Samuel Blaser “Solo Bone” (Slam)
  • Gerald Cleaver” Farmers by Nature” (AUM Fidelity)
  • Indigo Trio “Anaya” (Rogue Art)
  • Nicole Mitchell’s Black Earth Strings “Renegades” (Delmark)
  • Yaron Herman Trio “Muse” (Laborie Rec.)
  • Chris Potter Underground “Ultrahang” (Artistshare)
  • Bugge Wesseltoft “Playing” (Jazzland)
  • Alexander von Schlippenbach “Friulian Sketches” (PSI Rec.)
  • Gebhard Ullmann “Don’t Touch My Music – Vol. 1 & 2” (Not Two Records)
  • Jacob Karlson “Heat” (Caprice Rec.)
  • Rashied Ali “Live in Europe” (Survival)
  • John Surman “Brewster’s Rooster” (ECM)
  • Jack DeJohnette – John Patitucci – Danilo Perez “Music We Are” (Golden Beams/Kindred Rhythm)
  • Zlatko Kaucic “30th Anniversary Concerts” (Splasch)
  • Fred Anderson “Staying in the Game” (ESP-Disk)
  • The Thirteenth Assembly “(Un) Sentimental” (Important Rec.)
  • Wadada Leo Smith “Spiritual Dimensions” (Cuneiform/Rune)
  • Josh Berman “Old Idea” (Delmark)
  • Ben Allison “Think Free” (Palmetto)

(to be continued…)

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Mitch Myers’ Most Played from his laptop iTunes

January 18th 2010

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Larry Blumenfeld on “Facing the Music: Who Hears Jazz?”

January 16th 2010

A survey of reactions and responses to NEA data on declines in audiences for live music:

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Alain Drouot: Top 10 and more

January 6th 2010

Top 10 of 2009
1. Michel Edelin – Kuntu – Rogue Art
2. Vijay Iyer – Historicity – ACT
3. Miroslav Vitous – Remembering Weather Report – ECM
4. Louis Moholo-Moholo/Duets with Marilyn Crispell – Sibanye (We Are One) – Intakt
5. Sophie Agnel – Capsizing Moments – Emanem
6. Darren Johnston – The Edge of the Forest – Clean Feed
7. David Binney – Third Occasion – Mythology
8. Brian Groder – Groder & Greene – Latham Records
9. Matt Wilson Quartet – That’s Gonna Leave a Mark – Palmetto
10. Rob Mazurek – Sound Is – Delmark
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20+20: Forrest Bryant’s CD Picks for 2009

January 5th 2010

THE TOP TWENTY (in alphabetical order)…

  • Dee Alexander – “Wild Is the Wind” (Blujazz)
  • Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society – “Infernal Machines” (New Amsterdam)
  • David Binney – “Third Occasion” (Mythology)
  • Luis Bonilla – “I Talking Now!” (Planet Arts)
  • Alex Cline – “Continuation” (Cryptogramophone)
  • Marc Copland – “Night Whispers: New York Trio Recordings, Vol. 3” (Pirouet)
  • DeJohnette/Patitucci/Perez – “Music We Are” (Golden Beams)
  • Oran Etkin – “Kelenia” (Motema)
  • Fly – “Sky and Country” (ECM)
  • The Fully Celebrated – “Drunk on the Blood of the Holy Ones” (AUM Fidelity)
  • John Hollenbeck Large Ensemble – “Eternal Interlude” (Sunnyside)
  • Vijay Iyer – “Historicity” (ACT)
  • Arthur Kell Quartet – “Victoria: Live in Germany” (BJU)
  • Steve Lehman Octet – “Travail, Transformation & Flow” (Pi)
  • Joe Lovano Us Five – “Folk Art” (Blue Note)
  • Medeski Martin & Wood – “Radiolarians 3” (Indirecto)
  • John Scofield – “Piety Street” (Emarcy)
  • SFJAZZ Collective – “Live 2009: Sixth Annual Concert Tour” (SFJAZZ)
  • Allen Toussaint – “The Bright Mississippi” (Nonesuch)
  • Mark Weinstein & Omar Sosa – “Tales from the Earth” (Otá)

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Willard Jenkins: Top 20

January 5th 2010

(listed in alpha order)

  • Dee Alexander, Wild is the Wind, Blu Jazz
  • Jane Bunnett, Embracing Voices, Sunnyside
  • Kurt Elling, Dedicated to You, Concord
  • Oran Etkin, Kelenia, Motema
  • Robert Glasper, Double Booked, Blue Note
  • Stefon Harris & Blackout, Urbanus, Concord
  • Bobby Hutcherson, Wise One, Kind of Blue
  • Vijay Iyer, Historicity, ACT
  • Sean Jones, The Search Within, Mack Avenue
  • James King, Allen’s Odyssey, Vibrant Tree
  • Joe Locke/David Hazeltine Quartet, Mutual Admiration Society 2, Sharp Nine
  • Joe Lovano Us Five, Folk Art, Blue Note
  • Branford Marsalis, Metamorphosen, Marsalis Music
  • Nicole Mitchell Black Earth Strings, Renegade, Delmark
  • David Murray & the Gwo-Ka Masters, The Devil Tried to Kill Me, Justin Time
  • Joshua Redman, Compass, Nonesuch
  • Marcus Roberts, New Orleans to Harlem, J Master
  • Jackie Ryan, Doozy, Open Art
  • Michael Thomas, Live at Twins Jazz, Jazhead
  • Miguel Zenon, Esta Plena, Marsalis Music

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Mark Gridley: Perception of Emotion in Jazz Improvisation

January 4th 2010


Knowing that the jazz improviser creates his own material while performing, some jazz listeners assume that the improvisations can reveal the musician’s emotions. To evaluate this assumption, fifteen studies were conducted. These studies focused on the possible perception of anger upon hearing the improvisations of tenor saxophonist John Coltrane. The instigation for the studies was that, during the early part of Coltrane’s recording career, one journalist had written that Coltrane was an “angry young tenor,” and another journalist had referred to “the rage in his playing,” both of which were the opposite of the performer’s stated intentions. Diversity of responses in the data was substantial, and it was found that the widely cited anger perceptions of those two journalists fall within a very small minority view. Nine out of 10 jazz journalists who were contemporaries of those two journalists did not perceive anger, and anger was perceived by only one of 23 jazz musicians. Anger was perceived by only 18% of 355 non-musician listeners. When 492 listeners completed questionnaires assessing their temperaments and heard a recording of the same performance that had elicited the journalist’s “angry young tenor” remark, it was found that those who scored above the mean in their own trait anger were twice as likely to perceive anger in the music as those who scored below the mean. This suggests that jazz improvisation may serve as the stimulus for a projective test, as an inkblot has traditionally been employed. The implications of published perceptions of emotion were demonstrated by two additional studies with a total of 143 listeners. They showed that perception of anger in the music was significantly more likely for listeners who were exposed to the journalist’s perception of anger before hearing the music.

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Geoffrey Himes: 20 Best Jazz Albums, 2009

January 2nd 2010

1. Bill Frisell: Disfarmer (Nonesuch)
2. Fly: Sky & Country (ECM)
3. Joe Lovano: Us Five Folk Art (Blue Note)
4. The Branford Marsalis Quartet: Metamorphosen (Marsalis)
5. Dave Douglas with Jim McNeely + Frankfurt Radio Bigband: A Single Sky (Greenleaf)
6. Vijay Iyer Trio: Historicity (ACT)
7. The Matt Wilson Quartet: That’s Gonna Leave a Mark (Palmetto)
8. John Hollenbeck Large Ensemble: Eternal Interlude (Sunnyside)
9. David Binney: Third Occasion (Mythology)
10. Hal Galper: Art-Work (Origin)
11. Bela Fleck: Throw Down Your Heart/Tales From the Acoustic Planet Vol. 3/The Africa Sessions (Rounder)
12. Cyrus Chestnut: Spirit (JLP)
13. Roswell Rudd: Trombone Tribe (Sunnyside)
14. Carla Bley: Carla’s Christmas Carols (WATT)
15. George Colligan: Come Together (Sunnyside)
16. John Patitucci: Remembrance (Concord)
17. Pat Metheny/Gary Burton: Quartet Live (Nonesuch)
18. Joshua Redman: Compass (Nonesuch)
19. Marty Ehrlich Rites Quartet: Things Have Got To Change (Clean Feed)
20. Paul Motian Trio 2000 + Two: On Broadway Vol. 5 (Winter & Winter)

NOTE: For comments on these titles and my favorite non-jazz albums, check out “The Himes Hundred: Best Albums of 2009.”

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Philip Booth: Best Jazz Discs of 2009

January 1st 2010

(This list is expanded from a similar list published in the Village Voice and Las Vegas City Life).

1. Allen Toussaint, The Bright Mississippi (Nonesuch) – The old-school R&B hitmaker digs deep into jazz roots, applying elegant piano to New Orleans chestnuts and pieces by Monk and Ellington.

2. Chuck Owen & the Jazz Surge, The Comet’s Tail: Performing the Compositions of Michael Brecker (MAMA) – The Florida-based big band revisits and reinvents the music of late saxophone great Brecker.

3. David Binney, Third Occasion (Mythology) – The underappreciated alto saxophonist offers ambitious, expansive originals, with his quartet joined by brass.

4. Tom Harrell, Prana Dance (Highnote) – The trumpeter leads his tight-knit quintet on compositions that are brainy yet emotionally engaging.

5. Kurt Rosenwinkel Standards Trio, Reflections (Wommusic) – The most gifted jazz guitarist under 40 takes a break from his edgy originals for brilliant, shimmering readings of standards by the likes of Monk and Wayne Shorter.

6. John Patitucci Trio, Remembrance (Concord) – The bassist’s heavyweight pianoless trio, with saxophonist Joe Lovano and drummer Brian Blade, bring piercing original compositions replete with surprising detours.

7. Fly, Sky and Country (ECM) – Saxophonist Mark Turner, bassist Larry Grenadier and drummer Jeff Ballard turn in fertile modern-jazz explorations.

8. Joel Harrison, Urban Myths (Highnote) – The guitarist again draws from fusion, funk and blues for smart, multi-textured jazz originals.

9. John Scofield, Piety Street (EmArcy) – Sco wields his tangy overdriven guitar for hard-grooving gospel pieces, driven by Meters bassist George Porter, Jr.

10. New Orleans Nightcrawlers, Slither Slice (Threadhead) – The veteran brass band returns with horns chewy enough and funk deep enough to blast the competition.

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