January 18th 2010
January 16th 2010
A survey of reactions and responses to NEA data on declines in audiences for live music:
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
Continue Reading »
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)
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
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.
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.”
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.
December 31st 2009
It is the end of the year. No, the first decade of the 21st century. And I do feel the anvil of time descending from the sky to crush me. My own age.
I hear the horns, the bass and the drums from the next room; the sound weaving its way around the corners of the walls that become the dividing lines between here and there.
This is poetry… a diary entry more than a report, requiring referential footnotes. Poetry sometimes skips the grammar and the punctuation, formalized in text books. Those saucy steps also happen in improvised music… music that lunges out of bounds passing through the wall that constantly presents itself at the point when no one can leap to the chance of the unknowable future, which, when speculated upon, has already become false and another story, rather than some indescribable set of circumstances.
December 31st 2009
Here’s the music that caught my ear in 2009, in alphabetical order:
- Nuance, Lynne Arriale (Motema)
- Carla’s Christmas Carols, Carla Bley (ECM)
- Blending Times, Ravi Coltrane (Savoy Jazz)
- Disfarmer, Bill Frisell (Nonesuch)
- Live at the Jazz Standard, Fred Hersch Pocket Orchestra (Sunnyside)
- Live at the 2007 Monterey Jazz Festival, The Monterey Quartet (Monterey Jazz Festival Records)
- Doozy, Jackie Ryan (Open Art)
- Rise Up, Dr. Lonnie Smith (Palmetto)
- A Quiet Thing, Lisa Sokolov (Laughing Horse)
- Emperor March, Charles Tolliver Big Band (Half Note)
- FreeSong Suite, Fay Victor
- Joe’s Strut, Michael Wolff (Wrong)