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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Tom Jacobsen: New Orleans Update

December 16th 2009

Howard suggested I submit the following:

For those wondering about the state of New Orleans in the five years since Katrina, I recommend the just released demographic report by the Greater New Orleans Community Data Center. It is based on US Census data from 2000 and 2008. Among its findings are:

  • The city’s population has fallen from ca. 485K (2000) to ca. 312K (2008). The metro area has shrunk from ca. 1,132,000 to ca. 976K.
  • The city’s black/African American (vs. white) population has fallen from ca. 67% to ca. 61%. For the metro area it is 37% to 34%.
  • The city’s poverty rate has fallen from 28% to 23%.

The full report is available at

The latest I’ve seen on local unemployment is that it is ca. 7%, hence lower than the national average. This can be attributed, at least in part, to construction and repair of housing in the flooded areas of the city (80% of the city). Also very noteworthy are the wonderful projects being carried out in the Ninth Ward: the Musicians’ Village in the Upper 9th started by Branford Marsalis and Harry Connick Jr. (see and the Make It Right project in the Lower 9th started by actor Brad Pitt ( These projects would make fine gift recipients at this time of year–as, indeed, would the New Orleans Musicians’ Clinic ( All are extremely worthy undertakings, trust me.

The local music scene plugs along in reasonably good fashion, despite a reduction in tourism and conventions since Katrina. You may not have seen that NOLA was chosen by the Society of American Travel Writers as the #1 city in North America for live music. We’ll be choosing a new mayor (to replace the infamous Ray Nagin…) next year, and there are a dozen or so candidates vying for our consideration. One who was seriously being pushed to run was trumpeter Irvin Mayfield, but he recently dropped out of the running. Lt. Gov. Mitch Landrieu (brother of U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu), a friend of N. O. music and culture, recently threw his hat into the ring. So, it should be an interesting year coming up, politically. (I think there will be 5 elections during the year, which affects me as a poll commissioner–a job I’ve been doing since Katrina.)

Cheers to all for the holidays,

Tom Jacobsen

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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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Steve Feeney top ten 2009

December 12th 2009

  1. The Bright Mississippi- Allen Toussaint (Nonesuch)
  2. Historicity-Vijay Iyer Trio (ACT)
  3. This Brings Us To Vol.1-Henry Threadgill Zooid (PI)
  4. On Broadway Vol.5- Paul Motian Trio 2000+Two (Winter&Winter)
  5. My One and Only Thrill-Melody Gardot (Verve)
  6. Duos with Lee-DanTepfer/Lee Konitz (Sunnyside)
  7. Third Occasion-David Binney (Mythology)
  8. Folk Art-Joe Lovano US Five (Blue Note)
  9. Not By Chance-Joe Martin (Anzic)
  10. Quartet Live- Burton, Metheny, Swallow, Sanchez (Concord Jazz)

Steve Feeney
Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram

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Jason Crane: Top 10 plus

December 11th 2009

I feel a little ridiculous ranking these incredible albums (and only these), given the near impossibility of rating art and the sheer number of CDs released this and every year. That said, I was happy to be asked to compile the list below for the 2009 Village Voice Jazz Critics Poll.

TOP 10

Artist – Album (Label)

  1. Fay Victor – The FreeSong Suite (Greene Avenue)
  2. Vijay Iyer – Historicity (ACT)
  3. Darius Jones – Man’ish Boy (AUM Fidelity)
  4. The Fully Celebrated – Drunk On The Blood Of The Holy Ones (AUM Fidelity)
  5. The Respect Sextet – Sirius Respect (Mode)
  6. Ted Sirota’s Rebel Souls – Seize The Time (Naim)
  7. Digital Primitives – Hum Crackle & Pop (Hopscotch)
  8. Terence Blanchard – Choices (Concord)
  9. Steve Lehman – Travail, Transformation & Flow (Pi Recordings)
  10. Kat Edmonson – Take To The Sky (Convivium)

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Stuart Broomer: 25 Favorite CDs

December 11th 2009

Stuart Broomer

Contributor: All About Jazz-New York; Musicworks; Point of Departure; Signal to Noise; Toronto Life.



Derek Bailey & Agusti Fernandez A Silent Dance (Incus)

Samuel Blaser Quartet Pieces of Old Sky (Clean Feed)

Anthony Braxton/ Maral Yakshieva Improvisations (duo) 2008 (SLYD Records)

John Butcher Group somethingtobesaid (Weight of Wax)

Circulasione Totale Orchestra bandwidth (rune)

Marilyn Crispell Live at Nya Perspektiv Festivals (Leo)

Die Enttäuschung (Rudi Mahall, Axel Dörner, et al.) Die Enttäuschung (Intakt)

Peter Evans Nature/Culture (psi)

Fast ‘n’ Bulbous Waxed Oop (Cuneiform)

John Hébert Byzantine Monkey (Firehouse 12)

Komeda Project Requiem WM Records

Joëlle Léandre / George Lewis Transatlantic Visions (RogueArt)

Tony Malaby’s Apparitions Voladores Clean Feed

Evan Parker Electro-Acoustic Ensemble The Moment’s Energy (ECM)

Eddie Prévost/ Ross Lambert/ Seymour Wright Invenio ergo/sum (Matchless)

John Zorn O’o (Tzadik)

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Joe Lang: Top 10, 2009

December 9th 2009

In no particular order:

Terry Vosbein & The Knoxville Jazz Orchestra -Progressive Jazz 2009 (Max Frank Music – 001) – A superb concert of progressive big band jazz.

Bud Shank – Fascinating Rhythms (Jazzed Media – 1045) – Bud’s last recording. He was right there until the end.

Dave Tull – I Just Want to Get Paid (Toy Car – 0110) – A witty and engaging set of original tunes.

Quadro Nuevo – Cine Passion (Justin Time – 8540) – Engaging from first note to last.

Mike Vax Big Band – Sounds from the Road (Summit – 5187) – Inspired by Kenton, but these cats are no mere imitations.

Hilary Kole – Haunted Heart (Justin Time – 8543) – A long overdue first album by a terrific vocal talent.

Bob Florence Limited Edition – Legendary (MMA -1037) – A fitting tribute to one of the great modern big band arrangers.

Mark Winkler – Till I Get It Right (Free Ham Records – 0907) – It is nice that there are still some hipsters around the scene.

Daryl Sherman – Johnny Mercer: A Centennial Celebration (Arbors – 19388) – This would have put a smile on Mr. Mercer’s face.

Randy Sandke – Randy Sandke’s Jazz for Juniors (Arbors – 19385) – A perfect way to introduce kids to jazz, and engage the adults at the same time.

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Nancy Barell: Top 10 for 2009

December 9th 2009

Not necessarily in this order:

1. Frank Sinatra “Live At The Meadowlands”

2.  Laurence Hobgood “When The Heart Dances”

3. Roberta Gambarini “So In Love”

4. George Colligan “Come Together”

5. Tony DeSare “Radio Show”

6. Jackie Ryan  “Doozy”

7. Terrence Blanchard  “Choices”

8. Kurt Elling  “Dedicated To You”

9. Bud Shank “Fascinating Rhythms”

10. Curtis Steigers “Lost In Dreams”

Nancy Barell
“Jazz Spotlight On Sinatra”

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