JJA Members' 2001 Top 10 CDs - Part I

JJA Members' 2001 Top 10 CDs - Part I

JJA members have been asked to submit their top 10 (or so) lists of cds released in calendar year 2001 -- the following are posted in order and style in which they were received, from:

C. Michael Bailey, Steve Dollar, Alyn Shipton, WPFW Broadcasters, James Hale, Paul de Barros, Derk Richardson, Alisa Clancy, Philip Booth, Tom Mallison, Ron Sweetman, John McDonough, Glenn Astarita, Chris Hovan, Ken Franckling, Dan Ouellette, Alex Henderson, Jim Trageser, Steve Koenig, Jay Trachtenberg, and Lee Jeske.

[ Part II is here ]
[ The consensus report is here ]

copyright © 2002 by the contributors

C. Michael Bailey, 10 Best of 2001:

  1. 2gether - Warren Vache; and Bill Charlap (Nagel Heyer 2011) This is the potent Jazz of confined spaces. The duo performance format restricts players to the essence of melody and invention. Warren Vache and Bill Charlap offer a clinic on the whole of the history of jazz (and of music). The two musicians offer the true definition of Romantic Exuberance with Classical Restraint.
  2. Mambo No. 5 - Carlos Barbosa-Lima (Khaeon 200103) With artistic craft of this rarified mettle, what difference does it make whether its technically jazz or not? Barbosa-Lima provides a loving touch to nostalgic Cuban popular song, from an innocent time before 1959. Eddie Gomez is just the salsa. La Habana De largo Viva!
  3. Ballads: Remembering John Coltrane - Karrin Allyson (Concord Jazz 4950) This is the perfect concept album, a quasi-vocalese on one of Coltrane's most popular recordings. Using almost the identical arrangements as on the original, Ms. Allyson weaves a web of vocal magic, showing the true beauty in Coltrane's often jagged vision.
  4. The Hollywood All-Star Sessions - Art Pepper (Galaxy 4431) This is a treasure trove from the greatest alto saxophone player. Pepper is relaxed and totally in control during these sessions designed to skirt his recently inked exclusive contract with Galaxy. This music a stark and necessary contrast to The Complete Village Vanguard Sessions.
  5. My Foolish Heart - Rebecca Parris (Koch Jazz 7887) These ballads are played and sung very slowly and beautifully. Rebecca Parris turns out an absolutely over-the-top performance of several diamonds from the American Songbook. These songs recall the ballad spirit of Miles Davis and Shirley Horn.
  6. Southern Exposure - Ken Watters Group (Summit 289) Propelled by a crisp, clear vision, Ken Watters propels his band through an inventive set of originals and standards that can at once be considered completely contemporary while using the standard apparatus, the acoustic jazz combo. Richard Betts' "Jessica" may be the coolest cover ever.
  7. Levee Town - Sonny Landreth (Sugarhill 3925) From time to time, a gargantuan talent comes along and redefines everything about a given music. Sonny Landreth did this for the slide guitar. Son House would have never believed it.
  8. Happiness - Eric Reed (Nagel Heyer 2010) Between a standard Post Bop Combo and a Big Band, Eric Reed pilfers the LCJO for musicians to convey his superb vision- a brilliant mix of Duke Ellington, Oliver Nelson, Wynton Marsalis and himself.
  9. Soul Manifesto - Rodney Jones (Blue Note 30499) Maceo Parker's right hand man released his long awaited funk disc. If nothing else, controversial, Soul Manifesto is a 2001 Chicken Shack survey of all things greasy. Forget about art -- let's dance.
  10. The Word - The Word (Ropeadope 93046) Sanctified Steel. Pedal steel guitarist Robert Randolph takes John Medeski and the North Mississippi Allstars on a spiritual journey. A blues prophet, a gospel shaman.

C. Michael Bailey, Contributing Editor, All About Jazz.com

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Steve Dollar

Steve Dollar is a freelance writer who lives in Park Slope.

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Alyn Shipton's 2001 top ten

Alyn Shipton is author of A New History of Jazz, and other books, as well as a produce for the BBC world service; see its Jazzmatazz site

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WPFW-FM (Washington, DC Metro area, 50K watts) jazz programmers poll Best of 2001 was broadcast Friday, January 4 on Friday Drivetime Jazz, hosted by Willard Jenkins. Outside our broadcast area you can tune in on the web @ wpfw.org:

WPFW Jazz Programmers Poll 2001 Top 25 (listed in no particular order)

*Antonio Parker and Sunny Sumter are DC-based independent artists

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Larry Appelbaum Top 10 Favorite Releases 2001

(in no particular order)

  1. Jason Moran-Black Stars (Blue Note)
  2. Henry Threadgill-Everybody's Mouth's A Book (PI)
  3. Dave Holland-Not For Nothin' (ECM)
  4. Cuong Vu-Come Play With Me (Knitting Factory)
  5. Bob Belden-Black Dahlia (Blue Note)
  6. Calle 54 Soundtrack (Blue Note)
  7. Jane Ira Bloom-Sometimes The Magic (Arabesque)
  8. Dave Douglas-Witness (Blue Bird)
  9. Andy Bey-Tuesdays In Chinatown (N-Coded Music)
  10. Chano Pozo-El Tambor De Cuba (Tumbao)

Larry Appelbaum writes for Jazz Times and brodcasts on WPFW-FM, Washington, D.C.

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James Hale Top 10

James Hale is a regular contributor to Down Beat, Coda and Planet Jazz, and a columnist for The Jazz Report.

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Paul de Barros Top 10

  1. Karrin Allyson, "Remembering John Coltrane" (Concord)
  2. Brad Mehldau, "Progression: Art of the Trio Volume 5" (Warner Brothers)
  3. Brad Shepik, "Short Trip" (Knitting Factory)
  4. Dave Douglas, "Witness" (RCA)
  5. Stefon Harris, Jacky Terrasson, "Kindred" (Blue Note)
  6. The Word (John Medeski, The North Mississippi Allstars), "The Word" (Ropeadope)
  7. Gary Burton, "For Hamp, Red, Bags and Cal" (Concord)
  8. Miles Davis, "Live at the Fillmore East March 7, 1970" (Columbia)
  9. Schlippenbach Trio, "2x3=5" (Leo)
  10. David Sanchez, "Travesia" (Columbia)

Paul de Barros is the jazz columnist for the Seattle Times and a regular contributor to Down Beat.

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Derk Richardson Selected Best, alphabetical order:

Derk Richardson writes for the San Francisco Bay Guardian, SFGate.com, and Yoga Journal, and broadcasts on KPFA 94.1 FM

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Alisa Clancy Top 10

That doesn't include the reissues and box sets, Coltrane European Tour, Lady Day, Artie Shaw!!!! and the 30 other significant releases that I won't mention because I'm trying to edit myself these days (a New Years resolution) --I thought, all things considered, a fairly good year for jazz recordings--Happy New Year!

Alisa Clancy is Operations Director and host of "Morning Cup of Jazz" on KCSM-Jazz91, from the San Francisco Bay Area.

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Philip Booth Some Picks

Baker's Dozen Best (in alphabetical order)

Best performances: Chris Potter, Wayne Shorter, Steve Lacy, Charles Lloyd, Charlie Haden, Patricia Barber, Medeski Martin and Wood with John Scofield, various venues, Montreal Jazz Festival; Soulive, House of Blues/The Parish, New Orleans; Astral Project, Galactic, Ellis Marsalis, Paul Simon, New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival; Medeski Martin and Wood, Jannus Landing, St. Petersburg, Fla.; Ian Shaw, Sheraton Biscayne Bay, Miami; John Scofield, Cecil Brooks III, Chuck Owen and the Jazz Surge, Russell Malone, Irvin Mayfield, Los Hombres Calientes, Michael Ross Quartet and Poncho Sanchez, Clearwater (Fla.) Jazz Holiday; Femi Kuti, Arturo Sandoval, Lary Coryell and Jeff Berlin, Verizon Music Festival, Clearwater.

Worst festival moment: Wedged into an oppressive crowd of 160,000, at the New Orleans Jazz Fest on Saturday, May 5, the afternoon Dave Matthews, then the biggest rock and roll touring act in the country, and chartbusting rapper Mystikal were both slated to play. Why?

Miscellaneous awards . . .
MVP (tie): Brian Blade/Stanton Moore (Galactic)
Overrated: Jane Monheit
Overexposed (still): Wynton
Underexposed: Jason
Underappreciated: Calle 54 in the theaters . . . gets a second chance with its release on DVD/VHS.
Still on the rise: Jamband/groove jazz
Showing signs of commercial slippage (tie): smooth jazz/teen pop

Philip Booth, a Florida-based musician and writer, contributes to Down Beat, Jazziz, Billboard, CMJ New Music Monthly, the St. Petersburg Times, Miami New Times, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and the Sarasota Herald-Tribune.

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Tom Mallison Top Ten

  1. Bob Belden: Black Dahlia - Blue Note
  2. Michael Brecker: The Nearness of You - Verve
  3. Avishai Cohen: Unity - Concord
  4. Dave Holland: Not For Nothing - ECM
  5. Orlando Cachaito Lopez: Cachaito - Word Circuit/Nonesuch
  6. Etta Jones: Sings Lady Day - High Note
  7. Fred Hersch: Songs Without Words - Nonesuch
  8. Los Hombres Calientes: New Congo Square - Basin Street
  9. Diane Krall: The Look of Love - Verve
  10. Teddy Edwards: Ladies' Man - High Note

Tom the Jazzman Mallison has been playing jazz in eastern North Carolina for 17 years on Public Radio East, a network of public stations. Prior to Public Radio East, Tom programmed Jazz on both commercial and public stations in eastern North Carolina for over 40 years. In addition to playing jazz on Publ ic Radio Tom is involved as a jazz photographer and has captured some unusual photos which can be observed on his website: pages.prodigy.net/tomthejazzman Tom can be reached at jazzman@broadcast.net.

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Ron Sweetman Top 11 2001

In alphabetical order [sort of]:

Ron Sweetman
CKCU-FM 93.1 Ottawa and Coda magazine.

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John McDonough Top 10

John McDonough: Down Beat, The Wall Street Journal

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Glenn Astarita Some Best of and a Worst

And the absolute worst is:

Glenn Astarita is Modern Jazz Editor & Supervising Editor: AllAboutJazz.com - the #1 Jazz site on the web -
- Contributor to Downbeat magazine -
- Contributor to the All Music Guide
- Member of Jazz Journalists Association

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Chris Hovan Top 10

  1. Larry Goldings Trio - As One (Palmetto)
  2. Sarah Vaughan - Viva Vaughan! (Verve)
  3. Gary Smulyan - Blue Suite (Criss Cross)
  4. George Braith - The Complete Blue Note Sessions (Blue Note)
  5. Jim Rotondi - Destination Up (Sharp Nine)
  6. Miles Davis - The Complete In a Silent Way Sessions (Columbia/Legacy)
  7. Karl Denson - Dance Lesson #2 (Blue Note)
  8. Eric Alexander - The Second Milestone (Milestone)
  9. Joyce - Gafieira Moderna (Far Out)
  10. Charles Lloyd - Hyperion with Higgins (ECM)

Jazz journalist and photographer Chris Hovan is a senior contributor to The Jazz Review, regular columnist for the Cleveland Free Times and Focal Point Editor for allaboutjazz.com.


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Ken Franckling Top 10

The 10 best new jazz releases:

  1. Tom Harrell, "Paradise," BMG Bluebird.
  2. Avishai Cohen and the International Vamp Band, "Unity" (Stretch)
  3. Denny Zeitlin Trio, "As Long as There's Music." (32 Jazz)
  4. Carmen Lundy, "This is Carmen Lundy" (Justin Time).
  5. Tierney Sutton, "Blue in Green" (Telarc Jazz)
  6. Stefano DiBattista, "Stefano DiBattista" (Blue Note)
  7. Mark Levine and The Latin Tinge, "Serengeti" (LCC)
  8. Ben Allison, "Riding the Nuclear Tiger" (Palmetto)
  9. Orlando Cachaito Lopez, "Cachaito" (Nonesuch/World Circuit)
  10. Bob Belden,"Black Dahlia" (Blue Note)

The best jazz boxed sets or reissues:

  1. Miles Davis, "The Complete 'In a Silent Way' Sessions" (Columbia)
  2. Live Trane: The European Tours" (Pablo)
  3. Billie Holiday, "Lady Day - the Complete Billie Holiday on Columbia, 1933-1944" (Columbia Legacy)

Ken Franckling, United Press International


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Dan Ouellette Top 10 Jazz 2001

(in no order)

honorable mentions:

Dan Ouellette writes for Down Beat, San Francisco Chronicle, and Stereophile, among other publications, and is a former editor of defunct pubs Schwann Inside and Schwann Spectrum.

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Alex Henderson Picks For 2001

Top Jazz Albums Of 2001

Top Albums Of 2001 (All Genres)

Honorable mentions (Albums):

Alex Henderson is a jazz and rock critic whose work has appeared in Billboard, Spin, CD Review, Pulse!, Jazziz, JazzTimes and many other publications. A frequent contributor to The All Music Guide since 1996, he has contributed several thousand reviews to that publication.

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Jim Trageser and colleagues

Top 15 from the American Reporter, submitted by JJA member Jim Trageser doing mostly vocals this year, so splitting the chore with his non-JJA member-colleagues'. Go to the website http://www.american-reporter.com to see what Dan McClenaghan and Michael J. Williams picked.

(By Trageser:)

OCEANSIDE, Calif. -- The end of the year is a good time to make some selections for best CDs of the year. So, will our list be subjective? Of course. Will it leave too many good or even great CDs out? Sure it will. But these are the ones that caught our ears this year. (Besides, as the great jazz critic Leonard Feather liked to point out in his "best of" lists in the Los Angeles Times, no critic could possibly listen to every new jazz release each year - not even if you did nothing but listen to new music 24 hours a day, seven days a week, with no time off for sleep.)

Yard, Telarc Jazz
Best known as a hard-driving bop pianist, Alexander continues his return to his Jamaican roots with a wonderful romp through both standards and jazzed-up reggae pieces
Freddy Cole, Rio de Janeiro Blues, Telarc Jazz
Nat's kid brother turns in another outstanding collection of standards and pop chestnets, with some Brazilian to boot. As good as jazz singing gets.
Peter Sprague, Niki's Rose, SBE Records
Sprague was commissioned to create music behind the poetry of Nicole Penrod, a young woman killed by a drunk driver shortly after her eighteenth birthday. The results are stunningly gorgeous, and Sprague assembled some wonderful vocalists to bring her words to life.
Karen Mason, When the Sun Comes Out, Jerome Records
The veteran New York cabaret singer is able to find new ways of phrasing even the most worn of standards; her cover of "Downtown" is so startlingly fresh that it's barely even recognizable as Petula Clark's old hit.
James Darren, Because of You, Concord Records
Still in the shadow of Sinatra's death, jazz singing is nevertheless flexing it creative muscle and showing that the inspiration of the music won't be denied. Darren offers the best proof of this -- a former bobby heart-throb from the '50s, Darren has been re-born as a saloon singer of the highest order, a man who infuses every line he sings with emotion and experience.

Jim Trageser is music editor of The American Reporter

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Steve Koenig Top 14

In no particular order, and I always cringe, knowing there are deloved discs I've filed and temporarily forgotten, and the stacks still unheard...

New Releases:

  1. no spaghetti edition. listen... and tell me what it was. SOFA 506
  2. Evan Parker and Richard Nunns- Ranguirua. Leo CD LR 314
  3. John Butcher with Derek Bailey & Rhodri Davies: Angels and Vortices. Emanem 4049.
  4. J. A. Granelli. El Oh El AY. Loveslave LVSLV 05, lvslv.com
  5. Steven Lantner, Joe Maneri, Joe Morris. Voices Lowered. Leo LR 317
  6. Frances-Marie Uitti and Stephen Vitiello. JdK 005.
  7. Vinny Golia. Clarient: 9 Pieces for Solo B flat Clarinet. meniscus 07.
  8. Rajesh Mehta. Reconfigurations. between the lines btl 010.
  9. Hasidic New Wave and Yakar Rhythms. From The Belly of Abraham. Knitting Factory KFW 294.
  10. Sten Sandell Trio. Standing Wave. Sofa 504.


  1. Marvin Gaye. What's Going On: Deluxe Edition. Motown 440 011 404-2.
  2. Bill Dixon- Franz Koglmann- Steve Lacy. Opium. between the lines btl 011.
  3. Sergei Kuryokhin. The Ways of Freedom. Leo Golden Years. GY 14.

Steve Koenig is a total music freak and by happenstance also music journalist for LaFolia.com, JazzWeekly.com, AllAboutJazz.com, and Signal To Noise. He's also a poet and has performed and manipulated his texts with musicians such as Roy Campbell, Cooper-Moore, Satoko Fujii, Gunter Hampel, and Hans Tammen.

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Jay Trachtenberg Top 10

In alphabetical order:

Jay Trachtenberg lives in Austin, Texas. He has been writing for the Austin Chronicle since shortly after it's inception in 1981. He also hosts two radio programs-- on NPR affiliate KUT 90.5 (since 1985) on Wednesday nights and on commercial Triple A, KGSR 107.1 on Sunday mornings (since 1993).

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Lee Jeske's Top 10, alphabetical by artist.

Lee Jeske is a writer and producer for MJI Programming.

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