Philip DiPietro

The top ten jazz recordings of 2005, in very particular order are:

  1. Ben Monder - Oceana (Sunnyside Records)
  2. There was simply no better guitarist or composer this year. That was guitarist or composer. As far as guitarist/composers go, this one’s for the history books.

  3. Fieldwork (Vijay Iyer, Steve Lehman and Elliott Humberto Kavee) - SimulatedProgress (Pi Recordings).
  4. Kinetic, frenetic, undulating, rhapsodic music that makes perfect sense.

  5. Mat Maneri - Pentagon (Thirsty Ear Recordings)
  6. Maneri finally plugs in ferreal and knocks electric jazz upside the head. Craig Taborn’s electric inventiveness pushes this session over the top.

  7. Janek Gwizdala - Mystery to Me - Live in New York (self-released)
  8. extended commentary here
    Monster electric bassist, better writer. Also my debut artist of the year.

  9. Avishai Cohen - At Home (Razdaz-self-released)
  10. With the aid of two dazzling freshmen (Sam Barsh on keys and Mark Guiliana on drums), Avishai surpasses himself.. again.

  11. Nelson Cascais - Nine Stories (Tone of a Pitch Records)
  12. extended commentary here
    Merely the year’s most accessibly beautiful record.

  13. Sebastiaan Cornelissen with Gary Willis, Lale Larson - Timeline (self-released)
  14. Crunchingly syncopated funk-fusion, and the electric bass performance of the year, thanks to Willis’ monster technique and groove.

  15. Tim Berne (with Craig Taborn and Tom Rainey) - Hardcell Live (ScrewgunRecords)
  16. Telepathically delicious. Either that or these guys rehearse 12 hours a day. Scratch that - this is how these guys rehearse.

  17. Claudia Quintet (John Hollenbeck) - Semi-Formal (Cuneiform)
  18. Hollenbeck and his band establish themselves as perennial favorites. Fantastically “new” compositions executed flawlessly, yet dangerously, by master players. Here’s hoping their release schedule keeps up with the “perennial” thing.

  19. Marc Ducret, Bruno Chevillon, Eric Echampard- l’annexe (self-released)
  20. Is Ducret the most underrated fretmelter in the world, in any genre? Don’t answer before hearing this.

The Top Eight (11 with footnotes*) sideman appearances 2005:

  1. Three-way tie: Elliot Humberto Kavee, drums* / Steve Lehman, alto saxophone* / Vijay Iyer, piano* - Fieldwork, Simulated Progress
  2. *The entirety of the membership of the improv-collective trio, Fieldwork. Who’s the sideman here anyway?

  3. Gary Willis, electric bass - Timeline, Sebastiaan Cornelissen
  4. (see 7 above)

  5. Two-way tie: Jesse Chandler,organ, electric piano, piano, keyboards* - Nine Stories, Nelson Cascais and Sam Barsh, organ, electric piano, piano, keyboards* - Avishai Cohen - At Home
  6. *Two of the most freakishly talented, tasteful and fresh-sounding newcomers today. They just happen to play the same instruments, in totally different ways.

  7. Rudresh Mahanthappa, alto saxophone- Reimagining, Vijay Iyer (Pi recordings)
  8. This voracious altoist eats suckaz like you for vindaloo.

  9. Craig Taborn, keyboards - Pentagon, Mat Maneri
  10. Herbie, twothousandtwentyone.

  11. Tim Miller, guitar - Janek Gwizdala, Mystery to Me - Live in New York
  12. Proof the fretboard can be remapped to generate musical phrases!

  13. Theo Bleckmann,voice - Ben Monder, Oceana
  14. Is Bleckmann actually human? Does he eat people food? Can he really do this stuff?

  15. Matthew Garrison, electric bass - Dance of the Infidels, MeShell Ndegeocello (Shanachie)
  16. Terrifyingly liquid.You may now throttle the setting on your bass to stun, Mr. Garrison.