The top ten jazz recordings of 2005, in very particular order are:
- Ben Monder - Oceana (Sunnyside Records)
- Fieldwork (Vijay Iyer, Steve Lehman and Elliott Humberto Kavee) - SimulatedProgress (Pi Recordings).
- Mat Maneri - Pentagon (Thirsty Ear Recordings)
- Janek Gwizdala - Mystery to Me - Live in New York (self-released)
- Avishai Cohen - At Home (Razdaz-self-released)
- Nelson Cascais - Nine Stories (Tone of a Pitch Records)
- Sebastiaan Cornelissen with Gary Willis, Lale Larson - Timeline (self-released)
- Tim Berne (with Craig Taborn and Tom Rainey) - Hardcell Live (ScrewgunRecords)
- Claudia Quintet (John Hollenbeck) - Semi-Formal (Cuneiform)
- Marc Ducret, Bruno Chevillon, Eric Echampard- l’annexe (self-released)
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.
Kinetic, frenetic, undulating, rhapsodic music that makes perfect sense.
Maneri finally plugs in ferreal and knocks electric jazz upside the head. Craig Taborn’s electric inventiveness pushes this session over the top.
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Monster electric bassist, better writer. Also my debut artist of the year.
With the aid of two dazzling freshmen (Sam Barsh on keys and Mark Guiliana on drums), Avishai surpasses himself.. again.
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Merely the year’s most accessibly beautiful record.
Crunchingly syncopated funk-fusion, and the electric bass performance of the year, thanks to Willis’ monster technique and groove.
Telepathically delicious. Either that or these guys rehearse 12 hours a day. Scratch that - this is how these guys rehearse.
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.
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:
- Three-way tie: Elliot Humberto Kavee, drums* / Steve Lehman, alto saxophone* / Vijay Iyer, piano* - Fieldwork, Simulated Progress
- Gary Willis, electric bass - Timeline, Sebastiaan Cornelissen
- 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
- Rudresh Mahanthappa, alto saxophone- Reimagining, Vijay Iyer (Pi recordings)
- Craig Taborn, keyboards - Pentagon, Mat Maneri
- Tim Miller, guitar - Janek Gwizdala, Mystery to Me - Live in New York
- Theo Bleckmann,voice - Ben Monder, Oceana
- Matthew Garrison, electric bass - Dance of the Infidels, MeShell Ndegeocello (Shanachie)
*The entirety of the membership of the improv-collective trio, Fieldwork. Who’s the sideman here anyway?
(see 7 above)
*Two of the most freakishly talented, tasteful and fresh-sounding newcomers today. They just happen to play the same instruments, in totally different ways.
This voracious altoist eats suckaz like you for vindaloo.
Proof the fretboard can be remapped to generate musical phrases!
Is Bleckmann actually human? Does he eat people food? Can he really do this stuff?
Terrifyingly liquid.You may now throttle the setting on your bass to stun, Mr. Garrison.