The top 10 must-have jazz CDs of ’16

The Denver Post - - LIFE & CULTURE - By Bret Saun­ders, Special to The Den­ver Post Jane Ira Bloom, “Early Amer­i­cans” Matthew Shipp/Bobby Kapp, “Cac­tus” Bret Saun­ders (bret­saun­ders@ kbco.com) can be heard from 6 to 11 a.m. week­days at KBCO 97.3 FM.

Here’s my Top 10 list for 2016. This year’s se­lec­tions were taken from CDs (still hang­ing in there!) and vinyl (who would’ve seen that com­ing 20 years ago?) as well as stream­ing, Band­camp and down­loads from help­ful peo­ple in the mu­sic in­dus­try. It’s get­ting harder to nav­i­gate the depths of sound be­ing made avail­able. Is there such a thing as too much mu­sic? Not a chance. Check out the 4th An­nual NPR Jazz Crit­ics Poll at NPR.org, where this list was in­cluded, to see the re­sults from more than 140 writ­ers from around the USA.

Mur­ray, Allen & Car­ring­ton Power Trio, “Perfection”

(Motema). There was a time when it seemed like tenor sax­o­phon­ist David Mur­ray was re­leas­ing an al­bum ev­ery week. He’s slowed down the out­put sig­nif­i­cantly in re­cent years, and now nearly ev­ery­thing he sends out to the world is a stun­ner. This col­lab­o­ra­tion with pi­anist Geri Allen and drum­mer Terri Lyne Car­ring­ton is ev­ery­thing su­pe­rior jazz should be: ex­cit­ing, heart­felt, in­ven­tive … this is one re­lease whose ti­tle is not hy­per­bole.

Mary Halvor­son Octet, “Away With You”

(Fire­house 12 Records). Halvor­son makes su­perb record­ings be­cause her com­po­si­tions are as com­pelling as her twisted gui­tar vo­cab­u­lary. She’s one of the premier sonic cre­ators of the age. Don’t miss out.

Steve Lehman, Sele­be­y­one

(Pi). Avant-Jazz and Sene­galese rap merge bril­liantly, thanks to an artist ded­i­cated to forg­ing ex­hil­a­rat­ing new paths.

Jack DeJohnette, “In Move­ment”

(ECM). DeJohnette’s drums in­ter­act with the off­spring of two mem­bers from the clas­sic John Coltrane Quar­tet – sax­o­phon­ist Ravi Coltrane (one of his so­los here was just nom­i­nated for a Grammy) and bassist Matthew Gar­ri­son, yield­ing an hour of spir­i­tual magic.

An­thony Brax­ton, “3 Com­po­si­tions”

(EEMHM) 2011 (Fire­house 12 Records). The highly imag­i­na­tive com­poser and sax­o­phon­ist si­mul­ta­ne­ously re­leased three box sets in 2016. This set em­ploys his most ex­pres­sive col­lab­o­ra­tors and fresh lay­ers of tech­nol­ogy to forge some of his most be­guil­ing mu­sic ever.

Hearts & Minds, “Hearts & Minds”

(As­tral Spir­its). Chicago’s Ja­son Stein (bass clar­inet, co­me­dian Amy Schumer’s older brother) ap­peared on nu­mer­ous record­ings this year, but this quirky, noisy trio date is the one I re­turned to the most.

Sao Paulo Un­der­ground, “Can­tos In­vi­siveis”

(Cuneiform Records). Another artist who re­leases large quan­ti­ties of sound ev­ery year, trum­peter Rob Mazurek’s “world mu­sic” fu­sion project can bor­der on the oth­er­worldly. This is a glo­ri­ous blowout all the way through.

(Out-Line). Bloom’s lat­est trio date proves once again she is among the finest liv­ing prac­ti­tion­ers of the un­wieldy so­prano sax. Ge­orge Coleman, “A Mas­ter Speaks”

(Smoke Ses­sions Records). This oc­to­ge­nar­ian-tenor sax­o­phon­ist and Miles Davis alum­nus records too in­fre­quently. This grace­ful set is one of the warm­est record­ings of the year.

(North­ern Spy). A fear­less free jazz piano-drums duo, just like they did it in the ’60s – but the record­ing qual­ity is bet­ter now.

Reis­sues: Larry Young, “In

Paris, The ORTF Record­ings”

(Res­o­nance Records); Count Basie And Lester Young, “Clas­sic 1936-1947 Count Basie And Lester Young Stu­dio Ses­sions” (Mo­saic); Cherry-Tchi­cai-Sch­weizer-Fran­ci­oli-Favre, “Mu­si­cal Mon­sters” (In­takt Records). In per­son: Katie Glass­man

Snap­shot

and present their an­nual Win­ter Swing Show at Daz­zle on Dec. 11, and tenor sax mas­ter Hous­ton Per­son ap­pears there Dec. 16-17 … Den­ver’s Dot­sero will play their hol­i­day show at the Soiled Dove Un­der­ground on Dec. 16 … pi­anist An­nie Booth ap­pears at Noc­turne on Dec. 17.

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