Tuesday, December 25, 2007

other lists

I will say that a ton of really good records just didn't make the cut this year for one reason or another (mostly because I didn't have enough time to listen to them thoroughly and come to appreciate their nuances and/or highlights).

First are the records that I that almost made the top 10:

Scott Colley - Architect of the Silent Moment (CamJazz)
Amir Elsaffar - Two Rivers (Pi Recordings) (which I publicized)
Big Four (Nagl/Bernstein/Jones/Akchote) - Big Four Live (Hatology)
Chris Potter 10 - Song for Anyone (Sunnyside/Universal Music France)
Fred Hersh Trio - Night and the Music (Palmetto)
Jason Lindner Big Band - Live at the Jazz Gallery (Anzic)
Jerome Sabbagh - Pogo (Sunnyside/Bee Jazz)
Joachim Kuhn w/ Majid Bekkas & Ramon Lopez - Kalimba (ACT Music) (which I publicized)
Joe Lovano & Hank Jones: Kids: Live at Dizzy's Club Cola-Cola (Blue Note) (which I publicized)
Julie Hardy - The Wish (World Culture Music)
Kenny Werner - Lawn Chair Society (Blue Note) (which I publicized)
Kurt Elling - Night Moves (Concord)
Lars Danielsson/Leszek Mozdzer - Pasodoble (ACT Music) (which I publicized)
Luciana Souza - The New Bossa Nova (Verve)
Metheny/Mehldau - Quartet (Nonesuch)
Michael Brecker - Pilgrimage (Heads Up)
Scott Colley - Architect of the Silent Moment (CAM Jazz)
Terence Blanchard - A Tale of God's Will (A Requiem for Katrina) (Blue Note)
The Bad Plus - Prog (Heads Up/Do The Math)
The Claudia Quintet - For (Cuneiform)

And the records I heard great things about from critics and/or bloggers whom I respect, and thus probably would have enjoyed, but never got around to buying or listening to before the end of the year (though several of these I bought since originally conceiving this post):

Alan Ferber Nonet - The Compass (Fresh Sound)
Bill McHenry - Roses (Sunnyside) (even though the label sent me a copy!)
David Binney/Edward Simon - Oceanos (Criss Cross)
His Name Is Alive - Sweet Earth Flower: A Tribute to Marion Brown (High Two)
Maria Schneider - Sky Blue (ArtistShare)
McCoy Tyner - Quartet (McCoy Tyner Music/Half Note)
Mike Moreno - Between the Lines (World Culture Music)

The record that seems to be on everyone's lists except mine. For some reason or another, however much I listened to the new Joshua Redman recording, Back East (Nonesuch), I couldn't get into it. While it is a welcome return to his envelope-pushing modern straight-ahead bag, from which he strayed with his last two records as a leader, the proto-jam band/funk release Elastic Band(Warner Bros.) and the also funky completely mishmashed release, Momentum (Nonesuch), with a very varied cast of players (as on Back East), I did not hear terribly inspired playing. I should, however, mention his excellent output as founder and now former leader of the SF Jazz Collective (which he has recently been replaced by Joe Lovano so that Redman can more actively pursue his solo career). This group - which in my mind now rivals the Dave Holland Quintet, Wayne Shorter Quartet, Dave Douglas Quintet & Keystone, The Claudia Quintet and a few others as far as having virtually all charismatic soloists and great group cohesion - have widely released two recordings on Nonesuch (both dedicated to a veritable icon of jazz past, one for Ornette Coleman and one for tribute John Coltrane) as well as two other limited edition double albums on the independent SF Jazz imprint (the latest of which is dedicated to Thelonious Monk and original compositions). Maybe I need to revisit Back East once again with the press release in hand, but I think Redman he has made far better records.

Now the records I heard and loved that fall outside of jazz.

Pop/World/Non-Jazz Top 10 of 2007:

1. Spoon - Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga (Merge)
2. LCD Soundsystem - Sound of Silver (DFA)
3. The National - Boxer (Beggars Banquet)
4. Tcheka - Nu Monda (Times Square)
5. Radiohead - In Rainbows (self-released)
6. The D.R.E.A.M. - Love/Hate (Def Jam)
7. Tinariwen - Aman Iman: Water is Life (Global Village)
8. Caribou - Andorra (Merge)
9. KT Tunstall - Drastic Fantastic (Interscope)
10. PJ Harvey - White Chalk (Island)

And the records I didn't get a chance to hear closely or at all but was very intrigued by from monitoring various media outlets for my job like NPR, Pitchfork and the blogosphere in non-jazz genres were new/recent records by the now late Andy Palacio, Mariza, Battles, Simian Mobile Disco, Klaxons, Robert Wyatt, Animal Collective, Panda Bear, Arcade Fire, Robert Plant/Alison Krauss, Sunset Rubdown, Dirty Projectors: Rise Above, Deerhunter, Feist, Justice, Of Montreal, Okkervil River, Beirut, UGK, Wilco and Jens Lekman.

catching up...Top 10s (new stuff & reissues/box sets)

"How did you get this number?"

I love it when people utter these words which I heard today from an acquaintance I just wanted to catch up with (it being the holidays and whatnot) on the telephone. His number is clearly listed in the white pages (which for those technologically inclined or visually impaired, can be accessed effortlessly online, from any computer, with a simple Google search including the person's last name and the state in which they reside or their first and last name and the town and state, etc.).

It's as if the white pages were a big secret? If you're so concerned about it, don't list yourself.

Enough of that.

I'm not really in a bad mood. However with most of my home friends out of town or occupied, I've been left to spend a day with myself reading, eating and trying to find amusement in Web 2.0 - namely the now immensely popular social network, Facebook.

I ate a wonderful Malaysian lunch alone at a very spacious suburban restaurant called Penang, in Bethesda, MD (unofficial restaurant capital of the state). I enjoyed roti canai (described as "the all-time favorite Malaysian crispy Indian-style pancake, served with curry chicken as dipping sauce") which I recommend to anyone trying Malaysian for the first time. So greasy, but so good. And for my main course, I enjoyed kari ayam, spicy dish of coconut red curried chicken and potatoes over a bed of sticky rice. All the while, reading a new book by James Lipton of Inside the Actors' Studio.

Back at home, this leaves me to ponder various lists that I have been devising and refining over the last few weeks regarding recordings and musical functions I attended during 2007. However, I can't post about this right now as I am away from my collection for the time being and will likely have to wait until the New Year to fully elaborate upon.

Suffice to say, the very elite "Top 10" list I am having published in various outlets including the JJA wiki (once I renew my membership), goes like this in order:

1. Niño Josele - Paz (Callé 54/Song BMG)
2. Chris Potter Underground - Follow The Red Line: Live at the Village Vanguard (Sunnyside/Universal Music France)
3. Alan Pasqua - The Antisocial Club (Cryptogramophone)
4. Bobby Sanabria - Big Bang Urban Folktales (Jazzheads)
5. Nels Cline Singers - Draw Breath (Cryptogramophone)
6. Tain & The Ebonix - Folks' Songs (Dark Key Music)
7. Manuel Valera - Vientos (Anzic)
8. Kendrick Scott Oracle - The Source (World Culture Music)
9. Herbie Hancock - River: The Joni Letters (Verve)
10. Helen Sung - Sungbird (after Albeniz) (Sunnyside)

(Note: I made an error originally putting Rudresh Mahanthappa's Codebook in my 2007 Top 10 which is supposed to appear in All About Jazz's printed edition in LA, Chicago and Seattle and possibly SF as well. In reality, it was released in October 2006 and thus does not qualify for 2007 consideration, so I have substituted another ).

And my Top 10 Jazz Reissues/Box Sets:

1. Miles Davis - The Complete On The Corner Sessions (Sony Legacy)
2. McCoy Tyner - Horizon [Keepnews Collection] (Milestone)
3. Stanley Turrentine - The Spoiler (Blue Note)
4. George Benson - The Shape of Things to Come (A&M)
5. Joe Henderson - Power to the People [Keepnews Collection] (Riverside)
6. Bobby Hutcherson - Mosaic Select (Mosaic)
7. Frank Sinatra -- A Voice in Time: 1939-1952 (Sony Legacy)
8. Thad Jones - Detroit/New York Junction (Blue Note)
9. Flora Purim - Butterfly Dreams [Keepnews Collection] (Milestone)
10. Frank Foster - Manhattan Fever (Blue Note)

In the interest of full disclosure: Some of these artists are or have been clients in various capacities in the past year either directly or through another employer (a PR firm I work for) including most titles on the ACT Music label, many of Blue Note Records' new releases including: Charles Tolliver Big Band, Kenny Werner, Bill Charlap Trio, Joe Lovano & Hank Jones, Ron Carter, Kenny Burrell, Charles Mingus Sextet w/ Eric Dolphy, Jacky Terrasson, Nigel Kennedy and Stacey Kent (any others like Wynton Marsalis, Robert Glasper, Terence Blanchard, etc. were worked internally by Blue Note's publicity staff or by other independent PR firms), the Cryptogramophone label and all affiliated artists, most catalog on Concord Music Group and its family of labels which were part of the Fantasy acquisition - namely all titles in the Keepnews Collection and pretty much all catalog except Stax releases, Kendrick Scott and Rudresh Mahanthappa). While some might see this as a conflict of interest, I justify it for the fact that I have the distinct honor and good fortune to work with some artists who are indeed some of my favorite musicians.

Please support the artists and the independent labels (who are often the forgotten link in the food chain and also the bigger financial losers in today's marketplace) by buying this music legitimately in hard form or digitally if you don't have it already.

Coming soon: an interview with up-and-coming pianist Helen Sung and other lists of honorable mentions, non-jazz genre Top 10s (because, I listen to more than jazz) + records I heard about from other bloggers, Pitchfork, All Music Guide or journalists whose opinions I respect, but never got copies of or never got a chance to listen to...