Jazz – A Few Favorites from 2013

Tribal Ghost

John Tchicai, RIP

JAZZ

Mainstream

Sylvia Versini Orchestra – With Mary Lou in My Heart  (iTunes)
Roswell Rudd – Trombone For Lovers (iTunes)

Jane Ira Bloom – Sixteen Sunsets 
Chick Corea – Further Explorations 
Dave Holland – Prism 
Stan Tracey Quintet – The Flying Pig  

Re-issues

Woody Shaw – The Complete Muse Sessions
Clifford Jordan – On Strata-east

Historically Important Live

Thelonious Monk – Paris 1969

John Coltrane – Afro Blue Impressions (1973)
Miles Davis – So What The Complete 1960 Amsterdam Concerts
Miles Davis – Live in Europe 1969 The Bootleg Series Vol. 2

Jazz – Avant-Garde

John Tchicai – Tribal Ghost

special mention:
Peter Brotzman – Long Story Short
William Parker – Wood Flute Songs

Barry Guy – New Orchestra – Mad Dogs (NotTwo Records)
Allison Miller‘s Boom Tic Boom – No Morphine, No Lilies
Tisziji Munoz – Divine Radiance Live
Ivo Perelman, Matthew Shipp, Michael Bisio, Whit Dickey – The Edge
Mary Halvorson Septet – Illusionary Sea
Matana Roberts – Coin Coin Chapter Two
Myra Melford – Life Carries Me This Way
Satoko Fujii Ma-Do – Time Stands Still
Tarbaby – Ballad of Sam Langford f Oliver Lake
Wadada Leo Smith & TUMO – Occupy the World

comments: It occurs to me, thanks mostly to Harvey Pekar, that I am in my fifth decade as a jazz fanatic. The attrition of jazz masters has been slow and sure for decades. Looked at generationally, the be-bop masters have almost all expired. Last year my friend, singer Sathima Bea Benjamin died suddenly with her last great artistic summit right in front of her. Then: Stan Tracey! John Tchicai! I mention this because my listing here of favorite records, chosen from hundreds I encountered last year, is chock full of near old timers.

Corea, Brotzman, Wadada Leo Smith, were all born in 1941. Munoz, Holland, Guy, Perelman, Gonzalez, Fujii, Melford, were all born between 1946-1958. My generation.

In my muso’s world, the above are all well-known qualities. Each in their distinctive way is at the top of their artistic endeavor. If you are an older swinging moldy fogy than I am, and you’re going to buy but a single jazz record this year from last year: Roswell Rudd’s Trombone For Lovers. Feeling more ambitious but still–after so many years–not into raw experimentation, try Jane Ira Bloom’s meditative outing.

Everybody else check out the brilliant big little band record by Sylvia Versini. If you like pre-electric Gil Evans, it’s a no-brainer. Versini is really one to keep an ear on.

The Tchicai date is my favorite of the year. It’s free bop with the slippery rhythms Tchicai enjoyed rambling over.

Brotzman and Parker issued extravagant box sets drawn from their private archives. Each is essential without reservation for anybody who appreciates the gargantuan artistry and force of will at work in their decades-long quest.

Turning to the younger generation, the central reality of jazz today is that it is a global musical culture animating an intense syncreticism. This means wave after wave of fascinating music coming at the listener during our Age of Documentation.

If this year I favor the oldsters, it is probable that next year I won’t have the luxury. My attention is being pulled as it always has been pulled, toward the most daring improvised hunters and gatherers. Of the up-and-comers, none was better to me than the small ensemble post-bop offered by guitarist Mary Halvorsen and the second chapter let fly by saxophonist Matana Roberts. You wouldn’t be in a position to have an opinion on contemporary jazz if you haven’t dealt with those two records.


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