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Howard Mandel

05 Dec 2016 3:46 PM | Howard Mandel (Administrator)

Bakers' Dozen Best Albums 2016:

  • Old Locks and Irregular Verbs (Pi) - Henry Threadgill Double-Up (an expanded ensemble featuring Threadgill's complex and beautiful tribute to the late Laurence Douglas "Butch" Morris)
  • Time/Life (Impulse!) - Charlie Haden Liberation Music Orchestra (Carla Bley helms sumptuous, somber ensemble of individualists expanding on ecological themes; Haden prior to his demise on two tracks, and speaks).
  • A cosmic rhythm with each stroke (ECM) -- Wadada Leo Smith and Vijay Iyer (fine interactive improvisations from two of the most cerebrally soulful explorers in creative music)
  • Steve Lehman and Sélébéyone (Pi) (Brilliant alto saxophonist weaves himself into a dense, jagged mix with a Senegalese rapper speaking in Wolof and electronics. Unique). 
  • In Movement (ECM) - Jack DeJohnette, Ravi Coltrane, Matt Garrison (Exciting drumming and sense of trio cohesion)
  • A New Direction (Mack Avenue) - Herlin Riley (timely fun from New Orleans traditionalist/modernist
  • Our Cells Know (Tzadik) - Robert Dick (things you've never heard freely flowing from any instrument, surely not contrabass flute
  • Moving Still (Pi) - Jonathan Finlayson and the Sicilian Defense (the trumpeter's syncopated layers of grooving cool, implemented with Miles Ozaki, guitar; Matt Mitchell, piano; John Hébert, bass; Craig Weinrib, drums).
  • Touch My Beloved's Thought (Greenleaf Music) - Greg Ward& 10 Tongues (an original suite by a hot young alto saxist for modern dance, derived from but not imitative of Mingus' "Black Saint and the Sinner Lady")
  • Perfection (Motema) - David Murray/Geri Allen/Terri Lynne Carrington Power Trio (Murray's heart-on-sleeve extrapolations cozened by Allen's open-on-all-sides pianism, grounded in Carrington's splash and drive.
  • Three Compositions (Tricentric Foundation) - Anthony Braxton (his large ensemble -- 3 cds - deep dive into a swirling maze of a soundworld
  • A Way With You (Firehouse 12) - Mary Halvorson Octet (quirky and unpredictable, surprisingly cogent and fresh)  

Historical albums

  • In Paris: The ORTF Recordings (Resonance), Larry Young (two cds of hard-out organ in ensemble, inspiring mid '60s sidemen including Woody Shaw and Nathan Davis).\
  • Musical Monsters (Intakt) - Don Cherry, John Tchicai, Irene Schweizer, Leon Francioli, Pierre Favre (Let's hear EVERYTHING Don Cherry did, especially with collaborators like these).
  • Bells/Prophecy Expanded Edition (ESP) Albert Ayler Trio (Ecstatic, 
  • Black Magic (Delmark) - Magic Sam (Purely joyful West Side Chicago blues of sweet-singin' guitar ace and band, with six previously unreleased tracks)
  • Holding the Stage - Road Shows Vol. 4 (Doxy Okeh) - Sonny Rollins (the master tenorist, 1979 to 2012)
Notable vocal albums
  • Let's Get Lost (Mack Avenue) - Cyrille Aimee (for fun)
  • Tell A Star (Enna Records) Maryanne de Prophetis (meditative, precise, penetrating lyricism, w/pianist Frank Kimbrough, trumpeter Ron Horton, drummer Satoshi Takehisi)

(Apologies for all the recordings I didn't haven't found time to hear yet -- but still will).

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