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Howard Mandel

07 Jan 2018 3:22 PM | Howard Mandel (Administrator)

Many (not all) of my favorites of 2017

Music documentary: Thomas Chapin, Nightbird Song, directed by Stephanie J. Castillo


Celebrate Ornette (includes dvd) - Song X Records invaluable document of an incomparable concert/celebration giving a glimpse of Ornette's range of influence as well as the last public playing by the man himself

Roscoe Mitchell, Bells for the South Side (ECM) - deep sounds, patient percussion, penetrating winds

Steve Coleman, Morphogenesis(Pi) - layers of vivid polyphony, somehow synchronized

Gregory Lewis (Organ Monk) The Breathe Suite (DIY release) honoring the lives of victims of fatal police shootings with gritty, soulful blowing 

Darcy James Argue's Secret Society Real Enemies (New Amsterdam) Chilling spoken word texts a la Orwell punctuate eerie, wary contemporary orchestral jazz. I'm told this is a 2016 release but I didn't get it then

Lisa Mezzacappa avantNOIR (Clean Feed) Inclusion of electronic synthesizer in the bassist-composer's ensemble adds dimension to an audio collage evoking film

Amir ElSaffar Rivers of Sound Not Two (New Amsterdam) Trumpeter's continued exploration and creation of the conjunction of Iraqui makam and jazz, this time for 17 piece ensemble 

Matt Mitchell A Pouting Grimace (Pi) Fascinating diversity of soundscapes

Mike Reed Flesh & Bone,  (482 Music) A suite about tribal aggression, from striking Chicago players

John Beasely Monk'estra Vol. 2, (Mack Avenue) Vividly colored large-scale reworkings of Monk's music

Chris Washburne Rags and Roots,  (Zoho), Imaginative interpretations 

Shabaka and the Ancestors: Wisdom of the Elders (Brownswood Recordings), good listening, ancient to the future

Adam Rudolph's Moving Pictures: Glare of the Tiger (Meta Records) Interactive free improvsation

Vijay Iyer, Far From Over (ECM) Disciplined, compositional, penetrating

Tyshawn Sorey, Verisimilitude (Pi) jazz trio regardless of "jazz" vocabularies

Chick Corea, The Musician (Concord Jazz) Extraordinarily consistent high quality across breadth of collaborations

Mike Stern, Trip (Heads Up) "fusion" at its most creative and refined.

Reissues or Historical Albums

Wynton Kelly Trio with Wes Montgomery, Smokin' in Seattl(Resonance)

Albert Ayler Quartet Copenhagen Live, 1964, (Hatology)

Lester Bowie Numbers 1 and 2,  (Nessa)

Best Vocal album - Dreams and Daggers, Cecile McLorin Salvant (Mack Avenue) 

Best Latin jazz album (I think "Latin jazz" is an under- and ill-defined category, in which albums as disparate as David Virelle's Gnossis, Gabriel Allegria's Afro-Peruvian Sextet power-fusion from Brooklyn, Argentine drummer-composer Guillermo Nojechowicz telling the story of his Polish grandmother's emigration in 1933, Nestor Torres' "Jazz Flute Traditions" and John Pizzarelli's Sinatra-Jobim at 50 could arguably belong. I choose undeniably old-school, mainstream, small-group and somewhat modest Nuyorican "Latin jazz." My other strong contenders were Familia (O'Farrill/Vald├ęs) and Corina Bartra's Takunde. I didn't hear Eddie Palmieri's Sabaduria but I shall.

Mr. EP, Charlie Sepulveda and the Turnaround (HighNote)

So so so so many other recordings and live performances I enjoyed. Looking forward to the music of 2018.

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