The Redwood Jazz Alliance folks sent a Top 10 jazz albums list that was really 12. Here are five (well, six).
No. 1, a tie: Song for Anyone — Chris Potter 10, and Follow the Red Line: Live at the Village Vanguard — Chris Potter Underground. The former is chamber music-like, with flute, clarinet, bassoon and a string trio. The latter is funk- and rock-influenced postbop with a bass-less quartet. What they have in common is Potter’s brilliant improvisations on tenor and soprano saxes and bass clarinet.
Sky Blue — Maria Schneider Orchestra. Her greatness as a composer became apparent a couple of CDs ago. This disc is filled with music that’s lovely at first listen and grows increasingly rich and deep with repeated hearings.
The Words and the Days — Enrico Rava Quartet. One of the giants of post-Miles trumpet playing, Rava has been dubbed “Italy’s gift to jazz.” Lively, gorgeous music from an all-Italian group.
Pilgrimage — Michael Brecker. On his final recording, the late great tenor saxophonist gets some old friends (H. Hancock, B. Mehldau, P. Metheny, J. DeJohnette) to play all-star sidemen for an album of urgent, swinging originals.
Big Picture — Trio M (Myra Melford, Mark Dresser, Matt Wilson). These three share much more than an initial. Terrific composers and brilliant players all, their interplay is what really makes this album shine.