Saturday, November 18, 2017

News of Past Guests, Holiday 2017 Edition

No, you're not going to find our list of favorite holiday jazz records here (although we can recommend a few good ones, starting with albums by Geri Allen, Carla Bley, Etienne Charles, the Manhattan Brass, Thomas Marriott, the Respect Sextet, Matt Wilson's Christmas Tree-O, and John Zorn and the Dreamers).

We can also point you towards this year's edition of NPR's A Jazz Piano Christmas, which features RJA veteran Helen Sung (along with Joanne Brackeen, Marcia Ball and Abelita Mateus):

And speaking of NPR: this is also the season for the venerable NPR Jazz Critics Poll, a survey of 130+ jazz journalists, trendsetters, and opinion makers from around the world, curated by Francis Davis, who began the poll back at the Village Voice. As usual, the list is bursting with names that should be familiar to RJA audiences: the Top 10 picks include pianist Vijay Iyer (#1); drummer Tyshawn Sorey (#3; see below), who performed here with Myra Melford's Snowy Egret; pianist Craig Taborn (#4), of the Michael Formanek Quartet; vocalist Cécile McLorin Salvant (#6); drummer Matt Wilson (#8); and trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire (#10). (You'll recognize a lot of those bandleaders' sidemen, too.) Keep scrolling through the Top 50 and you'll also find saxophonists Rudresh Mahanthappa, Chris Potter, Noah Preminger, and Miguel Zenón; trumpeters Ron Miles and Kirk Knuffke (Allison Miller's Boom Tic Boom); pianists Fred Hersch, Billy Childs, and Matt Mitchell (of Rez Abbasi's Invocation); guitarist Rez Abbasi; and bassist Linda May Han Oh. Pianist Fabian Almazan, who'll arrive in March with his "Rhizome" project, is in there, too.

Now: if you're looking for some new music to give to a jazz lover in your life, then read on.

In our previous post, we mentioned fresh albums by RJA alumni Fred Hersch, David Virelles (David Binney Quartet), Antonio Sanchez, Rudresh Mahanthappa, Rez Abbasi, and Dave Douglas (with brass quartet The Westerlies). Earlier this year, there were releases by Shao Way Wu, Linda May Han Oh, Matt Wilson, Miguel Zenón, Ryan Keberle & Catharsis, Vijay Iyer, Ambrose Akinmusire, Omer Avital, Ben Allison, David Binney, Phronesis, Chris Potter, Noah Preminger, Matt Stevens (Linda Oh's Sun Pictures), and Cécile McLorin Salvant...and there must be others we've missed. (In addition to the Jazz Critics' Poll, NPR also put albums by Miguel Zenón, Vijay Iyer, and Ron Miles among its 50 best records of the year--of any genre.)  Now, in the final weeks of 2017, there's been a slew of new discs. In no particular order:

Tom Harrell, Moving Picture (includes sound samples):

NPR editor and former New York Times and Jazz Times columnist Nate Chinen's second favorite album of 2017 is Ron Miles's I Am a Man (with Jason Moran, Bill Frisell, Thomas Morgan, and Brian Blade).  Watch a film by Mimi Chakarova, below; there's a nice early review--with an old interview--by Peter Hum at the Ottawa Citizen:

Harris Eisenstadt Nonet, Recent Developments:

Uri Caine and Lutoslawski Quartet, Space Kiss:

Chris Speed (Endangered Blood) Trio (featuring bassist Chris Tordini and Bad Plus drummer Dave King), Platinum on Tap:

Yet another album, Pathways, from Dave Douglas (this one with his sextet):

The Anat Cohen Tentet, Happy Song:

Mark Guiliana (Chris Potter's Underground) Jazz Quartet (featuring Fabian Almazan, appearing at Fulkerson Recital Hall next March), Jersey:

A big band album from Double-Wide trombonist Alan Ferber, Jigsaw:

And finally, MacArthur "genius" Tyshawn Sorey, Verisimilitude:

New Yorker classical music critic and blogger Alex Ross only half-facetiously named Sorey "The Rest Is Noise Person of the Year." Unsurprisingly, Verisimilitude is also showing up on all sorts of 2017 "Best" lists. Here's a New York Times profile of Sorey by Giovanni Russonello that you may have missed when it appeared last summer.