Monday, December 15, 2008

Dr. Dave’s Top Ten Jazz Albums of 2008

Joe Locke. Force of Four.

Who's afraid of Vibes!? We gotta get this guy here! Very advanced hot bop-tradition music, like Woody Shaw's fierce playing transferred to vibes.

Dafnis Prieto. Taking the Soul for a Walk. Dafnison Music.
Prieto's RJA appearance (sans Avishai Cohen's trumpet) was like Zenon's, brilliantly evocative of the Caribbean roots of jazz. Live, the drumming is noisy and parade-like; the second horn makes the record more like a "concert" than the actual show.

Donny McCaslin. Recommended Tools. Greenleaf.

Donny's explores the trio as the "most intimate" configuration, and reveals a huge personality behind his sound. Terrific technique never suffered less for expression of emotion.

Bill Dixon with the Exploding Star Orchestra. Thrill Jockey.

I've heard several people, one a big swell who should know whereof he speaks, that Bill Dixon is coasting on his achievements of thirty years ago. Being one who coasts on the 70s—when you and I were young, Billy--I should be able to see it, but I don't. He's amazing. 83 is the new 40. I've been listening to small group and solo Dixon over the years, so hearing Dixon's round black tone inside this big band thing is an especial treat. It's cantankerous and fiddly and loud without being muddy, or fey, and I love it. And Mazurek is doing now what he'll "coast on" thirty years hence ….

Paolo Fresu. Mare Nostrum. ACT.

Richard Galliano on accordion and bandoneon is the real reason for this choice, though Paolo's muted horn, even more Miles-like than usual, is always perfect. This is the soundtrack to the European holiday in my head.

Bennie Maupin. Early Reflections. Cryptogramophone.

Sheer unadulterated pure scary beauty.

Miguel Zenon. Awake. Marsalis Music.

Zenon is the most driven of any contemporary artist working to extend the main stream of the music. He brings extraordinary energy to the original African-Caribbean-North American fusion. Using the past to find the future with compelling, vigorous resolution. And as a "genius" grantee, he now has the bucks to help him to it!

Ben Allison. Little Things Rule the World. Palmetto.

Program music for everyday life in the year of 2008. Program music for everyday life in the year of 2008.World. Palmetto.

Adam Kolker. Flag Day. Sunny Side

Nicholas Payton, Into the Blue. Nonesuch.

Extremely Honorable Mention

Mary Halvorson — Dragon's Head (Firehouse 12)

John Ellis. Dance Like There's No Tomorrow. HYENA.

David Sanchez. Cultural Survival. Concord Picante.

Harris Eisenstadt — Guewel (Clean Feed)

Conrad Herwig. Latin Side of John Coltrane. Reissue of My Year.

McCoy Tyner, Guitars. Half Note.

Don Cherry — Live at Cafe Montmartre 1966, Vol. 2 (ESP)

Things tipping over into next year (I haven't heard but want to):

Wadada Leo Smith's Golden Quartet — Tabligh (Cuneiform)

Chico Hamilton, Andrew Hill, Dreams Come True, Joyous Shout, 2008

Taylor Ho Bynum — Asphalt Flowers Forking Paths (Hatology)

Ari Hoenig, Bert's Playground (Dreyfus)

1 comment:

natz said...

Hey - I entirely agree with your selection of Joe Locke's "Force of Four". What an amazing album! Joe has a website with more stuff to check out: