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CurtJazz’s Best Jazz Albums of 2012 – The Complete List

Posted in Best Jazz Albums of 2012, The Jazz Continues... with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 28, 2012 by curtjazz

To wrap up our discussion about our favorite jazz albums of 2012, we’ve brought everything mentioned in the three prior posts together into one comprehensive list. The link in each album title will take you to the album’s page on Amazon.com, if you’re interested in buying or downloading it.

CurtJazz’s Best Jazz of 2012 – The Complete List

In Alphabetical Order by Album Title

Album Title

Artist(s) Label
Accelerando Vijay Iyer ACT
Angelic Warrior Tia Fuller Mack Avenue
Be Good Gregory Porter Motéma
Be Still Dave Douglas Greenleaf
Black Radio Robert Glasper Experiment Blue Note
Blue Moon Ahmad Jamal Jazz Village
Claroscuro Anat Cohen Anzic
Don’t Look Back Mary Stallings HighNote
Flip The Script Orrin Evans Posi-tone
Four MFs Playin’ Tunes Branford Marsalis Marsalis Music
Girl Talk Kate McGarry Palmetto
Heritage Lionel Loueke Blue Note
House of Legends Courtney Pine Destin-E
I Carry Your Heart (Alexis Cole Sings Pepper Adams) Alexis Cole Motéma
Lyrical – Volume 1 Milton Suggs Skiptone
Mary Lou Williams: The Next 100 Years Virginia Mayhew Renma
The Only Son of One Wayne Escoffery Sunnyside
Prisoner of Love Marianne Solivan Hipnotic
Seeds From the Underground Kenny Garrett Mack Avenue
Triveni II Avishai (Trumpet) Cohen Anzic
     
A FEW MORE GOOD THINGS    
Colombe David Reinhardt Trio 101 Distribution
Echoes of Indiana Avenue (Best Historical Album) Wes Montgomery Resonance
Hot House Chick Corea and Gary Burton Concord
Lifesize Mirror Monét Entertainment One
Radio Music Society Esperanza Spalding Heads-Up / Concord
     
2011 Album Revisited    
Keep It Movin’ Shimrit Shoshan

Self-Release / CD Baby

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CurtJazz’s Best Jazz Albums of 2012 – A Few More Good Things…

Posted in Best Jazz Albums of 2012, The Jazz Continues... with tags , , , , , , on December 26, 2012 by curtjazz

To wrap up 2012, I have a few more discs released this year that were not part of the first twenty, but are worth your time and listening attention. They are:

Colombe – David Reinhardt Trio (101 Distribution)

david reinhardtThe 26-year-old grandson of the legendary guitarist Django Reinhardt is a very good guitarist in his own right. Unlike his grandfather, David is focused on Bop and Soul-Jazz. Colombe, his first album released in the U.S., is quite impressive. We’re looking forward to hearing more.

wes montgomeryEchoes of Indiana Avenue – Wes Montgomery (Resonance)

2012’s best historical album was a real find. These are recordings of Wes in 1957-58, in the studio and in Indianapolis clubs, when he was struggling to be heard. These sides prove that he was already near the top of his game. Kudos to Resonance Records, not only for the solid remastering but also for the terrific packaging, which includes great photos and interviews.

 corea and burtonHot House – Chick Corea and Gary Burton (Concord)

Forty years after their landmark duet album, Crystal Silence, and after numerous other collaborations with groups of various sizes, Corea and Burton are back to basics on this album of duets. They are 71 and 69 respectively, but they haven’t lost a step as they alternately challenge and complement each other. There was nothing boring about this reunion.

Lifesize Mirror – Monét (Entertainment One)

monet lifesize mirrorR&B, Jazz, and Neo-Soul create a gorgeous mosaic on this album by this criminally underheard flutist/vocalist/educator/actress. Monét’s sound on flute is reminiscent of Bobbi Humphrey, but this young lady brings much more to the musical table than her famed predecessor.  The music here is way too intelligent and creative to be pigeonholed as “smooth jazz”, so we’ll just call it a thinking person’s groove.

Radio Music Society – Esperanza Spalding (Heads-Up)

esperanzaSpeaking of gifted ladies who refuse to be pigeonholed, Ms. Spalding terrified many hardcore jazz types with her decidedly pop based new album, her first since her shocking Best New Artist win at the 2011 Grammys®.  When you get past all the “jazz forsaking” arguments that have been made, what you have left is an eclectic (Jack DeJohnnette, Joe Lovano and Q-Tip all make guest appearances) and delightful album of great music by a prodigiously gifted young woman who is going to get it done her own way, jazz police be damned. You go girl!

A 2011 Album Revisited

Keep it Movin’ – Shimrit Shoshan (Self Released)

Shimrit-Shoshan-Keep-It-MovinThough she was far from well-known, even in the jazz world, a shockwave went through our little community when it was reported that Shimrit Shoshan had died on August 19, 2012, of cardiac arrest, at age 29. The Israeli born pianist had released her first album in 2011 and it showed that she had a world of promise and nothing but good things ahead of her.

I first became aware of her via an article in Jazz Times, which discussed the variety of worlds that the young woman was involved in to support her budding musical career. Due in large part to her striking good looks, she found work as a backup dancer in music videos and as model/muse for a New York based fashion designer. She also sold gems in the diamond district and taught music to underprivileged kids in Harlem. Her story fascinated me, so I tracked down a copy of her album that same day. I found her playing to very impressive and complex and her solos were challenging; she was no dilettante.

I began to play her album on the station and had some brief correspondence with Ms. Shoshan via Twitter.  I kept tabs on her career and I was looking forward to seeing what was next.

Unfortunately, that encouraging beginning turned out to also be a tragically frustrating coda. So we look back at Shimrit Shoshan’s Keep It Movin’. If you are unfamiliar with this disc, check it out. You’re likely to experience the same mixed emotions that I now feel.

That will wrap it up for our Best Jazz of 2012 list. Tracks from all 25 of these albums can be heard daily on Curt’s Café Noir, from noon – 5 pm (ET), daily, starting on December 27, 2012 and continuing into January 2013.

We will also publish another post after this one which will include the names of each album and a link to where they can be purchased. Because if jazz is to survive, we have all got to do our part by buying the music that we love that is made by living artists.

Have a Jazzy New Year. Until the next time, the jazz continues…

Grammys 2012 Nominees – Best Instrumental Jazz Album

Posted in 2012 Grammys, The Jazz Continues..., Video Vault with tags , , , , , , , , , on February 12, 2012 by curtjazz

This category is also dominated by familiar names; with one very promising newcomer.

The nominees are:

Gerald Clayton – Bond: The Paris Sessions (Emarcy/Decca): Track “If I Were A Bell”

Though this is only Mr. Clayton’s second album as a leader he is a young veteran at 27, having shedded for many years alongside his dad and uncle, in the Clayton Brothers and working with many of the other gifted young cats on the scene.  Bond… is a very good album; with the pianist and his trio seamlessly moving between standards and originals.  It may not be enough in this field laden with transcendent names, but we’ll see.

Corea, Clarke & White – Forever (Concord): Track “Armando’s Rhumba”

Chick Corea, Stanley Clarke and Lenny White, the famed rhythm section of ’70’s fusion giants Return To Forever; jamming over 2 discs worth of favorites from their 2009 “RTF Unplugged” Tour. Nothing new here, but what there is, is top notch – a bunch of well known vets, doing what they do best. You would have to consider them one of the favorites to take home the trophy.

Fred Hersch – Alone at the Vanguard (Palmetto)

Fred Hersch was the first pianist to be asked to play a solo gig at the hallowed jazz club in 2005. He has now returned from a life threatening coma in 2009, to record and release this brilliant solo set. Again, he is a relative unknown in this field, but he would be a very deserving winner. (Note:  the accompanying track is not from Alone at the Vangaurd, but features another wonderful Hersch solo performance “Valentine”.)

Joe Lovano & Us Five – Bird Songs (Blue Note)

Another strong contender; Joe Lovano and Us Five brought the goods on this Charlie Parker tribute. It was more than a Bird regurgitation, but a reimaging of some of the tunes that Parker made famous. It was one of our Best of 2011 albums and I personally hope that Grammy rewards them as well.

Sonny Rollins – Road Shows – Vol. 2  (Doxy/Emarcy/Decca)

You know how Grammy feels about legends. And you also know that this album was a brilliant snapshot of Mr. Rollins 80th Birthday concert in 2010 (Another of our Best of 2011). Sonny Rollins is also a name that most of the non-jazz voters have heard of…Translation – like it or not, this is Newk’s award to lose.

Yellowjackets – Timeline (Mack Avenue): Track “Why Is It (Live)”

These cats would normally be in the “Best Contemporary Jazz Album” category, but I forgot, that doesn’t exist anymore (sarcasm).  In any case, Yellowjackets have been doing it for 30 years and they sound better than ever. If there were still two separate categories, they would be hands down winners.