Archive for kenny garrett

Best Jazz Albums I Heard in 2016

Posted in Best Jazz Albums of 2016, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 3, 2017 by curtjazz

melissa-morganLet’s start with a confession: I got to hear fewer jazz albums this year than in any year in the past two decades. Which is a shame, because there was a TON of worthwhile music released during the year. My crazy schedule in 2016 often limited me to snippets or tracks from discs that I vowed to get back to, but never did.  So, here’s my list of the best albums that I actually got to hear during the year. Also, there’s a track from an extremely promising young artist, who needs to put more on the market, ASAP; a couple of outstanding 2015 releases that didn’t catch my ear until 2016; and finally, a few of the many fine 2016 releases that I plan to catch up with in January:

ALBUM ARTIST LABEL
ArtScience Robert Glasper Blue Note
Back Home Melissa Aldana Wommusic
Beginning of a Memory Matt Wilson Palmetto
Book of Intuition Kenny Barron Trio Impulse
Chasing After the Wind Gregory Tardy Steeplechase
Convergence Warren Wolf Mack Avenue
Days Like This Melissa Morgan CD Baby
Do Your Dance Kenny Garrett Mack Avenue
Feet in the Mud Mimi Jones Hot Tone
In Movement DeJohnette, Coltrane and Garrison ECM
Jersey Cat Freddie Hendrix Sunnyside
Live at Maxwell’s DE3 Sunnyside
Nihil Novi Marcus Strickland Revive/Blue Note
Notes from New York Bill Charlap Impulse
Once and Future Brian Charette Posi-Tone
Perfection Murray, Allen and Carrington Motema
Presented by the Side Door Jazz Club Black Art Jazz Collective Sunnyside
Restless Idealism Roxy Coss Origin
Soul Tree Ed Cherry Posi-Tone
The Sound of Red Rene Marie Motema
Stranger Days Adam O’Farrill Sunnyside
Take Me to the Alley Gregory Porter Blue Note
TriAngular III Ralph Peterson Trio Onyx/Truth Revolution
The Way We Play Marquis Hill Concord
Written in The Rocks Renee Rosnes Smoke Sessions

2016’s most compelling single in search of an album:

  • “Chicken Day” – Harvey Cummings II

Two 2015 albums (heard in 2016) that deserved to be on last year’s list:

  • Back to the City – Amos Hoffman (CD Baby)
  • Some Morning – Kim Nazarian (CD Baby)

Probably excellent 2016 albums that I look forward to hearing as soon as possible:

ALBUM ARTIST LABEL
#KnowingIsHalfTheBattle Orrin Evans Smoke Sessions
Away With You Mary Halvorson Octet Firehouse 12
Day Breaks Norah Jones Blue Note
Habana Dreams Pedrito Martinez Group Motema
Harlem on My Mind Catherine Russell Jazz Village
Inner Spectrum of Variables Tyshawn Sorey Pi
Madera Latino Brian Lynch Hollistic Music Works
San Jose Suite Etienne Charles Culture Shock
Something Gold, Something Blue Tom Harrell High Note
Upward Spiral Branford Marsalis Okeh

 

 

 

2014 Jazz Grammy® Preview #3 – Best Instrumental Jazz Album

Posted in 2014 Grammys with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 24, 2014 by curtjazz

Here we go with the second of the two major Jazz Grammy races; Best Instrumental Jazz Album. Like the award for the vocalists, this award seems to carry a bit more prestige than the others, whether it’s deserved or not. Also like the Jazz Vocal Album award, this year’s race features its strongest field in quite a while. Any of these five nominees would be a worthy winner. But as in all of the other categories, name recognition and industry politics will likely play a role in who comes out on top. A couple of notable things: First, although Hall of Famers Chick Corea and Wayne Shorter released new projects this year, neither has been nominated in this category. Second, two record labels split the all of the nominations for the category, Concord Jazz and Mack Avenue.

The nominees are:

The New Gary Burton Quartet: Guided Tour (Mack Avenue Records)

Guided Tour is the second offering from Gary Burton’s latest group, a strong aggregation, which includes four virtuoso players, including Julian Lage who is a terrific young guitarist and the amazing Antonio Sanchez on drums. The music is easy-going and extremely well performed. However when I first heard it, it left me a bit cold and that feeling has never gone away. Nevertheless, I pick them as a favorite to win because of Burton’s familiarity with the voters.

Terri Lyne Carrington: Money Jungle: Provocative in Blue (Concord Jazz Records)

One of the most pleasant surprises of the Grammy ceremony two years ago was Terri Lyne Carrington’s Grammy win for her brilliant album The Mosaic ProjectOn this follow-up, Ms. Carrington decided to do something fairly daring; re-imagining the one of the holy books in jazz’s canon, the Money Jungle album that featured the once in a lifetime trio of Duke Ellington, Charles Mingus and Max Roach. With Gerald Clayton on piano and Christian McBride on bass, Carrington  thankfully chooses not to recreate the originals but instead uses them as starting points for some interesting interpretations. Guest spots from Lizz Wright, Antonio Hart and longtime Carrington mentor Clark Terry help to give fresh perspective. It’s a tight race in this category and Ms. Carrington has won before. I’d give her a solid chance to do it again.

Gerald Clayton: Life Forum (Concord Jazz Records)

Life Forum represents another in a string of Grammy nominations for this increasingly busy young pianist. It was a departure from his previous trio focused efforts and included vocalists (Gretchen Parlato and Sachal Vasandani) and horns (Ambrose Akinmusire, Dayna Stephens, Logan Richardson). These additions added a spark and warmth that had been missing from Clayton’s prior albums, making it his most listenable project. But because he is the “baby” of this bunch, he is a long shot to win on Sunday night.

Kenny Garrett: Pushing the World Away (Mack Avenue Records)

Pushing the World Away is Kenny Garrett’s second consecutive nomination in this category. It was kind of surprising to see Garrett return with another strong album within 12 months of his last one (Seeds from the Underground) but Mr. Garrett said that he felt that he “had a lot of music” in him after the last project. Which may explain why Pushing the World Away sounds relatively similar to its predecessor. Which isn’t the worst thing in the world as I felt that Seeds… was one of 2012’s best Jazz albums and one of the bests of Garrett’s long career. I wouldn’t make him the favorite but I’m getting a sneaking feeling that he just may pull this off.

Christian McBride Trio: Out Here (Mack Avenue Records)

This is a back to basics trio date with two very exciting featuring the best (and busiest) bassist in jazz with two young cohorts; pianist Christian Sands and drummer Ulysses Owens, Jr. There’s nothing new here but what they do, they do stunningly well. It’s three world-class musicians, playing some standards, some originals and a couple of fun surprises. I’m personally rooting for these cats but based on Grammy’s history in this category, I don’t think they will win.

So here is my bottom line unscientific prediction:

  • Should Win: Christian McBride Trio
  • Will Win: The New Gary Burton Quartet

In the next post, we will touch on what is surprisingly, the most eclectic group of nominees in this year’s jazz categories – Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album.

2013 Jazz Grammy® Preview #3 – Best Jazz Instrumental Album

Posted in 2013 Grammys with tags , , , , on January 16, 2013 by curtjazz

The Best Jazz Instrumental Album race this year includes no surprises. Each nominee is a seasoned veteran with a strong following, so the race is likely to be close. Still, I would have loved to see a few of the younger (read: under 50) generation crack this lineup.

The nominees are:

Further Explorations – Chick Corea, Eddie Gomez & Paul Motian (Concord)

This disc also was nominated in the Best Improvised Jazz Solo category. It’s a two-disc Bill Evans tribute recorded live at the Blue Note in NYC. Mr. Corea is joined by two of Evans’ most renowned sidemen, Eddie Gomez on bass and the late Paul Motian on drums. Corea and company capture the essence of Evans while leaving just enough space for their own distinct musical personalities to peek through. A number of famed tracks written by or associated with Evans are here and everyone is on their game. It’s a nice homage to one of the legends of piano. Not my favorite of the bunch, but it’s a very fine album and it stands a pretty good chance of winning the Grammy.

Hot House – Chick Corea and Gary Burton (Concord)

The Grammy nominating committee can’t seem to help itself. If Chick Corea releases an album, they have to nominate it. Not that this is in any way a bad record, I just feel that there were a few more albums out there by artists with less familiar names that were more deserving. Mr. Corea and Mr. Burton have performed together many times over these decades and they have an outstanding musical rapport. The energy flags in spots, but it’s a solid album overall. Another possible Grammy night favorite because of who is involved.

Seeds from the Underground – Kenny Garrett (Mack Avenue)

This is my personal favorite of the nominated albums, one of our Best Jazz Albums of 2012 but it’s not likely to win because it is surrounded by legends. This is Mr. Garrett’s best album in over a decade. His band is tight, his solos are inspired and his writing is top-notch, with a couple of the tunes having the potential to become jazz standards. This is the third album by Garrett to get a Grammy nom. He is yet to win. Again, considering who the other nominees are, Mr. Garrett is a long shot in this category but I’m rooting for him.

Blue Moon – Ahmad Jamal (Jazz Village)

I said it in my Best Jazz Albums of 2012 post and I’ll say it again here – Blue Moon is Ahmad Jamal’s best album in four decades.  Mr. Jamal covers a program mostly consisting of standards from the Great American Songbook and jazz, with his usual flair. What sets this album apart is the strong support that he gets from his sidemen, Herlin Riley, Reginald Veal and Manolo Badrena. The results are thoroughly modern (as in 21st Century), yet also timeless. This is my sentimental favorite. Corea and Metheny are likely to beat him out, but I wouldn’t be at all disappointed if they didn’t.

Unity Band – Pat Metheny (Nonesuch)

Pat Metheny has won 19 Grammys (you read that right) over the course of his illustrious  recording career, so we know that the Grammy voters love him.  Unity Band is a return to a more conventional style after his experimental forays on his last few releases. It’s a kind of retrospective of the varied sounds that made him famous, so every Metheny fan will find something to like here. It’s also a very good album. The result – Pat Metheny will most likely win his 20th Grammy on February 10th.

These tracks and others from Grammy nominated jazz albums can be heard on Curt’s Café Noir, our 24/7 web radio station on Live365, right up until February 10. We feature these tracks daily, from 4 pm – 6 pm (EST) on “The Grammy Show”. Click here to listen.

The next Grammy post will feature the Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album – a category with only three nominees. Until then, The Jazz Continues…

2013 Jazz Grammy® Preview #1 – Best Improvised Jazz Solo

Posted in 2013 Grammys with tags , , , , , , on January 5, 2013 by curtjazz

Last year, we took an impromptu look at the jazz artists nominated for Grammy Awards a couple of days before the telecast. It turned out to be one of our most popular posts in 2012.  Because we don’t want to mess with success, we’ll do it again in 2013.

This time though, we’ll start a bit earlier and continue periodically until the awards are presented on February 10. Let’s start with the jazz equivalent of Record of the Year; Best Improvised Jazz Solo.

The Nominees Are:
“Cross Roads” – Ravi Coltrane – soloist (From the album Spirit Fiction [Blue Note])


On Spirit Fiction, Ravi Coltrane starts to fulfill the potential that has long been predicted for him. If it has taken him a while, cut him some slack, being the son of John Coltrane and playing the same instrument as his legendary dad is an insane load to bear. IMO, “Cross Roads” is not the album’s strongest track but it’s nice to see Ravi’s work recognized.

“Hot House” – Chick Corea and Gary Burton – soloists (From the album Hot House [Concord Jazz])


There seems to be an unwritten Grammy rule – if Chick (or for that matter, Herbie) release anything in a given year, it is required to get a Grammy nomination. This album pulled down two noms, one for the title song in this category and another for Best Jazz Instrumental Album. Hot House, the album, is very good and “Hot House”, the track, is one of two standout cuts on disc, so the nod is not unexpected. Corea and Burton play with gusto here and their interplay is top-notch. Name recognition makes this one the favorite to take home the trophy.

“Alice in Wonderland” – Chick Corea – soloist (From the album Further Explorations (Chick Corea, Eddie Gomez & Paul Motian) [Concord Jazz])


Surprise! Another nomination for Chick Corea (see the above rule). This is a fine performance of the Bill Evans tune by Chick, bassist Eddie Gomez and the late Paul Motian, from their live tribute album to Evans, recorded a couple of years ago. This album is also nominated for Best Jazz Instrumental Album. Mr. Corea is in his element here and he gets great support from his bandmates, both well-known Evans trio veterans. There’s nothing new or really surprising here, but it works. Also stands a good chance to win because of the presence of Chick and two other legends.

“J. Mac” – Kenny Garrett – soloist (From the album Seeds from the Underground [Mack Avenue])


For my money, this is the best of the nominated tracks. “The Real Kenny G” is on fire on this tribute to one his major influences, the great Jackie McLean. Garrett is inspired and he clearly inspires the rest of the band – listen to pianist Benito Gonzalez pushing Garrett before Gonzalez explodes with his own solo. A dynamite track from a dynamite album (which is another of the Best Instrumental Jazz Album nominees). Maybe the Corea votes will cancel each other out and “J. Mac” will emerge victorious. We’ll wait and see (and hope).

“Ode” – Brad Mehldau – soloist (From the album Ode [Nonesuch])


I must start by confessing that I’m not as big of a fan of Brad Mehldau as many other people are. I don’t dislike his playing and I certainly respect his artistry, but his style often leaves me cold. That being said, “Ode” is one of my favorite Mehldau tracks. It has a lighter touch than a lot of his work and because of that, I found myself thoroughly engaged from beginning to end. Again, “Ode” may be blocked by the Corea firewall, but it deserved to be nominated.

These tracks and others from Grammy nominated jazz albums can be heard on Curt’s Café Noir, our 24/7 web radio station on Live365, right up until February 10. We feature these tracks daily, from 4 pm – 6 pm on “The Grammy Show”.

In our next Grammy post, we discuss the Best Jazz Vocal Album nominees. Until then, The Jazz Continues…

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

CurtJazz’s Best Jazz Albums of 2012 – Part II

Posted in Best Jazz Albums of 2012, The Jazz Continues... with tags , , , , , , , , , on December 23, 2012 by curtjazz

Here’s Part II of the list of our favorite jazz albums of 2012. Like Part I, these are in alphabetical order, by album title:

Girl Talk – Kate McGarry (Palmetto)

kate mcgarryComing from the same musical place as Gretchen Parlato and to a lesser extent, Norah Jones, Ms. McGarry has determinedly carved out her own niche as a vocalist.  Her appealing voice and fun way with a lyric made me a fan when I first heard her on her 2007 disc, Target. Now with Girl Talk, she has fulfilled the mature promise that some of her previous works hinted at. Backed by a terrific band which includes the incomparable Gary Versace on organ and piano, her hubby, Keith Ganz on guitars, bassist Reuben Rogers and drummer Clarence Penn, this album is billed as Ms. McGarry’s tribute to some of her vocal role models, which is ironic, because I find this to be her most individual work to date.

Heritage – Lionel Loueke (Blue Note)

Lionel Loueke

Another highly anticipated disc that delivered the goods, Heritage brought together the guitarist from Benin, with his label mate Robert Glasper as producer. This brought about a change in a number of ways – gone was the nylon string acoustic guitar that had so defined Loueke’s sound in the past. In its place were electric guitars and a steel string acoustic. Glasper also brought along his “Experiment” band members, Derek Hodge on bass and Mark Guiliana on drums. The resulting sound added an exciting tension to Loueke’s sound between Loueke’s serene guitar and Yoruba vocalizing and the electric funk elements added by Mr. Glasper and company. That tension produced many compelling musical moments, such as the haunting “Tribal Dance”, which has made it impossible to me to take this disc out of my CD changer.

House of Legends – Courtney Pine (Destin-E)

Courtney PineCourtney Pine first caught the attention of the jazz world with his 1986 release Journey to the Urge WithinIt hit right in the midst of the “Young Lions” craze of the ‘80’s/’90’s. The press quickly dubbed Mr. Pine “The New Coltrane”; a daunting title to hang on anyone. Mr. Pine confounded those who labeled him by going off wherever his musical muse took him. Now in 2012, the muse takes the London native to House of Legends, on which he embraces his Jamaican roots more than on any project of his 25 year career. It’s a joyous album, from beginning to end, with Mr. Pine, who appears only soprano, blowing terrific lines over meringue, ska, calypso and mento rhythms. Imagine if Sonny Rollins had taken his calypso flirtations to their fullest extent and you’ll get the idea. This album put a smile on my face. 

I Carry Your Heart – Alexis Cole (Motéma)

alexis cole

That Pepper Adams was one of the great baritone saxophone players in jazz is indisputable. However the fact that he was a prolific composer has gone virtually unnoticed.  Jazz historian Gary Carner set out to right that wrong in conjunction with Motéma Records. The result is a monumental five-volume set that celebrates Adams, the composer. For Volume 5, Carner worked with poet Barry Wallenstein, who added lyrics to Adams seven ballads. They then engaged Alexis Cole, a marvelous, if underheard vocalist to sing these songs. I Carry Your Heart, the resulting album, is excellent in every way. Adams’ music is beautiful, Wallenstein’s lyrics fit the tunes like a glove and Ms. Cole gives delivers the finest performances that I’ve heard from her to date. The band that backs this session is also outstanding, with special kudos going to Eric Alexander and Pat LaBarbera, who are their usual exceptional selves on the tenor.

Lyrical – Vol. 1 – Milton Suggs (Skiptone)

Milton Suggs

I’ve spent much of the last few years lamenting the lack of promising new male jazz vocal talent. I’ve even discussed the issue with Jon Hendricks when I interviewed him a few years back. His answer was quite interesting, but too long to discuss here. Now suddenly, in the last few years, I’ve seen binders full of talented male vocalists make themselves known; Ori Dagan, Sachal Vasandani, José James and Mr. Milton Suggs. Suggs, Chicago born and now NYC based, has perhaps kept the lowest profile of the four, but he has released the most impressive recent album. On Lyrical, Vol. 1, Mr. Suggs wraps his big baritone voice around lyrics that he has written, to some well-known (“Ceora”, “Footprints”) and not so well-known (Roy Hargrove’s “Joy Is Sorrow Unmasked”) compositions. Suggs takes a few risks, such as overdubbing himself as his own background vocalist, which works very well most of the time. But the hits far outweigh the misses. Suggs is an excellent vocalist and a very good lyricist. The bottom line is that I have not stopped listening to this album since it arrived in my mailbox and that’s what sets it apart from the rest.

Mary Lou Williams: The Next 100 Years – Virginia Mayhew (Renma)

virginia mayhew

The legendary pianist Mary Lou Williams would have turned 100 in 2010. There have been a number of tributes to her over the past few years. This one by tenor saxophonist Virginia Mayhew is IMO, the most thorough and the most musically impressive. Ms. Mayhew did exhaustive research. She was given full access to the Mary Lou Williams Collection at the Rutgers Institute of Jazz Studies. She then listened to over 200 of Ms. Williams’ compositions before choosing her favorites and beginning her arrangements. What makes this album so strong is that Ms. Mayhew clearly set out to write modern, energetic arrangements and avoid staid recreations. The music here sounds as exciting as if were written last week, instead of seventy years ago, as is the case in a few instances. Ms. Mayhew has a big expressive tone and she attacks her solos with gusto. She also has recruited a couple of partners who are every bit her equal in trombonist Wycliffe Gordon and guitarist Ed Cherry. Though Mary Lou Williams passed away over thirty years ago, Mayhew and company make her music live.

The Only Son of One – Wayne Escoffery (Sunnyside)

wayne escoffery

Wayne Escoffery is one of the busiest tenor saxophonists in New York. Besides his work with Tom Harrell, Ben Riley, Eric Reed and the LCJO, he also still records some fine sets as a leader, of which The Only Son of One, is certainly one of the best. On this album, Mr. Escoffery tells a bit of his own story. He was born in a tough section of London. His mother left his abusive, Jamaican-born father and fled to the U.S. when Wayne, their only child, was eight.  They arrived in the States with nothing and got by for many years on their wits and determination.  The titles of the songs tell the story of his upbringing, the tough times, his spirituality and how they all shaped Wayne. His playing is passionate and captivating. Though he still shows traces of Joe Henderson and Wayne Shorter in his playing, he has grown to a point his own style is in the forefront and it is quite impressive.

Prisoner of Love – Marianne Solivan (Hipnotic)

marianne solivan

I was listening to Prisoner of Love for the first time. About halfway through I muttered to myself “Where did this woman come from? How could I have missed her?” The Queens, NY native seems to have come out of nowhere and she has captured many an ear. Some have compared Marianne Solivan to Geri Southern and Julie London. I can agree with that only in regards to the timbre of her voice, for even on her ballads, Ms. Solivan swings harder than either of those two legendary chanteuses. On this album, produced by trumpeter Jeremy Pelt, Ms. Solivan and Mr. Pelt display excellent judgment by surrounding the singer with some of the best musicians on the East Coast (Peter Bernstein, Christian McBride, Xavier Davis, et al) and selecting a standard repertoire that fits her voice like a glove. Among many highlights are Solivan’s two duets with McBride, a situation that could crush a lesser talent. But on “All or Nothing at All” and “Day Dream”, Ms. Solivan rises to the occasion and not only holds her own, but shines with the confidence of a star, which she very well may be.

Seeds from the Underground – Kenny Garrett (Mack Avenue)

kenny garrett

In a career that has spanned fifteen solo albums over three decades, Kenny Garrett has been all over the musical map, moving from big band, to hard bop to a stint with Miles, to being a first call sideman and creator of a musical oeuvre that has rarely remained in the same place for too long. It’s no surprise then, that Mr. Garrett has had a considerable number of musical influences.  On Seeds from the Underground, he pays homage to those who have planted the musical seeds that have aided his development into one of the most formidable artists of his generation.  Mr. Garrett put a lot of himself, artistically and personally, into this album and that effort has paid off with impressive results. Seeds from the Underground is the finest album that Kenny Garrett has released in the 21st Century and is one of the best of his career.

Triveni II – Avishai Cohen [Trumpet] – (Anzic)

avishai cohen

Avishai Cohen’s last album as a leader, Introducing Triveni, made our list last year as the album that I had missed in 2010. When I heard that at the same two-day session as Introducing Triveni, enough music for a second album was recorded and that it was going to be released, I was determined not to miss this one. I’m pleased to report that Triveni II is not an album of outtakes. It is every bit as good as its predecessor. Born and raised in Tel-Aviv, Mr. Cohen, the brother of Anat Cohen, has made a name for himself in jazz despite having a well-known sister and having the same name as another Israeli jazz musician, which is why “trumpet” is often included as a part of his name. This session, which again features bassist Omer Avital and drummer Nasheet Waits, is another tour de force, where the trumpeter seems to relish the freedom of having no other melody instrument in the group. It’s a thrilling and creative set, one that I predict many serious young trumpeters will try to emulate.

Though this concludes our top twenty, there is still a bit more ahead. Our next post will include a handful of very good albums that should also be heard, a terrific historical album and our “missed” album from 2011, which this year isn’t so much missed as it is poignantly revisited.

The music from all twenty “Best of” albums and the additional discs, can be heard on our internet station Curt’s Café Noir, starting on December 27, 2012 and continuing through January 2013.  As always, agreement and disagreement is welcome in the comments section. I approve them all, except spam and naked self promotion.

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Glorious Kwanza and Happy New Year to all – until the next time – The Jazz Continues!