Sunday, January 20, 2013

20 Notable Jazz Releases from 2012

Best Overall Picks

Black Radio ~ Robert Glasper Experiment - Ground breaking, chart topping, Jazz-R&B-HipHop crossover album.
Star of Jupiter ~ Kurt Rosenwinkel - Unique sound with a spatial quality and a jazz-rock fusion influence.
Rayuela ~ Miguel Zenon and Laurent Coq - Concept album inspired by a the novel of the same name. Jazz album with Latin, Classical and Indian influenced sound.
Circle House ~ Kris Allen - This quartet led by Hartford based alto sax player shows some great hard bop chops along with raw emotion in these original compositions (and one standard).
Seeds From the Underground ~ Kenny Garrett - Non-stop intensity from start to finish. Soaring alto sax lines over African rhythms.
Four MF’s Playin’ Tunes ~ Branford Marsalis - Hard driving modern bop from some extroadinary jazz cats.
All Our Reasons ~ Billy Hart - Thoughtful compositions and expressive drumming leads the way with this great quartet's explorations.
Unity Band ~ Pat Metheny - Metheny's great all-star touring band of 2012. Chris Potter is paired beautifully with Metheny's playing.
1619 Broadway ~ Kurt Elling - Elling's interpretations of some great popular songs from the 60's and 70's with fine modern jazz arangements behind them.
Initial Here ~ Linda Oh - This great young bass player shows off her intricate writing and arranging skills with a fine quintet.
Accelerando ~ Vijay Iyer - An intense set of piano trio works from this forward thinking creative jazz artist.
The Eleventh Hour ~ Jonathan Blake - Blake explores many facets of jazz in first CD as a leader. He has a modern sound steeped in a swinging tradition.
Spirit Fiction ~ Ravi Coltrane - Ravi continues to grow creatively as an artist. Produced with Joe Lovano, and his influence is felt in these tracks.
Family ~ 3 Cohens- Anat, Avishai, and Yuval shows that a family that plays together, swings hard together. 3+3 play as 1 with these great sextet arrangements. Fine soloing as you would expect from the Cohens.

Best from Connectiuct Jazz Artists

Grandma’s Revenge ~ Frank Varela - Soaring guitar work showing influences from Wes to Hendrix on this fine guitar trio album
Tales & Stories ~ Sinan Bakir - Fine compositions, great chops with an Eastern European influence from this Turkish born, Hartford guitarist.
Live at Smalls ~ Dezron Douglas - Hartfords up and coming bass player is getting some world-wide attention playing with Cyrus Chestnut, Ravi Coltrane and many more. His first major release as a leader swings hard.
Underground ~ New Jazz Workshop - This long standing project by leaders Dezron Dougas (bass) and Lummie Span (sax) puts a hard swinging groove to their original compositions.
Books on Tape, Vol 1 ~ Craig Hartley - Skilled piano chops and wonderful writing from one of Hartfords best jazz cats on this trio album.
State of Emergency ~ Nat Reeves - One of the best jazz session bassists shows how to lay down the perfect rhythm and push the music ahead with this quartet. Fine trumpet playing by newcomer Josh Bruneau deserves your attention.

Circle House -Kris Allen - CT artist listed above in "Best Overall Pics"

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