Here are ten albums I really enjoyed this year:
Best known for his work with the ten-piece Norwegian band Jaga Jazzist, the trumpeter's second solo album is a collection of melodic, pop-influenced instumental compositions. If this is what jazz sounds like in Norway, I'm moving.
Twin brothers Remy (saxophone/clarinet) and Pascal (piano/keyboards) have created an incredible hybrid recording that features an acoustic quintet + string quartet paired with an added layer of post-production electronics.
3. Chris Tarry - Rest of the Story (Nineteen-Eight Records)
The latest collection of songs from the Canadian bassist and his working quintet was released as as a beautifully packaged book & CD set - complete with 100 pages of Tarry's original fiction - but the music easily stands on its own.
4. Death Cab for Cutie - Codes & Keys (Atlantic)
Another collection of finely crafted, tuneful, ear-cathing songs - given a studio shine - from one of my favorite pop bands. While their previous effort Narrow Stairs felt like a misstep, this one sounds like a worthy successor to Plans.
5. Magnus Öström - Thread of Life (ACT)
The drummer from the late Esbjorn Svenssen's trio has created the closest thing we'll ever get to a new EST album. If only his choice of cover art was as tasteful as the music.
6. Yellowjackets - Timeline (Mack Avenue)
Joyful, unpretentious contemporary jazz from a group that's been around for three decades. These four guys are partially responsible for turning me on to jazz back in the early 90's.
7. Bon Iver - Bon Iver (Jagjaguwar)
At first listen I was less than thrilled, but this music grew on me with repeated listens. Best experienced with headphones and a view of nature. Big thanks to Matt Loiacono for introducing me to this album.
8. James Farm - James Farm (Nonesuch)
An all-star, collaborative quartet featuring saxophonist Joshua Redman, pianist Aaron Parks, bassist Matt Penman, and drummer Eric Harland. I hope this group is just getting started.
9. Coldplay - Mylo Xylto (Capital)
The production on this album alone makes for an interesting listen, but the English foursome has once again found a way to craft a collection of uplifting, listener friendly tunes that sound familiar, yet new. Plus, it makes for a great soundtrack to my new running habit.
Nice combination of vintage and contemporary sounds paired with creative song writing and killer vocals. Plan and simple - this music rocks.
What were your favorites this year?