Sunday, December 29, 2013

Top 10 of 2013

Here are 10 albums I enjoyed in 2013:

1. Chris Potter - The Sirens (ECM)
One of my favorite living saxophonists assembled a new quintet to interpret an album's worth of original compositions inspired by Homer's ancient Greek poem "The Odyssey." The group - featuring Craig Taborn on piano, David Virelles on prepared piano, celeste, & harmonium, Larry Grenadier on bass, Eric Harland on drums and Potter on tenor & soprano saxophones and bass clarinet - marks a return to an acoustic sound after several recordings by his electric group, Underground.

2. Bob Reynolds - Somewhere in Between
Heartfelt original compositions plus arrangements of songs by Radiohead, Foo Fighters and Bon Iver perormed by an top-notch ensemble that includes pianist Aaron Parks, bassist Janek Gwizdala, drummer Eric Harland and Reynold's occasional employer - pop superstar/guitarist John Mayer.

3. Kendrick Scott Oracle - Conviction (Concord)
I had the pleasure of hearing much of this music live on two occassions. Once, several years ago, at the Jazz Standard in New York City and more recently, at the SFJazz Center in San Francisco. On both occassions, and on the record, Scott and his band - John Ellis (reeds), Mike Moreno (guitar), Taylor Eigsti (piano), Joe Sanders (bass) - create an intangilble vibe that translates into some of the most memorable music I've heard in recent years.

4. Terence Blanchard - Magnetic (Blue Note)
Another album of music that I enjoyed initially - and even more so after hearing it performed live. Blanchard continues to produce captivating modern jazz with a group made up of musicians of a younger generation.

5. Matt Ullery's Loom - Wake An Echo (Greenleaf)
Thanks to Dave Douglas and his Greenleaf record label, this Chicago-based bassist/composer's music has found its way to audiences outside of the windy city. The quintet performs inspiring, cinematic soundscapes with a unique front line featuring trumpet and - bass clarinet!

 6. Jon Cowherd - Mercy (Artistshare)
 7. Ben Allison - The Stars Look Very Different Today (Sonic Camera)
 8. Gary Burton New Quartet - Guided Tour (Concord)
 9. Chick Corea - The Vigil (Concord)
10. Bob James & David Sanborn - Quartette Humaine (Okeh)

What music did you enjoy in 2013?