Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Best of Jazz 2011 - Ron Steeds

Ron Steeds is our Sponsorship and Fundraising Coordinator. He is also one of the members of the This Island Earth collective of hosts. This Island Earth is on Sundays from 1 - 4 PM. He is a member of the improvised music collective. Here are his favourite jazz recordings of the past year, in no particular order.

Trio M – Guest House (Enja)

The trio of Myra Melford, Mark Dresser and Matt Wilson continue their astounding telepathic collaboration with their second recording.

Craig Taborn – Avenging Angel (ECM)

This is Craig Taborn stripped down – just him and a grand piano. Add to that the unmistakable gorgeous ECM sound and you have an intimate listening experience.

Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society – Infernal Machines (New Amsterdam)

DJA is starting to turn heads for his composing and conducting prowess. This is as exciting a listening experience as there was this year.

Ingebrigt Haker Flaten & Dennis Gonzalez – The Hymn Project (daagnim)

Take the venerable Dallas trumpet player who has played with many of the great modern jazz musicians, add the dynamic Norwegian bassist Ingebrigt Haker-Flaten who is a member of Atomic, School Days, Scorch Trio and School Days (to name a few) and you have a sure fire recipe for the “sound of surprise”.

Michael Bates – Acrobat: Music For, And By, Dimitri Shostakovich (Sunnyside)

Michael Bates creates infectious, thoughtful, intense jazz out of his inspiration – modern classical music. It should be heard to be believed.

David Binney – Barefoot Town (Criss Cross)

The unmistakable alto sound of David Binney combined with his hypnotic compositions create raga-like swells of sound. I like that.

Vijay Iyer – Tirtha (ACT)

Vijay Iyer has been pushing the boundaries of jazz for more than a decade. He never fails for surprise the listener.

Mostly Other People Do The Killing – Coimbra Concert (Clean Feed)

These guys are having fun. There is a looseness to their playing that gives the listener the impression they’re about to lose control. But then they pull it back. They are both forward looking and constantly referencing the past, with covers that pay hommage to classic records. This one is no exception. Compare it to Keith Jarrett’s Koln Concert.

Rudresh Mahanthappa – Samdhi (ACT)

Much like his frequent collaborator, Vijay Iyer, Rudresh Mahanthappa combines his life experience, his academic background (he has a degree in mathematics) and his study with Steve Coleman. He has a singular alto sax tone.

Matana Roberts – Coin Coin Chapter One: Gens De Couleur Libres (Constellation)

In the same way Don Byron’s “Tuskeegee Experiments” investigated the intense history of the Black experience, Matana Roberts’ 2011 release focused on the Black woman in the past in a very personal way.

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