Saturday, December 29, 2012

Favorite Jazz Recordings for 2012



Before listing my favorite jazz albums for 2012, I have to make mention of two jazz albums that escaped my attention in 2011 and that would have made my list in 2011 if I had known about them.

I regret not having discovered Soren Dahl Jeppesen’s Red Sky until May, 2012 and not having learned about MBM Trio until October, 2012. Soren Dahl Jeppesen’s Red Sky can be found at Bandcamp. MBM Trio, featuring Lucia Martinez on drums, Antonio Bravo on guitar, and Baldo Martinez on bass, has a number of videos available at YouTube; their website can be accessed at this link.

My favorite jazz albums for 2012 appear below but in no particular order:

Yuri Honing’s Acoustic Quartet, True (Challenge Records)

Matthew Halsall, Fletcher Moss Park (Gondwana Records)

Scott McLemore, Remote Location (Sunny Sky Records)

Marc Johnson & Eliane Elias, Swept Away (ECM)

Espen Eriksen Trio, What Took You So Long (Rune Grammofon)

Bram Weijters-Chad McCullough Quartet, Urban Nightingale (Origin Records)

Brad Mehldau Trio, Ode (Nonesuch Records)

Martin Hoper, The Bride (Hoob Jazz)

Manu Katche, Manu Katche (ECM)

Partikel, Cohesion (Whirlwind Recordings)

Phronesis, Walking Dark (Edition Records)

Hans Glawischnig, Jahira (Sunnyside Records)

Links related to these recordings and musicians can be found to the right of this post in the What I'm Listening To gadget.

As the picture above reveals, I download the great majority of my music and burn it to CD so that I can hear this music in the car, on my alarm clock, in the kitchen on the portable stereo, and on the stereo I have set up in my home office. Once a year, for two years now, I have managed to win a free CD from All About Jazz. With my budget, I limit myself to one download per pay period and average two downloads a month from either Bandcamp or Amazon. Whatever I download is determined by what I have heard about the album from reading the online reviews, from following certain musicians on Twitter, from listening to videos on YouTube, and from hearing selected cuts on SoundCloud, where I follow certain musicians as well. Once in a great while, someone informs me of an album release through my e-mail.

It might be possible to characterize 2012 as a year in which many of the elder jazz musicians released either new material or material that was recorded live decades ago and not released until now. I chose not to explore those possibilities, partly because of my limited budget. I chose instead to pursue albums released by those contemporary musicians I have discovered in the past few years and by those musicians who have been new discoveries for me and whose work proves intriguing. There are many other young musicians whose work was released this year and whose work certainly deserves praise but isn’t represented in the above list. I will be on the lookout for those upcoming recordings by musicians who have only started to make their names known, some of whom I follow at SoundCloud.