Looking back, I see I’ve habitually posted anything that looks like a ‘review of the year’ early in the following the year, so this one is true to form and, as fellow blogger Jon Turney observed in his short round-up, this can only be a quick look over the shoulder at my year. Anyone wanting something that might approximately be an overview of recorded music released should head over to Jazzwise’s Top Twenty , their poll of their reviewers. That has Branford Marsalis‘ The Secret Between The Shadow And The Soul top the charts. I can’t argue with the quality of that pick, I reviewed it for London Jazz here. Their list is an appetising menu, there’s a few I’ll be checking out that passed me by.
My little round-up is entirely idiosyncratic. The things that have really caught my attention and imagination have mostly been unexpected, giving them an extra frisson. In no particular order then:
I just keep playing:
Continuum by Bridges with Seamus Blake . Norwegian led band collaborate to sublime effect. Review here
Cirkel by Bagland. Danish outfit led by by young trumpeter Jakob Sørensen. Blog here
Avec Le Temps by Giovanni Guido. Impressionistic Italian pianist adds a sax to the trio brew. Review here
I’m not sure it’s a 2019 release, but Kamasi Washington was touring and playing material from Heaven and Earth and I’ve found it just as engaging as The Epic and equally vaulting in its ambition.
Cantando is definitely not a 2019 release, but in the absence of a new Bobo Stenson release, diving into the back catalogue has had me hooked on this one.
Marc Copland has been a sublime thread through the latter half of my year (more of that in another post) and he released And I Love Her with his trio. Review here
And, slightly randomly, some other CDs reviewed for London Jazz but not ‘archived’/ noted previously on this blog or in this post:
Sam Leak/ Dan Tepfer – Adrift Two pianos meet in New York. review here
Woody Shaw – At Onkel Po’s Carnegie Hall Steaming quintet set from 1979. review here
Mike Walker – Ropes Composer/ guitarist long awaited opus with strings and astonishingly only his second release in his own name. review here
Laurence Hobgood – Tesseterra Former Kurt Elling MD and sideman, distinctive solo release. review here