AAJ Contributors Pick Their Favorite 2008 Releases

January 16, 2009

AllAboutJazz.com has posted a compilation of “Best of 2008″ lists from 36 of its contributors. 

We’re proud to report the following client releases were named amongst the various writers’ top tens:

Jason Adasiewicz, Rolldown (482 Music)
The Blueprint Project with Han Bennink, People I Like (Creative Nation Music)
Bill Dixon, 17 Musicians In Search Of A Sound (Arts for Art/AUM Fidelity)
Garrison Fewell/Eric Hofbauer, The Lady of Khartoum (Creative Nation Music)
Mary Halvorson Trio, Dragon’s Head (Firehouse 12)
William Parker Quartet, Petit Oiseau (AUM Fidelity)
Mario Pavone, Trio Arc (Playscape Recordings)
Mario Pavone Double Tenor Quintet, Ancestors (Playscape Recordings) 
Eri Yamamoto Trio, Redwoods (AUM Fidelity) 

Congratulations to all the musicians and labels recognized for their work in 2008.


2008 Cadence Record Poll

January 15, 2009

The Jan/Feb/Mar 2009 issue of Cadence arrived yesterday and with it the results of the magazine’s annual Record Poll.

Bill Dixon’s 17 Musicians In Search Of A Sound: Darfur (Arts for Art/AUM Fidelity) earned the fourth place slot in the Readers’ Choices Poll (only nine votes behind the winner three slots above), as well as a full-page review further on in that same issue written by Jason Bivins.

Bivins wrote, “Put briefly, this group doesn’t once (collectively or individually) commit the cardinal sin of large ensemble group improv: overplaying.  Rather, they listen, leave space and make each dynamic shift count as they realize Dixon’s dark musical vision.  That vision emerges in great detail, thanks firstly to a quite rich and colorful score, but also thanks to a very clear recording.”

In the Critics’ Choices Poll, for which contributors choose their 10 favorite releases covered in one of the magazine’s four 2008 issues, Jay Collins picked Mario Pavone’s Trio Arc (Playscape Recordings) and Jason Adasiewicz’s Rolldown (482 Music), Michael Coyle chose Eri Yamamoto’s Duologue (AUM Fidelity), and Michael Rosenstein selected Peter Evans’ The Peter Evans Quartet (Firehouse 12 Records). 

Congratulations to the clients listed above and all those recognized in the poll results.


Three AUM Fidelity Titles On Culture Catch’s Top 10 Avant-Jazz Albums of 2008

January 6, 2009

 aum-logo-webIn 2008, AUM Fidelity, in association with Arts for Art, Inc., released a series of three live recordings from Vision Festival XII in 2007. Each documented a large-scale piece, written by Roy Campbell, Bill Dixon and William Parker respectively, commissioned by, and premiered at, the festival.

All three of these releases are included on Culture Catch’s Best New Avant-Jazz Albums of 2008 list, written by Downtown Music Gallery’s Bruce Gallanter, who included a blurb about each.

On Roy Campbell’s Akhenaten Suite:
The sound of this quintet (which also includes violinist Billy Bang, vibraphonist Bryan Carrott, bassist Hill Greene, and drummer Zen Matsuura) is much like an early ’70s Blue Note date, always swinging infectiously. This was one of the most enchanting sets of last year’s Vision Festival and it still sounds wonderful on disc.

On Bill Dixon’s 17 Musicians In Search Of A Sound: Darfur:
I’ve caught professor/composer Bill Dixon on a number of occasions; sometimes his group is just great and sometimes they are amazing. This set was by far the best I’ve heard from him. 

On William Parker’s Double Sunrise Over Neptune:
An outstanding work and perhaps Parker’s finest moment yet!


JazzTimes’ Top 50 CDs of 2008: Update

January 5, 2009

In its February issue, now reaching the hands of subscribers, JazzTimes lists its Top 50 CDs of 2008, as compiled from a list of ballots from its contributors. 

As you may know from our December 19th post on the subject, based on the results published on JazzTimes.com a few weeks ago, the Mary Halvorson Trio’s Dragon’s Head (Firehouse 12 Records) made the list. The print version confirms this and ranks the disc at number 43.

In his related blurb, Managing Editor Evan Haga writes, “As close as you can get to ‘rising star’ in the avant-garde, Halvorson, a Braxton disciple, is that rarest of out players: A guitarist whose startling effect relies not on sonics but on jarringly angular composition and improvisation.”

What we didn’t know until now, as it was not included in the results posted online for whatever reason, is that another client release, Mario Pavone’s Trio Arc (Playscape Recordings), also squeezed on to the (last but not) list at number 50.

In a reprinted excerpt from the magazine’s original review, Steve Greenlee writes, “A feeling of tethered freedom pervades Pavone’s excellent new record, which reunites him with old comrade Paul Bley on their first recording together in 35 years…What a reunion, and [Matt] Wilson fits right in. His symbiosis with Pavone is remarkable.”

So, a belated congratulations to Mario, who, btw, you can catch live celebrating his other 2008 release, Ancestors (Playscape Recordings), at Iridium on Wednesday night. 

And, in a final note on this best-of issue, Nate Chinen included the June 13th performance by Kidd Jordan/Fred Anderson/William Parker/Hamid Drake at Vision Festival XIII on his list of 10 memorable performances from 2008 in his monthly column, The Gig.


Chicago Reader’s Peter Margasak Calls Dragon’s Head One Of The Year’s Best

January 1, 2009

On December 30th, Chicago Reader music critic Peter Margasak published his top 10 list for 2008 on his blog, Post No Bills.  

In that post, in which he ranked the Mary Halvorson Trio’s Dragon’s Head (Firehouse 12 Records) the eighth best recording of the year, he wrote:

“Probably the most original jazz guitarist to emerge this decade, Mary Halvorson has already distinguished herself in projects with Anthony Braxton, in a folksy, genre-bending duo with violist Jessica Pavone, as a member of Taylor Ho Bynum’s sextet, and in the art-rock duo People, among many other contexts–but on Dragon’s Head, with bassist John Hebert and drummer Ches Smith, she distills all her vast talents as a composer, improviser, and sound explorer into one compact ensemble.”


Hartford Courant: George Schuller’s Latest Among 2008’s Top 10

January 1, 2009

Drummer/composer George Schuller’s latest release, Like Before, Somewhat After (Playscape Recordings) has been called one of 2008’s ten best by Hartford Courant jazz reviewer, and WWUH Jazz Director, Chuck Obuchowski.

He writes, “Schuller reimagines the music of Keith Jarrett’s 1970s American quartet, with surprising, exciting results. Schuller’s drumming approximates Paul Motian’s elastic rhythms on the original recordings, but his ensemble pursues its own routes around Jarrett’s structures. Guitarist Brad Shepik offers strident counterpoint, and Tom Beckham does an outstanding job translating Jarrett’s ideas for vibraphone.”


2008 Village Voice Jazz Poll

December 31, 2008

The results of the 2008 Village Voice Jazz Poll are in and we’re pleased to report that five of our clients’ releases made the top 30 in the Jazz Album of the Year category.

#16: William Parker Quartet, Petit Oiseau (AUM Fidelity)
#21: Mary Halvorson Trio, Dragon’s Head (Firehouse 12 Records) 
#24: Mario Pavone, Trio Arc (Playscape Recordings)
#27: William Parker, Double Sunrise Over Neptune (AUM Fidelity)
#29: Bill Dixon, 17 Musicians In Search Of A Sound: Darfur (AUM Fidelity)

Congratulations are also in order for the following releases included on individual voters’ top 10 lists as part of the polling.

Jason Adasiewicz, Rolldown (482 Music)
Roy Campbell, Akhenaten Suite (AUM Fidelity)
Yoon Sun Choi/Jacob Sacks, Imagination (Yeah Yeah Records)
Nicole Mitchell, Xenogenesis Suite (Firehouse 12 Records)
Mario Pavone Double Tenor Quintet, Ancestors (Playscape Recordings)
Eri Yamamoto, Duologue (AUM Fidelity)
Eri Yamamoto Trio, Redwoods (AUM Fidelity)


Wall Street Journal: Petit Oiseau A 2008 Stand Out

December 29, 2008

In the December 27th issue of the Wall Street Journal, Larry Blumenfeld included the William Parker Quartet’s Petit Oiseau (AUM Fidelity) in his list of five standout jazz recordings of 2008.

He writes, “Petit Oiseau is the strongest offering yet from Mr. Parker’s quartet.  This music celebrates free improvisation at its highest level, yet in accessible form; that’s due to the succinct beauty of Mr. Parker’s themes and the force of his bass grooves, most of which would work just as well grounding rhythm-and-blues songs.”


Variety: Petit Oiseau Deserves A Second Listen As One Of The Year’s Best

December 23, 2008

The William Parker Quartet’s Petit Oiseau (AUM Fidelity) has made its way onto a list of nine 2008 releases (from various genres) deserving wider recognition written by Variety‘s Phil Gallo.

He writes, “It’s unlikely anyone owns all of bassist William Parker’s albums as leader — it appears he has released 30 in the past 13 years — but few of his titles possess the start-to-finish cohesion and brawn of Petit Oiseau. Trumpeter Lewis Barnes, drummer Hamid Drake and saxophonist Rob Brown excel at Parker’s request: Engage in a four-way conversation that sounds like one voice without one speaking over the other ‘except when greatly inspired.'”


Mario Pavone And William Parker On Jazz On 3’s Best Jazz CDs Of 2008 Program

December 23, 2008

 

 

 

 

 

 

BBC 3’s Jazz on 3 dedicated last night’s episode to rounding up its choices for the best CDs of 2008, which included the Mario Pavone Double Tenor Quintet’s Ancestors (Playscape Recordings) and the William Parker Quartet’s Petit Oiseau (AUM Fidelity).

The entire episode can be heard via streaming audio from the show’s Web site for six more days.


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