Jim Macnie (DownBeat, Village Voice, et al.) listed his Top 10 Jazz CDs of 2009 yesterday on his blog, Lament for a Straight Line, and we’re proud to report Darcy James Argue’s Infernal Machines (New Amsterdam) and John Hébert’s Byzantine Monkey (Firehouse 12 Records) made the cut.
“The composer-arranger has an artistic GPS system built into his chest,” writes Macnie of Argue. “The way his seven extended pieces flow from one passage to another is deeply inspired, and the methods behind his integration of electric guitar storms and a gaggle of horns are sage. Best part: the big band constantly throws its listeners curve after curve without sounding fractured or episodic.”
In his blurb about Hébert, Macnie writes, “One of the era’s most gripping bassists puts reeds and flutes up front for a freebop session that stretches from ancient Cajun artifacts to abstract ballads lyrical enough to have fallen from Don Cherry’s pen. What the pieces lack in compositional distinction, they make up for in textural richness. And atmosphere—mood means a lot to Hebert.”