2009 Voice Jazz Critics’ Poll Results

December 29, 2009

In what essentially amounts to a second Christmas morning for jazz publicists and their clients, the anxiously awaited results of the prestigious Village Voice Jazz Critics Poll, as overseen by the esteemed Francis Davis, have been published.

99 writers voted this year, each submitting a Top 10 list (the ballots are then compiled using a point system to create an overall Top 50), as well as single picks in the Jazz Reissue of the Year, Best Debut, Best Vocal Album, Best Debut and Best Latin categories.

It gives us great pleasure to report that four of our clients’ releases were recognized in the Jazz Album of the Year category:

#04: Darcy James Argue, Infernal Machines (New Amsterdam)
#12: Bill Dixon, Tapestries For Small Orchestra (Firehouse 12 Records)
#17: Darius Jones Trio, Man’ish Boy (AUM Fidelity)
#35: David S. Ware, Shakti (AUM Fidelity)

We’re also extremely pleased to report that Infernal Machines took the Best Debut category in a landslide victory, with Man’ish Boy finishing a well-deserved second.

And, in what might be considered the biggest coup of all, The Fay Victor Ensemble’s The FreeSong Suite (Greene Avenue Music) finished fourth in the Best Vocal Album category, only six votes behind the winner: this year’s critical darling, Gretchen Parlato. It’s very much worth pointing out that Fay’s record was the only finalist featuring all-original music. We couldn’t be prouder.

Congratulations to all the artists recognized and thanks again to all the critics who voted (check out the individual ballots here) and especially to Mr. Davis who makes the whole thing possible (and gracefully sums up the whole process here).


AAJ-NY: Best Of 2009

December 29, 2009

AllAboutJazz-New York published its annual Best of 2009 feature in the new January issue and we’re very proud to say our clients are well-represented.

Special congratulations to those recognized as the year’s best in the following categories:

Albums of the Year
Darcy James Argue, Infernal Machines (New Amsterdam Records)
Bill Dixon, Tapestries for Small Orchestra (Firehouse 12 Records)
David S. Ware, Shakti (AUM Fidelity)

Debut Albums
John Hébert, Byzantine Monkey (Firehouse 12 Records)
Darius Jones Trio, Man’ish Boy (A Raw & Beautiful Thing) (AUM Fidelity)

Vocal Releases
The Fay Victor Ensemble, The FreeSong Suite (Greene Avenue Music)

Large Ensemble Releases
Darcy James Argue, Infernal Machines (New Amsterdam Records)

Albums of the Year – Honorable Mention
Cleaver/Parker/Taborn, Farmers By Nature (AUM Fidelity)
Harris Eisenstadt, Canada Day (Clean Feed)
Garrison Fewell, Variable Density Sound Orchestra (Creative Nation Music)
KLANG, Tea Music (Allos Documents)
Michael Musillami Trio + 3, From Seeds (Playscape Recordings)


New York Times: Darius Jones Trio’s Man’ish Boy (AUM Fidelity)

December 28, 2009

Nate Chinen reviews alto saxophonist/composer Darius Jones’ debut, Man’ish Boy (AUM Fidelity) featuring Cooper-Moore (piano and diddley-bow) and Rakalam Bob Moses (drums), in today’s New York Times.

“Darius Jones has the capacity for a proud, rafters-raising tone on alto saxophone,” he writes, “and as an improviser he’s fearless but disciplined. He’s fond of the sustained, piercing cry, often pinching his intonation for dramatic effect. And rhythmically he rolls in waves, an approach that brilliantly complements Mr. Moses, whose contribution throughout this album is masterly. Together with the adaptability of Cooper-Moore—who plays piano as well as diddley bow, a single-stringed instrument of African origin and Southern blues connotation—it adds up to a powerfully soulful blend.”


Boston Phoenix: The Year In Jazz

December 23, 2009

The Boston Phoenix‘s resident jazz aficionado Jon Garelick reflects on his 10 favorite moments of the year in this week’s issue.

Two of those moments are related to Garrison Fewell’s Variable Density Sound Orchestra (Creative Nation Music) and the Darius Jones Trio’s Man’ish Boy (AUM Fidelity).

“Call what Garrison Fewell does composition or simply strategies for improvisation,” Garelick writes. “Whatever, the guitarist formerly known as one of Boston’s most eloquent inside players has become one of its leading experimenters. On this year’s Variable Density Sound Orchestra (Creative Nation Music), Fewell gathered some superb improvisers—among them frequent guitar-duo partner (and CNM honcho) Eric Hofbauer, New York trumpeter Roy Campbell, and Italian bass-clarinettist Achille Succi—and they, following his spare instructions and often graphic scores, created a suite of ‘variable density’ and unforced lyricism, all with compositional integrity.”

“Alto-saxophonist Jones, 31, now lives in Brooklyn (natch),” Garelick continues, “but he hails from rural Virginia, and he likes churchy old blues, boogie-woogie, and the kind of folkish tunes that Albert Ayler used to write. On Man’ish Boy (AUM Fidelity), his music sounds older than old—ancient, in fact—but also completely up to the minute. Working with Boston drummer Bob Moses and New Yorker Cooper-Moore (who plays piano and his homemade diddley bow), Jones delivers forceful melodies with a just-discovered freshness. The trio’s show at Outpost 186 in October was a standout.”


Darius Jones Trio’s Man’ish Boy One Of The Boston Globe’s Top 10 Jazz Albums For 2009

December 21, 2009

The Boston Globe‘s Living Editor, and resident jazz reviewer, Steve Greenlee chose the Darius Jones Trio’s Man’ish Boy (AUM Fidelity) as one of his Top 10 Jazz Albums for 2009 in Sunday’s paper.

“The young saxophonist plays both raucously and sweetly,” Greenlee noted, “and he puts every genre at his disposal, from blues to swing to free improvisation.”


Darcy James Argue And Darius Jones Among JazzTimes’ Top 50 Of 2009

December 17, 2009


Congratulations to both Darcy James Argue’s Infernal Machines (New Amsterdam Records) and the Darius Jones Trio’s Man’ish Boy (AUM Fidelity) on being voted one of JazzTimesTop 50 New Releases of 2009, as compiled from year-end lists submitted by the magazine’s contributing writers and editors.


The Wire: Darius Jones Trio’s Man’ish Boy (AUM Fidelity)

December 16, 2009

Philip Clark reviews alto saxophonist/composer Darius Jones‘ acclaimed debut, Man’ish Boy (A Raw & Beautiful Thing) on AUM Fidelity, featuring Cooper-Moore (piano and diddley-bo) and Rakalam Bob Moses (drums), in the January 2010 issue of The Wire.

“His sound evokes Albert Ayler’s cry-point vibrato,” Clark writes, “but Virginia-born alto saxophonist Darius Jones is no idle clone—with expressive glissandi as opulently sensual as that of Johnny Hodges, and a knack for flipping innocent melodic utterances into lines fraught with chancy harmonic and rhythmic ambiguities, Jones’s concept is proudly his own. This record poses big questions about the relationship between the African-American tradition of spirituals, blues and gospel, and now.”


Signal To Noise: Taylor Ho Bynum, Fonda/Stevens Group, The Fully Celebrated, Darius Jones and Joe Morris

December 14, 2009

The Winter 2010 issue of Signal To Noise arrived this weekend and with it reviews of the latest releases from Taylor Ho Bynum & SpiderMonkey Strings, the Fonda/Stevens Group, The Fully Celebrated, the Darius Jones Trio and the Joe Morris Quartet.

“Bynum’s compositions consistently engage and amplify the texts [from his sister’s novel, Madeleine is Sleeping],” writes Stuart Broomer in his review of Madeleine Dreams (Firehouse 12 Records), “and the performances are at a high level. Vocalist Kyoko Kitamura ranges from pensive dramatic readings to jazz-inflected vocals and creative improvisations, performing admirably in the divergent settings. The group’s improvisational skills come to the fore on pieces by three great composers—Ornette Coleman, Duke Ellington and Sun Ra—whose works are all subtly complementary…the results are driving, focused, expressive performances that make the most of the jazz tradition.”

“After 20 years of musical partnership, pianist Michael Jefry Stevens, bassist Joe Fonda, drummer Harvey Sorgen and trumpeter Herb Robertson have developed a rich chemistry,” declares James Hale. “On Memphis, their 11th recording, the quartet surges with energy—equal parts Stevens’ proclivity for aggresive vamps, Robertson’s slippery slalom runs, and a wrecking crew of a rhythm duo. When the mood turns somber individual members find ways of keeping the tension high, whether its Fonda’s abrasive arco on ‘For My Brother’ or the free segments that alternate with Stevens’ pretty theme on ‘Whale Majesty.'”

“Alto saxophonist Jim Hobbs, bassist Timo Shanko and drummer Django Carranza hammer away at eight slices of groove-based music that is is peppy, incisive and yes, amusing,” explains Jay Collins in his review of Drunk on the Blood of the Holy Ones (AUM Fidelity). “The Fully Celebrated is a group that doesn’t take themselves too seriously, but the music is of high caliber and a hell of a lot of fun.”

Marc Medwin describes the Darius Jones Trio’s debut, Man’ish Boy (AUM Fidelity), as “a barn-burner from note one. Jones could not have chosen better musicians to enter into his world, with Cooper-Moore and drummer Rakalam Bob Moses enhancing every moan, cry and shriek emanating from his alto.”

Jay Collins calls the Joe Morris Quartet’s second release, Today On Earth (AUM Fidelity), “Morris at his most accessible. His tremendous single-note flurries come to bear immediately on the boppish ‘Backbone’ and the exuberantly swinging ‘Imaginary Solutions.’ The quartet’s keen melodic sense is eveident on ‘Ashes’ and the ruminative ‘Animal,’ especially in Hobbs’s earthy, gripping saxophone playing. Hobbs and Morris’s unison lines against the rhythm section’s restless activity are part of the record’s pleasures. Like Drunk on the Blood of the Holy Ones, Today on Earth has it all: smart compositional structures that launch tasty, unpredictable improvisations.”


AllAboutJazz.com: Darius Jones Trio’s Man’ish Boy (AUM Fidelity)

December 10, 2009

John Sharpe’s review of alto saxophonist/composer Darius Jones’ debut, Man’ish Boy (A Raw & Beautiful Thing) on AUM Fidelity, was posted yesterday at AllAboutJazz.com.

The record, which Jones’ calls “a sonic tone poem about me and my life growing up in the South,” also features the eminent master musicians Cooper-Moore (piano and diddley-bo) and Rakalam Bob Moses (drums).

Sharpe called it “one of the strongest offerings of the year” and added, “Jones has a talent for penning intensely emotional themes, which provide a fertile launching pad for his vibrato-laden alto preaching…it is the valedictory, elegiac ‘Forgive Me’ which marks the highlight of the album…it sounds like a newly found spiritual, with some of most beautiful sounds ever committed to disc.”


Jason Crane’s Top 10 Jazz CDs Of 2009

December 9, 2009

We’re incredibly pleased to report that The Jazz Session‘s Jason Crane has chosen three of our clients’ releases for his Top 10 list for 2009.

The popular interviewer/podcast host, and columnist for PopDose.com, selected the Fay Victor Ensemble’s The FreeSong Suite (Greene Avenue Music) as his top pick for the year, followed by the Darius Jones Trio’s Man’ish Boy (AUM Fidelity) and The Fully Celebrated’s Drunk on the Blood of the Holy Ones (AUM Fidelity) at numbers 3 and 4, respectively.

Crane, who published his list in the format of his ballot for the Village Voice‘s Jazz Critics Poll, also chose Ms. Victor’s record as Best Vocal Album and Jones’ record as Best Debut CD.