Howard Mandel: Best Jazz CDs Of 2009

December 1, 2009

Author, jazz critic and President of the Jazz Journalists Association Howard Mandel posted a list of his favorite CDs from 2009 on his blog, Jazz Beyond Jazz, this past Friday.

Darcy James Argue’s Infernal Machines (New Amsterdam) and The Thirteenth Assembly’s (un)sentimental (Important Records) both earned spots of the 11-title list.

Of the former, Mandel writes, “Recasting the ‘jazz’ orchestra with an ear hip to a spectrum of contemporary composition but most of all sound itself, Argue diplays a nervy ethos by conducting 18 not-very-well-known but gutsy instrumentalists through arresting themes, solid rhythms and energized solos. This is Brooklyn offline, ironic but earnest, and has drawn a following among listeners in their late 20s-early 30s.”

And, he called the debut of Taylor Ho Bynum, Tomas Fujiwara, Mary Halvorson and Jessica Pavone’s collective quartet, The Thirteenth Assembly, “Chamber music for moderns—a cornetist, drummer, guitarist and violaist walk the lines between structure and improv, sensitivity and humor, questions and suggestions, inherent references to the past and unpretentious confidence they’re in the right place for music now.”

The list was compiled from nearly 1000 CDs Mandel received for review since last November, so naturally there were lots of honorable mentions. John Hébert’s highly regarded debut, Byzantine Monkey (Firehouse 12), was part of the “Also Much Enjoyed” list.

UPDATE: Mandel’s Top 11 of 2009 is now posted at the Jazz Journalists Association’s Web site.

Taylor Ho Bynum In August

August 10, 2009
Photo by Hilary McHone

Photo by Hilary McHone

Cornetist/composer Taylor Ho Bynum won’t be leading any of his own groups during the month of August per se, but he will play three dates in NYC with three different bands that feature him as a co-leader.

Those bands include The Throes (formerly the Nate Wooley/Taylor Ho Bynum Quartet) with special guest Soo-Jung Kae, a collective trio with Joe Morris (on bass) and Abraham Gomez-Delgado, and The Thirteenth Assembly with Mary Halvorson, Jessica Pavone and Tomas Fujiwara.

The Throes with special guest Soo-Jung Kae
Tuesday, August 11th at Douglas Street Music Collective (Brooklyn, NY)

Taylor Ho Bynum/Joe Morris/Abraham Gomez-Delgado
Monday, August 24th at The Local 269 (New York, NY)

The Thirteenth Assembly
Sunday, August 25th at Freddie’s Bar & Backroom (Brooklyn, NY)

Please stay tuned for more news about Taylor’s forthcoming record, Madeleine Dreams (Firehouse 12 Records), and the September 19th CD release event at The Jazz Gallery.