Jazz Spectrum - Best of 2011
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Jazz Spectrum - Best of 2011

Best of 2011

In listening back over a year’s worth of releases, I keep thinking of the tagline from James Toback’s movie, Black and White:  “What if you mixed everything up.”  That’s how this year sounds to me.  “Eclectic” doesn’t quite capture it.  Neither does “multi-genre,” or its close (and possibly clichéd) sibling, “genre-bending.”  Let’s just say that jazz this year is mixed with all sorts of influences, taking whatever works, wherever it’s found. And making it all new.  Just like always. Happy New Year.

Here are fifty recordings from 2011 that I haven’t stopped listening to.  * denotes special favorite.

*Ambrose Akinmusire, When the Heart Emerges Glistening

*Ben Allison, Action-Refraction

* J.D. Allen, Victory

David Binney, Graylen Epicenter

*Captain Black Big Band, Captain Black Big Band

James Carter Organ Trio, At the Crossroads

Cinque, Catch a Corner

Claudia Quintet +1, What is the Beautiful?

Avishai Cohen, Introducing Triveni

Kris Davis, Aeriol Piano

Stacy Dillard, Good and Bad Memories

Kurt Elling, The Gate

Shane Endsley and the Music Band, Then the Other

Orrin Evans, Freedom

Aaron Goldberg & Guillermo Klein, Bienstan

Benny Green, Source

Ira Haarla Quintet, Vespers

James Farm, James Farm

Sean Jones, No Need for Words

*Lee Konitz, Live at Birdland

Mike Longo Trio +2, To My Surprise

*Joe Lovano, Bird Songs

Brian Lynch, Unsung Heroes

Christian McBride Big Band, The Good Feeling

Rudresh Mahanthappa, Samdhi

Rene Marie, Voice of My Beautiful Country

Carol Morgan Quartet, Blue Glass Music

Mostly Other People Do The Killing, Coimbra Concert

David Murray Cuban Ensemble, Plays Nat King Cole

Bill O’Connell, Triple  Play Plus Three

*Gretchen Parlato, The Lost and Found

Michael Pedicin, Ballads

Jean-Michel Pilc, Essential

Pilc Moutin Hoenig, Threedom

*Noah Preminger, Before the Rain

Matana Roberts, Coin Coin Chapter One

Eric Reed, Something Beautiful

Wadada Leo Smith, Heart’s Reflections

Terrell Stafford, This Side of Strayhorn

Starlicker, Double Demon

Marcus Strickland, Triumph of the Heavy

Storms/Nocturnes, Via

Jamaaladeen Tacuma, For the Love of Ornette

Craig Taborn, Avenging Angel

Ben Williams, State of Art

*Anthony Wilson, Campo Belo

Colin Vallon Trio, Rruga

Cuong Vu 4-tet, Leaps of Faith

World Saxophone Quartet, Yes We Can

*Miguel Zenon, Alma Adentro

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  • Jazz Spectrum - Best of 2011
  • Jazz Spectrum - Best of 2011