My first thoughts over recalling the jazz releases of 2008 brought no immediate standouts. Unlike other years, I didn’t already know my choices for the top 20 or have the usual dread of knowing which would have to be left out in the limited space of such a discussion. In the past days, I have been reading many journalists who have already chosen their favorites and many writers indicate that 2008 was a lackluster year in new jazz offerings. However, I sat down to examine the cast of 2008 releases and became more aware of how special this year has been for lovers of jazz music. 2008 had it’s own unique voices in jazz..
Voices that confirm the roots of jazz are still present while new dimensions in the artform are surfacing. The diversity and expansion of the jazz genre through these new offerings seem to be the foremost discovery of my reflections from these twelve months. One example… a new appreciation for large ensemble jazz and compositional beauty emerges through Joe Lovano’s ‘Symphonica’ and Danilo Perez’s ‘Across the Sea’. In a completely different productional move, Tom Scott and David Sanbord revisit the standard fare and pop history through ‘Cannon Re-Loaded’ and ‘Here and Gone’. Listening to new creations by the young veteran artists as well as the rookies also brought an element of ‘the jazz futures’ to our ears. Avishai Cohen and Brian Blade lead the way while Aaron parks, Nick Vayenas, and Alexander Sipiagin more than answer the question ‘Is there not anything new in jazz?’
As for the stability of our love for real jazz, artists such as Pat Metheny, Chick Corea, Gary Burton, James Carter, and Roy Hargrove take their legendary talents to new spaces and a newer level in 2008. For those who think the new jazz is leaving our past behind, consider Hank Jones and James Moody’s collaboration on ‘Our Delight’? I am sure that both of these masters would tell you that they are simply taking jazz forward. Further, this year’s assortment of releases didn’t disappoint me in my hopes of discovering new vocal talent. Did you hear Melody Gardot’s fresh presence with her new album ‘Worrisome Heart’. If you read one more journalist saying that nothing was new for 2008, remind them of Willie Nelson and Wynton Marsalis ‘Two Men With The Blues’.
So, in my opinion, this year has offered us an incredible and diverse selections from a wide spectrum of jazz interests. The results are a more expansive repertoire and richer choices for our expanding jazz audience. For those who think this year’s offerings were limited? I can only ask what they were listening to in 2008. It must have not been radioIO Real Jazz. We should invite them in.
If you are a fan of jazz music, the 20 cd’s you shouldn’t have missed in 2008 are listed below. As always, I ended up with many that I didn’t add here. If you would like to remind me of one that I omitted, just email me with your additions at email@example.com . Who knows, I may have to write another blog with your suggestions.
Twenty 2008 Memorable Jazz Releases from radioIO Real Jazz
Danilo Perez - “Across The Sea”
Melody Gardot - “Worrisome Heart”
Tom Scott - “Cannon Re-Loaded”
Roy Hargrove Quartet - “Earfood”
David Sanborn - “Here and Gone”
Pat Metheny Trio - “Day Trip”
James Carter - “Present Tense”
Jamie Baum - “Solace”
Aaron Parks - “Invisible Cinema”
Brian Blade and the Fellowship - “Season of Changes”
Avishai Cohen - “Gently Disturbed”
Chick Corea & Gary Burton - “New Crystal Silence”
Dave Holland Sextet - “Pass It On”
Joe Lovano - “Symphonica”
Joe Lovano Saxophone Summit - “Seraphic Light”
Ahmad Jamal - “It’s Magic”
James Moody and Hank Jones - “Our Delight”
Nick Vayenas - “Synesthesia”
Alex Sipiagin - “Out of the Circle”
Willie Nelson/Wynton Marsalis - “Two Men With The Blues”