Friday, January 11, 2008

The Best of 2007 - Music

Yes, yet again I've taken a long break between posts.

My excuses: I've been transitioning to a new day job, as well as dealing with Christmas/New Year's family activities and taking care of a ton of long-overdue work on my house.

This year, as per usual, I've had the opportunity to contribute best-of lists to several publications and web concerns.

Without further ado, here are my music lists for 07, along with direct links to the publications (and on the way will be the Village Voice's Pazz & Jop Poll, to which I again contributed).

Best jazz (and other) discs of 2007, as published online at Jazzhouse, home to the Jazz Journalists Association:

Top 10 Jazz Discs
Michael Brecker, Pilgrimage (Heads Up)
Sonny Rollins, Sonny Please (Doxy)
Terence Blanchard, A Tale of God's Will (A Requiem for Katrina) (Blue Note)
Joshua Redman, Back East (Nonesuch)
Pat Metheny and Brad Mehldau, Metheny Mehldau Quartet (Nonesuch)
Joe Lovano and Hank Jones, Kids: Live at Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola (Blue Note)
Joe Zawinul, Brown Street (Heads Up)
Jean-Michel Pilc, New Dreams (Dreyfus)
Eddie Daniels, Homecoming: Live at the Iridium (IPO)
Morrie Louden, Time Piece (MoSound)

+ 3:
John Abercrombie: The Third Quartet (ECM)
McCoy Tyner: Quartet (Half Note)
Joel Harrison: Harbor (HighNote)

Miles Davis, The Complete On the Corner Sessions (Sony Legacy)

Beyond (alphabetical):
Ryan Adams, Easy Tiger (Lost Highway)
Band of Horses, Cease to Begin (Sub Pop)
Bonerama, Bringing It Home (Highsteppin')
Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova, Once soundtrack (Canvasback/Columbia)
Levon Helm, Dirt Farmer (Vanguard)
Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings, 100 Days, 100 Nights (Dap-Tone)
Chuck Prophet, Soap and Water (Yep Roc)
Various Artists, Goin' Home: A Tribute to Fats Domino (Vanguard)

Best CDs of 2007 (as published in Las Vegas City Life)
1. Michael Brecker, Pilgrimage. Urgent, artful jazz driven by the inspired improvisations and cohesive ensemble work of the late tenor man and blue-chip bandmates Pat Metheny, Herbie Hancock, Brad Mehldau, John Patitucci and Jack DeJohnette.

2. Ryan Adams, Easy Tiger. Churning rockers and affecting ballads, all of which end far too soon, by the alt-country darling and his fearless Cardinals.

3. Sonny Rollins, Sonny Please. Sprawling, architecturally sound solos and surprising readings of standards and new compositions from the septuagenarian jazz giant.

4. Terence Blanchard, A Tale of God's Will (A Requiem for Katrina). The alternately mournful and hopeful sound of a fractured New Orleans, on pieces gorgeously rendered by the native-son trumpeter, his quintet and strings.

5. Levon Helm, Dirt Farmer. Rough-hewn but solid songs informed by folk, country, blues, Cajun and gospel traditions and warmly delivered by the old Band man.

6. Various Artists, Goin' Home: A Tribute to Fats Domino. Memorable salutes from Lucinda Williams ("Honey Chile"), Robbie Robertson with Galactic ("Going to the River"), Los Lobos, Corinne Bailey Rae and New Orleans favorites, plus fresh covers by superstars Paul McCartney, Neil Young, Elton John, Tom Petty and Norah Jones.

7. Chuck Prophet, Soap and Water. Quirky fare undergirded by scorched-earth rhythms in service of rootsy rock located somewhere between the New South and the British Invasion.

8. Bonerama, Bringing It Home. Crescent City jams, psychedelia and irresistible covers of Monk, Led Zep and The Beatles, by trombones-plus-rhythm band steeped in New Orleans funk.

9. Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings, 100 Days, 100 Nights. Old-school soul redux, built on the knockout pipes of Jones and her Dap Kings' sticky-sweet grooves.

10. Ditchflowers, Carried Away. Tuneful melodies, shimmering harmonies, sharp lyrics and feel-good chord changes on pop-rock owing to Crowded House, XTC and The Beatles.

Agree? Disagree? Your feedback welcome here.

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