Pianists have grabbed a particularly bright spotlight, but trumpeters, saxophonists, bassists, and singers have shined too. And musicians of all ages, from the 29 year old vocalist Cécile McLorin Salvant) to 80 year old saxophonist Charles Lloyd (one of my favs) and many in between, have released some great music.
Below are four of the many sources that have published “best of Jazz” lists. Each list is different and yet there is some overlap. Most of the lists have links to audio and video samples some have reviews and artist profiles. Maybe you will find a new or an old favorite among them. Click the titles to go to each list. Enjoy .
The GRAMMY® Award-winning Yellowjackets Return with Raising Our Voice.
Raising Our Voice is a collaboration with Brazilian jazz marvel Luciana Souza, an ideal choice for the first vocalist to join the Yellowjackets.
“The band keeps moving forward,” says saxophonist Bob Mintzerwho joined the group in 1990. “It’s one of the few partnership bands in the last four decades. It’s democratic, laissez-faire and accommodating to everyone in the band to contribute. We’re constantly reinventing ourselves as a reflection of what’s happening in the world.”
Would you put Bill Evans on your list of best jazz pianists? McCoy Tyler? Chick Corea?
In jazz, the horns – the saxophones and trumpets – have traditionally been the music’s glamour instruments and its main focus. But the piano has been a vital part of the jazz idiom since its inception, in both solo and ensemble settings. Its role is multifaceted due largely to the instrument’s combined melodic, harmonic, and rhythmic capabilities and is often the foundation of a great jazz ensemble. (Ask any horn player how they feel about a good jazz pianist.)
In anybody’s list there is always room for agreement and argument. Take a look at a great resource put together by Udiscovermusic.com. Check off your favorites and discover more about those who are new to you
Last night at our gig we had an extraordinary experience of synergy. After the trauma of relocating indoors to escape the rain, we started warming into our groove.People enjoyed us and we had fun. By the third set, when many of the patrons were heading home we had built up a full head of steam. The remaining folks gathered around the band to just listen. We musicians, anchored by relationship and trust turned loose and became exuberantly creative. The more we opened up the more the listeners became engaged, and they and we, all became part of the music performance. The music was over the moon. It was the kind of experience musicians live for and fans leave home in any weather to go be a part of.I awakened this morning thinking, that is what life can be when we are not divided by fear but rather united in joyous celebration of being.
“I feel like there are more reasons to be excited about improvised music today than at any time during my 41 years on the planet,” the jazz critic Nate Chinen tells Rolling Stone.
Rolling Stone Says: “He has a point, and you don’t need to be a diehard fan of the genre to appreciate it. Crossover stars such as Kamasi Washington and Esperanza Spalding are receiving generous mainstream attention, alongside innovators like pianist Vijay Iyer and guitarist Mary Halvorson. Meanwhile, Thundercat, Robert Glasper, Terrace Martin, Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah and others are seamlessly fusing hip-hop, R&B and electronica with their jazz mastery, introducing elements of a century-old art form to new audiences.” From: Rolling Stone Article
From Amazon.Com: “One of jazz’s leading critics gives us an invigorating, richly detailed portrait of the artists” and events that have shaped the music of our time. Grounded in authority and brimming with style, Playing Changes is the first book to take the measure of this exhilarating moment: it is a compelling argument for the resiliency of the art form and a rejoinder to any claims about its calcification or demise.
I am looking forward to reading this. I pre-ordered the Kindle version for $13 and will read it on my tablet or computer. Amazon listing.
Too Darn Hot is a song written by Cole Porter for his musical Kiss Me, Kate (1948)
Too Darn Hot seemed and appropriate subject for today. Formerly we almost never used our air conditioning system, preferring fresh air. Now as the temperature clips above 90 regularly we are often glad to have relief. Cole Porter’s tune is a little musical relief. Here’s two versions:
Ella Fitzgerald recorded the song for her 1956 album “Ella Fitzgerald Sings the Cole Porter Songbook”.
In the stage version of Kiss Me Kate, it is sung at the start of Act 2
In this version you can hear a full orchestral arrangement.
Check this out! You will love it! I am not affiliated with Jazz At Lincoln Center but love their music and support of jazz! The following content is from Jazz At Lincoln Center.
These one-night-only, live performances have never been released before. Recorded between 2003 and 2007, United We Swing—the latest album from Blue Engine Records—finds an unparalleled array of music talent that collectively boasts 94 Grammy Awards joining Jazz at Lincoln Center Managing and Artistic Director Wynton Marsalis (a nine-time Grammy Award winner himself) and some of the world’s top jazz musicians to perform blues-inflected versions of iconic American repertoire.
Here’s where to listen to the album samples and order the music:
These one-night-only, live performances have never been released before. They include Lenny Kravitz performing Marsalis’s hypnotizing, New Orleans-inflected arrangement of Kravitz’s own song, “Are You Gonna Go My Way”; Susan Tedeschi and Derek Trucks uniting for a stirring, infectious take on Civil Rights anthem “I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel to Be Free”; Bob Dylan adding harmonica licks to a deeply felt, in-the-pocket rendition of “It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry”; and Ray Charles taking the stage for one of his final performances to play “I’m Gonna Move to the Outskirts of Town.”
Together these artists raise their voices to highlight jazz’s importance to America’s cultural heritage and to remind us that, even in divided times, music can unite us all. All proceeds from the album will go toward Jazz at Lincoln Center’s education programs, which introduce thousands of children to jazz each year.
Celebrate Independence Day with the sound of America swinging together!
The Wynton Marsalis Septet’s acclaimed, star-studded United We Swing is out now as a double-disc, audiophile set—and from now through Sunday, you can use the code “HAPPYFOURTH” to receive 20% off United We Swing and all other vinyl albums available at Jazz At Lincoln Center online store.
1. The Last Time feat. Blind Boys of Alabama
2. It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry feat. Bob Dylan
3. I’m Gonna Move to the Outskirts of Town feat. Ray Charles
4. I’m Not Rough feat. Eric Clapton
5. Creole Love Call feat. Audra McDonald
6. Milk Cow Blues feat. Willie Nelson
7. I’m Gonna Find Another You feat. John Mayer
8. My Baby Don’t Tolerate feat. Lyle Lovett
9. The Worst Thing feat. Natalie Merchant
10. Please Baby Don’t feat. John Legend
11. Mean Old Man feat. James Taylor
12. Are You Gonna Go My Way feat. Lenny Kravitz
13. Fool’s Paradise feat. Jimmy Buffett
14. Empty Bed Blues feat. Carrie Smith
15. I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be Free feat. Susan Tedeschi and Derek Trucks
16. What Have You Done?
Thank you Jazz At Lincoln Center for this fabulous music and for all you do to support jazz!!
My journal just popped up a reminder that four years ago today I played a great gig with Marc Neihof, Alan Joseph, Dave Hanson and Stefan Flores at the Pueblo Zoo. How fortunate I have been to play with such master musicians. I remember Marc had been playing a lot of choros in his personal practice. When he played a stunning solo on this zoo gig, Alan and I looked at each other with wide eyes and Alan said “It must be the choros.”
Choro (Portuguese pronunciation: [ˈʃoɾu], “cry” or “lament”), also popularly called chorinho (“little cry” or “little lament”), is an instrumental Brazilian popular music genre which originated in 19th century Rio de Janeiro. Despite its name, the music often has a fast and happy rhythm. Source: Wikipedia
Recently I listened to a modern choro composition by one of my new heroes, composer Vince Mendoza with the WDR big band on the album Homecoming. I did find a Vince Mendoza with the Metropole Orchestra video on youtube for you. Here it is:
You Must Believe In Spring Live at 21C by FluteDaddy Quartet.
You Must Believe In Spring is a beautiful ballad composed by Michel Legrand. In May 2018 FluteDaddy Quartet featuring Joseph Liberti on alto flute, Reggie berg piano, Jason Crowe bass and Tyler Kennamer drums performed a special arrangement of You Must Believe In Spring for an audience at 21C and it was recorded live.
The arrangement begins with a piano solo introduction by Reggie followed by a piano/flute duet played rubato style and then an out-chorus improvised solo on alto flute by Joseph as the full quartet plays. If you like beautiful music you will enjoy this.