The best of 2007 (and more!)
Charles Mingus Sextet with Eric Dolphy, Cornell 1964 (Blue Note).
Maria Schneider Orchestra, Sky Blue (ArtistShare).
Erik Friedlander, Block Ice & Propane (SkipStone).
Anat Cohen, Poetica (Anzic).
Carla Bley, The Lost Chords Find Paolo Fresu (ECM).
Paul Bley, Solo in Mondsee (ECM).
Herbie Hancock, River: The Joni Letters (Verve).
Paul Motian, Bill Frisell, Joe Lovano, Time and Time Again (ECM).
Joe Lovano & Hank Jones, Kids: Live at Dizzy’s Coca-Cola (Blue Note).
Kendra Shank, A Spirit Free: Abbey Lincoln Songbook (Challenge).
Faithful readers will notice that I have written about most of these albums (seven of the 10, to be precise) in this blog.
The Slate column also includes mini-essays about each CD and illustrative 30-second sound-clips. But, as a bonus to “Jazz Messenger” readers, here is a P.S. and two additional lists, unique to this space.
The P.S.—in the spirit of Spinal Tap, a Number 11 for the Top 10: The Bad Plus’ PROG, on the band’s own Heads Up label, distributed by Telarc.
The first bonus list—the Best New Jazz Albums of the Decade Thus Far (that is, from 2000-07):
Ornette Coleman, Sound Grammar (Sound Grammar).
Jason Moran, Modernistic (Blue Note).
Keith Jarrett, Carnegie Hall Concert (ECM).
John Zorn, 50th Birthday Celebration, Vol. 11: Bar Kokhba, Live at Tonic (Tzadik).
James Carter, Chasin’ the Gypsy (Atlantic).
Brad Mehldau, Day Is Done (Nonesuch).
Maria Schneider, Sky Blue (ArtistShare).
Wayne Shorter, Footprints Live! (Verve).
John Zorn, Masada: Live at Tonic, 2001 (Tzadik).
Dave Douglas, The Infinite (BMG/Bluebird).
The second bonus list—the Best Old But Previously Unreleased Albums of the Decade So Far. Several treasure troves have been unearthed the past few years. Most are from tape recordings of live concerts (including the Mingus Cornell concert that heads the 2007 “best” list), though some are studio dates that, for one reason or another, were never released and, over the years, got lost in the vaults. In some cases, these finds revise the standard history. (For instance, the Parker-Gillespie reveals that the fathers of be-bop perfected their art far earlier than had been assumed; the Monk-Coltrane disc shows that band in its maturity, whereas the sextet’s only previous recording was made at its beginning.) In any case, these albums form astonishing codas to already-legendary discographies:
Dizzy Gillespie-Charlie Parker Quintet, Town Hall, New York City, June 22, 1945 (Uptown Jazz).
Bill Evans, The Last Waltz: The Final Recordings, Live at Keystone Korner, September 1980, (Fantasy, 8 CDs).
Thelonious Monk Quartet with John Coltrane, At Carnegie Hall (Blue Note).
Happy Birthday, Newport! 50 Swinging Years (Columbia, 3 CDs).
Andrew Hill, Passing Ships (Blue Note).
Miles Davis, The Complete Miles Davis at Montreux (Warner Bros., 20 CDs).
Stan Getz, Bossas and Ballads: The Lost Sessions (Verve).
Charles Mingus Sextet with Eric Dolphy, Cornell 1964(Blue Note, 2 CDs)
John Coltrane, One Down, One Up: Live at the Half Note (Impulse!).
Jaki Byard, Last from Lennie’s (Prestige).