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Re: my 2017 music favorites

my 2017 music favorites
December 18, 2017 05:21PM
Here's my 2017 top 10 albums, singles, EPs, reissues and runners-up. I went to a lot of trouble finding YouTube links for every single piece of new music listed here. I hope it's not massively self-indulgent to post this list here, but here goes:[steeveecom.wordpress.com]
Re: my 2017 music favorites
December 18, 2017 05:26PM
Man, I've tried to get into Converge over the years, but it just doesn't happen, even though I respect the hell out of their ethics and talent. I saw them on as one of the opening acts on the Mastodon/Dethklok tour (with High On Fire opening) and they were really intense and powerful, but their records leave me cold. Maybe it's just that metallic hardcore style, which I tend to find impressive more than enjoyable, if you know what I mean.

I saw Bell Witch just a month or so ago, speaking of intense. The folks I went with found them dull, but I thought they were mesmerizing. I highly recommend going to see them if you have a chance.

Speaking of RTJ, if you get Austin City Limits on your local PBS station, you might watch on the weekend of Jan. 27. Just sayin'.
Re: my 2017 music favorites
December 18, 2017 05:37PM
And I love the list of folks/albums you discovered this year that aren't related to new music. I know I make major discoveries every year that usually end up being bigger in my world than new stuff.

This year I rediscovered jazz in a big way (which probably took up 90% of my listening time), really falling in love with Herbie Hancock especially. I also finally started listening in earnest to Joni Mitchell, particularly the late 70s stuff, and wondered why I never got into it before.

Sometimes the "new" and "discovery" phases come together - I really fell in love with the jazz pianists Craig Taborn and Vijay Iver this year, and that was thanks to their new albums.
Re: my 2017 music favorites
December 18, 2017 07:57PM
Can't go wrong with "Mingus!" Joni Mitchelll was previously a sort of boring [to me] confessional singer-songwriter that I paid no attention to. Then, in 1979, a friend who belonged to a record club, bought "Mingus" on reel-to-reel and played it for me. Wow! Now this was music! This album was primary for me in that it was the first time I can remember hearing fretless bass by the mighty Jaco Pastorius himself. Of course in the next few years, I heard all of the players he influenced. But this still sounds peerless, 38 years later.

Former TP subscriber [81, 82, 83, 84]

For further rumination on the Fresh New Sound of Yesterday®
Re: my 2017 music favorites
December 18, 2017 08:45PM
Mingus is on my list, especially since the Shadows and Light live album, which is what got me into this era of Mitchell, is from that tour.

Speaking of Pastorius, a really good live album from him came out earlier this year.
Re: my 2017 music favorites
December 18, 2017 10:32PM
On the "Tonight Show," Run the Jewels were not allowed to mention guns or say "I walk into a court, totally erect," beyond the profanity in "Nobody Speak." The latter line became "I walk into a court, standing erect."

ECM is generally pretty reliable, and I love almost all the music they made in the first half of the '70s, especially Terje Rypdal. I like some of the artists you name, including Taborn, Iyer and Halvorsen, but I haven't kept up with them. The Norwegian label Rune Grammofon also releases a lot of genre-defying music that flirts with jazz (Deathprod is dark ambient and Hedwig Mollestad combines fusion and stoner metal), but no NYC record stores carry it now and none of the music websites I read ever talk about it, so I have no idea what they've released since Other Music closed.
Re: my 2017 music favorites
December 19, 2017 01:49AM
Rune Grammafon put out the Rypdal tribute. I saw the Hedvig Mollestad Trio at SxSW a few years ago in a tiny bar that was more staircase than club. They were great. David Fricke was right in front of them rocking his balls off.
Re: my 2017 music favorites
December 19, 2017 04:40AM
Any choice you can get ACL to book Behemoth or at least Ghost? I'd love to see the reaction if PBS sponsored performances of songs like "The Satanist" and "Ora Pro Nobis Lucifer!"
Re: my 2017 music favorites
December 19, 2017 12:50PM
I did push for Ghost on their last cycle. I've been pushing for some heavier stuff in general - at least Mastodon or Baroness. It's gonna be a steeply uphill battle.
Re: my 2017 music favorites
December 18, 2017 06:25PM
Now that I think about it, I forgot to include Hancock's MAIDEN VOYAGE on that list of non-reissue albums I discovered this year. I love his 1970-1974 early fusion phase, and if I made a list of my desert island discs, SEXTANT would be on it (it's an obvious huge influence on IDM), but I haven't explored his acoustic periods much.

Late '70s Joni is great: I think HEJIRA is her masterpiece.

Moonshake's song "Secondhand Clothes" fascinates me. The level of anger in David Callahan's voice and lyrics suggests that the song has to be a metaphor for something greater than used clothes, but I don't know what that is. Why would someone declare with as much venom as John Lydon ever mustered that he'd rather prostitute himself than wear secondhand clothes?

Did Austin City Limits have to edit RTJ's lyrics much? I saw a clip of them doing "Nobody Speak" on the Tonight Show where El-P and Killer Mike completely rewrote anything remotely offensive in the song, and it was painful to listen to, although Killer Mike was still allowed to say "roll dope in a doobie."

I wish I listened to more new jazz: the Kamasi Washington EP that's on my list and an album of Monk covers by David Zoller, which I got because he's the father of a friend, may be the only new jazz releases I bought this year. I don't have a good source for recommendations.
Re: my 2017 music favorites
December 18, 2017 08:39PM
Hejira is what I've been listening to the past couple of days. I've never disliked her, and have in fact owned a copy of Blue for years, but it was watching videos online from the Shadows and Light video/live album, featuring Jaco Pastorious, Pat Metheny, Lyle Mays and Michael Brecker, that really made me want to dig. Mingus (as Monk recommends) and Don Juan's Reckless Daughter will be next.

Did the show edit RTJ? Heck, yeah. Not by asking them to change their lyrics, but by audio dropouts when appropriate. With PBS, censorship is all about context (except for "fuck" and "shit," which have to be edited no matter what), so most of what would be considered objectionable on other networks was left in, because we assume the audience are not idiots and get what they're trying to say.

I bought Maiden Voyage this year myself - a stupendous album. I also recommend Speak Like a Child and especially Empyrean Isles from his 60s work. You've already got Sextant, so you've probably also already got Thrust and Head Hunters.

Maybe because it's just what I'm into right now, but I feel like jazz had a really good year in 2017. I haven't gotten to everything myself - it's just impossible - and thus I haven't yet heard the new albums by Pat Martino or the Mary Halvorson Quartet (part of John Zorn's Book of Angels project), to name two that probably deserve consideration. Plus I spent a lot of my jazz listening delving into history. And I get a lot of promos from ECM and Blue Note, so my new jazz listening tends to be skewed towards their releases. But I highly recommend the latest by Craig Taborn, Vijay Iver Sextet, Tommy Howard (a local Austin jazz guitarist - not sure how easy this would be to find outside of town), the Blue Note All-Stars (I usually hate "supergroups" like this, but this one's great), Charles Lloyd New Quartet (a live album), Ambrose Akinmusire (another live album), Chris Potter, Raoul Bjorkenheim, Ralph Towner, David Virelles, the John Abercrombie Quartet, Ingrebrigt Haker Flaten (an experimental solo bass record) and a Terje Rypdal tribute that features Nels Cline, Bill Frisell, Henry Kaiser, Bjorkenheim and a bunch of Scandinavian musicians.

For recommendations, I look at Downbeat's website every day, and I check in on a site called All About Jazz, which is fan-sourced, from time to time. But honestly, the best way I've found stuff, new and old, is through Discogs. I've found that if I like a musician, I just look up what else he or she has played on, and that's often a really good way to find good stuff. I've recently been listening to an album by trumpeter Ron Miles, which I got turned onto because his band is made up of guitarist Bill Frisell, bassist Thomas Morgan (those two made a really good duet record this year, by the way), pianist Jason Moran (who is huge in my world) and drummer Brian Blade. Even if Miles was a mediocre player, it can't be all bad with that caliber of talent backing him up.

Post Edited (12-18-17 16:49)
Re: my 2017 music favorites
June 25, 2020 02:00PM
Hey, Steevee - I came across this thread this afternoon and am just curious: did you find some good new jazz, either in 2017 or since? I'm always up for recommendations in that genre.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/25/2020 02:00PM by Michael Toland.
Re: my 2017 music favorites
June 26, 2020 05:43PM
Thanks for asking, especially on such an old thread! So far this year, I've enjoyed the new albums by Kassa Overall, Hailu Mergia, Muriel Grossmann, Jeff Parker, Carla Bley/Andy Sheppard/Steve Swallow, Sam Gendel and Moses Boyd. The London and Chicago scene's mixture of jazz, hip-hop and electronics is really exciting - some Gendel songs put his sax through so much treatment that it's unidentifiable - although I'd be curious to hear more dissonance added to the mix. There are obviously many more 2020 jazz releases, and I've just cited the tip of the iceberg. Have you heard anything particularly exciting?

I am gonna post my list of overall 2020 half-year faves here early next week.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/26/2020 05:44PM by steevee.
Re: my 2017 music favorites
June 26, 2020 11:45PM
I'm also fond of the Moses Boyd record - I've been anxiously awaiting a Boyd record accessible in the States since I saw him play at SXSW a couple of years ago. Twice, actually - one year with a band (including a terrific guitarist whose name I unfortunately didn't catch) and the next year solo. Plus he played drums in an improvised trio (filling in for a band the Trump administration denied entry to because of members with Pakistani names) with Shabaka Hutchings and Theon Cross that I'll never stop talking about.

I've heard the new Bley, but I wasn't able to get a CD before it went out of print here. It's crazy how so many jazz CDs get one pressing and then gone these days. I'm on the fence about the new Parker, but listening to that one did lead me to one of his older records called The Relatives.

I'm not familiar with the other names on your list, but I definitely want to check out Gembel. I'm with you on the London scene - that music has been the highlight of my SXSW experiences three years running now. I haven't dug into the Chicago scene, but clearly I need to.

As for recent records, Matthew Shipp put out an excellent solo disk a month or so ago. Drummer Whit Dickey has a really good free jazz album out on the same label (and has another one coming out soon). I've been absorbing the new album by African pianist Nduduzo Makhathini. I also really like the new albums from trumpeter Avishai Cohen and John Scofield (which consists of tunes by his mentor Steve Swallow).

I found out just a couple of days ago that Thumbscrew, one of my favorite bands of any kind right now, has a new album coming out of Anthony Braxton tunes. Looking forward to that. Also anticipating Bill Frisell's new album, which is a trio record - something I've been wanting from him since I saw him play a year or so ago. And I don't know if it counts as jazz, but I'm really excited about the new Sonar with David Torn record, which I should get in the mail in the next couple of weeks.
Re: my 2017 music favorites
June 27, 2020 10:34AM
I've found the International Anthem label exciting, but I haven't caught up with their past few releases. Irresistible Entanglements (angry free jazz with spoken word from Moor Mother) sounds intriguing, and the duo of Carlos Niño and Miguel Atwood-Ferguson released an album yesterday (although judging from the one song I've heard, jazz is a very loose description, and ambient could also fit.)

I wish Pi Recordings and Tzadik would make their music available on streaming, but I've read John Zorn complain that he put the entire Tzadik catalogue on Spotify for six months, with the effect that it decreased sales while only earning a few hundred dollars. But at this point, if I'm gonna spend money on an album, I want to hear it first, unless it's by an artist I'm already a fan of.

Thanks for your recommendations. I will try to check them out.
Re: my 2017 music favorites
June 29, 2020 09:18AM
Man, I’m with you on Pi. That label’s right up there with Blue Note, Prestige, Verve, ECM and all the other great jazz labels. Be nice to access it when I’m away from the CD player.
Re: my 2017 music favorites
June 26, 2020 11:09PM
Nice thread going here. Seems I’m always playing catch-up when it comes to current jazz and appreciate the run-downs you’ve provided.

One writer / commentator I’ve always gotten interesting recommendations from is Nate Chinen, who has done work with the NYTimes, NPR and I think JazzTimes. I know he introduced me to Vijay Iyer and Kamasi Washington.

I took a deep dive into jazz of the 50’s/60’s in the early 2000’s. Became pretty familiar with so many names and styles... it’s easy to be intimidated until you start digging around for yourself.

You both mentioned Herbie Hancock. Let me suggest his album ‘Inventions and Dimensions’. Not only is the music great, it’s one of my favorite BlueNote album covers ever.
Re: my 2017 music favorites
June 27, 2020 12:00AM
Chinen put out a great book called Playing Changes that covers a lot of the rising jazz stars of the past decade or so, including Iyer and Washington. I highly recommend it.

I too have done a lot of digging into jazz history in the past couple of years - you can dig up so many great records, and then follow the trail of the musicians who play on them and find so much more. It is intimidating.
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