AMN Best of 2009

Darcy James Argue's Secret Society
Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society (Photo credit: ClockworkGrue)

I don’t take “best of” lists too seriously, nor should you. However, the virtually infinite number of such lists floating around this month can serve to sum up the year’s major releases, and to give you an idea of releases you might have missed.

The AMN “best of” is set out in two lists below. The first is my subjective top five, followed by an equally subjective set of honorable mentions (in no particular order). The second is a somewhat less subjective list of what I actually listened to the most, according to Last.fm.

Aside from all of the nonsense associated with these lists, I would like to point out that my two clear favorites this year were the new releases from Magma and Darcy James Argue. Both are truly excellent, very different from one another, and highly recommended.

AMN Top 5 of 2009 and honorable mentions

1) Magma Ëmëhntëhtt-Ré
2) Argue, Darcy James / Secret Society Infernal Machines
3) Anker, Lotte / Craig Taborn / Gerald Cleaver Floating Islands
4) Hollenbeck, John Eternal Interlude
5) Maguire, Carl Sided Silver Solid

Honorable mentions:
Adams, John Luther The Place We Began
Balmorhea All Is Wild, All Is Silent
Bates, Michael / Outside Sources Live in New York
Blackshaw, James The Glass Bead Game
Blast 4tet Sift
Car de Thon, Le Nos Meilleurs Stockhausen
Cline, Nels Coward
Contemporary Noise Sextet Unaffected Thought Flow
Diablo Swing Orchestra Sing Along Songs for the Damned and Delirious
Flatlands Collective, The Maatjes
Frith, Fred Still Urban
Fully Celebrated Orchestra, The Drunk on the Blood of the Holy Ones
Hardedge / Graham Haynes Burned to the Water’s Edge
Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey Winterwood
Land of Kush Against the Day
Lucky 7’s Pluto Junkyard
Moreau, Benoit Audiogrammes II
Musillami, Michael From Seeds
Neo Water Resistance
Nobuyasu, Furuya Bendowa
Quartet Offensive Carnivore
Sunn0))) Monoliths and Dimensions
Trespass …Was There to Illuminate the Night Sky
Trinity Breaking the Mold Var
Zu Carboniferous

AMN Top Ten 2009 Releases according to Last.fm:

1) Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society – Infernal Machines
2) Magma – Ëmëhntëtt-Ré
3) Balmorhea – All Is Wild, All Is Silent
4) Nels Cline – Coward
5) Blast4Tet – Sift
6) Fred Frith – Still Urban
7) Sunn O))) – Monoliths and dimensions
8) James Carney Group – Ways & Means
9) John Hébert – Byzantine Monkey
10) Neo – Water Resistance

A Celebration of the Life of Joe Maneri

From the Boston Microtonal Society:

A Celebration of the Life of Joe Maneri
Irondale Center
February 9, 2010, 8pm

What: A concert to remember and celebrate the life of Joe Maneri
When: Tuesday, February 9, 2010, 8pm
Where: Irondale Center, 85 South Oxford Street, Brooklyn, C train to Lafayette, 1/2/3/4/5/Q/B trains to Atlantic Ave, R/M/N/D/trains to Pacific St
Cost: Suggested donation $10 to be donated to Boston Microtonal Society

Featuring:
Barre Phillips, bass, Jim Black, drums, Tony Malaby, saxophone, Joe Morris, bass, John Medeski, piano Tom Halter, trumpet, Matthew Shipp, piano, Randy Peterson, drums, Ray Anderson, trombone, Craig Taborn, piano, Joe McPhee, saxophone, Joe Karten, trumpet, Matt Moran, vibes, Ed Schuller, bass, Dave Ballou, trumpet, Steve Dalachinsky, poetry, Mike Rivard, electric bass, Liberty Ellman, guitar, Herb Robertson, trumpet, Chris Speed, saxophone, Matt Lavelle, bass clarinet, Pandelis Karayorgis, piano, Noah Kaplan, saxophone, Mat Maneri, viola, and others to be confirmed…..

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AMN Picks of the Week

Here is where I post, at a frequency of about once a week, a list of the new music that has caught my attention that week. All of the releases listed below I’ve heard for the first time this week and come recommended.

Some really hot stuff in today’s list. I highly recommend the Anker / Tabron / Cleaver release as one of the best coming from these three gentlemen. Blast and Thee Maximalists are also great as usual. Mion and Verin are two of my recent discoveries on the GRM label, and both are wonderful modern electroacoustic. Enjoy.

Lotte Anker / Craig Taborn / Gerald Cleaver – Floating Islands (2009)
Synflict – Prismatine (2009)
Blast 4tet – Sift (2009)
Thee Maximalists – Crosstalk (2009)
Magee, Massimo / Amos Manne / Lee Noyes – Sax, Bass and Drums (2009)
Philippe Mion – Si c’était du jour (2002)
Nicolas Verin – Quatre pièces pour solistes et sons fixés (2005)

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Free Jazz Blog Reviews

From Free Jazz:

Monday, November 30, 2009
Joachim Gies & Sound/body/cells – Shimmering (Leo Records, 2009)
Sainkhò Namtchylak & Dickson Dee – Tea Opera (Leo Records, 2009)
Katja Krusche & Martin Krusche – I Am One (Leo Records, 2009)
Stefano Luigi – Painting On Wood (Leo Records, 2009)
Viviane Houle – Treize (Drip Audio, 2009)

Sunday, November 29, 2009
Li Tie Qiao – Wind Of Lunacy

Friday, November 27, 2009
Lotte Anker, Craig Taborn, Gerald Cleaver – Floating Islands (Ilk, 2009) *****

Thursday, November 26, 2009
Jesse Stacken & Kirk Knuffke – Mockingbird (Steeplechase, 2009) ****

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Aum Fidelity Releases Morris / Cancura / Gray

Out today on Aum Fidelity:

Joe Morris: bass
Petr Cancura: tenor and alto saxophone
Luther Gray: drums

Wildlife is the debut recording of a new group concept from Jazz Master nonpareil Joe Morris. Within this trio anything is possible. Joe Morris is here featured on bass. Petr Cancura, a remarkably gifted young musician (featured here on tenor and alto sax, and as recording engineer!), is a Czech Republic native who now resides in Brooklyn (by way of Ottawa, then Boston). Petr’s name was new to us at AUM Fidelity when Joe first spoke of his great musical gifts, which are on gorgeous display here. Drummer Luther Gray developed from kicking it in punk rock bands in Washington DC in the late 80s to being a jazz drummer of great finesse and technique in the modern day. He has been working with Joe Morris since 2002.

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Free Jazz Blog Reviews

Trumpeter Peter Evans
Image via Wikipedia

From Free Jazz:

Saturday, May 9, 2009
Profound Sound Trio – Opus De Life (Porter, 2009) ***½

Friday, May 8, 2009
Peter Evans – Nature/Culture (PSI, 2009) *****

Wednesday, May 6, 2009
Kirk Knuffke, Federico Ughi, Chris Welcome – Garden Of Gifts (577 Records, 2009) ****½

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AMN Picks of the Week

Here is where I post, at a frequency of about once a week, a list of the new music that has caught my attention that week. All of the releases listed below I’ve heard for the first time this week and come recommended.

JT Bruce – Universica (2008, progressive rock)
Henry Cow – Beginnings: 40th Anniversary Box Set, Vol. 1 (1971-1973) (1973, avant-garde)
Henry Cow – Trondheim: 40th Anniversary Box Set, Vol. 4-5 (1976, avant-garde)
Henry Cow – Late: 40th Anniversary Box Set, Vol. 9 (1978, avant-garde)
Gerald Cleaver / William Parker / Craig Taborn – Farmers by Nature (2009, free jazz)
Lotte Anker / Craig Taborn / Gerald Cleaver – Live at the Loft (2009, free jazz)
Contemporary Noise Quartet – Theatre Play Music (2008, free jazz)
Contemporary Noise Quintet – Pig Inside the Gentleman (2006, free jazz)
Contemporary Noise Sextet – Unaffected Thought Flow (2009, free jazz)
Arditti Quartet – Harvey: Complete String Quartets and Trio (2009, classical)
Indigo Trio – Live in Montreal (2007, free / composed jazz)
Michael Bates Outside Sources – Clockwise (2008, free jazz)
Michael Bates Outside Sources – Live in New York (2009, free jazz)
Pete Namlook – Namlook XVII: New Organic Life II (2003, electronic)
Locrian – Drenched Lands (2009, ambient metal)

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AMN Picks of the Week

LP cover
Image via Wikipedia

Here is where I post, at a frequency of about once a week, a list of the new music that has caught my attention that week. All of the releases listed below I’ve heard for the first time this week and come recommended.

E.R.A. – Introducing…the E.R.A. (2008, free jazz)
Reut Regev – This is R Time (2009, creative jazz)
Omar Rodriguez-Lopez, Omar – Se Dice Bisonte, No Bùfalo (2007, avant-rock)
Gerald Cleaver / William Parker / Craig Taborn – Farmers by Nature (2009, free jazz)
Bertram Turetzky / Damon Smith – Thoughtbeetle (2009, free jazz)
Alex Cline – Continuation (2009, jazz)
David S. Ware – Shakti (2009, free jazz)
Rick Helzer / Vinny Golia (Fancy Meeting You Here (2005, free jazz)
Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey – Live @ Largo (2009, jazz)
Squadra Omega – Tenebroso (2008, free form jam)
Squadra Omega – Rennesle Chateau (2008, free form jam)
Michael Riessler – Mirage (2009, modern composed classical / jazz)

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All About Jazz Reviews

Bill Frisell - live at Jazz Alley, Seattle - 2...
Image via Wikipedia

From All About Jazz:

28-Feb-09 Bill Frisell
The Best of Bill Frisell: Vol. 1 – Folk Songs (Nonesuch Records)
Reviewed by John Kelman

28-Feb-09 Gerald Cleaver / William Parker / Craig Taborn
Farmers By Nature (AUM Fidelity Records)
Reviewed by Lyn Horton

27-Feb-09 HAR-YOU Percussion Group
Sounds of Youth (ESP Disk)
Reviewed by Raul d’Gama Rose

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Jazz Listings From The New York Times

In the Times:

DAVE BURRELL WITH BILLY MARTIN (Friday) As he did a few years ago, for an album called “Consequences” (Amulet), the venerable avant-garde pianist and composer Dave Burrell engages in expansive duologue with Mr. Martin, the drummer best known as the second surname in Medeski Martin & Wood. At 7 p.m., Whitney Museum of American Art, (212) 570-3600, whitney.org; free with pay-what-you-wish museum admission. 20090219

TAYLOR HO BYNUM TRIO (Thursday) The cornetist Taylor Ho Bynum excels with improvisational miniatures, a form he seems likely to explore in this trio with the bassist John Hebert and the drummer Gerald Cleaver. At 9 and 10:30 p.m., Tea Lounge, 837 Union Street, near Sixth Avenue, Park Slope, Brooklyn, (718) 789-2762, tealoungeny.com; suggested donation, $5. 20090219

DUAL IDENTITY (Thursday) The alto saxophonists Rudresh Mahanthappa and Steve Lehman travel roughly the same orbit in jazz’s progressive solar system. And as the name of this quintet implies, their aesthetic kinship runs deep. At 9 and 10:30 p.m., Jazz Gallery, 290 Hudson Street, at Spring Street, South Village, (212) 242-1063, jazzgallery.org; cover, $15. 20090219

ENSEMBLE HELACIOUS (Friday) This exploratory trio consists of three shrewd and committed improvisers: the multireedist J. D. Parran, the trombonist Peter Zummo and the vibraphonist and drummer Kevin Norton. At 8:30 p.m., Roulette, 20 Greene Street, at Grand Street, SoHo, (212) 219-8242, roulette.org; $15 at the door; $10 for students, 30 and under, and 65+. 20090219

FREESTYLE MUSIC SERIES (Wednesday) This avant-garde concert series has settled for the moment at Cake Shop, one night a month. Next week the lineup includes the Exposed Blues Duo, with Fay Victor on vocals and Anders Nilsson on guitar (at 8:30 p.m.); the French Exit, a trio with roots in indie rock (at 10); Radio I-Ching, a free-improvising collective that includes the series organizer, Dee Pop, on percussion (at 9:15); and a group led by the alto saxophonist Peter Robbins (at 11). 152 Ludlow Street, between Stanton and Rivington Streets, Lower East Side, (212) 253-0036, cake-shop.com; $8. 20090219

DREW GRESS’S 7 BLACK BUTTERFLIES (Friday) On his most recent album, “The Irrational Numbers” (Premonition), the bassist Drew Gress pursues a disciplined brand of abstraction with this band, featuring the trumpeter Ralph Alessi, the alto saxophonist Tim Berne, the keyboardist Craig Taborn and the drummer Tom Rainey. At 9 and 10:30 p.m., Jazz Gallery, 290 Hudson Street, at Spring Street, South Village, (212) 242-1063, jazzgallery.org; cover, $15. 20090219

KEVIN TKACZ’S LETHAL OBJECTION (Tuesday) The bassist Kevin Tkacz (pronounced tax) features his own compositions in this adventurous new ensemble, with Ingrid Laubrock on saxophones, Angelica Sanchez on piano and Michael Sarin on drums. At 7 p.m., Barbès, 376 Ninth Street, at Sixth Avenue, Park Slope, Brooklyn, (347) 422-0248, barbesbrooklyn.com; cover, $10. 20090219

VISION COLLABORATION NIGHTS (Friday and Saturday) For one of the Vision Festival’s perennial off-season satellite series, dancers and musicians combine forces in improvisation. Among the likely highlights are two performances by the multi-instrumentalist Cooper-Moore: in a duo with the trombonist Willie Applewhite (Friday) and in a quintet with the saxophonists Charles Gayle and Tony Malaby, the bassist William Parker and the drummer Nasheet Waits (Saturday). At 7:30 p.m., Living Theater, 21 Clinton Street, Lower East Side, (212) 254-5420, livingtheatre.org; $15 in advance, $20 at the door, $15 students and 65+.

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