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

Brooklyn Big Band Bonanza

A review of these recent performances from NYTimes.com:

Opening with a scrupulous fanfare and closing with an outbreak of anarchy, the Brooklyn Big Band Bonanza fulfilled much of its promise at the Bell House on Monday night. It was a gathering of three upstart ensembles — the Secret Society, the Industrial Jazz Group and the Bjorkestra — that share the standard dimensions of jazz big bands without a lot of the standard inhibitions. Stretching to about four hours, the program laid out several different angles of attack, running the gamut of intelligence and taste.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Darcy James Argue At Iridium November 25th

From Improvised Communications:

On Wednesday, November 25th, composer/conductor Darcy James Argue and his acclaimed big band, Secret Society, will make their first-ever appearance at New York’s Iridium Jazz Club. The 18-piece ensemble, which released its highly regarded debut, Infernal Machines (New Amsterdam Records), in May, will play two sets, beginning at 8:30 and 10:30 p.m. For this performance, Argue and the band will welcome special guest drummer Kendrick Scott (Terence Blanchard, Jimmy Greene, Gretchen Parlato).

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Darcy James Argue To Host Brooklyn Big Band Bonanza October 19th

Darcy James Argue & Secret Society
Image by Nicken05 via Flickr

From Improvised Communications:

On Monday, October 19th, SearchAndRestore.com will present Brooklyn Big Band Bonanza, a celebration of innovative big bands organized by acclaimed composer Darcy James Argue, at The Bell House in Brooklyn, NY. Performers will include Travis Sullivan’s Bjorkestra, Andrew Durkin’s Industrial Jazz Group and Argue’s own acclaimed 18-piece steampunk big band, Secret Society, which will headline the event. All three bands are led by composers working to reinvigorate the big band format for the 21st Century by integrating influences from a wide variety of other sounds and genres.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

2009 So Far

As opposed to our picks of the week post, the data below was gathered from logs at http://www.last.fm. I’ve culled through them to determine the albums released so far in 2009 that have garnered the most listens. Thus, this list is fairly representative of not just what is appreciated here at AMN Central, but also what we keep listening to. I’m somewhat surprised by the results, as a lot of releases that I liked quite a bit at first blush have received relatively few listens. Need to work on that…

Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society – Infernal Machines
Henry Cow – Vol. 1: Beginnings
Nels Cline – Coward
Univers Zero – Relaps: Archives 1984-1986
Quartet Offensive – Carnivore
John Zorn – Filmworks XXII The Last Supper
John Hébert – Byzantine Monkey
Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey – Winterwood
Land Of Kush – Against the Day
Maurizo Bianchi – A M.B. Lehn Tale
Michaël Attias – Credo
James Blackshaw – The Glass Bead Game
Mary Halvorson and Jessica Pavone – Thin Air
Gerald Cleaver, William Parker, Craig Taborn – Farmers by Nature
Kayo Dot – Blue Lambency Downward
Alex Cline – Continuation

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]