It's coming up that time of the year where I start to think about compiling my Top 10 albums of the year. This year I may have to alter the format. Yes, there are 10 albums that currently fulfil the loosely based criteria that I use each year (strange that my Top 10 seldom co-incides with anybody elses!). However, as well as those new releases it's also been a rather splendid year for re-releases, or releases of material that has either never, or seldom befoe been in the public domain.
Monday, 22 November 2021
Tuesday, 24 August 2021
Amongst all the excitement about new (and old) releases;
Monday, 2 August 2021
It's still a strange year!
Miles Davis: Merci Miles! Live at Vienne.
Nina Simone: The Montreux Years.
Jimmy Smith: Groovin' at Smalls Paradise (Volumes 1&2)
Julian Lage: Squint.
Dave McMurray: Grateful Deadication.
Samara Joy: Samara Joy.
Monday, 17 May 2021
Emmet Cohen - Future stride.
Nubiyan Twist - Freedom Fables.
Shai Maestro - Human.
Veronica Swift - This bitter earth.
Vijay Iyer - Uneasy.
Friday, 19 March 2021
As everybody else is likely to have said "it's been a strange old year", not that, at the time of writing, we're by any means clear of the restrictions that we've endured for the last year. Nonetheless, after staying at home, and catching up on all the things that 'you always meant to do' (most of mine are still unfinished - though at the time of writing, two of them have been completed, whether to my complete satisfaction remains to be seen!)
Luckily, after several 'home recorded' shows I've finally got back into the studio and it's been a real relief to discover that it's all still working. Actually for my colleagues, when they back to work (hopefully around 29th March) they're going to find that they're on a learning curve because during the lockdown an entirely updated playout system has been installed. Any certainty that they might have had about finding cherished drop-ins or 'tuneage' on the system are going to need review because although a lot of what was on the old system is till there it's all been moved during the change-over. Thus I've been finding favourite things that I use during the shows have been scattered to odd corners of the system. In the most extreme case 11,645 places away from where it used to be. We will, of course be able to give instruction, although in the first place, and probably until late May, it'll have to be on a one-to-one basis. At this point I ought to thank Ian and Tom who worked through the lock-down (remotely!) to make the switch.
So far then, not a lot of jazz! For jazz musicians, and particularly at a local level it's been a really difficult year. One player who made a living from jazz and lives locally told me that his last 'live' gig was March 10th 2020. It's also evident that many tours have had to be re-arranged, often not just once or twice, but up to three times. Let's hope that when those tours take place they are well supported. This also had a strange effect on CD releases which have also in many cases had their release dates moved several times. At the time of writing I'm still waiting for four albums that should have appeared during February - but haven't! There also appears to have been problems with CD manufacture, which for the largest labels is now done, more likely than not, somewhere in Europe. I don't thank the UK's status change has helped with distribution!
Next time I'll write more specifically about some of the albums (old and new) that I've enjoyed, or in some cases rediscovered during 2021.