Best of Jazz by Dan Bilawsky

To read the details please click the album’s cover photo.


Dave Stryker – As We Are (Strikezone)

A reductionist might simply dub this “Dave Stryker and Strings.” But that pithy summation lacks the depth and honesty required to discuss an album notable for both. Teaming up with pianist Julian Shore, bassist John Patitucci and drummer Brian Blade, and adding a string quartet featuring violinist Sara Caswell, the noted guitarist brings a dream project to fruition. Covering a larger sonic swath than usual, Stryker places himself in a new light that completely complements his playing.


Nadje Noordhuis – Full Circle (Newvelle)

Right before the curtain closed on 2022, Nadje Noordhuis dropped this gorgeous quartet session which puts her horn(s) in the company of three other A-listers—pianist Fred Hersch, bassist Thomas Morgan and drummer Rudy Royston. Those sidemen, not surprisingly, prove tasteful as they shine. But it’s Noordhuis’ writing and playing—on trumpet and flugelhorn—that matter most…and melt the heart. With a mere three valves she captures the essence of truth and beauty as they relate to the human condition and the wonders of the universe.


Jakob Bro & Joe Lovano – Once Around the Room: A Tribute to Paul Motian (ECM)

Guitarist Jakob Bro came to greater prominence as a member of drummer/composer Paul Motian’s post-millennial Electric Bebop Band. And saxophone legend Joe Lovano spent three decades upending the status quo in a storied trio with the honoree and guitarist Bill Frisell. Bringing together a collection of Motian’s friends and familiars on the tenth anniversary of his passing, these co-leaders made this, their first on-record collaboration, a memorable one. Bro and Lovano contribute two originals apiece, the band—with three bassists and two drummers—creates one collective improvisation, and, in absolutely fitting fashion, Motian’s spirit makes its presence felt with a wonderfully rambunctious take on “Drum Music.”


Ryan Keberle Collectiv Do Brasil – Sonhos Da Esquina (Alternate Side)

Trombonist Ryan Keberle first connected with pianist Felipe Silveira, bassist Thiago Alves and drummer Paulinho Vicente during a trip to São Paulo in 2017. Bonding over a love of Brazilian luminaries like Milton Nascimento and Toninho Horta, they became fast friends and bandmates. A year later they found themselves in the studio, documenting their budding partnership with this program, which includes originals and cover nods to their collective influences. Keberle keeps finding new settings to serve his interests, and this project, along with the latest from his classically-informed Reverso, which narrowly missed placing on this list, are but the latest in a long string of successes in the trombonist’s discography.


Melissa Stylianou featuring Gene Bertoncini and Ike Sturm – Dream Dancing (Anzic)

Melissa Stylianou is most surely one of the most underappreciated singers on the scene. Her Silent Movie is among the best vocal releases of the last twenty years—at least in this writer’s opinion—and this charming trio date now joins it on that unofficial list. Documenting a longtime partnership with veteran guitarist Gene Bertoncini and bassist Ike Sturm, Dream Dancing delights in demonstrating what connectivity is all about. Familiar favorites abound—“Corcovado,” “Perdido,” “It Might as Well Be Spring,” etc.—but these three make everything feel as fresh as the morning the dew.


Natalie Cressman & Ian Faquini – Auburn Whisper (GroundUP)

Partners in music and life, trombonist Natalie Cressman and guitarist Ian Faquini have developed some serious chemistry. Auburn Whisper serves as their second duo date, following 2019’s Setting Rays of Summer, and it presents some brilliant, production-oriented music they assembled during the COVID-19 lockdown. Capitalizing on the studio’s possibilities without losing any of the intimacy endemic to their collaboration(s), Cressman and Faquini play and sing with real patience and purpose.


Anat Cohen – Quartetinho (Anzic)

Anat Cohen’s “little quartet,” featuring percussionist/synthesist James Shipp, pianist/accordionist Vitor Gonçalves and bassist/guitarist Tal Mashiach, is both her latest Brazilian-oriented venture and a step beyond. Whether covering Egberto Gismonti, dealing with Dvořák’s “Going Home” or delivering intriguing and alluring originals, these four grow well beyond their collective name in stature and significance. Cohen does no wrong with this concept and her clarinet(s).


Jason Yeager – Unstuck in Time: The Kurt Vonnegut Suite (Sunnyside)

Did you realize that 2022 marked the Kurt Vonnegut Centennial? If you answered “no,” that’s OK. Most people didn’t see it coming. But Jason Yeager, somewhat unintentionally (at first), worked toward the moment for years. The pianist/composer wrote and accumulated a collection of Vonnegut-inspired compositions, expanding them for septet and binding them in a suite back in 2016. Continuing to develop and refine that work in the ensuing years, Yeager eventually took his band to the studio, added altoist Miguel Zenon as a special guest, and recorded this magnum opus. Then he released it, and played a concert at the Kurt Vonnegut Museum and Library, on the late author’s 100th birthday—November 11, 2022.


Duduka Da Fonseca & Quarteto Universal – Yes!!! (Sunnyside)

Brazilian drumming bigwig Duduka Da Fonseca and piano pal Helio Alves meet up with two rising stars—guitarist Vinicius Gomes and bassist Gili Lopez. Mixing originals with classics from the likes of Toninho Horta, Milton Nascimento and Hermeto Pascoal (among others), these four operate with fluid grace and fire. Where others need to consciously lean into Brazilian rhythms, these four don’t. Quarteto Universal comes to them naturally, with a noted sense of elasticity and electricity.


Caleb Wheeler Curtis – Heatmap (Imani)

Both bold and curious, Caleb Wheeler Curtis has quickly established himself as a creative force. Here, on a collection of originals penned during his 2021 MacDowell Fellowship in rural New Hampshire, he plays with and against three fellow seekers—pianist Orrin Evans, bassist Eric Revis and drummer Gerald Cleaver. It’s Curtis’ show, without a doubt, but much of the joy and wonder in the offing relates to a beautiful friction between parties. This is intense and inviting art which reveals more with each listen.


Patricia Brennan – More Touch (Pyroclastic)

Jazz critics agree on little, but one point of relative consensus seems to be the work of Patricia Brennan. Whether adding her vibraphone and/or marimba to cutting-edge combos, contributing to the glow and flow of behemoth big bands, or playing solo under her own name, Brennan’s mallets create magic like no one else’s. Here, on her second leader date, she redirects her influences with a rumbling quartet comprised of bassist Kim Cass, drummer Marcus Gilmore and percussionist Mauricio Herrera. Capable of expanding consciousness, More Touch makes a serious impression.


Steven Feifke/Bijon Watson – Generation Gap Jazz Orchestra (Cellar Music)

Rising star pianist/arranger/composer Steven Feifke and lead trumpet veteran Bijou Watson put together one hell of a big band. And the music that Feifke wrote and arranged for the occasion suits the ensemble very well. His pen doesn’t discriminate—Watson, young gun tenor saxophonist Roxy Coss, trombone icon John Fedchock, and special guests like vocalist Kurt Elling and trumpeter Sean Jones all get some time in the spotlight—and the shared vision between both leaders speaks volumes about the importance of forging connections across time.


Daniel Bilawsky

Dan Bilawsky's work has appeared in JazzTimes, The New York City Jazz Record, All About Jazz, JAZZed, and Jazz Improv Magazine, among other outlets. In addition, he’s penned liner notes for artists on HighNote/Savant, Red, Capri, Sunnyside, Ropeadope, Dot Time and other respected imprints. A band director with nearly 25 years of teaching experience, he holds degrees in music from Indiana University, the Aaron Copland School of Music at Queens College, and Five Towns College.

Daniel Bilawsky 'in 4 yazısı var ve artmaya devam ediyor.. Daniel Bilawsky ait tüm yazıları gör

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