16 September 2009

My Jazz Now

A Blog Supreme is running a series called Jazz Now, in which the ABS team and friends recommend five albums each from the past ten years to nascent jazz listeners. For a complete explanation of the project, go here. Patrick Jarenwattananon kicked things off with his five today, and asked for audience participation as well. So below are the five albums I would recommend to somebody looking to get into current jazz, in order of date released.

1. Dave Holland Quintet: Prime Directive (2000). Holland is the Art Blakey of the modern postbop scene, assembling an array of talented younger players to augment his bands, which have become a kind of graduate school in jazz performance.

2. Jason Moran: Modernistic (2002). Moran's reimagining of the James P. Johnson classic "You've Got to Be Modernistic" is worth the price of the disc alone. Moran has an uncanny ability of packing the entire history of jazz piano into his style while keeping it fresh and surprising the listener at every turn.

3. Happy Apple: Youth Oriented (2003). As I wrote in this space last year, Happy Apple
expands the boundaries of jazz, incorporating rock and avant-garde influences while allowing plenty of room for individual and group improvisation. Their work is often exhilarating, and very rewarding to those who can stomach a little chaos.

4. The Bad Plus: Prog (2007). The Bad Plus appear to be a popular group for these lists. These Are The Vistas is my favorite album of theirs, but that one has been chosen by a few people already, so I will go with Prog instead, which features some choice covers and great originals.

5. Robert Glasper: Double Booked (2009). I'll be posting a review of this album later in the week, but suffice it to say that I've already recommended this album to a few friends who don't really listen to much jazz.

Honorable Mentions
The Bad Plus: These Are The Vistas
Paul Motian: Time and Time Again
Darcy James Argue's Secret Society: Infernal Machines
Medeski Martin & Wood: Tonic
Chris Potter: Follow the Red Line
Wayne Shorter: Footprints Live

You can read the entire Jazz Now series at A Blog Supreme (image via NPR).

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