12 Recommended Jazz Albums - Retrospective 2015 - I


Kamasi Washington: tenor saxophone; Ryan Porter: trombone; Igmar Thomas: trumpet; Cameron Graves: piano, organ; Brandon Coleman: keyboards, organ; Miles Mosley: acoustic bass; Stephen Bruner: electric bass; Tony Austin: drums.

Contagious and vibrant, the triple album, 'The Epic', does justice to its title and sounds great. 
It's an intense, spiritual and Coltranean blend of bop, afro-jazz, soul, and much more. 
A favorite from last year!

Favorite tracks: 
01 (CD1) - Change of the Guard
04 (CD1) - Final Thought
02 (CD2) - Leroy and Lanisha
03 (CD2) - Re Run
02 (CD3) - Cherokee
03 (CD3) - Clair de Lune


Charles Lloyd: tenor saxophone; Gerald Clayton: piano; Joe Sanders: bass; Gerald Cleaver: drums; Sokratis Sinopoulos: lyra; Miklos Lucaks: cymbalom.


Charles Lloyd stands firm as one of the strongest and most exciting musicians of our times. An overflowing spirituality can be felt through his unique style. Invariably, his sublime latest record is to explore multiple times and rejoice with the discovers...

Favorite tracks:
02 - Gardner
03 - Lark
04 - River

john scofield - past present

John Scofield: guitar; Joe Lovano: tenor saxophone; Larry Grenadier: bass; Bill Stewart: drums.

Top-notch executants, Scofield and Lovano, can't help but make fabulous records, blowing my mind every time they play together. With a lively interaction, they mix post-bop, jazz funk, and beautiful ballads with exquisite artistry. 'Past Present' confirms that every single note they play carries an immense joy and absolute confidence. 

Favorite tracks:
04 - Museum
06 - Get Proud
08 - Mr. Puffy

chris potter - imaginary cities

Chris Potter: saxophones, bass clarinet; Adam Rogers: guitar; Craig Taborn: piano; Steve Nelson: vibraphone and marimba; Fima Ephron: electric bass; Scott Colley: acoustic bass; Nate Smith: drums; Mark Feldman: violin; Joyce Hammann: violin; Lois Martin: viola; David Eggar: cello. 

The imaginary cities that Mr. Potter and his Underground Orchestra offer us are phenomenal. His robust, liberating sound proves his impeccable qualities as an instrumentalist and composer. The breathtaking compositions go instantly into our minds and souls.

Favorite tracks:
01 - Lament
02 - Imaginary Cities 1: Compassion
06 - Firefly 


tim berne's snakeoil - you've been watching me

Tim Berne: alto saxophone; Oscar Noriega: bass, clarinets; Ryan Ferreira: guitar; Matt Mitchell: piano; Ches Smith: drums, vibraphone, percussion.

Tim Berne's Snakeoil combines intricate structures with creative improvisations. This album is another powerful addition to the extended discography of the prolific contemporary saxophonist. The music played by the stirring quintet can be described as agitating, floating, enveloping, and ingenious.

Favorite tracks:
01 - Lost in Redding
02 - Small World in a Small Town
03 - Embraceable Me

kenny wheeler - songs for quintet

Kenny Wheeler: flugelhorn; Stan Sulzman: tenor saxophone; John Parricelli: guitar; Chris Laurence: bass; Martin France: drums.

Wheeler's inviting sound stems from his capacity to make the notes breathe by themselves. Often cerebral, yet always generous, 'Songs for Quintet' was the swan song from one of the most respected, and already missed, trumpeters of the last four decades.

Favorite tracks:
01 - Seventy-Six
06 - Old Time
07 - 1076

aaron diehl - Space time continuum

Aaron Diehl: piano; David Wong: bass; Quincy Davies: drums; Benny Golson: tenor saxophone; Stephen Riley: tenor saxophone; Joe Temperley: baritone saxophone; Bruce Harris: trumpet; Cécile McLorin Salvant: vocals.

Good taste and fluidity are part of the elegant language of the pianist Aaron Diehl whose new album presents passionate and sophisticated arrangements. The very special guests on reeds and vocals are assets to the skillful sounds created by the compact trio.

Favorite tracks:
03 - Flux Capacitor
06 - Santa Maria
08 - Space, Time, Continuum

donny mccaslin - fast future

Donny McCaslin: tenor saxophone; Jason Lindner: keyboards; Tim Lefebvre: bass; Mark Guiliana: drums.

'Fast Future' isn't one of McCaslin’s best records but it's still competent enough to mirror all his intelligence and versatility. The warm patterns and solos, as well as the multiple variations of intensity are first class. An absorbing record that features an agreeable exploration of unexpected rhythms and three tunes co-authored by David Binney.

Favorite tracks:
01 - Fast Future
02 - No Eyes
06 - Love What is Mortal

kris davis' infrasound - save your breath

Ben Goldberg: clarinets; Oscar Noriega: clarinets; Joachim Badenhorst: clarinets; Andrew Bishop: clarinets; Nate Radley: guitar; Kris Davis: piano; Gary Versace: organ; Jim Black: drums.

The often difficult and intriguing sounds of the pianist Kris Davis force us to stay alert throughout the record. Slowly cooked with sufficient atmospheric baits, the bassless, complex tunes occasionally become tumultuous as their textures evolve. The outstanding musicians (with four clarinetists) did a great job to make it work.

Favorite tracks:
02 - Jumping Over Your Shadow
03 - Always Leave Them (Wanting More)
04 - Whirly Swirly

enrico rava - wild dance

Enrico Rava: trumpet; Gianluca Petrella: trombone; Francesco Diodati: guitar; Gabriele Evangelista: bass; Enrico Morello: drums.

Toggling between sweet and moderately effervescent, Rava's known sound and approach show how virtuous he is as a musician and composer. 'Wild Dance' is far from the brilliance of other journeys, however, its tunes fill our ears and hearts with a passionate musicality and create a set of interesting moments.

Favorite tracks:
01 - Diva
03 - Don’t
08 - F Express

dave douglas - high risk + brazen heart

2015 was a remarkable year for the prolific trumpeter Dave Douglas. After the hypnotic 'High Risk' whose bold compositions detach from the traditional jazz approach by playing profound melodic lines on top of consistent electronic bodies. In ‘Brazen Heart’, he returns to the sounds he accustomed us, creating a diversified universe, full of rich harmonic textures, where one can be stimulated by his exciting interactions with the tenor saxophonist Jon Irabagon.

Dave Douglas: trumpet; Shigeto: electronics; Jonathan Maron: basses; Mark Guiliana: drums.

Favorite tracks (High Risk):
01 - Molten Sunset
02 - Household Item
05 - High Risk

Dave Douglas: trumpet; Jon Irabagon: tenor saxophone; Matt Mitchell: piano; Linda Oh: bass; Rudy Royston: drums.

Favorite tracks (Brazen Heart):
03 - Deep River
05 - Lone Wolf
06 - Miracle Gro