Jazz Top Ten 2004: Sonic Liberations and Elements of Style
by Tom Hull
In this big old world there's always something to make jazz out of.
Here are ten of this year's best:
- Sonic Liberation Front: Ashé a Go-Go (High Two): yin
and yang -- fierce avant-sax and friendly folk songs united by shifty
- Matthew Shipp: Harmony and Abyss (Thirsty Ear): sums
up the Blue Series with the return of the piano as the grandest rhythm
instrument of all.
- The Vandermark Five: Elements of Style . . . Exercises in
Surprise (Atavistic): the ideas come fast and furious with
Vandermark's acoustic machine in full gear.
- David Murray & the Gwo-Ka Masters: Gwotet (Justin
Time): a fast one from Guadeloupe, phattened up with Pharoah and
the Latin Big Band.
- Charlie Haden: Land of the Sun (Verve): down Mexico
way, a land of enchantment and relaxed cosmopolitanism.
- Triage: American Mythology (Okka): rust belt saxman
Dave Rempis breaks out.
- Jewels & Binoculars: Floater (Ramboy): every now
and then a scrap of Bob Dylan melody floats by like a leaf in a warm
- Zu & Spaceways Inc.: Radiale (Atavistic): battle
of the bands returns to the classics -- Sun Ra and Funkadelic.
- Satoko Fujii Quartet: Zephyros (NatSat): her records
range so widely you're never sure where she'll go next, but this
rhythm section wants to rock out.
- Don Byron: Ivey-Divey (Blue Note): the most
expansive album ever by the guy who started the clarinet's return to