|Tom Hull's Village Voice Review Drafts|
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Jazz Top Ten 2006:
by Tom Hull
This article is an unpublished draft.
Top Ten: 1. Ornette Coleman: *Sound Grammar* (Sound Grammar): old school avant-garde, the kind that brings the noise, breaks down barriers, and still sounds sweet. 2. Jon Faddis: *Teranga* (Koch): Dizzy's stunt double sums up all you can do with a trumpet. 3. World Saxophone Quartet: *Political Blues* (Justin Time): the great hornsmen of the apocalypse rant, rave, get funky, party down. 4. Adam Lane's Full Throttle Orchestra: *New Magical Kingdom* (Clean Feed): his grand melodic sweet reminds one of Mingus, as does his ability to kick ass. 5. Mario Pavone Sextet: *Deez to Blues* (Playscape): a dazzling upside down cake swirled around the leader's bass. 6. The Harry Allen-Joe Cohn Quartet: *Hey, Look Me Over* (Arbors): glorious mainstream sax, with nods to Getz, Webster, and Joe's dad Al. 7. Odyssey the Band: *Back in Time* (Pi): all the kinkiness that Blood Ulmer strained out of his straight blues albums comes back in spades. 8. Adam Lane Trio: *Zero Degree Music* (CIMP): avant-grunge, the bass pulse driving Vinny Golia's rapid-fire sax riffs. 9. Steven Bernstein's Millennial Territory Orchestra: *MTO Volume 1* (Sunnyside): old testament Basie confronts the age of Prince and Wonder. 10. Nik Bärtsch's Ronin: *Stoa* (ECM): Zen-funk minimalism, improvised section by unexpected section. Reissues: 1. Fats Waller: *If You Got to Ask, You Ain't Got It* (Bluebird/Legacy): the pianist, the songwriter, the entertainer, one disc for each. 2. Irène Schweizer: *Portrait* (Intakt): two decades of amazing piano improv in bitesize chunks. 3. Andrew Hill: *Pax* (Blue Note): his new found fame uncovers a long lost gem. Vocal Jazz: 1. Diana Krall: *From This Moment On* (Verve): the best new Sinatra act since the old Sinatra. Best Debut: 1. Bob Reynolds: *Can't Wait for Perfect* (Fresh Sound New Talent): rooted in funk not swing, but reminds me of the brutish young Ben Webster.
1. William Parker Quartet: *Sound Unity* (AUM Fidelity): balance and teamwork distinguish every album on this list, but only a great bassist can hold your attention with this much firepower on trumpet, sax and drums. 2. Anthony Braxton: *20 Standards (Quartet) 2003* (Leo): spread out over four discs, the set structures delimit a playpen for Kevin O'Neil's cool guitar and the leader's lofty sax. 3. Tommy Smith & Brian Kellock: *Symbiosis* (Spartacus): duets, tenor sax and piano, standard stuff made exquisite. 4. Craig Harris: *Souls Within the Veil* (Aquastra): heavy with history and horns, sprightly with African percussion, sublime resistance against the oppression of black souls. 5. FME: *Cuts* (Okka Disk): stands for Free Music Ensemble, but it's really Ken Vandermark's postpunk power trio, where freedom reverts to form. 6. Paraphrase: *Pre-Emptive Denial* (Screwgun): another sax trio, with Tim Berne in the catbird seat, hemmed in by Drew Gress and Tom Rainey. 7. Dennis González's Spirit Meridian: *Idle Wild* (Clean Feed): loquacious Oliver Lake fleshes out this quartet's healing music for distressing times. 8. Fieldwork: *Simulated Progress* (Pi): Vijay Iyer's robust piano leads Steve Lehman's skiny alto sax, which is the idea. 9. Sirone Bang Ensemble: *Configuration* (Silkheart): less ambitious than *Vietnam* but more fun, a stripped down string section with Charles Gayle in the back seat. 10. The Vandermark 5: *Alchemia* (Not Two): twelve discs from one week in Krakow, true grit from the hardest working man in avant-jazz.
Bubbling under the top ten: