18 January 2016: extra – more best of 2016!

This week’s music selection included more of Neil’s best of the year round up – both new albums and some great reissues. First up was one of the self-penned tracks from teenage pianist Joey Alexander. Derivative and with definite echoes of Michel Petrucciani, but a fine display of Alexander’s fluency on the keys. This 2016 sophomore album is a fine development from his first release and includes an excellent take on Herbie Hancock’s Maiden Voyage that features the soprano sax of Chris Potter.

Next was a rare reflective, percussion-driven excursion from Wayne Shorter that’s not easy to come by. One of his last releases for the Blue Note label, 1970’s Moto Grosso Feio found Shorter experimenting with Brazilian textures and sound motifs from his future collaborator Milton Nascimento. We played the title track which is is a slow burner that then hits a groove that’s really rather irresistible. Lost tracks from pianist Bill Evans were next in a fine 2016 release from the Resonance label that is the only recorded example of a studio recording in which Evans plays with CJ favourite drummer Jack DeJohnette. Completing the trio is bassist Eddie Gomez. During the show, Derek refers to a novel which is based on the time in Bill Evans’ career when his young and immensely gifted bass player Scott Le Faro was killed in a car crash. The novel was Intermission by Welsh writer Owen Martell – and is well worth tracking down.

We love alto player Julian ‘Cannonball’ Adderley here on CJ and it was good to have a chance to play one of those 1970s live tracks produced by David Axelrod and featuring George Duke on Fender Rhodes. We played Capricorn from the album Music, You All. In complete contrast came a great new 2016 release from composer Darcy James Argue titled Real Enemies. The music is indeed a reflection of these times when false news appears to have taken over some of our media channels. Trust No One features a soundclip of onetime Senator Frank Church discussing the ill effects of CIA narratives planted in foreign media and is worth quoting in full: I thought that it was a matter of real concern that planted stories intended to serve a national purpose abroad came home and were circulated here because this would mean that the CIA could manipulate the news in the United Staes by channelling it through some foreign country. Hmm…. Argue has also incorporated a series of quotes from the prescient 1964 essay The paranoid style in American politics by Richard Hofstadter. Check out the excellent Pitchfork Real Enemies review here. This is certainly music for these troubled political times.

The young British duo Yussef Kamaal featured next on the show with a track from their debut release Black Thought. This isn’t revolutionary jazz by any means but there’s some tight drum and keyboard work from Henry Wu and the overall effect is 70s Herbie with an update. Last on the show were two vocal outings. The first was a Joni Mitchell-style composition from US bass player Esperanza Spalding’s 2016 release and the second an example of more young homegrown talent – but this time from Neil’s current home of Singapore. The Steve McQueens are a jazz funk band with quirky vocals from Eugenia Yip. Their most recent release was produced by Bluey from Incognito and recorded in London.

  1. Joey Alexander – City Lights from Countdown
  2. Wayne Shorter – Moto Grosso Feio from Moto Grosso Feio
  3. Bill Evans – You Go to My Head from Some Other Time
  4. Cannonball Adderley – Capricorn from Music, You All
  5. Darcy James Argue – Trust No One from Real Enemies
  6. Fred Hersch Trio – Blackwing Palomino from Sunday Night at the Vanguard
  7. Yussef Kamaal – Lowrider from Black Focus
  8. Esperanza Spalding – Noble Nobles from Emily’s D + Evolution
  9. The Steve McQueens – Summer Star from Seamonster

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Neil is listening to:

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