Trumpeter, educator, blogger, KPLU Jazz Host, and host of Jazz Now! Seattle, a podcast highlighting Seattle’s best current jazz was kind enough to allow me to repost his Top 10 Seattle Jazz CD’s of 2010 list. I say “kind enough” because Jason has an excellent feel for the pulse and talent of Northwest Jazz. Here is his post:
By Jason Parker
The year-end lists are flooding in, and the jazz blogosphere is replete with best-of’s. I know I’m a little late to the party, but as I did last year, I thought I would put my own spin on this yearly ritual and shine the spotlight on the amazing jazz talent we have right here in the Emerald City.
There were many more than 10 great CD’s released by Seattle jazz artists in 2010, so I couldn’t put everyone on this list. I’m sure there’s one or two I’ve forgotten, so please feel free to add yours in the comments section. I reserve the right to amend this list as I’m reminded of the other great CD’s that came out of Seattle this year.
Here they are, in no particular order:
Matt Jorgensen – Tattooed By Passion (Origin Records)
I’m pretty sure that this CD got the most spins of any this year around my house and in my car. Matt always puts out great CDs, but this is something really special. Perhaps it’s because the songs are all inspired by his late father-in-law, the painter Dale Chisman. Perhaps it’s the connection with his bandmates (Corey Christiansen on guitar, Mark Taylor on sax, Thomas Marriott on trumpet and Dale Captein on bass), all of whom he’s worked with quite a bit. Perhaps it’s the lush string arrangements. Or perhaps it’s all of the above. In any case, this is an album that you should check out if you haven’t already. It’s full of truly inspired music.
Andy Clausen Sextet – Follow (self-produced)
Andy graduated from Roosevelt High last year and is now attending Julliard in NYC. I first met him on a gig when he was 16, and even then he had “it”. I could tell that we would hear great things from Andy, and we certainly have. This sextet record is brilliant. The playing, the tunes, the production are all first-rate. It features a number of other talented young players in town, including Corey Dansereau on trumpet, Xavier Del Castillo on tenor, Gus Carns on piano, Nolan Woodle on bass and Evan Woodle on drums.
Jovino Santos Neto – Veja o Som – See The Sound (Adventure Music)
Jovino is one of the real treasures of the Seattle jazz scene. He’s a master piano player who can play anything, but really thrives playing the music of his Brazilian homeland. This 2-CD set features duets recorded in the US and Brazil with an amazing array of musicians, including Gretchen Parlato, David Sanchez, Airto Moreira, Joe Locke, Paula Morelenbaum and many more. The track below features fellow Seattlite Bill Frisell who interacts with Jovino beautifully.
Chad McCullough & Michal Vanoucek – The Sky Cries (Origin Records)
Chad’s second release as a leader pairs him with the stunning Slovakian pianist Michal Vanoucek. The varied program of originals by both men show them equally at home with post-bop, ballads and more free improvisations. Also featuring a top-flight NW band of Mark Taylor on alto, Dave Captein on bass and Matt Jorgensen on drums, this CD shows Chad to be exploring new territories as a trumpet player and composer, and lands him on my list for the 2nd year in a row.
Dave Anderson Quartet – Clarity (Pony Boy Records)
Dave is a soft-spoken guy but he wields a big horn! This CD shows him in fine form, both as a player and composer. His compositions are that perfect blend of modern and classic, being at the same time new and exciting and familiar from the first listen. He and his band, John Hansen on piano, Chuck Kistler on bass and Adam Kessler on drums, show themselves to be a well-oiled machine, and this CD has been in heavy rotation at my house since it came out.
Hadley Caliman – Straight Ahead (Origin Records)
Sadly, we lost Hadley this year. Thankfully, he was playing up to the very end, and his legacy lives on not only through his records but also through all of the students and players he touched and inspired over the years. With the help of Origin Records and his musical director, Thomas Marriott, Hadley made a number of excellent records over the last few years, including this one. RIP, Hadley, you will be missed and remembered!
Owcharuk 5 – Kobzar (Broken Time Records)
You probably know Michael Owcharuk as a pianist and composer, but in the Owcharuk 5 he mainly plays some kick-ass accordion! This band of merry improvisers plays music from and inspired by Mike’s Ukrainian homeland. Part jazz band, part punk band, part free improvising freaks, Mike covers all the bases with Jim Knodle on trumpet, Beth Fleenor on clarinet, Nate Omdal on bass and Cody Rahn on drums. Check out their live shows for a terrific party atmosphere!
Wellstone Conspiracy – Motives (Origin Records)
I’ve been a fan of Brent Jensen since first hearing his Paul Desmond tribute CD a few years back. In Wellstone he teams up with Bill Anschell on piano, Jeff Johnson on bass and John Bishop on drums. This band winds their way through a wonderful collection of originals and a gorgeous Billy Strayhorn cover. This tune is a Jensen original that pays tribute to the late great drummer Ed Blackwell, and shows the group doing what they do best!
Whitney James – The Nature Of Love (Damselfly Productions)
I had the pleasure of playing with Whitney for about a year a while back and always loved her voice, her professionalism and her positive attitude. She waited until the right time to release her debut album, and surrounded herself with an amazing band, including Ingrid Jensen on trumpet, Joshua Wolff on piano, Matt Clohsey on bass and Jon Wikan on drums. Whitney’s voice is powerful but she can also lay back and act as a second horn with Jensen. The results are an album that sounds like a true band, not just a singer out front. Be sure to catch her next time she’s back in town!
Thomas Marriott & Ray Vega – East-West Trumpet Summit (Origin Records)
How could I resist a two-trumpet record like this??? Tom and Ray have played together off and on for years, and it’s so great to hear them together. They have very different but complimentary styles that work so well together. I love hearing their different ideas on the tunes. And this is the record that introduced me to piano player Travis Shook, who is a monster! His solos are incredible, and he’s rock-solid in the rhythm section with Jeff Johnson on bass and Matt Jorgensen on drums. All hail the trumpet players!
I’d like to point out that I purchased each and every one of these CD’s. None were sent to me free of charge and I was happy to give my support to these great musicians. I hope you’ll consider doing the same.
Jason Parker’s blog can be viewed at http://oneworkingmusician.com/