What a great year for jazz. The genre again showed its great diversity and creativity, as many artists established themselves as household names. Without further ado, let’s go!
Vanilla Summit – Vanilla Summit
Vanilla Summit pushed out a smooth, subtle, and infinitely replayable record with their self titled album. Superbly relaxing with some great solos within, this is a must listen for fans of classic jazz. We’re excited to hear more from these guys in the future.
Cameron Graves – Planetary Prince
One of the hidden gems from last year came from Cameron Graves, who many will know from Kamasi Washington’s compositions. Cameron’s piano work throughout Planetary Prince is a marvel to behold, and this album excites and delights from start to finish.
Christian Scott – Diaspora
Christian Scott manages to channel Miles Davis 1980’s work majestically throughout his trilogy released in 2017, whilst injecting a modern vibe to his music. Diaspora was the stand out album from the trilogy, and the flutist used in the composition by Scott meets his trumpet work perfectly.
Kamasi Washington – Harmony Of Difference
Kamasi Washington’s The Epic went down a storm in 2015, yet part of me feels that whilst 1/5th of it’s length, Harmony Of Difference is not only more engaging to listen to, but also more accessible for people looking to foray into progressive jazz. The album moves through 5 different styles of jazz before climaxing in a bombastic reprisal heavy track, showing the genius of Washington’s composition.
Throttle Elevator Music – Retrospective
And Kamasi Washington, again. This time in the shape of his band Throttle Elevator Music. Their approach is much more rough, nearly punky, but it gives their compositions a juvenile charm and a really authentic energy.
Nate Smith – Kinfolk: Postcards From Everywhere
Nate Smith proves his status as one of the most interesting and smoothest jazz drummer around, and his new album is full of easy, groovy, and comforting tunes. It’s not about showcasing skills or being overly complicated, it’s all about feeling, fun, and joy.
Colin Stetson – All This I Do For Glory
Colin Stetson is no stranger to the jazz scene. Basically every year you can get a record (or two, thinking of Ex Eye) with his involvement. His new album, All This I Do For Glory, is an experimental attempt on saxophone focused jazz, and it captivates you with crazy melodies and distinctive soundscapes.
The Great Harry Hillman – Tilt
This album from a weird, but fascinating Swiss jazz outfit came to my attention because it was released through the great label: Cuneiform Records. The Great Harry Hillman is eccentric, experimental and energetic like no other jazz album in 2017.
Arve Henriksen – Towards Languge
This album was part of our AOTY list for a reason. When you hear Arve Henriksen‘s finger moving on his trumpet, it gives you the chills, and it’s part of the great experience of Towards Language.
Binker And Moses – Journey To The Mountain Of Forever
A conceptual free jazz album, full of amazing decisions, great sounds, and fantastic layers. Binker and Moses is a 80 minutes experience full of the finest jazz. Take your time and be patient. It’s worth it.
The Kandinsky Effect – Pax 6
This amazing fusion out of jazz, electronic, and post-minimalism from France released their best album to date. One of my favorite jazz trios out there. Groovy, rich and compelling.
Mammal Hands – Shadow Work
There is a warmth within Mammal Hands‘s music, and it was never more apparent than on Shadow Work. So many wonderful motifs, arranged with an amazing sense for drive and pace. They have been getting better and better over the years, and I can’t wait for more!
John Zorn – The Interpretation Of Dreams
Kneebody – Anti-Hero
Tigran Hamasyan – An Ancient Observer
Benny Greb – Grebfruit 2
Portico Quartet – Art In The Age Of Automaton
Milton Man Gogh – Stress To Impress
Zimpel/Ziolek – Zimpel/Ziolek
Merkabah – Million Miles
Check in for the new episode soon!