11, and tenor sax master Houston Person appears there Dec. DeJohnette’s drums interact with the offspring of two members from the classic John Coltrane Quartet – saxophonist Ravi Coltrane (one of his solos here was just nominated for a Grammy) and bassist Matthew Garrison, yielding an hour of spiritual magic. Bloom’s latest trio date proves once again she is among the finest living practitioners of the unwieldy soprano sax. Best jazz of the year (Denver Post file)
Here’s my Top 10 list for 2016. This is a glorious blowout all the way through. This story was first published on DenverPost.com 17. 16 … pianist Annie Booth appears at Nocturne on Dec. A fearless free jazz piano-drums duo, just like they did it in the ’60s – but the recording quality is better now. Another artist who releases large quantities of sound every year, trumpeter Rob Mazurek’s “world music” fusion project can border on the otherworldly. Halvorson makes superb recordings because her compositions are as compelling as her twisted guitar vocabulary. In person: Katie Glassman and Snapshot present their annual Winter Swing Show at Dazzle on Dec. Mary Halvorson Octet, “Away With You” (Firehouse 12 Records). 16-17 … Denver’s Dotsero will play their holiday show at the Soiled Dove Underground on Dec. He’s slowed down the output significantly in recent years, and now nearly everything he sends out to the world is a stunner. This octogenarian-tenor saxophonist and Miles Davis alumnus records too infrequently. The highly imaginative composer and saxophonist simultaneously released three box sets in 2016. Matthew Shipp/Bobby Kapp, “Cactus” (Northern Spy). Anthony Braxton, “3 Compositions” (EEMHM) 2011 (Firehouse 12 Records). Chicago’s Jason Stein (bass clarinet, comedian Amy Schumer’s older brother) appeared on numerous recordings this year, but this quirky, noisy trio date is the one I returned to the most. Hearts & Minds, “Hearts & Minds” (Astral Spirits). Don’t miss out. Is there such a thing as too much music? This year’s selections were taken from CDs (still hanging in there!) and vinyl (who would’ve seen that coming 20 years ago?) as well as streaming, Bandcamp and downloads from helpful people in the music industry. Reissues: Larry Young, “In Paris, The ORTF Recordings” (Resonance Records); Count Basie And Lester Young, “Classic 1936-1947 Count Basie And Lester Young Studio Sessions” (Mosaic);  Cherry-Tchicai-Schweizer-Francioli-Favre, “Musical Monsters” (Intakt Records). Check out the 4th Annual NPR Jazz Critics Poll at NPR.org, where this list was included, to see the results from more than 140 writers from around the USA. Avant-Jazz and Senegalese rap merge brilliantly, thanks to an artist dedicated to forging exhilarating new paths. Not a chance. There was a time when it seemed like tenor saxophonist David Murray was releasing an album every week. This set employs his most expressive collaborators and fresh layers of technology to forge some of his most beguiling music ever. It’s getting harder to navigate the depths of sound being made available. This collaboration with pianist Geri Allen and drummer Terri Lyne Carrington is everything superior jazz should be: exciting, heartfelt, inventive … this is one release whose title is not hyperbole. Jack DeJohnette, “In Movement” (ECM). Murray, Allen & Carrington Power Trio, “Perfection” (Motema). Sao Paulo Underground, “Cantos Invisiveis” (Cuneiform Records). Steve Lehman, Selebeyone (Pi). George Coleman,  “A Master Speaks” (Smoke Sessions Records). Jane Ira Bloom, “Early Americans” (Out-Line). This graceful set is one of the warmest recordings of the year. She’s one of the premier sonic creators of the age.