2017: Best New Music & Best Discoveries (of older music)

I'm putting my lists together.

What about yours?


  • Will think about this one Dave...
  • Have reflected on this and have come to the conclusion that 2017 has been a bit of a quiet one for me. Let's say I've been "consolidating" my relationship with my existing music library... ;-)

    I did spend a while this years trying to expand my exposure to old-school blues. Following this, the 2 newbies to my collection that I have most enjoyed are Charley Patton and Little Walter. (I appreciate that these 2 are not "newbies" in any other sense (Patton was born in 1891).)

    I've also properly acquainted myself with some of the early US hip-hop acts. Musically some OK stuff there (e.g. Public Enemy, Big Daddy Kane, Grandmaster Flash), but this exploration was more of an historical area of interest to me than a musical thrill-ride.

    Also I've rediscovered the Sgt Pepper album this year. Back in my early teenage years, it was one of the fist albums I ever listened to "properly". But, that was my Dad's copy so I haven't had proper access to it for 25 years. I bought it this year to complete my Beatles collection and was very impressed indeed with it musically and from a production POV - it sounds absolutely brilliant.

    So nothing ground-breaking!

  • OK. As I started this. Here are my faves:

    • Rhiannon Giddens - Freedom Highway. Have to have this after my gushings earlier in the year :-)
    • Chris Thiele & Brad Mehldau - Same. They've been performing as a duo for quite some time, but this is the first recorded evidence of Thiele and Mehldau's collaborations
    • Oumou Sangare - Mogoya (not her best, but still worthy of my 2017 faves)
    • Binker & Moses - Journey To The Mountain Of Forever. British free jazz taking its inspiration from John Coltrane and Elvin Jones
    • Tom Rainey Obbligato - Float Upstream. One of the best treatments of standards I've heard in some time. Looking at the lineup of New York free jazz luminaries, I was kind of expecting to hear about a bar of melody in each of these tracks. Not so. Sure, these are out treatments, but you can tell how much the tunes mean to the musicians. I like this a lot
    • Audun Kleive & Jan Bang - Periphery of a Building. Hardly more than an EP, really, at 31:28. But I love this kind of electronica (with a lot of percussion, courtesy of Kleive, and sampled voices). Specifically, these are remixes of live remixes
    • Denys Baptiste - The Late Trane. 40 years on from Coltrane's death, we've had a smattering of tributes. This is right up there with Baptiste's fantastic tribute to Martin Luther King, Let Freedom Ring, which is one of my favourite-ever UK jazz releases
    • Gilad Atzmon & The Orient House Ensemble - The Spirit of Trane. I saw Atzmon and the OHE live a few months ago and was blown away by them. This is a much gentler album than Baptiste's, and when compared with Atzmon's own live set, but still has some real emotional welly.

    Old stuff I discovered in 2017:
    • Sam Amidon (otherwise known as Mr Beth Orton). Everything of his I've listened to has been magical, but I think my vote goes to Lily-O. Not just because of Bill Frisell's contributions to the album :-)
    • Krokophant - Krokophant III (one of those metal/hard rock/improv/jazz hybrids from Scandinavia)
    • Tommy Guerrero - Perpetual. Kind of a surf (perhaps filtered through some of John Zorn's takes on surf)/ambient thing. I've found myself coming back to this quite a few times this year (there's no date on TIDAL for this, so I've put it on this list)
    • Motorpsycho/Jaga Jazzist - In The Fishtank 10. Another hybrid from Scandinavia, but this time with electronica rather than metal/hard rock
    • The whole of the ECM catalogue released on streaming for the first time. I've been reunited with music I first bought on vinyl in the 70s and 80s, and am gradually filling in the gaps in my listening - predominantly music that has never been released digitally, or albums I could never quite bring myself to buy unheard. I may even do an ECM list sometime

    For me, the most interesting theme of 2017 has been finding there's a crossover going on between American Folk/Americana and Jazz. 
  • Good sized list there Dave.
    Will begin to work through those I don’t yet know (all but two).
  • Have fun! 
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