2017: Best New Music & Best Discoveries (of older music)
I'm putting my lists together.
What about yours?
Will think about this one Dave...
So am I!
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!
Long live the "Ink Spots"
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).