Jazz Top Ten 2006:

by Tom Hull

This article is an unpublished draft.

Top Ten:

 1. Ornette Coleman: *Sound Grammar* (Sound Grammar):
    old school avant-garde, the kind that brings the noise, breaks
    down barriers, and still sounds sweet.

 2. Jon Faddis: *Teranga* (Koch):
    Dizzy's stunt double sums up all you can do with a trumpet.

 3. World Saxophone Quartet: *Political Blues* (Justin Time):
    the great hornsmen of the apocalypse rant, rave, get funky,
    party down.

 4. Adam Lane's Full Throttle Orchestra: *New Magical Kingdom*
    (Clean Feed):
    his grand melodic sweet reminds one of Mingus, as does his
    ability to kick ass.

 5. Mario Pavone Sextet: *Deez to Blues* (Playscape):
    a dazzling upside down cake swirled around the leader's bass.

 6. The Harry Allen-Joe Cohn Quartet: *Hey, Look Me Over* (Arbors):
    glorious mainstream sax, with nods to Getz, Webster, and Joe's
    dad Al.

 7. Odyssey the Band: *Back in Time* (Pi):
    all the kinkiness that Blood Ulmer strained out of his straight
    blues albums comes back in spades.

 8. Adam Lane Trio: *Zero Degree Music* (CIMP):
    avant-grunge, the bass pulse driving Vinny Golia's rapid-fire
    sax riffs.

 9. Steven Bernstein's Millennial Territory Orchestra: *MTO Volume 1*
    old testament Basie confronts the age of Prince and Wonder.

10. Nik Bärtsch's Ronin: *Stoa* (ECM):
    Zen-funk minimalism, improvised section by unexpected section.


 1. Fats Waller: *If You Got to Ask, You Ain't Got It* (Bluebird/Legacy):
    the pianist, the songwriter, the entertainer, one disc for each.

 2. Irène Schweizer: *Portrait* (Intakt):
    two decades of amazing piano improv in bitesize chunks.

 3. Andrew Hill: *Pax* (Blue Note):
    his new found fame uncovers a long lost gem.

Vocal Jazz:

 1. Diana Krall: *From This Moment On* (Verve):
    the best new Sinatra act since the old Sinatra.

Best Debut:

 1. Bob Reynolds: *Can't Wait for Perfect* (Fresh Sound New Talent):
    rooted in funk not swing, but reminds me of the brutish young
    Ben Webster.

Last Year

 1. William Parker Quartet: *Sound Unity* (AUM Fidelity):
    balance and teamwork distinguish every album on this list,
    but only a great bassist can hold your attention with this
    much firepower on trumpet, sax and drums.

 2. Anthony Braxton: *20 Standards (Quartet) 2003* (Leo):
    spread out over four discs, the set structures delimit a
    playpen for Kevin O'Neil's cool guitar and the leader's
    lofty sax.

 3. Tommy Smith & Brian Kellock: *Symbiosis* (Spartacus):
    duets, tenor sax and piano, standard stuff made exquisite.

 4. Craig Harris: *Souls Within the Veil* (Aquastra):
    heavy with history and horns, sprightly with African percussion,
    sublime resistance against the oppression of black souls.

 5. FME: *Cuts* (Okka Disk):
    stands for Free Music Ensemble, but it's really Ken Vandermark's
    postpunk power trio, where freedom reverts to form.

 6. Paraphrase: *Pre-Emptive Denial* (Screwgun):
    another sax trio, with Tim Berne in the catbird seat, hemmed
    in by Drew Gress and Tom Rainey.

 7. Dennis González's Spirit Meridian: *Idle Wild* (Clean Feed):
    loquacious Oliver Lake fleshes out this quartet's healing
    music for distressing times.

 8. Fieldwork: *Simulated Progress* (Pi):
    Vijay Iyer's robust piano leads Steve Lehman's skiny alto sax,
    which is the idea.

 9. Sirone Bang Ensemble: *Configuration* (Silkheart):
    less ambitious than *Vietnam* but more fun, a stripped down
    string section with Charles Gayle in the back seat.

10. The Vandermark 5: *Alchemia* (Not Two):
    twelve discs from one week in Krakow, true grit from the
    hardest working man in avant-jazz.


Bubbling under the top ten:

  1. Ornette Coleman: Sound Grammar (Sound Grammar)
  2. Jon Faddis: Teranga (Koch)
  3. World Saxophone Quartet: Political Blues (Justin Time)
  4. Mario Pavone Sextet: Deez to Blues (Playscape)
  5. Adam Lane's Full Throttle Orchestra: New Magical Kingdom (Clean Feed)
  6. The Harry Allen-Joe Cohn Quartet: Hey, Look Me Over (Arbors)
  7. Adam Lane Trio: Zero Degree Music (CIMP)
  8. Odyssey the Band: Back in Time (Pi)
  9. Satoko Fujii Four: When We Were There (Libra)
  10. Nik Bärtsch's Ronin: Stoa (ECM)
  11. Steve Lacy Quintet: Esteem (1975, Atavistic)
  12. Joe Morris Quartet: Beautiful Existence (Clean Feed)
  13. Steven Bernstein's Millennial Territory Orchestra: MTO Volume 1 (Sunnyside)
  14. The Vandermark 5: A Discontinuous Line (Atavistic)
  15. Ben Allison: Cowboy Justice (Palmetto) *
  16. Fred Anderson: Timeless: Live at the Velvet Lounge (Delmark)
  17. Zentralquartett: 11 Songs -- Aus Teutschen Landen (Intakt)
  18. Diana Krall: From This Moment On (Verve)
  19. Ulf Wakenius: Notes From the Heart (ACT)
  20. François Carrier: Happening (Leo, 2CD)
  21. Ramón Díaz: Diàleg (Fresh Sound New Talent)
  22. Bob Reynolds: Can't Wait for Perfect (Fresh Sound New Talent)
  23. Maurice El Médioni Meets Roberto Rodriguez: Descarga Oriental: The New York Sessions (Piranha)
  24. Sonny Rollins: Sonny, Please (Doxy)
  25. Rabih Abou-Khalil/Joachim Kühn: Journey to the Centre of an Egg (Enja/Justin Time)
  26. Ignacio Berroa: Codes (Blue Note)
  27. Scott Hamilton: Nocturnes & Serenades (Concord)
  28. Soft Machine: Grides (1971, Cuneiform)
  29. Charles Lloyd: Sangam (ECM)
  30. Erik Friedlander: Prowl (Cryptogramophone)
  31. Nils Petter Molvaer: An American Compilation (Thirsty Ear)
  32. Manu Katché: Neighbourhood (ECM)
  33. Jeff Healey & the Jazz Wizards: It's Tight Like That (Stony Plain)
  34. Harry Miller's Isipingo: Which Way Now (1975, Cuneiform)
  35. Omer Avital: The Ancient Art of Giving (Smalls)
  36. Club D'Elf: Now I Understand (Accurate)
  37. Rudresh Mahanthappa: Codebook (Pi)
  38. Frank Hewitt: Fresh From the Cooler (1996, Smalls)
  39. Sound in Action Trio: Gate (Atavistic)
  40. Kidd Jordan/Hamid Drake/William Parker: Palm of Soul (AUM Fidelity)
  41. Maurice Hines: To Nat "King" Cole With Love (Arbors)
  42. Paul Motian: On Broadway Vol. 4 (Winter & Winter)
  43. Moncef Genoud: Aqua (Savoy Jazz)
  44. Kieran Hebden and Steve Reid: The Exchange Session Vol. 1 (Domino)
  45. Bill Carrothers: Shine Ball (Fresh Sound New Talent) %
  46. Carneyball Johnson (Akron Cracker)
  47. Junk Box: Fragment (Libra)
  48. Thomas Strønen: Pohlitz (Rune Grammofon)

2005 List:

  1. William Parker Quartet: Sound Unity (AUM Fidelity)
  2. Anthony Braxton: 20 Standards (Quartet) 2003 (Leo)
  3. Tommy Smith & Brian Kellock: Symbiosis (Spartacus)
  4. Craig Harris: Souls Within the Veil (Aquastra)
  5. FME: Cuts (Okka Disk)
  6. Paraphrase: Pre-Emptive Denial (Screwgun)
  7. Dennis González's Spirit Meridian: Idle Wild (Clean Feed)
  8. Fieldwork: Simulated Progress (Pi)
  9. Sirone Bang Ensemble: Configuration (Silkheart)
  10. The Vandermark 5: Alchemia (Not Two)

2004 List:

  1. Sonic Liberation Front: Ashé a Go-Go (High Two)
  2. Matthew Shipp: Harmony and Abyss (Thirsty Ear)
  3. The Vandermark Five: Elements of Style . . . Exercises in Surprise (Atavistic)
  4. David Murray & the Gwo-Ka Masters: Gwotet (Justin Time)
  5. Charlie Haden: Land of the Sun (Verve)
  6. Triage: American Mythology (Okka)
  7. Jewels & Binoculars: Floater (Ramboy)
  8. Zu & Spaceways Inc.: Radiale (Atavistic)
  9. Satoko Fujii Quartet: Zephyros (NatSat)
  10. Don Byron: Ivey-Divey (Blue Note)