Saturday, January 2, 2010

Healing force music of the past decade

It is the time of year for "best of" lists and, not surprisingly, this year these lists are often attempting to identify the best albums of the past decade. Although many folks pan the usefulness of these lists, I do like to see what albums other folks have really enjoyed, and they serve as a great starting point for discussion and exploration. So, here is my attempt at listing the albums of the past decade that I have found particularly inspiring. This is not meant to really be a "best of" or anything so grandiose, as I am certainly not qualified (or presumptuous) enough. It is just a bunch of albums released during this past decade that were more than merely enjoyable for me. Healing force music....inspiring with high emotional impact. These albums, like all good albums for me, have become intertwined with this time in my life, and will likely forever evoke certain memories and feelings...

My only other criteria for inclusion was:
1) Limiting the list to music that was created during the past decade.
4) In keeping with the spirit of this blog the music falls somewhere within or along the periphery of this thing that some folks call "jazz."

Some healing force music of the 2000's

Scrapbook. 2003. William Parker Violin Trio - William Parker, Billy Bang, and Hamid Drake. Folksy melodies that at least for me evoke the spirit of Ayler. Truly beautiful and uplifting music. I am surprised that more people don't talk about this one, and I have yet to see it on anyone's "best of" list. I've certainly played this one more than any other release of the past decade.

Beyond Quantum. 2008. Anthony Braxton, Milford Graves, and William Parker. Vibrant, sophiscated, and virtuoso - yet highly emotional. Stunning free jazz that demonstrates how relevant this sort of music is today. The disc has made it into the player almost weekly since I picked it up.

The All-Star Game. 2001. Marshall Allen, Hamid Drake, Kidd Jordan, Wiliam Parker, and Alan Silva. Searing free jazz. I enjoy anything with William Parker and Hamid Drake together, but this one has been particularly inspiring for me. Not for the timid, there isn't a lot to hold on to during this ride. Great for long runs.

Born Broke. 2007. Peter Brotzmann and Peter Uuskyla. Peter Brotzmann can be a bit hit or miss for me, but this duo release contains some breathtaking music. Passionate and full of an array of emotions, this is another one that commonly found its way into my ipod for long runs. A two-disc set, I have yet to run long enough to listen to the entire thing during one run...but perhaps in 2010.

And now... 2004. Revolutionary Arts Ensemble - Leroy Jenkins, Sirone, and Jerome Cooper. I've just discovered the Revolutionary Ensemble this past year, and I'm still digesting their 1970s output. Telepathic, emotive, and uplifting stuff. This one has closed out 2009 for me...

Spirits. 2000. Pharoah Sanders, Adam Rudolph, and Hamid Drake. Actually recorded in summer of 1998, this meditative live date was released in 2000. Both hair-raising and serenely beautiful, Pharoah improvises over a wonderful percussive backdrop. For anyone familiar with Pharoah's early work, this one is definitely worth repeated listens.

On a different day, I'd probably include a few more, and there is plenty of music from this past decade that I have yet to hear. I'd love to hear any recommendations....

Bring on 2010.....back to the Ayler exploration shortly...