Free improvising saxophonist Ivo Perelman, pianist Matthew Shipp, and drummer Whit Dickey spin listenable joy out of thin air. Jazz originality doesn’t have to be forbidding.
During the new-year season of best-of-the-year lists, I find myself looking backward—even at a year as difficult as 2020. Time was dilated—I thought I had too much of it but, as usual, there was too little for all the great music.
Here are six of the key jazz trends of the last 20 years, defined by 20 of the best 2020 recordings that made us see, again, why this music is in midst of such a thrilling patch of creativity.
Even in the coronavirus-shortened record release schedule of 2020, the year has offered a mountainous feast of sublime music. The 50 best albums of 2020 so far are an eclectic and increasingly "woke" bunch.
Matthew Shipp's The Piano Equation is a fully improvised solo piano recital to stand the test of time, sitting in the realm where mathematics and magic collide.
Jazz was working all the angles in 2010. Is there any other genre that has as much range -- from solo instruments to big bands, from instrumental to vocal, from European musicians to both North and South Americans, from truly pretty music to raucously avant-garde "noise"?
Improvising is one thing. Improvising in a trio setting is another thing. Making beautiful and complex music together completely off-the-cuff is something else entirely.
Ivo Perelman: Philosophers Stone / Octagon / Heptagon / Scalene / Live in Baltimore / Live in Brussels
The prolific, free-blowing tenor saxophonists releases six recordings at once, including two live sets, that demonstrate (again) his ability to invent in the moment with collaborators of all kinds.