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The Best Jazz Albums of 2010

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"?

Books

There's Room in Joy Division's Expansive Universe for Jon Savage's 'This Searing Light...'

Can Jon Savage's literal book This Searing Light, The Sun and Everything Else close the metaphoric book on Joy Division once and for all?

Music

Yann Tiersen and the Project of a Lifetime

For an album that is so geographically and linguistically focused, Yann Tiersen's ALL is strangely beautiful when robbed of all its context.

Music

As Sun of Goldfinger Emerges, Genre Disappears

Like his earlier Prezens project, jazz guitarist David Torn's latest band Sun of Goldfinger thrives on surprise and texture instead of form or tradition.

Music

Paul Weller Dials Things Back As He Hits the Stage

British rock icon Paul Weller lets his latest solo album dictate how the music flows on this laid-back live double album.

Music

Some Reunions Are Worth the Fuss. Take Meat Puppets.

Derrick Bostrom reunites with the Kirkwood brothers for the first time in 24 years, and the resulting Dusty Notes rings true to Meat Puppets' legacy.

Music

Matthew Shipp Is the Sound of Jazz Opening Up, Again and Again.

Matthew Shipp and his jazz trio continue to make innovation look all too easy on Signature.

Music

Experimental Artist the Eye of Time Waits for Everyone

Marc Euvrie's (a.k.a. the Eye of Time) brand of experimental music dismisses the idea that some experiments are bound to fail.

Music

Derek Piotr Clears His Digital Throat

Derek Piotr's Grunt isn't so much about the sound as it is about the spirit of the noise.

Music

Here's Four Powerhouse Musicians and a Holy Ghost on 'Mudang Rock'

Guitarist extraordinaire Henry Kaiser assembles a crack band based around Simon Barker's Korean rhythmic skills.

Music

The Field's Formula for Musical Escapism Has Yet to Fail

The sheer repetition of the Field's music on Infinite Moment lures you in, but it's the quality of what's happening in these dense mixes that makes you stay, that allows you see the forest for the tree.

Music

Glenn Jones Continues to Plug Away, and We're Better for It

Former Cul de Sac leader Glenn Jones offers the world ten more American Primitive originals on The Giant Who Ate Himself and Other New Works for 6 & 12 String Guitar.

Music

Orbital's Cellar Monsters and Cosmic Despair

Phil and Paul Hartnoll reunite as Orbital for a second time to sculpt another career highpoint with Monsters Exist.

Books

Meet the Composer Who Picked up Where Ives, Bernstein, and Stravinsky Left Off: Elliott Carter

American composer Elliott Carter had a unique and impactful career. So why is he not more widely discussed? His student, David Schiff, returns to the biography form to share Carter's story.

Music

The Tord Gustavsen Trio Are Here to Melt Composition and Improvisation on 'The Other Side'

After 11 years, Norwegian pianist Tord Gustavsen is back with a new trio, peddling a blend of traditional, sacred, and original music.

Music

Legendary Jazz Saxophonist Wayne Shorter Proves He Can Still Bring the Goods on 'Emanon'

Even if you can't tell what the endgame is, Wayne Shorter's Emanon is an intriguing listen.

Music

Marike van Dijk Poaches Songwriters and Not Just Songs

Dutch-born saxophonist Marike van Dijk creates albums the way some people create stamp collections.

Music

Interpol and the Search for High-decibel Euphoria on 'Marauder'

Even when Interpol tries to change up the formula, they can't help but sound like themselves on Marauder.

Books

The Story of Swans by Those Who Lived to Tell

Nick Soulsby's oral history of Swans digs deep in and around the trenches of Michael Gira's twisted musical world.

Music

The Innocence Mission Soldiers on, Quiet As Ever

The Innocence Mission continue to sew together a fragile mix of soft instrumentation and unintelligible lyrics on Sun on the Square.

Reviews

Larry Goldings and Company Are Tuneful and Playful As Ever on 'Toy Tunes'

Larry Goldings and his jazz trio are back for round 12 for some of that sweet organ sound on Toy Tunes.

Music

Gordon Grdina's Musical Quest with the Oud Continues on 'Ejdeha'

With his quartet the Marrow, Gordon Grdina pries open the door to another hidden avenue of jazz-influenced Arabic music on Ejdeha.

Music

Daniel Carter, William Parker, and Matthew Shipp Prove Their Collective Worth on 'Seraphic Light'

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.

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