Jazzwise Top 20 Jazz Albums of 2015

Article Index

If a learned friend informed you a year ago, dear readers, that the album of 2015 might possibly be a triple concept album by a previously unknown artist who insisted on giving the whole shebang a title so toweringly grand and top heavy it would have had the Trade Descriptions Act office crawling all over it, you would have been on the phone immediately booking said learned friend into the Priory for a somewhat extended stay. Or maybe just wrote their blatherings off as another of Kanye West’s latest god-like delusions. But 12 months is a long time in the jazz game and yesterday’s flights of fancy can be today’s building blocks of the future. Welcome then to LA-based saxophonist Kamasi Washington’s debut triple album, The Epic: a gloriously expansive, sense-tickling spiritual jazz masterpiece encompassing three CDs, 17 tunes, a 10-piece band, a 32-piece orchestra, a 20-piece choir and 172 action packed minutes (count’em) that had writer Kevin Le Gendre awarding it a 4 star recommended accolade when he reviewed it in the May issue. And judging by the colossal amount of votes the album racked up in our critics poll, he wasn’t the only writer whose block was severely rocked. The Epic is that rare thing. A brand new, musically and conceptually rich work that arrived unheralded out of leftfield and grabbed the almost universal attention of the jazz world’s forward looking brethren. An album firmly rooted in jazz’s deepest traditions that scopes out the future with brio and brain. A hugely, heart-warmingly encouraging portent in this age of shrinking CD sales and diminishing attention spans, and yes, it’s available as a triple vinyl set too. Well, what are you waiting for… Jon Newey, Editor in Chief

kamasiKamasi Washington The Epic

Brainfeeder 

Moving from hard swing to funk to some of the digital age sensibilities scoped out by Thundercat, this is an album of progressive present day thinking that willfully acknowledges its debt to the past, as befits the ongoing relationship between the two. So if there is a sample of a Malcolm X speech it is relevant to the current political debate: There’s nothing wrong with being a Muslim. There is something very right about the premise and execution of this work. (Kevin Le Gendre)

 

schneiderMaria Schneider Orchestra The Thompson Fields 

Artist Share 

This album is both profound and memorable. Schneider, who delights in breaking open the rigid structure of cyclical forms in jazz with writing that explores theme, variation, development and recapitulation is also a master of shifting tonal densities – one glance at the doubles the reed section have to contend with, plus a brass section all doubling on flugel horns, means some of the tone colours she dreams up are breathtaking. (Stuart Nicholson) 

 

loosetubesLoose Tubes Arriving 

Lost Marble

Here’s the highly-anticipated third and final instalment in the ‘live’ trilogy of recordings from Loose Tubes’ farewell residency at Ronnie Scott’s in 1990. Following on from Dancing on Frith Street in 2010 and Säd Afrika in 2012, the new CD Arriving comes with a few unexpected bonus tracks that wouldn’t have figured in the series’ curator Django Bates’ initial plans for the set. It’s a very significant addition: they’re compositions commissioned by BBC Radio 3 from the already legendary Ronnie’s 30th anniversary comeback residency last year by the newly-resurrected Loose Tubes. Although they seem to mark the end of the reconciliation, the title Arriving suggests otherwise; Loose Tubes could, let’s hope, be around for a while yet. With eight further gems from the original Tubes repertoire, the band’s musical palette is as idiomatically broad as its musicians were diverse. If you’ve got the first two CDs then this one’s a no brainer. But listening to both 1990 and 2014 versions, it becomes clear that this is one reunion that isn’t just dependent on celebrating past glories. (Selwyn Harris) 

 

Charles LloydCharles Lloyd Wild Man Dance

Blue Note

This is a truly memorable album; perhaps the finest of Lloyd’s career and destined to become a classic. This remarkable sixpiece suite was commissioned by the Jazztopad Festival in Wrocław, Poland and was recorded at the piece’s premiere. It marks a memorable return to the Blue Note label for whom Lloyd last recorded in 1985. The addition of Sinopoulos and Lukács subtly alter the sonic ambience of the saxophone quartet, their presence adding mystery and gravitas, while Cleaver emerges as a superb colourist as well as time-keeper, perfectly framing Lloyd’s lyrical flights. (Stuart Nicholson)

 

RudreshRudresh Mahanthappa Bird Calls

ACT

Each piece represents an examination of Charlie Parker’s legacy in the here and now in a “detailed and holistic way”. Mahanthappa’s unselfconscious drawing on musical tradition of the Carnatic music of South India during his improvisations adds a degree of colour and the unexpected. This blend of the local and the global (yes, Parker’s music went global in the 1940s thanks to the gramophone record) is what makes this take on Parker wholly original and absorbing. (Stuart Nicholson)

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website

If you do not change browser settings, you consent to continue. Learn more

I understand

Breaking News

Stanley Clarke Captivates With Crowd-Sur…

As Return to Forever bass legend Stanley Clarke (pictured above) opened...

Read More.....

Bro, Seim and Gustafsson amid the Scandi…

  As a snapshot of the great charm of Vossa Jazz's...

Read More.....

Laura Mvula, Melt Yourself Down and Alin…

  Love Supreme continue to expand the brand by bringing an...

Read More.....

Empirical get set for Distraction Tactic…

Multi-award winning London four-piece Empirical release the second part of...

Read More.....

Thrice is the charm for APA Cole Porter …

Say what you like about America (and I frequently do)...

Read More.....

Blue Note President Don Was To Receive P…

Don Was, the President of the iconic Blue Note Records...

Read More.....

Brad Mehldau finds Gabriel on Biblical n…

Revered US pianist Brad Mehldau is set to release his...

Read More.....

Tommy Smith and the SNJO dazzle with a m…

The world premiere of Norse Myths took place at Aberdeen...

Read More.....

David Sinclair 1935 – 2019

David Sinclair, one of the most insightful and affectionately-regarded photographers...

Read More.....

Kinch and Siegel lead the collective sto…

Ousted from its Colston Hall home by the builders, the...

Read More.....

Mark Nightingale's Big Band Go Large At …

  Trombonist Mark Nightingale is the most accommodating of virtuosi. He’ll...

Read More.....

Open letter leads protest at cuts to Rad…

Over 500 leading musicians from across the jazz, folk and...

Read More.....

Guinness Cork Jazz Festival director’s ‘…

The Irish jazz world has been shaken by the sudden...

Read More.....

George Coleman, Jimmy Owens and Frank Lo…

The Annual SAM Benefit concert will be held on 13 April...

Read More.....

Cécile McLorin Salvant, Makaya McCraven …

The first names have been unveiled for this year’s EFG...

Read More.....

Turville's Quintet Dare To Dream At Brig…

This is the last show in the tour and there’s...

Read More.....

Durrant At The Double With Duo Of Improv…

Phil Durrant and Martin Vishnick (pictured) launch, Rifinitori di Momenti, their forthcoming...

Read More.....

GoGo Penguin, SEED Ensemble and Marquis …

The wider jazz programme for this year’s Love Supreme Jazz...

Read More.....

Branford Marsalis Quartet Muster Technic…

  Bookended by a short opening solo piano set from Nikki...

Read More.....

Snarky Puppy announce Royal Albert Hall …

Grammy-winning powerhouse group Snarky Puppy are gearing up for a...

Read More.....

Waithe On Song At Huntley Conference

  Along with Allison & Busby and New Beacon, Bogle L’Ouverture...

Read More.....

Turquazz: Anatolian Jazz & Roots Fes…

The inaugural Turquazz: Anatolian Jazz & Roots Festival – a...

Read More.....

Saxophonist Seamus Blake launches new al…

Acclaimed saxophonist Seamus Blake releases his new album, Guardians of...

Read More.....

Taborn's Finessed Tapestry Of Textures F…

  The large number of musicians at this sold-out show says...

Read More.....

Abdullah Ibrahim, Gregory Porter, Yazz A…

The full line-up has been announced for Cheltenham Jazz Festival...

Read More.....

Irreversible Entanglements + Matana Robe…

  Matana Roberts (above) is so relaxed tonight her short opening set...

Read More.....

Jazz FM Awards nominations celebrate gia…

The names for the 2019 Jazz FM Awards were revealed...

Read More.....

Patchwork Jazz Orchestra premiere ‘Badge…

The London-based 17-piece Patchwork Jazz Orchestra are set to release...

Read More.....

NJYO, JCM, friends and family pay tribut…

As Jon Hiseman would say: “If you are going to...

Read More.....

Sons of Kemet, Moses Boyd, Nubya Garcia …

The programme has been announced the inaugural We Out Here...

Read More.....

NCO hit bullseye with CTI at Ronnie Scot…

Tomorrow’s Warriors’ role as a springboard for emerging talent in...

Read More.....

Countdown To Ecstasy: Royal Academy Big …

  There are some people, who I've never understood, who smirk...

Read More.....

Melt Yourself Down, Laura Mvula and Kama…

The second edition of Love Supreme at the Roundhouse takes...

Read More.....

Michel Legrand 24/02/1932 – 26/01/2019

The prolific French film composer and pianist Michel Legrand was...

Read More.....

Hamasyan In Inspired Orchestral Manoeuvr…

The Brussels Jazz Festival is a relative newcomer, but this...

Read More.....

Zara McFarlane and Soweto Kinch turn up …

The night goes on and they keep on coming, a...

Read More.....

Making The Cut Mpu 300x500px

Subcribe To Jazzwise

Advertisement

Call 0800 137201 to subscribe or click here to email the subscriptions team

Get in touch

Jazzwise Magazine,
St. Judes Church,
Dulwich Road, 
Herne Hill,
London, SE24 0PD.

0208 677 0012

Latest Tweets

RT @juderogers: News about our open letter to @bbcradio3 protesting the cuts to Late Junction, Jazz Now & Music Planet: soonafter my commen…
Follow Us - @Jazzwise
@erstrecs ah, no worries - I will wait patiently - if you could add me to your mailing list though that would be gr… https://t.co/T1GKBANsZL
Follow Us - @Jazzwise

Newsletter

© 2016 MA Business & Leisure Ltd registered in England and Wales number 02923699 Registered office: Jesses Farm, Snow Hill, Dinton, Salisbury, SP3 5HN . Designed By SE24 MEDIA