One major reason why I so enjoy this time at the end of the year is not only to reassess what this past year has looked like musically, not only to be able to look at a multitude of truly great works from great artists and say stuff like "oh, wow, Darcy James Argue gave us another album this year" or "hey, Wayne Shorter came back to Blue Note" and "how do David Weiss and Point of Departure not have a single YouTube video?" (sorry in advance), but also to look back and what this publication as a whole likes and how that reflects on our collective voice. Last week, when I posted my own favorites lists, I leaned pretty hard on the honorable mentions and some other choices that ultimately didn't make my list at all but I still wanted people to know about the great albums that were released this year that I just didn't have it in my to write. Thankfully, this staff could fill in some of the cracks that I as an individual show.
I spent quite a while looking through our staff list to find some sort of theme for the music we liked this year, but try as I might, there was nothing I could say. There was no overarching, coalessing word I could lasso around these albums other than what we could probably say about the rest of the albums we're discussing this week, or this time of year, or what we hope to do on this site other than "excellent".
Pianist Ruslan Sirota has no fear of going pop, he's been touring with Josh Groban for months now and has friends of all musical sorts in all walks of life. To celebrate the holidays, Ruslan made a video performing the John Lennon song, "Happy Christmas", with the help of John Francis, Dilana, Charles Jones, Natasha Agrama, Trevor Wesley, and Nikko Allen. Watch the video and get festive after the jump.
The Everything Else lists don't get nearly as much web traffic as our jazz lists do. Of course, this makes sense-- this is a jazz and fringe jazz website. People visit this site to learn about what's going on in this specific genre. Talking about music that doesn't fit in this genre is a move outside of the format and purview of Nextbop, and eventually of The Art of Cool Project as well. However, we continue with this look at all the other kinds of music we love because we as a staff have tastes broader than jazz and many of the musicians and folks we love and follow have tastes broader than this one genre as well. We are large, we contain multitudes, and occasionally we take those multitudes and put them together in list format.
This week's show is all selections from my favorite jazz albums of 2013. I'm not sure what more I could say on top of the legions of lists I spent the last week writing (before this week of even more lists and this Friday's show reflecting said lists of the whole staff), but I'm going to try. Otherwise, here is a one hour radio version of the personal list of favorites I put together last week.
The Line-Up for 13 December 2013