May 18, 2024

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The best jazz albums of 2022

The best jazz albums of 2022

At the end of the seventh album on this list (no spoilers), poet and philosopher Thomas Stanley’s voice soars above the clatter of drums and saxophone, offering a fiercely optimistic view of the state of jazz. “In the end, maybe it would be a good idea for people to give up on jazz, and replace it with musical products more suited to the designs of capitalism,” he says. “Now jazz is leaping like Lazarus, if we allow it, to reinvent itself as live music.”

Jazz sure jumps – though Not always where you would expect it to beAnd certainly not in any predictable way. Some of the artists below wouldn’t call the music they make jazz at all. We probably don’t need that either. Let’s just call these albums what they were, each in their own way: breakthroughs, daring experiments and – despite everything around us – reasons for hope.

Mostly known as a brilliant interpreter of 20th century songs, Cecil McLaurin Salvant He’s never made an album as heavy on original tunes, nor as stylistically adventurous as this one. Her voice soars above the pipe organ at Andrew Lloyd Webber level one moment, and settles warmly into a mix featuring banjo, flute and percussion the next.

It’s a shame that hearing the voice of poet and theorist Fred Moten is a rare thrill. On “Moten/López/Claver,” his debut LP accompanied by the quiet, rolling drums of Gerald Cleaver and the darkly inky bass of Brandon Lopez, Moten seeks to achieve nothing less than a full-fledged interrogation of the ways in which systems of black-mined knowledge have been stripped and discarded, Yet it grew again.

The world of creative music is still recovering from a loss Al Jimi Brancha game-changing trumpet player who died August 39. “Pink Dolphins” is the second album from Anteloper, the electro-acoustic duo with drummer Jason Nazary, and shows what Branch was all about: an unsanitized, salt-of-the-earth-filled sound with a generous soul.

Whether foraging in dark corners of dissonance at the lower end of a keyboard or stringing together the rhythm of a court dance in scattershot improvisations, pianist David Ferrelles pays attention to detail on every level. He’s clearly listening to his peers: Matt Mitchell, Jason Moran, and Chris Davis. He draws from modernity and its disaffected: Morton Feldman, Olivier Messiaen, Thelonious Monk. It draws heavily from Cuban folk traditions: Changui, Abakuá, Danzon. And on “Nuna”, his first solo piano recording, he spreads that across all 88 keys.

With “Jazz Codes” the electronic poet and artist Kamai Iowa She declares her love for the Jazz strain, and registers some concerns. In “Woody Show”, over Melanie Charles’s hypnotic vocals, Iowa laments that this music has fallen into white institutions. On Barely Woke, she turns her attention to culture as a whole: “If only we could wake up more urgently/Emergency/But I hardly ever woke up.”

Powerful avant-garde pianist Angelica Sanchez leads a new all-star trio here, with guitarist Michael Furmanek and drummer Billy Hart letting melodies explode in her hand and closing in — closely but not too tightly — with Hart’s drums.

Makaya McRaven, a Chicago-based drummer and producer, has spent years recording, splicing together and bringing to life the tracks that appear on “In These Times”. Mixing crisply cut ukulele, pulsating guitar, piercing bass lines, trumpets, drums and more, he paints an often encapsulated sound picture not far from a classic David Axelrod production, or a 1970s Curtis Mayfield album without the vocal track.

One piece of a larger multimedia work, the original songs on “Sadness” stem from over 100 interviews by the pianist, singer, and activist Samora Benderhouse Conducted with people whose lives have been affected by the criminal justice system. Blending gospel harmonies, post-hip-hop instrumentals, and wounded ballads, the music shivers with anger and vision.