Best of 2020, Part 1

Air Date: 1/3/2021

There are a number of ways to present a 'best of' show. I only came to this conclusion after starting with the expectation that I'd do it the traditional way. You know - 'best male vocalist,' 'best big band,' 'best harmonica player,' and so on. (Well, maybe not the last one. 😉)

So after a bit of thought, and realizing that I would be omitting a ton of great material if I did that, I came upon the correct way to do this: just play all of the best material that was released in 2020. Yup, all of it! 
That's because there was a ton of great music in 2020, an otherwise rather dreary year. In fact, the jazz released in 2020 is a true bright spot that we can all cherish.
When I started putting the show together for you, I figured one four-hour show should serve. But I quickly learned that no way would all this great music fit into one show. This became clear even as I implemented a rule (with a couple of exceptions) that each artist would have only one entry. 
Therefore, on January 3 you'll get a chance to listen to Part 1, with Part 2 to follow on January 10. As I write this I am considering whether I will need a Part 3.
One last thing to mention before getting to the music. I know I didn't get to hear all the releases in 2020, and I am sure that I missed some good ones. I hereby apologize for any great releases that I missed. And a corollary to that: a sizeable chunk of new material came to me only at the very end of the year, and so you'll hear some material that either didn't get played or had only one or two spins. But that's a good thing - it will be new for both of us!

Some Familiar Names, Some New Ones

When you look at the playlist below, you'll see many familiar names, either just because you already knew the artist, or you learned about the artist from listening to the Sunday Jazz Brunch. Since I have written about the familiar artists in previous blog entries, I won't say much more here about them.
The new names represent some exciting music.
For example, although I am familiar with bassist Drew Gress, new to me are drummer Phil Haynes and pianist Steve Rudolph, and I like their piano trio very much. Same for vocalist Kenny Washington, who I am embarrassed to admit I had not heard before. Also on this list would be pianist George Kahn with his quartet, whose new CD DreamCatcher is a real treat. John DiMartino does very well playing the music of Billy Strayhorn, featuring Eric Alexander on his 2020 release Passion Flower. La Tanya Hall is a fine vocalist who gets some airtime here. 
Another new ensemble is the Uptown Jazz Tentet. If I had done the show differently, these guys would certainly win 'best tentet!'

Some other new artists for 2020 include vocalist Nina Ernst, Jim Waller and his Big Band, and Dutch vocalist Fleurine, who released a sparkling Brazilian CD. During groove hour we'll get to hear the latest release from guitarist Chris Standring, which came to us right at the end of the year. 
Another CD that came in at the very end of the year is Andrew Neu's Catwalk. The saxophonist switched gears for this release, which features a talent-laden big band. Check out his very interesting version of Body and Soul. More from this CD to come!
It has been a really good exercise to do a show of all new music. Not one tune is older than 2020! I love that. It means lots of artists get exposure. Besides playing great music during the 'four shows in one,' I feel I have an obligation to the living artists to make sure their work gets heard - only the best, of course. Because I'll only play the best for you.
Have a great New Year's. Cheers!

HOUR ONE: Contemplative Morning

  1. Phil Haynes-Daydream-06 Last Lullaby-2020
  2. Hendrik Meurkens Manhattan Samba - Bonita - 2020
  3. Paulette McWilliams\A Woman's Story\Ruby 2020
  4. Jeff Ellwood talks about the title track on The Sounds Around The House
  5. Jeff Ellwood\The Sounds Around The House\The Sounds Around The House 2020
  6. Gregory Porter-All Rise-09 Modern Day Apprentice-2020
  7. Francesco Cataldo\Giulia\09 Two Ways (Reprise,F.Cataldo piano trio) 2020
  8. Bill Cunliffe Trio-Sunrise Over Molokai-10 Tereza My Love 2019
  9. Silvio Amato\Variations of Relevance\01 Between The Clouds 2020
  10. Lori Bell,Ron Satterfield-Close Your Eyes James Taylor Reimagined-03 Gorilla-2020
  11. Jeremy Pelt-The Art Of Intimacy, Vol. 1-04 I've Just Seen Her-2020
  12. Sinne Eeg & The Danish Radio Big Band-We've Just Begun-06 My Favorite Things-2020

HOUR TWO: New and Newer, Plus

  1. Andrew Neu\Catwalk\Body and Soul - 2020
  2. Lee Ritenour-dreamcatcher-11 storyteller-2020
  3. Kenny Washington-What's the Hurry-01 The Best is Yet to Come-2020
  4. George Kahn Quartet-DreamCatcher-10 EVA-2020
  5. Uptown Jazz Tentet-What's Next-02 What's Next-2020
  6. Brandi Disterheft\Surfboard\06 Manhattan Moon 2020
  7. John Dimartino-Passion Flower-04 Star-Crossed Lovers (Pretty Girl)-2020
  8. La Tanya Hall\Say Yes\09 Well You Needn't 2020
  9. Lauren Henderson-The Songbook Session-02 Day by Day-2020
  10. Alan Broadbent Trio-Trio In Motion-01 Wonder Why-2020
  11. Tom Ranier\This Way\03 This Way 2020
  12. Kandace Springs-The Women Who Raised Me-10 What Are You Doing the Rest Of Your Life-2020

HOUR THREE: Brazil/World

  1. Dan Costa\Live in California\Barquinho 2020
  2. Josie Falbo\You Must Believe in Spring\13 Tristeza 2020
  3. Eddie Daniels-Night Kisses-02 Pano de Fundo-2020
  4. Antonio Adolfo-Bruma-Celebrating Milton Nascimento-9 Tristesse 2020
  5. Fleurine-Brazilian Dream Blooms-01 Sparkling Gemstone-2020
  6. Nina Ernst\A Diva's Mind\09_Mambo Italiano 2020
  7. Jim Waller\Bucket List\01 Samba For Suzell 2020
  8. Al Daniels\Brasiliana\03 Samba Picante 2020
  9. Miguel De Leon\Malandro\12 My Brother, My Friend 2020
  10. Vanderlei Pereira\Vision for Rhythm\02 - Ponto de Partida 2020
  11. Otmaro Ruiz, Bruno Mangueira\EssĂȘncia\07 O Escultor De Sons 2020
  12. Chico Pinheiro\City Of Dreams\07 Encantado 2020

HOUR FOUR: Groove, Baby

  1. Walter Beasley-In the Groove-07 Free-2020 (re-release from 2010)
  2. Chris Standring\Real Life\01-is-there-a-doctor-M 2020
  3. Justin Lee Schultz - Gruv Kid- Gruv Kid 2020
  4. Jazz In Pink featuring Gail Jhonson -  Positivity -  featuring Kim Scott 2020
  5. Kim Waters - Shakedown - Feels Like Friday Night 2020
  6. Gregory Porter-All Rise-09 Phoenix-2020
  7. Norman Brown\Heart To Heart\02 She's Mine 2020
  8. Euge Groove\Sing My Song\09 Of Course 2020
  9. Thom Rotella_Street Talk (single) 2020
  10. Joyce Cooling\Living Out Loud\Marina's Dream 2020
  11. Lindsey Webster - A Woman Like Me - Feels Like Forever 2020
  12. Chris Standring\Real Life\01-is-there-a-doctor-M 2020



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