Best of 2021, Part Three

Air Date: 1/23/2022

Doing these 'best of' shows is a great exercise. I'm looking at a big collection of all the CDs released in 2021 that we received, and I listened to just about all of it, nearly every track, during the last few weeks. I must say that during this time I heard some tracks that I missed during the year.

Guitarist Royce Campbell opens up Contemplative Hour with his signature sound, very sweet and engaging. Rodney Whitaker's New Sunday goes in its own, quite interesting, direction, and then Stacey Kent brings us home, as always.  Closing down the first set, Pat Coil is such a nice surprise in his piano trio.

Art Hirahara is a busy keyboardist, appearing as sideman on several releases during the year, in addition to his own release which kicks off the second set. The next track, from baritone saxophonist David Larsen, will make you feel like you have many possibilities ahead. Bassist Dave Zinno's ballad Beatriz is up next, and it is quite beautiful, filled with emotion. Pianist Rossano Sportiello closes us down with a sweet melody that morphs into full scale stride.

The final set showcases two artists who are doing a little subgenre-switching: Greg Karukas and Russell Ferrante. Both are keyboardists, and both are more typically found on a smooth jazz recording. Here, however, we have all acoustic material. Mr. Karukas' solo piano blends nicely into Alan Broadbent's accompaniment of vocalist Georgia Mancio from their 2021 collaboration Quiet is the Star, with a song written by Mr. Broadbent. Another vocalist, Lauren Henderson, ends the hour with a thoughtful track from her CD Musa.

Hour Two

The second hour opens with drummer Joe Farnsworth's 2021 effort, City Of Sounds. With Kenny Barron on piano and Peter Washington on bass, this is a classic piano trio, beautifully recorded. Their version of Moonlight in Vermont is perfection.

Then something happens. You hear a driving solo bass pulse, from the fingers of Ron Carter, followed eventually by a kind of mellow but funky riff on the Fender Rhodes, as we explore a track from Nicholas Peyton's Smoke Sessions. Peyton appears on both keyboard and trumpet. The next track, from trumpeter Terence Blanchard, pays tribute to Wayne Shorter, and perhaps to the Miles Davis Quintet that first played Mr. Shorter's original Fall.

The next set opens with an easy swing from the piano trio of Dave Bass, perfect for Sunday morning. Following that we have a haunting version from Denise Donatelli of Bacharach and Daniel Tashian's Whistling in the Dark. Pianist Falkner Evans plays a warm melody, then we hear the very modern sound of drummer Brennen Shedler's Quartet.

Chiara Civello's latest CD Chansons is featured in the next set, with a ballad-like version of The Good Life. The set opens with a very beautiful solo piano work by Marcos Ariel, and it ends with tracks from  drummer Phil Parisot and guitarist Alex Martin.

And there ends the best of 2021. 

I hope you have enjoyed this series The Best Jazz of 2021. I have certainly enjoyed putting it together. I would have to say that - jazzwise, at least - 2021 was a very good year.




HOUR ONE: Contemplative Morning, Best of 2021

Royce Campbell-Cool School 2021-06 Sometime Thing
Rodney Whitaker-Outrospection- The Music of Gregg Hill 2021-02 New Sunday
Stacey Kent-Songs From Other Places 2021-10 Landslide
Pat Coil-How Deep is the Ocean 2021-10 Cause We've Ended as Lovers
Art Hirahara\Open Sky 2021\Nightfall
David Larsen-Deviate From Standards 2021-04 Family
Dave Zinno Unisphere-Fetish 2021-06 Beatriz
Rossano Sportiello-That's It!-11 Nonno Bob's Delight-2021
Gregg Karukas\Serenata 2021\Long Ago
Georgia Mancio & Alan Broadbent\Quiet Is The Star 2021\If I Think of You
Russell Ferrante Trio-Inflexion-06 Inflexion A-2021
Lauren Henderson-Musa 2021-09 The Sweetest Sounds (Featuring Paco Soto, Sullivan Fortner, Eric Wheeler & Joe Dyson)

HOUR TWO: New For You, Best of 2021

Joe Farnsworth-City Of Sounds 2021-05 Moonlight In Vermont
Nicholas Payton-Smoke Sessions 2021-03 Levin's Lope
Terence Blanchard-Absence 2021-03 Fall
Dave Bass\The Trio Vol. 1 2021\Lately
Denise Donatelli-Whistling In The Dark- The Music Of Burt Bacharach 2021-01 Whistling In The Dark
Falkner Evans-Invisible Words 2021-08 Invisible Words For Linda
Brennen Schedler Quartet-Keep Steppin' Down 2021-02 3AM Breeze
Marcos Ariel\Piano Blossoms 2021\Passionflower
Chiara Civello\Chansons 2021\The Good Life
Phil Parisot\Inventions 2021\Noble Calling
Alex Martin\Folk Songs, Jazz Journeys 2021\11 Estamos Aqui Para Colaborar

HOUR THREE: Brazil/World

Martin Wind\My Astorian Queen 2021\05_E Preciso Perduar
Mafalda Minnozzi\Sensorial 2020\Desafinado
Simon Moullier feat. Luca Alemanno & Jongkuk Kim-Countdown 2021-04 Goodbye Pork Pie Hat
Stacey Kent-Songs From Other Places 2021-09 Imagina
Antonio Carlos Jobim-Composer of Desafinado Plays 1997-06 Insensatez
Rosana Eckert\Brasuka - A Vida Com Paixao 2021\A Vida Com Paixao
Lauren Henderson-Musa 2021-06 Luz (Featuring Sullivan Fortner, Eric Wheeler & Joe Dyson)
Ray Obiedo\Latin Jazz Project Vol 2 2021\Viva Tirado
Lima-Johannes Tonio Kreusch\Manisero 2021\Danza Criolla 1
Brian Simpson-Something About You-02 Morning Samba 2018
Mafalda Minnozzi\Sensorial 2020\E Preciso Perdoar (intro Lonnie's Lament)
Antonio Adolfo\Jobim Forever 2021\09 Estrada do Sol
Hendrik Meurkens-Harmonicus Rex-04 Afternoon 2016

HOUR FOUR: Groove, Baby

Vincent Ingala\Fire And Desire 2021\Hipnotic State
Matthew Whitaker-Connections 2021-04 Spain
Nicole Henry\TIME TO LOVE AGAIN. 2021\Your Smiling Face
Jared Hall\Seen on the Scene 2021\Coral Way
Brian Simpson-Unified-08 Celestial Body 2020
Nnenna Freelon\Time Traveler 2021\Marvin Medley
Pieces of a Dream\Fired Up 2021\02 - Ear Candy
Randy Napoleon\Rust Belt Roots 2021\ Wes Like
Phillip Bailey-Soul On Jazz-05 Bop-Skip-Doodle 2002
Phil Perry-Breathless-04-Love's In Need of Love Today
Rosana Eckert-Sailing Home-11 Meant for Me 2019
Ray Obiedo-Carousel-09 Sunset 2019


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