This year we present the Happy New Ears award as a collaboration of the blog’s writers and you, our readers, choices. The blog nominated five albums, and after reader’s nomination, added five more. The only rule was that the album was reviewed on the blog this year (which means some important albums missed this list, unfortunately).
We are pleased to announce the readers choice Happy New Ears 2016 Album of the Year, and wish everyone another exciting year of music in 2017!
-Wadada Leo Smith – America’s National Parks (Cuneiform) 18.3%
Wadada Leo Smith and his Golden Quintet continue on their ambitious path to bring us new music that is both innovative and accessible. It is as grand and epic as his large ensembles of the past year, but because of the quintet’s more human or intimate setting, the feelings, the vision and the individual quality of the musicians make the result even stronger. Regardless of the excellent work of the past few years … the best of both the Golden Quartet and the “classical” works converge in this phenomenal album. Wadada Leo Smith brings modern music to a completely new level.
-Pascal Niggenkemper – Talking Trash (Clean Feed) 15.8%
-Fire! – She Sleeps, She Sleeps (Rune Grammofon) 14.3%
-Peter Evans – Genesis (More is More) 11.7%
-Mary Halvorson Octet – Away With You (Firehouse 12) 10.3%
-Anna Högberg Attack – Self-Titled (Omlott) 7%
-Vijay Iyer, Wadada Leo Smith – A Cosmic Rhythm With Each Stroke (ECM) 7%
-Ingrid Laubrock – Serpentines (Intakt) 5.5%
-Henry Threadgill – Old Locks and Irregular Verbs (Pi Recordings) 5.1%
-Tyshawn Sorey – Inner Spectrum of Variables (Pi Recordings) 5.1%