Dusted Magazine – Best of 2016

2016: Bottle Up & Go – Derek Taylor

Combing over earlier Year End entries going back to 2003, the elevation of music as a means of existential affirmation and assaugement presented itself as probably the most persistent theme. No matter what manner of adversity or affront existence hobbles us with music is always there as a steadfast reminder of what’s estimable and redeeming about the human condition.

This was a year that blew bileful chunks all over our collective consciousness with a regularity that outpaced any I can readily recall. The frequency between outrages fluctuated between weeks and days (sometimes even hours if one was paying close enough attention) culminating in the outcome of a political election that left me gobsmacked with a numbing compound of grief, anger and incredulity. Music’s place as an insulating pillar of positivity in my life was tested as never before.

The albums and collections below are ones released over the calendar that did the most to shore up cracks and fissures in my edifice of optimism. November 8th was an alarm clock of resounding proportions and I will be relying on these sounds and innumerable others as aids in the task of remaining woke in its aftermath, stomaching the frontal lobotomy that is our incoming political leadership with a stiff bottle in front of me.

Wadada Leo Smith – America’s National Parks (Cuneiform)
Evan Parker – As the Wind (Psi)
Barry Guy – The Blue Shroud (Intakt)
BassDrumBone – The Long Road (Auricle)
Joe McPhee – Flowers (Cipsela)
Avishai Cohen – Into the Silence (ECM)

Stirrup – Cut (Clean Feed)
An unapologetic rock-canted record sheathed in the leathery, scaly skin of an improv one, Fred Lonberg-Holm’s power trio pulled off one of the most purely satisfying efforts I heard this year. Doubling on amplified guitar alongside his usual coruscating cello L-H did a credible job channeling his inner-Sonny Sharrock with ribbons of abrasive feedback coiling around the pounding retorts of more-than-game partners Nick Macri and Charles Rumback. Niceties and decorum are for suckers. Shout outs also to John Lindberg’s pair of releases.

Tom Harrell – Something Gold, Something Blue (HighNote)
Peter Kuhn – The Other Shore (No Business)
Ellery Eskelin – Willisau Live (hatOLOGY)
William Hooker – Light: The Early Years, 1975-1989 (No Business)
TEST – Always Coming From the Love Side (Eremite)
Albert & Emil Mangelsdorff – Early Discoveries (SWR Jazz Haus/Naxos)
Xanadu Reissues
Art Pepper & Warne Marsh – Unreleased Art Volume 9: At Donte’s April 26, 1974 (Widow’s Taste)
Sun Ra – Singles (Strut/Art Yard)
Jimmy Giuffre 3 – Bremen & Stuttgart 1961 (Emanem)
Lee Konitz & Charlie Haden – Sweet & Lovely (King)/Lee Konitz & Kenny Wheeler – Olden Times (Double Moon)
Bob Mould – Patch the Sky (Merge)
Bobo Yeye (Numero Group)
Hailu Mergia – Wede Harer Guzo (Awesome Tapes from Africa)
V/A – Soul Sok Sega: Sounds From Mauritius 1973-1979 (Strut)
The Aggrovators – Dubbing at King Tubby’s (VP)
Kalan Arsiv Serisi
McCabe & Mrs. Miller (Criterion)

And 20 more from the jazz/improv end for good measure.

Mark Dresser Seven – Sedimental You (Clean Feed)
Hadley Caliman – Projecting & Celebration: The Catalyst Years (Fresh Sound)
Whit Dickey/Kirk Knuffke – Fierce Silence (Clean Feed)
Joe McPhee & Andre Jaume – Nuclear Family (Corbett vs. Dempsey)
Kirk Knuffke & Michael Bisio – Row for William O (Relative Pitch)
JD Allen – Americana: Musings on Jazz and Blues (Savant)
Barry Guy/Marilyn Crispell/Paul Lytton – Deep Memory (Intakt)
Michael Formanek Collossus – The Distance (ECM)
Cherry/Tchicai/Schweizer/Francioli/Favre – Musical Monsters (Intakt)
Peter Brendler – Message in Motion (Positone)
Thumbscrew – Convallaria (Cuneiform)
Andrew Cyrille & Bill McHenry – Proximity (Sunnyside)
Tyshawn Sorey – The Inner Spectrum of Variables (Pi)
Ingrid Laubrock & Tom Rainey – Buoyancy (Relative Pitch)
Kirk Knuffke & Jesse Stacken – Satie (Steeplechase)
Albert Ayler – European Radio Studio Recordings 1964 (hatOLOGY)
Larry Young – In Paris: The ORTF Recordings (Resonance)
Oscar Pettiford & Jan Johansson – In Denmark 1959-1960 (Stunt)
Keefe Jackson & Jason Adasciewicz – Rows & Rows (Delmark)
Brian Groder – R Train on the D Line (Latham)


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