Another year-end list from Four on the Floor correspondent and CJSW radio host Tim Mah, this time featuring his top picks for Canadian Jazz releases of 2018.
Check out Tim Mah's radio show Jazz Today on CJSW 90.9 fm every Thursday morning from 530-7am and over at https://cjsw.com/program/jazz-today/ (also podcasted on iTunes!) and don't forget to read his previous guest column, a wonderful list of his picks for top overall Jazz albums for 2018.
And now, without any further adieu...
In recognition of next summer’s 40th edition of the Montreal International Jazz Festival, here’s a list of forty album recommendations (released between December 2017 and November 2018) from Canadian jazz artists (as a leader or co-leader):
1) Renee Rosnes “Beloved of the Sky”
Pianist Renee Rosnes followed up to her 2017 Juno Award winning album “Written on the Rocks” with the April 2018 album called “Beloved of the Sky”. The album title is borrowed from an Emily Carr painting. The musicians on the album include Chris Potter (tenor sax, soprano sax flute), Steve Nelson (vibraphone), Peter Washington (bass), and Lenny White (drums).
Below is “Scorned as Timber, Beloved of the Sky”:
2) Ingrid Jensen & Steve Treseler “Invisible Sounds: for Kenny Wheeler”
In October 2018, Ingrid Jensen and Steve Treseler released an album of their reinterpretations of the music of Kenny Wheeler. Personnel: Ingrid Jensen (trumpet and effects), Steve Treseler (tenor sax, clarinet/bass clarinet), Geoffrey Keezer (piano), Martin Wind (double bass), Jon Wikan (drums) and with special guests: Katie Jacobson (voice), Christine Jensen (soprano saxophone).
Below is a video of NPR’s live recording of “Foxy Trot”:
3) Renee Rosnes & David Hajdu “Ice on the Hudson”
Renee Rosnes released her second album this year in October, which included lyrics by David Hajdu and featured vocalists Rene Marie, Janis Siegel, Darius de Haas and Karen Oberlin. Personnel: Renee Rosnes (piano), Steve Wilson (alto & soprano sax), Seamus Blake (tenor sax), Ken Peplowski (clarinet), Erik Friedlander (cello), Sean Smith (bass), Carl Allen (drums), Rogerio Boccato (percussion).
“A Tiny Seed” featuring Rene Marie on vocals:
4) Ben Wendel “The Seasons”
In October 2018, Ben Wendel (Vancouver-born, raised in Los Angeles, now based in New York City) released his studio album adaptation of his YouTube video series “The Seasons.” Inspired by Tchaikovsky’s compositions, each track is dedicated to a specific month and artist, who has shaped Wendel's creative vision. Personnel: Ben Wendel (saxophone, bassoon, effects), Aaron Parks (piano), Gilad Hekselman (guitar), Matt Brewer (bass), Eric Harland (drums)
This is the video for the song “July” from “The Seasons”:
5) Kris Davis and Craig Taborn “Octopus”
Kris Davis (Vancouver-born, Calgary-raised and New York-based pianist) released a follow-up to her acclaimed 2016 album “Duopoly”, The January 2018 album “Octopus” features live recordings from three concerts during a 12-city U.S. tour, featuring Kris Davis and Craig Taborn.
Below is a concert video of “Octopus” in San Diego, California:
6) Jodi Proznick Quartet featuring Laila Biali “Sun Songs”
Released in December 2017, Vancouver bassist Jodi Proznick’s new album was inspired by two major life events (the birth of her son and the onset of her mother’s dementia). Personnel: Jodi Proznick (bass), Tilden Webb (piano), Steve Kaldestad (tenor saxophone), Jesse Cahill (drums) and Laila Biali (voice).
“Listen” from “Sun Songs”:
7) Quinsin Nachoff’s Flux “Path of Totality”
In November 2018, saxophonist Quinsin Nachoff’s new album was released in Canada (world-wide release in February 2019). The overarching inspiration of the album was the moon’s total eclipse of the sun in 2017. The musicians on the album included saxophonist David Binney, pianist/keyboardist Matt Mitchell, drummers Kenny Wollesen and Nate Wood, plus a number of guest artists.
Below is the title track “Path of Totality”:
8) Matthew Stevens and Walter Smith III “In Common”
Released in October 2018, “In Common” is an album co-led by Matthew Stevens (Toronto-born, New York-based) and Walter Smith III. Personnel: Walter Smith III (tenor saxophone), Matthew Stevens (guitar), Joel Ross (vibraphone), Harish Raghavan (double bass), Marcus Gilmore (drums)
“ACE” from the album “In Common”:
9) Allison Au Quartet “Wander Wonder”
The Allison Au Quartet recorded this album (released in November 2018) after completing a cross-Canada tour during the 2018 summer jazz festival season.
Personnel: Allison Au (alto saxophone), Todd Pentney (piano, Prophet Rev2), Jon Maharaj (bass, electric bass), Fabio Ragnelli (drums)
“The Rest is Up to You” from “Wander Wonder”:
10) Elizabeth Shepherd “Montreal”
In November 2018, Elizabeth Shepherd released her new album, “Montreal.” The songs were inspired by stories she gathered from countless interviews with strangers in Montreal over a four-year period. The project also includes a book, visual album and vinyl, which will be released in February 2019. Personnel: Elizabeth Shepherd (voice, keyboards / piano / samples / percussion), Francois Jalbert (guitar), Remi-Jean LeBlanc (bass), Mark Nelson and Rich Irwin (drums), Jacques Kuba-Seguin and Andy King (trumpet)
“Suits and Ties” from the album “Montreal”:
And don't forget to check out these other outstanding Canadian Jazz releases as well, as selected by Four on the Floor correspondent Tim Mah:
Larnell Lewis “In the Moment”
Ernesto Cervini’s Turboprop “Abundance”
Adrean Farrugia & Joel Frahm “Blued Dharma”
Peripheral Vision “More Songs About Error and Shame”
Anthony Fung “Flashpoint”
No Codes “No Codes”
Samuel Blais “Equilibrium”
Bryn Roberts and Lage Lund “Hide the Moon and the Stars”
Stephanie Richards “Fullmoon”
Amy Cervini “No One Ever Tells You”
Ethan Ardelli Quartet “The Island of Form”
Robi Botos “Old Soul”
Aaron Shragge & Ben Monder “This World of Dew”
Peggy Lee “Echo Painting”
Way North “Fearless and Kind”
Sandro Dominelli “Here and Now (feat. Chris Tarry & Rez Abbasi)”
Remi-Jean Leblanc “Deductions”
Solon McDade "Murals"
Montuno West “Tocar Tambor”
Sanah Kadoura “Hawk Eyes”
Alex Lefaivre Quartet “YUL”
Josh Rager “Dreams and Other Stories”
Jeff LaRochelle “Lenses Extend”
Brodie West Quintet “Clips”
Jen Hodge All-Stars “All’s Fair in Love and Jazz”
Matt Dusk “JetSetJazz”
Barbra Lica “You’re Fine”
Laila Biali “Laila Biali”
Mark Godfrey “Prologue”
Sam Kirmayer “High And Low”