Top Ten (So Far)

I don’t love making those year-end top 10 lists (for more on why, look here).
But I got my first of what will be several requests, and here’s what I came up with. (And note: the Coltrane CD, which was of course recorded decades ago as a bootleg but never before commercially released, is tenth only because it’s of an earlier time—yet it also demanded inclusion.)
I’m sure my thoughts on this will change, as they always do, by year’s end.
Brandon Ross/ Stomu Takeishi Revealing Essence (Sunnyside)
Guitarist Brandon Ross fascinates for many reasons, including the humility he exudes in both meditative and frenzied musical moments. He’s been a key player in bands led by Henry Threadgill and Cassandra Wilson and the singularly wonderful collaborative trio, Harriet Tubman. Ross introduced electric bassist Stomu Takeishi to Threadgill, in whose Make a Move band they worked together. Here, it’s mostly meditative and all about texture, warmth and sonic possibility, with rhythms that speak of Threadgill used more as a through-line than a frame. Other albums this year may exert greater influence or even better stand time’s test, but this is the one I’ve returned to the most.
Yosvany Terry New Throned King (5Passion)
Arturo O’Farrill & The Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra The Offense of the Drum (Motéma)
Matthew Shipp Trio Root of Things (Relative Pitch)
Charles Lloyd Manhattan Stories (Resonance Records)
Henry Butler-Steven Bernstein & the Hot 9 Viper’s Drag (Impulse)
Ambrose Akinmusire The Imagined Savior Is Far Easier to Paint (Blue Note)
Fred Hersch Trio Floating (Palmetto)
Danilo Pérez Panama 500 (Mack Avenue)
John Coltrane Offering: Live at Temple University (Impulse/Resonance)

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