Rudresh Mahanthappa

Jazz: Semi-Top 10 For 2011

… I’m excited over what has been a bounty of new jazz, new play­ing, new think­ing, not only through this year but over the past few years. Aes­thet­i­cally, the music is as strong and vital as its ever been, and the music is also explor­ing its own his­tory in ways that are excit­ing, because there’s much more to jazz than Bird, Elling­ton and ‘60s era Blue Note. Lists aren’t the best way to han­dle this, but they are not ter­ri­ble and the prac­ti­cal con­sid­er­a­tion, at least for me, is that they help me craft some, hope­ful, coher­ence out of my usual con­fu­sion and fatigue. And so, in no par­tic­u­lar order (except what iTunes con­sid­ers alpha­bet­i­cal) are the 10 best 2011 jazz releases for the first half of 2011:

Power Hitters

Over at A Blog Supreme, Patrick Jaren­wat­tananon posts cor­re­spon­dence with a reader who has strong feel­ings on what jazz is and is not. The guy has a hard-on for jazz, and that pleases me, although, like Patrick, my def­i­n­i­tion of jazz is eas­ily more expan­sive yet just as rig­or­ous. Using the correspondent’s exam­ples, we agree(…)