If not early enough for some editors … One of the polls I take part in an annual one for the Spanish site El Intruso, and since it covers a cross-genre range of creative music it’s one of my favorites (and also since it is made up of a pretty tiny pool of critics, my oddball choices have greater weight). The poll will be published early next month, but here’s the ballot I sent in, with brief annotations. Everything on here is highly recommended for your listening and collecting pleasure:
Group of the year – Tin Hat; their disc of e.e. cummings songs was the finest release of any kind in 2012.
Newcomer group – Maya Dunietz/John Edwards/Steve Noble trio; their Cousin It is outstanding improvisational music.
Album of the year – Tin Hat; the rain is a handsome animal
Composer – Elliott Sharp
Bass – John Hebert, the finest and most consistent ensemble partner I heard all year
Guitar – Shane Perlowin, of Ahleuchatistas
Keyboards/synthesizer/organ – Sean Wayland; just listen to this
Saxophone – Hafezh Modirzadeh, breaking new ground with Post-Chromodal Out
Trumpet/Cornet – Nate Wooley; seemingly on every creative recording of 2012
Clarinet – Ben Goldberg, great playing with Tin Hat, looking forward to his upcoming releases
Trombone – Jacob Garchik
Violin/Viola – Carla Khilstedt
Cello – Mariel Roberts
Vibraphone – Jason Adasiewicz; the Nate Wooley of the vibes
Female vocals – Christine Correa
Male Vocals – Kurt Elling, this holds true pretty much every year he puts out a record, and 1619 Broadway is one of his best.
Best live band – Henry Threadgill’s Zooid
Record Label – Clean Feed, unsurpassed quality, unbelievable quantity