One complaint about year-end, best-of lists is that they have an arbitrary cut-off and miss subsequent release. That of course is true, but there’s got to be a line somewhere, or else the work never gets done.
There’s the record that’s not a new Ornette Coleman, per se, but a new recording in which Ornette is a major player. That’s got to be on some kind of list.
As I was making my lists, more records came out. Once I got around to listening to them it was easy to hear the excellence. So consider this also some of the best of the year—especially the Boston Modern Orchestra Project recording of Andrew Norman’s Play, which, with it’s incredible vibrancy, restlessness and embrace of chaos inside structure, is restoring my faith there are young composers who want to unsettle and excite, not just soothe. The D’Angelo record I have mixed feelings about, but I think that repeated listening will help it come out from under the hype, and also help it sound more natural, because the first few listeners have left me feeling that it was made out of an assembly of obligatory parts. Listen via Rdio or Spotify, and please consider a modest donation to support this site, especially if you find some pleasing new music through this post:
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