End of year lists, everybody has one. I don't have "bests", I just haven't heard enough, only favorites. I talked about quite a few of these on the blog in the past- links beefed up 1/14, more commentary to come.
Favorites of 2006:
Jennifer Kimball "Oh Hear Us" Jennifer's solo outings have been too few and far between. I blogged about it when it was released, and on many listenings I only like it more.
John Hollenbeck et al ""Joys and desires"" The best large jazz ensemble album I heard this year. John's style of writing is like nothing else I've heard. The suite that is the centerpiece of the album is really something, formally, vocally, energetically.
Dave Douglas ""Meaning and Mystery"" The best album so far from Dave's quintet, I think. There's a comfort level with the material absent from the first two, and the interplay that has been evident for some time in live hits is more obvious here. And "Blues for Steve Lacy" is my favorite new jazz tune in several years, a great composition.
Dominique Eade and Jed Wilson "Open" Mostly overlooked outside Boston, this a beautiful marraige of jazz singer and pop singer-songwriter esthetics. Clean, clear, unpretentions music from two great musicians.
Crooked Still ""Shaken by a Low Sound""
Ornette Coleman "Sound Grammar" Can we pray for a studio album this year? Please?
Prince "3121" Not his best, but I think better than "Musicology". Which is better than most artists can hope for in a career.
Gnarls Barkley "Gnarles Barkley" This album has been so well hyped that I can't say anything that hasn't already been said. I love "Feng Shui".
Keith Jarrett "The Carnegie Hall Concert" This time last year I got "Radiance", and thought it a beautiful departure. This one blows it out of the water. The best solo Keith I've ever heard. His decision in the past few years not just to blow headlong through a set, but stop and let there be shorter pieces yields more coherent results, which occasionally even resemble tunes. I can only imagine the energy in the room- just the recording fires up a room. (But ECM, do we really need 2 minutes of applause on every track? Please!) Interestingly (to me at least), I find myself listening to the second disc a lot more than the first, and not jsut for the encores. But I digress- this is badassed. Is it too much to hope for a quintet record from Keith in '07, as was famously planned before he got so sick? It wouldn't have to be the band planned at that time (in '97, I heard from DeJohnette among others that they had studio time set up for a record of the standard trio plus Lovano and Tom Harrell, playing new original music) It could be with five chimps for all I care- it would be beyond fascinating.
Car Songs (I won't change the station until it's over, and I have a hyper finger in the car. Probably wouldn't seek them out, except for "Crazy", in another context)
KT Tunstall "Suddenly I See"
Ray Lamontagne "Three More Days"
Gomez "See the World"
Gnarles Barkley "Crazy"
Note the lack of hip-hop. I liked The Roots' Game Theory, especially the single "Long Time" (should've been a radio hit), but I thought the album was inconsistent, and took to long to get going. I liked Tipping Point more, though no one single was as strong as "Long Time". (I have a totally opposite view than Mwanji. In general, I love his list) And I still haven't heard the late entry, Nas' "Hip-Hop is Dead" In general, though year for hip-hop on the radio in my book.
Change the station songs
"SexyBack" Justin Timberlake. I liked the last record's singles. I hate this one.
Anything by a Creed sound-alike. (There are three or so right now. I never hang around for their names.)
Destination Out. Can't say enough nice things about it.
Ear of the Behearer. Mind you, I'm biased.
Happy New Year, everybody!