As usual I have trouble confining my annual “Best of the year” list to the traditional ten and have thus weaseled my way around the issue by adding a few vocal releases and reissues. Your sympathetic tolerance is appreciated. Our hungry ears were substantially rewarded through the year with these fine recordings:
Frank Basile – Modern Inventions – independent through CD Baby - Omaha native and baritone burner Frank Basile leads a vibrant sextet on this refreshingly straight-ahead release.
KIOS will air the two-hour special The Best of the 2011 Detroit Jazz Festival on Friday August 31st at 8:00PM. Join us for another spectacular showcase of some of the world's finest jazz musicians as they perform at one of the largest jazz festivals in the U.S. Among the highlights are performances by Paquito D' Rivera, Joe Lovano, Jeff "Tain" Watts, and Helen Sung. The program is hosted by Ed Love of WDET and Linda Yohn of WEMU.
Strong new recordings from well known guitarists Pat Metheny and Mike Stern will be featured this month. We will also present a new disc from Japanese jazz trumpeter deserving much wider recognition, Shunzo Ohno.
NPR Music will hit the road again this year and head north to Newport, R.I. with a live broadcast and webcast from the Newport Folk Festival, July 27-29. The coverage begins with a live webcast of Wilco on Friday July 27th. It'll also include opening sets from Megafaun and Blitzen.
Jazz fans can turn to NPR Music for archived performances with today's leading jazz artists. This month you can listen to new performances from Steve Coleman and Third World Love. Recently The Checkout: Live From 92Y Tribeca presented a concert with the Ingrid Jensen Quintet. That performance has been archived, along with recent performances from drummer Al Foster and pianist Geri Allen at the Live at the Village Vanguard concert series. You may listen to these and other concerts anytime at http://www.npr.org/music
A prolific guitarist whose music has been featured on the Last Call for many years, Joel Harrison has returned with two recordings worthy of your consideration.
Holy Abyss is a superb project with Italian bassist Lorenzo Feliciati and trumpeter Cuong Vu. Roy Powell is at the piano and Dan Weiss is on the drums. A series of captivating, moody, unpredictable tracks greet the listener, with highlights being "Requiem For An Unknown Soldier" "Saturday Night In Pendleton" and the gripping "Faith".
A 50 year reunion concert is scheduled for Saturday evening at South High School. The Ambassadors Show Choir began in 1962 as the Choralaires. Among the 100 participants in this weekend’s reunion show are members of that choir.
KIOS will air a special to usher in Jazz Appreciation Month in April. The Art of the Jazz Solo can be heard Friday April 6th at 2:00PM. The one-hour program is part of a series from Interlochen Public Radio in Michigan called The New Jazz Archive hosted by Jeff Haas.