Sunday, December 22, 2013

2013's Top Ten Lists

The highly anticipated, carefully selected, and impeccably curated top 10 lists of 2013 from the Free Jazz Collective, an incredibly subjective selection based on an amazing 1,166 albums which came our way during the year that roughly fit this blog's profile, without counting all the unbelievable sh*t that we also receive, now that our blog's popularity has reached its peak, so impossible to completely listen to all albums even once, let alone sufficiently to listen deeply and to review properly. But then luckily we shared forces this year, with Martin, Paolo, Dan, Tom, Joe, Colin, Troy, Paul and Stef.

A crazy year again, with lots of great music, and as the individual lists can testify, it was also impossible to restrict ourselves to a top-10 list even.

We aggregated our end-of-year lists and came up with this actually quite balanced must-haves for the year, with a calculation based on the most complex mathematical algorithms and algorhythms (including the number of stars and the number of mentions in the lists below as critical aspects of it).

The Free Jazz Collective Top-10 albums of 2013


  1. Matana Roberts: Coin Coin Chapter Two: Mississippi Moonchile 
  2. Hera with Hamid Drake - Seven Lines
  3. John Tchicai- Tribal Ghost 
  4. Convergence Quartet - Slow and Steady 
  5. Various Artists: Long Story Short 
  6. Fire Orchestra: Exit! 
  7. Barry Guy New Orchestra Small Formations - Mad Dogs 
  8. The Thing: Boot! 
  9. DKV + Gustafsson/Pupillo/Nilssen Love - Schl8hof
  10. Looper - Matter 
  11. Okkyung Lee - Ghil 
  12. Mary Halvorson Septet – Illusionary Sea 


Happy holidays to everyone and we look forward to hearing your top choices of the year!


Stef Gijssels:
  1. John Tchicai, Charlie Kohlhase, Garrison Fewell, Cecil McBee, Billy Hart - Tribal Ghost
  2. Convergence Quartet - Slow and Steady
  3. Okkyung Lee - Ghil
  4. John Butcher - Winter Gardens
  5. Hera with Hamid Drake - Seven Lines
  6. Lotte Anker, Rodrigo Pinheiro, Hernâni Faustino - Birthmark
  7. Power Of The Horns - Alaman
  8. Alvin Curran - Shofar
  9. Herb Robertson, David Kaczorowski & Adrian Valosin Party Enders
  10. Kaze - Tornado
  11. Nor Cold - Nor Cold
  12. Angelica Sanchez & Wadada Leo Smith - Twine Forest


Martin Schray:
  1. Matana Roberts: Coin Coin Chapter Two: Mississippi Moonchile
  2. Various Artists: Long Story Short
  3. Fire Orchestra: Exit!
  4. Convergence Quartet: Slow and Steady
  5. The Thing: Boot!
  6. Fire!: (Without Noticing)
  7. John Tchicai: Tribal Ghost
  8. Hera feat. Hamid Drake: Seven Lines
  9. Spunk: Das Wohltemperierte Spunk
  10. William Parker: Wood Flute Song


Paolo Casertano's bakers dozen:
  1. DKV + Gustafsson/Pupillo/Nilssen Love - Schl8hof
  2. John Butcher, Thomas Lehn & John Tilbury - Exta
  3. Mitchell/Marsh/Edwards - Improvisations
  4. Brötzmann/Drake - Solid And Spirit
  5. The Thing - Boot!
  6. Looper - Matter
  7. Red Trio - Rebento
  8. Susana Santos Silva & Torbjorn Zetterberg - Almost Tomorrow
  9. Katy Perry - Prism
  10. Trumpets and Drums - Live in Ljubljana
  11. Joe McPhee - Sonic Elements (For Pocket Trumpet and Alto Saxophone)
  12. Colin Stetson - New History Warfare Vol. 3 To See More Light 
  13. Barry Guy New Orchestra Small Formations - Mad Dogs

Dan Sorrells:
  1. Mikołaj Trzaska  - Gra Różę 
  2. SPUNK - Das Wohltemperierte SPUNK
  3. Carate Urio Orchestra - Sparrow Mountain
  4. Nor Cold - Nor Cold
  5. Evan Parker - Vaincu.Va! Live at Western Front 1979
  6. Tatsuya Nakatani & Shane Perlowin - The Anatomy of a Moment
  7. Angles 9 - In Our Midst
  8. Kristoff K. Roll & Daunik Lazro - Chants du Milieu
  9. John Tilbury & Oren Ambarchi - The Just Reproach
  10. Matana Roberts - Coin Coin, Chapter Two: Mississippi Moonchile


Joe Higham:
  1. Axel Dörner & Mark Sanders: Stonecipher 
  2. Tom Challenger and Kit Downs: Wedding Music
  3. Looper: Matter
  4. Alexander Hawkins: Song Singular
  5. Dunmall, Hanslip, Gibbs & Ricart: Weeping Idols 
  6. Alexander Hawkins Ensemble: Step Wide, Step Deep
  7. The Engines (w/ John Tchicai): Other Violets
  8. Parker, Guy & Lytton: Live at Maya Recordings Festival
  9. Mark Solborg: The Trees
  10. Rempis Percussion Quartet: Phalanx


Troy Dostert:
  1. Thomas Chapin - Never Let Me Go 
  2. Curtis Hasselbring - Number Stations
  3. Matana Roberts - Coin Coin Chapter Two: Mississippi Moonchile
  4. Wayne Shorter Quartet – Without a Net
  5. Mario Pavone – Arc Trio
  6. Hera with Hamid Drake – Seven Lines
  7. DKV Trio + Gustafsson/Nilssen-Love/Pupillo – Schl8hof
  8. Mary Halvorson Septet – Illusionary Sea
  9. Craig Taborn Trio – Chants
  10. Black Host – Life in the Sugar Candle Mines


Colin Green:

I predict that 2013 will be known as the year of the great box set (or in the case of Barry Guy, the novel use of an LP sleeve): a testament to the outstanding range and musical depth that improvised music has achieved. In no particular order:
  1. Barry Guy New Orchestra (Small Forces) - Mad Dogs
  2. Peter Brötzmann - Long Story Short
  3. Paul Dunmall - The Entire 50 CD Collection on FMR Records
  4. Various Artists - Just Not Cricket!
  5. William Parker - Wood Flute Songs
  6. Instant Composers Pool - The Complete Catalogue 
  7. Anthony Braxton - Echo Echo Mirror House
  8. Quat Quartet - Live at Hasselt
  9. Fabrik Trio - Murmurs
  10. Joe McPhee and Chris Corsano - Scraps and Shadows

Tom Burris' sneaky dozen:
  1. Keefe Jackson's Likely So – A Round Goal
  2. Peter Evans Trio – Zebulon 
  3. MOPDTK – Red Hot 
  4. Fire Orchestra – Exit! 
  5. Tim Daisy Trio – A Fine Day in Berlin + Rempis Percussion Quartet – Phalanx  + Frank Rosaly / Cicada Music – s/t 
  6. John Tchicai – Tribal Ghost 
  7. Pandelis Karyorgis Quartet – Circuitous
  8. Mary Halvorson Septet – Illusionary Sea + Halvorson / Knuffke / Wilson – Sifter 
  9. Joe McPhee / Thurston Moore / Bill Nace – Last Notes 
  10. Okkyung Lee – Ghil 


Paul Acquaro:
  1. Tim Berne's Snakeoil - Shadow Man 
  2. Ingrid Laubrock's Anti House - Strong Place
  3. Jon Irabagon, Hernani Faustino, Gabriel Ferrandini - Absolut Zero 
  4. Marc Ribot's Ceramic Dog - Your Turn 
  5. Lucien Dubois  Trio & Spacetet - Design Your Future
  6. Ross Hammond - Cathedrals 
  7. Mars Williams, Ingebrigt Haker-Flaten & Tim Daisy - Moments Form 
  8. Mary Halvorson, Kirk Knuffke & Matt Wilson - Sifter 
  9. Elliott Sharp Aggregat - Quintet 
  10. Pandelis Karayorgis Quintet - Circuitous 

Check out past year's top 10s


10 comments:

Tommy said...

Thanks for these lists, always an interesting read! And thanks to the Free Jazz Collective for all the reviews during 2013, so many records I wouldn't have known about if it wasn't for you guys.

My short list of favorites from this year (though as usual I haven't heard more then maybe a dozen of the records listed here so I'm sure I have missed a lot of great music):

Matana Roberts: Coin Coin Chapter Two: Mississippi Moonchile
Easily my favorite jazz record of the year.

Mikołaj Trzaska: Gra Różę
Have never been a big fan of the clarinet until I heard this album. Beautiful.

Various Artists: Long Story Short
There's no one like Peter Brötzmann.

Correction with Mats Gustafsson: Shift
Mats in a different surrounding, and it works wonderfully. Some of his more sensitive moments.

Fire Orchestra: Exit!
You just have to love this crazy project. Can't wait to see them live in January!

Vandermark / Gustafsson: Verses
Duo record that could have been LOUD but instead is intimate.

Anonymous said...

To Stef Gijssels.
Herb Robertson, David Kaczorowski & Adrian Valosin "Party Enders" was released in 2012.

To Troy Dostert.
Thomas Chapin "Never Let Me Go" was released in 2012.

To Paul Acquaro.
Jon Irabagon, Hernani Faustino, Gabriel Ferrandini "Absolut Zero" was released in 2012.

Ok. Nevermind. Smile.

Paul said...

I feel like I fact checked that ... http://www.nottwo.com/PelnaPlyta.php?Id=449&W=0

joesh said...

Hi Anon,

Thanks for the reminder. I notice that Paul checked his dates for the Irabagon. However, I should add that record companies sometimes send us stuff quite late. We also keep reviewing things that are in our virtual offices without regard for changing years. You'll probably notice plenty of 2013 albums being reviewed at the beginning of 2014 also.

Thanks for your update.

alfonso said...

Very interesting! thank you, guys!

Richard said...

Hey everyone at Free Jazz,

Thanks for another great year of reviews. From my list of 13 favourite jazz albums of the year, I bought 11 based on their reviews here. The other two are by artists I discovered here. That's how much influence this site has on my listening (and my wallet!).

#2, 3 & 13 are the sort of completely out of the blue discoveries I love making, especially Lucien Dubuis.

1-Satoko Fujii Ma-Do Quartet-Time Stands Still
2-Lucien Dubuis Trio & Spacetet-Design Your Future
3-Estamos Trio-People's Historia
4-Ken Vandermark-Made to Break-Provoke
5-Waclaw Zimpel Quartet-Stone Fog
6-Fire!-Without Noticing
7-Pascal Niggenkemper Vision 7-Lucky Prime
8-Confusion Bleu-East Side Banquet
9-Rodrigo Amado Motion Trio & Jeb Bishop-Flame Alphabet
10-Kris Davis-Massive Threads
11-John Zorn & Thurston Moore-@
12-Okkyung Lee-Ghil
13-Tom Challenger & Kit Downs-Wedding Music

I just picked up Schl8hof and Boot! or they would probably be here as well. None of my usual sources have the Trzaska. But I think I'll need to track that down next.

Happy holidays everyone.

Stef said...

Good selections... in a way all this is very arbitrary ... i can agree as much with the lists made by others as with my own selection. Lots of good music to choose from :-)

Cosmik Debris said...

Good selections in all lists. Just missed The Necks whose latest CD is real great.

Anonymous said...

Nice lists.
Just missing The Necks, whose last CD is real great.

joesh said...

Thanks Anon and Cosmic ... maybe one and the same? Yes, we've got the Necks album in. I'm reviewing it, but we're running late and I haven't written the review yet. Sorry, but too many albums and too much work makes for late reviews.

I'll try to have something very soon, even if it doesn't make the list.