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Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Happy New Ears - 2018 Poll Winners

Welcome to 2019! I hope everyone has made the same resolution to listen to more and more adventurous music this year and, of course, to check in with the Free Jazz Collective every day.

Today we present the winners of the collective's writers poll and our readers choice:

New Ears Album of the Year per the Collective:

1. Tyshawn Sorey – Pillars (Firehouse 12)

Lee Rice Epstein, in his review of Pillars writes:
Okay, yes, the album is massive, thick and heady, with ideas atomically colliding. But it’s also music to simply listen to, which is one aspect of Pillars that shouldn’t be ignored. You can dive headlong or simply dip in and out of the album, let the music filter in from wherever it’s playing, leave the room and come back at a wildly new section. Much like Max Richter’s similarly beautiful Sleep, perhaps you’ll never listen to the whole album straight through. But it’s not enough just to know it’s there when you need it, you have to start by letting it in.

2. Peter Brötzmann / Heather Leigh – Sparrow Nights (Trost Records)

3. The following came in tied for third:

New Ears Album of the Year per the People:

1. Biliana Voutchkova / Michael Thieke – Blurred Music (Elsewhere)

Eyal Hareuveni distills the essence of Blurred Music here:
Compositional and improvisational strategies become insignificant when listening to Blurred Music. Voutchkova and Thieke offer an arresting journey through sounds within sounds, increasing their and ours, the listeners, sensitivity of perception. Their sonic explorations are sketched with quiet intensity, reserved but passionate dynamics, adventurous, inventive spirit and austere beauty.
2. Tyshawn Sorey – Pillars (Firehouse 12)
3. Marker – Roadwork 1 / Roadwork 2 / Homework 1 (Audiographic)
4. Peter Brötzmann / Heather Leigh – Sparrow Nights (Trost Records) 26
5. Henry Threadgill – 14 or 15 Kestra: Agg - Dirt... And More Dirt (Pi Recordings) 23
6. Dave Holland – Uncharted Territories (Dare2 Records) 23

Congratulations to all of the musicians, thank you for helping us make it through another strenuous year!

Readers, thank you for your participation, consideration, creative "other" votes, and your comments. One that we received has got us thinking a bit ... "And I vote for a FJB Radio :) As I'm growing desperate in face of those tons of new unheard music!"  Believe me, we're feeling it too - this year we received over 2000 album for consideration. We try our best to get to as much as we can - at least 365 album reviews, plus coverage of as many festivals and concerts as possible, but there is always more to do, more to hear, more to share.

Finally, a big thank you to all of the writers of the Collective - without your passion and dedication to the music, we couldn't pull this off.

See you again tomorrow, right here at the

Happy New Ears!


Colin Green said...

I’d like to thank Paul Acquaro, the blog’s editor, for sorting the polls and all the work he’s put in again over the year. Without his efforts the blog would not function.

Tom Burris said...

Amen, Colin! Happy New Year everyone!

Nick Metzger said...

Hear! Hear!

Antonio said...

Thank you, Paul!

Nick Ostrum said...

I second (or fourth) that. A big, heartfelt thanks to Paul.

Paul said...

Thanks all, but you know I'm only in it for the money ;-)

Gennaro said...

Thank you all for being a part of the Free Jazz Collective
Happy 2019 ! Enjoy the music