Friday, January 1, 2021

Free Jazz Blog's Album(s) of the Year 2020

And so here it is, the Free Jazz Blog top album(s) of 2020. Last week we presented the top recordings of 2020 culled from everyone's top 10 lists and then held a vote for the top album.

In first place, moving up from the top 3 with last year's Columbia Icefield, is trumpeter Nate Wooley's Seven Storey Mountain VI on Pyroclastic records.

1. Nate Wooley - Seven Storey Mountain VI (Pyroclastic Records)


In his review, Martin Schray writes: 
"So the bar was set high for Seven Storey Mountain VI - and Nate Wooley's band doesn’t disappoint. The trumpeter is explicitly political this time, the composition being about women's rights. The choice of musicians alone makes this clear, eight of the 14 musicians are women this time. Seven Storey Mountain VI is again one long composition (45 minutes) based on Peggy Seeger’s “Reclaim the Night“ (from her album Different Therefore Equal) ... In contrast to its predecessor Seven Storey Mountain VI was recorded in a studio. It’s even more beautiful than Part V, and the most convincing one in its coherence, exuberance and grandness." 

In second place is pedal steel player Susan Alcorn with her Relative Pitch release "Pedernal".

2. Susan Alcorn Quintet - Pedernal (Relative Pitch)

In his review, Matthew Banash writes:
"The Susan Alcorn Quintet is composed of talented artists who use their skills and musical reference points not to reinvent the wheel or polishing the mirror. Under her aegis they simply and masterfully create a recording of grace, subtlety, unity, and compelling musicianship that balances and investigates the modern and the ancient."

3. Tied for third place this year is:

Like we had said before, our heartfelt congratulations to everyone whether in the lists and not. The sheer amount of recordings that were released, and the smaller, but still overwhelming amount that came into our purview, is daunting but encouraging and invigorating.

Of course, thank you to the hard work of the collective. Without you contributing your time and efforts, the site simply would not exist. 

And finally, thank you to our readers. Much appreciated for your continued trust!

The past year has been one of challenge and resourcefulness and we truly wish everyone a return to "normal" in the coming year and we hope to see you at a show!


Richard said...

Excellent choice, although any from that list would have been deserving. As always after the lists come out, I've been scanning them and finding all sorts of stuff I had missed. My favorite find has been Christian Lillinger-Open Form For Society Live. Had I bought it before list season, it certainly would have made mine.

Thanks again for all the great music FJC, and I hope everyone has a wonderful New Year.

Anonymous said...

My favorite find has been Minim feat. Sainkho - Earth [Self-released]. Fantastic album!!!

Trevor Barre said...

I'm reminded of the duo of Julius Hemphill and Oliver Lake here - 'Buster Bee' from around 1978?
It's lovely, but I do wonder whether it's rather retreading old ground. Especially for a number one selection.

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