Jan 30 2020
Best of 2019 #19: Adam Baldych Quartet – “Sacrum Profanum”
Adam Baldych, as with many musicians before him, came up through the classical music traditions, and, like many musicians before him, gravitated to jazz’s untamed wildness and structural freedoms. But you don’t forget where you’ve come from, and the act of revisiting the past is as natural as breathing. The challenge is in how to interpret the past, now, viewed through older perspectives and in the light of today. And so, on his latest, the violinist keeps one foot in his past traditions and the other in his current, and it’s why austere classical pieces display some of the audacious dramatics of a typical Baldych jazz work, but also, conversely, why the jazz pieces reflect a more focused, sleeker lyricism than what one might otherwise expect from the violinist. This shadowplay between past and present results in Baldych’s best work to date.
Your album personnel: Adam Bałdych (violin, renaissance violin), Krzysztof Dys (piano, prepared upright piano, toy piano), Michał Barański (double bass), and Dawid Fortuna (drums, crotales, gran cassa).
Released on ACT Music.
Music from Warsaw, Poland.
Feb 14 2020
Best of 2019 #07: Allison Miller’s Boom Tic Boom – “Glitter Wolf”
With 2016’s Otis Was A Polar Bear, Allison Miller opened a new door. The drummer’s career to that point was not constricted to just one sound, or solely one territory. A machine-gun style of post-bop or a conversant chatter of pop music accompaniment or a straight-ahead swing were all part of her repertoire, and the combination of versatility and individualism distinguished Miller as one of the top drummers on the scene. But her 2016 recording, inspired by and dedicated to her new child, was something truly brand new… and unexpected. Eliciting the imagery of a childhood fairy tale and powered by a potent dose of surreal melodicism, that recording was a series of magical pieces, all standalone gems in their own right, but made even more electrified when absorbed in its totality as a narrative-driven story. Arguably, it could’ve been named the 2016 album of the year. 2019’s Glitter Wolf builds on that foundation, and the story just keeps growing more fantastic with each new piece. And, arguably, it could easily be considered for the top spot in 2019.
Your album personnel: Allison Miller (drums), Jenny Scheinman (violin), Kirk Knuffke (cornet), Ben Goldberg (clarinet), Todd Sickafoose (bass), and Myra Melford (piano).
Released on Royal Potato Family.
Music from New York City.
I wrote about the album for The Bandcamp Daily.
Listen | Read more | Available at: Bandcamp – Amazon
By davesumner • Recap: Best of 2019 • 0 • Tags: Allison Miller, Ben Goldberg, Jenny Scheinman, Kirk Knuffke, Myra Melford, New York City, Royal Potato Family, Todd Sickafoose, Violin