Jan 3 2014
I listen to a lot of music. I spend a lot of time listening to it. But no matter how comprehensive I am, there will always be albums that get past me, either because they flew under my supposed highly-attuned radar or, perhaps, my ears just didn’t get the time they needed to fully grasp the music they had in front of them.
Here are two albums that most assuredly would’ve been included on my Best of 2012 list, had they received full consideration at the time I compiled it.
Anne Paceo – Yokai
This was actually one of my eMusic Jazz Picks when it first came out in the latter half of 2012. I had an email in my inbox from Anne, asking if I’d consider reviewing it for my site. I remember liking what I heard on my first pass of the recording well enough to include it in my eMusic column, and I was sure interested in hearing it more and, perhaps, writing it up for Bird is the Worm. For whatever reason, I didn’t attach a follow-up flag to the email, and as a result, it was swallowed up by the deluge of emails that is my inbox.
Well, sometime into 2013, I was searching Soundcloud for an embeddable track that I could use for a review of Pierre Perchaud’s excellent recording Waterfalls (which narrowly missed being included on my Best of 2013 list). Well, Perchaud also performs on Paceo’s Yokai, and when I saw that as one of the search results, I began thinking, hey, wasn’t that a follow-up thing? I began streaming Paceo’s album tracks on Soundcloud, and was amazed at how wonderful the music was. I got ahold of that album, and now, many many months later, I’m still beaming about it.
The is music always in motion. Graceful, vibrant, and powerful. Highly melodic, but its all about the infectious cadences inspiring dance, sweeping the listener up in its flow. It verges on subgenres like a Martina Almgren type of World Jazz, European-style post-bop, and a Brian Blade Fellowship nu-jazz. But really, this music occupies its own space, having carved out a sonic niche that frees it from categorization, and perhaps its what gives the music such a powerful sense of freedom in its motion. I really can’t get enough of this recording, and it’s been well over a year since I first laid ears upon it. Catchy tunes that continue to surprise and delight, and verge, at times, on the breathless. Had I the opportunity to do it over again, I’d likely have slotted this recording somewhere in the bottom half of the top ten, and no lower than 15 to be sure. An outstanding album.
Released on Laborie Jazz.
A Bird is the Worm review HERE.
Oskar Schönning – The Violin
I’m still not sure how I never got around to reviewing this album in 2012. I became aware of it pretty early on, and had plenty of time to cover it and consider it for the Best of 2012 list. I believe I originally became familiar with the recording via Nils Berg, who plays bass clarinet on this recording, and whose Nils Berg Cinemascope and The Stoner ensembles are pretty damn amazing. There’s a cool video from the album that I featured in my These Are Videos That I Like Series.
In any event, it wasn’t until I was poking around the internet, and stumbled upon this nifty site called The Afterword, and checked out a very cool Best of 2012 list (covering all genres) by someone with the byline of duco01. I saw the Schonning recording on that list, and got that sinking feeling any list-compiler gets after discovering an album that, for all intents and purposes, he/she probably should’ve included. Had I the opportunity to do it over again, I’d likely have slotted this recording somewhere between 25 and 30.
This album cuts between interludes of European folk music and late-period bop. It’s sort of straight-ahead, except when it’s not. This isn’t a blend of influences so much as two types of expression spliced together at strategic intervals. It’s got both a stately beauty and an abundant warmth. I find myself listening to it when I need something gentle to fill the quiet moments of the day and when I need something lively to perk up the mood. Just a lovely album.
The album is Self-Produced.
A Bird is the Worm review HERE.