Jazz

Favorite Jazz Albums of 2015


Editor's Note: Westword's resident jazz expert, Clubs Editor Jon Solomon, picks his favorite jazz albums of the year.

ADVENTURES IN JAZZ
While there were a number of great straight-ahead jazz albums released this year, some of my favorites (the top ten are listed below) were more on the adventurous side, including albums by two musicians with Colorado ties: Ben Goldberg, an East High School graduate who was in the Citywide Jazz Band and later moved to the Bay Area, and Rudresh Mahanthappa, who grew up in Boulder and now lives in New York.

1. Charles Lloyd — Wild Man Dance (Blue Note)
Saxophonist Charles Lloyd, who has released some remarkable albums over the last decade, is in superb form on this six-part suite that was recorded live in Poland. 

2. Gary Peacock Trio — Now This (ECM)
Bassist Gary Peacock, long-time member of Keith Jarrett's trio, teams up with pianist Marc Copland and Joey Baron for some stunning interplay throughout this nuanced album.  

3. Ben Goldberg — Orphic Machine (BAG Production)
Over the last few years clarinetist Ben Goldberg has released some outstanding forward-thinking albums, like 2013's Unfold Ordinary Mind, but with Orphic Machine, Goldberg, along with Nels Cline, Ron Miles, Carla Kihlstedt, Myra Melford and others, have created a gorgeous disc that's rooted in jazz yet has pop sensibilities. 

4. Chris Potter Underground Orchestra — Imaginary Cities (ECM)
While Potter's previous album, 2013's The Sirens, was quite ambitious in scope, the brilliant reedsman takes things a step further with a much larger ensemble that includes string players. 

5. The Bad Plus and Joshua Redman — The Bad Plus Joshua Redman (Nonesuch)
Over the last fifteen years, the Bad Plus has established itself as one of the most exciting trios in jazz, and this collaboration with renown tenor saxophonist Joshua Redman is just as bold as some of the trio's more recent work. 

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Jon Solomon writes about music and nightlife for Westword, where he's been the Clubs Editor since 2006.
Contact: Jon Solomon