Maria Joao and Mario Laghina - Cor (rediscovery)
Daniel Goyone - l'heurs bleu (rediscovery)
Brian Browne Trio - The Erindale Sessions
I mentioned this album last year before it was commercially available. It now is available, on iTunes and also direct from brianbrowne.com by mail order. My favorite tracks are probably "Blues for the UFOs", "Stompin' at the Savoy", and "St. Thomas", but the whole album is a treasure.
Yellowjackets - Timeline
The Yellowjackets are my favorite band of all time. For many Yellowjackets fans, the return of William Kennedy must have seemed too good to be true. Although Peter Erskine and Markus Baylor both did some fantastic drum work over the years since he left the band, William Kennedy's unique, polyrythmic style was a big part of the sound that people came to identify with the 'Jackets. And he doesn't disappoint on this album, which marks the band's 30th anniversary.
The opening track "Why Is It" features all the rythmic and melodic intensity you'd expect from the Yellowjackets, but the overall tone of the album more reflective, characterized by several richly crafted ballads, especially the title track "Timeline", the lush ballad "A Single Step", and the lyrical closing song "I Do". Beautiful work from an exceptional band, who after 30 years is still producing some of the finest electro-acoustic jazz ever.
Peter Martin - Set of Five
The piano music of Peter Martin was an exciting Youtube discovery, with his great 3-minute jazz piano clips. His short-play album "Set of Five" features five solo piano pieces that are all excellent, range from hard-bop to ballads, and wrap up with an amazing jazz cover of Coldplay's Viva la Vida.
Peter Martin's playing is technically brilliant, easy to listen to, and steeped in the best jazz piano traditions with a flair for originality and innovative arrangements. Definitely recommended. The album is available for download on iTunes. Check out Peter Martin's web site http://petermartinmusic.com for more on this talented pianist.
Bernie Senensky - Rhapsody
Other albums that were favorites of 2011 include the following, all of which are highly recommended!
- Bob Van Asperen, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment - Handel's Organ Concerto's Opus 4
- Brad Mehldau - Highway Rider
- Charlie Haden & Hank Jones - Steal Away
- Lyle Mays - Solo Improvisations for Expanded Piano
- Bruce Cockburn - Life Short Call Now
- Keith Jarrett & Charlie Haden - Jasmine
- Pat Metheny - Secret Story
- Empire of the Sun - Walking On a Dream (Special Edition)
- Bill Evans - The Paris Concert
David Norland - Instrumentals from the Soundtrack to "Anvil: The Story of Anvil"
It seems a little strange that a film about a heavy metal band from Toronto could feature such nice background music. Somehow it worked, and contrasted beautifully with the over-the-top metal tunes Anvil is known for. The movie is actually a hilarious and moving documentary about a band that never quite made it to the big time, but refused to give up. David Norland's scoring for the film lent it a very human touch. Especially the tune "Shibuya", which you can hear in the Audio section, which is played in the film's closing scene, really captured the feeling of the story.
Check out the audio clips here:
Lyle Mays demos Spectrasonics Trillian with Alex Acuna
Lyle Mays album "Solo Improvisations for Extended Piano" was mentioned above. It's excellent, but here you can actually watch him performing live on a MIDIfied grand piano and synth, together with Alex Acuna, in HD video and high-quality audio.