2004 Year in Preview

Harry Connick Jr.
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Miles Davis
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Diana Krall
2
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Wynton Marsalis
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John Pizzarelli
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Tomasz Stanko Quartet
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The Bad Plus
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Ernest Ranglin and Monty Alexander
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Jamie Cullum
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Albert Ayler
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George Mraz, Hank Jones, Joe Lovano and Paul Motian
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The New Year holds all sorts of promises-of new love, increased wealth, world peace. But what do we, as jazz fans, really and truly want more of? Affordable nightclubs? I guess. Books about jazz? Eh, sure. Compact discs? Hello! Yes!

Though my groaning basement shelves may disagree, you can never have too many CDs. With that in mind-and knowing you don’t just buy this mag for the editor’s notes, regardless of what my mom says–we compiled all the info we could by press time (Dec. 31, 2003) about the biggest releases of 2004.

Remember, like on prom night, dates are subject to change. And TBA means “to be announced”; there aren’t dozens of albums scheduled with that title.

January

Cheryl Bentyne

Talk of the Town

Telarc

Various Artists

Live From the Cotton Club

Bear Family

Bud Shank, Bob Cooper,

Bob Brookmeyer

Mosaic Select

Mosaic

Bob Brookmeyer

Mosaic Select

Mosaic

Marcus Miller, Michel Petrucciani, Kenny Garrett, Lenny White

Dreyfus Night, 1993

Dreyfus

Joey DeFrancesco

Plays Sinatra His Way

HighNote

David “Fathead” Newman

Song for the New Man

HighNote

Don Braden

The New Hang

HighNote

Joel Frahm & Brad Mehldau

Don’t Explain

Palmetto

Dave Douglas

Strange Liberation

Bluebird

Preservation Hall Jazz Band

Best of The Early Years

Hot Four

Shake That Thing

Preservation Hall Recordings

Jenny Scheinman

Shalagaster

Tzadik

Jamie Baum Septet

Moving Forward, Standing Still

OmniTone

Russ Johnson

Save Big

OmniTone

Von Freeman

The Great Divide

Premonition

Brian Bromberg

Choices

A440

Larry Carlton

Sapphire Blue

Bluebird

Claudia Quintet

I Claudia

Cuneiform

Chris McGregor’s Brotherhood of Breath

Bremen to Bridgewater

Cuneiform

Two CDs live

Allan Holdsworth

Centrifugal Funk

Tone Center

February

Brian Lynch & Bill Charlap

Brian Lynch Meets Bill Charlap

Sharp Nine

Wadada Leo Smith

Nu Frequency

Tzadik

Four CDs of his Kabell recordings

John McLauglin

The Montreux Concerts, 1974-2003

Warner Bros.

Seventeen live CDs

Curtis Fuller

Up Jumped Spring

Delmark

Ted Sirota’s Rebel Souls

Breeding Resistance

Delmark

Marian McPartland

Piano Jazz: Mary Lou Williams

Concord

Takashi Matsunaga

Storm Zone

Blue Note

U.S. debut by 17-year-old Japanese wunderkind pianist

Paul Brown

Up Front

GRP

George Benson

Irreplaceable

GRP

Roy Haynes

Fountain of Youth

Dreyfus

Roland Hanna

Tributaries: Reflections on Tommy Flanagan

IPO

World Saxophone Quartet

Tribute to Jimi Hendrix

Justin Time

El-P

High Water (Mark)

Thirsty Ear/Blue Series

Def Jux rapper’s collaboration with Matthew Shipp and Co.

Ray Vega Latin Jazz Sextet

Squeeze, Squeeze

Palmetto

David Berkman

Start Here, Finish There

Palmetto

Brad Mehldau Trio

Anything Goes

Warner Bros.

All-acoustic trio recording

Andy Bey

American Song

Savoy

Hubert Laws

Moondance

Savoy

The Mark Turner-Jeff Ballard-Larry Grenadier Project

FLY

Savoy

Tierney Sutton

Dancing in the Dark

Telarc

March

Jason Miles

Maximum Grooves

Telarc

DJ Spooky

Blue Series Mega-Mix

Thirsty Ear/Blue Series

Dave Brubeck

For All Time

Columbia/Legacy

Box set compiles Time Out, Time Further Out, Countdown: Time in Outer Space, Time Changes, Time In and six bonus tracks

Andy Narell

The Passage

Head’s Up

Monica Mancini

Ultimate Mancini

Concord

Reworked Henry Mancini classics by his daughter and the likes of Stevie Wonder and Take 6

Ranee Lee

Maple Groove

Justin Time

Enrico Rava

Easy Living

ECM

Charles Lloyd & Billy Higgins

Which Way Is East

ECM

Intimate, home-recorded duets, just before Higgins died

Fred Hersch

Fred Hersch Trio + 2

Palmetto

Russell Malone

Playground

MaxJazz

Bill Charlap Trio

Somewhere: The Songs of Leonard Bernstein

Blue Note

April

Janis Siegel

Sketches of Broadway

Telarc

Pieces of a Dream

TBA

Head’s Up

Marion Meadows

TBA

Head’s Up

John Abercrombie Quartet

TBA

ECM

Steve Kuhn

Promises Kept

ECM

Marilyn Crispell Trio

TBA

ECM

Louis Sclavis

Napoli’s Walls

ECM

Gerald Albright

TBA

GRP

Dave Grusin

TBA

GRP

Craig Taborn

Junk Magic

Thirsty Ear/Blue Series

David Murray & the Gwo-Ka Masters featuring Pharoah Sanders

TBA

Justin Time

Frank Kimbrough Trio

TBA

Palmetto

Mulgrew Miller & Jessica Williams

TBA

MaxJazz

James Carter

Live at Baker’s

Warner Bros.

Long-delayed live album

Stefon Harris

Blackout

Blue Note

Vincent Herring

TBA

HighNote

Curtis Fuller

TBA

HighNote

May

John Scofield Trio

TBA

Verve

Live album with Bill Stewart and Steve Swallow

Dave Brubeck

Private Brubeck Reporting for Duty, Sir!

Telarc

Hiromi

TBA

Telarc

Spyro Gyra

TBA

Head’s Up

Joe McBride

Texas Chilled

Head’s Up

Charlie Haden

TBA

Verve

Linda Ronstadt

TBA

Verve

Masters at Work

TBA

Verve

Mike Ladd

Negrophilia

Thirsty Ear/Blue Series

Evan Parker

Memory / Vision

ECM

Charnett Moffett

For the Love of Peace

Piadrum

June

Benny Green & Russell Malone

TBA

Telarc

McCoy Tyner, Gary Bartz, Terrance Blanchard, Christian McBride, Lewis Nash

TBA

Telarc

July

Herbie Mann & Phil Woods

Beyond Brooklyn

Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild

Bob Minzter Big Band & Kurt Elling

TBA

Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild

August

Geri Allen, Dave Holland,

Jack DeJohnette

TBA

Telarc

First album in six years

Nancy Wilson

R.S.V.P. (Rare Songs, Very Personal)

Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild

September

The Manhattan Transfer

TBA

Telarc

First studio recording in four years

TBA CDs/Months

Atavistic/Unheard Music Series

Fred Anderson

Milwaukee Tapes Vol. 2 & Neighbors

Globe Unity Orchestra

Live at Hamburg ’74

Blue Note

Jason Moran (blues album)

Chesky

Bucky Pizzarelli, Johnny Frigo, Michael Moore & Howard Alden

Clark Terry

Columbia/Legacy

Miles Davis

Live at the Cellar Door (three two-CD sets); Seven Steps to Berlin: Complete Miles Davis 1963-64 (six CDs)

Duke Ellington

Blues in Orbit; Piano in the Background; Piano in the Foreground

Herbie Hancock/VSOP

Live Under the Sky

Mahavishnu Orchestra

Between Nothingness and Eternity

Preservation Hall Jazz Band

Volumes 1 & 2 (two CDs)

Concord

Karrin Allyson

Gary Burton

Ray Charles (duets album)

Cryptogramophone

Nels Cline Singers

ECM

Paul Bley

Enja/Justin Time

Billy Bang Aftermath Band

Russell Gunn

Cecil Taylor & Italian Instabile Orchestra

The Owner of the River Bank

HighNote

John Hicks

Mark Murphy

Wallace Roney

Cedar Walton

Buster Williams

Marsalis Music

Brian Blade

Branford Marsalis

MaxJazz

Claudia Acuna

Erin Bode

Peter Martin

Rebecca Martin

Denny Zeitlin

Mosaic

Tal Farlow

Verve Sessions

Erroll Garner

Columbia Sessions

Woody Herman

The Complete Columbia First & Second Herds (five CDs)

Gerry Mulligan

Songbooks (four CDs)

McCoy Tyner

Blue Note Sessions

Various Artists

Capitol Big Band Sessions

Various Artists

The Complete Keynote Recordings

Nagel-Heyer

Darren Barrett

Conte Candoli

Marc Copland & Greg Osby

Wayne Escoffery

Donald Harrison

Brian Lynch

Native Language

Jeff Kashiwa

Palmetto

Ben Allison

Orrin Evans with Bilal

Larry Goldings

Andrew Hill

Dr. Lonnie Smith

Steve Swallow with Ohad Talmor

Bobby Watson

Matt Wilson’s Arts & Crafts

Ropeadope

Steve Bernstein’s Millennial Territory Orchestra

Thirsty Ear/Blue Series

Tim Berne & Big Satan

DJ Spooky & Dave Lombardo

Spring Heel Jack & Wadada Leo Smith

Verve

Chris Potter

Live at the Village Vanguard

Uptown

Dizzy Gillespie Quintet with Charlie Parker (1945 Town Hall)

Warner Bros.

Joshua Redman & Elastic Band

Harry Connick Jr.

Only You (Columbia)

Mr. Personality reestablished his jazz roots with last year’s Marsalis Music release Other Hours: Connick on Piano, Vol. 1 and continued to show his comedic acting skills as Dr. Leo Markus on Will and Grace. He finished 2003 with the Gold-certified Harry for the Holidays CD, a network-TV special and a national big-band tour. Connick will continue his strong string of successes in 2004, with the release of Only You, a romantic collection of standards from the 1950s and 1960s featuring an orchestra and big band, as well as star in a romantic musical-comedy movie production based on a concept from the Wonderboy.

Dude has more juice than an orange grove.

Norah Jones

Feels Like Home (Blue Note)

This will be the biggest jazz-related CD in 2004. Norah Jones is too talented and eclectic for labels, and like the breakthrough Come Away With Me, her new album touches on country, folk, pop, blues and jazz. The collection features the singer-songwriter-pianist once again teaming with producer Arif Mardin and her touring band as well as special guests such as Dolly Parton, the Band’s Levon Helm and Garth Hudson and Jesse “Come Away With Me” Harris.

As for jazz, how about this: Jones wrote lyrics to Duke Ellington’s “Melancholia” and retitled it “Don’t Miss You At All.” “I didn’t set out to write lyrics to this song,” she says. “Just the thought of touching an Ellington composition scares me. But I was so inspired by it.” Just as millions of listeners are by her.

Diana Krall

The Girl in the Other Room (Verve)

Diana Krall did more than just tie the knot with Elvis Costello in 2003: She also roped him into writing some damn good tunes with her. True love! The Girl in the Other Room, which figures to be the biggest jazz CD in 2004, features a half-dozen tunes penned by Krall and her hubby as well as six covers, including Tom Waits’ “Temptation,” Joni Mitchell’s “Black Crow,” Mose Allison’s “Stop This World” and Costello’s fab ballad “Almost Blue.”

Krall coproduced the album with her longtime collaborator Tommy LiPuma, who helped round up a bunch of trusted players: guitarist Anthony Wilson, bassists Christian McBride and John Clayton and drummers Peter Erskine, Jeff Hamilton and Terri Lyne Carrington. Krall plays piano, of course, and she sings like a dream.

If Elvis and Diana can work this well together behind the scenes-hey, you know what we mean! Songwriting!-can a duets album for the twosome be far behind? We hope not.

Miles Davis

Birdland 1951 (Blue Note)

Originally broadcast on Symphony Sid’s radio program, the three live sessions documented on Birdland 1951 were recorded at home by a fan. Two of the three sets have been on widely available bootlegs; the third is making its first appearance on CD.

These performances feature Miles Davis in pure bebop mode. Because these Birdland shows are from “off nights,” and not part of a weeklong engagement, the trumpeter put together different bands for each night. Players include J.J. Johnson, Sonny Rollins, Kenny Drew, Tommy Potter, Art Blakey, Eddie “Lockjaw” Davis, Big Nick Nicholas, Billy Taylor and Charles Mingus. Get past the sound and you’ll hear history in the making.

Wynton Marsalis

The Magic Hour (Blue Note)

After a 20-year association with Columbia ended with the label deciding not to re-sign Wynton Marsalis, the trumpeter signed to Blue Note for the beguiling The Magic Hour. It’s a match made in heaven, too, with Marsalis diving deep into his oft-repeated four basic tenants of jazz: 4/4 swing, Afro-Hispanic rhythm, blues and ballads.

With The Magic Hour-“For kids, the one hour before they go to bed. For parents, the one hour after the kids go to sleep”-Marsalis says, “I wanted to restate my basic love of jazz music in a quartet format.” Just because he writes symphonies and directs Jazz at Lincoln Center doesn’t mean we ever thought Marsalis didn’t love jazz’s core grouping size, especially one that features pianist Eric Lewis, bassist Carlos Henriquez and drummer Ali Jackson. But apparently the trumpeter thought we forgot: Dianne Reeves guests on the opener, “Feeling of Jazz,” scatting about how great jazz is. We never doubted it.

John Pizzarelli

Bossa Nova (Telarc)

This CD comes across as a concept-heavy endeavor geared toward catapulting singer-guitarist John Pizzarelli to mainstream success of the Harry Connick Jr. sort. And it’s about time, too! Johnny P is handsome, charming and funny-oh, and he can play and sing as well, as he proves throughout the self-descriptive Bossa Nova. Sure the Jobim tunes like “Waters of March” and “The Girl From Ipanema” are here, but what might make radio waves is Pizzarelli’s bossa take on James Taylor’s “Your Smilin’ Face.” Art and commerce can make beautiful bedmates.

Tomasz Stanko Quartet

Suspended Night (ECM)

We don’t know much about this release, but what we do know has primed us: The band on trumpeter Tomasz Stanko’s latest is the same as on 2002’s Soul of Things, the CD that caused many critics and listeners to swoon about the Polish jazzman’s beautiful music. Suspended Night opens with a gorgeous ballad, “Song for Sarah,” and the other 10 tracks are called “Suspended Variations I-X.” Consider us suspended until the CD is released.

The Bad Plus

Give (Columbia)

How did the most rousing and divisive jazz record in years come from an acoustic piano trio? Such is the power of the Bad Plus and its major-label debut, These Are the Vistas. For the follow-up, pianist Ethan Iverson, bassist Reid Anderson and the man who seems to either solidify your love or enmity for the band, drummer Dave King, returned to producer Tchad Blake and Real World Studios in England-and why not? Vistas is an amazing sounding disc, and Give is too. The requisite pop reinterpretations are here-the Pixies’ “Velouria,” Black Sabbath’s “Iron Man”-but there’s also a stunning take on Ornette Coleman’s “Street Woman” and eight fantastic originals by the band members. You can love ’em or hate ’em, but you can’t ignore them: The Bad Plus is here to stay.

Monty Alexander/Ernest Ranglin

Rocksteady (Telarc)

Pianist Monty Alexander and guitarist Ernest Ranglin have made many a jazz-reggae CD in their time, and they’ve made many together. But Rocksteady is particular about the spirit it represents-the era when both the jazz-schooled Alexander and Ranglin were cutting tracks for crooners at Jamaica’s Studio One for producer Clement “Coxson” Dodd. Thing is, the duo and their group don’t limit their choices to 1960s tracks, opting for interpretations of the Congos’ “Fisherman” and Bob Marley’s “Redemption Song” right next to classic ska numbers like “Pressure Drop” and “East of the River Nile.”

Alexander left the island in 1961, but the island never left him. Ranglin, a founding member of the legendary Skatallites, is the island. Together they make the worlds of jazz and ska/reggae sound like the best of friends-just like Alexander and Ranglin.

Jamie Cullum

Twentysomething (Verve)

British pianist and vocalist Jamie Cullum’s Twentysomething was the fastest-selling jazz debut in U.K. history, and it was certified platinum in its sixth week of release. Move over, Peter Cincotti, for Cullum not only has the look and sound to break into the U.S. market, he has the artistry to prove even the most ardent critics of young jazz crooners wrong.

A self-taught player whose influences range from Gershwin to Radiohead, Cullum is also something of a dynamo in concert. Twentysomething’s bossa-nova-tinged title track is Cullum’s sardonic and swinging take on a modern day “quarter-life crisis,” while “All at Sea” evokes Coldplay with chops.

Oh, and he’s 24, to be precise.

Joe Lovano/Hank Jones

I’m All for You: Ballad Songbook

(Blue Note)

Tenor saxophonist Joe Lovano and pianist Hank Jones are a few decades apart in age, but both are among the most distinctive stylists in jazz. For this dream pairing the two are joined by bassist George Mraz and drummer Paul Motian for a run-through of ballads that, like the leaders, cross generations, from Lovano’s “I’m All for You” to brother Hank Jones’ “The Summary (A Suite for Pops),” and from standard standards (“Stella by Starlight”) to shoulda-beens (Coltrane’s “Countdown”).

Albert Ayler

Holy Ghost (Revenant)

This will be a box set of eight to 10 discs of ecstatic saxophonist Albert Ayler in all his raw live glory. Remember how gorgeous Revenant’s Screamin’ and Hollerin’ the Blues: The Worlds of Charley Patton collection was? Expect the same treatment for Holy Ghost. We can’t friggin’ wait to see the set and hear what’s on it (the track listing was still being decided at press time). Spirits rejoice, indeed.