My listening habits are fairly diverse, and fairly heavily rooted in revisiting music I love. That said, there are plenty of things I discovered this year – either new or new to me. Here are some that I loved.
Elements (The Real Group)
The Real Group’s 21st album is a diverse collection of originals, along with jazz standards like Nature Boy and covers the wide stylistic range that is their hallmark: from Latvian folk songs to pop, gospel-esque, swing, novelty, and music I would file under “contemporary choral.” A must listen.
Taking Pictures (Jo Lawry)
I must have first learned of Jo Lawry in the wonderful documentary 20 Feet From Stardom but she really entered my radar after hearing her as a new member of MOSS in October. Her 2015 album Taking Pictures has been in regular rotation at my house ever since.
Dream In The Blue (Sara Gazarek)
I guess part of my year has been devoted to catching up on the amazing singers who have come to the forefront in the jazz scene during my hiatus from work in jazz. Among those is the wonderful Sara Gazarek. This duo album with pianist Josh Nelson is intimate, fresh, and moving with a mix of standards and originals.
Almost Like Praying (Lin-Manuel Miranda)
Lin-Manuel Miranda doesn’t need my help with publicity, but Puerto Rico does – they are still suffering in the wake of Hurricane Maria. He wrote, produced, and released this song within ten days of landfall, with wonderful guest artists and lyrics that include the name of every town on the island.
Coco (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
Fun songs, a beautiful message, and of course the brilliant storytelling you expect from Pixar. I especially loved the song Un Poco Loco.
What was the best new music you heard this year?