Best Jazz Albums of 2013

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Tue, Dec 10, 2013 at 3:45 AM
click to enlarge Albert "Tootie" Heath, center - COURTESY OF THE ARTIST
  • Courtesy of the artist
  • Albert "Tootie" Heath, center

Assessing the jazz world every year is a challenge, and the following albums can at times sound like George Duke, Wendy Carlos Williams, Bill Evans and Radiohead. That's a hell of a wide net.

This was supposed to be a list of five, but there were so many good ones that we turned it into seven. They represent the best of 2013; it was a good year.

See also: Top Ten Jazz Albums for People Who Don't Know Shit About Jazz

click to enlarge ThundercatHodge.jpg

5. (Tie)

Thundercat Apocalypse

Derrick Hodge Live Today

Los Angeles' Thundercat and Philly's Derrick Hodge have two very different techniques for seduction: Hodge ironed his high thread count sheets and chilled the wine the day before, while Thundercat is fumbling on the couch while cartoons blast from the TV screen. Apocalypse is a dark display of electric bass pyrotechnics that dilate the pupils and shred the mind. Live Today is a smoother gem with jutting horns and a cameo by Common. Both provide compelling arguments for putting the bassist front and center.

click to enlarge GeriAllen.jpg

4. Geri Allen

Grand River Crossings

Solo discs are the true test of a pianist. This is Detroit pianist Geri Allen's third work of her planned trilogy and here she digs into the music of her hometown, with an emphasis on Motown and a brief trip to Liverpool. The album swings delicately and benefits from a few appearances by trumpeter Marcus Belgrave. Allen succeeds in creating an engaging spin through familiar tunes, expertly showing off why she is considered a master of the piano.

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