2015 Festive 50 – 10-1

These are all albums that have measured up to lots of listening and just seem to get better and better. They are the ones I will treasure for many years to come.

With some the listening experience is enhanced by memories of hearing and seeing the music played live. I first heard about Andromeda Mega Express Orchestra from Initiative Musik’s Michael Wallies who very kindly gave me his promotional copy of this disc after I had seen the band playing in the Schlachthof in Bremen.

Similarly Mark Pringle’s music on A Moveable Feast is enriched by hearing the full band at The Spotted Dog and then some trio interpretations at The Red Lion, both in Birmingham; Marcus Miller performed some of his album at Birmingham Town Hall; Mathias Eick’s Midwest quintet gave a barnstorming performance of their album at the Sendesaal in Bremen as part of ECM Club Night at Jazz Ahead; and Håkon Kornstad was doubly brilliant at the Victoria Nasjonal Jazzscene in Oslo.

In November I realised one of my dreams: to hear the Maria Schneider Jazz Orchestra live in Symphony Hall. The Thompson Fields is their finest album yet, and that really is saying something!

live on planet earth10

Andromeda Mega Express Orchestra

Live On Planet Earth

(Alien Transistor)

I haven’t reviewed this terrific German group’s recording. My report on music I heard at Jazz Ahead is here. The band’s website is here.

a moveable feast9

Mark Pringle

A Moveable Feast

(Stoney Lane)

Thoroughly original writing and strikingly performed. Full review here.

the epic8

Kamasi Washington

The Epic


I somehow missed this three-CD set when it was first released, and then it felt too late to review it. Epic is the word! Kamasi’s website is here.


Marcus Miller


(Blue Note)

Mr Bass Fingers sounds rejuvenated by his world travels. Full review here.


Loose Tubes


(Lost Marble)

This album starts at Ronnie’s in 1990 and ends there in 2014. Full review here.

5let it be told

Julian Arguelles

Let It Be Told


South African jazz played by non-South Africans has never sounded quite this good. Full review here.


Mathias Eick



The addition of violin brings fresh nuances to this already lovely music. Full review here.

some places3

Wayne Horvitz

Some Places Are Forever Afternoon


It’ll make you want to drive through Montana with the windows down. Full review here.

tenor battle2

Håkon Kornstad

Tenor Battle


Kornstad is a tenor saxophonist and an operatic tenor – and marvellous being both. Full review here.

thompson fields1

Maria Schneider Orchestra

The Thompson Fields


It doesn’t matter how many words I devote to this music, I’ll never be able to do it justice. Just add your support on ArtistShare and listen. Full review here.

Categories: Festive 50

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