2008: The Year in Recordings

One afternoon hanging out with a good friend and fellow writer in the Crescent City during my November completion of the Randy Weston book manuscript for our publisher (Duke University Press) we started speculating on the various end-of-the-year lists we’d been called to participate in.  For me that included the JazzTimes magazine, and Francis Davis’ Village Voice respective year-end "critics" polls.  My friend threw up his arms and wondered aloud how one even arrives at such a list given the dearth of comprehensive listings of the releases of a given year.

    Thank goodness I have a ready solution to this personal conundrum – my radio playlist file.  Thanks to a year-long stint of program subbing on air at the Crescent City’s great radio station WWOZ (www.wwoz.org), and particularly to several months of alternating hosting with the superb Maryse Dejean the Sunday evening new release program "What’s New", I was blessed with a ready index of my favored new releases for the year.  

    I won’t be so bold as to label this some sorta "best of" list — and one will readily ascertain that the numbers are a bit uneven, there’s no particular ordering, and certainly no top 10 or top 25 or whatever arbitrary number — so here are some ’08 releases and reissues worthy of your attention:


Recommended 2008 Releases



New Releases


Sonny Rollins, Road Shows, Doxy


Joe Lovano, Symphonica, Blue Note


Catherine Russell, Sentimental Streak, World Village


Charles Lloyd, Rabo de Nube, ECM


TK Blue, Follow the North Star


Esperanza Spalding, Esperanza, Heads Up


Jenny Schienman, Crossing The Field, Koch


Dafnis Prieto, Taking The Soul for a Walk, Zoho


Sumi Tonooka, Long Ago Today, Kindred Rhythm


Jose James, The Dreamer, Brownswood


Dr. Michael White,

Blue Crescent


Basin Street


Gilfema +2, Obliq Sounds


Evan Christopher, Django ala Creole, Classic Jazz


Robin Eubanks, EBB Live Vol. 1, REM


Marty Sheller Enemble, Why Deny, PVR


Conrad Herwig, The Latin Side of Wayne Shorter, Half Note


Cassandra Wilson, Loverly, Blue Note


Rosa Passos, Romance, Telarc


Eric McPherson, Continuum, Smalls


Jaleel Shaw, Optimism


Vijay Iyer, Tragicomic, Sunnyside


Elio Villafranca, The Source In Between, Ceiba Tree


Adam Rudolph, Dream Garden, Justin Time


Corey Wilkes, Drop It, Delmark


Danilo Perez, Across the Crystal Sea, Universal


Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, Live at the Village Vanguard, Planet Arts


Kurt Elling, Nightmoves, Concord


Bennie Maupin, Early Reflections, Cryptogramophone


Mike Reed’s Loose Assembly, The Speed of Change, 482 Music


Liz McComb, The Spirit of New Orleans, Gve


Marcus Shelby Jazz Orchestra, Harriet Tubman, Noir


JD Allen, Now!, Sunnyside


Dave Holland, Pass It On, Dare2


SF Jazz Collective, Live 2008, SF Jazz





Sarah Vaughan, Live at the 1971 Monterey Jazz Festival, MJF


Lester Young, Live at Birdland, ESP disk


McCoy Tyner, Fly With The Wind, Milestone

Anthony Braxton, The Complete Arista Recordings, Mosaic


Return to Forever, Anthology, Concord


Henry Grimes Trio, The Call, ESP disk


Art Pepper, The Croydon Concert, Widow’s Taste


Coleman Hawkins, The Hawk Flies High, Riverside


John Coltrane, Traneing In, Prestige


Steve Lacy, The Forest and the Zoo, ESP disk



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