Jang Lee Hwang - News Poster


Top 25 Twenty-First Century Jazz Albums

Today being international jazz day, there will be much celebrating of the greatness of its history. I’ve done that in the past; it is a great history. But it is not all back in historical times; jazz lives, and evolves, and continues to be great. Yet how many lists of the greatest jazz albums include anything from the current century?

That they do not is no indictment of them; only sixteen percent of the years when recorded jazz has existed (not counting the present year yet) are in the twenty-first century, after all, and some prefer to bestow the label of greatness after more perspective has been achieved than sixteen (or fewer, for newer releases) years.

Nonetheless, if people are to respect jazz as a living art form, a look back at the best of its more recent releases seems worthwhile. Here’s one man’s “baker’s dozen
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British Guitar Great Storms into New York City

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If you want to know about contemporary British jazz or prog, you go to Downtown Music Gallery, where between them Bruce Gallanter and Manny Maris are an encyclopedic repository of knowledge and infallible taste. So when on my most recent trip there, Bruce passed me a sampler called Who Is Phil Gibbs? and told me the titular guitarist would be playing a series of shows in NYC (including his USA debut), I played said disc as soon as I got home, and was immediately intrigued.

In its listing, Tony calls Phil Gibbs "a staunch free-improviser" and goes on to compare him to Derek Bailey, but that's just one facet of his multi-stylistic habits. Drawing from a variety of contexts, with recording dates ranging from 2000 to this year, the CD's eight tracks reveal a far more versatile musician than Tony suggests.

"The Sound of One Who Loves" is just Gibbs, apparently
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