Favorite new albums of 2022
‘Tis the season, and so I figured the time is as good as any to consider and make a note of the music that captivated me the most and made a lasting impression in the year of 2022. As I sat down and looked through my notes, drafts and published writing, it was noticeable that three musicians in particular figured frequently in my listening and writing this year: Mary Halvorson, who not only released my favorite album of the year, but contributed to a further three releases included in the list below, Anja Lauvdal, who in addition to releasing another fascintaing album with Moskus as well as an intriguing solo record played a gig for the ages with William Parker and Hamid Drake during her mini-Artist In Residency at Kongsberg Jazz Festival, and the young saxophonist Zoh Maba, who emerged on the world scene with not one debut but several albums of note.
As with previous year-end editions on the old blog, my lists are tiered rather than numbered (For more on why, you may want to read the intro to last year’s faves). That said, an “order of preference” may be inferred. Still, this is by no means set in stone. Art has a habit of reigniating interest to various degrees over time, so this should be considered an “as of this moment” list. I stopped at 35 new albums, for no other reason than that I had to stop somewhere. There were many, many more albums I enjoyed this year. Time provided, I may attempt to highlight some of them in a follow up post, including some reissues/vault releases.
Voyager Golden Record
Mary Halvorson: Amaryllis (Nonesuch) — Elements Halvorson has explored in different projects over the years, such as the web-like textures of the various groups under her own name, the surging propulsion and heft of Thumbscrew, the tune craft of Code Girl, coalesced with Amaryllis. A terrific band of associates both long term and more recent provide a purposeful, and exciting, thrust to much of the music, coupled with rich textures and solo outings that twist, turn, probe and encircle the blossoming compositions. A stand-out album in what is an already remarkable discography. [Reviewed for Musikkmagasinet in Klassekampen, May. 23., 2022].
Andrew Cyrille, William Parker, Enrico Rava: 2 Blues For Cecil (TUM Records) — Three masters of modern music pay homage to Cecil Taylor, whom they all have had stints playing with, not by revisiting his music, but by finding common ground along their own, unique paths. Masterfully restrained in their collective expression, the trio avoids sudden outburst or forceful blows in favor of deep reverberation, creating something truly majestic and magnificent in the process. [Reviewed for Musikkmagasinet in Klassekampen, Feb. 31., 2022].
John Zorn: New Masada Quartet (Tzadik [released late 2021]) – The latest version of the Masada Quartet, now a sax, guitar, bass and drums combo, finds new ways to combine familiar Zorn elements like klezmer, Coleman, drive, propulsion, unruliness, hooks and joy. [Reviewed for Musikkmagasinet in Klassekampen, January 3., 2022].
Profound, lasting impression
Janel Leppin: Ensemble Volcanic Ash (Cuneiform Records) [Reviewed for Jazznytt #264, Autumn 2022].
Trevor Dunn Trio-Convulsant Avec Folie à Quatre: Séances (Pyroclastic Records) [Reviewed for Musikkmagasinet in Klassekampen, Nov. 14th, 2022].
Thumbscrew: Multicolored Midnight (Cuneiform Records) [Reviewed for Jazznytt #264, Autumn 2022].
Jacob Garchik: Assembly (Yestereve)
Christian Winther: Urfuglen (Fysisk Format) [Reviewed for Musikkmagasinet in Klassekampen, Sept. 26, 2022].
Myra Melford's Fire and Water Quintet: For the Love of Fire and Water (RogueArt) [Reviewed for Musikkmagasinet in Klassekampen, April 11., 2022].
Nduduzo Makhathini, In the Spirit of Ntu (Blue Note) [Reviewed for Musikkmagasinet in Klassekampen, June 20., 2022].
Willi Carlisle: Peculiar, Missouri (Free Dirt Records)
Gard Nilssen Acoustic Unity, Elastic Wave (ECM) [Reviewed for Musikkmagasinet in Klassekampen, July 4th, 2022].
Zoh Amba: O, Sun (Tzadik) [Reviewed for Musikkmagasinet in Klassekampen, June 13., 2022].
OM: 50 (Intakt Records) [Reviewed for Musikkmagasinet in Klassekampen, Sept. 19th, 2022].
Paal Nilssen-Love Circus: Pairs of Three (PNL Records/Catalytic Sound) [Reviewed for Musikkmagasinet in KLassekampen, Nov. 21st, 2022].
Fred Moten / Brandon López / Gerald Cleaver: Moten/López/Cleaver (Reading Group/Relative Pitch) [Review to be published]
Patricia Brennan: More Touch (Pyroclastic Records) [Reveiewed for Musikkmagasinet in Klassakampen, Dec. 12, 2022].
Alvvays: Blue Rev (Polyvinyl)
Moskus: Papirfuglen (Hubro) [Reviewed for Musikkmagasinet in Klassekampen, March 21., 2022].
The Attic - Rodrigo Amado / Gonçalo Almeida / Onno Govaert: Love Ghosts (NoBusiness Records)
Satoko Fujii: Hyaku: One Hundred Dreams (Libra)
Big Thief: Dragon New Warm Mountain I Believe In You (4AD)
Erlend Viken, Jo Berger Myhre, Thomas Pohlitz Strønen: Djupet (OK World) [Reviewed for Musikkmagasinet in Klassekampen, March 28., 2022].
Luke Stewart's Silt Trio: The Bottom (Cuneiform Records) [Reviewed for Musikkmagasinet in Klassekampen, January 24., 2022].
Hedvig Mollestad: Maternity Beat (Rune Grammofon) [Reviewed for Musikkmagasinet, Klassekampen, Nov. 28th, 2022].
Lisa Ullén, Elsa Bergman, Anna Lund: Space (Relative Pitch Records) [Reviewed for Musikkmagasinet in Klassekampen, March 7., 2022].
Eri Yamamoto, Chad Fowler, William Parker, Steve Hirsh: Sparks (Mahakala Music) [Reviewed for Jazznytt #263, Summer 2022].
Emily D’Angelo: Enargeia (Deutsche Grammophon)
Gisle Røen Johansen: Kveldsragg (Jazzaggression)
Oren Ambarchi / Johan Berthling / Andreas Werliin: Ghosted (Drag City)
Bruno Berle: No Reino Dos Afetos (Far Out Recordings)
Andreas Røysum /Christian Meaas Svendsen / Kresten Osgood: Music Improvised On September 23rd, 2021 (Astral Sprits) [Revewed for Jazznytt #265, Winter 2022].
TEIP Trio: TEIP Trio (Sonic Transmissions Records)
Bob Vylan: Bob Vylan Presents The Price Of Life (Ghost Theatre)
Amalie Dahl’s Dafnie: Dafnie (Sonic Transmissions Records) [Reviewed for Musikkmagasinet in Klassekampen, May 16., 2022].
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