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Livewire's Top 10

Here are the top 10, er 11 jazz albums of 2006
as compiled by Brad Walseth.
Joel Moore Quartet11) Joel Moore Quartet
Self Titled Debut

This is old school - music inspired by the best of bop, yet not slavishly devoted to the past. To mix paraphrases: Joel Moore and company are standing on the shoulders of giants, but they are looking at the stars...
Patricia Barber10) Patricia Barber
Mythologies

"Mythologies" is the best work yet from this talented Chicago pianist/singer/composer. An updated and personal reexamination of the "Metomorphoses" of Ovid - itself a penetrating psychological study within the stories of the archetypical/mythological characters whose actions and behaviors cover the spectrum of humanity - "Mythologies" follows its source closely in providing both delights and contemplative rewards...
Suenos9) Suenos - Latin Jazz
Azul Oscuro

...this music, which seems to speak so well to the heart and senses while seemingly igniting your body to move to its rhthyms, is the musical confluence where the music of the African, European and Latin cultures merge together to form something new and universal...
Nneena Freelon8) Nneena Freelon
Blueprint of a Lady

Daring to take on the songs of the beloved Lady Day is challenge enough, but by also reinventing them in her own way, Freelon has left herself open to criticism from purists who will blanch at such notions as recording a medley of "Strange Fruit" (as free jazz) and "Willow Weep For Me" (in a Latin-drenched version). "God Bless the Child" as up-tempo, soulful, Motown R&B? What next, All of Me˛ as reggae? You got it. And guess what, folks, it works so well I canšt believe no one has thought of the idea before!...
John Moulder7) John Moulder
Trinity

...the music is attempting to represent Life itself in all its glories and tribulations. A weighty, heavily thoughtful release that takes on serious issues and yet still entertains - "Trinity" provides the listener with a successful trilogy of exceptional playing, passionate songwriting, and thought-provoking subject matter...
Shawn Maxwell Quartet6) Shawn Maxwell Quartet
Originals

As good as the band and Maxwell are, it would mean little if the songs themself weren't so good. From the winding changes of the opener "Dangerous Curve" through the impressive jam-out of "The Sixth" to the fiery "King Bill" to the time-warped boogie-woogie of "Lunch-Box" that closes the recording, "Originals'" alternately burns and cools in eminently listenable fashion...
NYU Jazz Orchestra5) NYU Jazz Orchestra
Plays the Music of Teo Macero

from the opening bursts of "Two Steps from Hell" it is clear that this is not your grandparents' big band music, but rather an exciting and powerful new direction taken in utilizing the colors and sounds of a big band ensemble...
Chris Washburne4) Chris Washburne
Land of Nod

He (Washburne) wants us to "dance to the rhythms" because "Moving your body can be an act of resistance." Fortunately, he and his cohorts in the SYOTOS Band have provided a brilliantly charged soundtrack to this carnival that is sure to wake the brain-dead and snap them, if only momentarily, out of their dangerously comotose "Land of Nod"...
David Binney3) David Binney
Cities and Desire

A blowing session of remarkable depth and beauty, alto saxophonist/composer David Binney's "Cities of Desire" succeeds eminently in its attempts at supercharging the modern jazz sound...
Bob Reynolds2) Bob Reynolds
Can't Wait for Perfect

Reynolds playing is tough, slippery and pleasantly surprising in its twists and turns over the churning landscape, yet he can roll out the romantic yearning in deuces. Monster rhythm section Reuben Rogers on bass and Eric Harland on drums are a combustive duo who make stellar use of their moments to shine, while keyboardist Aaron Goldberg... is a master of supportive understatement...
David Binney1) David Binney
Out of Airplanes

Frisell and Binney seem to share an almost telepathic link - as their tones nearly merge into one another and it becomes difficult to determine where the saxophone ends and the guitar begins. This is music for a new era - mind-bending and effervescent...
Check out great Chicago jazz happenings at JazzChicago.net

Honorable Mentions:
1) Jackie Allen - Tangled
2) Marcus Strickland - Twi-Life

Top 10

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