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Livewire's Top 10

Here are the top 10 Jazz albums of 2007 as compiled by Brad Walseth.
Follow the Red Line10) Chris Potter
Follow the Red Line

"Viva Las Vilnius" is a delightful blend of Caribbean rhythms, angular unison lines, rapid-modulations and tempo shifts with Potter's Coltrane-inspired sheets of sound building to a shimmering peak. Ensuring no one is left on comfortable ground, the band then produces the lovely, quiet "Zea" with (Craig) Taborn's beautiful opening solo and Potter's sensitive and gorgeous lines on bass clarinet. This instrument adds a haunting sound to the band's closer "Togo," which will transport the listener to the West African nation. All band members rock out on this piece, with Taborn again showing why he is so in demand, before Potter switches back to tenor to add one last sparkling solo to leave the listener in a euphoric state from this satisfying set. Sheer Jazz heaven!!!
Brown Street9) Joe Zawinul - WDR Big Band
Brown Street

In presenting songs from most of the phases of Zawiunul's career, the members of the WDR all pitch in with lovely solos. Does the listener miss Wayne Shorter? Of course, but these versions offer new and enjoyable ways to look at the songs. Pastorious too is missed, especially on "A Remark You Made," perhaps the most perfectly beautiful jazz ballad of the last 30 years, but the big band arrangement is a truly lovely complement to the original. And hard to believe, but the evocative version of "In a Silent Way" may even surpass earlier recorded versions.
A Tale of God's Will8) Terrence Blanchard
A Tale of God's Will
(A Requiem for Katrina)

"Levees" opens with deceptively calm strings before the storm. With ominous piano chords underneath, you can feel the water rising with every swell of the strings. BlanchardŐs Miles-influenced trumpet cries out a clarion call of warning in some of the most chilling blues a listener will ever hear. Rarely does an artist bare his soul so nakedly as Blanchard does here, with the musician's intense frustration, anger and deep sorrow coming out clearly in this haunting composition.
Starflowers7) Sinikka Langeland
Starflowers

"Starflowers" is a stunning merging of ancient folk melodies, observant introspection and inspired jazz into a recording that seems to exist almost timelessly outside the realm of music itself, becoming in the end a living entity of its own as natural as the wind in the trees or snow on the meadow.
Live at the Green Mill6) Ari Brown
Live at the Green Mill

This is the meat on the bone! Ari Brown brought his intelligent and brawny saxophones and powerful backing band to the legendary Green Mill stage and magic happened. Full of songs that recall the glorious late 1950s era of Coltrane and Miles and the Wayne Shorter/ Miles groups of the '60s, and featuring a band that can live up to the task.
From the Plantation to the Penitentiary5) Wynton Marsalis
From the Plantation to the Penitentiary

Some may disagree with elements of his arguments, but I'm sure no one can dispute that the journey from the plantation to the penitentiary has been another shameful episode in American history. This important release features excellent music and social criticism in a work that is a descendant of the works of people like Charles Mingus, Max Roach and Oscar Brown, Jr.
My Foolish Heart4) Keith Jarrett
Gary Peacock & Jack DeJohnette

My Foolish Heart

Throughout, the band plays wonderfully together, with intelligent and satisfying contributions by all. Peacock's solos are models of economy and grace, while DeJohnette is creative and propulsive. Meanwhile, Jarrett's piano work soars in layers of sounds absorbed from the entire stylistic history of jazz and merged into his own personal style.
The Word and the Days3) Enrico Rava
The Word and the Days

Combining a mesmerizing sense of space in his playing that recalls Miles Davis in his prime, with his own signature warm and burnished tone on his new release "The Words and the Days" - Italian trumpeter Enrico Rava enthralls... Rava's strong compositions, Manfred Eicher's luscious production and the exceptional playing of this talented and sensitive quintet all contribute to an unforgettable sonic experience.
Pilgrimage2) Michael Brecker
Pilgrimage

With a stellar crew backing him, Brecker shows no sign of the illness that eventually would kill him, but plays with the fire and intelligence that always marked his best work. That it would be his last seems only to heighten the intensity and all players come through with some of the sharpest ensemble playing of the year.
In Pursuit1) Donny McCaslin
In Pursuit

From the moment Donny McCaslin's tenor sax kicks in over the African-styled rhythm section of Antonio Sanchez and Pernell Saturino on album opener "A Brief Tale" the listener knows he's in for a wild and most enjoyable ride. By the time the final track - the marvelous "Festival in 3 Parts," finishes you will want to pick yourself up off the floor and journey to NYC and to places like the 55 Bar, where something amazing seems to be happening in the jazz world.

#11 - Dino Saluzzi/ Anja Lechner - Ojos Negros

#12 - Exploding Star Orchestra - We Are All From Somewhere Else

#13 - Herbie Hancock - River: The Joni Letters

#14 - Ron Carter - Dear Miles

#15 - Chris Potter - Song For Anyone

#16 - Joan Stiles - Hurly Burly

#17 - Abbey Lincoln - Abbey Sings Abbey

#18 - Miles Okazaki - Mirror

#19 - Morrie Louden - Time Piece

#20 - Tain Watts - Folks Songs

#21 - Marty Ehrlich & Myra Melford - Spark

#22 - Anat Fort - A Long Time

#23 - Frank Vignola - Vignola Plays Gershwin

#24 - Michele Rosewoman - The In Side Out

#25 - Manu Katche - Playground


Top 10

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