Okay, by now, it's past cliché to note what a rotten year it has been for deaths in the music world. I think back to a grim afternoon coffee session I had with fellow critics John Corbett, Howard Mandel and Kurt Gottschalk, when we began to contemplate the greats who would likely leave us in the coming years. No, David Bowie and Prince were not among those we discussed, but we knew the end was coming for many of the artists we revered.
Life goes on, so let's celebrate those who have passed and enjoy those who continue to carry the torch of invigorating musical arts. Here's my top 10 for the year. Listen!
1. Nels Cline: Lovers (Blue Note)
2. David Bowie: Black Star (ISO/Columbia)
3. Roberto Fonseca: ABUC (Impulse!)
4. Matt Wilson’s Big Happy Family: Beginning Of A Memory (Palmetto)
5. Wolfgang Muthspiel: Rising Grace (ECM)
6. Esperanza Spalding: Emily’s D+Evolution (Concord)
7. Wadada Leo Smith: America’s National Parks (Cuneiform)
8. Murray/Allen/Carrington: Perfection (Motéma)
9. Guillermo Klein: Los Gauchos V (Sunnyside)
10. Ralph Alessi: Quiver (ECM)