2014 NPR Music Jazz Critics Poll

Milo Miles (NPR, Boston Arts Fuse, Miles to Go)


  1. Wadada Leo Smith, The Great Lakes Suites (TUM)
  2. Marc Ribot, Live at the Village Vanguard (Pi)
  3. Dave Liebman, A Tribute to Wayne Shorter (MAMA)
  4. Westerlies, Wish the Children Would Come on Home (Songlines)
  5. Steve Lehman, Mise en Abime (Pi)
  6. Sonny Rollins, Roadshows Volume 3 (Doxy/Okeh)
  7. Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey, Worker (Royal Potato Family)
  8. The Microscopic Septet, Manhattan Moonrise (Cuneiform)
  9. Greg Abate, Motif (Whaling City Sound)
  10. Erik Friedlander, Nighthawks (Skipstone)


  1. Charlie Haden & Jim Hall, Charlie Haden & Jim Hall (Impulse!)
  2. Sun Ra, In the Orbit of Ra (Strut)
  3. Keith Jarrett/Charlie Haden/Paul Motian, Hamburg ’72 (ECM)


  • Leyla McCalla, Vari-Colored Songs: Tribute to Langston Hughes (Music Maker)


  • Westerlies, Wish the Children Would Come on Home (Songlines)


  • David Virelles, Mbókò (ECM)

[PS: If I had heard it in time, I might have substituted the reissue of the Horace Tapscott Quintet’s The Giant Is Awakened (International Phonograph, original on Flying Dutchman, 1969) for the Sun Ra collection. Not because it’s outright superior work or anything, but is much more of a rara aves (all but invisible since like six months after it first came out).]

All the rest of the scoop can be found here.

[PS,PS: I love how the link to Miles To Go, when you click it up there, brings you back to the same page. This could go on forever. Which is the “real” Miles To Go page?]

Many thanks to Francis Davis for heaps of labor that obviously get higher every year.

Stuff in the Air That Came Out of Speakers Today #13

Bud Powell, Birdland 1953 (ESP) (3-disc set) (2014)

Okay, okay, I’ll stop fighting this. My previous sample of this material was the second half of the Roulette CD Bud Powell Trio and I almost never played those tracks. As everybody said, the sound was just too hinky. And at first this set seemed not only to be more-is-more-except-when-it’s-too-damn-much, but, while the pitch problems were corrected, a lot of the time the only clear instrument was the piano. Have to admit, though, there’s no question drums are known on this version and I’m sure I’ll slap on disc two (Gillispie, Parker and Candido are guests on five tracks — not all at the same time) and three (best selection of Powell originals).

This does follow a pattern. For almost 40 years now, I’ve looked at Bud Powell’s scant body of top-flight work (with a couple obscure exceptions the later years were as slack, again, as everybody says) and decided I could live with X amount of it. Then I end up picking up Y and Z. That becomes the new X, and so forth. Maybe this is the end.

Besides, “Mendu tiun diskon cd loka diskvendejo au rekte de ESP-DISK”


Portrait by Ed German.

A Hard But Accurate Take-Down of Memoir Inflation

Read it and snort with agreement. But I may be a poor sample. I’ve stayed well away from memoirs/autobios not directly related to critic work for a long time. In my final Montana years I was deeply inspired by William O. Douglas’s Go East, Young Man. Helped me chose the East Coast over the usual MT move to CA. I was heartbroken to discover how much of it was either exaggerated or outright fabricated. You could even argue that his only legacy was his worthy intentions. I almost cited Go East, Young Man as a prime inspiration in my application to grad school. Good thing I chose B. Traven instead.

Earliest American Horned (And No Doubt Horny) Dinosaur Found In Montana

And it sure is a cool little critter. Must have been a favorable area for ceratopsians — I remember some of the first local fossils I saw were the gigantic skulls of Triceratops. (Which, by the way, were probably no more likely to have battles with T Rex than leopards are likely to attack water buffaloes in Africa — Triceratops was a mean, potentially deadly mofo.) Plus, it’s interesting that nowadays they imagine smaller dino-birds, like their modern descendents, lived in trees a lot.

Another good article.