Phronesis albums seems to have a similar vibe to them. Bassist Jasper Høiby, pianist Ivo Neame, and drummer Anton Eger have been together for a decade now. They play with time, Eger slays on the kit, Høiby bounces around the melody like a rubber ball, Neame has turns eloquently understated and unabashedly dazzling. They're one of the great dynamic modern jazz trios. They come with this set of expectations. This is no different on their latest album, Parallax.
It would be reductionist to call Shift a Pat Metheny album. Yes, his signaturely chameleonic guitar is one of the most pronounced sounds all throughout saxophonist Logan Richardson's latest album, this time around on the Blue Note label, but it's not Metheny's album. It would be reductionist to call Shift a Jason Moran album, though his tones color this collection of songs as well. Bassist Harish Raghavan and drummer Nasheet Waits ain't nothin' to sneeze at, either. It's this assemblage of talent, Metheny in particular, that makes Richardson's Blue Note debut such an impressionable album.
Ben Monder's Amorphae is an ECM release. It's contemplative, expansive, tumultuously beautiful and beautifully tumultuous. It sounds positively gorgeous. It's sparse in ways that never leave the listener wanting more because it's an album that makes one appreciate the pauses. Some folks out there are going to hate it, ECM albums can be like that sometimes. Some folks aren't going to care that much for its drone nature. However, guitarist Monder pulls this all off so well that maybe those people who don't care for this can just go off and chill for 45 minutes while minds are expanding elsewhere.
We all have our favorites. We also have our need to make sense of the world. I hold to the belief that genre is important because while some can say there are only two kinds of music, good and bad, that still doesn't help describe the music much. Direction is important, so is mood. However, virtuosity rules over all. I feel like listening to many different kinds of music and sometimes my mood shifts. These were my favorites of the albums that I've played just as fervently this year as the jazz albums I've listened to, whenever the mood so suited.