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Aleif Hamdan - 'Emblem'

Anthony Dean-Harris
Editor-in-Chief
anthony.deanharris@nextbop.com / @i_ADH

Youthfulness is pretty easily recognizable in work. Sometimes it comes through in a roughness. Sometimes, it comes through in an antsiness, as if the boundless energy that comes with youth just can't be contained. Sometimes, it comes through in a need to impress. This young person has ideas that he or she has learned recently and this young person wants to make sure we're getting all the references. These qualities often shine through in debut releases, particularly from trained jazz musicians. A polish is present only because there's so much newness, there isn't much grit to polish away. These attributes can be seen as flaws just as much as they can be seen as strengths, the early promising notes of talent and training that only wait for time. To some degree, it's still the marvel to witness. One can hear this all over guitarist Aleif Hamdan's debut album, Emblem.

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Anthony Dean-Harris' Favorite Jazz Albums of 2016

Anthony Dean-Harris
Editor-in-Chief
anthony.deanharris@nextbop.com / @i_ADH

I had love and specific passion this year. I felt more detached, as many of my dispatches have noted over the last year but particularly in this week of assessment. I felt a listlessness about even completing this list, yet the need to communicate was still there. The need for completeness (in a task that can never be completed) still gnaws at me. I still had to express my voice since oddly enough some people were still wondering. I still also had to make known in list form what could probably have been surmised from week after week of Line-Up playlists. It's the Season of Lists and much like the rest of the holidays, the obligations just couldn't be ignored any longer. Also much like the holidays, once the obligation wears off, one can gleam some of the nice attributes of it all (or find someone to complain about it all with later). The holiday season and lists are all about appreciation and finding mutual complaints.

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Anthony Dean-Harris' Favorite Non-Jazz Albums of 2016

Anthony Dean-Harris
Editor-in-Chief
anthony.deanharris@nextbop.com / @i_ADH

I couldn't come up with ten. I blame myself, living out in the woods with tenuous internet and not seeking out as I should have new sounds this year, at least not with the usual amount of diligence. I know there were things I missed, which this year's staff lists revealed to me. I was aware that I should be hip to Solange's new one. I wasn't even thinking about Thao & the Get Down Stay Down. I didn't even try to cop the new Laura Mvula and I know better than that. Still, my ears heard new sounds and found that they were good. I'll do better searching next year, though this year still served my ears pretty well. Hopefully, you agree that they can do the same for you.

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Jamire Williams - '///// EFFECTUAL'

Anthony Dean-Harris
Editor-in-Chief
anthony.deanharris@nextbop.com / @i_ADH

Jamire Williams is an artist. He's best known for being a drummer. He has backed numerous groups. His style, which I have described on this site many times as a "constant rumbling", is signature and frequently in demand. As a musician, he is always one to listen for. Yet, over the last few years, it has become clear that Williams is more than this. Being a musician is great-- crafting sounds, making beats, moving people's heads and feet by way of their ears. However, Williams had had a vision of his own that captures more than the auditory medium, for Williams is a multimedia artist. And when it comes to art, particularly contemporary art, some of it just fits better in a gallery. Thus, Jamire Williams, in the constant expression of artistry has made a gallery album-- ///// EFFECTUAL out now on Leaving Records.

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Cameron Mizell - 'Negative Spaces'

Anthony Dean-Harris
Editor-in-Chief
anthony.deanharris@nextbop.com / @i_ADH

One can hear a lot of different influences in guitarist Cameron Mizell's Negative Spaces. He can ride along with gentle curves like John Scofield, he can smartly noodle like Bill Frisell. He can be chameleonic as a player, but it all comes out sweetly.