And so we begin the countdown… These are the first of 50 of the albums released this year (mostly) which I reviewed (mostly) on this site and which I enjoyed the most (that’s an important proviso: I don’t claim these were 2015’s “best”, whatever that means, in any but a very personal and subjective sense). This year my listening very much reflects the most influential experiences of my year, viz. two trips to Germany – one at the invitation of the German Federal Foreign Office and Initiative Musik taking in Berlin and Jazz Ahead in Bremen; the other to Elb Jazz Festival in Hamburg – and one to Oslo. That latter trip might have been for just one night but because it was for the launch of Luca Vitali’s book The Sound Of The North, augmented by time spent picking up tips from the enthusiastic and generous Luca, as well as a particularly inspiring performance in the Victoria Jazz Club, it has strengthened my fascination with much music Norwegian. Add in a certain affection for the young Danish scene which has its origins in a visit there in 2014, and a distinct Northern European bias is clear right through the 2015 Festive 50. Here are the first ten:
The Aviators’ Ball
(All Made Up)
“Charming” is the word for this gently cross-genre disc from the Manchester bassist. Full review here.
Sean Gibbs/Birmingham Jazz Orchestra
The BJO consolidates this city’s young jazz talent into a very useful and adaptable vehicle for jazz composers. Full review here.
Rhodes Ahead Vol 2
Mr Rhodes’s instrument has one of its most dedicated champions in Mr Cary. Full review here.
Mike Fletcher Trio
The inaugural release from Birmingham’s new record label. Full review here.
The funky favourites. Full review here.
Savina Yannatou & Primavera en Salonico
Songs Of Thessaloniki
Connecting with the universal in Greece. Full review here.
Engines Orchestra + Phil Meadows Group
It should have been in last year’s F50. Full review here.
Emil de Waal +
Handmade In Denmark
Equal parts deadly seriousness and parodic humour. Full review here.
Made In Brazil
Effortless return to the singer/pianist’s Brazilian roots. Full review here.
Nils Økland Band
That most characteristic Norwegian instrument: the Hardanger fiddle. Full review here.
Categories: Festive 50