THE BEST JAZZ OF THE 1990s, Part Five-A

by Pitinhas, at

(Part five [a] of five)

Before we offer a full accounting of the top vote-getters, we need to extend our sincerest thanks to every person who contributed a list to this venture. Listmaking is an exercise that takes some preparation, and considerable thought, and is not without its frustrations. We have a deep appreciation for all of the talented writers, thinkers, and musicians (many are all three) who took part, and bow in your general direction, gentlemen. (Note for the next poll: find ladies.) Please follow the links that appear beneath the names in the posts below, and frequent their wonderfully worthwhile sites.

We would also like to offer respectful thanks to the folks who were invited to participate, but declined, for any number of viable reasons. Perhaps next time? And also a tip of the hat to the many individuals who we were unable to contact, but wanted to; if you felt as though you should’ve been asked to submit a list, we probably felt the same way. We ultimately were not able to reach out to everyone on our wish list.

And so on to the final coundown. Out of a total of 299 “votes” (not including the great lists in the comments), here are…

The most mentioned albums of the 1990s:

1 Sonny Sharrock, Ask the Ages – 9 mentions
2 Anthony Braxton, Willisau (Quartet) 19916
3 Ornette Coleman, Tone Dialing5
Henry Threadgill, Too Much Sugar for a Dime5
4 Charles Gayle, Touchin’ on Trane4
5 Ornette Coleman, Sound Museum: Hidden Man3
Bill Dixon, Vade Mecum I/II3
   Dave Douglas, Constellations3
Bill Frisell, This Land
David Murray, Shakill’s Warrior3
Maria Schneider, Evanescence – 3
David S. Ware, Flight of I3
David S. Ware, Go See the World3

The following albums received two mentions:
Muhal Richard Abrams, Blu Blu Blu; Lester Bowie’s Brass Fantasy, The Fire This Time; Don Byron, Music for Six Musicians; Uri Caine, Urlicht/Primal Light; Steve Coleman & Five Elements, The Sonic Language of Myth; Dave Douglas, Charms of the Night Sky; Convergence; Tiny Bell Trio; Douglas Ewart and Inventions Clarinet Choir, Angles of Entrance; Tommy Flanagan, Sunset and the Mocking Bird; Charlie Haden and Hank Jones, Steal Away; Charlie Haden/LMO, Dream Keeper; Joe Henderson, So Near, So Far; Andrew Hill, Dusk; Jon Jang Sextet, Two Flowers on a Stem; Abbey Lincoln, The World Is Falling Down; Brad Mehldau, Songs: The Art of the Trio, Vol. 3; Greg Osby, Banned in New York; William Parker, The Peach Orchard; Sun Ra, Purple Night; Pharoah Sanders, Welcome to Love; Cecil Taylor, Momentum Space; Henry Threadgill, Carry the Day; Randy Weston, Spirit of Our Ancestors; Kenny Wheeler, Music for Large and Small Ensembles.

As for the artists, here are…

The most-mentioned performers of the 1990s:

1 Anthony Braxton - 15 mentions
2 Dave Douglas – 12
3 Ornette Coleman – 10
Cecil Taylor – 10
4 Sonny Sharrock – 9
5 Henry Threadgill – 8
Davis S. Ware –
6 David Murray – 7
7 Charlie Haden – 5
Zorn/Naked City/Masada – 5
8 Bill Frisell – 4
   Charles Gayle – 4
Steve Coleman – 4

Cecil Taylor, for one, is much better served in this list; no one album stood out for listeners. Also, Paul Motian is probably underrepresented, and suffers for not having been the bandleader of record on any number of dates.

Coming tomorrow: Some personal concluding thoughts from us, overlooked MP3s, and then back to our regularly scheduled programming.

Category 1990s, lists

One Response to THE BEST JAZZ OF THE 1990s, Part Five-A

  1. I half wrote a comment on one of your earlier posts, but never got round to submitting it. I note on 5B that you refer to the brilliant Jazz Satellites comp, but other than that I’m a tad dismayed at the lack of reference to the whole Norwegian thing that for me was a breath of fresh air in an honourable but increasingly inward-looking scene. So here’s my quick round-up:

    Supersilent – amazing jazz noise quartet that could have taken on Last Exit and won sometimes.
    Eivind Aarset – ambient guitarist who combined beautifully produced soundscapes with breakbeats and electronica
    Wibutee – improvisation meets electronica and dance beats
    Food – Anglo-Norwegian folk/jazz/ambient quartet feat. Arve Henriksen and Iain Ballamy
    Nils Petter Molvaer – Khmer – okay, it was downhill after this, but his debut did engage with Miles’ too often ignored challenge
    Bugge Wesseltoft – New Conception of Jazz

    These people were engaging with and convincingly integrating the popular (dance-oriented) music of their time. It was and still is exciting music that seems to have failed to impact significantly on the American market, which is a shame in my opinion.