Thursday, December 30, 2010

If you can stand another list...

you can find my favorite 15 albums of the year here, at the esteemed Billy Hepfinger's blog, Tenth Avenue Music.

But before you click on over, here are a few other year-end awards, commemorating everything from the worst to the weirdest of the year.

EPIC FAIL album of the year: Herbie Hancock - The Imagine Project

After pulling off the upset of all upsets during the 2008 Grammy Awards, I guess Herbie Hancock felt he was musically invincible, that even a silly idea like playing pop tunes with famous people around the world would turn into an epoch-defining album.  Well, he did that, and it was just as terrible as one would think.  I couldn't get through Seal and Pink singing the most ponderous version of "Imagine," well imaginable, before laughing in pain.

Honorable mention:  Brad Mehldau - Highway Rider

It was ambitious, risky, and messy (which I usually like, see linked list), but it never got airborne.  Mehldau is better with fewer people around him, not more.

Albums that probably would have made my list if I had actually heard them:

Steve Coleman & the Five Elements - Harvesting Semblances and Affinities
Chris Lightcap's Bigmouth - Deluxe
Geri Allen - Flying Toward the Sound
Myra Melford's Be Bread - The Whole Tree Gone
Jason Adasiewicz - Sun Rooms

Sharpest Dressed Performer - The JACK Quartet, Bang on a Can Marathon

Some very classy pastels belied the intensity of their performance of Xenakis' Tetras.  I then saw one of them go into Banana Republic after the hit.

Honorable Mention - Darcy James Argue at Cafe Oto
He's upgraded from baggy jeans and dark t-shirts to a garish silver vest.  Just needs to get matching ones for the band :P

Most Absurd Orchestral Moment - The opening three minutes of Marc Anthony Turnage's "Hammered Out" at the BBC Proms

He liked it and put a ring on it.

Honorable Mention - The New York Philharmonic performing Magnus Lindberg's "Kraft"

It's nice to see the notoriously crochety ensemble (they still haven't played a note of Phillip Glass!) take on a piece that requires the percussion section to go to a junkyard and then hang gongs from the ceiling.


  1. Amazing single ladies shout out.

  2. (A belated comment...I read this when it came out, but didn't feel compelled to comment until I reread it)

    Dude...I listened to that Imagine cover when I heard it was nominated for the Grammy. WORST. EVER. When I heard Herbie Hancock + Seal + india.arie (right?) + etc., I was like, hmm, okay, this could be interesting.