My Best Releases of 2012 is set to run December 21; my best Live shows of 2012 on 12/23. I'll post here when they go live.
Another year here I've been so fortunate to have had the opportunity to travel extensively - and, while I cannot (for obvious reasons) include them in my best shows of 2012, I have to give a huge shout out to all the artists who participated in my All About Jazz Presents: Doing It Norway series at the Kongsberg Jazz Festival, this past July...AAJ's first (as well as mine) shot at programming a series. It went swimmingly, with great attendance and some absolutely outstanding shows from:
- Eple Trio—pianist Andreas Ulvo, bassist Sigurd Hole and drummer Jonas Howden Sjøvaag—with guest saxophonist Karl Seglem;
- The double-duo show of guitarist Eivind Aarset/percussionist Thomas Strønen and vocalist Sidsel Endresen/guitarist Stian Westerhus;
- Elephant9, with guest guitarist Reine Fiske;
- Trumpeter/singer/percussionist's Per Jørgensen and Friends, the Jøkleba/BMX/Magnetic North Orchestra alum's first group ever under his own name, featruring percussionist Terje Isungset, bassist Morten Skage, harmonium expert Sigbjørn Apeland and keyboardist Morten Qvenild;
- Pianist Jon Balke's expanded Magnetic Book;
- Bassist Mats Eilertsen's SkyDive Quintet, with saxophonist Tore Brunborg, guitarist Thomas Dahl, pianist Alexi Tuomarilla and drummer Olavi Louhivouri;
- And trumpeter/singer Arve Henriksen's trio with percussionists Audun Kleive and Helge Norbakken.
To have had to opportunity to not just get some of my favorite musicians on one bill, but to get them to try some different things (like Elephant9's working with Reine Fiske; that, and Atlantis stemmed from my inviting them to play, but with guest(s) and when they suggested Reine, I was thrllled) was a real milestone in my life to this point. To have had my wife attend with me was even better. It was an opportunity to be on the other side of the table, looking for coverage (which I ended up getting in some European publications...even did a "Blindfold Test" for Norway's jazz mag, JazzNytt and I didn't do too badly, despite editor Jan Granlie definitely not babying me at all!). All in all, something I'd sure love to do again, were the opportunity to arise.
But that, as is the case with everything I've been so lucky to do - I'm off to Munich tomorrow to cover the ECM Exhibition, see two shows (Patrick&Thomas Demenga with Alexi Lubimov, plus another show with Meredith Monk - first time seeing her and I am pumped!), and interview the curator and, if he can be pinned down for half an hour (he has committed to it, but I know how it is), Manfred Eicher (either way, I'll be visiting ECM HQ) - makes me realize that I really am leading a charmed life these days, at least when it comes to music.
Sorry to ramble, but thinking about the best of 2012 just brings it all into sharp focus for me. Thanks for listening, and for those who bailed after the first few lines...I completely understand!