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Best Jazz of 2020: Jim Dupuis - Jazz Notes

Contributor and Host of Kamloops' Jazz Notes rounds up his favourite international and local Jazz releases of 2019

By Jim Dupuis
- Series Edited by Magnus Thyvold

Share your choices in the comments...

Jim Dupuis of Jazz Notes

Jim Dupuis of CFBX-FM, 92.5 “The X” in Kamloops, BC
Show: Jazz Notes������ Wednesdays 5-7 PM PT thex.ca and 92.5 FM in Kamloops
Same host, same show, since May 2001
I play a large percentage of new jazzish music that we receive and complement it with recordings from the past. I have a traditional jazz segment called The Big Easy Gumbo and do yearly specials for Mardi Gras and International Women's Day/Week. The show sometimes includes recorded and live interviews and performances in any genre. I occasionally fill-in on available time slots with a mostly local music show called Kamloops and Beyond.

I attend numerous, live music shows in the area and produce local music photo/blogs for the CFBX website (thex.ca). I contribute a feature called the Local Music Scene to a print publication called The Big Edition. It is a newspaper sold on the streets of Kamloops by homeless and low-income vendors. They get to keep the proceeds.

Best local release - Kamloops and BC

Sean Luciw

Sean Luciw��� Beautiful Guitars��� (Ulusulu Music)
Self-confessed, guitar nerd, Luciw, put together an album where he used all his guitars and had friends use a few of their guitars, too. A guitar players album, but not just for them. A riveting, variety of wonderful playing and styles.
Favourite tracks: “Cherry Blossoms” and “The Big Swell”
http://seanluciw.com/
https://ulusulumusic.bandcamp.com/

Lindsay May

Lindsay MaySweet Cinnamon�������� (Independent)
This seasonal album contains four original compositions and seven Christmas classics. While May's take on the classics may not be absolutely true to the originals, she brings a fresh feel to them and keeps true to their spirit. There is excellent guitar, keyboard and bass work from her supporting cast and May's voice is great. Favourite tracks: “Does Santa Reach the South Pole?” and “Go Tell It On the Mountain.”

Mother Sun

Mother Sun �� Caramel Clouds��������� (Independent)
A younger band, whose members play in many groups on the local scene, have come up with a winner in Caramel Clouds. They combine dreamy, psychedelic sounds, kick-ass guitar and pulsating drums and percussions. They are the young lions of the local music scene and expect good things from Emilio Pagnotta, guitars and vocals, Jared Doherty, guitars and vocals, Jared Wilman, drums and backing vocals and Alex Ward on keyboards.
Favourite tracks: “Happily Sinking Heart” “Flower” and “Daylight”
https://mothersunmusic.bandcamp.com/album/caramel-clouds

Best live local show I saw this year

Mother Sun��� Album release party for Caramel Clouds. Nov. 9, 2019, Blackwell Hall Plaza Hotel, Kamloops, BC
Nice to see a local band using original material and including other local bands in their album release party.� This show was well attended and the bands put on an excellent show. Both local and out of town� musicans (members of Wrecked Beach) joined them on stage on various capacities. The enthusiastic audience begged for and received a couple of encores.
https://mothersunmusic.bandcamp.com/album/caramel-clouds

Best of 2019 from Jim Dupuis�������� Jazz Notes����� CFBX-FM

Instrumental

Rank - Artist � Album - Label

1. Kendrick Scott Oracle - A Wall Becomes a Bridge - (Blue Note)

Drummer/composer Scott has but together an album that is both politically relevant and sonically beautiful. It is a mix of contemporary sounds (turntables) and traditional jazz instruments (bass clarinet, sax, etc.)� along with Scott's great drumming. Favourites include “Becoming” and “The Catalyst.”
http://www.kendrickscott.com/
http://www.bluenote.com/spotlight/kendrick-scott-oracle-a-wall-becomes-a-bridge/

2. Joe Magnarelli Quintet - If You Could See Me Now - (Cellar Live)

Trumpeter from Syracuse, NY, with a rich musical pedigree. Here he wades into the Tadd Dameron catalogue and does a gorgeous job. Favourites include “On a Misty Night” and “Super Jet.”
http://www.joemagnarelli.com/
https://cellarlive.com/products/joe-magnarelli-quintet-if-you-could-see-me-now

3. Alison Young - So Here We Are - (Triplet Records)

Young plays in various genres of jazz and blues in the Toronto area. She is a powerhouse sax player and has some of Toronto's best� musicians with her. Favourite tracks include “Afterparty,” “One Night Stan,” and a version of Duke Ellington's “Mood Indigo” which starts with a traditional New Orleans feel.
https://www.alisonyoungmusic.com/
https://soundcloud.com/tripletrecords/sets/alison-young-so-here-we-are

4. Cory Weeds Quintet - Live at Frankie's Jazz Club� - (Cellar Live)

Weeds, the stellar, Vancouver sax player has brought together an all-star band, including Terell Stafford on trumpet, and the late Harold Mabern on piano,� to play at the most popular jazz club in town. They cover four Jackie McLean tunes in this bluesy outing, that is full of fireworks. Favourite tracks include “Bluesanova” and “Consequences.”
https://coryweeds.com/
https://cellarlive.com/products/cory-weeds-quintet-live-at-frankies-jazz-club

5. Mike Clark - Indigo Blue Live at the Iridium - (Ropeadope)

Drummer Clark has fifty years of playing to his credit with jazz greats. He can attract musicians like Randy Brecker (trumpet) and Christian McBride (bass). This may be old school music, but I wish I had gone to that school! Favourites include “Of Infinity” and Monk's “Well You Needn't.”
https://mikeclark.bandcamp.com/album/indigo-blue-live-at-the-iridium
https://ropeadope.com/mike-clark

6. Christian McBride - Christian McBride's New Jawn - (Mack Avenue���� )
7. Brad Turner Quartet - Jump Up - (Cellar Live)
8. Gentiane MG Trio �- Wonderland - (Effendi)
9.� New Masters - Reworks Vol. 1 - (Sony Music Masterworks)
10. Jane Bunnett & Maqueque - On Firm Ground / Tierra Firme - (Universal Music)

Honorable Mention:

Matt Olson - 789 Miles - (OA2 (Origin))
PJ Perry featuring Bill Mays - This Quiet Room - (Cellar Live)
Way North - Fearless and Kind - (Independent)
Miles Brown - Evidence of Soul and Body - (Detroit Music Factory)

Vocalists

Rank��� Artist - Album - Label

1. Catherine Russell - Alone Together - (Dot Time Records)

This Grammy nominated outing from vocalist Russell contains a group of Swing Era tracks that really suit her unique voice. She is aided by an excellent band, which includes Canadian reed player Evan Arntzen. Favourites include “He May Be Your Dog But He’s Wearing My Collar” and “Is You Is or Is You Ain't My Baby.”
http://www.catherinerussell.net/
https://www.dottimerecords.com/product/catherine-russell-alone-together/

2. Kurt Elling, James Morrison - Live in New York - (Universal Music Australia)

Elling, the consummate crooner and storyteller has joined forces with multi-instrumentalist Morrison and an excellent, all Australian band, in a swinging, Vegas style production that hits all the right notes. Nightclub entertainment at a high level it is! Favourites include “September In The Rain”, “I Was Telling Her About You”, and “Save Your Love For Me.”
https://kurtelling.com/
http://www.jamesmorrison.com/

3. Kinga - Forever in My Heart - (Independent)

Kelowna, BC, based Kinga has put together a fine album. She beautifully, sings and swings her way through classic tracks from the Great American Songbook. Her Vancouver-based musicians (all except one track) are fronted by multi-instrumentalist Miles Black, who also does a great job on the arrangements. Favourites are “The Very Thought of You,” “No More Blues,” and “Here's to Life.”
https://www.kinga-jazz.com/
https://store.cdbaby.com/cd/kingaheming

4. Veronica Swift Confessions - (Mack Avenue)

New York based Swift has split her album between Benny Green's Trio and the Emmit Cohen Trio. Both outfits shine. Swift, effortlessly, sings and scats her way through both swing and bop classics. Favourites include “You're Gonna Hear From Me, and “No Regrets.”
https://www.veronicaswift.com/
https://www.mackavenue.com/store/mac1149

5. Elizabeth Shepherd - Montreal - (Pinwheel Music)

Vocalist, keyboard player, composer, Shepherd has put together a unique album that is based on�� extensive research. She interviewed some amazing people who call the city of Montreal, their home. This bilingual production has included multi-media projections and text. The album itself blends soulful sounds and electronics for which Shepherd has become known, along with parts of some of the interviews. This may be the most unique album I have heard in a long time. Favourites include “Suits and Ties” and “La Boxe.”
http://elizabethshepherd.com/home/
https://elizabethshepherd.bandcamp.com/album/montr-al

6.�Lucy Yeghiazaryan - Blue Heaven - (Cellar)
7.�Diana Panton - Solstice / Equinox - (Universal Music)
8. Angela Verbrugge - The Night We Couldn't Say Good Night - (Gut String Records)
9. Tyrone Mr. Superfantastic - Long Road - (Can Do Productions)
10. Patrice Jegou - If It Ain't Love - Prairie Star Records)

Honorable Mention

Heather Bambrick - Fine State - (Independent)
Karin Plato - This Could Be the One - (Independent)
Cyrille Aimee - Move On: A Sondheim Adventure - (Mack Avenue)
Sheila Soares - All There Is - (Indpendent)

Most over-rated record of the year

Miles Davis Rubberband

The “lost album” from the late trumpet player. No arguing about his talent, but his playing just doesn't seem to fit with the style of the rest of the album/players. I hope others get enjoyment out of it, but I guess I'm sorry it was found.

 
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