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The Decade in Jazz and World Music

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

We continue our Critics' Week coverage of the decade in music with a look at the best of world music and jazz. Siddhartha Mitter, world music critic for the Boston Globe, and Will Layman, jazz critic for, give us their picks for the decade that was.

Blog: John Schaefer on "niche market" breakthroughs

Siddhartha Mitter's Top Ten World Music Albums:
Three from 2009:
1. Buraka Som Sistema, Black Diamond
2. Kailash Kher, Yatra
3. Otto, Certa manhã acordei de sonhos intranquilos
Seven from the decade:
4. Youssou N'Dour, Egypt
5. Cafe Tacuba, Cuatro caminos
6. Souad Massi, Mesk elil
7. Andy Palacio, Watina
8. Kekele, Kinavana
9. Ali Farka Toure, Savane
10. Buika, Niña de fuego

Will Layman's Top Ten Jazz Albums:
Three from 2009:
1. Vijay Iyer Trio, Historicity
2. John Hollenbeck Large Ensemble, Eternal Interlude
3. Henry Threadgill, This Brings Us To, Volume I
Seven more, chronologically:
4. Andrew Hill, Dusk
5. William Parker, O'Neal's Porch
6. The Bad Plus, These Are the Vistas
7. Wayne Shorter, Beyond the Sound Barrier
8. Steve Bernstein, Millennial Territory Orchestra, Volume One
9. Robert Glasper Trio, In My Element
10. Cassandra Wilson, Loverly


Will Layman and Siddhartha Mitter

Comments [7]

Will Layman from DC

Joe from New York --

I understand the distinction you are making. But that music was neither fusion (the good stuff -- fast, precise, electric) nor smooth jazz (the mushy stuff -- kind of instrumental R&B with simple pentatonic melodies, funk groove, Kenny G stuff). I get it. Neither one is really happening these days, not in a good way, anyway.

-- Will

Dec. 16 2009 03:38 PM
Joe from New York

"There's nothing fusiony about it; it's not smooth jazz."

Mr. Layman, fusion is not smooth jazz! So many critics seem to equate the two, but they are not at all the same.

Dec. 16 2009 02:36 PM
Soundcheck Producer from WNYC

Attention Tinariwen fans: the band didn't escape Siddhartha's notice. Check out the full feature on the culture page, here:

Dec. 16 2009 02:36 PM
Sandra from Astoria, Queens

Count me as another fan of Tinariwen! They are amazing.

Dec. 16 2009 02:26 PM
Alex from Brooklyn

Ha ha!

I promise I don't know Sam.

Dec. 16 2009 02:26 PM
Alex from Brooklyn

Sublime Frequencies should get some credit for putting out a lot of interesting music over the last few years.

Group Inerane- Guitars from Agadez
Group Bombino- Guitars from Agadez 2

Group Doueh

What about Tinariwen?

Do reissues count?
The African Pearls series
Franco Anthologies
Rail Band Anthologies
Bembeya Jazz National, Balla et Ses Balladins, Keletigui et ses Tambourinis compilations on Sterns.

Dec. 16 2009 02:23 PM
Sam from astoria

Very surprised not to see Tinariwen on the list, and a little surprised not to see any releases from Sublime Frequencies, the renegade Seattle-based world music label.

Dec. 16 2009 02:17 PM

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