Bob Bernotas, WNTI's host of Just Jazz, makes the following four CD recommendations:
Thomas Barber's Janus Bloc: Snow Road (D Clef): In Greek mythology the god Janus, typically depicted with two heads, was thought to posses the power to see both the future and the past. Trumpeter-composer Thomas Barber with his well-named ensemble, Janus Bloc, has created invigorating music that is aware of jazz's past and looks ahead to its future, while bringing that future into the present. Trumpeter Claudio Roditi guests on two tracks.
Thomas Barber's Janus Bloc:
Snow Road (D Clef)
Samuel Blaser: Pieces of Old Sky (Clean Feed): This new release by the accomplished young Swiss trombonist-composer Samuel Blaser and his working quartet is challenging, stimulating, and totally original. His music is not just on the cutting edge of jazz, it's on the razor's edge, peeling away familiar banality, shaving off comfortable clichés, slicing right to the core of true creativity.
Poncho Sanchez: Psychedelic Blues (Concord Picante): Master conguero Poncho Sanchez blends hard bop with Latin jazz, applying his percussive magic to classic tunes by John Coltrane, Herbie Hancock, John Hicks, Freddie Hubbard, and Horace Silver. There also are some terrific new originals and a "Willie Bobo Medley" that adds a groovy taste of boogaloo to this already spicy mix.
Gerald Wilson: Detroit (Mack Avenue): At the age of 91 - yes, you read that correctly, 91! - composer-arranger Gerald Wilson is still a major force in the world of big band jazz. The centerpiece of his latest CD is a swinging six-part suite, commissioned to commemorate the thirtieth anniversary of the Detroit International Jazz Festival. Two previously unreleased 2007 tracks supplement what is, without doubt, the best new big band CD of 2009.
Purchasing any of these CDs using these links also supports WNTI: