1) Tony Bennett and Bill Charlap: The Silver Lining: The Jerome Kern Songbook
Almost approaching 90, Tony Bennett shows with this album that he is a fine wine that simply gets better and better with age. This album featuring the sensitive piano styling’s of piano great Bill Charlap (featured in solo, in duo with his pianist wife Renee Rosnes and in his classic trio with Peter Washington on Bass and Kenny Washington on Drums) takes the timeless songs of Jerome Kern and makes it a definitive statement in 21st century jazz and popular song. Quite frankly one of the best CD’s of 2015 hands down. Highlights: All The Things You Are, Pick Yourself Up, The Way You Look Tonight, Yesterdays, and Look for the Silver Lining.
2) Landen Vieira: Dream
One of the most stunning jazz debuts in a long time from a 23-year-old saxophonist and composer wunderkind from Toronto. Hearing his playing shows real depth, emotion, and maturity well beyond his years, and his writing has echoes of some of the best composers in jazz such as Duke Ellington, Billy Strayhorn and Wayne Shorter. It is also a record that respects the tradition of jazz while taking the music forward.
3) Various Artists: Oscar With Love
Kelly Peterson, Oscar’s widow, produced and orchestrated this well executed valentine for Oscar Peterson Fans with this stunning and well priced three CD set. It comprises of mostly Oscar Peterson compositions played in solo and duo configurations, and all pianists played on Oscar’s home piano in their home studio. This is a collection that all fans of the great Oscar Peterson should run and get a hold of.
Christian McBride Big Band – high-octane swinging big band led by one of the top bass players in the world
Blind Boys of Alabama: Free concert during Panamania that brought the gospel soul and rhythms to an infections audience
Danilo Perez Panamania: Danilo Perez, with orchestra, and a quartet featuring Miguel Zenon, John Pattitucci and Brian Blade, premiering an arresting work especially commissioned for the Pan American celebrations in Toronto
David Virelles and Gnosis: Avant Garde Latin-jazz at its most intense, rhythmic, and melodic from viruostic Cuban pianist and composer David Virelles.
George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic: One Nation Under A Groove. Tear The Roof Off The Sucker (Give Up The Funk). Nuff Said.
Snarky Puppy: the premier jazz jam band of all time played an arresting set of high octane funk and electric jazz to a packed audience. One of the most electric moments I have ever encountered.
Oscar @ 90: Star Studded concert spectacular celebrating the release of the brand new “Oscar With Love” recording, with Benny Green, Robi Botos, Oliver Jones, Bill Charlap, Renee Rosnes, Kenny Barron and Gerald Clayton taking turns on Oscar’s very own Bosendorfer piano.
- Conrad Gayle