D.C.’s Best Records of 2011, Honorable Mention (Part 1 of 2)


Compiled by Giovanni Russonello & Luke Stewart
Editorial board

These have been a triumphant 12 months for D.C. jazz, and the recordings that came out in 2011 provide lasting evidence of the vast creativity that this revolutionary year has seen.

 
Farther afield, New York City transplant Ben Williams repped his D.C. roots with an acclaimed debut album that will go down as a testament to the positive influence today’s popular music (including go-go) is having on jazz. But inside the District’s city limits, too, 2011 seems to have been the year when jazz broke out, when the floodgates opened up and all the sundry sounds of this city — a mixing bowl filled with hip-hop, funk, swing and so much else — were finally brought to bear on record. This was also D.C. jazz’s Year of the Woman, so to speak, as the list below demonstrates; the first annual Washington Women in Jazz Festival had a successful run in March, and throughout the year a number of female jazz musicians emerged as formidable leaders.

Over the next two days, CapitalBop will be devoting consecutive posts to the 2011 albums we most enjoyed by D.C. jazz artists. Tomorrow we’ll count down our Top 5 of the year, but today we begin with the folks who just barely didn’t make it onto that list: the honorable mentions. If you’re frantically searching for last-minute Christmas gifts, or just seeking out great music for your own benefit, look no further.

Amy K. Bormet, “Striking”

 
Amy K. Bormet, the Bohemian Caverns Jazz Orchestra’s house pianist, displays her sharp-as-pepper keyboard attack, deft songwriting and chirrupy vocals on this debut album, which puts the listener in mind of strolling down a 21st-century Tin Pan Alley. (words by Giovanni Russonello)
Read CapitalBop’s full review | Hear & buy CD

Herman Burney, “Offering”

 
This varied release from Herman Burney, one of the best bassists on the scene, exemplifies how a musician can give back to his teachers in a fresh, engaging manner. (words by Luke Stewart)
Read CapitalBop’s full review | Hear & buy CD

Reginald Cyntje, “Freedom’s Children: The Celebration”

 
For trombonist Reginald Cyntje, a U.S. Virgin Islands native, his debut release contains complexities as rich and diverse as the African diaspora itself. It is a reflection of the deep reverence the man has for his musical roots and his heritage. (LS)
Read CapitalBop’s full review | Hear & buy CD

Lydia Lewis, “Cosmic Collisions”

 
Lydia Lewis’ fulsome first album encompasses 13 songs, all originals composed by the leader or members of her band. A flexible drummer, Lewis finds traction in swing, Latin and rock grooves. (GR)
Read CapitalBop’s full review | Hear & buy CD

Lena Seikaly, “Lovely Changes”

 
When it comes to vocal talent, Lena Seikaly’s is an embarrassment of riches. On her second record, she applies her knowing, assiduous coloring to an array of canvases: a Brazilian standard here, an original tune there, even a jazz reading of a Beach Boys classic. (GR)
Read CapitalBop’s full review | Hear & buy CD

Véronneau, “Joie de Vivre”

 
Gypsy jazz, bossa nova, Appalachian folk and acoustic pop come together in one seamless package on the debut from Véronneau, a recently formed quartet. And it’s all tied up with a bright ribbon on top, in the form of multilingual frontwoman Lynne Véronneau’s breezy vocals. (GR)
Hear & buy CD

Andréa Wood, “Dhyana”

 
If high ambition and serious payoff were two of the major themes for jazz in 2011, 24-year-old Andréa Wood is a prime example. Her far-flung debut finds the vocalist interpolating a familiar standard over a hip-hop beat; singing a Brazilian classic over nothing but steel pan drum, bass and percussion; and taking a beguiling turn on the stirring French-Caribbean ballad, “Syracuse.” (GR)
Read CapitalBop’s full review | Hear & buy CD

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  1. […] best-of lists for the best local jazz records of 2011. It’s divided into two sections: one list of honorable mentions, and a traditional top-5 countdown.  Be sure to click through for reviews and samples from the […]

  2. […] CapitalBop D.C’s Best Records of 2011 ← AW is Listen Local First’s DC Local Music Day featured artist! […]

    Andrea Wood /
  3. If there were any doubt as to the richness and depth of DC’s musical talent wealth, this year’s offerings should remove it!! Very nice piece CapitalBop!!

    EA Stansbury /

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