So many brilliant artists released amazing music this year and, as with each year, something unexpected and undefinable emerged. It is clear– musicians of this generation are redefining a music we all love and adhere to. Instead of simply repeating a familiar sound, they are making bold efforts to express themselves. It is to them that we look for what’s to come and what will be next. Here’s our top 5 tunes of 2013. Enjoy.
1. “Some Always” by Gerald Clayton
While there have been many seriously killing recordings this year, Gerald Clayton’s “Some Always” is truly something special. This tune has, without question, some of the most intricate, conversational group interplay of any recording this year. With vocalist Gretchen Parlato, drummer Justin Brown, bassist Joe Sanders, trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire, saxophonists Dayna Stephens and Logan Richardson, and the man himself, pianist Gerald Clayton, this statement comes as no surprise. This tune is an exhibition of a hella talented group of musicians. Put on your headphones and check it out!
2. “Blue Nude” by Aaron Diehl
Pianist Aaron Diehl has also made it onto Revive’s top 5 list. This original composition is a subdued, understated tune that grooves harder then just about anything you will find. With a slowly developing climactic arc, Blue Nude patiently takes the listener through a musical story that is well worth the wait. Featuring vibraphonist Warren Wolf, drummer Rodney Green, and bassist David Wong, Mr. Diehl has a heavy group at his side.
3. “Reimagine the World” by Jeremy Pelt
Trumpeter and composer Jeremy Pelt has made it to our top 5 with his surprising original composition “Reimagine the World.” With the always-sexy Fender Rhodes and an unexpected use of vocals, this composition feels like a fusion of 1970’s, Freddie Hubbard-esq jazz and straight up R&B. This song isn’t something you only share with your jazz friends; it’s a song that you can role too.
4. “Let It Ride” by Robert Glasper
Let’s be honest, you all saw this one coming. Black Radio 2 was without a doubt one of the most highly anticipated releases of 2013. While there were a lot of tunes on this record that were up for contention, “Let It Ride” came out on top. Drummer Mark Colenburg, bassist Derrick Hodge, vocoderist/saxophonist Casey Benjamin, and pianist Robert Glasper lay down a wild, high-octane groove that comes at the listener faster then a Chevy Camero. This intensity is beautifully balanced by the calming voice of guest artist Norah Jones. If you haven’t checked this album out yet, make it a point to do so.
5. “Anthem in 7” by Derrick Hodge
Derrick Hodge is back on our list with his tune “Anthem in 7” off his highly celebrated album “Live Today.” Drummer Mark Colenburg simply goes ham on this recording playing over 7/4 time like it’s nothing. Derrick Hodge shows his versatility as a bassist acting both as a lead voice and as an anchor. Regardless of the role that Hodge plays in the recording, his presence feels centered around the composition, not his technical ability.