KCCK Producers' Top 10's for 2011

Mark Yother
Bob Stewart
Gordon Paulsen
John Heim (blues)
Bob Naujoks
Craig Kessler
Doug "DJ" Jackson

Mark Yother: Monday-Friday 6 a.m. - 10 a.m. / Sundays 6 a.m. - 9 a.m.

1) Bill Allred featuring John Allred - The New York Sessions (Arbors)

2011 was representative in that nearly all the recordings we received were representative of the kind that come in during a typical year: mostly new releases and new artists, perhaps a few reissues, rarely anything of a truly vintage nature (my own special interests). But there is principally one label -- Arbors -- that regularly tends the garden of memory, and I have chosen one of its offerings as my album of the year. It is "The New York Sessions" led by veteran trombonist Bill Allred and featuring his trombonist John, who usually works the more modern side of the street. Include Jeff Phillips, Howard Alden, Nicki Parrott, Warren Vache and Ed Metz and all is in place for a trip through some traditional songs that still have meaning for us today. To name a few: Lullaby of Birdland, Davenport Blues, Always, Muskrat Ramble, Sweet Sue and a few more. All are done with skill and love. Bassist Parrott has a big smile in the cover art. Spin this one a few times and you will too.

2) Bill Easley - Love Stories (American Showplace)

3) Brad Mehldau - Live In Marciac (Nonesuch)

4) Ken Peplowski - In Search Of (Capri)

5) Terrell Stafford - This Side of Strayhorn (MaxJazz)

6) Swingadelic - The Other Duke (Zoho)

7) Warren Vache-John Allred Quintet - Top Shelf (Arbors)

8) Howard Alden - I Remember Django (Concord)

9) Monty Alexander - Uplift (Jazz Legacy Productions)

10) Karrin Allyson - 'Round Midnight (Concord)

Bob Stewart: Monday-Friday 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.

1) Bela Fleck and the Flecktones - Rocket Science (eOne)

The Flecktones welcomed back harmonica ace and keyboardist Howard Levy to the fold after nearly twenty years away. An original member of the band, Levy stepped back in when reedman Jeff Coffin went to work with the Dave Matthews Band. The quartet is reinvigorated with the addition, expanding on their unique blend of jazz, progressive bluegrass, funk and world music, and creating a fresh and exciting new project which tickled my senses.

2) Joe Lovano Us Five - Bird Songs (Blue Note)

3) Karrin Allyson - Round Midnight (Concord)

4) Miguel Zenon - Alma Adentro: the Puerto Rican Songbook (Marsalis Music)

5) Terri Lyne Carrington - The Mosaic Project (Concord)

6) Avishai Cohen - Seven Seas (Sunnyside)

7) Gerald Veasley - Electric Mingus Project (Fanwave)

8) Stefon Harris/David Sanchez/Christian Scott - Ninety Miles (Concord Picante)

9) Julian Lage - Gladwell (EmArcy/Decca)

10) The Nightcrawler - Down in the Bottom (Cellar Live)

Gordon Paulsen: Monday-Friday 2 p.m. - 6 p.m.

1) The New Gary Burton Quartet - Common Ground (Mack Avenue)

To many ears the NEW Gary Burton Quartet may sound quite similar to the old Gary Burton quartets of years past - which is a good thing. There is the sublime juxtaposition of the vibes and the guitar, a truly democratic and demanding interplay between all the instruments, and a penchant to swing incessantly during up tempo tunes. Burton put this latest group together shortly after retiring from Berklee and Common Ground is the band's debut release for Detroit based Mack Avenue Records. Of the 10 tracks, six are originals by current band members, two are from former Burton sideman Vadim Neselovskyi, one Keith Jarrett composition, and the Rogers & Hart ballad standard "My Funny Valentine." The musicians are all first rate - Scott Colby (bass), Antonio Sanchez (drums), and the phenomenal young talent of Julian Lage (guitar). Gary Burton told Marc Myers in a Jazzwax on line review, "My inspiration for the band was a classical string quartet, where everyone plays a fairly equal role. I wish I could say it was something I did, but the sound we produced was really a mater of bringing the right musicians together and letting the collective chemistry work."

2) Charlie Haden Quartet West - Sophisticated Ladies (EmArcy)

3) Terri Lyne Carrington - The Mosaic Project (Concord Jazz)

4) Monty Alexander - Harlem-Kingston Express Live! (Motema)

5) Rene' Marie - Voice of My Beautiful Country (Motema)

6) Julian Lage Group - Gladwell (Universal/EmArcy)

7) Marcus Miller - A Night in Monte-Carlo (Concord Jazz)

8) Yellowjackets - Timeline (Mack Avenue)

9) Alphonse Mouzon - Angel Face (Tenacious)

10) James Carter Organ Trio - At the Crossroads (EmArcy)

John Heim (blues): Fridays: 6 p.m. - 11 p.m.

1) Warren Haynes - Man In Motion (Telarc)

Warren Haynes will tell us all about himself if we just listen close enough. Shoot, he'll even print the lyrics. But all we really have to do is listen to the title cut. The mighty Gov't Mule hooks & Allman Brothers duels are replaced by some soulful grooves recorded at Willie Nelson's in Texas. Warren Haynes' voice takes over this recording and he's at his sad and soulful best on these nine original tunes plus a cover. Ivan Neville, organ and George Porter, Jr. add gravitas with Ron Holloway playing sax, Ian McLagan on piano and Ruthie Foster singing background vocals. Its finely crafted music that oozes soul and passion that hits on many levels. I always thought of Warren Haynes as a soul singer first and foremost and this CD shows he's at his best in this genre. Warren Haynes is definitely a Man In Motion.

2) Johnny Winter - Roots (Megaforce)

3) Roomful of Blues - Hook, Line and Sinker (Alligator Records)

4) Tedeschi Trucks Band - Revelator (Sony Masterworks)

5) Moreland & Arbuckle - Just A Dream (Telarc)

6) Marcia Ball Roadside Attractions (Alligator Records)

7) Mary Flower - Misery Loves Company (Yellow Dog)

8) Gregg Allman - Low Country Blues (Rounder)

9) Kenny Brown - Can't Stay Long (Devil Down Records)

10) The Duke Robillard Band - Valleys of Neptune (Stony Plain Music)

Bob Naujoks: Sundays: 9 a.m. - 11 a.m. (Gentle Jazz)

1) Karrin Allyson - Round Midnight (Concord)

1) Bill Cornish - Inner Visions (Cornish)

The Karrin Allyson release is the best recording she has come out with in a decade, and she has done some fine stuff over the years. 'Round Midnight is a gem of gentle music with Allyson on piano, her compadre from Kansas City, Rod Fleeman on guitar and Bob Sheppard on reeds. Allyson's voice is now deeper and richer and her interpretations are the same. Bill Cornish is a pianist who has a varied musical background in Rock, World and Jazz music. His self-release is marvelously eclectic and very stimulating ranging from solo piano to rhythmic ensembles. It's a joyful work and available on line at his website or from

3) Dan Block - From His World To Mine-The Music of Duke Ellington (Miles High)

4) Charlie Haden - Sophisticated Ladies (EmArcy/Decca)

5) Irene Kral - Second Chances (Delta Groove)

6) Rene Marie - Voice of My Beautiful Country (Motema)

7) Ken Peplowsk - In Search of... (Capri)

8) Houston Person - Moment To Moment (HighNote)

9) Warren Vache-John Allred - Top Shelf (Arbors Jazz)

10) Norma Winstone - Stories Yet To Tell (ECM)

Addendum: Not far behind my two number one's is the Dan Block Ellington set; varied ensembles and thoughtful renderings of the music. Bassist Charlie Haden continues to do things differently, here with female vocalists and excellent rendering of standards. The Irene Kral recording is a recent issue of a live LA date with Alan Broadbent on piano; truly a marvelous offering for a top drawer, but obscure singer. Another overlooked contemporary jazz singer is Rene Marie who works out of Denver; her recordings show how inventive and challenging jazz vocalists can be. Ken Peplowski's Capri issue shows him to be the best of the traditional swing reedmen (clarinet, especially) in this day. (Though the cover artwork is pretty messy.) In the same vein, Houston Person is the present-day Ben Webster-consistent and full of spirit. The Warren Vache-John Allred (cornet-trombone) issue highlights the absolutely superb mainstream jazz that Arbors Jazz consistently issues year after year. And if you are set for a challenge in vocal jazz, try the Norma Winstone on ECM; her cool and calm belie the inner heat.

Craig Kessler: Saturday 2 p.m. - 6 p.m. (Jazz Corner of The World)

1) Adam Kolker - Reflections (Sunnyside)

Well, once again, another stunning year for the hundreds of new jazz releases out during 2011. It would be so much easier if I could name my top 100 in no particular order, usual, here are the 10 discs that have (or will have) spent the most time next to the CD player. Adam Kolker's "Reflections" release (out 5/17/11) continues to move me and I still hear new things with each listen. There are so many moments that feel like you're hearing the "history" of many of the coolest genres of modern jazz, while all along the way, witnessing the "future" of jazz. As with many of the best releases, there are very moving stories being told here in a variety of ways -- duets, trios, quartets, and a quintet, and spiced with a couple of ultra-sophisticated vocals. Kolker's reeds are complimented by John Hebert on bass, Russ Lossing on piano(3 trx), Billy Mintz on drums, John Abercrombie on guitar (2 trx), and voices of Judi Silvano and Kay Matsukawa. Kolker has been and continues to be a nonpareil innovator / visionary when it comes to reworking standards, composing, arranging, and his very personal style of outstanding musicianship. In a better world, we could look up the word "hip" in the dictionary, and there would be a picture of Adam Kolker's "Reflections" from Sunnyside Communications. The following 9 releases are all "tied for #2" and are listed by artist's name in alphabetical order:

David Binney - Barefooted Town (Criss Cross Jazz)

Avishai Cohen (bassist) - Seven Seas (Sunnyside)

Pierre Dorge - Sketches Of India (SteepleChase Records)

Joel Harrison String Choir - The Music Of Paul Motian (Sunnyside)

Keith Jarrett - Rio (ECM Records)

Julian Lage - Gladwell (Emarcy)

Enrico Rava - Tribe (ECM Records)

Eric Reed - Something Beautiful (WJ3 Records)

Alex Sipiagin - Destinations Unknown (Criss Cross Jazz)

Doug "DJ" Jackson: Saturdays 8 a.m. - Noon (Smooth Brunch)

1) Bob Baldwin - Trippin N Rhythm (Newurbanjazz.com2/Revibe )

First of all, the "Hello Tomorrow" cd by Dave Koz dominated the smooth jazz charts in 2011, but it was actually released late 2010, and therefore was not included in my top 10 for 2011. So, in my opinion, after a great phone interview, a great concert, and back-to-back successful cd's, Bob Baldwin has the #1 spot for 2011, as he again gives us a lesson in new urban jazz, a music genre that is spreading across the land. So get on board!

2) Craig T. Cooper - Nasty Man (Craigland Records)

3) Brian Lenair - Eye Of The Storm (Grits & Gravy Productions)

4) Maysa - Motions Of Love (Shanachie)

5) Lorenzo Johnson - Things Are Looking Up (Zosmooth Records)

6) Gail Jhonson - Her Story (111 East Records)

7) Boney James - Contact (Verve Forecast)

8) Euge Groove - S7ven Large (Shanachie)

9) Kim Waters - This Heart Of Mine (Shanachie)

10) Richard Elliot - In The Zone (Mack Avenue/Artistry Music)