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Best of 2012 List – Beyond Category



Best Recordings of 2012 – Selection by Canada Editor Raul da Gama –

Wadada Leo Smith – Ten Freedom Summers – Cuneiform Records

An epic 4-disc suite that remembers the Civil Rights Movement and pays homage to Dr. Martin Luther King and other significant men and women of the Movement by one of the most iconic trumpeter, composer and musician of the modern era… Read our full review.

David Virelles – Continuum – Pi Records

A near Homeric odyssey set to music that is at once a lesson in musical history as well as in that which led to the Ascent of Man by the young Cuban-born pianist, whose intellect rivals his own virtuosity in this evolving collision with the great drummer, Andrew Cyrille… Read our full review.

Makrokosmos Quartet – Round Midnight – hatART Records

The majestic and angular, contemporary tribute to Thelonious Monk played by two sets of pianists—the Turkish brothers, Ufuk and Bahar Dördüncü, whose repertoire includes J.S Bach, Claude Debussy, Toru Takemitsu and Kemal Sunder; and two percussionists Sébastien Cordier and Francois Volpé, who between them have played works by Giacinto Scelsi, Brian Ferneyhough and Helmut Lachenmann… Read our full review.

Lucía Pulido – Por Esos Caminos – Ojo Música

Lucía Pulido immerses herself into narrative and lyrics like no other musician recording and performing today. Moreover, she is capable of communicating feelings and emotions directly to the soul… A flawless recording by one of the finest vocalist’s active today; Ms. Pulido is a worthy successor to the likes Billie Holiday and Abbey Lincoln… Read our full review.

Tcha Limberber and Herman Schamp – Reizigers—Dialogue ex tempore – Independent Release

Here Igor Stravinsky and Arnold Schoenberg; Bela Bartok, Aram Khachaturian gently collide with the beautiful restlessness of the Manouche in the gilded, contrapuntal arena of Johann Sebastian Bach and the realm of the harmolodic expansionism of Ornette Coleman… Read our full review.

Aruán Ortiz and the Camerata Urbana Ensemble – Santiarican Blus Suite – Sunnyside Records

This record by a very special artist will go down as one of the most significant works of music. Its power, significance and beauty will forever linger in the soul, where all musical art is enjoyed to the fullest. Ortiz is among a growing tribe of Afro-Cuban artists who have arrived in the USA and continue to conquer the world… Read our full review.

Donald Vega – Spiritual Nature – Resonance Records

It takes probably three or four bars into the first song, “Scorpio,” on pianist Donald Vega’s Resonance album Spiritual Nature for a magical spell to unfold. This is not the spell of an exhibitionist on a dimly-lit stage that recalls a Houdini or some Eastern Pasha; rather it is an entrancing recital by one of the most elegant and intellectually astounding pianists of today… Read our full review.

Miguel Zenón and Laurent Coq – Rayuela – Sunnyside Records

Rayuela the legendary 1963 Spanish novel by the great Argentinean writer, Julio Cortázar had an equally illustrious incarnation in English in 1966 as Hopscotch… Thanks to alto saxophonist Miguel Zenón, pianist Laurent Coq and Executive Producer Francois Zalaçain the existential angst of another generation has been shaken up with the magnificent musical telling of the oblique narrative… Read our full review.

Ryan Truesdell – The Gill Evans Centennial Project – ArtistShare

Among some of the most significant aspects of the career of the legendary Gil Evans that seems lost to listeners of great music is that his reputation rests on the shoulders of Miles Davis. Ryan Truesdell remedies this in one of the most fabulous big band records that brings to fruition some of Evans’ great “lost” music… Read our full review.

Carmen Souza –Kachupada – Galileo Music

Carmen Souza is the extraordinarily talented vocalist, who lives in Lisbon, Portugal, and has brought her unique mix of Afro-Caribbean and native Cape-Verden Creole music to the world in. She has melded this with the fluttering feeling of saudade and the dialect of jazz into an idiom of her own… Read our full review.

Based in Milton, Ontario, Canada, Raul is a poet, musician and an accomplished critic whose profound analysis is reinforced by his deep understanding of music, technically as well as historically.

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