Best albums of 2009 - Jazz / Chris Barton
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Vijay Iyer( Lynne Harty / ACT Music )
Like the rest of the recording industry, jazz clearly has its issues going into 2010. But rumors of its death remain greatly exaggerated. In the last 12 months, a variety of performers released remarkable, forward-looking music that in some cases showed little regard for barriers between genre or culture. A sampling of the year's best, ranked from 1 to 10.
1. Vijay Iyer, "Historicity" (Act Music + Vision): No record defined the jazz landscape in 2009 quite like this release on a German label from a New York-based piano trio led by the son of Indian immigrants. Backed by an acrobatic rhythm section of Marcus Gilmore and Stephan Crump, Iyer delivered a complex yet accessible mix of originals and covers from both the jazz firmament (Andrew Hill) and cutting-edge pop (M.I.A.).
Pictured: Stephan Crump, left, Marcus Gilmore and Vijay Iyer.