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Three Jazz Sightings In Pop Territory

Christian Scott's new album is very well-liked among Amazon's editorial staff. Kiel Scott hide caption

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Kiel Scott

Christian Scott's new album is very well-liked among Amazon's editorial staff.

Kiel Scott

Here are three recent outcroppings of good jazz in esteemed territories usually populated by pop music.

  1. Trumpeter Christian Scott's album Yesterday You Said Tomorrow, released earlier this year, was recently named #3 in Amazon.com's Best Music of 2010 ... So Far roundup. Nearly all the other records in the top 50 are pop/rock/folk/etc.; there's another exception for jazz vocalist Stacey Kent's Raconte-Moi, clocking in at #47. It's a good look for a good musician.
  2. The 12 nominees for the 2010 Mercury Prize — a high-profile award given annually for best U.K. album of the year — were announced today. True to form, a jazz record was shortlisted: this year, it was the Kit Downes trio's Golden. Who is Kit Downes? Sebastian Scotney writes on the pianist. What other albums were nominated? The Mercury Prize website knows. What do I think? This is from last year.
  3. Fred Anderson may be gone, but his legacy lives on. To wit: late last Friday night, someone saw fit to paint his visage on a wall last weekend near Chicago's Pitchfork Music Festival, as the Chicago Reader demonstrates. Once upon a time, the festival also welcomed adventurous improv by Ken Vandermark's Powerhouse Sound, the William Parker quartet, and Craig Taborn's Junk Magic band. One wonders if groups like that will ever see a Pitchfork stage (or even a review) again.
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It's nice when jazz recordings can enter the conversations of music conoisseurs who don't follow jazz particularly closely. Personally, I wish it happened more often — or at least to the point when these three events would be less unusual.