on life, music etc beyond mainstream

2016 6 Dez

Brian’s list of favourite albums 2016

von: Brian Whistler Filed under: Blog | TB | 21 Comments




01 Hamasyan / Henriksen / Aarset / Bang: Atmospheres
02 Jacob Bro: Streams
03 Jacob Collier: In My Room
04 The Impossible Gentlemen: Let’s Get Deluxe
05 Michel Benita: River Silver
06 Paul Simon: Stranger To Stranger
07 Sinakka Langeland: The Magical Forest
08 Warren Wolf: Convergence
09 Miroslav Vitous: The Music of Weather Report
10 Bill Evans: Some Other Time


Top re-release: Peter Erskine Trio – As It Was (though to me this will always be the John Taylor Trio).

2nd top re-release:Weather Report – Tale Spinnin‘-Audio Fidelity SACD


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  1. Michael Engelbrecht:

    Thx, the best would be, you’ll send your changes to

    Tomorrow is the day of all lists coming together: Nikolaus! :)

    But if it is difficult to send emails to that adress from Russian River, CA, or whereever on the road, do it this way.

    See it as a work in progress that will, at least, run till tomorrow :)

    The DoD (department of design) will shape your list a bit. Maybe you want to write a few more sentences, leave it at that, or put in a photo from ome of your Western hot spots … for „atmospheric value“ – feel free.

  2. Jochen:

    It´s alright this way, if Brian (or someone else) wants to do it on his own (the easy way). Martina as well will post the list by herself, as far as I know.

    Concerning to all lists I will match a cover to every list, which is not necessary the no. 1 listed, for design-technical reasons. If one has an idiosyncratic dislike to this attributed cover, please tell me (via mail or in the comment).

  3. Michael Engelbrecht:

    Brian, there will be a counting, and there will be a prize. The counting is easier than zthe fucking American elections system.

    No. 1 30 pts
    No. 2 25 pts
    No. 3 20 pts

    No. 4 17 pts, then spiralling down till 1 for No. 20 (for those go so far).

    The prize will be one for two. The CD/DVD rereleases incl 5:1 film footage etc of BEAT and THREE OF A KIND by King Crimson. Arrival till Christmas.

  4. Jochen:

    But according to this rule Jan will be disqualified and he knows why … ;)

  5. Michael Engelbrecht:

    Ah, Jan may have resisted to fabricate a numbered list.

    C’m on, this is a game in our endless numbered days. Re-shape, re-model :)

  6. Jochen:

    Shall I uncover the secret? He had the impertinence to name several number ones.

    Be shure there will be points substracted … ;)

  7. Michael Engelbrecht:

    Well, then we have to slightly undermine this trickery: we will actually roll the dice to create a virtual number 1 2 3 etc. – thus he‘ s stull part of the lottery … and we can adapt our countng systems. 30 points stay singular then.

  8. Brian Whistler:

    Ok, I guess I misunderstood. If I revise my list, I will try to keep it per your format. As for pics, I may be able to provide a few. And I will email the changes to the address given. No problems. I would like to get to 10. The problem is, I mostly bought older releases and re-releases this year. Still, 10 is a nice round number so I will attempt it.

  9. Michael Engelbrecht:

    No chance for TALE SPINNIN‘ :)

  10. Ingo J. Biermann:

    Oh, nice, I never heard of The Impossible Gentlemen and Jacob Collier.

    Will check them out. The other 4 I have.

    And in particular the 3 ECM albums are among my 2016 favorites as well, though into the list you’re about to see tomorrow I think only one ECM album made it. I still prefer Jakob Bro’s previous album, since I haven’t listened to the new one often enough. But on „Nordische Musik“ we chose it as our album of the month in November.

    I also got the Erskine box, but so far have only enjoyed the first album of the four in it. Great one. I had basically missed Erskine’s trio before …

  11. Brian whistler:

    I think I may have to put the reissue of Tale Spinni‘ on the list, even tho no quad layer. It’s really excellent, unhyped, so it grows slowly on these old ears which are used to all that upper end clangor. It really shines under headphones. Now you can finally hear each ride symbol separated from one another, instead of that „early Ringo Starr-like“ sheen of white noise! Ok, yes, I want it on my re-release list please.

    I may have time to write a couple lines about the other choices later today. I will say Simon’s album was quite a surprise to me. I haven’t been following his recent career, so I can’t compare this with with the past few releases. All I can say is, It’s a very complex, highly layered recording. Simon continues to blaze a sonic trail, using Harry Partch instruments among other obscure sound makers to create a mix I’m totally in awe of. It’s almost worthy of comparison to Pet Sounds in terms of its dense and original sonic palette. Under headphones is the preferred way to listen to it . Some of the writing flags in places though. I find Wristband, the purported „hit“, is the least interesting song on the record. But the title track is almost worth the price of admission, and there are several weighty tunes that are at the same level of lyrical and textural complexity. It has grown on me, but I’m guessing there will always be a couple tunes I will continue to skip.

  12. Rosato:

    I listened to The Impossible Gentlemen about 4 years ago at Jazz Club Bayreuth, then with Steve Swallow on bass.
    Very lively band, Simcock a highly gifted pianist (ex Lighthouse Trio)

  13. Michael Engelbrecht:

    We are all spinnin‘ tales – freedom rules here.

  14. Ingo J. Biermann:

    Just noticed that I wrote about one of The Impossible Gentlemen, Mike Walker, here:

  15. Michael Engelbrecht:

    Even the somehow weaker tracks of STRANGER TO STRANGER make fuckin‘ sense in the sequencing.
    Fantastic work, of course part of my list, probably. Oh, well round about No. 15, but I only do Top 10. I never even liked GRACELAND. Minority report.

  16. Brian Whistler:

    I agree, the overall arc of Stranger to Stranger makes it a very strong album.. Having just recently finished the wonderful biography, Homeward Bound, I became interested in all the solo albums I missed, so I bought the modestly priced boxed set. There are many hidden gems in Simon’s catalog. I’m luxuriously making my way thru his catalog. Next up, Songs from the Capeman, his ill fated broadway show which apparently, was quite good when it was redone as an oratorio, decades later.

  17. Brian Whistler:

    And yeah, I loved the first Impossible Gentlemen album. The 2nd didn’t do as much for me. But the new one has great playing and writing. It hits a certain sweet spot for me. I really love the chemistry between Simcock and Walker-they are a kind of Metheny/Mays team in that their writing styles dovetail nicely. Each is a strong writer but together they seem to reach beyond their individual skills. Steve Rodby is not my favorite bass player on the world, but he always plays the right thing and is very good in a supportive role, which this group calls for.

  18. Michael Engelbrecht:

    The photo, right, the coast, there I wanna be!!

  19. Brian Whistler:

    You are welcome to visit and we can roam the hills together.

  20. Michael Engelbrecht:

    I have a story with coasts!

  21. Brian whistler:

    Please tell your story!

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