on life, music etc beyond mainstream

2019 20 Dez

My Best of 2019 list

von: Brian Whistler Filed under: Blog | TB | 9 Comments

To tell the truth, I don’t really listen to much new music these days. The things I find myself most listening to are old – either things I want to study, perhaps transcribe and learn to play, or things I want to chill to in these stressful times. That being said, here is a list of 2019 releases that did get into my head and heart this year to varying degrees.


In no particular order:


  • Mats Eilertsen- And Then Comes the Night (a favorite)
  • Bill Frisell Thomas Morgan – Epistrophy
  • Dave Holland/Chris Potter/Zakir Hussain – Good Hope
  • Tigran Hamyasan They Say Nothing Stays the Same (soundtrack to the film -simply gorgeous music)
  • E.S.T. – Live in Gothenburg (their best live album – maybe their best album period.)
  • Keith Jarrett – Munich (For disc 2)
  • Ethan Iverson Quartet – Common Practice
  • Avishai Cohen/Yonathan Avishai- Playing the Room
  • Celesta – Michael Jon Fink (meditative and mysterious solo Celeste)
  • Søren Bebe- Echoes
  • Leonard Cohen – Thanks for the Dance
  • Rymden- Rymden
  • Scott Kinsey – We Speak Luniwaz (because its good, and because it’s an homage to Zawinul and I miss him.)
  • Marc Copland – And I Love Her
  • Nguyen Le- Streams (Nguyen le is back in jazz form with this hard hitting but subtle quartet album with bass, vibes, drums and of course guitar. His best in years.)

Reissues (HD downloads)

  • Double Image – Dawn
  • Art Lande Rubisa Patrol – Desert Marauders
  • Tom Van der Geld – Path
  • Gallery – Gallery

Reissues Pop

  • King Crimson 50th box – In the Court of the Crimson King
  • Beatles – Abbey Road

Chill Albums

  • GS Sachdev – The Art of the Bamboo Flute (I never get tired of this album- no rhythm or tablas, just on the breath with tamboura- essential listening)
  • Tony Scott – Music for Zen meditation (classic for a reason)
  • W A Mathieu – Streaming Wisdom/In the Wind
  • W A Mathieu – Second Nature

(These are two CD reissues of three 80’s albums by my teacher, who went thru a wonderful period of experimentation with an analog 4 track recorder and his piano, recorded in his octagonal studio high on a hill in Sebastopol. While much of Mathieu’s music is highly composed, these pieces are mostly improvised, joyful multitrack discoveries, sometimes employing prepared piano and vocals which were inspired by his study of the North Indian vocal tradition and African mbira music.)

This entry was posted on Freitag, 20. Dezember 2019 and is filed under "Blog". You can follow any responses to this entry with RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.


  1. Michael:

    I still remember hearing Music For Meditation for the first time. In Dortmund, I was 15 years old, and people later always argued what the first „world jazz music album“ ever was, this one, or Paul Winter‘s Consort, or Moondog in 1956. or Yusef Lateef’s Eastern Sounds. Not really a big question.

    Thing is it is all great music. As far as I remember, Tony Scott didn‘t play jazz and was strictly working within the tradition of koto music. The album still resonates in me, from memory only. The man who illustrated his photo safari through Asia with pieces of that album had the most beautiful woman, he fell in love with her in India. Ahe really was incredibly beautifully. And he was a Naturheilpraktiker living close by.

    I couldn‘t wait to meet her two or three times when she was giving me my own blood as a cure for allergies. So with all distance required from a healer, she really touched me, professionally, but of course she was out of reach. So the old koto stuff of Music For Meditation was a chill and a thrill at the same time.

    Young shy yearning smartass I was I must then have started listening to Leonard Cohen 😇.

  2. Michael E:

    I am not Anonymous, haha.

  3. Brian Whistler:

    Hmm, I wrote a comment and it didn’t go thru. I was saying that my first memory of Music for Zen Meditation was when I visited a mysterious coffee house in Venice Beach CA. It seemed like it was always foggy there and the only album they had on their funky turntable was Music for Zen Meditation. That had it on auto play so it would just play over and over- nobody even bothered to turn the record over.

  4. Hans-Dieter Klinger:

    for overseas readers:

    link to the latest sound horizons aka Klanghorizonte

    (will expire on 35th of December)

  5. Michael Engelbrecht:

    The playlist (from memory)


    Pan American
    Thom Yorke
    Lumen Drones
    Leonard Cohen
    Joe Lovano
    Bill Callahan
    Arve Henriksen


    Rabbia / Petrella / Aarset
    Brian Eno with Daniel Lanois and Roger Eno
    Will Burns & Hannah Peel
    Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds
    Anna Gourari
    Junius Paul

    Tamia & Pierre Favre
    playing music from their two ECM albums
    & reading passages from my talk with them in old Paris 1991


    John McLaughlin: Birds of Fire
    Pharoah Sanders: Tauhid
    Terry Riley: Persian Surgery Dervishes

    ((Surely regarded as spiritual music by the artists involved, MUSIC FOR ZEN MEDITATION would have been nicely placed as interludes between the long tracks))


    Marion Brown: Vista
    Jan Garbarek & The Hilliards: Remember me, my dear
    John Coltrane: Blue World

    (I know what Im good at, but the transition from Marion Brown to The Hilliards didn‘t work well, soundwise, so here again, to use it as a „leitmotif“, MUSIC FOR ZEN MEDITATION would have bee a good „separator“:)

    Frank Harris & Maria Marquez: Echoes (that wonderful compilation on vinyl from the label with the nice name Strangelove Music)

    I don‘t know how often I drove around the planet since 1990, between Dortmund and Cologne and back in the night, and later on between Aachen and Cologne and back between late evening and early morning. In the first twenty-five years the show was on air every two weeks.

    Two or three months ago I was nearly crashing my car and myself cause for two or three or even five seconds (who knows?) I fell asleep while driving (this normally cannot happen to me , cause I know how to act when getting totally tired on a highway, but, well, it happened). There was no other car around, and after some breaking I came to a halt.

    This was the day I finally decided to let it all go. With other good reasons at hand, too, I decided to end my „radio life“ in 2020 doing my last radio show of „Klanghorizonte“ in December 2020. And I meanwhile found a driver, in fact three drivers, so I can have my decent amount of sleep in the morning. Drivers are such a big luxury.

  6. Michael Engelbrecht:

    And, because Santa Claus is all around, here‘s the playlist of my next radio night on February 15. Of course, all forthcoming albums have to find their ways to my „electric cinema“ in time, and mind-blowing surprises might change list in tiny details, but here we go:

    First Hour

    Thomas Köner 
    Eivind Aarset & Jan Bang
    Samuel Rohrer 
    Six Organs Of Admittance
    Yorkston / Thorne / Khan
    Six Organs Of Admittance
    Samuel Rohrer 
    Espen Sommer Eide
    Thomas Köner 

    Second Hour

    Eivind Aarset / Jan Bang
    Wire: Off The Beach
    ECM: Oded Zsur
    ECM: Carla Bley
    Cerrone: DNA
    Katie Gately: Loom
    Beatrice Dillon
    Arve Henriksen

    Third Hour

    DARK GLOWING – Brian Eno on Warp and Opal Records (2012-2020)

    Vierte Stunde


    Surprise, surprise💥💥💥💥💥

    Fifth Hour – „Oregonia“

    Paul Winter
    Paul McCandless
    Ralph Towner
    Oregon: Winter Light
    Oregon: In Concert
    David Darling

  7. Michael:

    @ Eivind

    Thanks for the kind words. In regards to the record company, let me correct a mistake. In the February show I will only play one track, in April two!!!

    @ Elin

    One of the most touching emails I ever got from the North.
    Deeply thankful that our ways are crossing every once in a while. Nice image (in my head and heart) to know you and Leif will listen to my radio show up, up in the Norwegian hills…

  8. Michael:

    @ Brian

    When my blu ray edition of the newly remastered first King Crimson album arrived, I was very curious about the remaster of the remaster which seems to be a slightly over the top activity by surround master Steven Wilson.

    I made two interesting discoveries:

    1) It is worth the effort, the new remaster is top of the game.

    2) I realized after now been very close to all King Crimson albums that this first one with the famous cover is NOT their best imo, though it is generally looked upon as prog rock‘s peak no. 1. it is NOT.

    Explanation: though King Crimson here and for the first time offered their big palette of tools and topics and structural devices for a big oeuvre, side 2 is much, much weaker than side one. This 11 minute free improv is really not that strong to keep the attention up high, it is slightly redundant.

    When Lester Bangs nearly sang the grave song for King Crimson years later when writing in ISLANDS, history only repeated itself, and I strongly disagree with Lester Bangs‘ bashing of the music: side one was excellenr, side two, with few exceptions, ran out of steam.

    So, in the end, I could definitely mark my all time five star KC albums:

    1) Lark Tongue‘s In Aspic
    2) Discipline
    3) Red

    To be honest, i even like Some of their their weaker albums (and btw I think Robert Fripp is quite a weirdo to put out the while KC story in monumental editions like THE WAY TO RED), but these three album are for me gorgeous from start to end.

  9. Uli Koch:

    These three albums are my all time favourites too, but I‘d put Red on top and Lark‘s Tongues on No. 3! Timeless great stuff.

    @Brian: I nearly forgot about GS Sachdev. It gives an exzellent effect to listen to music for some time and then close the listening time with his music. It always shows a strong serenity and inner silence which shows all the rest to carry still too much disturbing noise….

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