The Best Jazz Albums We Missed in 2016

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Friday January 06, 2017

From The Observer

The Best Jazz Albums We Missed in 2016
By: Ron Hart

Curating a list as wide and varied as our effort to catalogue the 20 Best Jazz Albums of 2016 was no easy feat. We all have our blind spots. And while I wouldn’t change the order or the lineup of our ranking one iota, it’s only natural to look back at the process and second guess the omission of a few titles that should have very well cracked that final Top 20.

Here are five such albums equally worthy of your ears from the past 12 months…

1) The Bad Plus, It’s Hard (O’Keh)
Few acts have kept jazz music more relevant on college radio for the last 20 years as The Bad Plus. On their latest album, 2016’s It’s Hard, the ever-inventive NYC band pays homage to some of their favorites left of the dial with stunning reinterpretations of such indie faves as ‘Maps’ by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, TV On the Radio’s ‘Staring at the Sun’ and Kraftwerk’s ‘The Robots.’

What’s even more impressive: The trio simultaneously honors the heyday of classic Top 40 with knotty spins on Cyndi Lauper’s ‘Time After Time,’ Crowded House’s ‘Don’t Dream It’s Over’ and a stunning meditation on ‘The Beautiful Ones’ by Prince laid to tape shortly after his death.

Bonus points for naming the album after The Who’s most underrated LP to boot.

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