The year 2020 is coming to the end, it was tough and difficult in any sense, but as always music comes to the rescue. Live concerts were of the things which I missed the most this year. Thankfully we had a few great live music albums released in 2020. Here is the selection of The Wicked Sound favorite live albums of 2020.
1. Ryan Porter“Live in Paris at New Morning“ (World Galaxy)
Ryan Porter“Live in Paris at New Morning“ was recorded with West Coast Get Down Crew on 17th October 2019 at Paris’ historic jazz club New Morning. Live set featured material from his last two full-length albums, "The Optimist" and "Force For Good". That evening started with a tribute to his personal mentor Roy Hargrove, by interpreting his songs “Strasbourg / St. Denis”, an amazing version by the way. The whole album is bursting with raw energy and flawless solos.
2. Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah "Axiom" (Ropeadope)
Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah "Axiom"was recorded at the Blue Note in NYC in March 2020, just before the city locked down and all live music ceased. On one of the last concerts, Christian took his band on the stage to transform his "Stretch" era music, full of programmed drums and multiple layers of electronics into a live improvised experience, taking all this exceptional music into a new direction. The album features his version of David Crosby's “Guinnevere” introduced to the jazz world by Miles Davis in 1979. Wonderful document capturing vibrant energy between musicians and the public.
3. Terrace Martin’s Gray Area "Live at the JammJam" (Jammcard Music / Sounds of Crenshaw)
Grammy-nominated producer, singer-songwriter, musician Terrace Martin shares a brand new album, Terrace Martin’s Gray Area – "Live at the JammJam", with one of a kind live performances featuring an array of today’s top stars in jazz, hip-hop and more, like Kamasi Washington, Ben Wendel, Ronald Bruner Jr., Maurice “Mobetta” Brown, Paul Cornish, and Joshua Crumbly. Gray Area is laced with nuances of modern society in troubled times. This album features a full-length jazz instrumental live version of Kendrick Lamar “For Free?”, with insane solo’s from Ronald Bruner Jr. and Paul Cornish.
4. Timo Lassy & Ricky-Tick "Big Brass Live at Savoy Theatre, Helsinki" (Must Have Jazz)
Recorded over two special evenings in Helsinki’s famous Savoy Theatre, in March 2018. "Big Brass" presents Finnish jazz icon Timo Lassy (saxophonist and composer) with his core Quintet which includes keyboardist Georgios Kontrafouris, drummer Teppo Mäkynen, bassist Antti Lötjönen and percussionist Abdissa Assefa, plus the 'Big Brass' section of the Ricky-Tick Big Band. Their leader, the guitarist and composer Valtteri Laurell Poyhonen, also wrote the arrangements for the Lassy classics on this album, including "African Rumble", which at 14+ minutes is twice as long as its original version found on the A side of his 2006 debut single and even more exciting.
5. Charles Lloyd "8: Kindred Spirits (Live from the Lobero)" (Blue Note)
The legendary saxophonist, composer, and jazz mystic Charles Lloyd celebrated his 80th birthday on March 15, 2018, at his hometown venue, Santa Barbara’s Lobero Theatre, with an unprecedented grouping of musical friends including guitarist Julian Lage, pianist Gerald Clayton, bassist Reuben Rogers, and drummer Eric Harland, with special guests organist Booker T. Jones and bassist Don Was joining the ensemble midway. "8: Kindred Spirits (Live From the Lobero)" documents both the sights and sounds of that extraordinary concert, digital versions contain only the first half of the concert.
06. Keith Jarrett "Budapest Concert" (ECM)
Keith Jarrett double album "Budapest Concert" documents the pianist's solo performance at the Bela Bartok National Concert Hall in Budapest. The second complete show to be issued from his 2016 European tour - following on from the widely-acclaimed concert released as "Munich 2016". Jarrett, whose family roots reach back to Hungary, viewed the Budapest concert as akin to homecoming, and the context inspired much creative improvisation. After Jarrett's announcement that he might be unable to tour ever again, this album gets a special meaning.
07. James Brandon Lewis/Chad Taylor "Live In Willisau" (Intakt)
Saxophonist James Brandon Lewis and drummer Chad Taylor made a duo album, "Radiant Imprints" in 2018. They took the music on tour visiting Willisau Jazz Festival in Switzerland on the way. The festival has been the site of some amazing avant-garde jazz performances, including some notable sax-drums duos. Archie Shepp and Max Roach recorded "The Long March" there in 1979, and Dewey Redman and Ed Blackwell recorded "Red and Black in Willisau" a year later. It's no surprise that Lewis and Taylor cover "Willisee" during their gig, the opening track from "Red and Black in Willisau".
Yussef Dayes "Welcome To The Hills" (Cashmere Thoughts)
Yussef Dayes recorded "Welcome To The Hills" in Copenhagen in 2019 with Rocco Palladino on bass and Charlie Stacey on keys/synths as a Yussef Dayes Trio in what was to be the trio’s final performance. "Welcome to the Hills" captures the raw essence of their spellbinding live show. Music on "Welcome to the Hills" was created live at gigs during 2018-2019 and is dedicated to the fans that came out to support them and witness this unreleased body of work in its purest form.
09. Snarky Puppy "Live at the Royal Albert Hall" (GrounUp Music)
Snarky Puppy recorded their sold-out show from the iconic Royal Albert Hall in London on November 14th, 2019, which came out in March 2020. Featuring an extended line-up of 15 out of their 18 regular members, the record includes many tracks from their recent studio album, "Immigrance". Live at the Royal Albert Hall captures an interesting mix of new and old songs, illustrating their musical and artistic progression over the years.
10. Matthew Tavares & Leland Whitty "January 12th" (Mr Bongo)
Matthew Tavares and Leland Whitty (of BADBADNOTGOOD fame) with help from bassist Julian Anderson - Bowes and drummer Matt Chalmers recorded "Visions", the album came out in March 2020. feature on Matthew Tavares & Leland Whitty's 2020 album. The plan to promote "Visions" was to tour, with each night comprising a uniquely improvised set. Sadly due to world events, this couldn't happen. They recorded one gig from January 12th, 2020 in Toronto which gave us a snapshot of their energy and creative ideas.
This 6-track recording is taken from their “Journey to the Mountain of Forever” album launch at the iconic Total Refreshment Centre back in 2017. All the tracks are from the first part of “Journey to the Mountain of Forever” album, which contains only the duo of Binker Golding on sax and Moses Boyd on drums. The album came out only few days ago, I didn't manage to listen to it yet, but after the first single "Intoxication From The Jahvmonishi Leaves", my expectations are really high.