Top 10 Jazz CDs of 2017 (in no particular order)
Bill Charlap Trio – Uptown, Downtown
The tasteful and virtuosic pianist leads his longtime trio in a set of standards and lesser-known tunes, with Peter Washington bass and Kenny Washington drums.
Cecile McLorin Salvant – Dreams and Daggers
A relative newcomer to the jazz scene, Salvant delivers an ambitious two-disc set recorded live and in the studio with a trio and a string quartet. Material ranges from originals to Gershwin, Berlin, Kurt Weill and old blues numbers.
Dave Stryker – Strykin’ Ahead
Guitarist and Omaha native Stryker is on a roll with another soulful session backed by an organ combo of Steve Nelson, Jared Gold and McClenty Hunter.
Ignacio Berroa Trio – Straight Ahead from Havana
The veteran Cuban-born drummer hit upon the great idea of making a straight-ahead jazz recording using classic Cuban melodies. The result is revelatory.
Brian McCarthy Nonet – The Better Angels of Our Nature
Saxophonist McCarthy leads a nine-piece outfit in imaginative jazz arrangements of tunes associated with the Civil War, including extended takes on “Battle Cry of Freedom” and “I Wish I Was in Dixie’s Land.”
Dial & Oatts, Rich DeRosa and the WDR Big Band – Re-Discovered Ellington: New Takes on Duke’s Rare & Unheard Music
This is a program of Ellington compositions seldom if ever recorded, led by pianist Gary Dial and saxophonist Dick Oatts with big band led by Rich DeRosa.
Nestor Torres – Jazz Flute Traditions
Flutist Torres revisits tunes associated with famous flute players, including Herbie Mann, Yusef Lateef, Roland Kirk and Eric Dolphy.
San Francisco String Trio – May I Introduce to You
Violinist Mads Tolling, guitarist Mimi Fox and bassist-singer Jeff Denson reinterpret “Sgt. Pepper” in a gypsy jazz style.
Seth MacFarlane – In Full Swing
MacFarlane and arranger-conductor Joel McNeely deliver a sumptuous set of 16 standards in the elegant and sophisticated style of Sinatra and Nelson Riddle, with guest appearances by singers Norah Jones and Elizabeth Gillies.
Gerald Cannon – Combinations
Bassist Cannon gathers an all-star combo for original tunes and straight-ahead interpretations of Ellington, Slide Hampton, Sam Jones and others.
Top Jazz Performances of 2017 (Lincoln, Omaha and beyond)
Nebraska Jazz Orchestra with Ed Neumeister, Cornhusker Hotel, Lincoln, Jan. 12
Jamison Ross, Holland Center, Omaha, Jan. 20
Jerry Bergonzi, Westbrook Music Building, Lincoln, Feb. 3
Sean Jones, Holland Center, Omaha, Feb. 24
Aaron Diehl & Cecile McLorin Salvant, tribute to Jelly Roll Morton and George Gershwin, Holland Center, Omaha, March 5
Nebraska Jazz Orchestra with music of Cole Porter, Cornhusker Hotel, April 27
Joey Alexander, Lied Center, Lincoln, May 18
Terence Blanchard, Jazz in June, Lincoln, June 20
Rob Scheps and the Seattle-ites, 1905, Portland, Ore., Aug. 27
Jeff Newell, Bryan McCune and band, Cottonwood, Lincoln, Sept. 25
Marquis Hill Band, Dazzle, Denver, Colo., Oct. 18
Nebraska Jazz Orchestra with Greg Gisbert, Cornhusker Hotel, Lincoln, Oct. 25
Arturo Sandoval, Lied Center, Lincoln, Nov. 29
Other Top Performances of 2016 (Lincoln, Omaha and beyond)
Drive By Truckers, Bourbon Theater, Lincoln, Jan. 28
Lil’ Ed & the Blues Imperials, Zoo Bar, Lincoln, Feb. 17
Gonzalo Bergara, Zoo Bar, Lincoln, May 2
Arlo Guthrie, Rococo Theater, Lincoln, May 19
Nikki Hill Band, Zoo Bar, Lincoln, June 7
Duke Robillard, Zoo Bar, Lincoln, July 3
Bel-Airs, Paladins, Ruthie Foster, Zoo Fest, Lincoln, July 7-8
Steve Earl & the Dukes with the Mastersons, Slowdown, Omaha, Aug. 1
Bel-Airs and Earl & Them, Zoo Bar, Lincoln, Aug. 11
Martin Barre Band, Mystic Theater, Petaluma, Calif., Sept. 2
Coco Montoya, Zoo Bar, Lincoln, Sept. 22
Marshall Crenshaw & the Bottle Rockets, Slowdown, Omaha, Oct. 1
Shawn Colvin Band, Boulder Theater, Boulder, Colo., Oct. 20
Tom Ineck hosts “Night Town” every Thursday from 8:30 to 10 p.m. on KZUM. Listen to archives of recent episodes via Radio Free America.