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Several Nonesuch Artists Make Year and Decade's Best Lists from Wall Street Journal, Sunday Times, Time Out, WNYC

  • Friday, December 18, 2009
    Several Nonesuch Artists Make Year and Decade's Best Lists from Wall Street Journal, Sunday Times, Time Out, WNYC

    The Wall Street Journal's rock and pop music critic Jim Fusilli, in his look back at the year in music, sees 2009 as a year in which "many of the best recordings seemed to encapsulate the changes in popular music over the past few years—genre-mashing, crosscultural communication, the re-emergence of the singer-songwriter and the joys of sophisticated chamber pop, among them—while others took familiar traditions in new directions." On his year-end roundup of albums that show "cause for optimism" in music is Allen Toussaint's Nonesuch debut, The Bright Mississippi, on which, says Fusilli, "the veteran New Orleans-based R&B composer, pianist, arranger and singer ... quietly and artfully interprets compositions by Sidney Bechet, Duke Ellington, Thelonious Monk, Jelly Roll Morton, Billy Strayhorn and others." Read the article at online.wsj.com.

    ---

    Late last month, the Times of London named several Nonesuch albums among the decade's best in classical, jazz, world, and pop. Included in both the world and pop categories was Amadou & Mariam's first Because/Nonesuch release, 2005's Dimanche à Bamako. This week, the Times's sister paper, the Sunday Times, placed the album on at No. 12 on its list of the best pop and rock music of the decade.

    "Manu Chao’s energetic production propelled the Malian couple’s music to a new audience," says the Sunday Times, "entranced by their mix of African pop and blues-rock."

    Read more at entertainment.timesonline.co.uk.

    The New Yorker's John Donohoe includes the duo's most recent release, Welcome to Mali, on his list of the ten albums he finds "most enjoyable."

    ---

    Time Out New York (TONY) has released its list of the year's best. Music writer Sophie Harris places Seya, the latest World Circuit/Nonesuch release from Oumou Sangare, at No. 5 on her Top 10 Albums for 2009. Says Harris: "Malian superstar Sangare married her smooth, cool-as-silk voice to rhythms from Afrobeat legend Tony Allen."

    Harris's TONY colleague Jay Ruttenberg includes Christina Courtin's self-titled Nonesuch debut on his list, at No. 6, saying, "A young New York singer made an old-fashioned New York debut."

    You'll find the complete list of the year's best albums according to the TONY writers at newyork.timeout.com.

    In the magazine's list of the Best Shows of 2009, Ruttenberg names Toumani Diabaté and his Symmetric Orchestra's April 19 performance at New York's Poisson Rouge among the year's best. "The Malian kora master gave Manhattan a taste of the rollicking band he leads every week at a Bamako nightclub," he writes.

    Also on the list of top shows is Wilco's gig at KeySpan Park in Coney Island on July 13, which followed the release of their latest Nonesuch album, Wilco (the album). Time Out's Colin St. John said the show proved the band to be "exciting and vital yet again."

    TONY's list of the year's best shows can be found at newyork.timeout.com.

    ---

    On a similar front, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's classical music critic Andrew Druckenbrod named performances by two Nonesuch artists among the year's best in that city. At No. 4 is John Adams, who served as composer-of-the-year with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra for the 2008-09 season, and led the orchestra in performances of his Doctor Atomic Symphony and On the Transmigration of Souls at Heinz Hall in January. At the time of the concert, Druckenbrod said of Adams: "He is a composer of our time."

    At No. 3, Druckenbrod places Alarm Will Sound's March 19 performance at Pittsburgh's New Hazlett Theater. "If contemporary music produced more concerts like this," he writes, "it would have a lot less problem connecting with audiences."

    You can find the list at post-gazette.com.

    ---

    Also in New York, Soundcheck, a program of the city's public radio station WNYC, has released the World Music Picks for 2009 and the Decade from critic Siddhartha Mitter, who calls it "a phenomenal decade for world music."

    Miller says that, while it's difficult to choose just one selection for the list from Mali, "given that country’s outsize role placing incredible music on the global market," he chooses as No. 6 on his decade's best list the album Savane, the final solo recording from Ali Farka Touré, released by World Circuit/Nonesuch in 2006, shortly after the musician's death. (Touré's final recording, made with Toumani Diabaté and titled Ali and Toumani, is due out early next year.) Even in the context of Touré's compatriots' output, Savane is "especially strong–full of robust guitar and deeply soulful singing even though Touré was suffering from cancer at the time of recording. In fact, it may well have been his best."

    Miller goes on to recommend Oumou Sangaré's Seya ("her best") and Rokia Traoré's "triumphant" Tchamantché and Diabaté output both with the Symmetric Orchestra (Boulevard de l'Indépendence from 2006) and solo (2008's The Mandé Variations).

    In the No. 1 spot on the Soundcheck list of the decade's best world music is Youssou N'Dour's 2004 Grammy-winning album, Egypt. Central to the album is the demonstration of a distinctly Senegalese way of Islam, and of Sufi thought and practice, both themes explored in the recent documentary I Bring What I Love, about the album. (The film's soundtrack is due out on Nonesuch in January.) Mitter calls Egypt an "amazing album ... This is N’Dour’s masterpiece." He then suggests for further listening Youssou's latest release, Rokku Mi Rokka, from 2007.

    You'll find much more on the complete list at culture.wnyc.org.

on December 18, 2009 - 10:30am
Excerpt: 

The Wall Street Journal sees Allen Toussaint's The Bright Mississippi as an example of "cause for optimism" in music this year. The Sunday Times places Amadou & Mariam's Dimanche à Bamako among the best pop/rock music of the '00s. Time Out includes Oumou Sangare's Seya and Christina Courtin's debut among the year's best albums and NYC performances by Toumani Diabaté and Wilco among the year's best shows. In "a phenomenal decade for world music," says WNYC, Ali Farka Touré's Savane is among the decade's best, with Youssou N'Dour's Egypt at No. 1.

Copy: 

The Wall Street Journal's rock and pop music critic Jim Fusilli, in his look back at the year in music, sees 2009 as a year in which "many of the best recordings seemed to encapsulate the changes in popular music over the past few years—genre-mashing, crosscultural communication, the re-emergence of the singer-songwriter and the joys of sophisticated chamber pop, among them—while others took familiar traditions in new directions." On his year-end roundup of albums that show "cause for optimism" in music is Allen Toussaint's Nonesuch debut, The Bright Mississippi, on which, says Fusilli, "the veteran New Orleans-based R&B composer, pianist, arranger and singer ... quietly and artfully interprets compositions by Sidney Bechet, Duke Ellington, Thelonious Monk, Jelly Roll Morton, Billy Strayhorn and others." Read the article at online.wsj.com.

---

Late last month, the Times of London named several Nonesuch albums among the decade's best in classical, jazz, world, and pop. Included in both the world and pop categories was Amadou & Mariam's first Because/Nonesuch release, 2005's Dimanche à Bamako. This week, the Times's sister paper, the Sunday Times, placed the album on at No. 12 on its list of the best pop and rock music of the decade.

"Manu Chao’s energetic production propelled the Malian couple’s music to a new audience," says the Sunday Times, "entranced by their mix of African pop and blues-rock."

Read more at entertainment.timesonline.co.uk.

The New Yorker's John Donohoe includes the duo's most recent release, Welcome to Mali, on his list of the ten albums he finds "most enjoyable."

---

Time Out New York (TONY) has released its list of the year's best. Music writer Sophie Harris places Seya, the latest World Circuit/Nonesuch release from Oumou Sangare, at No. 5 on her Top 10 Albums for 2009. Says Harris: "Malian superstar Sangare married her smooth, cool-as-silk voice to rhythms from Afrobeat legend Tony Allen."

Harris's TONY colleague Jay Ruttenberg includes Christina Courtin's self-titled Nonesuch debut on his list, at No. 6, saying, "A young New York singer made an old-fashioned New York debut."

You'll find the complete list of the year's best albums according to the TONY writers at newyork.timeout.com.

In the magazine's list of the Best Shows of 2009, Ruttenberg names Toumani Diabaté and his Symmetric Orchestra's April 19 performance at New York's Poisson Rouge among the year's best. "The Malian kora master gave Manhattan a taste of the rollicking band he leads every week at a Bamako nightclub," he writes.

Also on the list of top shows is Wilco's gig at KeySpan Park in Coney Island on July 13, which followed the release of their latest Nonesuch album, Wilco (the album). Time Out's Colin St. John said the show proved the band to be "exciting and vital yet again."

TONY's list of the year's best shows can be found at newyork.timeout.com.

---

On a similar front, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's classical music critic Andrew Druckenbrod named performances by two Nonesuch artists among the year's best in that city. At No. 4 is John Adams, who served as composer-of-the-year with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra for the 2008-09 season, and led the orchestra in performances of his Doctor Atomic Symphony and On the Transmigration of Souls at Heinz Hall in January. At the time of the concert, Druckenbrod said of Adams: "He is a composer of our time."

At No. 3, Druckenbrod places Alarm Will Sound's March 19 performance at Pittsburgh's New Hazlett Theater. "If contemporary music produced more concerts like this," he writes, "it would have a lot less problem connecting with audiences."

You can find the list at post-gazette.com.

---

Also in New York, Soundcheck, a program of the city's public radio station WNYC, has released the World Music Picks for 2009 and the Decade from critic Siddhartha Mitter, who calls it "a phenomenal decade for world music."

Miller says that, while it's difficult to choose just one selection for the list from Mali, "given that country’s outsize role placing incredible music on the global market," he chooses as No. 6 on his decade's best list the album Savane, the final solo recording from Ali Farka Touré, released by World Circuit/Nonesuch in 2006, shortly after the musician's death. (Touré's final recording, made with Toumani Diabaté and titled Ali and Toumani, is due out early next year.) Even in the context of Touré's compatriots' output, Savane is "especially strong–full of robust guitar and deeply soulful singing even though Touré was suffering from cancer at the time of recording. In fact, it may well have been his best."

Miller goes on to recommend Oumou Sangaré's Seya ("her best") and Rokia Traoré's "triumphant" Tchamantché and Diabaté output both with the Symmetric Orchestra (Boulevard de l'Indépendence from 2006) and solo (2008's The Mandé Variations).

In the No. 1 spot on the Soundcheck list of the decade's best world music is Youssou N'Dour's 2004 Grammy-winning album, Egypt. Central to the album is the demonstration of a distinctly Senegalese way of Islam, and of Sufi thought and practice, both themes explored in the recent documentary I Bring What I Love, about the album. (The film's soundtrack is due out on Nonesuch in January.) Mitter calls Egypt an "amazing album ... This is N’Dour’s masterpiece." He then suggests for further listening Youssou's latest release, Rokku Mi Rokka, from 2007.

You'll find much more on the complete list at culture.wnyc.org.

Publish date: 
Friday, December 18, 2009 - 11:00
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2009 Best of WSJ, Sunday Times, TONY, WNYC

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