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The Comet Is Coming - Trust In The Lifeforce Of The Deep Mystery makes Treble '10 Best Jazz Albums of 2019'

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Comparing the year in jazz to that of 2018 is a little like comparing this year in metal to its predecessor-on the surface it seems hard to compete with 12 months of obvious ringers. After all, last year revealed the first set of unheard John Coltrane music in decades. I mean, this year also yielded a set of unheard Coltrane pieces, which was pretty cool as well, but they were still essentially alternate versions of pieces we'd already heard, and the novelty wasn't quite as strong. But if the strength of a jazz year can only be measured by the freshness of its rare Coltrane recordings, well, most years would be pretty disappointing. And honestly, to focus on 50-year-old outtakes when so much great new material is being recorded feels at best shortsighted and at worst intransigent. Jazz this year was dominated not by headline-grabbing archival music but by the sheer strength of new artists honing their craft. Some of them have made this list before (Yazz Ahmed, Shabaka Hutchings). Some of them are best known in other genres (Cochemea). And some arrived well out of left-field (Paisiel). But the one thing they have in common is that they all reveal something new about a 100-year-old style. Here are the best jazz albums of 2019.

I've always been somewhat skeptical of anything described as "nu-jazz," as more often than not it's less jazz and more downtempo electronic music to pulse through the lobby of a trendy, high-end boutique hotel. The Comet Is Coming, however, are a proper jazz outfit who just so happen to sound like they're prepped to launch into hyperspace, thanks in large part to Danalogue's synth-heavy atmospheres. Yet saxophonist Shabaka Hutchings and drummer Betamax are what bring the project back down to earth with both an emotionally powerful presence and grooves that never relent. One need only give one spin to standout jam "Summon the Fire" to understand that this group is simply not fucking around-they're certainly headed for the cosmos, but they're getting asses shaking on the ascent. Trust In the Lifeforce of the Deep Mystery is the group's Impulse! debut, putting them in the league of giants like Charles Mingus and John Coltrane (and Hutchings' other group, Sons of Kemet), and while those might be big shoes to fill, it's to the iconic label's credit that groundbreaking talent like this-making something truly innovative from an electronic/jazz combo that's been stuck in M.O.R. range for too long-is carrying their its forward into the 21st century.

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