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December 18, 2006

TT: Stocking stuffers

A reader writes:

What would be your top three choices for classical CDs for Christmas? What would be your top three choices for jazz CDs?

That's the e-mail in its entirety. It's completely free-form--no specifications or limitations of any kind. In particular, my correspondent doesn't specify whether he has in mind newly released CDs, which makes his questions a bit trickier. Nevertheless, I'll assume, rightly or wrongly, that he's interested in recordings that first came to my attention, new or not, in 2006.

That said, here are my picks, with three pop albums thrown in for good measure.

- Malcolm Arnold, Overtures, recorded by Rumon Gamba and the BBC Philharmonic (Chandos)
- Alban Berg, Lyric Suite, recorded by the Juilliard String Quartet in 1959 (Testament)
- Paul Moravec, The Time Gallery, recorded by eighth blackbird (Naxos)

- Bob Brookmeyer and the New Art Orchestra, Spirit Music (ArtistShare)
- Medeski, Scofield, Martin & Wood, Out Louder (Indirecto)
- Deidre Rodman and Steve Swallow, Twin Falls (Sunnyside)

- Rosanne Cash, Black Cadillac (Capitol)
- Mary Foster Conklin, Blues for Breakfast: Remembering Matt Dennis (Rhombus)
- Donald Fagen, Morph the Cat (Reprise)

If none of these CDs rings your bell, here are some others that also gave me great pleasure:

- Benjamin Britten, Orchestral Song Cycles, recorded by Ian Bostridge, Simon Rattle, and the Berlin Philharmonic (EMI Classics)
- Hot Club of Detroit (Mack Avenue)
- Roger Kellaway Trio, Heroes (IPO)
- Nancy King, Live at Jazz Standard with Fred Hersch (MaxJazz)
- Erin McKeown, Sing You Sinners (Nettwerk)
- Nickel Creek, Reasons Why (The Very Best) (Sugar Hill)
- Madeleine Peyroux, Half the Perfect World (Rounder)
- Rachel Ries, For You Only (Waterbug)
- Stephen Sondheim, Sweeney Todd (the original-cast album of the 2005 Broadway revival) (Nonesuch)
- Trio Beyond, Saudades (ECM)
- Fats Waller, If You Got to Ask, You Ain't Got It! (Bluebird/Legacy)
- Cy Walter, The Park Avenue Tatum (Shellwood)

Happy listening!

Posted December 18, 2006 12:00 PM

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