Kendra Steiner Editions (Bill Shute)

January 17, 2013

Bill Shute/KSE Top 30 Albums of 2012 (in no particular order)

Filed under: Uncategorized — kendrasteinereditions @ 3:00 pm

BILL  SHUTE / KENDRA  STEINER  EDITIONS  TOP 30 ALBUMS of 2012 (in no particular order)

Once again, it’s been a great year for music…both new creations and archival reissues. I’ve probably heard 350+ new releases this year and parts of more than that. From that wide variety of new and rediscovered music, I’ve chosen 30 releases that are each an important event and will stand the test of time–each one is offering a musical world that is unique and to be treasured.

americans in europe

various artists, “AMERICANS IN EUROPE” (Jazz Oracle, Canada, cd)

No one would claim that these are the BEST performances of 1926-28 jazz, but what a fascinating archival dig we have here: a huge body of little-known work by ramshackle American jazz/hot-dance bands working The Continent, recorded in Berlin and Zurich, quickly recorded in batches and thus a perfect snapshot of the live performances of these groups, so the album captures the excitement of being IN some French or Belgian or German or Swiss nightclub in the height of the “Jazz Age” far better than more acclaimed “classics” of the era. As usual for Jazz Oracle, the music is incredibly well-documented and the sound bursts forth with the same abandon with which it was played. Also, European engineers did not record jazz the same way Americans did…when the first tracks starts, you might be taken aback  as this raw wall of sound, anchored by a banjo, hits you in the face—it’s almost as if you have a photograph taken from an unexpected angle that sheds new light on the subject. I won’t go into the fascinating stories of the George Carhart and Frank Guarante bands here—buy the album and read the voluminous notes yourself, you won’t be able to put them down–all I can say is that once again, Jazz Oracle is THE definitive reissue label for pre-WWII jazz, and that no release of 2012 has put me into another world via music as well as this one has. Jazz Oracle should make a point of putting out more “Eurojazz” releases. The Lud Gluskin 2-cd set of a few years back has been one of my most-played albums.


Vanessa Rossetto, “Exotic Exit” (Kye, US, LP)

Vanessa Rossetto’s new album has been widely praised, and I wrote a long and detailed review of it for this blog (just do a search). All I’ll say here is that, as with the above Americans in Europe album, this is a work that takes you someplace else. Although here, it’s an intentional evocation of a place through the brushwork and textures of the artist…and the place is a sun-bleached anonymous exit on one of the highway loops that surround Austin, Texas. Kye LP’s sell out quickly, so I’d grab this while you can. It’s the kind of album that I will turn to 20 years from now and still find it as rich as fascinating as I do today…in fact, as the world moves on, the album may well take on a deeper significance. Bravo, Ms. Rossetto!!!!


HUEY PIANO SMITH, “It Do Me Good: The Banashak and Sansu Sessions, 1966-1978” (Charly, UK, 2-cd set)

The UK “Westside” label reissued lots of the New Orleans pianist-bandleader-songwriter’s late 50’s/early 60’s music 10-15 years ago, and it was clear what a mover and shaker he was, someone who often featured other vocalists in his band (or had his backing tracks used for others, as with Frankie Ford’s “Sea Cruise”), so he did not receive the solo fame to which he was entitled. This man’s throwaways were better than most people’s polished gems, and his music had that wonderfully festive and effortless quality that has always made New Orleans music so special and so loved universally (see the other New Orleans album later on this list for a very different but equally satisfying 2-cd batch of class Nawlins sounds). These 1966-78 sessions are the next chapter in Smith’s story, as he moves more into soul/funk territory, but there was ALWAYS a lot of soul in his music and his riff-based, lazy beat certainly foreshadowed funk, so he is totally at home in these later styles. Even the later remakes of his earlier hits sparkle and sound fresh. These recordings are even more precious because due to his religious calling, Smith has not recorded or performed secular music since the last of these sessions. So we should treasure what we have here. Put this on, and it’s an instant party. A shame this did not get much acclaim, beyond Dusty Groove, who certainly saw it for what it is.


DEAD COUNTRY featuring ALFRED 23 HARTH, “Gestalt et Death” (Al Maslakh, Lebanon, cd)

blow your bubblegum

various artists, “BLOW YOUR BUBBLEGUM: 25 Hot & Wild Brit Beat Grooves” (Particles, UK, cd)

ernesto civilian

ERNESTO DIAZ-INFANTE, “Civilian Life” (Pax, US, cd)

boguslaw schaeffer

BOGOSLAW SCHAEFFER, “Assemblage (Polish Radio Experimental Studio)”, (Bolt, Poland, 2-cd set)

beat bespoke

various artists, “LE BEAT BESPOKE, VOLUME 5” (Circle, cd, UK)




JANDEK, “Maze Of The Phantom” (Corwood, US, 2-cd set)


MANFRED WERDER (realization and recording by Jason Kahn), “2005 1 ” (Winds Measure Recordings, 8-cdr set)

elvis, boy from tupelo

ELVIS PRESLEY, “A Boy From Tupelo: The Complete 1953-1955 Recordings” (RCA-Follow That Dream, US/Denmark, 3-cd box and massive book)


YOKO ONO / KIM GORDON / THURSTON MOORE, “yokokimthurston” (Chimera Music, US, cd)

blue phantom, distortions

BLUE PHANTOM, “Distortions” (Kismet, UK, cd)

john york, kim fowley

JOHN YORK & KIM FOWLEY, “West Coast Revelation” (GRA, US, cd)

elvis, sunsational

ELVIS PRESLEY, “Sun-Sational” (Victrola, EU, 2-cd set)

glass family

THE GLASS FAMILY, “Electric Band” (Kismet, UK, cd)

mike khoury

MIKE KHOURY / BEN HALL, “It’s Not A Fear Of Falling, It’s A Fear Of Landing” (8mm, Italy, LP)


THE WOLVERINES (w/ Bix Beiderbecke), “The Complete Wolverines: 1924-1928” (Off The Record, US, cd)


JOHN WILLIAMS (and Johnny Mercer), “The Long Goodbye, Original Motion Picture Soundtrack” (Quartet, Spain, cd)

champion records singles

various artists, “CHAMPION RECORDS: THE SINGLES COLLECTION” (Blue, Germany, 3-cd set)

derek saturations

DEREK ROGERS, “Saturations” (Greenup Industries, US, LP)


NAKATANI / TINER / DRAKE, “Ritual Inscription” (Epigraph, US, LP)

urkas, desert shapes

URKAS, “Desert Shapes” (Skell, US, cassette)

oklahoma rocksvarious artists (Jim Edgar and the Roadrunners/Wes Reynolds), “OKLAHOMA ROCKS, VOLUME 1” (no label, US, cdr)


DEL SHANNON, “Home and Away” (Now Sounds, UK, cd)


STEVE LACY, “Avignon and After, Volume 1” (Emanem, UK, cd)

wiggs burke big 4

JOHNNY WIGGS & RAYMOND BURKE, “Wiggs-Burke Big 4” (American Music, US, 2-cd set)


BERNARD HERRMANN, “The Alfred Hitchcock Hour” Volume 1 (2-cd), Volume 2 (3-cd, Varese Sarabande, USA)

massimo, collected-solos-web-cover

MASSIMO MAGEE, “Collected Solos” (Array, Australia, 26-cdr set) also available for free download at

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