Tasteful, inoffensive, a little bit too perfect in some ways there is nothing particularly disagreeable about Luxembourg’s globetrotting piano trio, the bafflingly monikered Dock In Absolute, as they return for a second album on the Cam Jazz label. Pianist Jean-Philippe Koch’s approach compares maybe to his fellow countryman Michel Reis as he sweeps in and out of lush involving tunes yet with all the rough edges smoothed out somehow redeeming himself by pulling a reliable rabbit out of his hat every so often: a thoughtful theme never far away. Bass guitarist David Kintziger and drummer Michel Mootz are reliably team spirited. File under: just that bit too neat and nice. SG
1 Pat Metheny: Extraordinary achievements down through the decades whether on world tours with the Pat Metheny Group, recording memorably with David Bowie, in Metheny’s own innovations (for instance the pioneering use of guitar synthesizer and his own “robot” Orchestrion) or with such icons of free music as Ornette Coleman and Derek Bailey and in his interpretations of the music of John Zorn, the Missourian continues a story picked up by Charlie Christian and continued by Wes Montgomery in terms of innovation, new dialects and vocabulary, sheer virtuosity and joy in performance.
2 George Benson: The ultimate communicator.
3 John Scofield: A bluesician at heart.
4 John McLaughlin: Into the mystic: IndoJazz innovator.
5 Carlos Santana: Latin-jazz and adored rock master.
6 Kenny Burrell: Made history with Jimmy Smith.
7 Bill Frisell: Guitar everyman. Americana and freebop distilled.
8 Terje Rypdal: Prog jazz exemplar and icon.
9 Lionel Loueke: Afrojazz innovator.
10 Eivind Aarset: Scandi “futurejazz” innovator.
11 Mary Halvorson: Avant, post-Derek Bailey, icon.
12 Russell Malone: Mainstream accompanist par excellence, especially in a vocals context.
13 Kurt Rosenwinkel: Consummate skill coming out of the heart of jazz. Hugely influential.
14 Julian Lage: Now in his prime: can cover anything.
15 Marc Ribot: From Tom Waits to Albert Ayler. Can do it all.
16 Phil Robson: influential jazz-rock consolidator with Partisans.
17 Mike Stern: Has his own joyful, fearsome, vaulting sound. Signature appeal.
18 Mike Walker: north of England legend. Stylistically unique. Needs to be better known, still.
19 Wolfgang Muthspiel: sublime, elegant, chamber-jazz practitioner and more.
20 Kevin Eubanks: knows how to reach the heart of the matter and communicate. Born to play.