Sometimes German, sometimes English. • The title of this blog used to change from time to time. • Interested in me reviewing your music? Please read this! • I'm also a writer for • Please like and follow Audiovisual Ohlsen Overkill on Facebook!


MUSIC 2023: TOP 7 live albums

Ok, are any introdcuctory words necessary? My favorite live albums of the year. Only counting actual physical releases in my collection though. Otherwise maybe Emma Ruth Rundle or Lingua Ignota, would have made it on here too. But the tail end of these lists are always a product of hard decisions anyway.


  1. Yes, the undisputed winner of this ranking is a previously unreleased recording from August 1961, which documents parts of two nights of saxophone legend John Coltrane's residency at the Village Gate club in New York. Coltrane is still playing some of his greatest commercial hits like "My Favorite Things", "Impressions" and "Africa", but in his mind he's already several artistic steps further and it shows in the wildly sprawling interpretations, which last from ten to twenty-two minutes. He respectfully plays eye to eye with his congenius guest Eric Dolphy (flute, clarinet, sxaophone) and in some instances his quartet, which already consisted of McCoy Tyner on piano and Elvin Jones on drums is sporting two basses, when regular player Reggie Workman and his substitute Art Davis perform together. The sound of this wonderful Jazz revelation can be described as very good bootleg quality. Yes, the drums are quite loud here and there, but it really feels as if you were right there and then. And come on - this recording only exists in the first place, because the sound engineer of the venue wanted to test one new microphone - yes, only one microphone! Especially considering that fact this gift from one of the greatest in music history is nothing but brilliant.

  2. DOOL - Visions of Summerland (Live at Arminius Church Rotterdam)

    I love Dool's magnetic Dark Rock on their two albums and  I love it even significantly more on stage. It's such a shame how the plague halted the Dutch band's momentum, when they should have stirred huge waves with "Summerland". "Visions of Summerland" not only marks the end of their postponed touring circle for the 2020 album, but also the departure of their drummer. And you can really feel that this intimate show inside a church is fueled by both melancholy but also the will to one last time give it all together. The result is a perfect performance with a truly special, feverishly burning energy.

  3. 李劍鴻 LI JIANHONG & 文智湧 WEN ZHIYONG & 鄧博宇 DENG BOYU - 歲​寒​三​友 Les Trois Amis de l'Hiver

    It comes on two CDs, yet still one track had to be edited down to thirty-three minutes to fit this giant transcendent performance into this beautiful release by WV Sorcerer Productions.
    "The Three Friends of Winter" sees three creative virtuosos on guitar, drums and trumpet/boneflute/synths play an improvised set far beyond common imagination. With an incredible communication and astonishingly symphonic approach  the Chinese-Mongolian trio flows through movements of Ambient, traditional ethnic moods, Free Jazz, Noise and so much more... An amazing, immersive and genre-defying experience!

  4. PHAROAH SANDERS QUARTET - Live at Fabrik Hamburg 1980

    It would be sacrilege not to feature another true Jazz giant, who had famously played with Sun Ra, John and Alice Coltrane in this list. This recording from 1980, which is meant to be the start of a series of Jazz recordings from the Fabrik venue, was already planned before Pharoah Sanders' passing and has now become a beautiful obituary. In five long pieces his quartet finds the perfect balance between wild Spiritual Jazz storms and inspiration in standards. Hearing this band just makes me want to travel back in time and drive to Hamburg. Absolute mastery!

  5. TEMPLE FANG - Live At Freak Valley / Live At Slachthuis

    Well, at this point what would a list like this even be without Temple Fang? Apart from one EP the Psychedelic Hard Rock band from the Netherlands has excusively released live albums so far. Does that mean they could be allergic against studios? Hardly, as their new magnum opus, the forty-five minute epic "Grace" actually exists as a studio recording. The band however liked it better on stage and released two seperate live albums consisting only of this one song instead. The decision to even play it at Freak Valley Festival being made only minutes before the show only adds to the myth-making potential of this. Both the big open air appearance as well as the sweaty club performance are equally awesome in their own way.

  6. ATONIA - Live at Roadburn

    Talking about things which just have to be on this list: What about at least one album recorded at Roadburn Festival? Here it is! Of course it's always a bonus if you have watched that performance from up close like this amazing collaboration of Five The Hierophant, Wyatt E. and Tomer Damsky. Post Doom Metal, Trip Hop, Near Eastern Folk, Jazz, Electronica and vocals crazily switching between angelic highs, horrifying screeches and fiery spat Latin and Hebrew scripture recitations. A great document of a unique, fascinating, powerful, awesome show.

  7. CAUSA SUI - Loppen 2021

    The Danish El Paraiso Records family released a pretty sweet triple star of live albums this year, including those of Edena Gardens and the London Odense Ensemble. They all surely are worthy of a place in the spotlight, but since there's only one slice of cake left to give away, that one has to go the label's mothership group Causa Sui who played in Copenhagen's freetown Christiana right after the lifting of covid bans in 2021. On this record their dynamic Psychedelic Stoner Rock with sprinkles of Latin music and - this time not as much as on "Live in Copenhagen" - Jazz exudes an especially hungry urgency and the warm alleviated joy of finally feeling and sharing the magic of live music again.

favorite MUSIC 2023 - all my lists:

TOP 23 albums   |   TOP 7 live albums   |   TOP 5 reissues
TOP 7 non-album releases   |   TOP 23 live shows

Keine Kommentare:

Kommentar veröffentlichen