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NPR names Memorial HS Jazz/Justin Vernon disc among 2010’s ten best

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by Mike Paulus

Justin Sin
Justin Vernon, friend of jazz.

National Public Radio’s All Songs Considered named their ten favorite albums of 2010, and smack dab at number 6 is a three-way betwixt Eau Claire Memorial High School’s Jazz Ensemble I, Justin Vernon, and  Duke Ellington. And we quote ...

(Number 6)
(Number 6)
6. Eau Claire Memorial Jazz I Featuring Justin Vernon, A Decade With Duke
For a band that didn't put out an album this year, Bon Iver was everywhere in 2010. Drummer S. Carey made a fine solo album. Singer Justin Vernon appeared in a supergroup called Gayngs, played a prominent role on Anais Mitchell's ambitious Hadestown, swapped covers with Peter Gabriel and even appeared on Kanye West's new record. But the pinnacle is this soul-nourishing live album Vernon recorded with the Eau Claire Memorial High School jazz ensemble in Wisconsin. Not content to promote his musician pals in Gayngs and Volcano Choir, Vernon also wanted to help his old school raise money for a field trip, so he returned to his hometown to record a wonderful assortment of Bon Iver songs and standards, frequently ceding the spotlight to his talented successors at Memorial. Before performing the mesmerizing standard "Satisfied Mind," during which he channels Jeff Buckley as both a singer and a guitarist, Vernon sums up his humbly winning worldview, letting the song explain "what it's like to be human, to be humble to be where we're from." His benefactors are lucky to have him, but he seems grateful himself. The sentiment is infectious.

And not one tour bus company was sued in the process. Check out NPR's other nine albums!

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