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These are the 2022 "Best of Jazz" lists and commentaries compiled by Members of the Jazz Journalists Association. They are displayed in the order received, with the most recent on top. 

It's up to each member to decide what to include in his or her post -- recordings, books, live performances or whatever -- how many choices to include, and how the post will be formatted.

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  • 04 Dec 2021 2:49 PM | Karl Ackermann

    Best Debut album

    East Axis: Cool with That (ESP Disk)

    Reissues or Historical albums

    Billy Bang: Lucky Man (BBE Records)

    Eberhard Weber: Once Upon a Time - Live in Avignon (ECM)

    Roberto Miranda: Live at the Bing Theater; Los Angeles, 1985 (Dark Tree Records)

    Hasaan Ibn Ali: Metaphysics: The Lost Atlantic Album (Omnivore Recordings)

    Best New Releases

    Ches Smith/We All Break: Path of Seven Colors (Pyroclastic Records)

    Allen Lowe: A Love Supine: Ascension into the Maelstrom (ESP Disk)

    Ill Considered: Liminal Space (New Soil)

    Matthew Shipp: Codebreaker (Tao Forms)

    Johan Lindström Septett: On the Asylum (Moserobie)

    Marc Johnson: Overpass (ECM)

    Jeff Pearring/Pearring Sound: Socially Distanced Duos (Self-Produced)

    Wadada Leo Smith: Trumpet (TUM)

    PLS.trio: Cosmonauts (Dot Time Records)

    MMBC Terma: MMBC Terma (Self-Produced)

    Becca Stevens / Elan Mehler: Pallet On Your Floor (Newvelle Records)

    Satoko Fujii: Piano Music (Libra)

    Fred Lonberg-Holm, Abdul Moimême & Carlos Santos: Transition Zone (Self-Produced)

    Adam Berenson, Scott Barnum & Bob Moses: Assemblages (Dream Play Records)

    Nik Bärtsch: Entendre (ECM Records)

  • 03 Dec 2021 10:02 AM | Anonymous

    The Underflow - Instant Opaque Evening (Blue Chopsticks)

    Nigel Price 'Wes Re-imagined (Ubunto)

    Binker Golding, John Edwards, Steve Noble - Moon Dog ( Byrd Out)

    Even Parker Quartet - All Knavery and Collusion ( Cadillac records)

    Ivo Perelman and Nate Wooley - Polarity ( Burning Ambulance)

    Rachel Musson - Dreamsing ( 577)

    Matt Shipp and William Parker - Re-Union ( Rogue Art)

    Sons of Kemet - Black To The Future ( Impulse)

    Georgia Mancio and Alan Broadbent 'Quiet Is The Star' (Roomspin Records)

    Polyorchard - An Excess of Primary Forms ( Out and Gone records)

    Archie The Goldfish - Water and Light ( Funkiwala)

    Fabulous Red Diesel - The Queensbury Sessions


  • 28 Nov 2021 7:28 PM | Enzo Capua

    1) Jazzmeia Horn - Dear Love

    2) Damon Locks - Now

    3) Irreversible Entanglements - Open the Gates

    4) Ledisi - Sings Nina Simone

    5) William Parker - Mayan Space Station

    6) Anthony Braxton - Quartet Standards 2020

    7) Gonzalo Rubalcaba, Ron Carter, Jack DeJohnette - Skyline

    8) Code Quartet - Genealogy

    9) Jihye Lee - Daring Mind

    10) Veronica Swift - This Bitter Earth

  • 28 Nov 2021 3:38 PM | Bill Brownlee

    Top Ten Albums of 2021
    1. Irreversible Entanglements- Open the Gates (International Anthem)
    2. Mathias Eick- When We Leave (ECM)
    3. Pino Palladino and Blake Mills- Notes With Attachments (New Deal/Impulse!)
    4. Nala Sinephro- Space 1.8 (Warp)
    5. Sons of Kemet- Black to the Future (Impulse!)
    6. Evan Parker Quartet- All Knavery and Collusion (Cadillac)
    7. Damon Locks & Black Monument Ensemble- Now (International Anthem)
    8. Sylvie Courvoisier and Mary Halvorson- Searching for the Disappeared Hour (Pyroclastic)
    9. Artifacts- …And Then There’s This (Astral Spirits)
    10. Angel Bat Dawid- Hush Harbor Mixtape Vol. 1: Doxology (International Anthem)

  • 27 Nov 2021 2:11 PM | adam weissler

    Floating Points and Pharoah Sanders - Promises

    Weedie Braimah - The Hands of Time 

    Sons of Kemet - Black to the Future 

    Nubya Garcia - Source # We Move 

    Fave gig - Joel Ross live at Mr. Musichead Gallery, L.A.  Sept. 17 

     

  • 10 Feb 2021 5:39 PM | Mike Shanley
    • 1.      Chad Taylor Trio -The Daily Biological (Cuneiform)
    • 2.      Michael Formanek Quartet - Pre-Apocalyptic (Out Of Your Head)
    • 3.      Luke Norris - Northernsong (earsandeyes)
    • 4.      Rudresh Mahanthappa -Hero Trio (Whirlwind)
    • 5.      Threadbare (Jason Stein/Ben Cruz/Emerson Hunter) - Silver Dollar (NoBusiness)
    • 6.      Matthew Shipp - The Piano Equation (Tao Forms)
    • 7.      Tim Berne’s Snake Oil - The Fantastic Mrs. 10 (Intakt)
    • 8.      Liberty Ellman - Last Desert (Pi)
    • 9.      James Brandon Lewis Quartet - Molecular (Intakt)
    • 10.  Angelica Sanchez & Marilyn Crispell - How To Turn the Moon (Pyroclastic)


  • 08 Jan 2021 1:35 PM | Mirian Arbalejo

    FAVORITE ALBUMS OF 2020

    Kenny Barron/Dave Holland Trio featuring Johnathan Blake. Without Deception. Dare2

    Lakecia Benjamin. Pursuance: The Coltranes. Ropeadope

    Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers. Just Coolin'. Blue Note

    Carla Bley, Andy Sheppard, Steve Swallow. Life Goes On. ECM

    Blue Note Re:Imagined. Blue Note

    John Coltrane. Giant Steps: 60th Anniversary Deluxe Edition. Rhino

    Wayne Escoffery. The Humble Warrior. Smoke Sessions Records

    Orrin Evans And The Captain Black Big Band. The Intangible Between. Smoke Sessions Records

    Ella Fitzgerald. The Lost Berlin Tapes. Verve

    Bill Frisell. Valentine. Blue Note Records

    Jacob Garchik. Clear Line. Yestereve Records

    Kely García y Rubén Reinaldo. Acuarel. Free Code Jazz Records

    Lafayette Gilchrist. Now. Lafayette Gilchrist

    Mary Halvorson's Code Girl. Artlessly falling. Firehouse 12

    Tigram Hamasyan. The Call Within. Nonesuch Records

    Stan IB Trio. Confluences. Records DK

    Ahmad Jamal. AHMAD JAMAL At The Pershing' And Other 'Live' Recordings 1958-59". Acrobat

    Keith Jarrett. Budapest Concert. ECM

    Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis. The Music of Wayne Shorter. Blue Engine

    The JCA Orchestra. Live at the BPC. JCA Recordings

    Jyoti. Mama, you can bet! Georgia Anne Muldrow / eOne

    Nick Keeling. Queensgate. Torn Light

    Charles Lloyd. 8: Kindred Spirits (Live from the Lobero). Blue Note Records

    Rudresh Mahanthappa. Hero trio. Whirlwind Recordings

    Pablo Martín Caminero. Bost. Bost

    Baldo Martínez, Juan Saiz, Lucía Martínez. Frágil Gigante. Leo Records

    Christian McBride Big Band. For Jimmy Wes and Oliver. Mack Avenue Records

    Zara McFarlane. Songs of an Unknown Tongue. Brownswood Recordings

    Pat Metheny. From This Place. Nonesuch Records

    Ron Miles. Rainbow Sign. Blue Note Records

    Thelonious Monk. Palo Alto. Impulse!

    Enrique Oliver & Jaume Llombart. Everything I Love. Underpool

    Jeff Parker. Suite for Max Brown. International Anthem

    Ester Quevedo Quintet. Trabalenguas. Underpool

    Redman Mehldau McBride Blade. RoundAgain (Nonesuch)

    Sonny Rollins. Rollins in Holland. Resonance Records

    Felix Rossy Quintet Live. Looking At The Surroundings. Underpool

    Chema Saiz. Solo Album. Volumen Dos. Errabal Jazz

    Miguel Salvador Quartet. Hamar Urte Geroago. Diez Años Después. Errabal Jazz

    Moisés P. Sánchez Project. There's Always Madness. Uno / Moisés P. Sánchez

    Maria Schneider Orchestra. Data Lords. ArtistShare

    Shabaka And The Ancestors. We Are Sent Here By History. Impulse!

    Sergi Sirvent & David Viñolas. Recreacions tímbriques. De Mompou a Bartók Vol. II. Selfish Records

    Neil Swainson Quintet. 49th Parallel. Real to Reel

    The Tiptons Sax Quartet & Drums. Wabi Sabi. Sowiesound

    María Toro. Fume. María Toro

    Gonzalo del Val. Cancionero. Fresh Sound New Talent


    For deeper thoughts on these albums please visit my site [in Spanish]










  • 01 Jan 2021 10:17 AM | Stephen Feeney
    1. Rudresh Mahanthappa, Hero Trio (Whirlwind)
    2. Thumbscrew, The Anthony Braxton Project (Cuneiform)
    3. James Brandon Lewis Quartet, Molecular (Intakt)
    4. Tani Tabbal Trio, Now Then (Tao Forms)
    5. Kenny Barron-Dave Holland Trio Featuring Johnathan Blake, Without Deception (Dare2)
    6. Tomas Fujiwara, 7 Poets Trio (RogueArt -19)
    7. Maria Schneider Orchestra, Data Lords (Artists Share)
    8. Fred Hersch, Songs From Home (Palmetto)
    9. Rich Halley-Matthew Shipp-Michael Bisio-Newman Taylor Baker, The Shape of Things (Pine Eagle)
    10. Ron Miles, Rainbow Sign (Blue Note)
  • 31 Dec 2020 9:48 PM | Travis Rogers Jr.

    Favorites of 2020

    The year 2020 belied all expectations and defied all predictions. Nevertheless, this annus horribilis was met with unabashedly remarkable music that flew in the face of dashed hopes. He was speaking of violence but Leonard Bernstein said, “This will be our reply…to make music more intensely, more beautifully, more devotedly than ever before.”

    This is exactly what the following artists have done. In the face of pandemic, cultural distrust, incompetent political leadership and, yes, violence, these wonderful people have created intense, beautiful, and devoted music.

    I cannot categorize the music between formats and styles this year. All I can say is that this is the music that inspired me and gave me hope. I love these artists as people as much as musicians and composers.

    AJOYO – War Chant

    Do not let it be said that Jazz has nothing to offer in this present time. The glory days of jazz are not over, far from it, and if you need proof of it, all you need to do is listen to AJOYO’s new album War Chant. This is their second release following their 2015 eponymous album.

    War Chant is a spiritual call-to-arms against oppression, greed, fear of others, and isolation—national and individual. AJOYO does it with grace and strength, intelligence and wit, and—most of all—a love and acceptance of who we are and who we should be.

    Markus Reuter Oculus – Nothing is Sacred

    Markus Reuter is one of the most extraordinary musicians and composers of this or any other century. In the wake of so many brilliant and innovative releases, Reuter presents his first Oculus project, featuring equally remarkable musicians who fit like a fist in glove in their presentation of Nothing is Sacred.

    Markus Reuter Oculus’s Nothing is Sacred is everything we have come to expect, respect, and admire from Markus Reuter. No idea is left unexplored, no question unanswered, in this brilliant album of shadow and light.

    Alex Wintz Trio – Live to Tape

    Alex Wintz decided to go old school with his trio and record his latest album Live to Tape on analog equipment in a successful attempt to recapture the warmth of the Blue Note era recordings. It was the perfect set-up for the guitar trio format, made more perfect with the artistry of bassist Dave Baron and drummer Jimmy Macbride, his longstanding comrades in arms.

    Antonio Adolfo – BruMa: Celebrating Milton Nascimento

    Antonio Adolfo breathes new life into the work of the maestro in a time when Milton Nascimento’s vision and voice should not be forgotten.

    David Cross & Peter Banks – Crossover

    David’s violin brilliance and Peter’s guitar work is more beautiful than ever and the support of these astounding musicians with Peter and David make this album feel as monumental as the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls.

    Bravo, David Cross, for finishing what you and Peter Banks started over seven years ago. It has truly been worth the wait.

    David K. Mathews – The Fantasy Vocal Sessions, Vol. 2

    David K. Mathews has taken a delightful collection of songs from several genres and has given us a masterwork of favorite vocalists interpreting these moving and inspiring and reflective songs in ways that do honor to the originals. Mathews’ playing is incredible and his assembly of supporting artists is appropriate and well-conceived.

    I can’t wait for Volumes 3 and 4.

    Sarah Elizabeth Charles & Jarrett Cherner – Tone

    Toneis the inevitable evolution of the talents, skills, and hearts of Sarah Elizabeth Charles and Jarrett Cherner. Like lipids, proteins, and nucleic acids combing to make life, these two amazing artists have created something unique that the world has awaited since the beginning. It’s that good.

    Jasnam Daya Singh and the Portland Jazz Composers Ensemble – EKTA: The Unity Project

    EKTA: The Unity Project is not about Utopia—it is not the absence of division but the overcoming of it. Nor is it simply a hope for the future but a vision that begins with coming together, followed by acceptance, and ending in oneness and walking forward together.

    Jasnam Daya Singh is not only a national treasure. He is a global one.

    Gary Husband & Markus Reuter – Music of Our Times

    Gary Husband and Markus Reuter were on tour in China and Japan with Stick Men. They had finished their one and only performance in Nagoya, Japan, at the famed Blue Note. Then the world changed. The Stick Men Tour (with Tony Levin, Markus Reuter, Pat Mastelotto and special guest Gary Husband) was abruptly canceled. Producer and MoonJune Records owner Leonardo Pavkovic quickly booked studio time in Tokyo before the return flights of Reuter and Husband. The results—Music of Our Time—are something extraordinary.

    LP and the Vinyl – Heard and Seen

    I’ve been a fan of Danny Green for quite some time now. His trio’s Altered Narratives was on my Favorites of 2016 list and 2018’s One Day It Will ranks as one of my all-time favorites. In the review of One Day It Will, I wrote, “And just when I thought Danny Green’s Trio had outdone themselves with 2015’s Altered Narratives, they release One Day It Will, their third album on OA2 Records. It is the very same brilliant trio of Danny Green on piano, Justin Grinnell on bass, and Julien Cantelm on drums. In fact, they have been together since 2010.”

    On One Day It Will, Danny & Company added a string quartet from the San Diego Symphony. The latest project brings a return of that great trio with the remarkable addition of Leonard Patton on vocals. That assembly is called LP and the Vinyl and their album is Heard and Seen.

    Susan Tobocman – Touch & Go

    Now this is a good album. Susan Tobocman has chosen a fine collection of standards, classics, and originals and a band of dedicated and interpretive artists that can give life to the instrumentation and can give her space for her own vocal expressions to make her album Touch & Go a work worthy of great attention and praise.

    Susan Tobocman is a Jazz lover’s dream. Her vocals are beyond compare but her arrangements and compositions are beyond description. She is talented and brilliant beyond measure. Touch & Go does not describe the power and beauty of the album; she was full on, right on, every step of the way.

    Spanish Harlem Orchestra – The Latin Jazz Project

    The Latin Jazz Project is what we have been waiting for from Spanish Harlem Orchestra. With six previous recordings, they have given us glimpses and splashes of Latin jazz. Thanks to Artistshare, a fan-funded project program, SHO have given us a full-length recording of pure Latin jazz. Their last album, Anniversary, was the Grammy winner for Best Tropical Latin Album. A wonderful album.

    But Musical director Oscar Hernandez, with two brilliant Latin Jazz albums under his belt, has brought his full creative force to bear with SHO for another album of wonder. The Latin Jazz Project will certainly be a Grammy contender.

    Rudresh Mahanthappa – Hero Trio

    I've always enjoyed about Rudresh Mahanthappa is the way he never settles on a given expression or style. Ever since I began listening to him, he has pushed his own boundaries to new places and always finds fertile soil for his musical imagination wherever he ventures. Such is the case with his new album entitled Hero Trio.

    Hero Trio is exactly what it says it is. Rudresh Mahanthappa, Franςois Moutin, and Rudy Royston have created a powerful, precise, and—okay—perfect album. There’s no Kryptonite on this album.

    Lauren Henderson – The Songbook Session

    Lauren Henderson continues to thrill, comfort, and amaze with every album she has released. Whether YouTube live performances, EPs, or full-length albums, Lauren never disappoints. Her 2020 CD The Songbook Session is no different.

    The Songbook Session is Lauren’s third full-length album and it is her best to date. She takes standards from the 30s and 40s and breathes sweet life into them all over again, almost as if we had never heard them before. When an artist can make you forget everything that has gone before, it is something amazing. Such is this album.

    Jesse Fischer – Resilience

    It has been an excellent year for Jesse Fisher. First, he participated in the phenomenal War Chant album by Ajoyo. Now he releases his latest project as a leader called Resilience. Resilience incorporates the influences of modern Jazz, African music, and Near Eastern music reflecting Jesse's own Jewish heritage.

    Jesse Fischer has not only envisioned and composed a beautiful album, he has brought together the right players for the right job. It is executed with power and precision and—dare I say—purity. Resilience does not lose its way once. It is focused and is a frontal assault at what life throws our way, and how we can overcome.

    Gato Libre – Koneko

    Koneko is the eighth album from Gato Libre and the first since 2017’s Neko. Since 2015, Gato Libre (Spanish for Free Cat) has been a trio comprised of Natsuki Tamura on trumpet, Yasuko Kaneko on trombone and Satoko Fujii and accordion. Unlike Kaze (Japanese for Breeze), the other band with Tamura and Fujii, Gato Libre is more informed by tone and texture than in frenetic virtuosity.

    Koneko (Japanese for Kitten) is a further exploration into the far reaches of said tone and texture. It is music to be heard with intent—not background music while making breakfast.

    (Live Streaming Performance) Farofa – Jazz on YOUR Green; Live at the Omaha Performing Arts

    In the days of limited access to live music, innovative promoters and artists are finding a way to still bring the joy and magic of the live performance. God bless Jazz on YOUR Green, Omaha Performing Arts, Manager Marian Liebowitz, and the band of extraordinary artists called Farofa.

    It was a joyous romp that was energetic, spirited, fascinating, and leaving you wanting more. Farofa is a new band with original compositions and original takes on old songs. Farofa pulls the listener up to their level and makes you crave their understanding of life in the world we live.

    I am thankful for all the beautiful work offered in 2020 by all of these beautiful people.

    ~Travis Rogers, Jr. is the Jazz Owl

  • 30 Dec 2020 3:05 PM | Christopher Burnett

    Jazz Artistry Now - JAN Best of Jazz 2020

    MMXX was the centennial year of Charlie Parker’s birth in 1920. Although the coronavirus pandemic inherently muted the magnitude and scope of celebrations marking such a momentous occasion, artists released a wide variety of music that Bird would surely appreciate as a legacy to his own efforts. As with earlier works, the music today continues to inculcate the avant garde but it’s also grounded in the innovations of the modern jazz pioneers like Mr. Parker. Jazz Artistry Now presents our “Best of …” list for 2020 of recordings that reflect the positive evolution of the music and the premium state of the art in our times. Check out our list. Listen.

    Jazz Artistry Now - JAN Best of Jazz 2020

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