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These are the 2019 "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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  • 20 Dec 2019 3:21 PM | Rick Mitchell

    Rick Mitchell Best of 2019

    In recent years, I have been listing top tracks played on my radio programs Jazz In the New Millennium (syndicated nationally by the African American Public Radio Consortium) and The Motif (on KBOO-FM in Portland, Oregon). This year, I have an actual top ten albums list, all of which sound good at home listening to the CD with the headphones or one track at a time while driving in the car. I recently interviewed Branford Marsalis, who commented on what he perceives to be the disconnect between the music that critics like as reflected by the annual JJA and NPR polls and what the listening public -- not necessarily the smooth-jazz/R&B audience but the relatively educated real jazz audience -- actually likes. He told me, "They are trying to redefine what jazz is, but they won't succeed." Notice I didn't vote for him either, but he has a point... I try to program music that both upholds the highest standards of musicianship for jazz in the 21st Century and has the potential to make people tap their feet and nod their heads in the way, as Branford noted, that listening to Charlie Parker did. It's also worth noting that my choices draw from regional sources beyond the New York solar system: San Francisco, Trinidad, Jamaica, New Orleans, Detroit, Dallas, Cuba... (BTW: The top three albums on my list share a drummer: Obed Calviere, from Miami. Dude can play.) 

    I've also cited ten additional non-jazz albums, though I no longer keep up with popular music enough to claim any legitimacy for this as a ten-best list. It's just what I enjoy. Peace.  

    Top Jazz Albums

    1. SFJAZZ Collective, The Music of Antonio Carlos Jobim & Original Compositions (SFJAZZ)

    2. Etienne Charles, Carnival The Sound of a People Vol. 1 (Culture Shock)

    3. Monty Alexander, Wareika Hill Rastamonk Vibrations (MACO)

    4. Herlin Riley, Perpetual Optimism (Mack Avenue)

    5. James Carter Organ Trio, Live From Newport Jazz (Blue Note)

    6. Ulysses Owens Jr., Songs of Freedom (Resilience)

    7. Jazzmeia Horn, Love & Liberation (Concord Jazz)

    8. Roberto Fonseca, Yesun (Mack Avenue)

    9. Christian Scott Atunde Adjua, Ancestral Recall (Stretch Music/ropeadope)

    10. Mike Clark, Indigo Blue Live at the Iradium (ropeadope) 

    Top Debut

    1. Joel Ross, Kingmaker (Blue Note)

    Top Reissue

    1. Errol Garner, Closeup in Swing (Mack Avenue/Octave) 


    Top Americana/World Albums

    1. Yola, Walk Through Fire (Easy Eye Sound)

    2. Lakou Mizik, HaitiaNola (Cumbancha)

    3. Keb Mo, Oklahoma (Concord)

    4. Tedeschi Trucks Band, Signs (Fantasy)

    5. Jimmie Vaughan, Baby, Please Come Home (Last Music/JLV)

    6. Santana, Africa Speaks (Concord)

    7. North Mississippi Allstars, Up and Rolling (New West)

    8. Brittany Howard, Jaime (ATO)

    9. Angelique Kidjo, Celia (Verve)

    10. Rhiannon Giddens with Francesco Turrisi, There Is No Other (Nonesuch) 


  • 15 Dec 2019 12:40 PM | Jeffrey Siegel

    Melissa Aldana - "Visions"

    Branford Marsalis Quartet - "The Secret Between the Shadow and the Soul"

    Chick Corea, Christian McBride, Brian Blade - "Trilogy 2"

    Veronica Swift - "Confessions"

    Joel Ross - "Kingmaker"

    Cyrille Aimee - "Move On - A Sondheim Adventure"

    Miguel Zenon - "Sonero: The Music of Ismael Rivera"

    Ethan Iverson Quintet with Tom Harrell - "Common Practices"

    Johnanthan Blake - "Trion"

    Bill Frisell/Thomas Morgan - "Epistrophy"

  • 12 Dec 2019 9:41 AM | Sammy Stein

    1) Ivo Perelman/Matthew Shipp/Bobby Kapp/William Parker - Ineffable joy ( ESP)

    2) Fire! Orchestra - Arrival ( Rune Gramafon)

    3) Peter Brotzmann - I Surrender dear ( Trost)  

    4) Erodoto Project - Molon Labe ( Cultural Bridge)

    5) day and Taxi - Devotion (Percaso)

    6) Shifa - Live At Café Oto (577 Records)

    7) Kate Williams +Four Plus Three with Georgia Mancio 'FInding Home' (KW Jazz) 

    8) Graham J 'Cry' (MRX-04)

    9) David Dower Trio ' There Are No Stars' ( Bandcamp, iplayer)

    10)Marco Marconi trio - New roads ( 33 Jazz)

     

     

     

     

     

  • 11 Dec 2019 9:45 AM | Mike West
    1. Christian Scott Atunde Adjuah Ancetral Recall (Ropeadope)
    2. Angel Bat Dawid The Oracle (International Anthem)
    3. Matana Roberts COIN COIN Chapter Four: Memphis (Constellation)
    4. Miho Hazama Dancer in Nowhere (Sunnyside)
    5. Marilyn Mazur Shamania (RareNoise)
    6. Matthew Shipp Trio Invites Nicole Mitchell All Things Are (Rogue Arts)
    7. Joel Ross Kingmaker (Blue Note)
    8. Jaimie Branch Fly Or Die II: Bird Dogs of Paradise (International Anthem)
    9. Ben Monder Day After Day (Sunnyside)
    10. James Brandon Lewis An UnRuly Manifesto (Relative Pitch)
  • 10 Dec 2019 11:13 PM | David Adler

    Two Top-Ten Lists - A & B. But one is not secondary to the other; they're just different. I made the first list, then thought about it for a bit and made an entirely different list. And rather than agonize about it all, I'm just posting them both.

    List A:

    Miguel Zenón, Sonero: The Music of Ismael Rivera (Miel)

    ELEW, Elew Plays Rosenwinkel: Cubism (Heartcore)

    Johnathan Blake, Trion (Giant Step Arts)

    Anna Webber, Clockwork (Pi)

    Ben Eunson, Ace (Ocean Road)

    Rajna Swaminathan, Of Agency and Abstraction (Biophilia)

    Miles Okazaki, The Sky Below (Pi)

    JD Allen, Barracoon (Savant)

    Brad Mehldau, Finding Gabriel (Nonesuch)

    Mareike Wiening, Metropolis Paradise (Greenleaf)


    List B:

    Melissa Aldana, Visions (Motéma)

    Jeff Ballard, Fairgrounds (Edition)

    Matt Mitchell, Phalanx Ambassadors (Pi)

    Noah Preminger, Zigsaw: Music of Steve Lampert (ind.)

    Earprint, Easy Listening (ind.)

    Matt Brewer, Ganymede (Criss Cross)

    Junius Paul, Ism (International Anthem)

    Joshua Redman & Brooklyn Rider, Sun on Sand (Nonesuch)

    Jonathan Kreisberg Quartet, Capturing Spirits — JKQ Live! (New for Now)

    Mike Holober & The Gotham Jazz Orchestra, Hiding Out (Soho)


  • 09 Dec 2019 5:16 PM | Sanford Josephson

    Alexa Tarantino: Crossing Paths (CD Baby)

    Bria Skonberg: Nothing Never Happens (Self Produced)

    Catherine Russell: Alone Together (Dot Time Records)

    Dick Hyman/Ken Peplowski: Counterpoint Lerner & Loewe (Arbors Records)

    Diva + the Boys (MCG Jazz)

    Eric Reed: Everybody Gets the Blues (Smoke Sessions)

    George Coleman: The Quartet (Smoke Sessions)

    Jimmy Cobb: This I Dig of You (Smoke Sessions)

    Ken Peplowski/Diego Figueiredo: Amizale (Arbors Records)

    Nicki Parrott: New York to Paris (Arbors Records)


  • 09 Dec 2019 6:46 AM | Stephen Feeney

    2019 Top Ten

    Kris Davis – Diatom Ribbons (Pyroclastic Records)

    Anthony Braxton – Quartet (New Haven) 2014 (Firehouse 12)

    James Brandon Lewis – An Unruly Manifesto (Relative Pitch Records)

    Jamie Branch – Fly or Die II: bird dogs of paradise (International Anthem)

    Gerald Cleaver & Violet Hour - Live at Firehouse 12 (Sunnyside)

    Mark Turner meets Gary Foster – (Capri Records)

    Rich Halley – Terra Incognita (Pine Eagle Records)

    Ethan Iverson Quartet – Common Practice (Live at the Village Vanguard/2017) (ECM)

    Tomeka Reid Quartet – Old New (Cuneiform)

    Joshua Redman - Come What May (Nonesuch)

     

  • 07 Dec 2019 5:43 PM | Philip Booth

    Favorite albums of 2019

    1. Tom Harrell Infinity (High Note)

    2. Ryan Keberle & Catharsis The Hope I Hold (Greenleaf)

    3. Chick Corea Trilogy 2 (Concord Jazz)

    4. Jerry Bergonzi The Seven Rays (Savant)

    5. Frank Kimbrough Monk’s Dreams: The Complete Compositions of Thelonious Sphere Monk (Sunnyside)

    6. Chick Corea & The Spanish Heart Band Antidote (Concord Jazz)

    7. Bob Sheppard The Fine Line (Challenge)

    8. Anat Cohen Tentet Triple Helix (Anzic)

    9. Hendrik Meurkens Cobb’s Pocket (In & Out)

    10. Snarky Puppy Immigrance (GroundUp)


    Favorite reissues/historical albums

    John Coltrane Blue World (Impulse!)

    Betty Carter The Music Never Stops (Blue Engine)

    Cannonball Adderley Swingin’ in Seattle  (Reel to Real)


    Favorite vocal albums
    Veronica Swift, Confessions (Mack Avenue)

    Tierney Sutton, Screenplay (BFM)


    Favorite Latin albums

    Chick Corea & The Spanish Heart Band Antidote (Concord Jazz)

    Antonio Adolfo, Samba Jazz Alley (AAM)

    Jane Bunnett and Maqueque, On Firm Ground/Tierra Firme (Linus)


  • 07 Dec 2019 11:07 AM | Marcela Breton

    New Releases

    1.    Jane Bunnett & Maqueque “On Firm Ground/Tierra Firme"  (Linus)

    2.    Diva Jazz Orchestra “Diva & the Boys” (MCG Jazz)

    3.    Camila Meza & the Nectar Orchestra “Ambar” (Sony Masterworks)

    4.    Jaimie Branch “Fly or Die II : Bird Dogs of Paradise” (International Anthem)

    5.    Melissa Aldana “Visions” (Motema)

    6.    Champian Fulton with Cory Weeds “Dream a little…” (Live Cellar)

    7.    Roxy Coss “Quintet” (OutsideIn)

    8.    Aubrey Logan “Where the Sunshine is Expensive” (Resonance Records)

    9.    Rhiannon Giddens with Francesco Turrisi “There is No Other” (Nonesuch)

    10.  Moy Eng and Wayne Wallace “The Blue Hour” (Patois)

    Historical

    1.    Nat King Cole “Hittin’ the Ramp : the Early Years (1936-1943)” (Resonance) (7 CDs)

    2.    Stan Getz “Getz at the Gate : the Stan Getz Quartet Live at the Village Gate, Nov. 26, 1961” (Verve/Ume) (2 CDs)

    3.    Barney Wilen Quartet “Live in Tokyo ‘91” (Elemental) (2 CDs)
  • 05 Dec 2019 10:54 PM | John Pietaro

     JOHN PIETARO 2019 “BEST OF”:

    (Yes, it crosses boundaries judiciously)

    • 1.    MUSICIANS OF THE YEAR:

    Violin:

    -Sarah Bernstein

    -Jason Kao Hwang

    -Sana Nagano


    Viola:

    -Melanie Dyer


    Cello:

    -Tomas Ulrich

    -Lester St Louis


    Trumpet:

    -Wallace Roney

    -Wadada Leo Smith

    -Thomas Heberer


    Trombone:

    -Steve Swell       

                            

    Tuba:

    -Howard Johnson

    -Joseph Daley


    Flute:

    -Nicole Mitchell

    -Robert Dick

    -Cheryl Pyle


    Clarinet:

    -Patrick Holmes

    -Ben Goldberg

    -Guillermo Gregorio


    Bass clarinet:

    -Josh Sinton

    -Michael Lytle


    Soprano saxophone:

    -Lee Odom

    -Dave Liebman


    Alto saxophone:

    -Marty Ehrlich

    -Kendrick Smith

    -Chris Pitsiokis


    Tenor saxophone:

    -James Brandon Lewis

    -Ras Moshe Burnett

    -Evan Parker


    Baritone saxophone:

    -Clare Daley

    -Dave Sewelson


    Guitar:

    -Ava Mendoza

    -Marc Ribot

    -Mike Baggetta

    -Julian Lage

    -Anthony Pirog


    Vibraphone:

    -Bill Ware

    -Patricia Brennan

    -Steve Nelson


    Piano:

    -Ran Blake

    -Aruan Ortiz

    -Mara Rosenbloom


    Upright bass:

    -Ken Filiano

    -William Parker

    -Adam Lane


    Bass guitar:

    -Jamaaladeen Tacuma

    -Steve Swallow


    Drumset:

    -Ronnie Burrage

    -Ches Smith

    -Kenny Wollesson

    -Michael TA Thompson


    Percussion:

    -Warren Smith

    -Cyro Baptista

    -Newman Taylor Baker


    Harp:

    -Zeena Parkins


    Multi-instrumentalist (winds):

    -Daniel Carter

    -Scott Robinson


    Vocals:

    -Jay Clayton

    -Christine Correa

    -Shelley Hirsch

    -Kyoko Kitamura


    Poet/Spoken Word Artist:

    -David Henderson

    -Tracie Morris

    -Yusef Komunyakaa

    -Puma Perl


    • 2.    ENSEMBLES:

    Large ensemble:

    -Marshall Allen and the Sun Ra Arkestra

    -Slavic Soul Party

    -Go Organic Orchestra

    -Hungry March Band


    Duo:

    -Ran Blake and Christine Correa

    Sarah Bernstein and Kid Millions


    Trio:

    -Harriet Tubman

    -William Hooker Trio with Mara Rosenbloom and Adam Lane

    -Rocco John Trio with Chris Forbes and Charlie Sabatino

    -Free Form Funky Freqs

    -the Messthetics


    Quartet:

    -Zodiac Saxophone Quartet

    -Todd Capp’s Mystery Train


    3. LABELS OF THE YEAR:

    -Truth Revolution

    -ESP-Disk

    -577

    -Alternative Tentacles


    4. CONCERTS OF THE YEAR:

    -Wall to Wall Coltrane, June 9, Symphony Space, NYC

    -Arts for Art Tribute to Steve Cannon, September 6, Clemente Soto Velez Cultural Center, NYC

    -Ronnie Burrage:Tribute to Hamiet Bluiett, May 25, Sista’s Place, Brooklyn NY


    5. VENUES OF THE YEAR:

    -Lady Stardust (East Village)

    -The Bar Next Door (West Village)

    -Jazz at Kitano (mid-town)

    -Union Pool (Williamsburg)

    -Downtown Music Gallery (LES)


    6. ALBUMS OF THE YEAR:

    -David S Ware, Theatre Garone (AUM Fidelity)

    -Mike Baggetta/Mike Watt/Jim Keltner, Wall of Flowers (Big Ego Records)

    -Ben Goldberg, Good Day for Cloud Fishing (Pyroclastic)

    -Green Dome, Thinking in Stitches (Case Study)


    7. UNEARTHED GEMS:

    -David S Ware, the Balance (AUM Fidelity)


    8. REISSUE:

    -Charles Mingus, Mingus at Antibes (Speakers Corner; originally released 1976, Atlantic)

    -Thing, Thing (Cultures of Soul; originally released 1972, Innerview)


    9. ALBUM ARTWORK/PACKAGING:

    -Ben Goldberg, Good Day for Cloud Fishing (Pyroclastic)

    -Charles Mingus, Mingus at Antibes (Speakers Corner; originally released 1976, Atlantic)


    10. BIGGEST HEARTBREAK:

    -Death of Steve Dalachinsky


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