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2018 'Best of Jazz' Selected by JJA Members

These are the 2018 "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.

Click the member's underlined name after the date to view that member's profile. You are invited to comment on the posts


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  • 29 Nov 2018 9:17 PM | Anonymous

    MY OWN 'BEST OF 2018' - a perhaps alternative view...


    New Releases:

    John Zorn, The Urmuz Epigrams (Tzadik)

    Harriet Tubman, Araminta (Sunnyside)

    Marty Ehrlich, Trio Exaltation (Clean Feed)

    Ra Kalam Bob Moses and Bukky Leo, Spaceships Over Africa (Ra Kalam)

    Benjamin Boone/Philip Levine, The Poetry of Jazz (Origin)

    Yusef Komunyakaa/David Cieri/Mike Brown, White Dust (Ropeadopa)

    Christine Correa and Ran Blake, Streaming (Red Piano)

    Elliot Levin/Gabriel Lauber Duo, Yu (Dimensional Recordings)



     Coltrane, Both Directions at Once (Impulse)

    Walt Dickerson/Richard Davis - Divine Gemini (SteepleChase)

    Latin : Arturo O’Farrill, Fandango at the Wall (Resilience)

    Vocals : Christine Correa and Ran Blake, Streaming (Red Piano)

    Debuts: Benjamin Boone/Philip Levine, The Poetry of Jazz (Origin)



    I Never Left and Now I’m Back: A Tribute to Roswell Rudd (Nov 17, 2018, Murmrr, Brooklyn)




    Ran Blake

    Chris Forbes

    Matt Shipp


    Matthew Whitaker


    Ken Filiano

    Adam Lane


    Milford Graves

    Nasheet Waits

    Kenny Wolleson


    Brian Carrot

    Bill Ware

    Patricia Brennan


    Warren Smith

    Cyro Baptista

    Ches Smith


    Marc Ribot

    Brandon Ross

    Mary Halvorson

    On' Kai Davis


    Nicole Mitchell

    Steve Gorn

    soprano saxophone:

    Lee Odom


    Sonny Fortune

    Gary Bartz

    Avram Fefer


    Joe Lovano

    Ras Moshe

    James Brandon Lewis


    Dave Sewlson


    Wadada Leo Smith

    Tom Harrell


    Steve Swell


    Bob Stewart


    Gwen Laster


    Cassandra Wilson

    Jay Clayton

    Sheila Jordan


     Steve Dalachinsky

    Amina Baraka


    Minton’s Playhouse (Harlem)

    Village Vanguard (West Village)

    Joe’s Pub (SoHo/East Village)

    ShapeShifter Lab (Park Slope/Gowanus Bklyn)

    Roulette (Boerum Hill Bklyn)

    17 Frost (Williamsburg Bklyn)

    Scholes Street Studio (Williamsburg Bklyn)

    The Colony (Woodstock NY)

  • 29 Nov 2018 3:18 PM | Bill Milkowski

    THE BEST OF 2018

    1. JD Allen, Love Stone (Savant)
    2. John Scofield, Combo 66 (Verve)
    3. Bill Frisell, Music IS (OKeh/Sony Masterworks)
    4. Francois Moutin & Kavita Shah, Interplay (Dot Time)
    5. Michael Leonhart Orchestra, The Painted Lady Suite (Sunnyside)
    6. Wayne Shorter, Emanon (Blue Note)
    7. Eddie Henderson, Be Cool (Smoke Sessions Records)
    8. Andrew Cyrille, Lebroba (EMC)
    9. Joshua Redman, Still Dreaming (Nonesuch)
    10. Carlos Hernandez, Dizzy Con Clave (Rodbros Music)

    11. Rudy Royston, Flatbed Buggy (Greenleaf Music)
    12. Kurt Elling, The Questions (OKeh)
    13. Steve Cardenas, Charlie and Paul (Newvelle)
    14. Ben Allison, Quiet Revolution (Sonic Camera)
    15. Henry Threadgill, Dirt…And More Dirt (Pi Recordings)
    16. Myra Melford’s Snowy Egret, The Other Side of Air (Firehouse 12)
    17. Dr. Lonnie Smith, All In My Mind (Blue Note)
    18. Cuong Vu, Change in the Air (RareNoise)
    19. The Nels Cline 4, Currents, Constellations (Blue Note)
    20. Mary Halvorson-Bill Frisell, The Maid With The Flaxen Hair — A Tribute to Johnny Smith (Tzadik)
    21. Adam Nussbaum, The Lead Belly Project (Sunnyside)
    22. Dafnis Prieto Big Band, Back to the Sunset (Dafnison Music)
    23. Marshall Gilkes w/WDR Big Band, Always Forward (Alternate Side Records)
    24. Bobby Sanabria Multiverse Big Band, West Side Story Reimagined (Jazzheads)
    25. The Gil Evans Orchestra, Hidden Treasures, Vol. 1 (Geo)
    26. Ralph Peterson’s Gen-Next Big Band, I Remember Bu: Alive Vol. 4 at Sculler’s (Onyx)
    27. Ralph Peterson’s Aggregate Prime, Inward Venture: Alive Vol. 5 at the Side Door (Onyx)
    28. Frank Kimbrough, Monk’s Dream (Sunnyside)
    29. Davy Mooney/Ko Omura, Benign Strangers (Sunnyside)
    30. The Chick Corea-Steve Gadd Band, Chinese Butterfly (Concord Jazz)
    31. Joey Alexander, Eclipse (Motema Music)
    32. Cecile McLorin Salvant, The Window (Mack Avenue)
    33. Roman Filiu, Quarteria (Sunnyside) Mark Masters, Our Metier (Capri)
    34. Fernando Garcia, Guasabara Puerto Rico (Zoho)
    35. Jon Iragabon Quartet, Dr. Quixotic’s Traveling Exotics (Irrabagast)
    36. Julian Lage, Modern Love (Mack Avenue)
    37. Gilad Hekselman, Ask for Chaos (Hexaphonic/Motema Music)
    38. Joe Lovano & Dave Douglas, Scandal (Greenleaf)
    39. Matthew Shipp, Sonic Fiction (ESP-Disk)
    40. Charles Lloyd & The Marvels + Lucinda Williams, Vanished Gardens (Blue Note)
    41. Christian McBride, New Jawn (Mack Avenue)
    42. James Brandon Lewis/Chad Taylor, Radiant Imprints (Off Records)
    43. Sylvie Courvoirsier, D’Agala (Intakt)
    44. Bobby Previte, Rhapsody (Tzadik)
    45. Thumbscrew, Theirs (Cuneiform)
    46. Aaron Parks, Little Big (Ropeadope)
    47. Jonathan Finlayson, 3 Times Round (Pi Recordings)
    48. Marcus Miller, Laid Black (Blue Note)
    49. Fima Ephron, Songs From The Tree (Fima)
    50. Jean Chaumont, The Beauty of Differences (Musfitme Music)

  • 29 Nov 2018 2:50 PM | Anonymous

    Best of 2018


    Not Two, Amir ElSaffar/Rivers of Sound (New Amsterdam Records)

    All the Rivers – Live at Panteão Nacional, Susana Santos Silva (Clean Feed Records)

    Arild Andersen/Paolo Vinaccia/Tommy Smith In-House Science (ECM Records)

    Zero, Matthew Shipp (ESP Disk)

    Bright Force, Satoko Fujii’s Kira Kira (Libra Records)

    Aruán Ortiz Trio with Brad Jones and Chad Taylor: Live in Zürich (Intakt Records)

    Obsidian, Kit Downes (ECM Records)

    Marcin Wasilewski Trio Live (ECM Records)

    Lionel Loueke Close Your Eyes (Newvelle Records)

    Introverted Cultures, Adam Berenson / Scott Barnum / Eric Hofbauer (Dream Play Records)

    Esbjorn Svensson Trio e.s.t. live in London (ACT)

    Keith Jarrett / Gary Peacock / Jack DeJohnette After The Fall (ECM Records)

    Anniversary, Spanish Harlem Orchestra (ArtistShare)

    Cyrille Aimée Live, Cyrille Aimée (Mack Avenue records)

    Goya, Giuseppe Doronzo (Tora Records)

    10³²K, The Law of Vibration (Self-Produced)

    Tyshawn Sorey, Pillars (Firehouse 12)


    Historical Albums:

    Espace Cardin 1977, Dexter Gordon Quartet (Elemental Music)

    Mønk, Thelonious Monk (Gearbox Records)

    Both Directions at Once: The Lost Album, John Coltrane (Impulse!)

  • 29 Nov 2018 2:28 PM | Anonymous

    TOP TEN LISTS 2018

    Note,  The numbering on these lists do not indicate the order of preference. 

    Small Groups


      1.  Holland-Coots Jazz Quintet – This Is So Nice It Must Be Illegal: A Tribute to Fats      Waller and His Rhythm (Self-produced)

      2.  Dan Block – Block Party (Miles High – 8628)

      3.  Scott Hamilton & Rossano Sportiello – Live at Pyatt Hall (Cellar Live – 070217)

      4.  Vinnie Raniolo – Air Flight: Songs of Flight (Self-produced)

      5.  John Eaton & Jay Leonhart – Jerome Kern: The Master (Wolf Trap – 015)

      6.  Adrian Cunningham & Ken Peplowsi – Doulogue (Arbors – 19460)

      7.  Dennis Lichtman – Just Across the River (Triple Treble Music – 007)

      8.  Andy Schumm and His Sink-O-Pators – Futuristic Rhythms (Rivermont – 2244)

      9.  Bootsie Barnes & Larry McKenna – The More I See You (Cellar Live – 50718)

    10.  Joe Magnarelli – If You Could See Me Now (Cellar Live – 41818)

    Big Bands

      1. The New York All-Star Big Band – The Unheard Artie Shaw (HEP – 2104)

      2.  The DIVA Jazz Orchestra – 25th Anniversary Project (Arttist Share – 166)

      3.  Ira B. Liss Big Band Jazz Machine – Tasty Tunes (Tall Man)

      4.  The Ken Peplowski Big Band – Sunrise (Arbors – 19458)

      5.  The Flying Horse Big Band – The Bat Swings (Flying Horse Records – 30518)

      6.  The Glenn Crytzer Orchestra – Ain’t It Grand? (Self-produced)

      7.  New England Jazz Ensemble with Gacomo Gates – Peter and the Wolf (Self-  Produced)

      8.  Stan Kenton Legacy Orchestra – Flyin’ Through Florida (Summit – 727)

      9.  The Count Basie Orchestra – All About Basie (Concord – 00109)

    10.  Bobby Sanabria – West Side Story Reimagined (Jazzheads – 1231)


      1.  Cheryl Bentyne – rearrangements of Shadows (Artist Share – 0157)

      2.  Veronica Swift and Jeff Rupert – Let’s Sail Away (Rupe Media -10311)

      3.  Alex Pangman – Alex Pangman’s Hot Three (Justin Time – 8610)

      4.  Jay Leonhart & Tomoko Ohno – Don’t You Wish (Chancellor Music)

      5.  Dave Tull – Texting and Driving (Toy Car Records 0210)

      6.  Daryl Sherman – Lost in a Crowd (Audiophile – 357)

      7.  Mark Winkler & Cheryl Bentyne – Eastern Standard Time (Café Pacific – 4065)

      8.  Cécile McLorin Salvant – The Window (Mack Avenue – 1132)

      9.  Petra Van Nuis & Dennis Luxon – Because We’re Night People (String Damper – 2136)

    10.  Ann Hampton Callaway – Jazz Goes to the Movies (Shanachie/After 9 – 5464)


      1.  Stan Kenton – Mellophonium Magic (Tantara – 1133)

      2.  Various Artists – The Herdsmen & the Kentonians: Paris Sessions 1954-1956 (Fresh Sound – 939)

      3.  Harry South – The Songbook (Rhythm and Blues Records – 040)

      4.  Rogér Guerin – La Formidable Roger Guerin: Paris Meetings (Fresh Sound – 942)

      5.  Wes Montgomery – In Paris (Resonance – 2032)

      6.  Oscar Peterson – Oscar Peterson Plays (Verve – 5380361)

      7.  Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong – Cheek to Cheek: The Complete Duet        Recordings (Verve – B0026763)

      8.  Erroll Garner – Nightconcert (Mack Avenue – 1142)

      9.  Louis Armstrong – Pops Is Tops (Verve B0027518)

    10.  Dave McKenna – Dave McKenna in Madison (Arbors – 19467)

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