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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.

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


  • 22 Dec 2019 11:40 AM | J Hunter

    TOP 10 JAZZ2K DISCS OF 2019:

    1) Ryan Keberle & Catharsis -- The Hope I Hold (Greenleaf Music)

    2) JD Allen -- Barracoon (Savant)

    3) Allison Miller's Boom Tic Boom -- Glitter Wolf (Royal Potato Family)

    4) Melissa Aldana -- Visions (Motema)

    5) Remy Le Boeuf -- Light as a Word (Outside In Music)

    6) Chris Potter -- Circuits (Edition Records)

    7) Kendrick Scott Oracle -- A Wall becomes A Bridge (Blue Note)

    8) Kris Davis -- Diatom Ribbons (Pyroclastic Records)

    9) Etienne Charles -- Carnival: The Sound of a People, Vol. 1 (Culture Shock Music)

    10) Avery Sharpe -- 400: An African American Musical Portrait (JKNM Records)

    2019 JAZZ2K AWARDS:


    Sivan Arbel -- Change of Light (Self-released)


    Alfredo Rodriguez / Pedrito Martinez -- Duologue (Mack Avenue)


    Bonerama -- Bonerama Plays Zeppelin (Basin Street)

    ROOKIE OF THE YEAR (Best Debut as a Leader):

    Idan Morim -- I.M. (Outside In Music)


    Tom Harrell -- Infinity (HighNote)

    LOCAL HERO AWARD (Best Local or Regional Release):

    Bright Dog Red -- How's By You? (Ropeadope)

  • 22 Dec 2019 6:59 AM | Dan Bilawsky

    I had the pleasure of putting together a number of "best of" lists this year.  They're largely consistent, though each varies ever so slightly due to criteria, including date windows, and formatting regarding additional categories (i.e. Vocals, Latin, Historical).  This is the list/ballot I submitted for Francis Davis' annual poll--the most respected and widely-read of the year-end jazz polls.     

    New Releases:

    1. Fabian Almazan, This Land Abounds with Life (Biophilia)

    2. Jennifer Wharton’s Bonegasm, Bonegasm (Sunnyside)

    3. Dan McCarthy, Epoch (Origin)

    4. Skyjack, The Hunter (Enja/Yellowbird)

    5. Youn Sun Nah, Immersion (Warner Music)

    6. Peter Eldridge/Kenny Werner, Somewhere (Rosebud Music)

    7. Sara Gazarek, Thirsty Ghost (MRI)

    8. Matt Mitchell, Phalanx Ambassadors (Pi)

    9. Scott Robinson, Tenormore (Arbors)

    10. Brittany Anjou, Enamiĝo Reciprokataj (Origin)


    1. John Coltrane, Blue World (Impulse!)

    2. Eric Dolphy, Musical Prophet: The Expanded 1963 New York Studio Sessions (Resonance)

    3. Wes Montgomery, Back on Indiana Avenue: The Carroll DeCamp Recordings (Resonance)



    Youn Sun Nah, Immersion (Warner Music)


    Jennifer Wharton’s Bonegasm, Bonegasm (Sunnyside)


    Bill O’Connell and The Afro Caribbean Ensemble, Wind Off The Hudson (Savant)

  • 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 | Anonymous

    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)

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