Friday, December 2, 2016

Looking back at the year's best jazz recordings

‘Tis the season for the outpouring of Top 10 lists, and their many variations, for jazz, world events, etc. The jazz lists always have a lot of variation depending on the individual reviewer's personal tastes, as well as what he or she listened to during the year.* Bottom line, all are extremely subjective.

These choices below (aside from top 10 new songs of the year) were submitted to the Jazz Times, Jazz Journalists’ Association and NPR Music 2016 compilations (the latter is the annual Francis Davis-produced poll that previously was published by The Village Voice and

As I begin preparing my review of significant events and trends in jazz in 2016 for posting on, I thought I'd share my "best of 2016" lists. *Always keep in mind the above caveats.

The 10 best new jazz releases of 2016
  1. Aziza, Aziza (Dare2)
  2. Scott Hamilton/Harry Allen, Live! (GAC)
  3. Tierney Sutton Band, The Sting Variations (BFM Jazz)
  4. Gregory Porter Take Me to the Alley (Blue Note)
  5. Sonny Rollins, Holding the Stage: Road Shows Vol. 4 (Doxy/OKeh)
  6. Roberta Piket, One for Marian: Celebrating Marian McPartland (Thirteenth Note)
  7. Greg Abate and Phil Woods, Kindred Spirits: Live at Chan’s (Whaling City Sound)
  8. Noah Preminger, Dark Was The Night, Cold Was The Ground (self-produced)
  9. Horace Bray, Dreamstate (self-produced)
  10. Matt Wilson’s Big Happy Family, Beginning of a Memory (Palmetto)
2016’s best vocal recording:

Tierney Sutton Band, The Sting Variations (BFM Jazz)

2016’s best debut recording:

Horace Bray, Dreamstate (self-produced)

The best historical/reissues of 2016 (includes any recordings made over 10 years ago, whether newly released or reissued):

1.     Bill Evans, Some Other Time (Resonance)
2.     Lyle Mays Quartet, The Ludwigsburg Concert (SWR Jazzhaus)
3.     Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Orchestra, All My Yesterdays (Resonance)
4.     Erroll Garner, Ready Take One (Legacy/Octave)
5.     Joao Gilberto/Stan Getz, “Getz/Gilberto ’76 (Resonance)

2016’s best Latin/Brazilian jazz recordings:
1.     Jane Bunnett & Maqueque, Oddara (Linus Entertainment)
2.     The Pedrito Martinez Group, Habana Dreams (Motéma)
3.     Brian Andres and the Afro-Cuban Jazz Cartel, This Could Be That (Bacalao)
4.     Matt Geraghty Project, Trade Winds: Cuba (self-produced)
5.     Gabriel Espinosa, Songs of Bacharach and Manzanero (Zoho)
6.     Socrates Garcia, Back Home (Mama)
7.     The Dominican Jazz Project, The Dominican Jazz Project (Summit)

The 10 best new songs from CDs released in 2016, listed alphabetically:
  • Jim Clayton, “The DeRozan Effect” from Lenny Jumps In (Clay-Tone)
  • Marc Copland, “Best Bet” from Zenith (InnerVoice)
  • Lisa Hilton, “Seduction” from Nocturnal (Ruby Slippers)
  • Grace Kelly, “Blues for Harry Bosch” from Trying to Figure It Out (PAZZ)
  • Roberto Magris, “Candlewood Dreams” from Need to Bring Out Love (JMood)
  • Jenny Maybee, “Winter Butterflies” from Jenny Maybee / Nick Phillips Haiku (Nick Phillips Music)
  • Gregory Porter, “Don’t Be a Fool” from Take Me to the Alley (Blue Note)
  • Steve Slagle, “Ft. Greene Scene” from The Stryker/Slagle Band (Expanded), Routes (Strikezone)
  • Ernie Watts & Marc Seales, “Wheel of Time (Anthem for Charlie)” from Watts’ Wheel of Time (Flying Dolphin)
  • Matt Wilson, “Flowers for Felicia” from Beginning of a Memory (Palmetto)

1 comment:

  1. Ken, Thank you for including One for Marian on your list!
    Best, Roberta