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2016 'Best of Jazz' Selected by JJA Members

These are the 2016 "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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  • 02 Jul 2017 11:28 AM | Christopher Burnett

    Favorite Jazz of 2016 - Christopher Burnett (Jazz Artistry Now)

    • Evolve by Dan Arcamone (Artists Recording Collective)
    • Lazy Afternoon by Michael Jefry Stevens (Artists Recording Collective)
    • Further Explorations by Alchemy Sound Project (Artists Recording Collective)
    • A Cosmic Rhythm With Each Stroke by Vijay Iyer (ECM Records)
    • Arclight by Julian Lage (Mack Avenue Records)
    • Children of the Light by Perez, Patitucci, Blade (Mack Avenue Records)
    • Shift by Logan Richardson (Blue Note)
    • In Movement by DeJohnette, Coltrane, Garrison (ECM Records)
    • New Direction by Herlin Riley (Mack Avenue Records)
    • The Unity Sessions by Pat Metheny (Nonesuch Records)
  • 06 Mar 2017 5:13 PM | Laurence Donohue-Greene
    BEST OF 2016 (New Releases)
    - Laurence Donohue-Greene, The New York City Jazz Record (nycjazzrecord.com)

    *Charlie Haden Liberation Music Orchestra - Time/Life (Song For The Whales and Other Beings) (Impulse/Verve)
    *Aruán Ortiz Trio (with Eric Revis and Gerald Cleaver) - Hidden Voices (Intakt)
    *Fanfare Ciocărlia - Onwards to Mars! (Asphalt Tango)
    *ERGO - As Subtle as Tomorrow (Cuneiform)
    *Christy Doran's Sound Fountain - Belle Epoque (Between The Lines)
    *Silke Eberhard/Christian Marien/Nikolaus Neuser - I Am Three: Mingus, Mingus, Mingus (Leo)
    *Bushman's Revenge - Jazz, Fritt Etter Hukommelsen (Rune Grammofon)
    *Steve Swell - Soul Travelers (Rogue Art(
    *Fire! (Mats Gustafsson, Johan Berthling, Andreas Werliin)- She Sleeps, She Sleeps (Rune Grammofon)
    *Jorma Tapio & Kaskia - Ghatika (Karkia Mistika)
  • 19 Jan 2017 4:56 PM | Geoffrey Himes


    • 1.       Charles Lloyd & the Marvels: I Long To See You (Blue Note)
    • 2.       The Charlie Haden Liberation Music Orchestra: Time/Life (Impulse)
    • 3.       Gregory Porter: Take Me to the Alley (Blue Note)
    • 4.       Christian Scott: Stretch Music (Ropeadope)
    • 5.       Murray Allen & Carrington Power Trio: Perfection (Motema)
    • 6.       John Scofield: Country for Old Men (Impulse)
    • 7.       Rene Marie: Sound of Red (Motema)
    • 8.       SFJazz Collective: The Music of Michael Jackson and Original Compositions (SFJazz)
    • 9.       Franklin Kiermyer: Closer to the Sun (Mobility)
    • 10.    Henry Threadgill Ensemble Double Up: Old Locks and Irregular Verbs (Pi)


    • 1.       Van Morrison: It's Too Late To Stop Now … Volumes II, III, IV & DVD (Exile/Legacy)
    • 2.       Hayes Carll: Lovers and Leavers (HWY 87/Thirty Tigers)
    • 3.       Beyonce: Lemonade (Columbia)
    • 4.       Lake Street Dive: Side Pony (Nonesuch)
    • 5.       Margo Price: Midwest Farmer's Daughter (Third Man)
    • 6.       The Drive-By: Truckers: American Band (ATO)
    • 7.       Miranda Lambert: The Weight of These Wings (RCA)
    • 8.       Jonathan Finlayson & Sicilian Defense: Moving Still (Pi)
    • 9.       Pharrell Williams: Hidden Figures: The Album (Columbia)
    • 10.    Lucinda Williams: The Ghosts of Highway 20 (20/Thirty Tigers)

  • 18 Jan 2017 11:12 AM | Anonymous

    Best Jazz Albums (order of preference)

    Wadada Leo Smith – America’s National Parks (Cuneiform)

    Denny Zeitlin – Solo Piano: Early Wayne: Explorations of Classic Wayne Shorter Compositions (Sunnyside)

    Fred Hersch Trio – Sunday Night at the Vanguard (Palmetto)

    Darcy James Argue Secret Society – Real Enemies (New Amsterdam)

    Kim Davis – Duopoly (CD/DVD) (Pyroclastic)

    Frank Kimbrough – Solstice (Piroet)

    Marcus Strickland’s Twi-Life – Nihil Novi (Blue Note)

    Loren Richardson – Shift (Blue Note)

    Anders Svanoe – State of the Baritone (Irabaggast Records)

    Aziza – Aziza (Redeye)

    Best Latin Jazz Album

    (tie) Harold Lopez-Nussa – El Viaje (Mack Avenue)

    Edward Simon – Latin American Songbook (Sunnyside)

    Best Vocal Album

    Gregory Porter – Take Me to the Alley (Blue Note)

    Best Historic Recordings/Reissues

    Larry Young – In Paris: The ORTF Recordings (Resonance)

    Bill Evans – Some Other Time: The Lost Session from the Black Forest (Resonance)

    Thad Jones-Mel Lewis Orchestra – All My Yesterdays: The Debut 1966 Recordings at the Village Vanguard (Resonance)

    Paul Butterfield Blues Band – Got a Mind to Give Up Living Live 1966 (Real Gone Music)

    Best Blues/Roots Album

    Tedeschi Trucks Band – Let Me Get By (Deluxe Edition) (Fantasy)

    Best World Music

    Yo-Yo Ma and Silk Road Ensemble – Sing Me Home (Masterworks)

    Best Live Performance

    Tedeschi Trucks Band/Los Lobos,  White River Park, Indianapolis, July 27
    Rick Germanson Trio, Jazz Estate, Milwaukee, Dec. 23

    Website: Culture Currents (Vernaculars Speak)

  • 04 Jan 2017 12:01 AM | Anonymous

    BEST OF LISTS 2016


    Count Basie/Lester Young, Classic 1936-1947 Studio Sessions (Mosaic)

    Joe Bushkin, Live at the Embers 1952 (Dot Time Records)

    Jim Cullum Jazz Band, George Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess Live (Riverwalk Jazz)

    Bill Evans, Some Other Time: The Lost Sessions from the Black Forest (Resonance)

    Ella Fitzgerald, Live at Chautuqua, Vol. 1 (Dot Time)

    Shirley Horn, Live at the 4 Queens (Resonance)

    Chuck Israels National Jazz Ensemble, Featuring Gerry Mulligan (Dot Time)

    Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Orchestra, All My Yesterdays (Resonance)

    Sarah Vaughan, Live at Roxy’s (Resonance)

    Larry Young, In Paris: The ORTF Recordings (Resonance)

    Big Bands

    BBB featuring Bernie Dresel, Live ‘n Bernin” (Monster Music)

    John Beasley, Presents MONK’estr,a Vol. 1 (Mack Avenue)

    Wayne Bergeron, Full Circle (Summit)

    Chuck Israels Jazz Orchestra, Garden of Delights (Dot Time)

    Stan Kenton/The BYU Synthesis Big Band, A Kenton Celebration (Tantara)

    Phil Norman Tentet, Then & Now (MAMA)

    Scott Reeves Jazz Orchestra, Portraits and Places (Origin Records)

    Mike Vax and the Stan Kenton Legacy Orchestra, Stormon’ Through the South (Summit)

    Small Groups

    Harry Allen’s All Star New York Saxophone Band, The Candy Men (Arbors)

    Ehud Asherie, Shuffle Along (Blue Heron)

    Benny Golson, Horizon (HighNote)

    Scott Hamilton & Harry Allen, Live (GAC Records)

    Mike Jones, Roaring (Capri)

    Eric Olsen and Lou Caimano, Dyad Plays Jazz Arias (Ringwood)

    Ken Peplowski, Enrapture (Capri)

    Houston Person and Ron Carter, Chemistry (HighNote)

    Bria Skonberg, Bria (Masterworks/Okeh)

    Rossano Sportiello/Nicki Parrott/Ed Metz, Strictly Confidential (Arbors)


    Susie Arioli, Spring (Spectra)

    Freddie Cole, He Was the King (HighNote)

    Judy Carmichael and Harry Allen, Can You Love Me Once More (GAC Records)

    Mary Foster Conklin, Photographs (Mock Turtle Music)

    Rebecca DuMaine, Happy Madness (Summit)

    Marty Elkins, Walkin’ By the River (Nagel-Heyer)

    Rebecca Kilgore, Moonshadow Dance (Cherry Pie Music)

    Mark Murphy, Live in Athens, Greece (Harbinger)

    Catherine Russell, Harlem on My Mind (Jazz Village)

    Lauren White, Out of the Past: Jazz and Noir (Café Pacific)

  • 03 Jan 2017 4:48 PM | Anonymous

    Top Ten List :

    Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society « Real Enemies » (New Amsterdam)

    Nels Cline « Lovers » (Blue Note)

    Avishai Cohen « Into The Silence » (ECM)

    Tord Gustavsen « What Was Said » (ECM)

    Madeleine & Salomon « A Woman’s Journey » (Tzig’art/Promise Land)

    Donny McCaslin « Beyond Now » (Motéma)

    Anne Paceo « Circles » (Laborie Jazz)

    Émile Parisien « Sfumato » (ACT)

    Shabaka & the Ancestors « Wisdom of Elders » (Brownswood) 

    Wadada Leo Smith « America’s National Parks » (Cuneiform/Orkhêstra)

    Ben Wendel « What We Bring » (Motéma)

    Dhafer Youssef « Diwan of Beauty & Odd » (Okeh)

  • 02 Jan 2017 3:34 PM | W. Royal Stokes

    Nota bene: All of my choices are in alphabetical order by artist and are to be equally rated. 


    Jane Ira Bloom, Early Americans Single (Outline)

    Diva Jazz Orchestra, Special Kay (DivaJazz.com)

    Anat Fort Trio, Birdwatching (ECM)

    Benny Golson, Horizon Ahead (HighNote)

    Jungle: Mat Walerian/Matthew Shipp/Hamid Drake, Live At Okuden (Esp Disk Ltd.)

    Ken Peplowski, Enrapture (Capri)

    Doug Richards’ Great American Music Ensemble, It's All In The Game (Jazzed Media)

    Sonny Rollins, Holding the Stage (Road Shows, Vol. 4) (Sony Masterworks)

    Wadada Leo Smith, America's National Parks (Cuneiform)

    Henry Threadgill Ensemble Double Up, Old Locks and Irregular Verbs (PI Recordings)


    Count Basie & Lester Young, Classic 1936-1947 Studio Sessions (Mosaic)

    Joe Bushkin Quartet, Live at the Embers, 1952 (Dot Time Legends)

    New Black Eagle Jazz Band, Celebrating the Big 40 (BlackEagles.com)


    Shirley Horn, Live At The Four Queens Live (Resonance Records)


    Christopher Zuar, Musings (Sunnyside Communications)


    Ray Obiedo, Latin Jazz Project vol. 1 (Rhythmus Records)

    For my “NOTABLE 2016 RELEASES” and “ROUNDUP OF 150 OR SO JAZZ, BLUES, BEYOND, AND OTHER BOOKS PUBLISHED IN THE PAST YEAR OR SO,” please go to my blog (wroyalstokes.com/weblog).

    W. Royal Stokes 


    JJA News 


  • 31 Dec 2016 6:20 AM | Mirian Arbalejo

    10 Favorites of 2016

    (For deeper thoughts about them, please visit It Don't Mean A Thing)

    One For Marian: Celebrating Marian McPartland. Roberta Piket

    Thirteenth Note Records

    Pick Up The Phone. Sebastián Chames


    Reflections. Conrad Herwig / Igor Butman
    Criss Cross

    Holding The Stage: Road Shows, Vol. 4. Sonny Rollins
    Doxy / Okeh

    Broad Horizon. Billy Cobham & Frankfurt Radio Big Band

    Creative Multimedia Concepts

    Salto Al Vacío. Pablo Martín Caminero

    Lost Espacio Creativo

    A Master Speaks. George Coleman

    Smoke Sessions

    Spoken Into Existence. Chico Freeman 4-Tet

    CD Baby

    Upward Spiral. Branford Marsalis Quartet / Kurt Elling 

    Marsalis Music / Okeh

    Nearness. Joshua Redman/Brad Mehldau

    Special mention:

    Cifu Entre Amigos. Varios autores

  • 30 Dec 2016 4:18 PM | Travis Rogers Jr.

    Jazz Owl Favorites of 2016

    by Travis Rogers, Jr. “The Jazz Owl”

     It was an amazing year of great music from astonishing musicians. So many great horn players and pianists, and so very many great debut albums. This was an extremely difficult year to choose favorites. Once again, these are my favorites for the year. I would not presume to judge who is the “best.”


    Solo: Takeshi Asai Solo – “Live in New York”

    Duo: Natalie Cressman and Mike Bono – “Etchings in Amber”

    Trio: Danny Green Trio – “Altered Narratives”

    Quartet: Hristo Vitchev Quartet – “In Search of Wonders”

    Quintet: Chembo Corniel Quintet – “Land of the Descendants”

    Large Ensemble: Ed Neumeister – “Suite Ellington”

    Big Band: Carrera Quinta – “Big Band”

    Vocals: Jackie Cage – “Siren Songs”

    Debut Album: Megumi Yonezawa – “A Result of the Colors”

    Album of the Year: Ilhan Ersahin “Istanbul Underground”

  • 27 Dec 2016 3:47 PM | John Szwed

    Best New Releases:

    1 Charlie Haden   Time/Life   Impulse

    2 Wadada Leo Smith   American National Parks   Cunieform

    3 Tom Harrell   Something Gold, Something Blue   HighNote

    4 Loren Richardson   Lift    Blue Note

    5 Darcy James  Real Enemies   BMP

    6 Allen Lowe      In the Diaspora of the Diaspora: Man With Guitar: Where’s

        Robert Johnson?   Constant Sorrow

    7 Steve Lehman  Sélébéyone   Pi

    8 BassDrumBone    The Long Road   Auricle  

    9 Andrew Cyrille   The Declaration of Musical Independence   ECM

    10 Friends and Neighbors   What’s Wrong      Clean Feed



    Branford Marsalis and Kurt Elling      Upward Spiral       Okeh

     Reissues or Historical:

    1 Miles Davis     Freedom   Columbia/Legacy

    2.  James P. Johnson  Classic James P. Johnson Sessions    Mosaic

    3 John Coltrane      A Love Supreme   Impulse



    Alfredo Rodriguez   Tocororo   Mack Avenue

    Best Live Music:

    The entire year of performances at Mark Christman's Ars Nova Workshop in Philadelphia

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