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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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  • 07 Dec 2016 9:58 AM | Ken Franckling
    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)
  • 07 Dec 2016 8:49 AM | saulmon Addison

    Melanie Mardot - I'll go Mad

    Interplay Jazz Orchestra - Detour

    Bill Evans - Some Other Time: The Lost Session From the Black Forest

    Christian McBride Trio - Live at The Village Vanguard

    Jack DeJohnette/Matthew Garrison/Ravi Coltrane - In Movement 

  • 06 Dec 2016 2:10 PM | Marcela Breton

    My Favorite CDs of 2016

    New Releases:

    Andy Gonzalez "Entre Colegas" (Truth Revolution)

    Jane Bunnett & Maqueque "Oddara" (Linus Entertainment)

    Melissa Aldana "Back Home" (Wommusic)

    Pedrito Martinez "Habana Dreams" (Motema)

    Michael Spiro & Wayne Wallace & La Orquesta Sinfonietta "Canto America" (Patois)

    Little Johnny Rivero "Music in Me" (Truth Revolution) 

    Lou Caputo & the Not So Big Band "Uh Oh!" (JazzCat 47)

    Orbert Davis Chicago Jazz Philarmonic Chamber Ensemble "Havana Blue" (CD Baby)

    Gregorio Uribe "Cumbia Universal" (Zoho)

    Harold Lopez-Nussa "El Viaje" (Mack Avenue)

    Champian Fulton "After Dark" (CD Baby)


    Gato Barbieri "Fiesta Caliente Live 76" (Hi Hat)

    John Coltrane "A Love Supreme : the Complete Masters" (Verve) (3 CDs)

    Abbey Lincoln "Love Having You Around : Live at the Keystone Korner,    v.2" (HighNote)

    Various "Classic Savoy Be-bop Sessions 1945-49" (Mosaic) (10 CDs)

    Various "Classic 1936-47 Count Basie & Lester Young Studio Sessions" (Mosaic) (8 CDs)



  • 06 Dec 2016 12:41 PM | Anonymous
    Ralph Peterson & Aggregate Prime - Dream Deferred

    Brian Lynch Madera - Latino

    Little Johnny Rivero - Music In Me

    Murray, Allen, & Carrington - Perfection

     Andy Gonzales - Entre Colegas

     Kenny Garrett - Do Your Dance 

    Robin Eubanks Mass Line Big Band - More Than Meets The Ear

     Harlem River Drive (reissue)

  • 05 Dec 2016 9:23 PM | David Adler

    Top Ten Jazz Releases 2016

    Esperanza Spalding, Emily’s D+Evolution (Concord)

    Mike Moreno, Lotus (World Culture)

    Dan Weiss, Sixteen: Drummers Suite (Pi)

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

    Tony Moreno Quintet, Short Stories (Mayimba)

    Joshua Redman & Brad Mehldau, Nearness (Nonesuch)

    Rez Abbasi & Junction, Behind the Vibration (Cuneiform)

    Nels Cline, Lovers (Blue Note)

    Michael Formanek Ensemble Kolossus, The Distance (ECM)

    Stephan Crump, Rhombal (Papillon)

    Top Historical Jazz Releases 2016

    The Savory Collection, Volume 1 - Body & Soul: Coleman Hawkins & Friends (NJMH)

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

    Miles Davis Quintet, Freedom Jazz Dance: The Bootleg Series, Vol. 5 (Sony)

    Sissle & Blake Sing Shuffle Along (Harbinger)

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

    Charlie Parker, Unheard Bird: The Unissued Takes (Verve)

    Other Important Releases 2016

    Matt Wilson’s Big Happy Family, Beginning of a Memory (Palmetto)

    Charlie Haden’s Liberation Music Orchestra, Time/Life: Songs for the Whales and Other Beings (Impulse!)

    Renee Rosnes, Written in the Rocks (Smoke Sessions)

    Orrin Evans, #knowingishalfthebattle (Smoke Sessions)

    Will Vinson, Perfectly Out of Place (5Passion)

    Vijay Iyer & Wadada Leo Smith, A Cosmic Rhythm with Each Stroke (ECM)

    Henry Threadgill’s Ensemble Double-Up, Old Locks and Irregular Verbs (Pi)

    Steve Lehman, Sélébéyone (Pi)

    Tyshawn Sorey, The Inner Spectrum of Variables (Pi)

    Black Art Jazz Collective (Sunnyside)

    Logan Richardson, Shift (Blue Note)

    Ryan Keberle & Catharsis, Azul Infinito (Greenleaf)

    Jeremy Pelt, #jiveculture (HighNote)

    Alexis Cuadrado, Poètica (Sunnyside)

    The Bad Plus, It’s Hard (OKeh/Sony)

    Andrew Cyrille Quartet, The Declaration of Musical Independence (ECM)

    Adam O’Farrill, Stranger Days (Sunnyside)

    Noah Preminger, Dark Was the Night, Cold Was the Ground (ind.)

    Donny McCaslin, Beyond Now (Motéma)

    Oran Etkin, What’s New: Reimagining Benny Goodman (Motéma)

    Pat Metheny, The Unity Sessions (Nonesuch)

    Cuong Vu Trio Meets Pat Metheny (Nonesuch)

    Marcus Strickland, Nihil Novi (Blue Note)

    Jack DeJohnette/Ravi Coltrane/Matthew Garrison, In Movement (ECM)

    Eric Revis Trio, Crowded Solitudes (Clean Feed)

    Guillermo Klein, Los Guachos V (Sunnyside)

    Tom Harrell, Something Gold, Something Blue (HighNote)

    Boris Kozlov, Conversations at the Well (Criss Cross)

    Ethan Iverson, The Purity of the Turf (Criss Cross)

    Fresh Cut Orchestra, Mind Behind Closed Eyes (Ropeadope)

  • 05 Dec 2016 3:46 PM | Howard Mandel (Administrator)

    Bakers' Dozen Best Albums 2016:

    • Old Locks and Irregular Verbs (Pi) - Henry Threadgill Double-Up (an expanded ensemble featuring Threadgill's complex and beautiful tribute to the late Laurence Douglas "Butch" Morris)
    • Time/Life (Impulse!) - Charlie Haden Liberation Music Orchestra (Carla Bley helms sumptuous, somber ensemble of individualists expanding on ecological themes; Haden prior to his demise on two tracks, and speaks).
    • A cosmic rhythm with each stroke (ECM) -- Wadada Leo Smith and Vijay Iyer (fine interactive improvisations from two of the most cerebrally soulful explorers in creative music)
    • Steve Lehman and Sélébéyone (Pi) (Brilliant alto saxophonist weaves himself into a dense, jagged mix with a Senegalese rapper speaking in Wolof and electronics. Unique). 
    • In Movement (ECM) - Jack DeJohnette, Ravi Coltrane, Matt Garrison (Exciting drumming and sense of trio cohesion)
    • A New Direction (Mack Avenue) - Herlin Riley (timely fun from New Orleans traditionalist/modernist
    • Our Cells Know (Tzadik) - Robert Dick (things you've never heard freely flowing from any instrument, surely not contrabass flute
    • Moving Still (Pi) - Jonathan Finlayson and the Sicilian Defense (the trumpeter's syncopated layers of grooving cool, implemented with Miles Ozaki, guitar; Matt Mitchell, piano; John Hébert, bass; Craig Weinrib, drums).
    • Touch My Beloved's Thought (Greenleaf Music) - Greg Ward& 10 Tongues (an original suite by a hot young alto saxist for modern dance, derived from but not imitative of Mingus' "Black Saint and the Sinner Lady")
    • Perfection (Motema) - David Murray/Geri Allen/Terri Lynne Carrington Power Trio (Murray's heart-on-sleeve extrapolations cozened by Allen's open-on-all-sides pianism, grounded in Carrington's splash and drive.
    • Three Compositions (Tricentric Foundation) - Anthony Braxton (his large ensemble -- 3 cds - deep dive into a swirling maze of a soundworld
    • A Way With You (Firehouse 12) - Mary Halvorson Octet (quirky and unpredictable, surprisingly cogent and fresh)  

    Historical albums

    • In Paris: The ORTF Recordings (Resonance), Larry Young (two cds of hard-out organ in ensemble, inspiring mid '60s sidemen including Woody Shaw and Nathan Davis).\
    • Musical Monsters (Intakt) - Don Cherry, John Tchicai, Irene Schweizer, Leon Francioli, Pierre Favre (Let's hear EVERYTHING Don Cherry did, especially with collaborators like these).
    • Bells/Prophecy Expanded Edition (ESP) Albert Ayler Trio (Ecstatic, 
    • Black Magic (Delmark) - Magic Sam (Purely joyful West Side Chicago blues of sweet-singin' guitar ace and band, with six previously unreleased tracks)
    • Holding the Stage - Road Shows Vol. 4 (Doxy Okeh) - Sonny Rollins (the master tenorist, 1979 to 2012)
    Notable vocal albums
    • Let's Get Lost (Mack Avenue) - Cyrille Aimee (for fun)
    • Tell A Star (Enna Records) Maryanne de Prophetis (meditative, precise, penetrating lyricism, w/pianist Frank Kimbrough, trumpeter Ron Horton, drummer Satoshi Takehisi)

    (Apologies for all the recordings I didn't haven't found time to hear yet -- but still will).

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