Friday February 24, 2017
The Top 50 Releases of 2016
Top 40 new releases and top 10 historical/reissue recordings per our writers
We calculated our top 40 new releases and top 10 historical/reissue recordings of 2016 based on year-end lists by our writers. They were asked to choose the 10 best new releases and five best historical titles—i.e., albums and box sets consisting primarily of music recorded 10 or more years ago. To see each voter’s ballot, log on to JazzTimes.com. CDs and box sets released between Nov. 4, 2015 and Nov. 8, 2016 were eligible. Some discs may have slipped through the cracks, however, as official release dates shifted or weren’t available.
Album blurbs by Shaun Brady, Thomas Conrad, Evan Haga, Aidan Levy, Christopher Loudon, Mac Randall, Britt Robson, Jeff Tamarkin and Michael J. West.
2. Jack DeJohnette/Ravi Coltrane/Matthew Garrison
In Movement (ECM)
A cross-generational lineup as gaudy as this has to contend with major historical baggage. But In Movement more than measures up to even the loftiest expectations that listeners may bring to it. That’s due in large part to Garrison’s inventive bass playing, which establishes a questing mood that Coltrane and DeJohnette are clearly happy to broaden and deepen. M.R.
4. John Scofield
Country for Old Men (Impulse!)
Scofield’s brilliance rests in his ability to utilize both his soul-deep love of roots music and his mastery of modern-jazz harmony within the same tune—and often within the same solo. That interdependence defines this collection of C&W interpretations, which often feels as homey as a honky-tonk yet remains full of surprises. E.H.
10. Julian Lage
Arclight (Mack Avenue)
The former guitar prodigy’s first album on solidbody electric guitar—and first to feature a significant amount of other people’s compositions—has the kind of aggressively modest, whimsically self-deprecating tone that only the ultra-talented can get away with. And get away with it Lage does, balancing exquisite taste with occasional (and welcome) lapses into delightful excess. M.R.
Melodious, thrillingly energetic, effortlessly multi-cultural and not afraid of crazy time signatures, Aziza is everything you’d figure a band made up of Chris Potter, Lionel Loueke, Dave Holland and Eric Harland would be. Although its music is rooted in the fusion-minded ambitions of the ’70s, the unit’s unpretentious intelligence marks it as a true supergroup for our time. M.R.
17. Avishai Cohen
Into the Silence (ECM)
20. Murray, Allen & Carrington Power Trio
28. Jason Moran
The Armory Concert (YES)
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