Best Albums of 2021 (So Far)

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Friday July 30, 2021

Thanks to the folks over at Jazzwise for naming several IMN artist releases as the best albums of 2021 so far. Click here to read the article in full.

James Francies – Purest Form
“What stands out the most on Purest Form is the beguiling beauty of some of the textures, particularly ballads such as ‘Melting’ and ‘Eyes Wide Shut’, where Francies has chosen exactly the kind of disturbingly vaporous synth sounds to resonate with a voice as singular as that of Bilal.” Kevin Le Gendre

Michael Mayo – Bones
“Cut at Figure 8 Recording, Brooklyn, with Grammy-winning producer Eli Wolf (Al Green, Norah Jones, The Roots) at the controls, Bones, Mayo’s debut album, is a work of startling originality, presenting a musical sound-world which references everything from The Beach Boys to J Dilla.” Peter Quinn

Dave Holland – Another Land
“This marks Dave Holland’s return to bass guitar on some tracks (notably a piece called ‘The Village’ that opens out into a long almost stream-of-consciousness development) along with some of his best recent work on double bass. His solos on tracks such as ‘Grave Walker’ and ‘Gentle Warrior’ are exemplary.” Alyn Shipton

Joe Lovano & Dave Douglas Sound Prints – Other Worlds
“Sound Prints’ music may reference the classic free-collective innovations of Shorter, Ornette, and the mid-60s Miles quintet, but their audaciously sophisticated refinement of all that rich history makes them a truly contemporary jazz band…” John Fordham

Chris Potter Circuits Trio – Sunrise Reprise
“Their second CD for Dave Stapleton’s Edition Records sounds like it has a freshness of purpose; a playfully inventive flood of ideas seem to organically and spontaneously flow out of Potter’s ear-catching new themes…” Selwyn Harris

Gretchen Parlato – Flor
“In her first recording as leader since her Grammy-nominated 2013 album Live in NYC, Flor sees vocalist, songwriter and producer Gretchen Parlato stepping with delight into an entirely new sound-world created by her core trio of guitarist and musical director Marcel Camargo, percussionist Léo Costa and cellist Artyom Manukyan…” Peter Quinn

Archie Shepp & Jason Moran – Let My People Go
“In saxophonist Archie Shepp’s lengthy and illustrious career, he has had a string of esteemed piano partners: Horace Parlan, Joachim Kuhn, Siegfried Kessler and Mal Waldron. Each duo has set a high artistic bar, but the latest incumbent, Jason Moran, is more than able to pass muster, as well he might given his own extensive experience of working with horn players as gifted as Charles Lloyd, Sam Rivers and Greg Osby. Above all this new work is a significant encounter across generations as 83-year-old Shepp and 45-year-old Moran have had different life experiences and career paths…” Kevin Le Gendre