The Best Jazz Albums of 2019

Initial draft collected on Nov. 11, 2019. The file will be updated as additional worthy records are found (although updating may lag behind the official 2019 list). Last year's list was never frozen (OK, let's say it was frozen on Nov. 11, 2019). There also exists a parallel list of The Best Non-Jazz of 2019.

Note: numbering of lists (aside from A/A-) is only temporary, to make it easier for me to tally up stats. I've made no effort to order (other than alphaetical by artist) anything in grades below A-.


[*] indicates that I reviewed this on the basis of an advance, often a CDR copy (a good thing, I might add, for vinyl-only releases). [**] identifies a record that I've only heard via download or through a streaming service like Napster.

For all lists, I've included a few 2018 (and possibly earlier) records that I discovered after last year's freeze date, but I've only included such records if they were so little known that they received less than five points in the 2018 metacritic file. These are marked, e.g., -17, after the label.

New Music

1. Steve Lehman Trio/Craig Taborn: The People I Love (Pi) Alto saxophonist, an Anthony Braxton protégé, a very smart composer with outstanding chops, is in near-perfect form here. A very tight quartet, the banner "trio" accounting for Matt Brewer on bass and Damion Reid on drums, while allowing the more famous pianist's name to grace the front cover.

2. Heroes Are Gang Leaders: The Amiri Baraka Sessions (Flat Langston's Arkeyes) Subtitled "12 jazz/poetry hi-fi dig its!" Group founded by poet Thomas Sayers Ellis and tenor saxophonist James Brandon Lewis. One of their first gigs was opening for poet-critic Amiri Baraka shortly before his death in 2014. I knew Baraka as Leroi Jones: I read everything he wrote in the 1960s, even featured some of his poems in the Poetry Notebook that got my brother expelled from 9th grade. I didn't follow his name change and later work very closely, but always respected and admired him. The title implies participation by Baraka, but this was recorded over three sessions after his death. I'm not even sure the words are his, but if not the authors have read him closely. Vocals by Margaret Morris and Catalina Gonzalez offer a contrast to Ellis and whoever else reads. And the music, from the rhythm up to the towering sax, raises the rafters.

3. Dr. Mark Lomax, II: 400: An Afrikan Epic (CFG Multimedia -12CD) Drummer, had a Jazz CG Pick Hit in 2010 but only one more album came to my attention, until I got wind of this massive undertaking. Turns out he's been busy, teaching at Ohio State, giving TED Talks, adding to his academic credentials, and recording albums I want a shot at sooner of later. This here is his encyclopedia of African and Afro-American history and lore, organized as 12 parts or albums -- hard to tell with digital these days. The first chunk, which Napster has as The First Ankhcestor, is all drums, primal but also deeply felt and highly developed. He moves on to his extraordinary quartet -- Edwin Bayard (tenor/soprano sax), Dr. William Menefield (piano), and Dean Hulett (bass) -- with some pointed spoken word on the opening of the transatlantic slave trade. They carry most of what follows, especially Bayard (imagine Coltrane, Sanders, and Ayler -- as Sanders put it, "the father, the son, and the holy ghost" -- raised to a higher level. Less sonically appealing are sections done up in strings, but even violins and cellos can't bury the rhythm. Toward the end the drums take over again. Took me a half-dozen sittings over four days just to stream the whole thing, which makes this hugely impractical to review and nearly unfathomable, but it is chock full of magnificent music. [**]

4. Moppa Elliott: Jazz Band/Rock Band/Dance Band (Hot Cup -2CD) Bassist, from Pennsylvania, has run the most important band in jazz for well over a decade but hardly anyone seems to recognize that -- I credit them with eight A/A- albums since 2006, but they've yet to show up on DownBeat's Best Group ballot. And lately they've started to lose members and churn a bit, so this could be seen as a desperate retrenchment, the first group album under the bassist's name since his 2004 debut. It's structured as three LPs on 2 CDs, the titles Advancing on a Wild Pitch, Unspeakable Garbage, and Acceleration Due to Gravity. The groups vary, and likely aliases dominate the middle (Rock?) band -- "Dr. Rocks" sounds a lot like Jon Irabagon to me. Regardless of the guise, this is loud and raucous, also catchy as hell.

5. James Brandon Lewis: An Unruly Manifesto (Relative Pitch) Tenor saxophonist, chops so impressive he got a major label contract out of the gate, made two great albums for them before parting ways -- perhaps they figured he was too far out, but he's only gotten farther out since (especially in the poet-led ensemble Heroes Are Gang Leaders). Quintet here with Jaimie Branch (trumpet), Anthony Pirog (guitar), Luke Stewart (bass), and Warren Trae Crudup III (drums), for some kind of rocking freebop.

6. Dave Rempis/Brandon Lopez/Ryan Packard: The Early Bird Gets (Aerophonic) Avant sax-bass-drums trio, the latter also credited with electronics, the saxophones plural but not specified but I'd say mostly tenor. I'd also say tour de force.

7. Rich Halley: Terra Incognita (Pine Eagle) Tenor saxophonist, from Oregon, cover pictures are all rugged high desert, but he trekked to Brooklyn to record this, with Matthew Shipp's regular piano trio (Michael Bisio and Newman Taylor Baker). Shipp has played with a lot of avant saxophonists. He seems more content than usual to lay back and fill in. Halley opens fierce, the group chemistry only really developing with the long off-speed closer, appropriately titled "The Journey."

8. Quinsin Nachoff's Flux: Path of Totality (Whirlwind -2CD) Tenor/soprano saxophonist, postbop but seems to have tapped into a deep vein lately. Six long pieces spread out over two discs, core group with David Binney on alto/C-melody sax, Matt Mitchell on piano/keyboards (synth, but also harpsichord and mellotron), and two drummers (overlapping on two pieces), but there's also a guest list with brass, organ, Tibetan singing bowls, tap dance, etc.

9. Per 'Texas' Johansson/Torbjörn Zetterberg/Konrad Agnas: Orakel (Moserobie) Avant-sax trio from Sweden, all three write (but mostly bassist Zetterberg, who some sources credit first). All seems deeply thought out, nothing rushed or frantic. Johansson doubles on clarinet. Not much under his name, but he's been active since the 1990s, often impressive.

10. Liebman Rudolph & Drake: Chi (RareNoise) Saxophonist David Liebman, tenor and soprano plus he plays some surprisingly impressive piano, with two percussionists: Adam Rudolph, who draws ideas and instruments from all over the world, and Hamid Drake, whose frame drums are wonderfully distinctive. It's their record, even when Liebman tries to run away with it.

11. Ill Considered: Ill Considered 6 (Ill Considered Music) Steve Ashmore returns as "special guest" on guitar, sharper than on his previous outing, while tenor saxophonist Idris Rahman doubles up on bass clarinet. The two albums are short enough they could have been squeezed onto a single CD, but I prefer this one on its own -- even ending with a touch of metal. [**]

12. Crosscurrents Trio [Dave Holland/Zakir Hussain/Chris Potter]: Good Hope (Edition) Bass, tabla, and saxes (mostly tenor), writing credits pretty evenly divided. Potter is always capable of a bravura performance, but is rarely as consistent as here -- a credit to the others, especially Hussain, whose subtle beats entice and disarm the saxophonist like a master snake charmer. [**]

13. Jřrgen Mathisen's Instant Light: Mayhall's Object (Clean Feed) Norwegian saxophonist (tenor/soprano), has appeared on a few albums since 2014. Quartet with piano (Erlend Slettevoll), bass (Trygve Waldemar Fiske), and drums (Dag Erik Knedal Andersen). Very strong, especially on the closing "Neutron Star," the climax set up by a terrific piano interlude. [**]

14. Stephan Thelen: Fractal Guitar (Moonjune) Guitarist, b. 1959 in California, based in Zürich, Switzerland, studied mathematics and got a PhD there in 1990, main vehicle is the group Sonar ("instrumental systemic jazz meets math-rock type band"), which has a half-dozen albums since 2012, including one with Markus Reuter in 2017 and another with David Torn last year. Torn, Reuter, Barry Cleveland, Hery Kaiser, and others add layers of guitar here to Thelen's fractal gadget ("a rhythmic delay with a very high feedback level that creates cascading delay patterns in odd time signatures such as 3/8, 5/8, or 7/8").

15. Ran Blake/Clare Ritter: Eclipse Orange (Zoning) Two pianists, mostly playing duets. Ritter was a student of Blake's (also of Mary Lou Williams'), and has produced some notable albums of late. What she achieves here is to crystalize and brighten up the miniaturism that has been his stock in trade for fifty-some years. A nice plus is that several cuts add Ken O'Doherty on saxophone.

16. Matt Brewer: Ganymede (Criss Cross) Bassist, from Oklahoma City, moved to New York in 2001, third album, 30-40 side credits. Trio with Mark Shim (tenor sax) and Damon Reid (drums). Wrote 4 (of 10) pieces, one by Shim, covers mostly from modern jazz musicians. A remarkably solid setting for all. [**]

17. Walt Weiskopf European Quartet: Worldwide (Orenda) Tenor saxophonist, first recorded in 1989, one of a cluster of richly-toned mainstream players from the 1990s, although I can't say as I followed him closely -- mostly a name that followed Benny Wallace like a shadow. Until I track down his 1990s albums, I can't really attest that this is his best ever, but both fast and slow it's a sax lovers delight. The Europeans are Carl Winther (piano), Andreas Lang (bass), and Anders Mogensen (drums). A- [cd]

18. Dave Rempis/Joshua Abrams/Avreeayl Ra + Jim Baker: Apsis (Aerophonic) Leader plays alto, tenor, and baritone saxes, backed by bass, drums, and piano/electronics. Baker adds a lot here, even if the net result is just another saxophone tour de force. The soft landing cinches it.

19. Evan Parker & Kinetics: Chiasm (Clean Feed) Tenor sax, backed by a Danish piano trio (Jacob Anderskov, Adam Pultz Melbye, and Anders Vestergaard), from two sets recorded two days apart, first in Copenhagen, second in London. LP length (38:13), fine form for the leader, also impressed by the piano. [**]

20. Drumming Cellist [Kristijan Krajncan]: Abraxas (Sazas) Kristijan Krajncan, from Slovenia, plays cello and dubs in percussion tracks, second album, not quite solo in that he works in a couple guest spots (electronics, harpsichord). The upbeat pieces move smartly, and the occasional change of pace remains of interest.

21. George Coleman: The Quartet (Smoke Sessions) Tenor saxophonist, probably best known as the guy who kept the tenor sax slot warm for Miles Davis between Coltrane and Shorter, but he's recorded a dozen-plus albums under his own name, some really great -- like My Horns of Plenty (1991), and (after a long break) A Master Speaks (2016). Not sure exactly when this one was recorded: most likely shortly before or after his 84th birthday, well before pianist Harold Mabern (83) died in September. The octogenarians are delights, ably supported by John Webber and Joe Farnsworth. [**]

22. CP Unit: Riding Photon Time (Eleatic) Initials stand for Chris Pitsiokos (alto sax/electronics), third album with this group, personnel changes but formula remains electric guitar, electric bass, and drums (Sam Lisabeth, Henry Fraser, Jason Nazary). Live album from two sets in Germany and Austria, covering some pieces from their studio albums. The bent township jive of "A Knob on the Face of a Man" is my choice cut, but everything connects, on occasion hitting a raw nerve. [**]

23. Samantha Boshnack's Seismic Belt: Live in Santa Monica (Orenda) Trumpet player, seems to be her first record [well, third], although she's appeared in other groups I'm familiar with, like Alchemy Sound Project. Group includes Ryan Parrish (tenor/baritone sax), Paul Cornish (piano), plus violin, viola, double bass, and drums. Titles reflect an interest in geology: "Subduction Zone," "Tectonic Plates," "Convection Current," some more specific: "Summer That Never Came" reflects on the Laki volcanic eruption in Iceland in 1783 -- I would have guessed the much more famous 1883 eruption of Krakatoa (the site of this year's tsunami), but 1783 had disastrous consequences across the Arctic, and effects as far away as India (most striking to me was: "ice floes in the Gulf of Mexico").

24. Tomeka Reid/Filippo Monico: The Mouser (Relative Pitch) Cello and drums duet, latter also credited with "objects." Reid is based in Chicago, has co-headlined albums with various notables there, including Nicole Mitchell, Mike Reed, and Dave Rempis, plus has a very good Quartet album. Monico is from Italy, has been around longer but rarely in the limelight. This has its moments of scrachy minimalism, but they hold together remarkably well.

25. Norbert Susemihl/Chloe Feoranzo/Harry Mayronne/Barnaby Gold: The New Orleans Dance Hall Quartet: Tricentennial Hall Dance 17, October (Sumi) German trumpet player/singer, started playing trad jazz in the 1970s, moving to New Orleans in 1980, eventually returning to Hamburg, then to Denmark. Recorded this in New Orleans, with Americans Feoranzo on clarinet (also vocals), Mayronne on piano, and Australian drummer Gold. Rather easy-going, often gorgeous renditions of some of my favorite music. [**]

26. Gard Nilssen Acoustic Unity: To Whom Who Buys a Record (Odin) Norwegian drummer, third album with this trio, featuring André Roligheten (sax/bass clarinet) with Petter Eldh (double bass). All three contributed pieces, with Nilsen having a hand in most. Slows a bit toward the end, without losing interest. [**]

27. Benjamin Boone/Philip Levine: The Poetry of Jazz: Volume Two (Origin) More from the sessions that produced last year's volume, with the former (and now late) Poet Laureate of the United States reading his words, remembering his youth in "pre-burnt" Detroit, notably during WWII. He is always interesting, while the much younger saxophonist gives him a score and dramatically lifts the whole performance.

28. Kuzu: Hiljaisuus (Astral Spirits/Aerophonic) Chicago trio: Dave Rempis (alto/tenor/baritone sax), Tashi Dorji (guitar), and Tyler Damon (percussion). This is very harsh free jazz, similar to when the Thing hooks up with a rock guitarist who just wants to freak out, but better (if you can stand it). I wrote that back after streaming last fall, then got a CD in the mail in February, causing various bookkeeping issues: the release in September 2018 was vinyl and digital, so is the February 2019 CD a reissue, or should I treat the real new release as 2019? I procrastinated, but when I finally did give it a spin, I was blown away. I used to hate this kind of free jazz squall, then got to where I could stand it, and once in a while even thrill to it -- this one of those rare cases.

29. Allison Miller's Boom Tic Boom: Glitter Wolf (The Royal Potato Family) Drummer, group named for her 2010 debut album, retaining Jenny Scheinman (violin), Myra Melford (piano), and Todd Sickafoose (bass) from the debut, adding Ben Goldberg (clarinet) and Kirk Knuffke (cornet) for their second outing. That's a lot of talent, neatly balanced, the violin a bit up front. [**]

30. Art "Turk" Burton: Ancestral Spirits (T N' T Music) Percussionist (conga and bongo drums) from Chicago, rooted in Latin jazz but also involved in AACM, playing in Muhal Richard Abrams' big band and Nicole Mitchell's Black Earth Ensemble. Gathers up three more percussionists here, Eddie Beard on piano and organ, Ari Brown and Edwin Daugherty on saxes, and singer/narrator Maggie Brown. Opens with a nod to Mongo Santamaria, followed by "A Night in Tunisia" and "Killer Joe," and later adds memorable takes of "Summertim" and "Freedom Jazz Dance." Latin groove throughout, although the saxes sometimes get out of hand.

31. The Ogún Meji Duo: Spirits of the Egungun (CFG Multimedia) Duo, drums (Mark Lomax) and tenor saxophone (Edwin Bayard), looks like the seventh duo album since #BlackLivesMatter in 2014, although I'm finding very few details on this particular one. They've worked together at least since 1999, powerful in small groups, intense as a duo. The main thing I worry about is that when I go back their trademark sound is so imposing I'll be unable to differentiate and get bowled over by all of them. [**]

32. The Invisible Party: Shumankind (Chant -18) Guitarist Jon Lipscomb, based in Malmo, Sweden and/or Brooklyn (same page claims both), has appeared in groups like Super Hi-Fi and Swedish Fix, plays punk-noise jazz here, backed by bass (Kurt Kotheimer) and drums (Dave Treut). Most bracing guitar-bass-drums trio I've heard in some time (and, yes, I've heard Harriet Tubman). Everyone agrees this came out in September 2018, but nobody listed it last year, and I first heard about it when it popped up in my mail last week.

33. William Parker/In Order to Survive: Live/Shapeshifter (AUM Fidelity -2CD) Quartet, named for the bassist's 1995 album with Rob Brown (alto sax) and Cooper-Moore (piano), recorded several albums in late 1990s with Susie Ibarra on drums. Parker went with Hamid Drake on drums for his post-2000 pianoless quartets (with Lewis Barnes on trumpet and Brown on alto sax). He kept Drake when he reconvened IOTS in 2012, and in 2016 recorded a 2-CD album to showcase the two quartets (Meditation/Resurrection). The star has always been Cooper-Moore, who remains as distinctive as ever. [**]

34. The David Berkman Sextet: Six of One (Palmetto) Pianist, made a big impression back in the 1990s but hasn't been very prolific lately. Nominally a "three-woodwind sextet (plus guests)" but skimpy on actual credits beyond solos, for which I count four "woodwind" players: Dayna Stephens, Billy Drewes, Adam Kolker, and Tim Armacost. Complexly layered, elegant, often quite lovely.

35. Scott Robinson: Tenormore (Arbors Jazz) Saxophonist, plays every one ever invented, settles on tenor here but gets uncommon range, starting with soprano notes. Quartet with Helen Sung (piano/organ), Martin Wind (bass), and Dennis Mackrel (drums), guest flute on one track, half originals, half classics, exceptionally gorgeous.

36. Dave Douglas: Engage (Greenleaf Music) Trumpet player, you know that, lists his band members in same-sized type below the title, for good reason: Anna Webber (alto & bass flutes/tenor sax), Jeff Parker (guitar), Tomeka Reid (cello), Nick Dunston (bass), Kate Gentile (drums). Also employs two more trumpet players on occasion.

37. Johnathan Blake: Trion (Giant Step Arts -2CD)
Drummer from Black Art Jazz Collective, has some range in groups with Kenny Barron, Oliver Lake, Donny McCaslin, and Dr. Lonnie Smith, plus a couple albums under his own name. He's terrific in this basic sax trio, as is bassist Linda May Han Oh, but after a brief intro this is really a tour de force for Chris Potter. **]

38. Miguel Zenón: Sonero: The Music of Ismael Rivera (Miel Music) Tribute to the Puerto Rican singer-songwriter (1931-87), known as El Sonero Mayor. Starts disconcertingly with vocals, what sounds like a sample, but soon the alto saxophonist's superb quartet takes over: Luis Perdomo (piano), Hans Glawischnig (bass), and Henry Cole (drums). Dazzling at speed, soulful on the ballads.

39. Kevin Sun: The Sustain of Memory (Endectomorph Music) Tenor saxophonist, b. 1991, based in New York, has degrees from Harvard and New England Conservatory, a blog which serious jazz students will find worth perusing, and a previous Trio album which was by far the most impressive debut of 2018. Expands every which way here, except in song count, where the limit is three long ones (36:27, 29:23, 48:22). Adds Adam O'Farrill on trumpet, pianist Dana Saul -- whose Ceiling in in the running for this year's finest debut -- on tracks one and three, and swaps his Trio bassist and drummer for others on the long finale. I'm slightly less impressed by the sprawl, but he's still on track as a major talent.

40. Binker Golding: Abstractions of Reality Past and Incredible Feathers (Gearbox) British tenor saxophonist, half of Binker & Moses, goes for a conventional quartet here with Joe Armon-Jones (piano), Daniel Casimir (bass), and Sam Jones (drums). All originals, most build on riffs, and the larger group pays dividends in swing.

41. Javier Red's Imagery Converter: Ephemeral Certainties (Delmark)
Piano player from Chicago, his real name for all I know -- my first reaction was to think of bluesmen but Javier is a plausible first name, unlike Louisiana, Piano, Speckled, and Tampa. First album, quartet with Jake Wark (tenor sax), Ben Dillinger (bass), Gustavo Cortińas (drums). Major poise and balance. **

42. Peter Brötzmann/Alexander von Schlippenbach/Han Bennink: Fifty Years After: Live at the Lila Eule 2018 (Trost) Three founders of the European avant-garde reunite at the venue of the saxphonist's fifty-year-old Machine Gun, but not to look back. The pianist missed that album, but he was as seminal a figure, his initial albums dating from the same period (Globe Unity from 1966). He is remarkable here, adding more dimensions to the saxophonist's primeval roar. [**]

43. Made to Break: F4 Fake (Trost) Ken Vandermark project, seventh group album since 2011, with the leader on reeds, Christof Kurzmann (electronics), Jasper Stadhouders (bass, guitar), and Tim Daisy (drums). Three longish pieces, Vandearmark impressive as ever, the noise around him conducive. [**]

44. Jaimie Branch: Fly or Die II: Bird Dogs of Paradise (International Anthem) Trumpet player, from Chicago, second album, also sings, plays synths and percussion. The vocals (including a bit from Ben LaMar Gay) add to the exuberance, but are beside the point, which starts with the excitable groove. [**]

45. Noah Preminger Group: Zigsaw: Music of Steve Lampert (self-released) Tenor saxophonist, first album 2007, this a septet, mostly name players: Jason Palmer (trumpet), John O'Gallagher (alto sax), Kris Davis (piano), Rob Schwimmer (haken continuum/clavinet), Kim Cass (bass), Rudy Royston (drums). Lampert, a trumpet player with five records since 2004, doesn't play here, but recently composed the single wide-ranging 48:49 title piece. I can't discern a unifying theme, but the many-faceted band shines.

46. Roger Kellaway: The Many Open Minds of Roger Kellaway (IPO) Pianist, debuted with A Portrait of Roger Kellaway in 1963, many albums since and still active as he turns 80, although this one has been sitting in the vault a while. Trio with Bruce Froman on guitar and Dan Lutz on bass. Seven standards, the piano racing even as they're stretched between 5:02 and 12:12, closes with a sparkling "Caravan."

47. Marta Sánchez Quintet: El Rayo De Luz (Fresh Sound New Talent) Spanish pianist (not the singer who outranks her on Google), based in New York, handful of albus since 2008, third quintet effort, with Chris Cheek (tenor sax) joining mainstays Roman Filiu (alto sax), Rick Rosato (bass), and Daniel Dor (drums). Sneaks up on you, with one of Cheek's finest outings.

48. Alan Broadbent Trio: New York Notes (Savant) Mainstream pianist, from New Zealand, discography dates from 1974, close to thirty albums as leader, seems like I first became aware of him in Charlie Haden's Quartet West (1987-2002?). Trio with Harvie S (bass) and Billy Mintz (drums). He's always been a fine pianist, but this one's exceptionally dazzling. [**]

49. Samo Salamon & Freequestra: Free Sessions, Vol. 2: Freequestra (Klopotec) Slovenian guitarist, has been producing 3-5 albums per year since 2004. Group here expands from his Rotten Girls trio to twelve, with two more guitarists, piano, violin, tuba, more horns, and a second drummer. Vol. 1 was released in 2017 as Planets of Kei.

50. Eri Yamamoto Trio & Choral Chameleon: Goshu Ondo Suite (AUM Fidelity) Japanese pianist, moved to New York 1995, tenth album since 2002, mostly trios. This adds a huge choir (47 names), to the 7-part, 49:06 title suite, swarming and marching over a tense and dynamic sonic landscape. Then one more piece, a chill down without the choir, which reminds you how fine the piano has been throughout.

51. Federico Ughi: Transoceanico (577) Drummer, from Rome, based in Brooklyn, twenty years worth of records (unnoticed by me thus far), this an avant-sax trio with Rachel Musson (tenor) and Adam Lane (bass). Slows down a bit near the end, but I'll need to keep an ear open for this British saxophonist. [**]

52. Rodrigo Amado/Gonçalo Almeida/Onno Govaert [The Attic]: Summer Bummer (NoBusiness) World class tenor saxophonist from Portugal, with bass and drums. Group name on cover from a 2017 album I filed under the bassist's name (with Amado but a different drummer), but spine here lists the artists as given, omitting the group name. Free jazz, not his best but so right up my alley I finally surrendered.

53. Torbjörn Zetterberg & the Great Question: Live (Corbett vs. Dempsey)
Swedish bassist, released four solo albums, three by his Hot Five (2002-04), side credits with most of this band: Jonas Kullhammar (tenor sax/flute), Alberto Pinton (baritone sax/clarinet/flute), Susana Santos Silva (trumpet/tin whistle), Mats Äleklint (trombone/harmonica), and Jon Fält (drums). Lot of firepower there, and the bassist clearly likes it hot. **

54. Bjřrn Marius Hegge: Ideas (Particular) Norwegian bassist. Title may extend to the fine print: "for Axel Dörner, Rudi Mahall, Hans Hulbaekmo and Hĺvard Wiik" -- no credits, but that's presumably the band here (trumpet, bass clarinet, drums, piano). [**]

55. Reut Regev's R*Time: Keep Winning (Enja) Trombonist, like husband-drummer Igal Foni born in Israel, based in New York. Quartet with Jean-Paul Bourelly (guitar) and Mark Peterson (bass). Strong groove but doesn't lose interest when they break it up. Daughter Liana, age 7, adds a vocal interruption. [**]

56. JD Allen: Barracoon (Savant) Tenor saxophonist, has a distinctive sound and built his reputation by in a series of powerhouse trio albums. This is another, a return to form with a new set of bandmates, Ian Kenselaar (bass) and Nic Cacioppo (drums). Title inspired by a Zora Neale Hurston book. Originals, but closes with a touching "When You Wish Upon a Star." [**]

57. Mute: Mute (Fresh Sound New Talent) New York-based quartet, name an anagram from plucking random letters from the artists' names: Kevin Sun (C-Melody sax/clarinet), Christian Li (piano), Jeonglim Yang (bass), Dayeon Seok (drums). All four write songs (3-3-2-1). The saxophonist continues to impress, even spread a bit thin over a finely balanced group.

58. Jon Lundbom/Bryan Murray: Beats by Balto! Vol. 1 (Chant) Some dispute on artist credit, with Bandcamp page favoring Balto Exclamationpoint (Murray, responsible for the beats, also plays various saxophones), while others list the guitarist first. Also in the group is Jon Irabagon (alto/mezzosoprano/slide saxophones), giving them three free-wheeling leads. The beats provide a platform, setting the leads free without letting them fly off the rails. [**]

59. Nature Work: Nature Work (Sunnyside) Freewheeling quartet, Jason Stein (bass clarinet) and Greg Ward (alto sax) up front, Eric Revis on bass and Jim Black on drums. Impressive at full speed, loses me a bit when they slow down, but that doesn't happen often. [**]

60. Hal Galper Trio: The Zone: Live at the Yardbird Suite (Origin) Pianist, a good one, first side credit looks to be Chet Baker in 1964, 30+ albums since 1971, a few struck me as A-list, like his 2009 trio with Reggie Workman and Rashied Ali (Art-Work), and last year's album with Jerry Bergonzi (Cubist). This one, a trio with his label's resident rhythm section (Jeff Johnson and John Bishop), live from Edmonton in Canada, isn't quite such a tour de force, but reminds you how impressive he can be. Note that Johnson wrote 4 (of 7) songs, to the leader's one.

61. Dana Saul: Ceiling (Endectomorph) Pianist, first album, all original pieces, sextet with Kevin Sun (tenor sax), Adam O'Farrill (trumpet), Patrick Brennan (vibes), bass, and drums. Early on the music builds tension while featuring the vibraphone to introduce tiny fissures. Then the horns fill in and finally build the whole thing up. A candidate for debut album of the year (as was Sun's 2018 debut, Trio).

62. Gebhard Ullmann/Hans Lüdemann/Oliver Potratz/Eric Schaefer: MikroPULS (Intuition) German reeds player, sticks with tenor sax here, supported by piano, bass, and drums. Free jazz, but almost a ballad album, with all four contributing pieces, with a nice flow, intricate, touching even.

63. Matthew Shipp Trio: Signature (ESP-Disk) Piano trio with Michael Bisio (bass) and Taylor Baker (drums). Seemed like a typically solid performance when I streamed it, but I took more time with it after the CD arrived, and it gradually fell into place -- less raw power than his best previous trios, but he keeps building.

64. Rodrigo Amado/Chris Corsano: No Place to Fall (Astral Spirits) Tenor sax and drums duo, improv pieces in a Lisbon studio. The drummer likes to kick up a racket, so this runs hard and fast. Back in June I tentatively reviewed this based on 2/5 Bandcamp cuts. Later got the CD, which burns bright the entire 48:53.

65. The Baba Andrew Lamb Trio: The Night of the 13th' Moon (LFDS) Alto saxophonist, born in North Carolina, grew up in Chicago and New York, cut his first record in 1995, has a few more, this (I think) the first to adopt the honorific Baba, maybe because it was recorded at Bab Ilo (in Paris). With Yoram Rosilio (bass) and Rafael Koerner (drums). Free improv, bracing, challenging. [**]

66. Houston Person: I'm Just a Lucky So and So (HighNote) Mainstream tenor saxophonist, started in the 1960s when his label (Prestige) was home to greats like Coleman Hawkins and Gene Ammons, and followed Joe Fields from there through a series of labels, eventually emerging as a great himself -- the last of that particular line. A fine quartet (Lafayette Gilchrist, Matthew Parrish, Kenny Washington) augmented on most tracks with trumpet (Eddie Allen) and guitar (Rodney Jones). Fairly typical effort, but at this point that's all he needs.

67. Billy Mohler: Focus! (Make) Bassist, based in Los Angeles, Bandcamp page talks about "returns his Focus to jazz after a successful career in rock, pop and R&B production and songwriting." This may be his first album, a pianoless free jazz quartet, with Chris Speed (tenor sax/clarinet), Shane Endsley (trumpet), and Nate Wood (drums). Starts with a bit of bass solo, then the band cuts loose. Slows down toward the end, but still holds your interest.

68. Kenny Barron & Mulgrew Miller: The Art of Piano Duo: Live (Sunnyside -3CD) Two pianists, three encounters, the first in Marciac in 2005, the others in Zurich in 2011, two years before Miller (the junior partner by 15 years) died. Barron is famous as an educator, and playing along with students is part of his shtick, but few are as gifted as Miller. The pair merge together so seamlessly it's rarely clear who's playing what -- indeed, the occasional solo can be hard to detect. Endlessly entertaining. Dare I say flawless? [**]

69. Stephan Crump/Ingrid Laubrock/Cory Smythe: Channels (Intakt) Bass, tenor/soprano sax, piano trio, listed alphabetically and jointly credited, but strikes me as the bassist's show, setting and breaking up time in a way that gives Laubrock a lot of leeway.

70. Iro Haarla, Ulf Krokfors & Barry Altschul: Around Again: The Music of Carla Bley (TUM) Piano-bass-drums trio, nothing spectacular but Bley's compositions fascinate, and the careful renderings repay close attention.

Also added the following 2018 albums after freezing the 2018 year-end file:

1. Harvey Sorgen/Joe Fonda/Marilyn Crispell: Dreamstruck (Not Two) Drums-bass-piano trio, no obvious reason why they are listed in this order, as most pieces are joint improvs (two covers, one from Crispell's long-time drummer Paul Motian). Starts with a soft one, then adds more strength here and there, drawing you in. [**]

2. Ill Considered: Ill Considered 3 (Ill Considered Music) Back in the studio, working more from compositions -- whereas their masterful debut was reportedly improvised in less than two hours -- drummer Emre Ramazanoglu has gotten the rhythm back, while Idris Rahman's sax grows more and more expansive. Relatively short album (35:37), timed for vinyl. [**]

3. On the Levee Jazz Band: Swinging New Orleans Jazz (Big Al) New Orleans trad jazz outfit led by drummer Hal Smith, logo adds "A Tribute to Kid Ory," takes its name from a club owned by Ory. Clint Baker is front and center on trombone, Ben Polcer trumpet, Joe Goldberg clarinet, plus piano-guitar-bass. Fourteen songs, all "good ol' good 'uns" as Satch liked to say. I'm sure I've heard them all before, but not better, at least not lately. [**]

4. Endangered Blood: Don't Freak Out (Skirl) New York quartet, originally came together to play in a benefit for Andrew D'Angelo. Their eponymous first album listed the names in alphabetical order, so I filed it under drummer Jim Black -- followed by Trevor Dunn on bass, with two saxophonists -- Chris Speed on tenor and Oscar Noriega on alto. (D'Angelo recovered, and Speed and Black still play in a band with him called Human Feel.) [**]

Honorable Mention

Additional jazz rated B+(***), listed alphabetically.

  1. Greg Abate with the Tim Ray Trio: Gratitude: Stage Door Live @ The Z (Whaling City Sound)
  2. Mats Ĺleklint/Per-Ĺke Holmlander/Paal Nilssen-Love: Fish & Steel (PNL) **
  3. Franco Ambrosetti Quintet: Long Waves (Unit)
  4. Angles 9: Beyond Us (Clean Feed) **
  5. Teodross Avery: After the Rain: A Night for Coltrane (Tompkins Square) **
  6. John Bacon/Michael McNeill/Danny Ziemann: Refractions (Jazz Dimensions)
  7. Brad Barrett/Joe Morris/Tyshawn Sorey: Cowboy Transfiguration (Fundacja Sluchaj) **
  8. Albert Beger Quartet: The Gate (NoBusiness) *
  9. Seamus Blake: Guardians of the Heart Machine (Whirlwind) **
  10. François Carrier/Alexander Hawkins/John Edwards/Michel Lambert: Nirguna (Fundacja Sluchaj, 2CD) **
  11. Daniel Carter/Tobias Wilner/Djibril Toure/Federico Ughi: New York United (577) **
  12. Daniel Carter/Patrick Holmes/Matthew Putman/Hilliard Greene/Federico Ughi: Electric Telepathy, Vol. 1 (577 Records) **
  13. James Carter Organ Trio: Live From Newport Jazz (Blue Note) **
  14. Cat in a Bag: Cat in a Bag (Clean Feed) **
  15. Chord Four: California Avant Garde (self-released)
  16. Club D'Elf: Night Sparkles (Live) (Face Pelt) **
  17. Avishai Cohen: Arvoles (Razdaz/Sunnyside)
  18. Cooper Moore/Stephen Gauci: Studio Sessions Vol. 1 (Gaucimusic) **
  19. Ronnie Cuber: Straight Street (SteepleChase) **
  20. Harold Danko/Kirk Knuffke: Play Date (SteepleChase) **
  21. Kris Davis: Diatom Ribbons (Pyroclastic) **
  22. The Raymond De Felitta Trio: Pre-War Charm (Blujazz)
  23. Whit Dickey/Kirk Knuffke: Drone Dream (NoBusiness) *
  24. Whit Dickey Tao Quartets: Peace Planet/Box of Light (AUM Fidelity, 2CD) **
  25. John Dikeman/George Hadow/Dirk Serries/Martina Verhoeven/Luis Vicente: Ideal Principle (Raw Tonk -18) **
  26. Jordon Dixon: On! (self-released)
  27. Yelena Eckemoff/Manu Katché: Colors (L&H Production)
  28. Ellery Eskelin/Christian Weber/Michael Griener: The Pearls (Intakt) **
  29. Ethnic Heritage Ensemble: Be Known: Ancient/Future/Music (Spiritmuse) **
  30. Maria Faust/Tim Dahl/Weasel Walter: Farm Fresh (Gotta Let It Out) **
  31. Avram Fefer Quartet: Testament (Clean Feed)
  32. Michael Formanek Very Practical Trio/Tim Berne/Mary Halvorson: Even Better (Intakt) **
  33. Alex Fournier: Triio (Furniture Music) **
  34. Joe Fiedler: Open Sesame (Multiphonics Music)
  35. Fidel Fourneyron: żQue Vola? (No Format) **
  36. David Friesen Circle 3 Trio: Interaction (Origin, 2CD)
  37. Fred Frith: All Is Always Now: Live at the Stone (Intakt, 3CD) **
  38. From Wolves to Whales: Strandwal (Aerophonic, 2CD)
  39. Satoko Fujii/Ramon Lopez: Confluence (Libra)
  40. Satoko Fujii/Joe Fonda: Four (Long Song)
  41. Larry Fuller: Overjoyed (Capri)
  42. Lafayette Gilchrist: Dark Matter (self-released)
  43. Gordon Grdina Quartet: Cooper's Park (Songlines) **
  44. Kevin Hays/Mark Turner/Marc Miralta: Where Are You (Fresh Sound New Talent) **
  45. Florian Hoefner Trio: First Spring (ALMA)
  46. Mike Holober/The Gotham Jazz Orchestra: Hiding Out (Zoho)
  47. Jazzmeia Horn: Love and Liberation (Concord) **
  48. Abdullah Ibrahim: The Balance (Gearbox) **
  49. Anne Mette Iversen's Ternion Quartet: Invincible Nimbus (BJU) **
  50. Jerome Jennings: Solidarity (Iola)
  51. Per Texas Johansson: Strĺk Pĺ Himlen Och Stora Hus (Moserobie)
  52. David Kikoski: Phoenix Rising (HighNote) **
  53. Guillermo Klein: Los Guachos Cristal (Sunnyside) **
  54. Kodian Trio: III (Trost) **
  55. Julian Lage: Love Hurts (Mack Avenue) **
  56. Fredrik Ljungkvist Trio: Atlantis (Moserobie)
  57. Mark Lomax II: The First Ankhcestor (CFG Multimedia) **
  58. Russ Lossing: Changes (SteepleChase) **
  59. Jon Lundbom Big Five Chord: Harder on the Outside (Hot Cup)
  60. Roberto Magris Sextet: Sun Stone (JMood)
  61. Jan Maksimovic/Dimitrij Golovanov: Thousand Seconds of Our Life (NoBusiness)
  62. Branford Marsalis Quartet: The Secret Between the Shadow and the Soul (Okeh) **
  63. Wynton Marsalis: Bolden: Music From the Original Soundtrack (Blue Engine)
  64. Dan McCarthy: Epoch (Origin)
  65. Joe McPhee/John Butcher: At the Hill of James Magee (Trost) **
  66. Dave Meder: Passage (Outside In Music)
  67. Dom Minasi: Remembering Cecil (Unseen Rain) **
  68. Yoko Miwa Trio: Keep Talkin' (Ocean Blue Tear Music)
  69. Angelika Niescier/Christopher Tordini/Gerald Cleaver: New York Trio Feat. Jonathan Finlayson (Intakt) **
  70. Jorge Nila: Tenor Time (Tribute to the Tenor Masters) (Ninjazz)
  71. OGJB Quartet [Oliver Lake/Graham Haynes/Joe Fonda/Barry Altschul]: Bamako (TUM)
  72. Miles Okazaki: The Sky Below (Pi)
  73. Jason Palmer: Rhyme and Reason (Giant Step Arts, 2CD) **
  74. Evan Parker/Barry Guy/Paul Lytton: Concert in Vilnius (NoBusiness)
  75. Mario Pavone Dialect Trio: Philosophy (Clean Feed) **
  76. Pearring Sound: Nothing but Time (self-released)
  77. Ivo Perelman/Mat Maneri/Nate Wooley/Matthew Shipp: Strings 4 (Leo)
  78. Ivo Perelman/Matthew Shipp: Efflorescence: Volume 1 (Leo, 4CD)
  79. Jim Piela: Out of Orbit (Orenda)
  80. Tom Rainey Trio With Mary Halvorson and Ingrid Laubrock: Combobulated (Intakt)
  81. Joshua Redman Quartet: Come What May (Nonesuch) **
  82. Steph Richards: Take the Neon Lights (Birdwatcher) **
  83. Matana Roberts: Coin Coin Chapter Four: Memphis (Constellation) **
  84. Alfredo Rodriguez/Pedrito Martinez: Duologue (Mack Avenue) **
  85. Rent Romus' Life's Blood Ensemble: Side Three: New Work (Edgetone)
  86. Marlene Rosenberg: MLK Convergence (Origin)
  87. David Sanchez: Carib (Ropeadope) **
  88. Scheen Jazzorkester & Thomas Johansson: «As We See It . . . » (Clean Feed)
  89. Jenny Scheinman/Allison Miller: Jenny Scheinman & Allison Miller's Parlour Game (Royal Potato Family) **
  90. Bria Skonberg: Nothing Never Happens (self-released) **
  91. Jim Snidero: Waves of Calm (Savant) **
  92. Matthew Snow: Iridescence (self-released)
  93. Chris Speed Trio: Respect for Your Toughness (Intakt) **
  94. Alister Spence and Satoko Fujii Orchestra Kobe: Imagine Meeting You Here (Alister Spence Music)
  95. Stĺhls Trio: Källtorp Sessions: Volume One (Moserobie)
  96. Aki Takase Japanic: Thema Prima (BMC) **
  97. Pat Thomas/Dominic Lash/Tony Orrell: Bley School (577 Records) **
  98. Threnody [Johan Berthling/Martin Küchen/Steve Noble]: A Paradigm of Suspicion (Trost) **
  99. Tiger Hatchery: Breathing in the Walls (ESP-Disk -18)
  100. David Torn/Tim Berne/Ches Smith: Sun of Goldfinger (ECM) **
  101. Trapper Keaper: Meets Tim Berne & Aurora Nealand (Ears & Eyes/Caligola)
  102. Turning Jewels Into Water: Map of Absences (FPE) **
  103. Jeremy Udden: Three in Paris (Sunnyside) **
  104. Gebhard Ullmann Basement Research: Impromptus and Other Short Works (WhyPlayJazz) **
  105. Warren Vaché: Songs Our Fathers Taught Us (Arbors) **
  106. Kiki Valera: Vivencias En Clave Cubana (Origin)
  107. Andrés Vial/Dezron Douglas/Eric McPherson: Gang of Three (Chromatic Audio)
  108. Devin Brahja Waldman: Brahja (RR Gems) *
  109. Anna Webber: Clockwise (Pi)
  110. Rodney Whitaker: All Too Soon: The Music of Duke Ellington (Origin)
  111. The Dave Wilson Quartet: One Night at Chris' (self-released)
  112. Yong Yandsen/Christian Meaas Svendsen/Paal Nilssen-Love: Hungry Ghosts (Nakama) **
  113. Paul Zauner's Blue Brass feat. David Murray: Roots n' Wings (PAO/Blujazz)
  114. Torbjörn Zetterberg & the Great Question: Live (Corbett vs. Dempsey) **
  115. Dann Zinn: Day of Reckoning (Origin)

Also added the following 2018 albums after freezing the 2018 year-end file:

  1. Ben Allison/Steve Cardenas/Ted Nash: Quiet Revolution (Sonic Camera) **
  2. Moses Boyd Exodus: Displaced Diaspora (Exodus) **
  3. Michael Dessen Trio: Somewhere in the Upstream (Clean Feed) **
  4. Hamid Drake/Joe McPhee: Keep Going (Corbett vs. Dempsey) **
  5. Ross Hammond & Sameer Gupta: Mystery Well (Prescott) **
  6. Ill Considered: Live at Total Refreshment Centre (Ill Considered Music) **
  7. Ill Considered: Live in Nantes (Ill Considered Music) **
  8. Joe McPhee/John Edwards/Klaus Kugel: Journey to Parazzar (Not Two) **
  9. Alberto Pinton Trio: Röd (Clear Now) **
  10. Ken Vandermark/Klaus Kugel/Mark Tokar: No-Exit Corner (Not Two) **

Reissues/Historic Music

The standard for historic music is a record where everything was recorded 10+ years ago, regardless of whether it's ever been in print before. Some past lists may have treated previously unreleased music as new (regardless of actual age), but I've never been able to manage that distinction consistently. This category also includes compilations of previously released music, including straight reissues, although my selection is very erratic.

1. Eric Dolphy: Musical Prophet: The Expanded 1963 New York Studio Sessions (1963, Resonance -3CD) Legendary alto saxophonist, also played flute and was largely responsible for establishing the bass clarinet as a jazz instrument. He died in 1964 at age 36, leaving a brief but often brilliant 5-year recording career, from his 1960 group with Booker Little (trumpet player who started with Max Roach and died even younger in 1961) and his 1961 work with John Coltrane up through his 1964 masterpiece, Out to Lunch. These previously unreleased recordings come from sessions in July 1963, mostly leftovers from the 1963 album Conversations (reissued in 1964 as The Eric Dolphy Memorial Album) and Iron Man (which appeared posthumously in 1968). I went back and played those albums, and found both of them slowed down by solo pieces -- something I didn't notice here. This does have a few weak spots: especially the operatic vocal on the second disc, which also concentrates most of the flute. On the other hand, this sounds much better on my stereo than the old releases do on my computer. And the 96-page booklet adds to this release's historical value.

2. Ran Blake/Jeanne Lee: The Newest Sound You Never Heard (1966-67, A-Side -2CD) In 1962, singer Lee (1939-2000) and pianist Blake (b. 1935) debuted with The Newest Sound Around. Blake has gone on to make more than a dozen duo albums with singers, but his work with Lee always seemed special. This adds much to their association: a couple of sessions, some redundant songs, a mix of standards and recent pop tunes.

3. Stan Getz: Getz at the Gate: The Stan Getz Quartet Live at the Village Gate Nov. 26 1961 (1961, Verve -2CD) Tenor sax great, returns to US after three years in Denmark, a year before his crossover Brazilian moves made him a star. Hype sheet calls this "transitional," but it sounds little changed from his 1955-57 West Coast Sessions, his rhythm as sure, his tone every bit as cool. Pianist Steve Kuhn has some standout moments. John Neves (bass) and Roy Haynes (drums) fill out the quartet. [**]

4. Agustí Fernández Trio With William Parker & Susie Ibarra: One Night at the Joan Miró Foundation: July 16th, 1998 (1998, Fundacja Sluchaj) Pianist, from Barcelona, where this was recorded. Discography starts around 1986, seems especially inspired here playing with Cecil Taylor's bassist, who's worth focusing on. [**]

5. Clifford Jordan Quartet: Glass Bead Games (1973, Pure Pleasure) Actually, two quartets led by the tenor saxophonist, both with Billy Higgins on drums, piano/bass duties split between Stanley Cowell/Bill Lee and Cedar Walton/Sam Jones. Piano equally impressive, leader makes it all seem so natural. [**]

6. Bill Evans: Smile With Your Heart: The Best of Bill Evans on Resonance (1968-69, Resonance) Selected from four recent (since 2012) caches of previously unreleleased trio tapes, with Eddie Gomez on bass and either Marty Morell or Jack DeJohnette on drums. Consistently fine work, well selected (as far as I can tell).

7. David S. Ware New Quartet: Théâtre Garonne, 2008 (2008, AUM Fidelilty)
The old Quartet had one of the greatest runs in jazz history, from 1990-2007, with Matthew Shipp (piano), William Parker (bass), and a series of drummers. His new Quartet, with Joe Morris (guitar), Parker, and Warren Smith (drums), turned out one album (Shakti) before kidney failure sidelined Ware (a kidney transplant gave him a brief respite from 2009-12, during which he made a partial comeback). This live date came a few weeks after the album, reprising most of the compositions. Ware is Ware, but Morris has some surprises in store. **

8. Makoto Terashita Meets Harold Land: Topology (1983, BBE)
Japanese pianist, had one previous trio album from 1978, doesn't seem to have had much since, but this was picked out for the label's J Jazz Masterclass Series. His meeting with the alto saxophonist is backed by Yasushi Yoneki (bass) and Mike Reznikoff (drums). The piano trio is quite satisfying on its own, and Land is as poised and fierce as I can recall. [**]
9. Betty Carter: The Music Never Stops (1992, Blue Engine) Jazz singer, dubbed Bebop Betty when she started out in the mid-1950s, deep voice, nimble scat, her work on Verve from 1980 up to her death in 1998 is especially revered -- albeit not by me: I've been impressed by her bands, but never cared much for the vocals. I should probably reacquaint myself, as she shows remarkable poise and range here, in a previously unreleased Jazz at Lincoln Center tape. Some small group cuts, more big band, some strings arranged by Geri Allen: I doubt any of those are really up to her standards, but they work well enough.

10. Wes Montgomery: Wes's Best: The Best of Wes Montgomery on Resonance (1956-66, Resonance) Nice selection from five previous sets of archival material. Guessing at dates, since In the Beginning starts in 1949, but the guitarist's career doesn't really pick up steam until 1956-58 -- his breakthrough was 1960's Incredible Jazz Guitar, and through Smokin' at the Half Note in 1965 he redefined jazz guitar so successfully that even today most American jazz guitarists seem to be in his thrall. As with Charlie Parker, I've long been a skeptic, but those bookends are too brilliant to be denied, and this more scattered selection comes close enough.

11. Phil Ranelin: Collected Works 2003-2019 (Wide Hive -2CD) Trombonist, born in Indianapolis, moved to Detroit in the 1960s, co-founding Tribe in 1971, and later moved on to Los Angeles, hit 80 this year. I discovered his 1970s records when they were reissued (along with a Remixes) by Hefty c. 2002. That rejumped his career, leading to the 5 records that are sampled here, evidently with 3 or 4 new tracks. Various lineups, especially strong at sax -- Pharoah Sanders is most readily recognized, Kamasi Washington is another powerhouse -- and percussion. [**]

12. John Coltrane: Blue World (1964, Impulse!) Previously unreleased recordings from a session between Crescent and A Love Supreme, soundtrack tracks recorded for Gilles Groulx, director of Le chat dans le sac. Classic quartet, five songs, extended to 36:33 with three takes of "Village Blues" and a second of "Naima." Nestled in the valley between masterpieces, nothing remotely new here, but remarkable on any other count. [**]

13. Infinite Spirit Music: Live Without Fear (1979, Jazzman) One-shot Chicago group, best known member is percussionist and singer Kahil El'Zabar, although Ka T' Etta Aton also sings, and there are two more percussionists, plus Henry Huff (most impressive on sax), Soji Abedayo (piano), and Michaka Uba (bass). I'm not a big fan of the vocals (although the title hits home), but the music transcends such concerns. Vol. 27 in Jazzman's Holy Grail Series. Makes me wonder what else I've missed. [**]

14. Woody Shaw Quintet: Basel 1980 (Elemental Music -2CD) Previously unreleased live set from Switzerland, with Carter Jefferson (tenor/soprano sax), Larry Willis (piano), Stafford James (bass), and Victor Lewis (drums), plus one later track (10:44) with just trumpet, piano (Mulgrew Miller), and drums (Tony Reedus). Pretty spectacular. [**]

15. Art Pepper: Promise Kept: The Complete Artists House Recordings (1979, Omnivore -5CD) In his last years (d. 1982), the alto saxophonist recorded furiously, piling up so many masterpieces that his 16-CD The Complete Galaxy Recordings seems like an infinite trove of wonders. Still, he managed to sneak aside, recording the 6-CD series of West Coast Sessions for the Japanese Atlas label that Omnivore reissued in 2017, and four more records for Artists House, collected here with extra cuts. The albums were So in Love, Artworks, New York Album, and Stardust, recorded over several dates with two piano-bass-drums trios: Hank Jones/Ron Carter/Al Foster, and George Cables/Charlie Haden/Billy Higgins -- mostly the latter. A lot more than I can readily sort out, but most sounds much like everything else he was doing at the time, which is to say marvelous. [**]

16. Sam Rivers Trio: Emanation (1971, NoBusiness) Volume 1 of Sam Rivers Archive Project, drawing on a reportedly large trove of private recordings, here from the period when the late 1960s avant-garde retreated to the lofts of Lower Manhattan, chez Rivers in particular. Two massive chunks, 76:41 in total, with the leader playing tenor and soprano sax, a lot of flute, and some striking piano, all backed by Cecil McBee on bass and Norman Connors on drums.

17. Johnny Griffin & Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis: Ow! Live at the Penthouse (1962, Reel to Reel) Two previously unreleased live shots, recorded in Seattle, led by two tenor saxophonists who've done their fair share of jousting over the years, are pretty simpatico here. Backed by Horace Parlan (piano), Buddy Catlett (bass), and Art Taylor (drums).

18. Sam Rivers: Zenith [Sam Rivers Achive Project, Volume 2] (1977, NoBusiness)
Tenor saxophonist, also plays soprano, piano, and (quite a bit of) flute. Quartet with Joe Daley (tuba/euphonium), Charlie Persip (bass), and Barry Altschul (drums), live set in Berlin. I might complain about the flute, but the rhythm section more than picks up the slack.

19. Esbjörn Svensson Trio: E.S.T. Live in Gothenburg (2001, ACT -2CD) Swedish piano trio, formed in 1993, ended with the pianist's death in 2008, was very popular in Europe, less so here. Much of their appeal was rhythmic, good examples of that here, but they're remarkably listenable even when they slow it up.

20. Horace Tapscott With the Pan Afrikan Peoples Arkestra and the Great Voice of UGMAA: Why Don't You Listen? Live at LACMA 1998 (1998, Dark Tree) Los Angeles pianist and community organizer, first albums in late 1960s were phenomenal, much since then is relegated to private sessions although The Dark Tree (1989) is a Penguin Guide crown album, and two late releases on Arabesque caught my ear. Died in 1999, so this is even later, and too much of a sing-along to give you a good sense of his piano (although the opening instrumental piece, the title of his 1995 Arabesque album, is phenomenal). Still, only the choir at the end starts to wear my patience. [**]

Also added the following 2018 albums after freezing the 2018 year-end file:

1. Joe McPhee: Nation Time (1970, Corbett vs. Dempsey) Second album, plays tenor sax and trumpet, with Mike Kull (piano/electric piano), Tyrone Crabb (bass/electric bass/trumpet), and percussion (Ernest Bostic and Bruce Thompson). Original release was on CjRecord in 1971, the 18:30 title cut on one side, two more (22:12) on the other, as was the 2000 Atavistic Unheard Music Series reissue in 2000. This reissue adds three extra cuts, for a total of 65:00. The original album was one of the greatest artifacts of its era, a feat of radical boogaloo, the beat (especially on "Shakey Jake") just regular enough to drive us to ecstasy. The extras aren't as monumental, but hold up pretty well. [**]

2. Anthony Braxton: Sextet (Parker) 1993 (New Braxton House -11CD) A massive expansion of the sessions and live tour that produced the 2-CD Charlie Parker Project 1993. I was pretty down on Parker back then, so the first thing I noticed was that Braxton had alto sax chops Parker could only dream of (but then I often thought that Braxton was most brilliant playing other's music). I didn't recall the brilliant band Braxton assembled for the project: Ari Brown (tenor/soprano sax), Paul Smoker (trumpet/flugelhorn), Misha Mengelberg (piano), Joe Fonda (bass), and Han Bennink (drums, except for 6, of 68, cuts with Pheeroan akLaff). Too much to digest, especially on computer -- the physical package was limited to 500 copies and quickly sold out, presumably to the 1% -- and I doubt you actually need, for instance, six takes of "Klactoveedsedstene." Still, much of this is magnificent. [**]

3. Louis Armstrong: Sparks, Nevada 1964! (1964, Dot Time) Late in his career -- he didn't record much after 1966, and died in 1971 -- but this catches him on top of the world, with a smash single ("Hello Dolly"), a crack (if no longer All Star) band (Billy Kyle and Arvell Shaw are still in). His voice has an extra load of gravel, but he's still remarkably nimble, especially as he pushes his hit to 7:05, and his trumpet is as brilliant as ever. Still, he takes a break, giving Shaw a long solo on "How High the Moon," then turning the microphone over to Jewel Brown for two cuts. But she's terrific, and he returns for the closing crowd pleaser: "When the Saints Go Marching In." [**]

4. Amarcord Nino Rota (1981, Corbett vs. Dempsey) I file this under producer Hal Willner's name, who went beyond this first album to produce a series of tribute albums worthy of auteur tatus -- most fabulously Lost in the Stars: The Music of Kurt Weill (1985). Otherwise, this would be "various artists" playing compositions by Nino Rota from the films of Federico Fellini. Mostly jazz musicians, several solo (Jaki Byard, Bill Frisell, Steve Lacy), larger ensembles arranged by Carla Bley and Muhal Richard Abrams, even a medley with the Marsalis brothers. [**]

Honorable Mention

Additional jazz rated B+(***), listed alphabetically.

  1. Cannonball Adderley: Swingin' in Seattle: Live at the Penthouse 1966-1967 (Real to Reel) **
  2. Burnt Sugar/The Arkestra Chamber: Twentieth Anniversary Mixtapes: Groiddest Schnizzits: Volume Two (2001-17, Trugroid/Avantgroidd) **
  3. Kang Tae Hwan/Midori Takada: An Eternal Moment (1995, NoBusiness)
  4. Allen Lowe: Jews & Roots/Radical Jewish Acculturation: An Avant Garde of Our Own: Disconnected Works 1980-2018 (Constant Sorrow/ESP-Disk, 8CD) **
  5. Tribe: Hometown: Detroit Sessions 1990-2014 (Art Yard/Strut) **
  6. Mark Turner/Gary Foster: Mark Turner Meets Gary Foster (2003, Capri, 2CD)
  7. David Wertman Sun Ensemble: Earthly Delights (1978, BBE) **
  8. Barney Wilen: Live in Tokyo '91 (Elemental Music, 2CD) **

Also added the following 2018 albums after freezing the 2018 year-end file:

  1. Ben Lamar Gay: 500 Chains (2013-14, International Anthem) **
  2. Beaver Harris-Don Pullen 360° Experience: A Well Kept Secret (1984, Corbett vs. Dempsey) **
  3. Steve Lacy: Stamps (1977-78, Corbett vs. Dempsey, 2CD) **
  4. Joe McPhee/Mats Gustafsson: Brace for Impact (2007, Corbett vs. Dempsey) **
  5. Cecil Taylor: Mysteries: Indent: Antioch College/Yellow Springs, Ohio/March 11, 1973 (Black Sun) **

Notes

Additional new jazz records rated B+(**) or below (listed alphabetically by artist).

  1. 4WD [Nils Landgren/Michael Wollny/Lars Danielsson/Wolfgang Haffner]: 4 Wheel Drive (ACT) ** [B-]
  2. The 14 Jazz Orchestra: The Future Ain't What It Used to Be (Dabon Music) [B]
  3. Rez Abbasi: A Throw of Dice by the Silent Ensemble (Whirlwind) [B+(*)]
  4. Stefan Aeby: Piano Solo (Intakt) ** [B+(*)]
  5. Areni Agbabian: Bloom (ECM) ** [B]
  6. Yazz Ahmed: Polyhymnia (Ropeadope) ** [B+(**)]
  7. Cyrille Aimée: Move On: A Sondheim Adventure (Mack Avenue) ** [B]
  8. Akiko Hamilton Dechter: Equal Time (Capri) [B+(*)]
  9. Juan Álamo & Marimjazzia: Ruta Panoramica (Summit) [B+(**)]
  10. Melissa Aldana: Visions (Motéma) ** [B+(**)]
  11. Ralph Alessi: Imaginary Friends (ECM) ** [B+(*)]
  12. Don Aliquo/Michael Jefry Stevens: Live at Hinton Hall: The Innocence of Spring (self-released) ** [B+(**)]
  13. Fabian Almazan Trio: This Land Abounds With Life (Biophilia) ** [B+(*)]
  14. Jay Anderson: Deepscape (SteepleChase) ** [B+(**)]
  15. Reid Anderson/Dave King/Craig Taborn: Golden Valley Is Now (Intakt) ** [B-]
  16. Gretje Angell: In Any Key (Grevlinto) [B+(**)]
  17. Brittany Anjou: Enamigo Reciprokataj (Origin) [B+(**)]
  18. Laurie Antonioli: The Constant Passage of Time (Origin) [B+(**)]
  19. AP6C [Alberto Pinton Sestetto Contemporaneo]: Layers (Clear Now) [08-30] [B+(**)]
  20. Charlie Apicella & Iron City: Groove Machine (OA2) [B+(*)]
  21. Arashi [Akira Sakata/Johan Berthling/Paal Nilssen-Love]: Jikan (PNL) ** [B+(**)]
  22. Art Ensemble of Chicago: We Are on the Edge: A 50th Anniversary Celebration (Pi, 2CD) [B+(**)]
  23. Byron Asher: Byron Asher's Skrontch Music (Sinking City) ** [B+(**)]
  24. Ehud Asherie Trio: Wild Man Blues (Capri) [B+(**)]
  25. Atomic: Pet Variations (Odin) [B+(**)]
  26. Michaël Attias: Ëchos La Nuit (Out of Your Head) [B+(**)]
  27. Allison Au Quartet: Wander Wonder (self-released) ** [B+(**)]
  28. The Bad Plus: Activate Infinity (Edition) ** [B+(**)]
  29. Simone Baron & Arco Belo: The Space Between Disguises (GenreFluid) [B-]
  30. Jon Batiste: Anatomy of Angels: Live at the Village Vanguard (Verve) ** [B+(*)]
  31. Jon Batiste: Chronology of a Dream: Live at the Village Vanguard (Verve) ** [B+(*)]
  32. The Kenyatta Beasley Septet: The Frank Foster Songbook (Art Vs Transit, 2CD) ** [B+(**)]
  33. Ilia Belorukov/Gabriel Ferrandini: Disquiet (Clean Feed) ** [B+(**)]
  34. Karl Berger/Jason Kao Hwang: Conjure (True Sound) [B]
  35. Jerry Bergonzi: The Seven Rays (Savant) ** [B+(*)]
  36. Carlos Bica/Daniel Erdmann/DJ Illvibe: I Am the Escaped One (Clean Feed) ** [B+(*)]
  37. The Nat Birchall Quartet: The Storyteller: A Musical Tribute to Yusef Lateef (Jazzman) ** [B+(**)]
  38. Michael Bisio/Kirk Knuffke/Fred Lonberg-Holm: Requiem for a New York Slice (Iluso) ** [B+(*)]
  39. Blind Lemon Jazz: After Hours: New Pages in the American Songbook (Ofeh) [B+(*)]
  40. Ray Blue: Work (Jazzheads) [B+(**)]
  41. Blue Standard: A Good Thing (Big Time) [B]
  42. Itamar Borochov: Blue Nights (Laborie Jazz) [B+(**)]
  43. Randy Brecker & NDR Bigband: Rocks (Piloo) [B]
  44. Randy Brecker/Ada Rovatti: Brecker Plays Rovatti: Sacred Bond (Piloo) [B+(**)]
  45. Terrence Brewer & Pamela Rose: Don't Worry 'Bout Me (Strong Brew Music, EP) [B+(*)]
  46. Katerina Brown: Mirror (Mellowtone Music) [B]
  47. Jane Bunnett & Maqueque: On Firm Ground/Tierra Firme (Linus Entertainment) ** [B]
  48. Taylor Ho Bynum 9-tette: The Ambiguity Manifesto (Firehouse 12) ** [B+(**)]
  49. George Cables: I'm All Smiles (HighNote) ** [B+(**)]
  50. Daniel Carter/Stelios Milhas/Irma Nejando/Federico Ughi: Radical Invisibility (577) ** [B+(**)]
  51. Daniel Carter/Julian Priester/Adam Lane/Reggie Sylvester/David Haney: Live Constructions Volume 2 (Slam) ** [B+(*)]
  52. Layale Chaker & Sarafand: Inner Rhyme (In a Circle) [B+(**)]
  53. Etienne Charles: Carnival: The Sound of a People Vol. 1 (Culture Shock Music) ** [B+(**)]
  54. Chat Noir: Hyperuranion (RareNoise) * [B]
  55. Corey Christiansen: La Proxima (Origin) [B+(*)]
  56. Zack Clarke Trio: Vertical Shores (Clean Feed) ** [B+(*)]
  57. Gerald Cleaver & Violet Hour: Live at Firehouse 12 (Sunnyside) ** [B+(**)]
  58. Trish Clowes: Ninety Degrees Gravity (Basho) ** [B+(**)]
  59. Jimmy Cobb: This I Dig of You (Smoke Sessions) ** [B+(**)]
  60. Jimmy Cobb: Remembering U (Jimmy Cobb World) ** [B+(*)]
  61. Cochemea: All My Relations (Daptone) ** [B+(**)]
  62. Anat Cohen Tentet: Triple Helix (Anzic) ** [B+(**)]
  63. Avishai Cohen/Yonathan Avishai: Playing the Room (ECM) ** [B+(*)]
  64. Romain Collin: Tiny Lights: Genesis (XM) [B+(**)]
  65. The Comet Is Coming: Trust in the Lifeforce of the Deep Mystery (Impulse!) ** [B+(**)]
  66. The Comet Is Coming: The Afterlife (Impulse!) ** [B+(*)]
  67. Harry Connick Jr.: True Love: A Celebration of Cole Porter (Verve) ** [B+(*)]
  68. Chick Corea/The Spanish Heart Band: Antidote (Concord) ** [B-]
  69. Sylvie Courvoisier/Mark Feldman: Time Gone Out (Intakt) ** [B+(*)]
  70. Theon Cross: Fyah (Gearbox) ** [B+(*)]
  71. Stephan Crump's Rosetta Trio: Outliers (Papillon) [B+(**)]
  72. Caroline Davis: Alula (New Amsterdam) ** [B+(*)]
  73. Steve Davis: Correlations (Smoke Sessions) ** [B+(*)]
  74. Angel Bat Dawid: The Oracle (International Anthem) ** [B+(*)]
  75. Chuck Deardorf: Perception (Origin) [B+(**)]
  76. Mark De Clive-Lowe: Heritage (Ropeadope) ** [B+(*)]
  77. Mark De Clive-Lowe: Heritage II (Ropeadope) ** [B]
  78. Michael Dease: Never More Here (Posi-Tone) ** [B+(**)]
  79. Joey DeFrancesco: In the Key of the Universe (Mack Avenue) ** [B+(**)]
  80. Jeff Denson/Romain Pilon/Brian Blade: Between Two Worlds (Ridgeway) [B+(*)]
  81. José Dias: After Silence, Vol. 1 (Clean Feed) ** [B+(**)]
  82. Sam Dillon: Force Field (Posi-Tone) ** [B+(*)]
  83. Dave Douglas/Uri Caine/Andrew Cyrille: Devotion (Greenleaf Music) ** [B+(*)]
  84. Mark Doyle: Watching the Detectives: Guitar Noir III (Free Will) [B+(*)]
  85. Mark Dresser Seven: Ain't Nothing but a Cyber Coup & You (Clean Feed) [B+(**)]
  86. DSC [Leon Lee Dorsey/Greg Skaff/Mike Clark]: Monktime (Jazz Avenue 1) [B+(*)]
  87. Rebecca DuMaine and the Dave Miller Combo: Chez Nous (Summit) [B+(**)]
  88. Nick Dunston: Atlantic Extraction (Out of Your Head) [B+(**)]
  89. Sharman Duran: Questioning Reality (self-released) [B+(**)]
  90. Rosana Eckert: Sailing Home (OA2) [B]
  91. Mats Eilertsen: And Then Comes the Night (ECM) ** [B+(**)]
  92. Harris Eisenstadt: Canada Day Quartet Live (Clean Feed) ** [B+(**)]
  93. Elder Ones: From Untruth (Northern Spy) ** [B]
  94. Petter Eldh: Koma Saxo (We Jazz) ** [B+(**)]
  95. Peter Eldridge/Kenny Werner: Somewhere (Rosebud Music) [C-]
  96. Elephant9: Psychedelic Backfire I (Rune Grammofon) ** [B+(*)]
  97. Elephant9 With Reine Fiske: Psychedelic Backfire II (Rune Grammofon) ** [B+(**)]
  98. Eliane Elias: Love Stories (Concord) ** [B+(*)]
  99. Pablo Embon: Reminiscent Mood (self-released) [B-]
  100. Moy Eng/Wayne Wallace: The Blue Hour (Patois) [B]
  101. Ezra Collective: You Can't Steal My Joy (Enter the Jungle) ** [B]
  102. Lorenzo Feliciati/Michele Rabbia: Antikythera (RareNoise) * [B+(**)]
  103. Gabriel Ferrandini: Volúpias (Clean Feed) ** [B+(**)]
  104. The Fictive Five: Anything Is Possible (Clean Feed) ** [B+(**)]
  105. David Finck: Bassically Jazz (Burton Avenue Music) ** [B+(*)]
  106. Fire! Orchestra: Arrival (Rune Grammofon) ** [B]
  107. Carolyun Fitzhugh: Living in Peace (Iyouwe) [B]
  108. Fleurine: Brazilian Dream (Pure Imagination -18) [B+(**)]
  109. Anat Fort Trio: Colour (Sunnyside) ** [B+(**)]
  110. Al Foster: Inspirations & Dedications (Smoke Sessions) ** [B+(**)]
  111. Calabria Foti: Prelude to a Kiss (Moco) [B]
  112. Four: There You Go Thinking Again (Jazz Hang) [B]
  113. Mimi Fox: This Bird Still Flies (Origin) [B+(*)]
  114. George Freeman: George the Bomb! (Blujazz/Southport) [B+(**)]
  115. Paolo Fresu/Richard Galliano/Jan Lundgren: Mare Nostrum III (ACT) ** [B+(**)]
  116. Bill Frisell/Thomas Morgan: Epistrophy (ECM) ** [B+(*)]
  117. Bill Frisell: Harmony (Blue Note) ** [B+(*)]
  118. Satoko Fujii: Solo Piano: Stone (Libra) [B+(**)]
  119. Haruna Fukazawa: Departure (Summit) [B+(*)]
  120. Andy Fusco: Vortex (SteepleChase) ** [B+(**)]
  121. Vyacheslav Ganelin/Deniss Pashkevich/Arkady Gotesman: Variations (Jersika) ** [B+(*)]
  122. Laszlo Gardony: La Marseillaise (Sunnyside) [B+(**)]
  123. Stephen Gauci/Sandy Ewan/Adam Lane/Kevin Shea: Live at the Bushwick Series (Gaucimusic) ** [B+(*)]
  124. Ben Lamar Gay: Confetti in the Sky Like Fireworks [This Is Bate Bola OST] (International Anthem) ** [B]
  125. Charles Gayle/Giovanni Barcella/Manolo Cabras: The Alto Sessions (El Negocito) ** [B+(**)]
  126. Polly Gibbons: All I Can Do (Resonance) [B]
  127. Luke Gillespie: Moving Mists (Patois) [B+(*)]
  128. Frode Gjerstad/Fred Lonberg-Holm/Matthew Shipp: Season of Sadness (Iluso) ** [B]
  129. Robert Glasper: Fuck Yo Feelings (Loma Vista) ** [B+(*)]
  130. Charles Wesley Godwin: Seneca (self-released) ** [B+(*)]
  131. Ben Goldberg: Good Day for Cloud Fishing (Pyroclastic) ** [B]
  132. Binker Golding & Elliot Galvin: Ex Nihilo (Byrd Out) ** [B+(*)]
  133. Georg Graewe/Ernst Reijseger/Gerry Hemingway: Concertgebouw Brugge 2014 (Fundacja Sluchaj) ** [B+(**)]
  134. Hilliard Greene: Spirituals (Unseen Rain) ** [B+(*)]
  135. Guillermo Gregorio & Brandon Lopez: 12 Episodes (Relative Pitch) [B+(**)]
  136. Larry Grenadier: The Gleaners (ECM) ** [B+(*)]
  137. Nick Grinder: Farallon (self-released) [B+(*)]
  138. Francesco Guerri: Su Mimmi Non Si Spara! (RareNoise) * [B+(**)]
  139. Mark Guiliana: Beat Music! Beat Music! Beat Music! (Motéma) ** [B]
  140. Mats Gustafsson/Jason Adasiewicz: Timeless (Corbett vs. Dempsey) ** [B+(*)]
  141. Augie Haas: Dream a Little Dream (Playtime Music) [B+(**)]
  142. Keiji Haino/Merzbow/Balasz Pandi: Become the Discovered, Not the Discoverer (RareNoise) * [B+(*)]
  143. Mary Halvorson & John Dieterich: A Tangle of Stars (New Amsterdam) ** [B+(**)]
  144. Harbinger: Extended (OA2) [B+(**)]
  145. Tom Harrell: Infinity (HighNote) ** [B+(**)]
  146. Joel Harrison: Still Point: Turning World (Whirlwind) ** [B+(**)]
  147. John Hart: Crop Circles (SteepleChase) ** [B+(**)]
  148. Alexander Hawkins: Iron Into Wind: Piano Solo (Intakt) [B+(**)]
  149. Miho Hazama: Dancer in Nowhere (Sunnyside) [B+(**)]
  150. Fred Hersch & the WDR Big Band: Begin Again (Palmetto) [B+(*)]
  151. Olli Hirvonen: Displace (Ropeadope) [B+(**)]
  152. William Hooker: Cycle of Restoration (FPE) ** [B+(*)]
  153. Hot 8 Brass Band: Take Cover (2019, Tru Thoughts, EP) ** [B]
  154. Human Feel [Chris Speed/Andrew D'Angelo/Kurt Rosenwinkel/Jim Black]: Gold (Intakt) [B+(*)]
  155. Chrissie Hynde With the Valve Bone Woe Ensemble: Valve Bone Woe (BMG) ** [B]
  156. Abdullah Ibrahim: Dream Time (Enja) ** [B+(**)]
  157. Christoph Irniger Pilgrim: Crosswinds (Intakt) [B+(**)]
  158. Ethan Iverson Quartet With Tom Harrell: Common Practice (ECM) ** [B+(*)]
  159. Vijay Iyer/Craig Taborn: The Transitory Poems (ECM) ** [B+(**)]
  160. Michael Gregory Jackson Clarity Quartet: Whenufindituwillknow (Golden) ** [B+(**)]
  161. Keith Jarrett: Munich 2016 (ECM -2CD) ** [B+(*)]
  162. Peter Jensen & DR Big Band: Stand on Your Feet and Fight: Voices of the Danish West Indies (ILK) [B+(*)]
  163. Norah Jones: Begin Again (Blue Note, EP) ** [B]
  164. Jelena Jovovic: Heartbeat (self-released) [B-]
  165. Laura Jurd: Stepping Back, Jumping In (Edition) ** [B]
  166. Zlatko Kaucic Quintet: Morning Patches (Fundacja Sluchaj) ** [B+(*)]
  167. Mark Kavuma: The Banger Factory (Ubuntu Music) ** [B+(*)]
  168. Ryan Keberle & Catharsis: The Hope I Hold (Greenleaf Music) [B+(**)]
  169. Izumi Kimura/Barry Guy/Gerry Hemingway: Illuminated Silence (Fundacja Sluchaj) ** [B+(**)]
  170. Petros Klampanis: Irrationalities (Enja) [B+(**)]
  171. Kneebody: Chapters (Edition) ** [B+(*)]
  172. Michael Kocour: East of the Sun (OA2) [B+(*)]
  173. Kokoroko: Kokoroko (Brownswood, EP) ** [B+(*)]
  174. Konstrukt + Ken Vandermark: Kozmik Bazaar (Karlrecords) ** [B+(**)]
  175. Larry Koonse: New Jazz Standards Vol. 4 (Summit) [B]
  176. Brian Krock: Liddle (Outside In Music) [B+(**)]
  177. Krokofant: Q (Rune Grammofon) ** [B]
  178. Joachim Kühn: Melodic Ornette Coleman: Piano Works XIII (ACT) ** [B+(*)]
  179. La La Lars: La La Lars II (Headspin) [B+(**)]
  180. Landline: Landline (Loyal Label) [B+(**)]
  181. Pablo Lanouguere Quintet: Eclectico (self-released) [B+(**)]
  182. Lapis Trio: The Travelers (Shifting Paradigm) [B+(*)]
  183. Travis Laplante: Human (New Amsterdam) ** [B]
  184. Ingrid Laubrock + Aki Takase: Kasumi (Intakt) ** [B+(**)]
  185. Matt Lavelle Quartet: Hope (Unseen Rain) ** [B+(**)]
  186. Remy Le Boeuf: Light as a Word (Outside In Music) [B]
  187. Remy Le Boeuf: Assembly of Shadows (SoundSpore) [B]
  188. Xavier Lecouturier: Carrier (Origin) [B]
  189. Led Bib: It's Morning (RareNoise) * [B]
  190. Mike LeDonne: Partners in Time (Savant) ** [B+(**)]
  191. Urs Leimgruber/Jacques Demierre/Barre Phillips/Thomas Lehn: Willisau (Jazzwerkstatt) ** [B]
  192. Joăo Lencastre's Communion 3: Song(s) of Hope (Clean Feed) ** [B+(**)]
  193. David Liebman/Jeff Coffin/Victor Wooten/Chester Thompson/Chris Walters/James DaSilva: On the Corner Live! The Music of Miles Davis (Ear Up) ** [B+(**)]
  194. Chris Lightcap: SuperBigmouth (Pyroclastic) ** [B]
  195. Damon Locks/Black Monument Ensemble: Where Future Unfolds (International Anthem) ** [B+(*)]
  196. Aubrey Logan: Your Mom's Favorite Songs (Resonance, EP) ** [B+(*)]
  197. Russ Lossing: Motian Music (Sunnyside) ** [B+(**)]
  198. Joe Lovano: Trio Tapestry (ECM) ** [B+(**)]
  199. Lage Lund: Terrible Animals (Criss Cross) ** [B+(*)]
  200. Doug MacDonald: Califournia Quartet (Dmacmusic) [B+(*)]
  201. Doug MacDonald & the Tarmac Ensemble: Jazz Marathon 4: Live at Hangar 18 (DMAC, 2CD) [B+(*)]
  202. Doug MacDonald Quartet: Organisms (self-released) [B+(**)]
  203. Todd Marcus: Trio+ (Stricker Street) [B+(**)]
  204. Ben Markley Quartet Featuring Joel Frahm: Slow Play (OA2) [B+(**)]
  205. Greta Matassa: Portrait (Origin) [B]
  206. Lisa Maxwell's Jazz Orchestra: Shiny! (Uncle Marvin Music) [B+(*)]
  207. Marilyn Mazur: Marilyn Mazur's Shamania (RareNoise) * [B+(**)]
  208. Dan McCarthy: City Abstract (Origin) [B]
  209. The Pete McGuinness Jazz Orchestra: Along for the Ride (Summit) [B]
  210. Nellie McKay: Bagatelles (Palmetto, EP) ** [B+(*)]
  211. Jenna McLean: Brighter Day (Moddl) [B+(*)]
  212. Joe McPhee/Paal Nilssen-Love: Song for the Big Chief (PNL) ** [B+(**)]
  213. Metropolitan Jazz Octet Featuring Dee Alexander: It's Too Hot for Words: Celebrating Billie Holiday (Delmark) ** [B+(**)]
  214. Xose Miguélez: Ontology (Origin) [B+(**)]
  215. Levon Mikaelian Trio: Untainted (self-released) [B+(**)]
  216. Dave Miller Trio: Just Imagine (Summit) [B+(**)]
  217. Matt Mitchell: Phalanx Ambassadors (Pi) [B+(**)]
  218. Gabriele Mitelli/Rob Mazurek: Star Splitter (Clean Feed) ** [B+(*)]
  219. Monopiece/Jaap Blonk: Monopiece + Jaap Blonk (Shhpuma) ** [B]
  220. Derel Monteith: Connemara: Solo Piano Improvisations (self-released) [B+(**)]
  221. Derel Monteith Trio: Quantity of Life (self-released) [B+(*)]
  222. Thurston Moore/Frank Rosaly: Marshmallow Moon Decorum (Corbett vs. Dempsey) ** [B+(*)]
  223. Bernie Mora & Tangent: No Agenda (Rhombus) [C+]
  224. Joe Morris & Evan Parker: The Village (Fundacja Sluchaj) ** [B+(**)]
  225. Jack Mouse Group: Intimate Adversary (Tall Grass) [B+(*)]
  226. Moutin Factory Quintet: Mythical River (Laborie Jazz) [B-]
  227. Guillaume Muller: Sketches of Sound (self-released) [B+(*)]
  228. Greg Murphy Trio: Bright Idea (Whaling City Sound) [B+(**)]
  229. Rachel Musson/Pat Thomas/Mark Sanders: Shifa: Live at Cafe Oto (577) [B+(**)]
  230. Simon Nabatov Quintet: Last Minute Theory (Clean Feed) ** [B+(**)]
  231. Simon Nabatov: Readings: Red Cavalry (Leo) ** [B+(*)]
  232. Simon Nabatov: Readings: Gileya Revisited (Leo) ** [B+(*)]
  233. Ted Nash/Steve Cardenas/Ben Allison: Somewhere Else: West Side Story Songs (Plastic Sax) ** [B+(**)]
  234. New Orleans Jazz Orchestra: Songs: The Music of Allen Toussaint (Storyville) [B+(**)]
  235. New York Voices: Reminiscing in Tempo (Origin) [B]
  236. The Niro Featuring Gary Lucas: The Complete Jeff Buckley and Gary Lucas Songbook (Esordisco) [B]
  237. Paal Nilssen-Love: New Brazilian Funk (PNL) ** [B+(**)]
  238. Paal Nilssen-Love/Ken Vandermark: Screen Off (PNL) ** [B+(**)]
  239. Paal Nilssen-Love: New Japanese Noise (PNL) ** [B+(*)]
  240. Nobject [Martin Küchen/Rafal Mazur/Vasco Trilla]: X-Rayed (Fundacja Sluchaj) ** [B+(**)]
  241. Laura Noejovich: Laura Has New Standards (Enchanted Meadow) [C+]
  242. Sean Noonan: Tan Man's Hat (RareNoise) * [B]
  243. Northern Ranger: Eastern Stranger (self-released, EP) [B+(**)]
  244. Larry Ochs/Nels Cline/Gerald Cleaver: What Is to Be Done (Clean Feed) ** [B+(**)]
  245. Bill O'Connell and the Afro Caribbean Ensemble: Wind Off the Hudson (Savant) [B+(**)]
  246. Linda May Han Oh: Aventurine (Biophilia) ** [B+(**)]
  247. May Okita: Art of Life (Origin) [B+(**)]
  248. Matt Olson: 789 Miles (OA2) [B+(**)]
  249. One O'Clock Lab Band: Lab 2019 (North Texas Jazz) [B+(*)]
  250. Ola Onabulé: Point Less (Rugged Ram) [B]
  251. Tish Oney With the John Chlodini Trio: The Best Part (Blujazz) [B-]
  252. Sam Ospovat: Ride Angles (Skirl) [B+(**)]
  253. Ulysses Owens Jr.: Songs of Freedom (Resilience Music) ** [B+(*)]
  254. Mike Pachelli: High Standards (Fullblast) [B+(*)]
  255. Evan Parker/Lotte Anker/Torben Snekkestad: Inferences (Fundacja Sluchaj) ** [B+(*)]
  256. Evan Parker/Paul G. Smyth: Calenture and Light Leaks (Weekertoft) ** [B+(**)]
  257. Nicki Parrott: From New York to Paris (Arbors) ** [B+(**)]
  258. Bennett Paster: Indivisible (self-released) [B+(*)]
  259. Junius Paul: Ism (International Anthem) ** [B+(*)]
  260. Jessica Pavone: In the Action (Relative Pitch) [B+(**)]
  261. Nicholas Payton: Relaxin' With Nick (Smoke Sessions, 2CD) ** [B+(**)]
  262. Rich Pellegrin: Down (OA2) [B]
  263. Jeremy Pelt: Jeremy Pelt the Artist (HighNote) ** [B+(*)]
  264. Ken Peplowski/Diego Figueiredo: Amizade (Arbors) ** [B+(*)]
  265. Ivo Perelman/Mat Maneri/Nate Wooley: Strings 3 (Leo) [B+(*)]
  266. Miles Perkin Quartet: The Point in Question (Clean Feed) ** [B+(*)]
  267. Peterson Kohler Collective: Winter Colors (Origin) [B+(**)]
  268. Phicus + Martin Küchen: Sumpflegende (Fundacja Sluchaj) ** [B+(*)]
  269. Anne Phillips: Live at the Jazz Bakery (Conawago) [B-]
  270. Alberto Pibiri & the Al Peppers: The Nacho Blues (Alberto Pibiri Music) [B+(*)]
  271. Roberta Piket: Domestic Harmony: Piket Plays Mintz (Thirteenth Note) [B+(**)]
  272. The John Pizzarelli Trio: For Centennial Reasons: 100 Year Salute to Nat King Cole (Ghostlight) ** [B+(**)]
  273. Chris Potter: Circuits (Edition) ** [B-]
  274. Noah Preminger: After Life (Criss Cross) ** [B+(**)]
  275. Preservation Hall Jazz Band: A Tuba to Cuba (Sub Pop) ** [B+(*)]
  276. Michele Rabbia/Gianluca Petrella/Eivind Aarset: Lost River (ECM) ** [B]
  277. Mette Rasmussen/Julien Desprez: The Hatch (Dark Tree) [B+(**)]
  278. Enrico Rava/Joe Lovano: Roma (ECM) ** [B+(*)]
  279. Red Kite: Red Kite (RareNoise) [B+(**)]
  280. Joshua Redman & Brooklyn Rider: Sun on Sand (Nonesuch) ** [B+(**)]
  281. Eric Reed: Everybody Gets the Blues (Smoke Sessions) ** [B+(**)]
  282. Resavoir: Resavoir (International Anthem) ** [B]
  283. Cene Resnik Trio 'Watch for Dogs': Shades of Colors (Not Two) ** [B+(**)]
  284. Ellynne Rey: The Birdsong Project (self-released) [B]
  285. Herlin Riley: Perpetual Optimism (Mack Avenue) ** [B+(*)]
  286. Christophe Rocher/Joe Fonda/Harvey Sorgen: New Origin (Not Two) ** [B+(**)]
  287. Joel Ross: KingMaker (Blue Note) ** [B+(*)]
  288. Rotten Girlz: Punk You (Sazas) [B+(*)]
  289. RPM: Just Like Falling (Unseen Rain) ** [B+(**)]
  290. Dave Rudolph Quintet: Resonance (self-released) [B+(*)]
  291. Chanda Rule: Sapphire Dreams (PAO) [B]
  292. Ruby Rushton: Ironside (22a) ** [B]
  293. Catherine Russell: Alone Together (Dot Time) ** [B+(**)]
  294. Markus Rutz: Blueprints Figure One: Frameworks (OA2) [B+(**)]
  295. The Jamie Saft Quartet: Hidden Corners (RareNoise) * [B+(**)]
  296. Jamie Saft/Steve Swallow/Bobby Previte: You Don't Know the Life (RareNoise) * [B]
  297. Samo Salamon/Szilárd Mezei/Jaka Berger: Swirling Blind Unstilled (Klopotec) [B+(**)]
  298. Poncho Sanchez: Trane's Delight (Concord Picante)
  299. Nick Sanders Trio: Playtime 2050 (Sunnyside) [B+(**)]
  300. Carmen Sandim: Play Doh (Ropeadope) [B+(*)]
  301. Rob Scheps: Comencio (SteepleChase) ** [B+(**)]
  302. SEED Ensemble: Driftglass (Jazz Re:freshed) ** [B+(*)]
  303. Fabrizio Sciacca Quartet: Gettin' It There (self-released) [B+(**)]
  304. Louis Sclavis: Characters on a Wall (ECM) ** [B+(*)]
  305. Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah: Ancestral Recall (Ropeadope) ** [B+(*)]
  306. Dave Scott: In Search of Hipness (SteepleChase) ** [B+(*)]
  307. Kendrick Scott Oracle: A Wall Becomes a Bridge (Blue Note) ** [B+(*)]
  308. The Selva: Canicula Rosa (Clean Feed) ** [B+(**)]
  309. Marcus Shelby Orchestra: Transitions (MSO) [B+(*)]
  310. Leo Sherman: Tonewheel (Outside In Music) [B+(*)]
  311. The Richard Shulman Trio: Waltzing out of Town (RichHeart Music) [B+(*)]
  312. Paul Silbergleit: January (Blujazz) [B+(**)]
  313. Marcos Silva: Brasil: From Head to Toe (Green Egg) [B]
  314. Gwilym Simcock: Near and Now (ACT) ** [B]
  315. Sirkis/Bialas IQ: Our New Earth (Moonjune, 2CD) [B+(**)]
  316. Erik Skov: Liminality (OA2) [B+(*)]
  317. SLD Trio: El Contorno Del Espacio (Fundacja Sluchaj) ** [B+(**)]
  318. Wadada Leo Smith: Rosa Parks: Pure Love: An Oratorio of Seven Songs (TUM) [B+(*)]
  319. Something Blue [Alexa Tarantino/Nick Finzer/Sam Dillon/Art Hirahara/Boris Kozlov/Rudy Royston]: Maximum Enjoyment (Posi-Tone) ** [B+(*)]
  320. Tyshawn Sorey and Marilyn Crispell: The Adornment of Time (Pi) [B+(**)]
  321. The Souljazz Orchestra: Chaos Theories (Strut) ** [B+(*)]
  322. Matthias Spillmann Trio: Live at the Bird's Eye Jazz Club (Clean Feed) ** [B+(**)]
  323. Spring Roll: Episodes (Clean Feed) ** [B]
  324. Mary Stallings: Songs Were Made to Sing (Smoke Sessions) ** [B+(*)]
  325. Lyn Stanley: London Calling: A Toast to Julie London (A.T. Music) [B+(*)]
  326. Lyn Stanley: London With a Twist: Live at Bernie's (A.T. Music) [B+(**)]
  327. Ben Stapp/Joe Morris: Mind Creature Sound Dasein (Fundacja Sluchaj) ** [B+(*)]
  328. Oli Steidle & the Killing Popes: Ego Pills (Shhpuma) ** [B-]
  329. Chip Stephens/Stenn Wilson: Sadness & Soul (Capri) [B+(**)]
  330. Mike Stern-Jeff Lorber Fusion: Eleven (Concord) ** [C+]
  331. Michael Jefry Stevens & the Mountain Chamber Jazz Ensemble: The Poet Is in the House (ARC) ** [B]
  332. Colin Stranahan/Glenn Zaleski/Rick Rosato: Live at Jazz Standard (Capri) [B+(*)]
  333. Zhenya Strigalev/Federico Dannemann: The Change (Rainy Days) ** [B+(*)]
  334. Dave Stryker: Eight Track III (Strikezone) [B+(*)]
  335. Carol Sudhalter Quartet: Live at Saint Peter's Church (Alfa Projects) [B+(**)]
  336. Christian Meaas Svendsen + Nakama + Rinzai Zen Center Oslo: New Rituals (Nakama, 3CD) ** [B+(*)]
  337. Emi Takada: Why Did I Choose You? (self-released) [B+(*)]
  338. Aki Takase: Hokusai: Piano Solo (Intakt) ** [B+(**)]
  339. Alexa Tarantino: Winds of Change (Posi-Tone) ** [B+(**)]
  340. Terraza Big Band: One Day Wonder (Outside In Music) [B+(*)]
  341. Yves Theiler Trio: We (Intakt) ** [B+(**)]
  342. Fumi Tomita: The Elephant Vanishes (OA2) [B]
  343. Trigger: Pull (Shhpuma) ** [B]
  344. Gianluigi Trovesi/Gianni Coscia: La Misteriosa Musica Della Regina Loana (ECM) ** [B+(**)]
  345. Tucker Brothers: Two Parts (self-released) [B]
  346. Paul Tynan: Quartet (Origin) [B+(*)]
  347. Typical Sisters: Hungry Ghost (Outside In Music) [B+(**)]
  348. The United States Air Force Band Airmen of Note: Global Reach (self-released) [C]
  349. The United States Air Force Band: The Jazz Heritage Series: 2019 Radio Broadcasts (self-released, 4CD) [C-]
  350. Urbanity: Urbanity (Alfi) ** [B]
  351. Ben Van Gelder/Tony Tixier/Tom Berkmann/Mathias Ruppnig: Scopes (Whirlwind) ** [B+(**)]
  352. Ken Vandermark/Mats Gustafsson: Verses (Corbett vs. Dempsey) ** [B+(**)]
  353. Vestbo Trio: Gentlemen . . . (Dog Hound) ** [B+(*)]
  354. Rebekah Victoria: Songs of the Decades (Patois) [B+(*)]
  355. Claudia Villela: Encantada Live (Taina Music) [B+(*)]
  356. Wayne Wallace Latin Jazz Quintet: The Rhythm of Invention (Patois) [B+(*)]
  357. Greg Ward Presents Rogue Parade: Stomping Off From Greenwood (Greenleaf Music) ** [B-]
  358. Trevor Watts/Stephen Grew: Let It Be: Live in Liverpool (Fundacja Sluchaj) ** [B+(*)]
  359. Cory Weeds Quintet: Live at Frankie's Jazz Club (Cellar Live) ** [B+(*)]
  360. Ezra Weiss Big Band: We Limit Not the Truth of God (OA2) [B+(**)]
  361. G. Calvin Weston/The Phoenix Orchestra: Dust and Ash (577) ** [B+(*)]
  362. Jennifer Wharton's Bonegasm: Bonegasm (Sunnyside) ** [B+(*)]
  363. Rodney Whitaker: Common Ground: The Music of Gregg Hill (Origin) [B+(*)]
  364. Carrie Wicks: Reverie (OA2) [B+(*)]
  365. Mareike Wiening: Metropolist Paradise (Greenleaf Music) [B+(*)]
  366. Wing Walker Orchestra: Hazel (Ears & Eyes) [B+(*)]
  367. Mark Wingfield & Gary Husband: Tor & Vale (Moonjune) [B]
  368. Nate Wooley: Columbia Icefield (Northern Spy) ** [B+(*)]
  369. Wschód: Wschód (Clean Feed) ** [B+(**)]
  370. John Yao's Triceratops: How We Do (See Tao) [B+(**)]
  371. Jason Yeager: New Songs of Resistance (Outside In Music) [B+(*)]
  372. Michael Zilber: East West: Music for Big Bands (Origin, 2CD) [B+(*)]
  373. Dave Zinno Unisphere: Stories Told (Whaling City Sound) [B+(*)]

Additional reissued/archival jazz records rated B+(**) or below (listed alphabetically by artist).

  1. Afro-Blue Persuasion: Live at Haight Levels: Volume One (1967, Tramp) ** [B+(**)]
  2. Afro-Blue Persuasion: Live at Haight Levels: Volume Two (1967, Tramp) ** [B+(**)]
  3. Louis Armstrong: Live in Europe (1948-52, Dot Time) ** [B+(**)]
  4. Paul Bley/Gary Peacock/Paul Motian: When Will the Blues Leave (1999, ECM) ** [B+(**)]
  5. James Booker: Vol. 1: At Onkel Po's Carnegie Hall, Hamburg 1976 (Jazzline) ** [B+(**)]
  6. Joseph Daley: The Seven Deadly Virtues/The Seven Deadly Sins (2010-13, JoDaMusic) ** [B+(**)]
  7. Detail: Day Two (1982, NoBusiness) [B+(**)]
  8. Dexter Gordon: At the Subway Club 1973 (Elemental Music, 2CD) ** [B+(**)]
  9. The Tubby Hayes Quartet: Grits, Beans and Greens: The Lost Fontana Studio Session 1969 (Decca) ** [B+(**)]
  10. ICP Orchestra: ICP Orchestra in Albuquerque: The Outpost Performance Space, March 17th, 2003 (ICP) ** [B+(**)]
  11. Jazz Piano Panorama: The Best of Piano Jazz on Resonance (1968-2011, Resonance) [B+(*)]
  12. Dadisi Komolafe: Hassan's Walk (1983, Nimbus West) ** [B+(**)]
  13. Lloyd McNeill: Treasures (1970, Soul Jazz) ** [B+(**)]
  14. Ra-Kalam Bob Moses: When Elephants Dream of Music (1982, Ra-Kalam) ** [B]
  15. Sunny Murray/Bob Dickie/Robert Andreano: Homework (1994, NoBusiness) [B+(**)]
  16. The Vaughn Nark Quintet: Back in the Day (1982-83, Summit) [B]
  17. Sun Ra: Crystal Spears (1973, Modern Harmonic) ** [B+(**)]
  18. Sun Ra and His Spirit of Jazz Cosmos Arkestra: WUHY Radio Philadelphia 1978 (Enterplanetary Koncepts) [B+(*)]
  19. Sing a Song of Jazz: The Best of Vocal Jazz on Resonance (1956-2018, Resonance) [B]
  20. Sounds of Liberation: Unreleased (Columbia University 1973) (Dogtown -18) ** [B+(*)]
  21. Masayuki Takayanagi New Directions Unit: April Is the Cruellest Month (1975, Black Forms Editions) ** [B-]
  22. Cecil Taylor: Mysteries: Untitled (1961-76, Black Sun) ** [B+(**)]
  23. Saadet Türköz/Elliott Sharp: Kumuska (2007, Intakt) ** [B+(*)]
  24. Mary Lou Williams: Mary Lou Williams (1962-63 [2019], Smithsonian Folkways) ** [B+(*)]

New jazz records I haven't heard estimated to have a 2% (or better) chance of making the A-list if/when I finally hear them:

  1. Joshua Abrams & Natural Information Society: Mandatory Reality (Eremite)
  2. Boneshaker: Fake Music (Soul What)
  3. Peter Brötzmann: I Surrender Dear (Trost)
  4. Daniel Carter/Patrick Holmes/Matthew Putman/Hilliard Greene/Federico Ughi: Electric Telepathy, Vol. 1 (577)
  5. Loren Connors and Daniel Carter: The Departing of a Dream, Vol. VII (Family Vineyard)
  6. DKV & Joe McPhee: The Fire Each Time (Not Two -6CD)
  7. Paul Dunmall Sun Ship Quartet: John Coltrane 50th Memorial Concert at Cafe Oto (Confront)
  8. Entr'acte: Soigne Ta Droite (Audiographic)
  9. Jon Irabagon: Invisible Horizon (Irabbagast -2CD)
  10. Rob Mazurek: Desert Encrypts, Vol. 1 (Astral Spirits)
  11. Nick Mazzarella Trio: Counterbalance (Astral Spirits)
  12. Evan Parker/Matthew Wright Trance Map+: Crepuscule in Nickelsdorf (Intakt)
  13. Tomeka Reid Quartet: Old New (Cuneiform)
  14. Matthew Shipp: Invisible Light: Live Sao Paulo (Ezzthetics)
  15. Ken Vandermark: Momentum 4: Consequent Duos 2015-2019 (Audiograph -5CD)
  16. John Zorn: Nove Cantici Per Francesco D'Assisi (Tzadik)

Reissued jazz records I haven't heard estimated to have a 2% (or better) chance of making the A-list if/when I finally hear them:

  1. Albert Ayler: Quartets 1964: Spirits to Ghosts Revisited (Ezz-thetics)
  2. Marion Brown: Capricorn Moon to Juba Lee Revisited (Ezz-thetics)
  3. Nat "King" Cole: Hittin' the Ramp: The Early Years (1936-1943) (Resonance -6CD)
  4. Wes Montgomery: Back on Indiana Avenue: The Carroll DeCamp Recordings (Resonance)