Music Year 2021

Of course, it's too early for a year-end list. But as the proto-fascist organization of my youth insisted, one should always be prepared. For records in hand, * identifies an advance copy, ** something borrowed or streamed (**? means I wasn't able to hear all of it). Some albums released in previous years are included here, noted by a "-NN" (e.g., -20 for 2020) -- these are mostly imports or self-releases, often hard to figure out official dates, but they were unknown (to me, at least) before the current year.

I keep adding to the 2020 until the end of calendar 2021, especially where the record was known to exist in 2020 and I'm just getting around to it.

New Records

  • Steve Earle & the Dukes: J.T. (New West) **
  • Ivo Perelman Trio: Garden of Jewels (Tao Forms)


Records in hand, but which haven't yet been graded.

  • Albare: Albare Plays Jobim Vol. 2 (Alfi)
  • Baker's Brew: New Works (Psychosomatic, 2CD) [02-12]
  • Dan Blake: Da F (Sunnyside) [03-12]
  • Ian Charleton Big Band: A Fresh Perspective (none) [03-16]
  • Cowboys & Frenchmen: Our Highway (Outside In Music) [02-26]
  • The Dynamic Les DeMerle Band Featuring Bonnie Eisele: Hot Night in Venice: Live at the Venice Jazz Club (Origin)
  • Pat Donaher: Occasionally (self-released) [04-09]
  • Rebecca Dumaine and the Dave Miller Trio: Someday, Someday (Summit) [03-12]
  • Yelena Eckemoff: Adventures of the Wildflower (L&H Production, 2CD) [03-19]
  • Satoko Fujii: Hazuki: Piano Solo (Libra) [03-19]
  • Frank Gratkowski/Achim Kaufmann/Wilbert de Joode/Tony Buck: Flatbosc & Cautery (NoBusiness -20)
  • Barry Guy: Irvin's Comet (NoBusiness -20)
  • Jonathan Kane and Dave Soldier: February Meets Soldier String Quartet (EEG) [02-01]
  • Reza Khan: Imaginary Road (Painted Music) [03-26]
  • Lukas Ligeti: That Which Has Remaind . . . That Which Will Emerge . . . (Col Legno) [03-26]
  • Doug MacDonald Duo: Toluca Lake Jazz (Doug MacDonald Music) [02-05]
  • Magnet Animals: Fake Dudes (RareNoise) * [03-26]
  • Hafez Modirzadeh: Facets (Pi) [03-05]
  • Sana Nagano: Smashing Humans (577) [03-19]
  • Charlie Porter: Hindsight (OA2)
  • Reggie Quinerly: New York Nowhere (Redefinition) [03-12]
  • RED Trio & Celebration Band: Suite 10 Years Anniversary (NoBusiness, 2CD -20)
  • Schapiro 17: Human Qualities (Summit) [03-12]
  • Zoe Scott: Shades of Love (Zoe Scott Music -20)
  • Idit Shner: Live at the Jazz Station (OA2)
  • Jim Snidero: Live at the Deer Head Inn (Savant) [03-26]
  • John Stowell/Dan Dean: Rain Painting (Origin)
  • Thumbscrew: Never Is Enough (Cuneiform) ** [02-26]
  • Sabu Toyozumi/Mats Gustafsson: Hokusai (NoBusiness -20)
  • Theo Walentiny: Looking Glass (self-released) [04-02]
  • Amber Weekes: My Romance: A Special Valentin (Amber Inn Productions, EP) [02-14]
  • Ruth Weiss: We Are Sparks in the Universe to Our Own Fire (Edgetone)
  • Chris White/Lara Driscoll: Firm Roots (self-released) [01-21]

Also Noted:

Records in hand, graded B+ or below, in alphabetical order within grade slots:

  • Randal Despommier: Dio C' (Outside In Music)
  • Signe Emmeluth: Hi Hello I'm Signe (Relative Pitch) **
  • Joe Lovano: Trio Tapestry: Garden of Expression (ECM) **
  • Willie Nelson: That's Life (Legacy) **
  • Rodney Whitaker With the Christ Church Cranbrook Choir: Cranbrook Christmas Jazz (Origin)
  • Greg Yasinitsky Yazz Band: New Normal (Origin)
  • B+(***)
    • R.A.P. Ferreira: Bob's Son: R.A.P. Ferreira in the Garden Level Cafe of the Scallops Hotel (Ruby Yacht) **
    • Sleaford Mods: Spare Ribs (Rough Trade) **
    • Dave Stryker: Baker's Circle (Strikezone)
    • Yuma Uesaka/Cat Toren/Colin Hinton: Ocelot (577)
    • Gabriel Alegria Afro-Peruvian Sextet: Social Distancing (Saponegro)
    • Franco Ambrosetti Band: Lost Within You (Unit)
    • Emmet Cohen: Future Stride (Mack Avenue) **
    • Benot Delbecq: The Weight of Light (Pyroclastic)
    • Ani DiFranco: Revolutionary Love (Righteous Babe) **
    • The Hold Steady: Open Door Policy (Positive Jams) **
    • Ethan Iverson/Umbria Jazz Orchestra: Bud Powell in the 21st Century (Sunnyside) **
    • Andy LaVerne: Rhapsody (SteepleChase) **
    • Mast: Battle Hymns of the Republic (World Galaxy) **
    • Yoko Miwa Trio: Songs of Joy (Ubuntu Music)
    • Grete Skarpeid: Beyond Other Stories (Origin)

    • Dan Ex Machina: Bail Shag EP (self-released, EP) **
    • Yoav Eshed/Lex Korten/Massimo Biolcati/Jongkuk Kim: A Way Out (Sounderscore)
    • Futari: Beyond (Libra)
    • The Grasso-Ravita Jazz Ensemble: Jagged Spaces (Grassvita Music)
    • Roderick Harper: Evolving (R.H.M. Entertainment)
    • Jazz Worms: Squirmin' (Capri)
    • Katarsis 4: Live at the Underground Water Reservoir (NoBusiness -20)
    • Johan Lindstrm Septett: On the Asylum (Moserobie)
    • Madlib: Sound Ancestors (Madlib Invazion) **
    • Shai Maestro: Human (ECM) **
    • Meridian Odyssey: Second Wave (Origin)
    • Larry Newcomb Quartet: Love, Dad (Essential Messenger)
    • Palberta: Palberta 5000 (Wharf Cat) **
    • The Justin Rothberg Group: Hurricane Mouse (self-released)
    • Slowthai: Tyron (Method) **
    • Nate Wooley/Liudas Mockunas/Barry Guy/Arkadijus Gotesmanas: NOX (NoBusiness)

    Reissues/Compilations/Vault Music:

    In previous years I tried to separate reissues from compilations, including newly released vault items in the latter. This made sense when I was reviewing a lot of Recycled Goods material, but led to other problems with year-end lists, so as of 2013 anything containing any previously released material is collected here, and anything that is wholly previously unreleased is treated as new, above.

    1. Schlippenbach & Johansson: Onkel Ps Carnegie Hall Hamburg 1978 (SJ) **
    2. Sam Rivers Quartet: Braids [Sam Rivers Archive Project, Volume 4] (1979, NoBusiness -20)


    • Derek Baiey/Mototeru Takagi: Live at FarOut, Atsugi 1987 (NoBusiness -20)

    Also Noted:

    • Hal Galper Quintet: Live at the Berlin Philharmonic 1977 (Origin, 2CD)
    • Sun Ra: On Jupiter (1979, Enterplanetary Koncepts) **
    • Nancy Sinatra: Start Walkin' 1965-1976 (Light in the Attic) **
    • Masauyki JoJo Takayanagi/Nobuyoshi Ino/Masabumi PUU Kikuchi: Live at Jazz Inn Lovely 1990 (NoBusiness -20)
    • Juozas Milasius/Tomas Kulavicius/Dalius Naujokaitis/Lithuanian Young Composers Orchestra: Live at Willisau, 1993 (NoBusiness -20)