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. 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 either December 2020 releases or 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

A-
  1. James Brandon Lewis Red Lily Quintet: Jesup Wagon (Tao Forms)
  2. Todd Snider: First Agnostic Church of Hope and Wonder (Aimless) **
  3. Magnet Animals: Fake Dudes (RareNoise) *
  4. Steve Earle & the Dukes: J.T. (New West) **
  5. Barry Altschul's 3Dom Factor: Long Tall Sunshine (Not Two) **
  6. Carsie Blanton: Love & Rage (So Ferocious) **
  7. Ivo Perelman Trio: Garden of Jewels (Tao Forms)
  8. Aki Takase/Christian Weber/Michael Griener: Auge (Intakt) **
  9. Irène Schweizer/Hamid Drake: Celebration (Intakt) **
  10. Loretta Lynn: Still Woman Enough (Legacy) **
  11. Michael and Peter Formanek: Dyads (Out of Your Head)
  12. Miguel Zenón/Ariel Bringuez/Demian Cabaud/Jordi Rossy: Law Years: The Music of Ornette Coleman (Miel Music) **
  13. Flow Trio With Joe McPhee: Winter Garden (ESP-Disk)
  14. Ruth Weiss: We Are Sparks in the Universe to Our Own Fire (Edgetone)
  15. Ignaz Schick/Oliver Steidle: Ilog2 (Zarek)
  16. Frank Gratkowski/Achim Kaufmann/Wilbert de Joode/Tony Buck: Flatbosc & Cautery (NoBusiness -20)

Pending:

Records in hand, but which haven't yet been graded (sorted by artist, or release date if future).

  • Liudas Mockunas/Arfvydad Kaziauskas: Purvs (Jersika -2LP)
  • Matt Niess & the Capitol Bones: The Beat Goes On (Summit)
  • Jen Shyu & Jade Tongue: Zero Grasses: Ritual for the Losses (Pi)
  • The United States Air Force Band Airmen of Note: The 2021 Jazz Heritage Series (self-released)
  • Amber Weekes: 'Round Midnight Re-Imagined (Amber Inn Productions)
  • Alchemy Sound Project: Afrika Love (ARC) [05-14]
  • Aaron Germain: Bell Projections (Aaron Germain Music) [05-14]
  • Maria Grand: Reciprocity (Biophilia) [05-14]
  • Gabor Lesko: Earthway (Creativity's Paradise Music) [05-14]
  • Nnenna Freelon: Time Traveler (Origin) [05-21]
  • Greg Germann: Tales of Time (Origin) [05-21]
  • Brent Jensen: More Sounds of a Dry Martini (Origin) [05-21]
  • Shawn Maxwell: Expectation & Experience (Jazzline) [05-21]
  • Carlos Vega: Art of the Messenger (Origin) [05-21]
  • Rossano Baldini: Humanbeing (RareNoise) * [05-28]
  • Almog Sharvit: Get Up or Cry (Unit) [05-28]
  • Ches Smith/We All Break: Path of Seven Colors (Pyroclastic) [06-11]
  • Dave Rempis/Tomeka Reid/Joshua Abrams/Tim Daisy/Tyler Damon: The Covid Tapes: Solos, Duos, & Trios (Aerophonic, 2CD) [06-15]
  • Ben Goldberg: Everything Happens to Me (BAG Productions) * [06-18]

Also Noted:

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

B+(***)
  • The Anchoress: The Art of Losing (Kscope) **
  • Yaala Ballin: Sings Irving Berlin (SteepleChase LookOut) **
  • Enzo Carniel/Filippo Vignato Silent Room: Aria (Menace)
  • Ian Charleton Big Band: A Fresh Perspective (none)
  • Damata: What's Damata (Dugnad)
  • Paul Dunmall/Percy Pursglove/Olie Brice/Jeff Williams: Palindromes (West Hill) **
  • Eminem: Music to Be Murdered By: Side B (Shady/Aftermath/Interscope -20) **
  • Joe Fahey: February on Ice (Rough Fish) **
  • R.A.P. Ferreira: Bob's Son: R.A.P. Ferreira in the Garden Level Cafe of the Scallops Hotel (Ruby Yacht) **
  • For Those I Love: For Those I Love (September) **
  • Satoko Fujii: Hazuki: Piano Solo (Libra)
  • Satoko Fujii Tokyo Trio: Moon on the Lake (Libra)
  • Binker Golding/John Edwards/Steve Noble: Moon Day (Byrd Out) **
  • George Haslam/João Madeira/Padro Catello Lopes/Mario Rua: Ajuda (Slam -20)
  • Vincent Herring: Preaching to the Choir (Smoke Sessions) **
  • Kari Ikonen: Impressions, Improvisations and Compositions (Ozella) **
  • In Layers: Pliable (FMR -20)
  • Vijay Iyer: Uneasy (ECM) **
  • Charles Lloyd & the Marvels: Tone Poem (Blue Note) **
  • João Madeira/Hernâni Faustino: dB Duet (FMR)
  • Hafez Modirzadeh: Facets (Pi)
  • Ben Monder/Tony Malaby/Tom Rainey: Live at the 55 Bar (Sunnyside) **
  • Ali Shaheed Muhammad & Adrian Younge: Jazz Is Dead 5: Doug Carn (Jazz Is Dead -20) **
  • Ali Shaheed Muhammad & Adrian Younge: Jazz Is Dead 6: Gary Bartz (Jazz Is Dead, EP) **
  • Sana Nagano: Smashing Humans (577)
  • Natural Information Society/Evan Parker: Descension (Out of Our Constrictions) (Aguirre/Eremite) **
  • RED Trio & Celebration Band: Suite 10 Years Anniversary (NoBusiness, 2CD -20)
  • Ruben Reinaldo & Kely Garcia: Acuarel (Free Code -20)
  • Archie Shepp & Jason Moran: Let My People Go (Archieball) **
  • Sleaford Mods: Spare Ribs (Rough Trade) **
  • Dave Stryker: Baker's Circle (Strikezone)
  • Veronica Swift: This Bitter Earth (Mack Avenue) **
  • Three-Layer Cake: Stove Top (RareNoise) *
  • Thumbscrew: Never Is Enough (Cuneiform) **
  • Yuma Uesaka/Cat Toren/Colin Hinton: Ocelot (577)
  • Michael Waldrop: Time Frames (Origin)
  • Miguel Zenón & Luis Perdomo: El Arte Del Bolero (Miel Music) **
B+(**)
  • Gabriel Alegria Afro-Peruvian Sextet: Social Distancing (Saponegro)
  • Lina Allemano Four: Vegetables (Lumo) **
  • Franco Ambrosetti Band: Lost Within You (Unit)
  • Tamar Aphek: All Bets Are Off (Kill Rock Stars) **
  • Rahsaan Barber: Mosaic (Jazz Music City, 2CD)
  • Nik Bärtsch: Entendre (ECM) **
  • Jon Batiste: We Are (Verve) **
  • Benny the Butcher: The Plugs I Met 2 (Black Soprano Family, EP) **
  • Dan Blake: Da Fé (Sunnyside)
  • John Butcher/Veryan Weston/Øyvind Stonesund/Dag Erik Kriedal Andersen: Mapless Quiet (Motvind -20) **
  • Sarah Mary Chadwick: Me and Ennui Are Friends, Baby (Ba Da Bing!) **
  • Emmet Cohen: Future Stride (Mack Avenue) **
  • Chris Corsano & Bill Orcutt: Made Out of Sound (Palilalia) **
  • Charley Crockett: 10 for Slim: Charley Crockett Sings James Hand (Son of Davy) **
  • Lana Del Rey: Chemtrails Over the Country Club (Polydor/Interscope) **
  • Benoît Delbecq: The Weight of Light (Pyroclastic)
  • Ani DiFranco: Revolutionary Love (Righteous Babe) **
  • Pat Donaher: Occasionally (none)
  • Dry Cleaning: New Long Leg (4AD) **
  • Scott DuBois: Summer Water (Sunnyside) **
  • Yelena Eckemoff: Adventures of the Wildflower (L&H Production, 2CD)
  • Elephant9: Arrival of the New Elders (Rune Grammofon) **
  • Marianne Faithfull With Warren Ellis: She Walks in Beauty (BMG) **
  • Floating Points/Pharoah Sanders & the London Symphony Orchestra: Promises (Luaka Bop) **
  • David Friesen & Bob Ravenscroft: Passage (Origin)
  • Noah Haidu/Buster Williams/Billy Hart: Slowly: Song for Keith Jarrett (An Die Musik)
  • Frode Haltli: Avant Folk II (Hubro) **
  • The Hold Steady: Open Door Policy (Positive Jams) **
  • Joseph Howell Quartet: Live in Japan (Summit)
  • Ethan Iverson/Umbria Jazz Orchestra: Bud Powell in the 21st Century (Sunnyside) **
  • Jonathan Kane and Dave Soldier: February Meets Soldier String Quartet (EEG)
  • Achim Kaufmann/Ignaz Schick: Altered Alchemy (Zarek, 2CD)
  • La Femme: Paradigmes (Disque Pointu) **
  • Andy LaVerne: Rhapsody (SteepleChase) **
  • Lukas Ligeti: That Which Has Remaind . . . That Which Will Emerge . . . (Col Legno)
  • Damon Locks/Black Monument Ensemble: Now (International Anthem) **
  • Doug MacDonald Duo: Toluca Lake Jazz (Doug MacDonald Music)
  • Roberto Magris & Eric Hochberg: Shuffling Ivories (JMood)
  • Mai-Liis: Mai-Liis on Life (OA2)
  • Mast: Battle Hymns of the Republic (World Galaxy) **
  • Yoko Miwa Trio: Songs of Joy (Ubuntu Music)
  • Simon Moullier Trio: Countdown (Fresh Sound New Talent)
  • Nortonk: Nortonk (Biophilia) **
  • Jeannine Otis: Into My Heart (Adrielle Music/Monpolyhouse)
  • Nicki Parrott: If You Could Read My Mind (Arbors) **
  • Rich Pellegrin: Solitude: Solo Improvisations (OA2)
  • Dax Pierson: Nerve Bumps (A Queer Divine Dissatisfaction) (Dark Entries) **
  • Jason Ringenberg: Rhinestoned (Courageous Chicken) **
  • Dan Rose/Claudine Francois: New Leaves (Ride Symbol)
  • Schapiro 17: Human Qualities (Summit)
  • Charlie Sepúlveda: Charlie Sepülveda & the Turnaround (HighNote)
  • Idit Shner: Live at the Jazz Station (OA2)
  • Grete Skarpeid: Beyond Other Stories (Origin)
  • Skarbø Skulekorps: Dugnad (Hubro) **
  • Dr. Lonnie Smith: Breathe (Blue Note) **
  • Jim Snidero: Live at the Deer Head Inn (Savant)
  • Peter Stampfel: Peter Stampfel's 20th Century in 100 Songs (Louisiana Red Hot) **
  • Natsuki Tamura/Satoko Fujii: Keshin (Libra)
  • Alexa Tarantino: Firefly (Posi-Tone) **
  • The Weather Station: Ignorance (Fat Possum) **
  • Chris White/Lara Driscoll: Firm Roots (Firm Roots)
B+(*)

  • Albare: Albare Plays Jobim Vol. 2 (Alfi)
  • Julien Baker: Little Oblivions (Matador) **
  • Baker's Brew: New Works (Psychosomatic, 2CD)
  • Cabaret Voltaire: Dekadrone (Mute) **
  • Cowboys & Frenchmen: Our Highway (Outside In Music)
  • Dan Ex Machina: Bail Shag EP (self-released, EP) **
  • Michael Dease: Give It All You Got (Posi-Tone) **
  • The Dynamic Les DeMerle Band Featuring Bonnie Eisele: Hot Night in Venice: Live at the Venice Jazz Club (Origin)
  • Rebecca Dumaine and the Dave Miller Trio: Someday, Someday (Summit)
  • Yoav Eshed/Lex Korten/Massimo Biolcati/Jongkuk Kim: A Way Out (Sounderscore)
  • Jared Feinman: Love Is an Obstacle (West of Philly) *
  • Focusyear Band 2021: Bosque (Neuklang)
  • Futari: Beyond (Libra)
  • Ghetts: Conflict of Interest (Warner) **
  • The Grasso-Ravita Jazz Ensemble: Jagged Spaces (Grassvita Music)
  • Barry Guy: Irvin's Comet (NoBusiness -20)
  • Roderick Harper: Evolving (R.H.M. Entertainment)
  • Hennessy Six/Colorado Springs Youth Symphony: The Road Less Traveled (Summit)
  • Yvette Janine Jackson: Freedom (Fridman Gallery) **
  • Jazz Worms: Squirmin' (Capri)
  • Katarsis 4: Live at the Underground Water Reservoir (NoBusiness -20)
  • Mark Lewis Quartet: Naked Animals (Audio Daddio)
  • Johan Lindström Septett: On the Asylum (Moserobie)
  • Joe Lovano & Dave Douglas: Soundprints: Other Worlds (Greenleaf Music)
  • A Love Electric: Permanent Immigrant (Imagination Demand -20) **
  • Madlib: Sound Ancestors (Madlib Invazion) **
  • Madre Vaca: The Elements (Madre Vaca)
  • Shai Maestro: Human (ECM) **
  • Wu Man/Kojiro Umezaki: How (In a Circle)
  • Meridian Odyssey: Second Wave (Origin)
  • Gary Negbaur: You've Got to Be Carefully Taught (BluJazz)
  • Larry Newcomb Quartet: Love, Dad (Essential Messenger)
  • Palberta: Palberta 5000 (Wharf Cat) **
  • Evan Parker Quartet: All Knavery and Collusion (Cadillac) **
  • Ben Patterson: Push the Limits (Origin)
  • Reggie Quinerly: New York Nowhere (Redefinition)
  • Dan Rose: Last Night . . . (Ride Symbol)
  • Jeff Rosenstock: Ska Dream (Polyvinyl) **
  • The Justin Rothberg Group: Hurricane Mouse (self-released)
  • Jacques Schwarz-Bart: Soné Ka-La 2: Odyssey (Enja)
  • Zoe Scott: Shades of Love (Zoe Scott Music -20)
  • Serpentwithfeet: Deacon (Secretly Canadian) **
  • Slowthai: Tyron (Method) **
  • Tony Tixier: I Am Human (Whirlwind, EP) **
  • Sabu Toyozumi/Mats Gustafsson: Hokusai (NoBusiness -20)
  • Theo Walentiny: Looking Glass (self-released)
  • Rodney Whitaker: OutroSpection: The Music of Gregg Hill (Origin)
  • Nate Wooley/Liudas Mockunas/Barry Guy/Arkadijus Gotesmanas: NOX (NoBusiness)
B
  • Jakob Bro/Arve Henriksen/Jorge Rossy: Uma Elmo (ECM) **
  • Nick Cave & Warren Ellis: Carnage (AWAL) **
  • Joe Chambers: Samba De Marcatu (Blue Note) **
  • Avishai Cohen: Two Roses (Naive) **
  • Randal Despommier: Dio C'è (Outside In Music)
  • Signe Emmeluth: Hi Hello I'm Signe (Relative Pitch) **
  • Amit Friedman: Unconditional Love (Origin)
  • Marcus Joseph: Beyond the Dome (Jazz Re:freshed) **
  • Joe Lovano: Trio Tapestry: Garden of Expression (ECM) **
  • Pat Metheny: Road to the Sun (BMG Modern) **
  • Willie Nelson: That's Life (Legacy) **
  • Nubiyan Twist: Freedom Fables (Strut) **
  • Charlie Porter: Hindsight (OA2)
  • R+R=Now: Live (Blue Note) **
  • Greg Skaff: Polaris (Smoke Sessions) **
  • John Stowell/Dan Dean: Rain Painting (Origin)
  • Rodney Whitaker With the Christ Church Cranbrook Choir: Cranbrook Christmas Jazz (Origin)
  • Greg Yasinitsky Yazz Band: New Normal (Origin)
B-
  • Reza Khan: Imaginary Road (Painted Music)
C
  • Amber Weekes: My Romance: A Special Valentin (Amber Inn Productions, EP)

Limited sampling: Records I played parts of, but not enough to grade: -- means no interest, - not bad but not a prospect, + some chance, ++ likely prospect.

+
  • Joshua Abrams & Natural Information Society: Mandatory Reality (Eremite) **
  • Hedvig Mollestad Trio: Ding Dong. You're Dead. (Rune Grammofon) **

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.

A-
  1. Schlippenbach & Johansson: Onkel Pös Carnegie Hall Hamburg 1978 (SÅJ) **
  2. Sam Rivers Quartet: Braids [Sam Rivers Archive Project, Volume 4] (1979, NoBusiness -20)
  3. Juju: Live at 131 Prince Street (1973, Strut) **

Pending (sorted by artist, or release date if future).

Also Noted:

B+(***)
  • Henry Franklin: The Skipper (1972, Black Jazz/Real Gone Music) **
  • Hal Galper Quintet: Live at the Berlin Philharmonic 1977 (Origin, 2CD)
  • Emmylou Harris and the Hot Band: Hot Night in Roslyn: 1976 Radio Broadcast Recording (Hobo) **
  • Byard Lancaster: My Pure Joy (1992, Strut) **
  • Roberto Miranda's Home Music Ensemble: Live at Bing Theatre: Los Angeles, 1985 (Dark Tree)
  • Now That's What I Call Music! Outlaw Country (1968-2015, NOW) **
  • Sun Ra: On Jupiter (1979, Enterplanetary Koncepts) **
  • Steve Tintweiss and the Purple Why: Markstown (1968, Inky Dot Media)
B+(**)
  • Derek Baiey/Mototeru Takagi: Live at FarOut, Atsugi 1987 (NoBusiness -20)
  • The Cucumbers: The Desk Drawer Tapes (1988-2005, Life Force) **
  • Edo Funk Explosion Vol. 1 (1980-85, Analog Africa) **
  • Allen Ginsberg's The Fall of America: A 50th Anniversary Musical Tribute (Ginsberg) **
  • New Moon Jelly Roll Freedom Rockers: Volume 2 (2007, Stony Plain) **
  • Ojoyo: Plays Safrojazz (1996, Sunnyside)
  • Nancy Sinatra: Start Walkin' 1965-1976 (Light in the Attic) **
  • Joe Strummer: Assembly (1986-2002, Dark Horse) **
  • Masauyki JoJo Takayanagi/Nobuyoshi Ino/Masabumi PUU Kikuchi: Live at Jazz Inn Lovely 1990 (NoBusiness -20)
  • Neil Young: Young Shakespeare (1971, Reprise) **
  • Neil Young With Crazy Horse: Way Down in the Rust Bucket (1990, Reprise, 2CD) **
B+(*)
  • Don Cherry: Cherry Jam (1965, Gearbox, EP) **
  • La Ola Interior: Spanish Ambient & Acid Exoticism 1983-1990 (Bongo Joe) **
  • Gary Lucas: The Essential Gary Lucas (Knitting Factory, 2CD) **
  • Chester Thompson: Powerhouse (1971, Black Jazz/Real Gone Music) **
C+
  • Juozas Milasius/Tomas Kulavicius/Dalius Naujokaitis/Lithuanian Young Composers Orchestra: Live at Willisau, 1993 (NoBusiness -20)