AllMusic 2015 Year In Review

Favorite Jazz Albums -

 Works featuring Chick Corea, Kenny Wheeler, John Scofield, David Sanborn, Joshua Redman, Pat Metheny and Charlie Hunter headline our list of the year's best jazz albums.
Space Time Continuum

Aaron Diehl

Space Time Continuum

Sophisticated, accomplished collection of straight-ahead acoustic jazz from the pianist, with guests including saxophonist Benny Golson.

Cuba: The Conversation Continues

Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra / Arturo O'Farrill

Cuba: The Conversation Continues

Recorded in Havana with a large, sophisticated, and celebratory cast of Cuban and American composers and musicians.

De Profundis

Andrew Bishop / Bishop/Cleaver/Flood

De Profundis

Multi-reedist Bishop's second trio recording views a Renaissance composer and modern domestic life through an avant jazz prism.

Orphic Machine

Ben Goldberg

Orphic Machine

This large-scale work based on Allen Grossman's poetry is a masterful creation of artful sophistication and accessibility.

Coming of Age

Ben Williams

Coming of Age

Sophisticated, jazz, fusion, and R&B-infused sophomore album from the gifted bassist.

Wild Man Dance: Live at Wroclaw Philharmonic, Wroclaw, Poland, November 24, 2013

Charles Lloyd

Wild Man Dance: Live at Wroclaw Philharmonic, Wroclaw, Poland, November 24, 2013

This breathtaking concert captures the premiere of the saxophonist's six-part suite with an international cast.

Let the Bells Ring On

Charlie Hunter / Charlie Hunter Trio

Let the Bells Ring On

The guitarist's great album harks back to a time when jazz was actually popular music and the song came ahead of the players.

Two

Chick Corea / Béla Fleck

Two

Compiled from over seven years of concerts, this set offers inspired evidence of two brilliant musicians in intimate dialogue.

The  Subliminal and the Sublime

Chris Dingman

The Subliminal and the Sublime

Inspired by nature, vibraphonist/composer Dingman and his sextet meld gorgeous themes with sparkling, detailed undercurrents.

Imaginary Cities

Chris Potter / Chris Potter's Underground / Chris Potter Underground Orchestra

Imaginary Cities

The saxophonist adds two bassists, a vibraphonist, and a string quartet to his core group to deliver a remarkable, expansive set of new compositions.

Bridges

Chuck Loeb / Eric Marienthal

Bridges

Highly inventive, atmospheric, and stylistically varied sophomore outing from the sax-and-guitar duo.

A Million Colors in Your Mind

Cyrus Chestnut

A Million Colors in Your Mind

The jazz pianist pairs with bassist David Williams and drummer Victor Lewis for his colorful, swinging HighNote debut.

For One to Love

Cécile McLorin Salvant

For One to Love

Salvant dazzles your ears while breaking your heart on this romantic, virtuosic follow-up to WomanChild.

High Risk

Dave Douglas

High Risk

A hallucinatory and surprisingly organic collaboration between the trumpeter and electronic musician Shigeto.

Time and the River

David Sanborn

Time and the River

The saxophonist celebrates his 40th anniversary as a bandleader, re-teams with Marcus Miller, and issues a killer set of grooves and ballads.

Only Sky

David Torn

Only Sky

David Torn explores the outer limits of electric guitar and looping on Only Sky.

Wondem

Dexter Story

Wondem

The singer, songwriter, producer, and arranger offers an encounter with musical traditions of Africa and the Caribbean via spiritual L.A. soul.

Galactic Parables, Vol. 1

Exploding Star Orchestra / Rob Mazurek

Galactic Parables, Vol. 1

Ambitious intergalactic electro-acoustic avant jazz opera continuing to document Chicago-based composer Rob Mazurek at his creative peak.

This Is Not a Miracle

Food

This Is Not a Miracle

Originally recorded live in the studio, Thomas Strønen's extensive post-production results in the band's most groove-oriented effort.

Songs We Like a Lot

Frankfurt Radio Bigband / John Hollenbeck / hr-Bigband

Songs We Like a Lot

A second set of Hollenbeck's favorites in shimmeringly beautiful arrangements for large ensemble and vocalists.

Hommage to Eberhard Weber

Gary Burton / Jan Garbarek / Pat Metheny / The SWR Big Band

Hommage to Eberhard Weber

This tribute to the great bassist includes soloists Pat Metheny and Gary Burton backed by the SWR Big Band.

Hot Town

Ghost Train Orchestra

Hot Town

Second installment of snappy vintage jazz from the late '20s arranged for Brooklyn-based nonet by bandleader/trumpeter Brian Carpenter.

The Celestial Squid

Henry Kaiser / Ray Russell

The Celestial Squid

This monumental, wildly successful meeting of two iconic guitarists was cut live in the studio with a large backing group using scant arrangements.

2

Invisible Astro Healing Rhythm Quartet

2

Second album from a Bakersfield-based group who play a refined brand of Ethio-inspired spiritual jazz.

Gefion

Jakob Bro

Gefion

The ECM debut of this Danish guitarist with bassist Thomas Morgan and a drummer is remarkable for its understated ideas.

The Room Is

James Falzone / The Renga Ensemble

The Room Is

James Falzone's formidable clarinet/saxophone sextet melds individual and collective artistry in a feast for avant jazz reed lovers.

Ever Up & Onward

James Hughes / James Hughes-Jimmy Smith Quintet / Jimmy Smith Quintet

Ever Up & Onward

On its second album, this Detroit quintet display growing confidence with a modern meld of hard- and post-bop.

Step It Up

Jeff Lorber / The Jeff Lorber Fusion

Step It Up

Modal grooves and funky vamps make this set -- with guests Bob Mintzer and Robben Ford -- a winner.

Tales, Musings, and Other Reveries

Jeremy Pelt

Tales, Musings, and Other Reveries

A bold, stylistically adventurous album featuring the trumpeter's distinctive two-drummer band.

Now This

Joey Baron / Marc Copland / Gary Peacock Trio / Gary Peacock

Now This

Legendary bassist celebrates his 80th birthday with a fine trio date playing career milestones and new tunes.

Past Present

John Scofield

Past Present

Scofield reunites his '90s quartet with saxophonist Joe Lovano for a creatively inspired, emotionally resonant session.

Yesterday I Had the Blues

José James

Yesterday I Had the Blues

To celebrate the jazz legend's 100th birthday, the singer and a killer trio deliver a riveting set in tribute to her influence and legacy.

The Epic

Kamasi Washington

The Epic

A massive, accessible, revelatory debut by the veteran L.A. saxophonist, his large band (with Thundercat), strings, and a choir.

Creation

Keith Jarrett

Creation

At 70, the pianist changes his method to produce a new solo work culled from five improvised performances.

Songs for Quintet

Kenny Wheeler

Songs for Quintet

Poignant, lyrical final studio album from the acclaimed avant-garde jazz trumpeter.

Save Your Breath

Kris Davis / Kris Davis Infrasound

Save Your Breath

The creative jazz pianist premieres her improvisatory, rocked-up, and deeply vibrational octet featuring four bass clarinets.

Passion World

Kurt Elling

Passion World

A yearning, literate collection of songs from around the world held together by Elling's nuanced, lyrical vocals.

Gaïa

Lionel Loueke

Gaïa

Reunited with his longtime trio, the Beninese guitarist dazzles with a live-in-the-studio concert of all new material.

Afrodeezia

Marcus Miller

Afrodeezia

With an all-star international cast, the bassist creates massive grooves and infectious melodies to link the past to the future.

Partenika

Marta Sánchez Quintet

Partenika

The debut album by the Madrid-born pianist/composer's N.Y.C.-based quintet delivers creative jazz with both nuance and adventurousness.

Midwest

Mathias Eick

Midwest

The Norwegian trumpeter and quintet beautifully illustrates a musical journey from his homeland to North America.

Sylva [CD/DVD]

Metropole Orkest / Snarky Puppy

Sylva [CD/DVD]

Brooklyn's jazz-funk heroes team with a symphony orchestra and swing hard in an ambitious groovefest.

Snowy Egret

Myra Melford

Snowy Egret

The pianist leads yet another exemplary creative jazz quintet, with music inspired by Uruguayan author, historian, and journalist Eduardo Galeano.

Covered: The Robert Glasper Trio Recorded Live at Capitol Studios

Robert Glasper

Covered: The Robert Glasper Trio Recorded Live at Capitol Studios

Reunited with his original acoustic trio, the pianist successfully grafts stylish pop and R&B song forms onto jazz.

Bird Calls

Rudresh Mahanthappa

Bird Calls

Utilizing granular elements of Parker's music, Mahanthappa crafts an ecstatic tribute to the legendary bop saxophonist.

Bonita

Sidsel Endresen / Stian Westerhus

Bonita

The second recorded meeting between these two improvising powerhouses was cut live in a recording. The result is breathtaking.

Sound Prints: Live at Monterey Jazz Festival

Sound Prints / Dave Douglas / Joe Lovano

Sound Prints: Live at Monterey Jazz Festival

Live album debut from the Douglas/Lovano-led group featuring two newly commissioned songs by saxophonist Wayne Shorter.

D-Stringz

Stanley Clarke / Biréli Lagrène / Jean-Luc Ponty

D-Stringz

This acoustic trio offers a relaxed, swinging set of standards and originals that showcases the warm side of musical virtuosity.

Brotherlee Love: Celebrating Lee Morgan

Terell Stafford

Brotherlee Love: Celebrating Lee Morgan

A soulful, swaggering homage to the late jazz trumpet legend Lee Morgan.

The Bad Plus Joshua Redman

The Bad Plus / Joshua Redman

The Bad Plus Joshua Redman

Inspired collaboration between the genre-bending piano trio and the acclaimed jazz saxophonist.

Somnambulist

The Kandinsky Effect

Somnambulist

The cutting-edge sax-bass-drums trio continues to explore the nexus between creative jazz and electronica on its second Cuneiform release.

Resistance

The Souljazz Orchestra

Resistance

The Canadian sextet uses Afro-beat as a launch pad for hard-grooving explorations of Latin, Caribbean, and Ivorian club sounds.

Shake

The Thing

Shake

After a series of collaborative albums, the Swedish avant jazz-funk trio delivers a houserocking gem.

You've Been Watching Me

Tim Berne / Tim Berne's Snakeoil

You've Been Watching Me

With the addition of guitarist Ryan Ferreira, the saxophonist's band dynamically explores space, texture, and expansive lyric structures.

Break Stuff

Vijay Iyer / Vijay Iyer Trio

Break Stuff

The pianist's long-standing trio expertly demonstrate the concept that "a break in music is still music: a span of time in which to act."