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Allmusic 2019

Year In Review

Jazz as a genre remained as unpredictable as its music in 2019, with some of the year's best recordings drawing inspiration from sources like Rodin's sculptures (Jeremy Pelt) or watching a loved one suffer from Parkinson's disease (Jim Snidero), while also offering tributes to icons like Django Reinhardt (James Carter) and John Coltrane (Poncho Sanchez, Teodross Avery).

Allison Miller / Jenny Scheinman

Parlour Game

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The two bandleaders team up on a relaxed and effortlessly creative quartet album of winsome folk-jazz.

Allison Miller's Boom Tic Boom / Allison Miller

Glitter Wolf

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An exuberant road trip of an album cross-pollinated with Latin and New Orleans grooves, klezmer harmonies, and far-eyed jazz modalism.

Black Monument Ensemble / Damon Locks

Where Future Unfolds

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The Chicago ensemble led by Damon Locks weds poetry to prewar African-American gospel, spiritual jazz, and politics into a sublime whole.

Branford Marsalis / Branford Marsalis Quartet

The Secret Between the Shadow and the Soul

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The saxophonist pays homage to his late mother, balancing moments of ruminative sadness with buoyant evocations of joy.

Bremer/McCoy

Utopia

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Enveloping Luaka Bop debut from the Danish instrumental duo that begs to be listened to in one sitting.

Brian Krock

Liddle

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The dynamic solo debut from saxophonist Krock that plays like a small group version of his Big Heart Machine big-band album.

Brooklyn Rider / Joshua Redman

Sun on Sand

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Composer Patrick Zimmerli's engaging, hybridized jazz and classical suite features saxophonist Joshua and chamber ensemble Brooklyn Rider.

Carmen Sandim

Play Doh

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The Brazilian-born, Colorado-based pianist's second album of harmonically sophisticated jazz.

Christian Scott

Ancestral Recall

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A culturally aware, musically expansive dreamscape of an album from the New Orleans-born trumpeter.

Dave Meder

Passage

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The jazz pianist's engaging debut balances post-bop harmonies with a soulful gospel warmth and contemporary classical sophistication.

Ethan Iverson

Common Practice

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A deeply engaging, often playful live concert featuring the former Bad Plus pianist's quartet and trumpeter Tom Harrell.

Hiromi

Spectrum

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On the eve of her 40th birthday, the virtuoso pianist surveys what she's learned and integrated into her music over the last decade.

Idan Morim

I.M.

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A warmly intimate, yet still harmonically expansive debut from the Israeli-born jazz guitarist.

Itamar Borochov

Blue Nights

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An enveloping, nocturnal third album from the Israeli jazz trumpeter, further exploring his post-bop, Sephardic, and North African influences.

James Carter / James Carter Organ Trio

Live from Newport Jazz

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The Detroit saxophonist and his organ trio offer soul-jazz reworkings of Django Reinhardt songs on this ebullient live concert.

Jazzmeia Horn

Love and Liberation

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The award-winning jazz vocalist offers an ebullient, deeply soulful sophomore album.

Jeremy Pelt

The Artist

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A warmly evocative album inspired by the work of French sculptor Auguste Rodin.

Jim Snidero

Waves of Calm

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A dusky, sophisticated album from the saxophonist influenced by his father's struggle with Parkinson's disease.

Joe Lovano

Trio Tapestry

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A richly atmospheric set featuring the saxophonist's trio with pianist Marilyn Crispell and drummer Carmen Castaldi.

Joe Lovano / Enrico Rava

Roma

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An engaging live performance featuring the two jazz masters recorded in Italy in 2018.

Joey DeFrancesco

In the Key of the Universe

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The organist/trumpeter is joined by Pharoah Sanders on a quartet album that evokes the spiritual jazz movement of the late 1960s.

Jon Batiste

Chronology of a Dream: Live at the Village Vanguard

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The bandleader's second album of joyous, soulful jazz recorded during his 2018 residency at the Village Vanguard.

Julian Lage

Love Hurts

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Cut at Wilco's studio with bassist Jorge Roeder and the Bad Plus' Dave King, this killer set of mostly covers traverses rock, jazz, country, and pop.

Kneebody

Chapters

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The Los Angeles jazz outfit collaborates with several vocalists on this accessible, yet still boundary-pushing outing.

Larry Grenadier

The Gleaners

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The veteran musician's solo double bass project is remarkably accessible with its diversity, ambition, and direct, accessible approach.

Marilyn Crispell / Tyshawn Sorey

The Adornment of Time

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This hour-plus live encounter is imaginative, poetic, and far reaching in both communication and discovery.

Matana Roberts

Coin Coin Chapter Four: Memphis

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Utilizing a new band, the artist digs further into her family's history, and American and cultural mythology, delivering a necessary entry in her large project.

Mats Eilertsen / Harmen Fraanje / Thomas Strønen

And Then Comes the Night

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A beautiful, beguiling album with an almost spiritual grace, by three players at the top of their game.

Muriel Grossmann

Reverence

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With a Hammond B-3 organist added to her distinctive quartet, the saxophonist explores a spiritual intersection between modal jazz and African polyrhythms.

Nérija

Blume

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An earthy debut from the London jazz group that sounds like a mix of the Jazz Messengers and Hugh Masekela.

Poncho Sanchez

Trane's Delight

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The conguero's first album in seven years is a masterful tribute to the influence of saxophonist John Coltrane on his own career.

Preservation Hall Jazz Band

A Tuba to Cuba

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The jubilant soundtrack to the Preservation Hall Jazz Band's tour documentary film of Cuba.

Ralph Alessi / Ravi Coltrane / Mark Ferber / Drew Gress / Andy Milne

Imaginary Friends

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Evocative third ECM date from the trumpeter, and first to feature his This Against That group with saxophonist Ravi Coltrane.

Snarky Puppy

Immigrance

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A cinematic blend of funky grooves that marry '80s new age flow with earthy blues-rock riffage and contemporary jazz sophistication.

Steve Lehman / Steve Lehman Trio / Craig Taborn

The People I Love

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With his longtime rhythm section and pianist Craig Taborn, the saxophonist urgently revisits his own compositions, his peers', and Autechre's.

Teodross Avery

After the Rain: A Night for Coltrane

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A dynamic live tribute to Coltrane recorded by the Bay Area saxophonist and his quartet.

Terri Lyne Carrington / Terri Lyne Carrington & Social Science

Waiting Game

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Showcasing her new band, the drummer offers many articulations of modern jazz as they intersect with topical protest and pop culture.

The Art Ensemble of Chicago

We Are on the Edge: A 50th Anniversary Celebration

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On its first studio recording in 15 years, the ensemble and friends declare that their creative ethos will be carried forward into a sixth decade.

The Bad Plus

Activate Infinity

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Here the trio provides ample, canny evidence that they are a fully integrated persona whose collective heart is full of jazz imagination.

The Comet Is Coming

Trust in the Lifeforce of the Deep Mystery

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On its Impulse! debut, the the U.K.'s futurist trio create an evolutionary new jazz music from traditions past and present.

Theo Croker

Star People Nation

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A cosmic fusion of jazz, electronic traditions, hip-hop, and R&B inform the trumpeter's elevated fifth album.

Todd Marcus

Trio+

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The Baltimore bass clarinetist offers a textured mix of trio and quartet performances.

Tomeka Reid / Tomeka Reid Quartet

Old New

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The second offering by this all-star quartet crisscrosses jazz styles and traditions while remaining exceptionally accessible.

Wallace Roney

Blue Dawn-Blue Nights

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The trumpeter collaborates with his younger band, as well as veteran drummer Lenny White, on this expansive set.

Whit Dickey / The Tao Quartets

Peace Planet/Box of Light

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With two bands comprised of longtime associates, the drummer and composer illustrates a union of free jazz players past and present.

Yazz Ahmed

Polyhymnia

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Accompanied by more than 30 players, the British-Bahraini composer and instrumentalist delivers a tribute suite to iconic women.

Yonathan Avishai / Avishai Cohen

Playing the Room

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A lyrical, deeply rhapsodic duo collaboration between trumpeter Avishai Cohen and pianist Yonathan Avishai.

Joe Lovano