The Results Are In

Now that you’ve read my picks for the best jazz albums of 2017, you can read the final poll results here, and you can see each critic’s individual ballot here.

As to the vast range of opinions on display, and the relation to which I see myself, I’m ambivalent as always. I know I am not a traditionalist critic, and that’s by way of what is fairly described as ideology. Jazz is a living art form, and though built on the past, when it comes to newly made music I want to hear things that belong to the contemporary era, not recreations of days long gone by (that’s what reissues are for).

Since this is a jazz poll, I also keep it to what, in my mind, is jazz. That’s why, as in year’s past, Tyshawn Sorey’s album is not on here. He came up as a jazz musician, and he appears inside this list playing on Vijay Iyer’s album, but the music he himself makes is that of a contemporary composer, working at the leading edge of the classical tradition. He doesn’t compose jazz, and the music on Verisimilitude is not even in the jazz idiom. It’s something else altogether. What that is remains to be fully and clearly defined (it will take time for thinking and also time to see what else he adds to his body of work), and it belongs on a different list, but it is some of the finest of the year, across all genres.

“My favorite new music blog.”


“A reputable music blog.”

New Amsterdam Records

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I'm a composer and musician, and I write about music—I do that here, for the New York Classical Review, at the Brooklyn Rail (I edit the music section there) and any place else that will have me, like New Music Box and Music & Literature. I also wrote the Miles Davis' Bitches Brew book in the 33 1/3 series.