Categories
The Jazz Scene

2019 Jazz Critic’s Poll

Now is the time for list making, at least when Francis Davis once again asks for your ballot for the annual NPR Jazz Critics Poll…

Now is the time for list making, at least when Francis Davis once again asks for your ballot for the annual NPR Jazz Critics Poll of the previous year’s releases. Below is what I sent him.

When I made this list for myself, it was unranked, but the poll needs numbers to compile, so I did the best I could. My personal feeling is that the first seven on this list could each be the single best jazz release of the year. The last three are excellent, but each has a tiny flaw that, while not compromising it in any way, separates it slightly from the first seven, all of which I found marvelous, beautiful, and satisfying.

  1. Zach Brock/Matt Ulery/Jon Deitemeyer, Wonderment (Woolgathering Records)
  2. Greg Ward Presents Rogue Parade, Stomping Off From Greenwood (Greenleaf)
  3. Anat Fort Trio, Colour (Sunnyside)
  4. Avram Fefer Quartet, Testament (Clean Feed)
  5. Miho Hazama, Dancer in Nowhere (Sunnyside)
  6. Chano Dominguez/Hadar Noiberg, Paramus (Sunnyside)
  7. Kassa Overall, Go Get Ice Cream and Listen to Jazz (Kassa Overall)
  8. Damon Locks Black Monument Ensemble, Where Future Unfolds (International Anthem)
  9. Go: Organic Orchestra & Brooklyn Raga Massive, Ragmala—A Garland of Ragas (Meta Records)
  10. Fabian Almazan Trio, This Land Abounds With Life (Biophilia)

These are my top three choices for reissues/archival recordings. There were other fine ones, including a live Betty Carter and ECM’s recent reissue of their very first recording, Mal Waldron’s Free At Last. But the limit was three, so here you go:

  1. Charles Mingus, Jazz in Detroit/Strata Concert Gallery/46 Selden (BBE)
  2. Sun Ra, Monorails and Satellites, Vols. 1, 2 and 3 (Cosmic Myth Records)
  3. Eric Dolphy, Musical Prophet: The Expanded 1963 New York Sessions (Resonance)

Year’s best vocal album easily goes to Fay Victor, who is out there carving out new territory every time she sings:

Fay Victor, Barn Songs (Northern Spy)

Year’s best debut album, one of the most mysterious and intriguing records I’ve heard outside of ambient music or field recordings:

Angel Bat Dawid, The Oracle (International Anthem)

My choice for best latin jazz album lets me cheat and add this one, which also belongs in the top ten:

Miguel Zenon, Sonero: The Music of Ismael Rivera (Miel Music)

“I dig the jacket!”

Kurt Elling

“George Grella, always on the money!”

G. Schirmer & Associates

By gtra1n

I'm a writer and editor here (musician otherwise), with bylines in The Wire, Down Beat, New York Classical Review, VAN, Music & Literature, Grove Dictionary of American Music, Signal to Noise, and many others. I'm also the Music Editor at the Brooklyn Rail. Contact me for any of your word needs.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.