2018's best jazz recordings


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‘Tis the season for the outpouring of Top 10 lists, and their many variations, for jazz, world events, etc. The jazz lists tend to have a lot of variation depending on the individual reviewer's personal tastes, as well as what he or she listened to during the year.* Bottom line, all are extremely subjective.

These choices below (aside from top 10 new songs of the year) were submitted to the Jazz Journalists’ Association and NPR Music 2018 compilations. (The latter is the annual Francis Davis-produced poll that previously was published by The Village Voice and Rhapsody.com).

As I begin preparing my review of significant events and trends in jazz in 2018 for All About Jazz, I thought I'd share my “best of 2018" lists. *Always keep in mind the above caveats.

The 10 best new jazz releases of 2018

  • Jeff Hamilton Trio, Live from San Pedro (Capri)
  • Benjamin Boone and Philip Levine, The Poetry of Jazz (Origin)
  • Lynne Arriale Trio, Give Us These Days (Challenge)
  • Eric Alexander, Song of No Regrets (HighNote)
  • Benito Gonzalez, Gerry Gibbs, Essiet Okon Essiet Passion Reverence Transcendence (Whaling City Sound)
  • Fred Hersch Trio, Live in Europe (Palmetto)
  • Yelena Eckemoff, Desert (L&H)
  • Mica Bethea Big Band, Suite Theory (self-produced)
  • Roxy Coss, The Future Is Female(Posi-Tone)
  • Dongfeng Liu, China Carib (Zoho)

Best vocal recording:

Amy Cervini, No One Ever Tells You (Anzic)

The best historical/reissues of 2018 (includes any recordings made over 10 years ago, whether newly released or reissued):

  • John Coltrane, Both Directions at Once: The Lost Sessions (Verve)
  • Esbjorn Svensson Trio, E.S.T. Live in London (ACT)
  • Fred Hersch Trio, '97 @ The Village Vanguard (self-produced)

2018’s best Latin/Brazilian jazz recordings:

  • Dafnis Prieto Big Band, Back to the Sunset (Dafnison)
  • Bobby Sanabria, West Side Story Revimagined (JazzHeads)
  • Antonio Adolfo, Encontros- Orquestra Atlantica ( AAM)
  • Akira Tana, JAZZaNOVA (Vega)
  • Eddie Daniels, Heart of Brazil (Resonance)

The 10 best new compositions from CDs released in 2018, listed alphabetically:

  • Lynne Arriale, “Appassionata” from Give Us These Days (Challenge)
  • Benjamin Boone, The Unknowable (Homage to Sonny Rollins)” from Benjamin Boone and Philip Levine, The Poetry of Jazz (Origin)
  • Roxy Coss, “Females are Strong as Hell” from The Future Is Female (Posi-Tone)
  • Yelena Eckemoff, “Bedouins” from Desert(L&H)
  • Thomas Fonnesbæk, “Panic Attack” from Fonnesbæk and Kauflin, Synesthesia (Storyville)
  • Ken Fowser, “Coming Up Shorter” from Don’t Look Down (Posi-Tone)
  • Benito Gonzalez, “Brazilian Girls” from Benito Gonzalez, Gerry Gibbs, Essiet Okon Essiet Passion Reverence Transcendence (Whaling City Sound)
  • Fred Hersch, “Newklypso” from Fred Hersch Trio, Live in Europe (Palmetto)
  • Monika Herzig, “Nancy Wilson Portrait” from Sheroes (Whaling City Sound)
  • Dongfeng Liu, “Colorful Clouds Chasing the Moon” from China Carib (Zoho)

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This story appears courtesy of Ken Franckling's Jazz Notes.
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