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JazzTimes Readers’ Poll Results 2016

Voting conducted via an online survey posted at

Wayne Shorter (Best Soprano Saxophonist) premieres The Unfolding in Monterey (Best Jazz Festival) in September (photo by Tomas Ovalle)
Wayne Shorter (Best Soprano Saxophonist) premieres "The Unfolding" in Monterey (Best Jazz Festival) in September (photo by Tomas Ovalle)
Artist of the Year, Best New Release, Best Acoustic Group: Joey Alexander (photo by Carol Friedman)
Artist of the Year, Best New Release, Best Acoustic Group: Joey Alexander (photo by Carol Friedman)
Best Electric Bassist: Esperanza Spalding (photo by Holly Andres)
Best Electric Bassist: Esperanza Spalding (photo by Holly Andres)
Best Pianist, Keyboardist, Composer: Chick Corea (photo by C. Taylor Crothers)
Best Pianist, Keyboardist, Composer: Chick Corea (photo by C. Taylor Crothers)

Readers were asked to focus on artists’ achievements that occurred between November 2015 and November 2016. Winners are bolded; runners-up are listed below in order of number of votes. An asterisk* denotes a tie.

Best New Artist

Jacob Collier
Cory Henry
Bria Skonberg
Tigran Hamasyan

Artist of the Year

Joey Alexander
Chick Corea
Donny McCaslin
Christian McBride

Best New Release

Joey Alexander Countdown (Motéma)
Donny McCaslin Beyond Now (Motéma)
Jack DeJohnette/Ravi Coltrane/Matthew Garrison In Movement (ECM)*
John Scofield Country for Old Men (Impulse!)*

Best Historical/Vault/Reissue Release

John Coltrane A Love Supreme: The Complete Masters (Impulse!/Verve)
Miles Davis Quintet Freedom Jazz Dance: The Bootleg Series Vol. 5 (Columbia/Legacy)
Bill Evans Some Other Time: The Lost Session From the Black Forest (Resonance)*
Weather Report The Legendary Live Tapes 1978-1981 (Legacy)*

Best Vocal Release

Gregory Porter Take Me to the Alley (Blue Note)
Norah Jones Day Breaks (Blue Note)
Branford Marsalis Quartet, Special Guest Kurt Elling Upward Spiral (OKeh)
Cyrille Aimée Let’s Get Lost (Mack Avenue)


Best Acoustic Small Group/Artist

Joey Alexander Trio
Kenny Barron Trio
Chick Corea
Christian McBride Trio*
Wayne Shorter Quartet*

Best Electric/Jazz-Rock/Contemporary Group/Artist

Snarky Puppy
Pat Metheny
Jack DeJohnette/Ravi Coltrane/Matthew Garrison
Kamasi Washington

Best Big Band/Large Ensemble

Maria Schneider Orchestra
Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra
Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society
Charlie Haden Liberation Music Orchestra

Best Record Label

Blue Note
Mack Avenue
Concord Music Group


Jazz Book of the Year

How to Listen to Jazz by Ted Gioia (Basic)
Whisper Not: The Autobiography of Benny Golson by Benny Golson and Jim Merod (Temple University)
Conversations in Jazz: The Ralph J. Gleason Interviews edited by Toby Gleason (Yale University)
The Miles Davis Lost Quintet and Other Revolutionary Ensembles by Bob Gluck (University of Chicago)

Best Syndicated Radio Program

Jazz Night in America (NPR/WBGO/JALC)
Radio Deluxe With John Pizzarelli (Independent)
Jazz After Hours With Jeff Hanley (PRI)
Judy Carmichael’s Jazz Inspired (SiriusXM NPR)

Best Podcast

Straight No Chaser
The Checkout (WBGO)
JazzTimes Spins & Riffs
Jazz Bastard*
We Insist! Jazz Speaks Out (WBGO)*


Best Jazz Festival

Monterey Jazz Festival
Newport Jazz Festival
North Sea Jazz Festival
Montreal International Jazz Festival

Best Jazz Club

Village Vanguard
Blue Note (NYC)

Best DVD/Blu-ray

JACO: The Film (Iron Horse)
What Happened, Miss Simone? (Eagle Rock)
Time Remembered: The Life and Music of Bill Evans
Rahsaan Roland Kirk: The Case of the Three Sided Dream (Arthaus Musik)

Best Trumpeter/Cornetist/Flugelhornist

Ambrose Akinmusire
Wynton Marsalis
Tom Harrell
Roy Hargrove


Best Trombonist

Trombone Shorty
Steve Turre
Wycliffe Gordon
Robin Eubanks

Best Clarinetist

Anat Cohen
Paquito D’Rivera
Ken Peplowski
Don Byron

Best Tenor Saxophonist

Chris Potter
Wayne Shorter
Donny McCaslin*
Joshua Redman*

Best Alto Saxophonist

Kenny Garrett
Rudresh Mahanthappa
Gary Bartz*
David Sanborn*

Best Soprano Saxophonist

Wayne Shorter
Branford Marsalis
Chris Potter
Dave Liebman


Best Baritone Saxophonist

Gary Smulyan
James Carter
Hamiet Bluiett
Ronnie Cuber

Best Flutist

Hubert Laws
Charles Lloyd
Lew Tabackin
Nicole Mitchell

Best Violinist

Regina Carter
Jean-Luc Ponty
Mark Feldman
Jenny Scheinman

Best Pianist

Chick Corea
Brad Mehldau
Kenny Barron
Herbie Hancock

Best Keyboardist (Electric Piano, Synth)

Chick Corea
Herbie Hancock
Scott Kinsey
Robert Glasper


Best Organist

Joey DeFrancesco
Dr. Lonnie Smith
Larry Goldings
Cory Henry*
Gary Versace*

Best Guitarist

Pat Metheny
Bill Frisell
John Scofield
Peter Bernstein

Best Double Bassist

Christian McBride
Ron Carter
Dave Holland
Esperanza Spalding

Best Electric Bassist

Esperanza Spalding
Stanley Clarke*
Marcus Miller *
Steve Swallow

Best Vibraphonist

Gary Burton
Warren Wolf
Stefon Harris
Joe Locke


Best Percussionist

Poncho Sanchez
Zakir Hussain
Pedrito Martinez
Airto Moreira

Best Drummer

Brian Blade
Jack DeJohnette
Antonio Sanchez
Terri Lyne Carrington

Best Vocalist (Male)

Tony Bennett
Gregory Porter
Kurt Elling
Bobby McFerrin

Best Vocalist (Female)

Cécile McLorin Salvant
Dianne Reeves*
Esperanza Spalding*
Dee Dee Bridgewater

Best Composer

Chick Corea*
Maria Schneider*
Wayne Shorter
Pat Metheny


Best Arranger

Maria Schneider
Wynton Marsalis
Carla Bley
Chick Corea

Best Instrumentalist (Misc.) (four winners)

Béla Fleck (banjo) 

Grégoire Maret (harmonica)      

Edmar Castañeda (harp)

Richard Galliano (accordion)

Best Vocal Group

Take 6
The Manhattan Transfer
New York Voices

Originally Published