JazzTimes 2012 Readers’ Poll Results

The real experts on the best in the previous year in jazz

Pat Metheny with "Orchestrion" machinery
Herbie Hancock & Wayne Shorter at North Sea Jazz 2011
Bill Evans at the piano
Kurt Elling in performance at Montgomery County Community College in Blue Bell, Pa.
Gregory Porter

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From our January/February 2013 Year in Review issue, out now. Voting conducted online at JazzTimes.com. Winners appear in bold; runners-up are un-bolded and listed in order of number of votes. Readers were asked to consider artists’ achievements and music, book and film releases dating Nov. 1, 2011 through Nov. 1, 2012.

Best of All

Artist of the Year

Sonny Rollins

Joe Lovano

Esperanza Spalding

Kurt Elling

New Artist

Gregory Porter

Ben Williams

Ambrose Akinmusire

Linda Oh

New Release

Kurt Elling 1619 Broadway: The Brill Building Project (Concord Jazz)

Pat Metheny Unity Band (Nonesuch)

Brad Mehldau Trio Ode (Nonesuch)

Gregory Porter Be Good (Motéma)

Historical Release

Bill Evans Live at Art D’Lugoff’s Top of the Gate (Resonance)

The Dave Brubeck Quartet Their Last Time Out (Sony Legacy)

Wes Montgomery Echoes of Indiana Avenue (Resonance)

Keith Jarrett/Jan Garbarek/Palle Danielsson/Jon Christensen
Sleeper: Tokyo, April 16, 1979 (ECM)

Best Groups

Acoustic Group

Wayne Shorter Quartet

Branford Marsalis Quartet

Joe Lovano Us Five

Christian McBride & Inside Straight

Contemporary/Electric Group

Pat Metheny Unity Band

Béla Fleck & the Flecktones

Robert Glasper Experiment


Big Band

The Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra

Maria Schneider Orchestra

Mingus Big Band

Gordon Goodwin’s Big Phat Band

Vocal Group

The Manhattan Transfer

The Four Freshmen

Take 6

New York Voices

Blues Artist

Tedeschi Trucks Band

B.B. King

Gary Clark Jr.

Buddy Guy

Best of the Jazz Industry

Record Label




Blue Note


The Jazz Standards: A Guide to the Repertoire by Ted Gioia (Oxford University Press)

Clark: The Autobiography of Clark Terry by Clark Terry, with Gwen Terry (University of California Press)

Keystone Korner: Portrait of a Jazz Club by Kathy Sloane (Indiana University Press)

Film/Video/TV Series

Treme (HBO)

Syndicated Radio Program

Marian McPartland’s Piano Jazz (NPR)

JazzSet With Dee Dee Bridgewater (NPR/WBGO)
The Checkout (with Josh Jackson) (WBGO)
Jazz After Hours (with Jim Wilke) (PRI)


Newport Jazz Festival

Monterey Jazz Festival

Detroit Jazz Festival

Montreal International Jazz Festival


Village Vanguard

Yoshi’s (Oakland & San Francisco)

Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola

Scullers Jazz Club

Best Musicians


Roy Hargrove

Wynton Marsalis

Ambrose Akinmusire

Terence Blanchard


Wycliffe Gordon

Steve Turre

Robin Eubanks

Trombone Shorty

Tenor Saxophone

Sonny Rollins

Joe Lovano

Wayne Shorter

Branford Marsalis

Alto Saxophone

Miguel Zenón

Kenny Garrett

Lee Konitz

Rudresh Mahanthappa

Soprano Saxophone

Wayne Shorter

Branford Marsalis

Dave Liebman

Jane Ira Bloom

Baritone Saxophone

Gary Smulyan

James Carter

Ronnie Cuber

Claire Daly


Anat Cohen

Paquito D’Rivera

Ken Peplowski

Don Byron


Nicole Mitchell

Hubert Laws

Dave Valentin

Henry Threadgill


Regina Carter

Jean-Luc Ponty

Sara Caswell

Jenny Scheinman


Herbie Hancock

Chick Corea

Brad Mehldau

Keith Jarrett

Electronic Keyboards

Chick Corea

Herbie Hancock

Craig Taborn

John Medeski


Joey DeFrancesco

Dr. Lonnie Smith

Larry Goldings

Gary Versace


Pat Metheny

Bill Frisell

Kurt Rosenwinkel

Russell Malone

Acoustic Bass

Christian McBride

Ron Carter

John Patitucci

Esperanza Spalding

Electric Bass

Marcus Miller

Stanley Clarke

Esperanza Spalding

Victor Wooten


Gary Burton

Stefon Harris

Joe Locke

Warren Wolf


Jack DeJohnette

Roy Haynes

Jeff Hamilton

Brian Blade


Poncho Sanchez

Bobby Sanabria

Airto Moreira

Giovanni Hidalgo

Male Vocalist

Kurt Elling

Gregory Porter

Sachal Vasandani

Mark Murphy

Female Vocalist

Diana Krall

Esperanza Spalding

Gretchen Parlato

Dee Dee Bridgewater

Miscellaneous Instruments (banjo, harmonica, cello, oud, et al.)

[4 Winners]

Béla Fleck (banjo)

Toots Thielemans (harmonica)

Steve Turre (conch shells)

Howard Levy (harmonica)


John Clayton

Maria Schneider

Darcy James Argue

John Hollenbeck