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2020 Expanded Critics’ Poll Results

JazzTimes’ critics pick their favorite artists, books, documentaries, and more from the year just past

JD Allen
JD Allen: Best Acoustic Small Group/Artist (photo: Bart Babinski)

For this annual companion poll to our Top 50 Critics’ Picks, our regular contributors participated in this survey based on our yearly Readers’ Poll. Winners are bolded; runners-up are listed below in order of votes. Contributors were asked to focus on artists’ achievements during 2020 rather than assessing entire careers. An asterisk * denotes a tie.


Artist of the Year
Maria Schneider
Terri Lyne Carrington
Shabaka Hutchings
Rudresh Mahanthappa

New Artist
Immanuel Wilkins
Micah Thomas
Ted Poor


Acoustic Small Group/Artist
JD Allen
Jason Moran & the Bandwagon
Fred Hersch Trio
Ambrose Akinmusire*
Charles Lloyd*

Electric/Jazz-Rock/Contemporary Group/Artist
Bill Frisell
John Scofield
Mary Halvorson’s Code Girl*
Charles Lloyd & the Marvels*
Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah

Big Band/Large Ensemble
Maria Schneider Orchestra
Christian McBride Big Band
Orrin Evans and the Captain Black Big Band
Sun Ra Arkestra*
Arturo O’Farrill Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra*