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2021 JazzTimes Expanded Critics’ Poll Results

Our critics choose their favorites of the year, including best new artists, groups, and (back from COVID exile) festivals

Samara Joy
Best New Artist: Samara Joy (photo: Shervin Lainez)

For the 2021 JazzTimes Expanded Critics’ Poll, an annual companion to last issue’s Year in Review section (which featured our choices for top 40 new releases and top 10 historical releases of 2021), our regular contributors participated in a 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 2021 rather than assessing entire careers. An asterisk * denotes a tie. 

To see the results of our 2021 Readers’ Poll, go here.


Artist of the Year
William Parker
Wadada Leo Smith
James Brandon Lewis
Chick Corea

New Artist
Samara Joy
East Axis