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Year in Review 2020: Individual Ballots

A full accounting of every title voted for by our contributors

Immanuel Wilkins Omega
Immanuel Wilkins (photo: Rog Walker)

GEOFFREY HIMES

New Releases:

  1. Rudresh Mahanthappa Hero Trio (Whirlwind)
  2. Joel Ross Who Are You? (Blue Note)
  3. Gregory Porter All Rise (Blue Note)
  4. Lafayette Gilchrist Now (Lafayette)
  5. Maria Schneider Data Lords (ArtistShare)
  6. Bill Frisell Valentine (Blue Note/Decca)
  7. Matthew Shipp Trio The Unidentifiable (ESP)
  8. Gilfema Three (Sounderscore)
  9. Carla Bley/Andy Sheppard/Steve Swallow Life Goes On (ECM)
  10. Geof Bradfield Ben Goldberg Dana Hall Trio General Semantics (Delmark) 
  11. Kat Edmonson Dreamers Do (Spinnerette)
  12. John Scofield Swallow Tales (ECM)

Historical:

  1. Sam Rivers Ricochet (NoBusiness)
  2. The Vincent Chancey Trio The Spell: The Vincent Chancey Trio Live, 1987 (NoBusiness)
  3. Roscoe Mitchell Gerald Oshita Thomas Buckner Soundcape 1979 (SienSonic)
  4. Neil Swainson Quintet 49th Parallel (Reel to Real)
  5. Nat King Cole Straighten Up and Fly Right – The Best of Hittin’ the Ramp: The Early Years (1936-1943) (Resonance)

VERONICA JOHNSON

New Releases:

  1. Terri Lyne Carrington + Social Science Waiting Game (Motéma)
  2. Christian Sands Be Water (Mack Avenue)
  3. Nubya Garcia Source (Concord Jazz)
  4. JD Allen Toys/Die Dreaming (Savant)
  5. Joey Alexander Warna (Verve)
  6. Aaron Diehl The Vagabond (Mack Avenue)
  7. Gregory Porter All Rise (Blue Note)
  8. Connie Han Iron Starlet (Mack Avenue)
  9. Jeremy Pelt The Art of Intimacy, Vol. 1 (HighNote)
  10. Diana Krall This Dream of You (Verve)

BILL MEREDITH

New Releases:

  1. Jonathan Kreisberg Capturing Spirits — JKQ Live! (New for Now)
  2. Scott Kinsey We Speak Luniwaz: The Music of Joe Zawinul (Whirlwind)
  3. Eldar Djangirov Rhapsodize (Twelve Tone Resonance)
  4. Jason Marsalis Live (Basin Street)
  5. John Scofield Swallow Tales (ECM)
  6. Al Di Meola Across the Universe (Ear)
  7. Will Bernard Freelance Subversives (Ropeadope)
  8. Lynne Arriale Trio Chimes of Freedom (Challenge)
  9. Dave Liebman/Randy Brecker/Marc Copland/Drew Gress/Joey Baron Quint5T (self-produced)
  10. Adam Nussbaum Lead Belly Reimagined (Sunnyside)

Historical:

  1. Thelonious Monk Palo Alto (Impulse!/Sony)
  2. Nina Simone Fodder on My Wings (Verve)
  3. Dexter Gordon Quartet Live in Châteauvallon 1978 (Elemental)
  4. Lennie Tristano The Duo Sessions (Dot Time)
  5. Brecker Brothers Live and Unreleased (Piloo)

KEN MICALLEF

New Releases:

  1. Maria Schneider Data Lords (ArtistShare)
  2. Pasquale Grasso Solo Masterpieces (Sony Masterworks)
  3. John Scofield Swallow Tales (ECM)
  4. Matthew Shipp The Piano Equation (Tao Forms)
  5. Shabaka and the Ancestors We Are Sent Here by History (Impulse!)
  6. Thumbscrew The Anthony Braxton Project (Cuneiform)
  7. Bill Frisell Valentine (Blue Note)
  8. GoGo Penguin GoGo Penguin (Blue Note)
  9. Gerald Clayton Happening: Live at the Village Vanguard (Blue Note)
  10. Whit Dickey Trio Expanding Light (Tao Forms)

Historical:

  1. John Coltrane Giant Steps (60th Anniversary Super Deluxe Edition) (Rhino)
  2. Thelonious Monk Palo Alto (Impulse!/Sony)
  3. Art Blakey & the Jazz Messengers Just Coolin’ (Blue Note)
  4. Jimmy Giuffre The 3 & 4: New York Concerts (Elemental)

ALLEN MORRISON

New Releases:

  1. Maria Schneider Orchestra Data Lords (ArtistShare)
  2. John Beasley MONK’estra Plays John Beasley (Mack Avenue)
  3. Becca Stevens Wonderbloom (GroundUP)
  4. Antonio Adolfo BruMa (AAM)
  5. Aaron Diehl The Vagabond (Mack Avenue)
  6. Kurt Elling/Danilo Pérez Secrets Are the Best Stories (Edition)
  7. Christian McBride Big Band For Jimmy, Wes and Oliver (Mack Avenue)
  8. Jimmy Heath Love Letter (Verve)
  9. Allegra Levy Lose My Number (SteepleChase)
  10. Redman Mehldau McBride Blade RoundAgain (Nonesuch)

Historical:

  1. Nat King Cole Straighten Up and Fly Right – The Best of Hittin’ the Ramp: The Early Years (1936-1943) (Resonance)
  2. Art Blakey & the Jazz Messengers Just Coolin’ (Blue Note)
  3. Ella Fitzgerald Ella: The Lost Berlin Tapes (Verve)
  4. Thelonious Monk ‎Palo Alto (Impulse!/Sony)

MAC RANDALL

New Releases:

  1. Maria Schneider Orchestra Data Lords (ArtistShare)
  2. Artemis Artemis (Blue Note)
  3. Bill Frisell Valentine (Blue Note)
  4. Redman Mehldau McBride Blade RoundAgain (Nonesuch)
  5. Shabaka and the Ancestors We Are Sent Here by History (Impulse!)
  6. Rudresh Mahanthappa Hero Trio (Whirlwind)
  7. John Scofield Swallow Tales (ECM)
  8. Nubya Garcia Source (Concord Jazz)
  9. Gerald Clayton Happening: Live at the Village Vanguard (Blue Note)
  10. Mary Halvorson’s Code Girl Artlessly Falling (Firehouse 12)

Historical:

  1. Erroll Garner Octave Remastered Editions (Mack Avenue)
  2. Ella Fitzgerald Ella: The Lost Berlin Tapes (Verve)
  3. Thelonious Monk Palo Alto (Impulse!/Sony)
  4. Charles Mingus @ Bremen 1964 & 1975 (Sunnyside)
  5. Neil Swainson Quintet 49th Parallel (Reel to Real)

BRITT ROBSON

New Releases:

  1. Eric Revis Slipknots Through a Looking Glass (Pyroclastic)
  2. Kidd Jordan/Joel Futterman/William Parker/Hamid Drake A Tribute to Alvin Fielder (Live at Vision Festival XXIV) (Mahakala)
  3. Kenny Barron/Dave Holland Trio Featuring Johnathan Blake Without Deception (Dare2)
  4. Falkner Evans Marbles (CAP)
  5. Tony Allen/Hugh Masekela Rejoice (World Circuit)
  6. Micah Thomas Tide (self-released)
  7. Immanuel Wilkins Omega (Blue Note)
  8. Manuel Valera/New Cuban Express Big Band Jose Martí en Nueva York (Greenleaf)
  9. Jeff Parker Suite for Max Brown (International Anthem/Nonesuch)
  10. Conrad Herwig The Latin Side of Horace Silver (Savant)

Historical:

  1. Pharoah Sanders Live in Paris: Lost ORTF Recordings (Transversales Disques)
  2. Thelonious Monk Palo Alto (Impulse!/Sony)
  3. Nat King Cole Straighten Up and Fly Right – The Best of Hittin’ the Ramp: The Early Years (1936-1943) (Resonance)
  4. Oneness of Juju African Rhythms 1970-1982 (Strut)
  5. Nina Simone Fodder on My Wings (Verve)

MIKE SHANLEY

New Releases:

  1. Chad Taylor Trio The Daily Biological (Cuneiform)
  2. Michael Formanek Quartet Pre-Apocalyptic (Out Of Your Head)
  3. Luke Norris Northernsong (earsandeyes)
  4. Rudresh Mahanthappa Hero Trio (Whirlwind)
  5. Threadbare (Jason Stein/Ben Cruz/Emerson Hunter) Silver Dollar (NoBusiness)
  6. Matthew Shipp The Piano Equation (Tao Forms)
  7. Tim Berne’s Snakeoil The Fantastic Mrs. 10 (Intakt)
  8. Liberty Ellman Last Desert (Pi)
  9. James Brandon Lewis Quartet Molecular (Intakt)
  10. Angelica Sanchez & Marilyn Crispell How to Turn the Moon (Pyroclastic)

Historical:

  1. Thelonious Monk Palo Alto (Impulse!/Sony)
  2. Johnny Griffin & Eddie “Lockjaw” Davis OW! Live at the Penthouse (Reel to Real)
  3. Art Blakey & the Jazz Messengers Just Coolin’ (Blue Note)
  4. David S. Ware New Quartet Théâtre Garonne, 2008 (AUM Fidelity)
  5. Nina Simone Fodder on My Wings (Verve)

JACKSON SINNENBERG

New Releases:

  1. Sun Ra Arkestra Swirling (Strut)
  2. Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis The Music of Wayne Shorter (Blue Engine)
  3. Ambrose Akinmusire On the Tender Spot of Every Calloused Moment (Blue Note)
  4. Keith Jarrett Budapest Concert (ECM)
  5. Various Artists Blue Note Re:Imagined (Blue Note)
  6. Archie Shepp/Raw Poetic/Damu the Fudgemunk Ocean Bridges (Redefinition)
  7. Kahil El’Zabar America the Beautiful (Spiritmuse)
  8. Luke Stewart Luke Stewart Exposure Quintet (Astral Spirits)
  9. Nubya Garcia Source (Concord)
  10. Marshall Allen, Roscoe Mitchell, Milford Graves, Scott Robinson Flow States (Sciensonic)

Historical:

  1. Nina Simone Fodder on My Wings (Verve)
  2. Sun Ra Egypt ’71 (Strut/Art Yard)
  3. Charlie Parker The Complete Savoy 10-Inch LP Collection (Craft)
  4. Miles Davis Double Image (Columbia/Legacy)

JEFF TAMARKIN

New Releases:

  1. Redman Mehldau McBride Blade RoundAgain (Nonesuch)
  2. Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah AXIOM (Ropeadope)
  3. Immanuel Wilkins Omega (Blue Note)
  4. Shabaka and the Ancestors We Are Sent Here by History (Impulse!)
  5. Nubya Garcia Source (Concord Jazz)
  6. Artemis Artemis (Blue Note)
  7. Matthew Shipp The Piano Equation (Tao Forms)
  8. Pat Metheny From This Place (Nonesuch)
  9. Ambrose Akinmusire On the Tender Spot of Every Calloused Moment (Blue Note)
  10. JD Allen Toys/Die Dreaming (Savant)

Historical:

  1. Thelonious Monk Palo Alto (Impulse!/Sony)
  2. Charlie Parker The Complete Savoy 10-Inch LP Collection (Craft)
  3. Ella Fitzgerald Ella: The Lost Berlin Tapes (Verve)
  4. Art Blakey & the Jazz Messengers Just Coolin’ (Blue Note)
  5. Nina Simone Fodder on My Wings (Verve)

GEORGE VARGA

New Releases:

  1. Sun Ra Arkestra Swirling (Strut)
  2. Charles Lloyd 8: Kindred Spirits Live from the Lobero (Blue Note)
  3. Maria Schneider Orchestra Data Lords (ArtistShare)
  4. Liberty Ellman Last Desert (Pi)
  5. Ambrose Akinmusire On the Tender Spot of Every Calloused Moment (Blue Note)
  6. Keith Jarrett Budapest Concert (ECM)
  7. Rudresh Mahanthappa Hero Trio (Whirlwind)
  8. Dave Douglas Dizzy Atmosphere (Greenleaf)
  9. Charles McPherson Jazz Dance Suites (Chazz Mack)
  10. Steph Richards Supersense (Northern Spy)

Historical:

  1. Thelonious Monk Palo Alto (Impulse!/Sony)
  2. Art Blakey & the Jazz Messengers Just Coolin’ (Blue Note)
  3. Allan Holdsworth Frankfurt ’86 (Manifesto) 

CHRIS J. WALKER

New Releases:

  1. Delfeayo Marsalis Jazz Party (Troubadour Jass)
  2. Gerald Clayton Happening: Live at the Village Vanguard (Blue Note)
  3. Maria Schneider Orchestra Data Lords (ArtistShare)
  4. Jeff Hamilton Catch Me If You Can (Capri)
  5. Rez Abbasi Django-shift (Whirlwind)
  6. Eric Revis Slipknots Through a Looking Glass (Pyroclastic)
  7. Mary Halvorson’s Code Girl Artlessly Falling (Firehouse 12)
  8. George Burton Rec •i •proc •i •ty (Inner Circle)
  9. Artemis Artemis (Blue Note)
  10. Antibalas Fu Chronicles (Daptone)

Historical:

  1. Nat King Cole Straighten Up and Fly Right – The Best of Hittin’ the Ramp: The Early Years (1936-1943) (Resonance)
  2. Nina Simone Fodder on My Wings (Verve)
  3. Lennie Tristano The Duo Sessions (Dot Time)
  4. Art Blakey & the Jazz Messengers Just Coolin’ (Blue Note)
  5. Ray Brown & Laurindo Almeida Moonlight Serenade (Kingston)

MICHAEL J. WEST

New Releases:

  1. Charles Tolliver Connect (Gearbox)
  2. Nubya Garcia Source (Concord Jazz)
  3. Jeff Parker Suite for Max Brown (International Anthem)
  4. Chicago Underground Quartet Good Days (Astral Spirits)
  5. Jim Snidero Project-K (Savant)
  6. Tyshawn Sorey Unfiltered (self-released)
  7. Charles McPherson Jazz Dance Suites (Chazz Mack)
  8. Ron Miles Rainbow Sign (Blue Note)
  9. Lakecia Benjamin Pursuance: The Coltranes (Ropeadope)
  10. Kenny Barron & Dave Holland Trio Featuring Johnathan Blake Without Deception (Dare2)

Historical:

  1. Thelonious Monk Palo Alto (Impulse!/Sony)
  2. Bob James Once Upon a Time: The Lost 1965 New York Studio Sessions (Resonance)
  3. Charles Mingus @ Bremen 1964 & 1975 (Sunnyside)
  4. Neil Swainson Quintet 49th Parallel (Reel to Real)
  5. Contemporary Jazz Quintet The Black Hole (Fat Beats)