Become a member and get exclusive access to articles, live sessions and more!
Start Your Free Trial

Year in Review: The Top 40 New Jazz Releases of 2020 (10-1)

Our critics vote on the year's top new releases

Maria Schneider
Maria Schneider’s album Data Lords was voted the best of 2020 by JazzTimes‘ contributors. (photo: Briene Lermitte)

For our 2020 Year in Review section, we calculated the top 40 new releases and top 10 historical/reissue recordings of 2020 based on year-end lists by our writers. They were asked to choose the 10 best new releases and five best historical titles—i.e., albums and box sets consisting primarily of music recorded 10 or more years ago. To see each voter’s ballot, go here. Albums and box sets released between Nov. 10, 2019 and Nov. 13, 2020 were eligible. Some discs may have slipped through the cracks, however, as official release dates shifted or weren’t available. For numbers 40-31, go here; for numbers 30-21, go here; and for numbers 20-11, go here.

3. Ambrose Akinmusire: On the Tender Spot of Every Calloused Moment (Blue Note)

3. Ambrose Akinmusire: <i>On the Tender Spot of Every Calloused Moment</i> (Blue Note)

The widespread critical conviction that Ambrose Akinmusire is the most important trumpet player to enter jazz in the new millennium is based on only six records. From the beginning he expressed raw passion with supreme technical expertise. Over time his recordings have become bolder, wilder, and more free. His newest is a concept album with the ambitious, complex intention of rendering “the pain, beauty and optimism of blackness.” Akinmusire succeeds. THOMAS CONRAD