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.
Even before Omega came out, word had hit the street: There was a new alto saxophone badass in town. Talents like Wilkins are rare. More rare are 22-year-olds with his maturity, commitment, and spiritual depth. Like so many jazz albums in 2020, Omega rages against the past and avows hope for the future. Wilkins creates musical objective correlatives for a sweeping expanse of emotional truths, from naked aggression to soul-baring vulnerability. THOMAS CONRAD