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Year in Review: The Top 40 New Jazz Releases of 2020 (20-11)

Our critics vote on the year's top new releases

For our 2020 Year in Review section, we calculated the top 40 new jazz 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 10-1, go here.

11. Mary Halvorson’s Code Girl: Artlessly Falling (Firehouse 12)

11. Mary Halvorson’s Code Girl: <i>Artlessly Falling</i> (Firehouse 12)

It’s easy to be awed by the shape-shifting brilliance of Mary Halvorson’s guitar playing, but as her Code Girl project reminds us, she’s an equally brilliant songwriter, crafting melodies full of character and wit. On Artlessly Falling, the character of her tunes is enhanced by the presence of guest vocalist Robert Wyatt, whose wispy, time-worn voice perfectly suits the music’s mix of sentiment and surrealism. J.D. CONSIDINE

Originally Published