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The Year in Review: Top 50 Albums of 2019

JazzTimes' critics choose the top 40 new albums and top 10 historical releases of the year

Branford Marsalis Quartet
The Branford Marsalis Quartet (left to right: Marsalis, Justin Faulkner, Eric Revis, and Joey Calderazzo) made the best jazz album of 2019, according to JazzTimes‘ critics. (photo: Eric Ryan Anderson)

16. Miguel Zenón Sonero: The Music of Ismael Rivera (Miel)

Puerto Rican singer Ismael Rivera (1931-1987), appreciatively called “El Sonero Mayor” (The Greatest Latin Singer), was an improvisatory master of Puerto Rican bomba and plena, and Cuban son. He influenced generations of salsa and jazz artists, such as Ismael Miranda, Rubén Blades, and now saxophonist Miguel Zenón. Sonero is the innovative reedist’s tribute to the legendary singer in a scintillating vocal-less modern Latin-jazz context—except for the remixed intro featuring Rivera’s mesmerizing a cappella singing. C.J.W. 

17. Ralph Alessi Imaginary Friends (ECM)
18. Brad Mehldau Finding Gabriel (Nonesuch)
19. Anat Cohen Tentet Triple Helix (Anzic)
20. Art Ensemble of Chicago We Are on the Edge (Pi)
21. Joey DeFrancesco In the Key of the Universe (Mack Avenue)
22. Melissa Aldana Visions (Motéma)
23. Kendrick Scott Oracle A Wall Becomes A Bridge (Blue Note)
24. Matt Mitchell Phalanx Ambassadors (Pi)
25. Frank Kimbrough Monk’s Dreams: The Complete Compositions of Thelonious Sphere Monk (Sunnyside)
26. Ryan Keberle & Catharsis The Hope I Hold (Greenleaf)
27. Tyshawn Sorey/Marilyn Crispell The Adornment of Time  (Pi)
28. Joe Lovano Trio Tapestry (ECM)
29. Terri Lyne Carrington and Social Science Waiting Game (Motéma)
30. Steve Lehman Trio + Craig Taborn The People I Love (Pi)
31. James Carter Organ Trio Live from Newport Jazz (Blue Note)
32. JD Allen Barracoon (Savant)
33. Miho Hazama Dancer in Nowhere (Sunnyside)
34. Quiana Lynell A Little Love (Concord Jazz)
35. Enrico Rava/Joe Lovano Roma (ECM)
36. Fred Hersch & WDR Big Band Begin Again (Palmetto)
37. Allison Miller’s Boom Tic Boom Glitter Wolf (Royal Potato Family)
38. Keith Jarrett Munich 2016 (ECM)
39. Tierney Sutton Band ScreenPlay (BFM)
40. David Torn/Tim Berne/Ches Smith Sun of Goldfinger (ECM)

Originally Published