CELEBRATING
50 YEARS

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)

INDIVIDUAL BALLOTS

David R. Adler

New Releases:

  1. Miguel Zenón Sonero: The Music of Ismael Rivera (Miel)
  2. ELEW Elew Plays Rosenwinkel: Cubism (Heartcore)
  3. Johnathan Blake Trion (Giant Step Arts)
  4. Anna Webber Clockwise (Pi)
  5. Ben Eunson Ace (Ocean Road)
  6. Rajna Swaminathan Of Agency and Abstraction (Biophilia)
  7. Miles Okazaki The Sky Below (Pi) 
  8. JD Allen Barracoon (Savant)
  9. Joshua Redman & Brooklyn Rider Sun on Sand (Nonesuch)
  10. Mareike Wiening Metropolis Paradise (Greenleaf)

Historical:

  1. Eric Dolphy Musical Prophet: The Expanded 1963 Studio Sessions (Resonance)
  2. Nat King Cole Hittin’ the Ramp: The Early Years (1936-1943) (Resonance)
  3. John Coltrane Blue World (Impulse!)
  4. Stan Getz Getz at the Gate (Verve)
  5. Miles Davis Rubberband (Rhino/Warner Bros.)

A.D. Amorosi

New Releases:

  1. Art Ensemble of Chicago We Are on the Edge (Pi)
  2. Camila Meza Ámbar (Sony Masterworks)
  3. Joey DeFrancesco In the Key of the Universe (Mack Avenue)
  4. Kendrick Scott Oracle A Wall Becomes a Bridge (Blue Note)
  5. Desertion Trio Twilight Time (Long Song)
  6. Dave Douglas/Uri Caine/Andrew Cyrille Devotion (Greenleaf)
  7. Daniel Simmons, Jr. and Ron Carter The Brown Beatnik Tomes (Live at BRIC House) (Blue Note)
  8. Mark Guiliana Beat Music! Beat Music! Beat Music! (Motéma)
  9. Branford Marsalis The Secret Between the Shadow and the Soul (OKeh)
  10. Flying Lotus Flamagra (Warp)

Historical:

  1. John Coltrane Coltrane ’58: The Prestige Recordings (Craft)
  2. Sounds of Liberation Unreleased (Columbia University 1973) (Dogtown)
  3. Celia Cruz & Tito Puente Alma Con Alma (Craft Latino) 
  4. Wes Montgomery Back on Indiana Avenue: The Carroll DeCamp Recordings (Resonance)
  5. Chet Baker The Legendary New York Sessions with Bill Evans (Rev-Ola)

Larry Appelbaum

New Releases:

  1. Kris Davis Diatom Ribbons (Pyroclastic)
  2. Dave Holland/Zakir Hussain/Chris Potter Good Hope (Edition)
  3. Chick Corea/Christian McBride/Brian Blade Trilogy 2 (Concord)
  4. Tyshawn Sorey/Marilyn Crispell The Adornment of Time (Pi)
  5. Tomeka Reid Wabash Blues (Cuneiform)
  6. Enrico Rava/Joe Lovano Roma (ECM)
  7. Go: Organic Orchestra and Brooklyn Raga Massive Ragmala (BRM)
  8. Bill Frisell Harmony (Blue Note)
  9. Johnathan Blake Trion (Giant Step Arts)
  10. Pasquale Grasso Solo Monk (Sony)
  11. Joshua Redman and Brooklyn Rider Sun on Sand (Nonesuch)
  12. Gerald Cleaver & Violet Hour Live at Firehouse 12 (Sunnyside)
  13. Bria Skonberg Nothing Never Happens (Bria Skonberg)

Historical:

  1. John Coltrane Blue World (Impulse!)
  2. Art Pepper Promise KeptThe Complete Artist House Recordings (Omnivore)
  3. Erroll Garner Octave Remastered Series (Mack Avenue)
  4. Johnny Griffin & Eddie “Lockjaw” Davis OW! Live at the Penthouse (Reel to Real)
  5. Nat King Cole Hittin’ the Ramp: The Early Years (1936-1943) (Resonance)

Dan Bilawsky

New Releases:

  1. Fabian Almazan This Land Abounds with Life (Biophilia)
  2. Jennifer Wharton’s Bonegasm Bonegasm (Sunnyside)
  3. Dan McCarthy Epoch (Origin)
  4. Skyjack The Hunter (Enja/Yellowbird)
  5. Youn Sun Nah Immersion (Warner Music)
  6. Peter Eldridge/Kenny Werner Somewhere (Rosebud)
  7. Sara Gazarek Thirsty Ghost (MRI)
  8. Matt Mitchell Phalanx Ambassadors (Pi)
  9. Scott Robinson Tenormore (Arbors)
  10. Brittany Anjou Enamiĝo Reciprokataj (Origin)

Historical:

  1. John Coltrane Blue World (Impulse!)
  2. Eric Dolphy Musical Prophet: The Expanded 1963 New York Studio Sessions (Resonance)
  3. Wes Montgomery Back on Indiana Avenue: The Carroll DeCamp Recordings (Resonance)
  4. Kenny Barron & Mulgrew Miller The Art of Piano Duo – Live (Groovin’ High/Sunnyside)
  5. Bill Evans Evans in England (Resonance)

Philip Booth

New Releases:

  1. Tom Harrell Infinity (High Note)
  2. Ryan Keberle & Catharsis The Hope I Hold (Greenleaf)
  3. Chick Corea/Christian McBride/Brian Blade Trilogy 2 (Concord Jazz)
  4. Jerry Bergonzi The Seven Rays (Savant)
  5. Frank Kimbrough Monk’s Dreams: The Complete Compositions of Thelonious Sphere Monk (Sunnyside)
  6. Chick Corea & the Spanish Heart Band Antidote (Concord Jazz)
  7. Bob Sheppard The Fine Line (Challenge)
  8. Anat Cohen Tentet Triple Helix (Anzic)
  9. Hendrik Meurkens Cobb’s Pocket (In & Out)
  10. Snarky Puppy Immigrance (GroundUp)

Historical:

  1. John Coltrane Blue World (Impulse!)
  2. Betty Carter The Music Never Stops (Blue Engine)
  3. Cannonball Adderley Swingin’ in Seattle: Live at the Penthouse 1966-1967 (Reel to Real)
  4. Miles Davis Rubberband (Rhino/Warner Bros.)
  5. Johnny Griffin & Eddie “Lockjaw” Davis OW! Live at the Penthouse (Reel to Real)

Thomas Conrad

New Releases:

  1. Keith Jarrett Munich 2016 (ECM)
  2. Frank Kimbrough Monk’s Dreams: The Complete Compositions of Thelonious Monk (Sunnyside)
  3. Johnathan Blake Trion (Giant Step Arts)
  4. Jason Palmer Rhyme and Reason (Giant Step Arts)
  5. Dave Holland/Zakir Hussain/Chris Potter Good Hope (Edition)
  6. Anat Cohen Tentet Triple Helix (Anzic)
  7. Melissa Aldana Visions (Motéma)
  8. Francesco Diodati Yellow Squeeds Never the Same (Auand)
  9. Joel Ross KingMaker (Blue Note)
  10. Maciej Obara Quartet Three Crowns (ECM)

Historical:

  1. John Coltrane Blue World (Impulse!)
  2. Eric Dolphy Musical Prophet: The Expanded 1963 New York Studio Sessions (Resonance)
  3. Fred Hersch Trio 10 Years/6 Discs (Palmetto)
  4. Cannonball Adderley Swingin’ in Seattle: Live at the Penthouse 1966-1967 (Reel to Real)
  5. Michel Petrucciani Trio One Night in Karlsruhe (SWR Jazzhaus)

J.D. Considine

New Releases:

  1. Camila Meza & the Nectar Orchestra Ámbar (Sony Masterworks) 
  2. Tomeka Reid Quartet Old New (Cuneiform)
  3. JD Allen Barracoon (Savant)
  4. Dave Holland/Zakir Hussain/Chris Potter Good Hope (Edition)
  5. Ryan Keberle & Catharsis The Hope I Hold (Greenleaf)
  6. Steve Lehman Trio + Craig Taborn The People I Love (Pi)
  7. Linda May Han Oh Aventurine (Biophilia)
  8. Vijay Iyer and Craig Taborn The Transitory Poems (ECM)
  9. Brian Krock Liddle (Outside In)
  10. David Torn/Tim Berne/Ches Smith Sun of Goldfinger (ECM)

Historical:

  1. John Coltrane Blue World (Impulse!)
  2. Fred Hersch Trio 97 @ the Village Vanguard (Palmetto)
  3. Johnny Griffin & Eddie “Lockjaw” Davis OW! Live at the Penthouse (Reel to Real)
  4. Nat King Cole Hittin’ the Ramp: The Early Years (1936-1943) (Resonance)
  5. Esbjörn Svensson Trio E.S.T. Live in Gothenburg (ACT)

Brad Cohan

New Releases:

  1. The Flying Luttenbachers Shattered Dimension (ugEXPLODE)
  2. Mike Baggetta Wall of Flowers (Big Ego)
  3. Amirtha Kidambi’s Elder Ones From Untruth (Northern Spy)
  4. Radical Empathy Trio Reality and Other Imaginary Places (ESP-Disk’)
  5. Sam Ospovat Ride Angles (Skirl)
  6. Jessica Ackerley A New Kind of Water (self-release)
  7. Tomeka Reid Quartet Old New (Cuneiform)
  8. CP Unit Riding Photon Time (Eleatic)
  9. Matt Mitchell Phalanx Ambassadors (Pi)
  10. Nick Dunston Atlantic Extraction (Out of Your Head)

Historical:

  1. John Coltrane Quartet Blue World (Impulse!)
  2. Eric Dolphy Musical Prophet: The Expanded 1963 New York Studio Sessions (Resonance)
  3. John Coltrane Coltrane ’58: Prestige Recordings (Craft)
  4. Don Cherry Brown Rice (Verve/UMe)
  5. Miles Davis The Complete Birth of the Cool (Blue Note/UMe)

Morgan Enos

New Releases:

  1. Ralph Alessi Imaginary Friends (ECM)
  2. Dave Douglas/Uri Caine/Andrew Cyrille Devotion (Greenleaf)
  3. Ethan Iverson Quartet with Tom Harrell Common Practice (ECM)
  4. Brad Mehldau Finding Gabriel (Nonesuch)
  5. Linda May Han Oh Aventurine (Biophilia)
  6. The Comet Is Coming The Afterlife (Impulse!)
  7. Senri Oe Hmmm (Sony)
  8. Ryan Porter Force for Good (World Galaxy/Afro Pup)
  9. Tom Harrell Infinity (HighNote)
  10. Avishai Cohen & Yonathan Avishai Playing the Room (ECM)

Historical:

  1. John Coltrane Coltrane ’58: The Prestige Recordings (Craft)
  2. Chet Baker The Legendary Riverside Albums (Craft)
  3. John Coltrane Blue World (Impulse!)
  4. Eric Dolphy Musical Prophet: The Expanded New York Studio Sessions (Resonance)
  5. Stan Getz Getz at the Gate (Verve)

Ken Franckling

New Releases:

  1. Tierney Sutton Band ScreenPlay (BFM)
  2. Something Blue Maximum Enjoyment (Posi-Tone)
  3. Tom Harrell Infinity (HighNote)
  4. Charlie Dennard Deep Blue (Deneaux)
  5. Akiko, Hamilton and Dechter Equal Time (Capri)
  6. Lisa Hilton Oasis (Ruby Slippers)
  7. Brandon Goldberg Let’s Play! (independent)
  8. Dave Zinno Unisphere Stories Told (Whaling City Sound)
  9. Five Play Live From the Firehouse Stage (5Play)
  10. James Suggs You’re Gonna Hear from Me (Arbors)

 Historical:

  1. Cannonball Adderley Swingin’ in Seattle: Live at the Penthouse 1966-67 (Reel to Real)
  2. Michel Petrucciani Trio One Night in Karlsruhe (SWR Jazzhaus)
  3. Betty Carter The Music Never Stops (Blue Engine)
  4. John Coltrane Blue World (Impulse!)
  5. Miles Davis The Complete Birth of the Cool (Blue Note/UMe)

Steve Greenlee

New Releases:

  1. Kris Davis Diatom Ribbons (Pyroclastic)
  2. David Torn/Tim Berne/Ches Smith Sun of Goldfinger (ECM)
  3. Branford Marsalis The Secret Between the Shadow and the Soul (OKeh)
  4. Matt Mitchell Phalanx Ambassadors (Pi)
  5. Hiromi Spectrum (Telarc)
  6. James Carter Organ Trio Live from Newport Jazz (Blue Note)
  7. Wallace Roney Blue Dawn – Blue Nights (HighNote)
  8. The Dave Wilson Quartet One Night at Chris’ (self-released) 
  9. Jim Snidero Waves of Calm (HighNote)
  10. Cat in a Bag Cat in a Bag (Clean Feed)

Historical:

  1. Paul Bley/Gary Peacock/Paul Motian When Will the Blues Leave (ECM) 5
  2. Allen Lowe Jews & Roots: An Avant Garde of Our Own — Disconnected Works: 1980-2018 (ESP-Disk’)
  3. Sun Ra Monorails and Satellites: Works for Solo Piano Vols. 1, 2, 3 (Cosmic Myth)
  4. John Coltrane Blue World (Impulse!)
  5. David S. Ware New Quartet Théâtre Garonne, 2008 (AUM Fidelity)

Geoffrey Himes

New Releases:

  1. Allison Miller’s Boom Tic Boom Glitter Wolf (Royal Potato Family)
  2. Bill Frisell/Thomas Morgan Epistrophy (ECM)
  3. Melissa Aldana Visions (Motéma)
  4. Todd Marcus Trio+ (Stricker Street)
  5. Lafayette Gilchrist Dark Matter (Gilchrist)
  6. Anat Cohen Tentet Triple Helix (Anzic)
  7. SFJAZZ Collective The Music of Antonio Carlos Jobim & Original Compositions (SFJazz)
  8. Matt Mitchell Phalanx Ambassadors (Pi)
  9. Branford Marsalis Quartet The Secret Between the Shadow and the Soul (OKeh)
  10. Guillermo Klein y Los Gauchos Cristal (Sunnyside)

Historical:

  1. Eric Dolphy Musical Prophet: The Expanded 1963 New York Studio Sessions (Resonance)
  2. Sam Rivers Emanation (NoBusiness)
  3. John Coltrane Blue World (Impulse!)
  4. Betty Carter The Music Never Stops (Blue Engine)
  5. Allen Lowe Jews and Roots: An Avant Garde of Our Own — Disconnected Works: 1980-2018 (ESP-Disk’)