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)

Willard Jenkins

New Releases:

  1. Chick Corea/Christian McBride/Brian Blade Trilogy 2 (Concord)
  2. Branford Marsalis Quartet The Secret Between the Shadow and the Soul (Okeh)
  3. Johnathan Blake Trion (Giant Step Arts)
  4. George Cables I’m All Smiles (HighNote)
  5. Monty Alexander Wareika Hill (RastaMonk Vibrations) (MACD)
  6. Linda May Han Oh Aventurine (Biophilia)
  7. Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah Ancestral Recall (Ropeadope)
  8. Kenyatta Beasley Septet The Frank Foster Songbook (Art vs. Transit)
  9. T.K. Blue The Rhythms Continue (JaJa)
  10. Vanessa Rubin The Dream Is You (Nibur)

Historical:

  1. John Coltrane Blue World (Impulse!)
  2. Betty Carter The Music Never Stops (Blue Engine)
  3. John Coltrane 1963: New Directions (Impulse!)
  4. Cannonball Adderley Swingin’ in Seattle: Live at the Penthouse 1966-1967 (Reel to Real)
  5. Gil Evans Orchestra Hidden Treasures/Monday Nights (Deko)

Martin Johnson

New Releases:

  1. Tomeka Reid Old New (Cuneiform)
  2. Steve Lehman Trio + Craig Taborn The People I Love (Pi)
  3. Kris Davis Diatom Ribbons (Pyroclastic)
  4. Ahmad Jamal Ballades (Jazz Village)
  5. Chris Lightcap SuperBigmouth (Pyroclastic)
  6. Art Ensemble of Chicago We Are on the Edge (Pi)
  7. Kassa Overall Go Get Ice Cream and Listen to Jazz (Kassa Overall)
  8. Jaimie Branch Fly or Die II: Bird Dogs of Paradise (International Anthem)
  9. Noah Preminger Preminger Plays Preminger (Newvelle)
  10. Larry Grenadier The Gleaners (ECM)

Historical:

  1. Eric Dolphy: Musical Prophet: The Expanded New York 1963 Sessions (Resonance)
  2. John Coltrane Blue World (Impulse!)
  3. Nat King Cole Hittin’ the Ramp: The Early Years (1936-1943) (Resonance)
  4. The Art Ensemble of Chicago and Associated Ensembles (ECM)
  5. Baby Face Willette Face to Face (Blue Note)

Mike Joyce

New Releases:

  1. Joe Lovano Trio Tapestry (ECM)
  2. Julian Lage Love Hurts (Mack Avenue)
  3. Chick Corea/Christian McBride/Brian Blade Trilogy 2 (Concord)
  4. Dave Douglas/Uri Caine/Andrew Cyrille Devotion (Greenleaf)
  5. Ethan Iverson Quartet with Tom Harrell Common Practice (ECM)
  6. Lage Lund Terrible Animals (Criss Cross Jazz)
  7. Camila Meza & the Nectar Orchestra Ámbar (Sony Masterworks)
  8. Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah Ancestral Recall (Ropeadope)
  9. Eliane Elias Love Stories (Concord)
  10. Ben Monder Day After Day (Sunnyside)

Historical:

  1. John Coltrane Blue World (Impulse!)
  2. Miles Davis The Complete Birth of the Cool (Blue Note/UMe)
  3. Kenny Barron/Mulgrew Miller The Art of Piano Duo-Live (Groovin’ High/Sunnyside)

Matthew Kassel

New Releases:

  1. Joel Ross KingMaker (Blue Note)
  2. Fabian Almazan Trio This Land Abounds With Life (Biophilia)
  3. Jan Garbarek/The Hilliard Ensemble Remember Me, My Dear (ECM)
  4. Guillermo Klein y Los Guachos Cristal (Sunnyside)
  5. Nérija Blume (Domino)
  6. Aaron Goldberg At the Edge of the World (Sunnyside)
  7. Brad Mehldau Finding Gabriel (Nonesuch)
  8. Kris Davis Diatom Ribbons (Pyroclastic)
  9. Vijay Iyer/Craig Taborn The Transitory Poems (ECM)
  10. Chano Dominguez and Hadar Noiberg Paramus (Sunnyside)

Historical:

  1. Eric Dolphy Musical Prophet: The Expanded 1963 New York Studio Sessions (Resonance)
  2. Wes Montgomery Back on Indiana Avenue: The Carroll DeCamp Recordings (Resonance)
  3. John Coltrane Blue World (Impulse!)
  4. Jeanne Lee/Ran Blake The Newest Sound You Never Heard (A-Side)
  5. Nat King Cole Hittin’ the Ramp: The Early Years (1936-1943) (Resonance)

Bill Meredith

New Releases:

  1. Scott Henderson People Mover (Scott Henderson)
  2. Oz Noy Booga Looga Loo (Abstract Logix)
  3. Dave Liebman/Jeff Coffin/Victor Wooten/Chester Thompson/Chris Walters/James DaSilva On the Corner Live! The Music of Miles Davis (Ear Up)
  4. Steve Khan Patchwork (Tone Center)
  5. Brad Mehldau Finding Gabriel (Nonesuch)
  6. Branford Marsalis Quartet The Secret Between the Shadow and the Soul (OKeh)
  7. Gregory Porter One Night Only — Live at Royal Albert Hall (Blue Note)
  8. Fred Hersch & WDR Big Band Begin Again (Palmetto)
  9. Christian McBride Christian McBride’s New Jawn (Mack Avenue/Brother Mister)
  10. The Bad Plus Activate Infinity (Edition)

Historical:

  1. Michel Petrucciani Trio One Night in Karlsruhe (SWR Jazzhaus)
  2. John Coltrane Blue World (Impulse!)
  3. Louis Armstrong Live in Europe (Dot Time)
  4. Gil Evans Orchestra Hidden Treasures: Monday Nights, Vol. 1 (Bopper Spock Suns)
  5. Duke Ellington Uppsala 1971 (Storyville)

Ken Micallef

New Releases:

  1. Branford Marsalis Quartet The Secret Between the Shadow and the Soul (OKeh)
  2. Joel Ross KingMaker (Blue Note)
  3. Kendrick Scott Oracle A Wall Becomes a Bridge (Blue Note)
  4. Terri Lyne Carrington and Social Science Waiting Game (Motéma)
  5. Ezra Collective You Can’t Steal My Joy (Enter the Jungle)
  6. Snarky Puppy Immigrance (GroundUp)
  7. Joe Lovano Trio Tapestry (ECM)
  8. Jaimie Branch Fly or Die II: Bird Dogs of Paradise (International Anthem)
  9. Quiana Lynell A Little Love (Concord)
  10. Julia Hülsmann Quartet Not Far from Here

Historical:

  1. John Coltrane Blue World (Impulse!)
  2. Nat King Cole Hittin’ the Ramp: The Early Years (1936-1943) (Resonance)
  3. Stanley Turrentine Hustlin’ (Tone Poet)
  4. Bill Evans Evans in England (Resonance)
  5. Keith Jarrett Munich 2016 (ECM)

Mac Randall

New Releases:

  1. Camila Meza & the Nectar Orchestra Ámbar (Sony Masterworks)
  2. Bill Frisell/Thomas Morgan Epistrophy (ECM)
  3. Dave Holland/Zakir Hussain/Chris Potter Good Hope (Edition)
  4. The Bad Plus Activate Infinity (Edition)
  5. Cyrille Aimée Move On (Mack Avenue)
  6. Jenny Scheinman and Allison Miller’s Parlour Game Parlour Game (Royal Potato Family)
  7. Jazzmeia Horn Love and Liberation (Concord)
  8. Melissa Aldana Visions (Motéma)
  9. Joel Ross KingMaker (Blue Note)
  10. Christian McBride Christian McBride’s New Jawn (Mack Avenue/Brother Mister)

Historical:

  1. Eric Dolphy Musical Prophet: The Expanded 1963 New York Studio Sessions (Resonance)
  2. Betty Carter The Music Never Stops (Blue Engine)
  3. Wes Montgomery Back on Indiana Avenue: The Carroll DeCamp Recordings (Resonance)
  4. John Coltrane Blue World (Impulse!)
  5. Kenny Barron & Mulgrew Miller The Art of Piano Duo – Live (Groovin’ High/Sunnyside)

Britt Robson

New Releases:

  1. Jaimie Branch Fly or Die II: Bird Dogs of Paradise (International Anthem)
  2. Linda May Han Oh Aventurine (Biophilia)
  3. Spaza Spaza (Mushroom Hour/Half Hour)
  4. James Carter Organ Trio Live from Newport Jazz (Blue Note)
  5. Mario Pavone’s Dialect Trio Philosophy (Clean Feed)
  6. Branford Marsalis Quartet The Secret Between the Shadow and the Soul (OKeh)
  7. Dave Holland/Zakir Hussain/Chris Potter Good Hope (Edition)
  8. Miho Hazama Dancer in Nowhere (Sunnyside)
  9. Ralph Alessi Imaginary Friends (ECM)
  10. Alex Sipiagin NoFo Skies (Blue Room)

Historical:

  1. Betty Carter The Music Never Stops (Blue Engine)
  2. John Coltrane Blue World (Impulse!)
  3. Eric Dolphy Musical Prophet: The Expanded 1963 New York Studio Sessions (Resonance)
  4. Various Artists The Art Ensemble of Chicago and Associated Ensembles (ECM)
  5. Cannonball Adderley Swingin’ in Seattle: Live at the Penthouse 1966-1967 (Reel to Real)

Mike Shanley

New Releases:

  1. Nature Work Nature Work (Sunnyside)
  2. Ben Goldberg Good Day for Cloud Fishing (Pyroclastic)
  3. Tyshawn Sorey/Marilyn Crispell The Adornment of Time (Pi)
  4. Anthony Braxton Quartet (New Haven) 2014 (Firehouse 12)
  5. Ralph Alessi Imaginary Friends (ECM)
  6. Dave Douglas Engage (Greenleaf)
  7. Russ Lossing Motion Music (Sunnyside)
  8. Matthew Shipp Trio Signature (ESP)
  9. Taylor Ho Bynum 9-Tette The Ambiguity Manifesto (Firehouse 12)
  10. Art Ensemble of Chicago We Are on the Edge (Pi)

Historical:

  1. Eric Dolphy Musical Prophet: The Expanded 1963 New York Studio Sessions (Resonance)
  2. John Coltrane Blue World (Impulse!)
  3. Johnny Costa Plays Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood Jazz (Omnivore)

Jeff Tamarkin

New Releases:

  1. Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah Ancestral Recall (Ropeadope)
  2. Quiana Lynell A Little Love (Concord Jazz)
  3. Joey DeFrancesco In the Key of the Universe (Mack Avenue)
  4. Terri Lyne Carrington and Social Science Waiting Game (Motéma)
  5. Bill Frisell Harmony (Blue Note)
  6. Enrico Rava/Joe Lovano Roma (ECM)
  7. Dave Holland/Zakir Hussain/Chris Potter Good Hope (Edition)
  8. Anat Cohen Tentet Triple Helix (Anzic)
  9. George Benson Walking to New Orleans (Provogue)
  10. Music From the Original Soundtrack by Wynton Marsalis Bolden (Blue Engine)

Historical:

  1. John Coltrane Blue World (Impulse!)
  2. Nat King Cole Hittin’ the Ramp: The Early Years (1936-1943) (Resonance)
  3. Eric Dolphy Musical Prophet: The Expanded 1963 New York Studio Sessions (Resonance)
  4. Stan Getz Getz at the Gate (Verve)
  5. Betty Carter The Music Never Stops (Blue Engine)

Chris J. Walker

New Releases:

  1. Tom Harrell Infinity (HighNote)
  2. Branford Marsalis Quartet The Secret Between the Shadow & the Soul (OKeh)
  3. Miguel Zenón Sonero: The Music of Ismael Rivera (Miel)
  4. Fred Hersch & the WDR Big Band Begin Again (Palmetto)
  5. Poncho Sanchez Trane’s Delight (Concord Picante)
  6. Preservation Hall Jazz Band A Tuba to Cuba (Sub Pop)
  7. Veronica Swift Confessions (Mack Avenue)
  8. Abdullah Ibrahim The Balance (Gearbox)
  9. Sara Gazarek Thirsty Ghost (MRI)
  10. Santana Africa Speaks (Concord)

Historical:

  1. Jazz Fest: The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival (Smithsonian Folkways)
  2. Betty Carter The Music Never Stops (Blue Engine)
  3. Art Pepper Promise Kept: The Complete Artist House Recordings (Omnivore)
  4. Franklin Kiermyer Solomon’s Daughter (Dot Time)
  5. Miles Davis Rubberband (Warner Bros./Rhino)

Michael J. West

New Releases:

  1. Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah Ancestral Recall (Ropeadope)
  2. Matana Roberts COIN COIN Chapter Four: Memphis (Constellation)
  3. Miho Hazama Dancer in Nowhere (Sunnyside)
  4. Marilyn Mazur Marilyn Mazur’s Shamania (RareNoise)
  5. Matthew Shipp Trio Invites Nicole Mitchell All Things Are (Rogue Arts)
  6. Joel Ross KingMaker (Blue Note)
  7. Ben Monder Day After Day (Sunnyside)
  8. Jaimie Branch Fly or Die II: Bird Dogs of Paradise (International Anthem)
  9. James Brandon Lewis An UnRuly Manifesto (Relative Pitch)
  10. Chick Corea/Christian McBride/Brian Blade Trilogy 2 (Concord Jazz)
  11. Brian Krock Liddle (Outside In)
Originally Published