The 2015 Expanded Critics’ Poll

JT's critics choose their favorite musicians, books, festivals and more

Rudresh Mahanthappa
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Maria Schneider Orchestra at the 2015 Detroit Jazz Festival
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Antonio Sanchez
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Warren Wolf
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For our annual Expanded Critics’ Poll, a companion piece to last issue’s Year in Review special feature, dozens of our trusted writers participated in a survey containing most of the same categories as our year-end Readers’ Poll. Voters were asked to focus on artists’ recordings and performances that transpired during 2015 rather than assessing entire careers.

Best of All

New Artist

Kamasi Washington


Joey Alexander

James Brandon Lewis

Adam O’Farrill

Artist of the Year

Kamasi Washington


Charles Lloyd

Maria Schneider

Rudresh Mahanthappa

Best Groups

Acoustic Group/Artist

Rudresh Mahanthappa “Bird Calls”


Vijay Iyer Trio

Christian McBride Trio

Jack DeJohnette “Made in Chicago”

Electric/Fusion/Contemporary Group/Artist

Snarky Puppy


Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah “Stretch Music”

Terence Blanchard Featuring the E-Collective

Kamasi Washington & the Next Step

Big Band/Large Ensemble

Maria Schneider Orchestra


Arturo O’Farrill & the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra

Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society

The Gil Evans Project Directed by Ryan Truesdell

Vocal Group

Take 6


London, Meader, Pramuk & Ross

Duchess [tied w/ below]

Tillery

Best of the Jazz Industry

Record Label

ECM


Blue Note

Motéma

Pi

Festival

Winter Jazzfest (NYC)


Detroit Jazz Festival

Montreal International Jazz Festival

Monterey Jazz Festival

Nightclub

Village Vanguard


Jazz Standard

Birdland

Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola

Radio Program
Jazz Night in America (NPR/WBGO/JALC)

The Checkout (WBGO)
Jazz After Hours with Jeff Hanley (PRI)

Book
Billie Holiday: The Musician & the Myth, by John Szwed (Viking)

Love Songs: The Hidden History, by Ted Gioia (Oxford University)
Is That All There Is? The Strange Life of Peggy Lee, by James Gavin (Atria)
Charles Lloyd: A Wild, Blatant Truth, by Josef Woodard (Silman-James) [tied w/ below]
Miles Davis’ Bitches Brew (33 1/3), by George Grella Jr. (Bloomsbury)

Best Musicians

Trumpet/Cornet/Flugelhorn

Dave Douglas


Ambrose Akinmusire

Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah

Terence Blanchard

Trombone

Robin Eubanks


Steve Turre

John Fedchock

Wycliffe Gordon

Tenor Saxophone

Joe Lovano


Chris Potter

Charles Lloyd

JD Allen

[tied w/ two below]

Jon Irabagon

Branford Marsalis

Alto Saxophone

Rudresh Mahanthappa


Steve Coleman

Miguel Zenón

Tim Berne

Soprano Saxophone

Dave Liebman


Wayne Shorter

Jane Ira Bloom

Chris Potter

Baritone Saxophone

Gary Smulyan


James Carter

Ronnie Cuber

Claire Daly

Clarinet

Anat Cohen


Paquito D’Rivera

Don Byron

Ken Peplowski

Flute

Nicole Mitchell


Henry Threadgill

Charles Lloyd

Hubert Laws

Violin

Regina Carter


Jenny Scheinman

Mark Feldman

Sara Caswell

Piano

Jason Moran


Kenny Barron

Fred Hersch

Vijay Iyer

Electric Keyboards

Craig Taborn


Marc Cary

Robert Glasper

Chick Corea

Organ

Dr. Lonnie Smith


Larry Goldings

Joey DeFrancesco

John Medeski

Guitar

John Scofield


Bill Frisell

Julian Lage

Liberty Ellman

Acoustic Bass

Christian McBride


Dave Holland

Ron Carter

Linda Oh [tied w/ below]

John Patitucci

Electric Bass

Steve Swallow


Thundercat

Jamaaladeen Tacuma

Derrick Hodge

[tied w/ below]

Marcus Miller

Vibraphone

Warren Wolf


Gary Burton

Stefon Harris

Chris Dingman

[tied w/ below]

Joe Locke

Drums

Antonio Sanchez


Jack DeJohnette

Brian Blade

Jeff “Tain” Watts

Percussion

Pedrito Martinez


Zakir Hussain

Cyro Baptista

Manolo Badrena

Miscellaneous Instrument

[4 Winners]
Béla Fleck (banjo)

Grégoire Maret (harmonica)

Erik Friedlander (cello)

Scott Robinson (contrabass saxophone)


Male Vocalist

Gregory Porter


Kurt Elling

José James

Tony Bennett

[tied w/ below]

Andy Bey

Female Vocalist

Cécile McLorin Salvant


Cyrille Aimée

Karrin Allyson

Cassandra Wilson

Composer

Maria Schneider


Terence Blanchard

Steve Coleman

Rudresh Mahanthappa

Arranger

Maria Schneider


Ryan Truesdell

Arturo O’Farrill

Billy Childs

[tied w/ below]

John Clayton

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