Lots of great music has come out this year and I’ve worked my tail off on shrinking this list to about 15 albums of the year candidates. The albums are not presented in any order. However, I do begin with my favorite album of the year. Let’s get into the list.
Jacopo Ferrazza Trio – Rebirth
This January I absolutely adored this album. I really loved the title track “Rebirth” and thought the arrangements and melodies were beautiful on this album. I felt this album would grow with me over time and it has. This is now my favorite album of the year so far.
Chris Thile & Brad Mehldau – Chris Thile & Brad Mehldau
Fantastic duo record, great communication and improvisation taking place here. One of my favorite tunes is “Scarlet Town”. Great combination of Americana and Jazz.
Hard hitting mix of jazz, fusion, rock, and everything in between. “For the Fallen” really sets the tone for this album and the title track “Anti-Hero” is one of my favorite tunes this year. Great music for working out or starting the weekend.
Billy Childs- Rebirth
The second album with the title Rebirth to make this list. This one has a classic jazz sound. I love tracks like “Stay” just a hauntingly beautiful piano into and when the vocals come in, it stabs you in the heart.
Bryan and the Aardvarks- Sounds From the Deep Field
This album has a grandiose, larger then life feel. It’s a large ensemble with an even larger sound. Opening track “Supernova” and “Bright Shimmering Lights” are prime examples of this.
Diego Barber- One Minute Later
I didn’t know anything about Diego Barber prior to this album, but he has my attention now. As many of you knwo, I’m not the biggest fan of jazz guitar, but here Diego Barber is nothing short of magnificent. Fantastic melodic development and solos that have direction and not just endless noodling. Highly recommend checking this one out. “Atlas” is a highlight for me.
Mark De Clive – Live At The Blue Whale EP
Okay, so technically an EP and not an album, but this just connected with me so strongly that I had to include it. Listen to the opening track “Evergreen” and see if you agree with me.
Nate Smith- KINFOLK: Postcards from Everywhere
While these albums are in no particular order I will say that this one was very close to being my favorite of the year so far. The compositions are beautiful, Nate Smith’s drumming is so refreshing, and the heartfelt meaning and overall concept for the album is well put together. I love “Mom: Postcards From Detroit/Floyd/Salem” and “Retold” being played back to back.
Marialy Pacheco: Duets
This album grooves so hard. The best interaction between two musicians I’ve heard all year. Nothing else to say. Go listen to it today.
Anat Cohen & Marcello Gonclaves- Outra Coisa
Love me some Anat Cohen! This album features the music of Moacir Santos and is another fantastic duo record for 2017.
Chris Potter -The Dream Is The Dream
I love so many of Chris Potter’s records, and it’s been exciting to see how he has developed from the early 2000s to now. This album is another accomplishment in his illustrious career. Only negative I have on the record is with the label. I find it ridiculous ECM doesn’t allow the music to be streamed. This is 2017. Allow people to stream.
Avishai Cohen Quartet- Cross My Palm With Silver
Fantastic record from the virtuoso trumpeter from Israel. I’ve heard Avishai a couple times live and each time it was mesmerizing. Highly recommend all his music and this album is great and hopefully I can hear some cuts from it live.
Jack DeJohnette- Movement
This is a late June release is a must listen. The combo is nothing short of a supergroup. Love Scofield’s playing throughout the record. Check out “Tony Then Jack”.
Brooklyn Raga Massive- Coltrane Raga Tribute
Not many large ensemble recordings on this list, Coltrane Raga Tribute is an exception. I’ve heard these Coltrane songs hundreds of times and this ensemble found new and refreshing ways to play them. A personal favorite of mine is “Central Park West”.
Craig Taborn- Daylight Ghosts
Another ECM record on the list. This album was an early favorite and has stayed in my musical rotation all year long. Some great melodies on here. I recommend listening to “The Shining One” and “Ancient”.
Phronesis w Frankfurt Radio Big Band- The Behemoth
what an interesting collaboration this is. Phronesis with a Big Band sounds great. I love the edgy and “out” there arrangements that came out of this record. Check out “Zieding” and “Stillness”.
Trombone Shorty- Parking Lot Symphony
This music is refreshing and a great example of how jazz can integrate other genres well. The album is short and sweet, but still has a wide variety of tracks to keep you entertained. Check out the title track.
So there it is! The best albums of the year so far. I didn’t include any July albums as the month is still going on and I have many albums that I thought were great, but just didn’t make the list. Any albums you felt really should’ve made the list? Comment below and maybe I’ll add them to the end of the year list.