Best of November

The year may be winding down, but some great albums are still coming out. So without further ado let’s get into the list of the best jazz albums released in November.

Aki Rissasen : Another North


A fantastic record and my favorite album to be released this month. The rhythmic grooves and overall energy reminds of Avashai Cohen’s Continuo. Can’t recommend this one enough.

Django Bates Beloved : The Study of Touch


Just a beautiful Jazz trio record. Some of my favorite songs are “The Study of Touch” and “Little Petherick” if you like piano music this album is for you. Another great ECM release and know it’s available everywhere.

Maciej Obara Quartet: Unloved


The best part of this album in my opinion is the compositions. “Ula” is suck a beautiful record, it’s a perfect way to start an album. Very well paced. “Sleep Walker” is another personal favorite of mine I love the beginning where the drum pattern and piano start everything off and the sax just comes in and dominates the song with its presence. Another ECM release that’s a highlight for the month of November.

Best Of The Rest

Oliver Bogé: When Ghosts Were Young

Eric Hofbauer Quintet: Prehistoric Jazz Vol.4

Trebuchet: Made To Break


Best of October

October had some really strong releases. Below I briefly discuss a few of my personal favorites.

Blue Maqams : Anouar Brahem


This album is a monster. Dave Holland, Jack DeJohnette, Django Bates, and Anouar Brahem this is a super group of musicians. Some beautiful originals are found on here. The music is truly challenging and inspiring. Check out tracks like “Bahia” and “Bom Dia Rio” to see what I mean. Another fantastic release from the ECM label and my favorite album of the month.


Gregory Porter: Nate King Cole and Me


I’ve been a of Gregory Porter for a few years now. I also had the pleasure of listening to him live at the CSO a couple years back. He has a powerful voice, and some great gospels influenced jazz music.I really enjoyed listening to this album. Check out “Quizas, Quizas, Quizas”, “When Love was King”, and “Nature Boy”.


Dave Douglas: Little Giant Still Life


Fantastic album from the jazz trumpeter. It’s a very high energy and cheerful record. Fantastic grooves, and it never bores. This is some of the best rhythmic interaction within a group that I’ve heard all year. My only issue/ thing you need to consider is that you can’t stream the album anywhere. You gotta pay for this one, but trust me you’ll be glad you did.


That concludes the month of October. What albums do you think should’ve made the list? What albums are you looking forward to before 2017 comes to a close? Comment below and let me know.

Best of September 

Let’s get right into it. Here are the best albums of September.
Cecile McLorin Salvant: Dreams and Daggers 

I love all of Salvant’s music and this album is no exception. This is a phenomenal double disc of live music. This album has notable tracks like “Devil May Care, Never Will I Marry, and My Man’s Gone”. This might be my favorite Salvant album and definitely my favorite of September and I’m sure I’ll be revisiting It throughout the year.
Christian McBride Big Band: Bringin’ It 

I’m not the biggest Big Band music fan, but Christian McBride Big Band always brings it. This album has some great arrangements. I especially enjoyed “I Thought About You and In The Wee Small Hours of The Morning”. The more I listen to this album the more I want to hear it. It’s a must buy.
Bill Charlap Trio Uptown Downtown


A couple years ago I discovered Bill Charlap’s music and I’ve been hooked ever since. This is classic piano trio music so if you dig that you’ll be right at home with this one. I especially enjoyed tracks “Satellite, and Sophisticated Lady”.
That’s all for this month. Any albums you felt I overlooked? Do you have a different favorite album for September? Let me know in the comments below.

Best of August 

Another month of music! This month is honestly not as deep as other months this year have been, but I still found plenty of quality albums. Let’s get into the list.


Blind Cinema- Blind Cinema 


Blind Cinema’s self titled album is my favorite album of August. has some of my favorite melodies and grooves of the year. Fantastic string writing on here. Highly recommend “Objectos ennegrecidos”. Simply beautiful.


Tyshawn Sorey- Verisimilitude  


Tyshawn Sorey’s music is very “out”, but if you’re okay with that this album will be an enjoyable experience. Highly recommend listening to “Flowers for Prashant” and “Contemplating Tranquility”.



The Gareth Lockrane Big Band- Fistfight at the Barndance


I’ve been a fan of Gareth Lockrane’s music for a few years now. His latest album Fistfight at the Barndance is quickly become my favorite album by the Flautist/ composer. Love the arrangements and it’s refreshing to hear him solo over the Big Band. I usually preface any mention of Big Bands  on this blog with a line like  “I’m not normally a fan of big bands, but this album…” , but recently I’ve noticed Big Band albums are making regular appearances on my Best Of lists. Maybe I’m going through a phase? Does a love for Big Band music develop over time? Are better Big Band albums being released? Who knows, but check this album out either way!


That’s all for this month. A short and sweet list. I really like all three of these albums and recommend each one so check them all out. Until next time, Thank you for staying in The Jazz Loop.

Best of June

Although I’ve already done a Best of the year post. I didn’t focus on June yet so let’s focus on that today.
Fabian Almazan & Rhizome- Alcanza


From the very beginning the energy and intensity of this record is evident. The Alcanza Suite is the primary focus of this album, however tunes like “La Voz de un Piano” and “La Voz de un Banjo” are not to be ignored. This album is my favorite of the month, and I can’t recommend it enough, it’s utterly beautiful.
Brooklyn Raga Tribute- Coltrane Raga Tribute


Large ensemble music and rearrangments of Coltrane classics, what’s not to love? Tunes like “Central Park West” are done especially well on this record. It’s hard to make songs I’ve heard played hundreds of times sound refreshing and new, but Brooklyn Raga Tribute accomplish this in Coltrane Raga Tribute.
Jack DeJohnette – Hudson 


Another great project by Jack DeJohnette. He has essentially a super group here that works together superbly. I really love Scofield’s playing on tunes such as “Woodstock” and “Wait Until Tomorrow”.
Best of the Rest: 

Ariel Pocock- Living in Twilight 

Denys Baptiste- The Late Trane 
That’s all I have for June. 3 top albums and a couple of honorable mentions. Any June releases you felt were omitted? Send me a comment below or in any of my social media sites. I’ll be sure to listen to all considerations.

Best Jazz Albums of the Year So Far

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.


Kneebody- Antihero 


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.

Continue reading “Best Jazz Albums of the Year So Far”

Best of May 


One Minute Later- Diego Barber 



This is my favorite album of the month. It has a nice relaxed vibe, and I just love the compositional approach of the album as a whole. Some of my favorite tunes are the opener “Jacaranda” and “Big House”. Will most likely be hearing about this album in my midyear recap.

Outspoken- Masaa 


Most of my Jazz listening is very American based so I’ve been making an extra effort to look at the Jazz world beyond the U.S.A. This exploration lead to me to Masaa. Fantastic group and their latest album “Outspoken” has some great tunes like “Sawa” and “Uber Mir” to back up my claim. Check it out.
Best of the Rest: 

These albums are very strong and I feel that I need a few more listening to solidify my opinion on them. I’ve put these albums here on the Best of the Rest and maybe they can make an appearance on my midyear recap.
Zacc Harris: American Reverie
Misha Mullov- Abbado: Cross- Platform Interchange
Louis Hayes: Serenade for Horace

Best of April

April was fantastic jazz wise.  So let’s jump right into the top albums of the month.

Bryan and the Aardvark: Sounds from the Deep field 


My favorite album for the month of April, I loved the melodies, the atmospheric vibe, and the instrumentation and focus of each song was different. This was a bold and daring project from a bold and daring group. Can’t recommend this group and this album enough.



Matt Holman: Tenth Muse


This album won’t be for everyone. This is definitely a more “out” experience, but if you have the patience/ ear for it this album is a joy. I love songs like “Fragment 147” and “Fragment 4”. Matt Holman continues to push us past our comfort zone in the best way possible.I usually have 3 top albums and a couple others listed as “Best of the Rest”. However, this month I felt the other selections were all very equal to each other so I have just two standout and three under “Best of the Rest”

Best of the Rest: 

Anne Mette Iverson: Ternion Quartet

Mike McGinnis: Recurring Dreams

Mina Agossi:UrbAfrika

Best of March

Lots of solid releases came out for the month of March. I feel the variety was quite vast even if I didn’t really vibe with all of the music. So here are my picks for the top albums from the month of March.

Billy Childs: Rebirth


The four time Grammy winner does it again with this album of all original compositions. I love the rhythmic and melodic development of the music here. Tunes like the title track and “Stay” grab your attention immediately and for different reasons. The title track is high energy and fast, “Stay” is a slow, honest, emotional, ballad. When the vocals come in on “Stay”, it cuts you like a knife. Check it out. This is the best album of the month.


Kneebody: Anti-hero

Kneebody is definitely one of those groups that pushes the boundaries of what jazz is, what it can be, and what it can do. This album has lots of electronics and effects which help establish its sound and some fantastic  arrangements as well. How they arrange for the tenor and trumpet could be a compositional masterclass. Tracks I highly recommend are “For The Fallen”, “Drum Battle” and “Yes You”.


Jazz at Lincoln Center: Music of John Lewis


Fantastic classic Big Band jazz music here. If you at all enjoy big band music this ensemble is a must and this latest recording is a delight. I love Jon Batiste here, I feel he doesn’t really get the respect he deserves in the jazz world because of his other work, but Batiste can play. A couple key tracks I recommend are “Animal Dance” and “Spanish Steps”.

Christian Scott: Ruler Rebel
Max Zentawer Trio: Reduce to the Max
Miles Okazaki: Trickster

Best of February 

Sorry for the delay on the Best of February article. I’ve had some personal issues come up that have made it difficult to write this past week. Anyway, I’m back on the grind and pumped to share with you the best albums of February. This past month had a ridiculously strong line up and it was hard to narrow that down to a short list. Somehow I managed to do so and here it is.
Thundercat: Drunk


Okay, I know I’m cheating, but this is clearly album of the month and album of the year and I had the put it on the list. It is hard to define Thundercat’s latest album, but it’s probably not jazz and definitely not straight ahead jazz. Still, this album has many jazz influences and honestly it’s so good I just felt I had to acknowledge it on the blog. It’s a must listen to album regardless. Very weird, but musically it’s just so rich.
Nate Smith: Kinfolk


Kinfolk is a fantastic record from the drummer/ composer Nate Smith. There is rhythmic complexity, wonderful singers, and a rich soulfulness to this album. You’ll find yourself grooving hard to “Skip Step”, singing along to “Disenchantment: The Weight” and connecting to stories told in interludes such as “Mom: Postcards From Detroit/Floyd/Salem”. I hope Nate Smith will be doing a performance near my area very soon as I’d love to hear some of these tunes live.
Mark de Clive-Lowe: Live At the Blue Whale EP

Technically and EP not a full album, but this recording had to be acknowledged. An impressive live recording, fantastic use of electronics, and a multitude of genres influenced and impacted this EP. I love the madness of it all on this record. Just when things feel like they are going a bit too far, a bit too out, you get brought back in. I kept coming back for more on this album, the energy these musicians had was contagious. It resonated with me as a listener and I can’t imagine the impact it had on the live audience.

Best Of The Rest 

Miguel Zenon: Tipico

The Vitral Quartet: Kites Over Havana 

David Weiss & Point of Departure: Wake Up Call

Nicolas Kummert: La Diversite 
As I stated earlier, this month was very strong. I wouldn’t be surprised if in a couple of months some of the “Best Of The Rest” for February move up in the rankings in my mind, or if an album I snubbed become my personal favorite. So as usual comment any albums you thought I missed below or any that you felt should’ve been talked about more.  Continue reading “Best of February “