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Best Jazz Albums of 1993

Discover the Best of Jazz selection for 1993 with our 10 best jazz albums released that year. Once again, the albums are listed in no particular order; all are amazing in their own ways.

At the end of the article, you will also find a playlist with a track to represent each of those 10 albums, plus 10 extra tracks for nearly 140 minutes of breathtaking music.

Best Jazz 1993

The 10 Best Jazz Albums of 1993

Charles Gayle, William Parker, Rashied Ali Touchin' On Trane

Charles Gayle, William Parker, Rashied Ali

Touchin’ On Trane

Recorded live on October 31 and November 1, 1991, during the Total Music Meeting at the Haus der jungen Talente in Berlin, Touchin’ on Trane is a tribute to John Coltrane. Even though the album does not contain any covers of Coltrane’s songs, it is often considered to be the best tribute to Coltrane ever recorded, thanks to how Charles Gayle, William Parker, and Rashied Ali managed to expand upon his accomplishments.

Charles Gayle: tenor saxophone; William Parker: bass; Rashied Ali: drums
Released 1993

Bill Frisell Have A Little Faith

Bill Frisell

Have A Little Faith
(Elektra Nonesuch)

This is Americana, reviewed and interpreted as never before. The Penguin Guide to Jazz calls it a “marvelous examination,” but you can expect it to be extravagant, brilliant, and sometimes disconcerting, like an examination that Frank Zappa would have conducted. Bill Frisell makes it as surprising as it is enjoyable.

Bill Frisell: guitar; Don Byron: clarinet, bass clarinet; Guy Klucevsek: accordion; Kermit Driscoll: bass; Joey Baron: drums
Released 1993

Joshua Redman Wish

Joshua Redman

(Warner Bros. Records)

“One of the things which I like most about this record is that it has a definite collective identity, a real organic unity. The repertoire is very diverse, but I think there is a feeling which Charlie, Billy, Pat, and myself have as a group which transcends the structural and stylistic differences between the individual compositions. One of the reasons I wanted to work with these guys – aside from the obvious fact that they’re masters – is because they’re master storytellers. They all have an incredible sense of how to cooperate in the creation of coherent musical statements over time. And they do this spontaneously – always preserving and enhancing the emotional immediacy which is essential to jazz.”
Joshua Redman

Joshua Redman: tenor saxophone; Pat Metheny: guitar; Charlie Haden: double bass; Billy Higgins: drums
Released September 17, 1993

Akosh Szelevényi Ensemble Pannonia

Akosh Szelevényi Ensemble

(European Music Productions)

Pannonia is the first album released by Akosh. Hard to find, but definitely a gem! It contains all the ingredients that made him so specific: a mixture of free jazz, folk music, and shamanic music. The title track, “Pannonia,” also further initiates the idea that all life starts with a scream.

Discover Five Essential Akosh Szelevényi Albums.

Akosh Szelevényi: soprano & tenor saxophones, flute, voice composed; Philippe Foch: drums, percussions, indian tablas; Bernard Malandain: double bass; Michelle Véronique: violin, voice
Released 1993

Us3 Hand On The Torch


Hand On The Torch
(Blue Note)

The best-known acid-jazz band is Us3, whose album, Hand on the Torch, was a worldwide hit. The band’s use of samples from Thelonious Monk, Art Blakey, Herbie Hancock, Grant Green, Horace Silver, and many more artists brought acid jazz into the mainstream. Thanks to bands like Us3, acid jazz has exerted a lasting influence on the world of music.

Rahsaan Kelly, Kobie Powell: rap; Gerard Presencer: trumpet; Dennis Rollins: trombone; Mike Smith: tenor sax; Ed Jones: soprano, tenor sax; Tony Remy: guitar; Matt Cooper: piano | Guest Tukka Yoot: rap.
Released November 16, 1993

Tom Varner The Mystery Of Compassion

Tom Varner

The Mystery Of Compassion
(Soul Note)

Tom Varner is a pioneer of jazz and improvised music on the French horn. His album, The Mystery of Compassion, offers a complex, wandering, spiritual journey through what could be a dark, alternative New York City, ending with no answer but still providing so much satisfaction.

Tom Varner: French horn; Matt Darriau: alto saxophone (6); Ed Jackson: alto saxophone (1-5 & 7-9); Ellery Eskelin: tenor saxophone (6); Rich Rothenberg: tenor saxophone (1-9); Jim Hartog: baritone saxophone (6); Steve Swell: trombone (6, 10); Dave Taylor: bass trombone (6, 10); Mark Feldman: violin (5); Mike Richmond: bass (1-9); Tom Rainey: drums (1-9)
Released 1993

Joe Henderson So Near, So Far

Joe Henderson

So Near, So Far (Musings For Miles)
(Verve Records)

Miles Davis died in September 1991. One year later, Joe Henderson recorded these 10 tracks of well-and-lesser-known songs as a tribute to Davis, whom he greatly admired. The result is 10 beautiful, strong covers, magically interpreted by the quartet, highlighting all their delicate complexity.

Joe Henderson: tenor saxophone; John Scofield: guitar; Dave Holland: bass; Al Foster: drums
Released 1993

Steve Coleman And Five Elements The Tao Of Mad Phat

Steve Coleman And Five Elements

The Tao Of Mad Phat < Fringe Zones >

“We realized some time ago that some of the things we do in concert, like the collective meditations concept, have not been documented on recordings. This concept involves restructuring either our own music or that of others by changing basic rhythmic, melodic, and emotional aspects using intuitive-logic, then spontaneously merging the altered music with other music which has been similarly restructured. This music is about our experiences in everyday life. It is a living music. We are very influenced by many of the styles and creations of music from the past and present but we are most concerned with the expression of our lives, as this is what we know best. We don’t want to imitate other music, we don’t even want to imitate ourselves. Music for us is a way of communicating experiences using the abstract language of organized sounds.”
–Steve Coleman

Steve Coleman: alto saxophone, piano, vocals; Andy Milne: keyboards (1, 3-9, 11); David Gilmore: guitar (1-9, 11); Reggie Washington: bass guitar (1-9, 11); Gene Lake: drums; Roy Hargrove: trumpet (10); Josh Roseman: trombone (10); Matt Garrison: bass guitar (10); Kenny Davis: acoustic bass (8, 10); Junior Wedderburn: percussion (8, 10)
Released 1993

Medeski Martin & Wood It's A Jungle In Here

Medeski Martin & Wood

It’s A Jungle In Here

Medeski Martin & Wood’s second album reflects the early trio’s sound, as well as their unique approach to music, mixing funk and hip-hop with jazz, thereby creating this distinctive “Avant-groove.”

John Medeski: organ, piano, Wurlitzer; Billy Martin: drums, percussion; Chris Wood: acoustic bass | Special guests: Steven Bernstein: trumpet; Josh Roseman: trombone; Jay Rodriguez: tenor, alto saxophones; Dave Binney: alto saxophone; Marc Ribot: guitar
Released October 8, 1993

Keith Jarrett Trio Bye Bye Blackbird

Keith Jarrett Trio

Bye Bye Blackbird
(ECM Records)

“When Miles Davis died in 1991, three of his former sidemen – Keith Jarrett, Gary Peacock, and Jack DeJohnette – headed to New York’s Power Station studio to play some music in his memory. These included pieces associated with Davis plus the celebratory improvisation.”

Keith Jarrett: piano; Gary Peacock: double bass; Jack DeJohnette: drums
Released April 1993

Albums List

  • Charles Gayle, William Parker, Rashied AliTouchin’ On Trane (FMP)
  • Bill FrisellHave A Little Faith (Elektra Nonesuch)
  • Joshua RedmanWish (Warner Bros. Records)
  • Akosh Szelevényi EnsemblePannonia (European Music Productions)
  • Us3Hand On The Torch (Blue Note)
  • Tom VarnerThe Mystery Of Compassion (Soul Note)
  • Joe HendersonSo Near, So Far (Musings For Miles) (Verve Records)
  • Steve Coleman And Five ElementsThe Tao Of Mad Phat < Fringe Zones > (RCA)
  • Medeski Martin & WoodIt’s A Jungle In Here (Gramavision)
  • Keith Jarrett TrioBye Bye Blackbird (ECM Records)

The 1990s

Discover all the other 1990s jazz selections: 1990199119921994 – 1995 – 1996 – 1997 – 1998 –1999

Playlist “Best Jazz 1993”

Here is a link to the Spotify Playlist Best Jazz 1993, with a track for each album listed above plus 10 tracks from 10 other amazing 1993 jazz albums, including Guru, Marion Brown Quintet, Miles Davis, and many more.


  1. Great post Paul!

    I remember watching Super Mario Bros 1993 movie as a teenager and being blown away by US3. Bought the album next day and scratched my head asking myself “who is Herbie Hancock?”while playing Cantaloop. That led me to Empyrean Isles, Speak like a Child, then Coltrane, Davis, Powell, Parker…

Any thoughts or comments you would like to add to this post?