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Best Jazz Albums of 1999

Discover the BestofJazz selection for 1999, with the 10 best jazz albums released that year. Once again, the albums are listed in no particular order; they are all amazing in their own ways. At the end of the article, you will also find a playlist with a track from each of those 10 albums, plus 10 extra, for more than two hours of breathtaking music.

Best Jazz 1999

The 10 Best Jazz Albums of 1999

Esbjörn Svensson Trio - From Gagarin's Point Of View

Esbjörn Svensson Trio

From Gagarin’s Point Of View
(Superstudio Gul)

From Gagarin’s Point of View is certainly a turning point in the Esbjörn Svensson Trio’s career. It provided them with clear international recognition and preceded a decade of amazing new releases.

“We wanted to keep the music flowing as much as possible. The strange title that Magnus had come up with also fitted in with it. Gagarin was the first person who could ever see the earth from space. From up there in the loneliness, he had an overview of everything that was happening below. We liked this idea, and felt it was working for the title and the concept of the whole album.”
— Esbjörn Svensson

Esbjörn Svensson: grand piano, keyboards, percussion; Dan Berglund: double-bass, percussion; Magnus Öström: drums, percussion
Released May 1, 1999
Genre: Jazz-Rock, Contemporary Jazz

Keith Jarrett - The Melody At Night, With You

Keith Jarrett

The Melody At Night, With You
(ECM Records)

Recorded at home, this is perhaps Keith Jarrett’s most intimate album – Part of Keith Jarrett – Piano Solos (1998-2017)

“I started taping it in December 1997, as a Christmas present for my wife. I’d just had my Hamburg Steinway overhauled and wanted to try it out, and I have my studio right next to the house, so if I woke up and had a half-decent day, I would turn on the tape recorder and play for a few minutes. I was too fatigued to do more. Then something started to click with the mike placement, the new action of the instrument,… I could play so soft,… and the internal dynamics of the melodies… of the songs… It was one of those little miracles that you have to be ready for, though part of it was that I just didn’t have the energy to be clever.”
— Keith Jarrett

Keith Jarrett: piano
Released October 4, 1999
Contemporary Jazz

Romano, Sclavis, Texier, Le Querrec - Carnet De Routes Suite Africaine

Romano, Sclavis, Texier, Le Querrec

Carnet De Routes: Suite Africaine
(Label Bleu)

Following the huge success of their concept album, Carnet De Routes, released in 1995, Romano, Sclavis, and Texier, accompanied by photographer Guy Le Querrec, chose to continue their journey through the African continent, this time in the east and south.

“If you purchase no other jazz recordings this year, pick up the Romano, Sclavis, and Texier African recordings — they’re worth whatever you pay for them.”
— Thom Jurek for AllMusic

Louis Sclavis: clarinet, soprano saxophone; Henri Texier: double bass; Aldo Romano: drums.
Released August 15, 1999
Contemporary Jazz, Free Improvisation

Dave Holland Quintet - Prime Directive

Dave Holland Quintet

Prime Directive
(ECM Records)

“Prime Directive, the album, picks where the Grammy-nominated Points of View left off and is the stronger for the addition of Chris Potter, widely regarded as one of the most exciting young saxophonists in North America.”

Dave Holland: double-bass; Chris Potter: soprano saxophone, alto saxophone, tenor saxophone; Robin Eubanks: trombone, cowbell; Steve Nelson: vibraphone, marimba; Billy Kilson: drums.
Released October 4, 1999
Contemporary Jazz

Akosh S. Unit - Élettér

Akosh S. Unit


The third album of his first tryptic, Élettér follows Imafa and Omeko, another astonishing free-jazz/folk fusion, raw and yet full of poetry. You can discover his other key releases here: Five Essential Akosh Szelevényi Albums

Akosh Szelevényi: tenor saxophone, soprano saxophone, trumpet, bombarde, kalimba; Péter Éri: viola, violin, jug, bombarde, bells; Joe Doherty: violin, viola, alto & soprano saxophones, bass clarinet, piano; Bertrand Cantat: vocals, tabla; Pape Dieye: djembe, tabla, percussion; Bernard Malandain, Róbert Benkõ: double bass; Philippe Foch: drums; Bob Coke Volcsánszky, Tadeusz Paczula: percussion, tabla, tambourine, tambura, lute.
Released 1999
Free Jazz, Contemporary Jazz

Paul Bley, Gary Peacock, Paul Motian - Not Two, Not One

Paul Bley, Gary Peacock, Paul Motian

Not Two, Not One
(ECM Records)

“Bassist Gary Peacock pulled together this reunion of a classic edition of the Paul Bley Trio. They’ve played together in duos over the years, but this – rather astonishingly – is the first time that Bley, Peacock, and Motian have recorded as a trio in 35 years. This was a history-making group, free and yet intensely melodic; it has lost none of its persuasiveness.”

Paul Bley: piano; Gary Peacock: double-bass; Paul Motian: drums.
Released February 15, 1999
Free Jazz, Contemporary Jazz

Dewey Redman, Cecil Taylor, Elvin Jones - Momentum Space

Dewey Redman, Cecil Taylor, Elvin Jones

Momentum Space
(Verve Records)

These seven tracks are made up of solos, duos, and trios, thereby allowing these three jazz masters to properly hypnotize us throughout every track and every improvisation.

Dewey Redman: tenor saxophone; Cecil Taylor: piano; Elvin Jones: drums.
Released 1999
Avant-garde Jazz

Charles Lloyd - Voice In The Night

Charles Lloyd

Voice In The Night
(ECM Records)

Wonderful musicians play these eight perfect tunes warmly and beautifully.

Charles Lloyd: tenor saxophone; John Abercrombie: guitar; Dave Holland: double bass; Billy Higgins: drums, percussion.
Released March 9, 1999
Contemporary Jazz

Chris Speed - Deviantics

Chris Speed

(Songlines Recordings)

Deviantics is Chris Speed’s second album as a leader. His quartet (Speed, Vu, Sverrisson, and Black) was named Yeah No after their first release in 1997 when the album’s name became the quartet’s name. Their music is some of the leading avant-garde of 1999, integrating a lot of Balkan music, with musicians as good as the quartet are themselves.

Chris Speed: clarinet, tenor saxophone; Cuong Vu: trumpet; Skúli Sverrisson: electric bass; Jim Black: drums, melodica.
Released April 6, 1999
Avant-Garde Jazz, Free Improvisation

Dave Douglas - Convergence

Dave Douglas

(Soul Note)

The Penguin Guide to Jazz selected this album as part of its suggested Core Collection. It’s a pretty wild and breathtaking album.

Dave Douglas: trumpet; Mark Feldman: violin; Erik Friedlander: cello; Drew Gress: bass; Michael Sarin: drums.
Released 1999
Contemporary Jazz

Best Jazz 199 – Albums List

  • Esbjörn Svensson TrioFrom Gagarin’s Point Of View (Superstudio Gul)
  • Keith JarrettThe Melody At Night, With You (ECM Records)
  • Akosh S. UnitÉlettér (Barclay)
  • Romano, Sclavis, Texier, Le QuerrecCarnet De Routes: Suite Africaine (Label Bleu)
  • Dave Holland QuintetPrime Directive (ECM Records)
  • Paul Bley, Gary Peacock, Paul MotianNot Two, Not One (ECM Records)
  • Chris SpeedDeviantics (Songlines Recordings)
  • Dave DouglasConvergence (Soul Note)
  • Dewey Redman, Cecil Taylor, Elvin JonesMomentum Space (Verve Records)
  • Charles LloydVoice In The Night (ECM Records)

The 1990s

Discover all the other 1990s jazz selections: 1990 19911992199319941995199619971998

Playlist “Best Jazz 1999”

Here is a link to the Spotify Playlist Best of Jazz 1999, with a track for each album listed above, plus 10 tracks from 10 other amazing 1999 jazz albums, including the beautiful “When Johnny Comes Marching Home” by Matthew Shipp and William Parker (extracted from DNA), “Thelonious” by Wynton Marsalis, “Bruca Maniguá” by Ibrahim Ferrer, and “Resignation” by Brad Mehldau.

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