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Best of jazz – year 2021

Listen to the Spotify playlist “Best of jazz – year 2021 (so far)“, with tracks updated every week to discover the best jazz tracks and albums of the year.

In the meantime, discover the dedicated pages with monthly selections (“What’s New”) and our “Best of Jazz—Year 2021 (So Far)” playlist of the 10 best albums of 2021 so far.

Edit: 2021 is already an amazing year! After 6 months, the 10 selected albums are worth a full-year selection.

I – The 10 Best Jazz Albums of 2021 (so far)

Of course, it is a bit too early to say, but already, here is a brief list of albums that you should really dig:

1- Vijay Iyer, Linda May Han Oh, Tyshawn Sorey

Vijay Iyer, Linda May Han Oh, Tyshawn Sorey
Uneasy
(ECM)

A new trio with new intensity. Full album review here: Vijay Iyer – Uneasy

Part of the Jazz April 2021 selection.

Vijay Iyer: piano; Linda May Han Oh: double bass; Tyshawn Sorey: drums
Release date: 2021 Apr 9

2 – Floating Points, Pharoah Sanders, & The London Symphony Orchestra

Floating Points, Pharoah Sanders & The London Symphony Orchestra
Promises
(Luaka Bop)

“🌠🌠🌠🌠🌠”

Part of the Jazz March 2021 selection

Sam Shepherd: piano, harpsichord, celesta, solo vocal; Pharoah Sanders: tenor saxophone, voice; Orchestrated by The London Symphony Orchestra
Release date: 2021 Mar 26

3 – Charles Lloyd & The Marvels

Charles Lloyd & The Marvels - Tone Poem
Charles Lloyd & The Marvels
Tone Poem
(Blue Note)

Just perfectly perfect. A pure moment of pleasure for the ears and the brain.

Part of the Jazz January 2021 selection.

Charles Lloyd: saxophone; Bill Frisell: guitar, electric; Greg Leisz: guitar, steel; Eric Harland: drums; Rueben Rogers: bass.
Release date: 2021 Jan 29

4 – Natural Information Society with Evan Parker

Natural-Information-Society-with-Evan-Parker-descension
Natural Information Society with Evan Parker
descension (Out of Our Constrictions)
(Eremite Records)

Full album review here: Natural Information Society with Evan Parkerdescension

Part of the Jazz April 2021 selection.

Joshua Abrams: guimbri; Lisa Alvarado: harmonium & effects; Mikel Patrick Avery: drums; Evan Parker: soprano saxophone; Jason Stein bass: clarinet
Release date: 2021 Apr 16

5 – James Brandon Lewis, Red Lily Quintet

James Brandon Lewis, Red Lily Quintet - Jesup Wagon
James Brandon Lewis, Red Lily Quintet
Jesup Wagon
(TAO Forms)

What James Brandon Lewis is offering here, is poetry. Nothing less. As poetic as A Love Supreme? without a doubt. As major? let’s hope. Read the full review here: James Brandon Lewis, Red Lily QuintetJesup Wagon

James Brandon Lewis: tenor saxophone; Kirk Knuffke: cornet; William Parker: bass, gimbri (#2 & #7); Chris Hoffman: cello; Chad Taylor: drums, mbira (#6)
Release date: 2021 May 7

6 – Sons of Kemet

Sons-of-Kemet-Black-to-the-Future
Sons of Kemet
Black to the Future
(Impulse! Records)

Part of the Jazz May 2021 selection. Full album review here: Sons of KemetBlack to the Future

Shabaka Hutchings: saxophone, clarinet; Tom Skinner: drum; Theon Cross: tuba; Eddie Hick; drum
Release date: 2021 May 14

7 – FIRE!

Best Jazz February 2021 - Fire - Defeat
FIRE!
Defeat
(Rune Grammofon)

“imagine all the shadows of the art cover starting moving, enlightened by the fire dancing around”. Read our review: FIRE!defeat

Part of Jazz February 2021 selection.

Mats Gustafsson: saxophone; Johan Berthling: bass; Andreas Werliin: drums.
Release date: 2021 Feb 12

8 – Julian Lage

Julian Lage - Squint

[/white_box]Julian Lage
Squint
(Blue Note)[/white_box]

“the dynamic 11-song set featuring 9 originals showcases both Lage’s remarkable songcraft and adventurous sense of improvisation which takes flight in the company of his trusted trio”
— Blue Note

Part of the June 2021 selction.

Julian Lage: guitar; Jorge Roeder: bass; Dave King: drum.
Release date: 2021 June 11

9 – The Locals

The Locals
Play The Music Of Anthony Braxton
(Discus)

Recorded live in 2006 – released only now – those reinterpretations of early Anthony Braxton pieces by Pat Thomas and his band are so unexpected and amazingly unique, we can’t stop spinning it.

Part of the Jazz March 2021 selection.

Pat Thomas: piano, melodica; Alex Ward: clarinet; Evan Thomas: electric guitar; Dominic Lash: electric bass; Darren Hasson-Davis: drums.
Release date: 2021 Mar 5

10 – William Parker

William Parker - Migration of Silence Into and Out of The Tone World
William Parker
Migration of Silence Into and Out of The Tone World – [Volumes 1–10]
(AUM Fidelity)

“Migration of Silence Into and Out of the Tone World (Volumes 1–10) is a 10-album collection of vocal and instrumental suites all recorded expressly for this set between late 2018 and early 2020, with women’s voices at its core. [READ MORE on Bandcamp]”

Read our full review (10 albums!) here: William ParkerMigration of Silence Into and Out of The Tone World – [Volumes 1–10]

Part of the January 2021 selection.

William Parker: compositions, bass & additional instruments | Featuring: an international, inter-generational array of singers & musicians, drawn from both long-standing colleagues and a new generation of devoted artists.
Release date: 2021 Jan 29

II – New Releases 2021 – Month by Month

  • January 2021 (feat. Charles Lloyd & The Marvels, Shai Maestro…)
  • February 2021 (feat. Fire!, St. Barbe, The Locals/Pat Thomas, Arnan Raz…)
  • March 2021 (feat. Punkt.Vrt.Plastik, Throttle Elevator Music…)
  • April 2021 (feat. Myele Manzanza, Vijay Iyer, Damon Locks, Koma Saxo…)
  • May 2021 (feat. James Brandon Lewis, Sons of Kemet, María Grand… )
  • June 2021 (feat. Julian Lage, Amaro Freitas, Tomoko Omura…)
  • July 2021 (feat. William Parker, Daniel Herskedal, Dave McMurray…)
  • August 2021 (feat. Tomi Lassy, Adi Meyerson, Julien Loureau…)

Best Jazz 2021 Playlist

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