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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.

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 SoreyUneasy

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 OrchestraPromises

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
Released date March 26, 2021

3 – Charles Lloyd & The MarvelsTone Poem

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.
Released date January 29, 2021

4 – Natural Information Society with Evan Parkerdescension (Out of Our Constrictions)

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
Released date April 16, 2021

5 – James Brandon Lewis, Red Lily QuintetJesup Wagon

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)
Released date May 7, 2021

6 – Sons of KemetBlack to the Future

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
Released date May 14, 2021

7 – Anna Webber – Idiom

Anna Webber - Idiom
Anna Webber
Idiom
(Pi Recordings)

Read our full review: Anna Webber – Idiom

“Idiom is a series of six pieces, each of which is based on a specific woodwind extended technique — a broad term meaning any non-traditional way of producing sound on an instrument, including the use of multiphonics, alternate fingerings, key clicks, overblown notes, and the like — that she has taken from her own improvisational language.”
— Pi Recordings

Disc One | Simple Trio
Anna Webber: tenor saxophone, flute; Matt Mitchell: piano; John Hollenbeck: drums.
Disc Two | Large Ensemble
Anna Webbe: tenor saxophone, flute, bass flute; Nathaniel Morgan: alto saxophone; Yuma Uesaka: tenor saxophone, clarinet, contra-alto clarinet; Adam O’Farrill: trumpet; David Byrd-Marrow: horn; Jacob Garchik: trombone; Erica Dicker: violin; Joanna Mattrey: viola; Mariel Roberts: cello; Liz Kosack: synthesizer; Nick Dunston: bass; Satoshi Takeishi: drums; Eric Wubbels: conductor.
Released date May 28, 2021

8 – Naoko SakataDancing Spirits

Naoko Sakata – Dancing Spirits
Naoko Sakata
Dancing Spirits
(Pomperipossa Records)

Dancing Spirits is one of those precious albums that reveal themselves after several listening, growing to a point where it becomes essential. This is evidently a major release of 2021 and beyond.

Read our full review: Naoko Sakata – Dancing Spirits

Naoko Sakata: piano
Released date March 26, 2021

9 – FIRE!Defeat

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.
Released date February 12, 2021

10 – William Parker Migration of Silence Into and Out of The Tone World

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.
Released date January 29, 2021

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…)
  • September 2021 (feat. Rachel Eckroth, Nate Smith, Jeremy Steig…)
  • October 2021 (feat. Evan Parker, William Parker, Lisa Ullen…)

Best Jazz 2021 Playlist

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