The Best of Jazz 2023 (So Far!) says a lot about how strangely good this year has already been.
We say “strangely” because coming out of the COVID-19 years was believed to be a new beginning and the promise of an easier existence. However, for the last few months, everyday life has been exhausting, wearisome, and hard for all of us.
Despite these struggles, jazz musicians did manage to expand their creativity, broaden their horizons, and explore uncharted territories. Additionally, the fact that many of the following releases cannot fit properly into one category, says a lot about the current state of creativity ahead of classification. Last, a large part of this creativity is getting noticed by a broader audience that is younger than the usual crowd of jazz aficionados.
The best jazz 2020 in 20 essential albums.
3 solos, 3 duets, 3 quartets, 3 quintets, 3 larger ensembles, 1 artist of the year, and 1 archive of the year.
No rank, no order, just 20 albums and a playlist summing it up at the end of this post to enjoy outstanding music.
The following selection is our definitive “Best Jazz Albums of 2022” list. As you are about to discover, 2022 was another great year for jazz!
First, all the jazz clubs and venues suddenly reopened, and it was possible to see and listen to the music we love and the artists we worship live again! It is hard to believe that less than one year ago, the music scene was non-existent. This is such a relief! Now that we deeply understand the fragility of this ecosystem, it feels important—and even better—to go out and enjoy what is definitely not a given.
Discover our final and definitive “Best Jazz Albums of 2021” list.
This year, the selection is divided into albums featuring solos, duets, trios, quartets, quintets, and larger ensembles, with three selections per category, for a total of 18 albums. We also added one category for “Artist of the Year”, and one for “Archive of the Year”, thereby adding two albums to the final selection, for a grand total of 20 albums that sum up how great 2021 was for jazz.