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A Look At 2019’s Best Jazz Albums

Blog
A Look At 2019’s Best Jazz Albums

27.01.2020

Text: Ekin Sanaç
Translated: Yetkin Nural

From iconic names to exciting discoveries, here is our top ten list of 2019’s most sensational jazz albums. 

Joel Ross - KingMaker (Blue Note)

Celebrating its 80th anniversary in 2019, Blue Note did not only pay justice to its rich archive but also released music by glorious new discoveries. We are already familiar with the 23- year-old vibraphonist Joel Ross from the records of contemporary jazz scene’s exciting names such as drummer Makaya McCraven and trumpeter Marquis Hill. Kingmaker, his debut record as a band leader, is a solid proof of his radiant potential. Ross’ band, Good Vibes, features Immanuel Wilkins at the saxophone, Jeremy Corren on piano, Benjamin Tiberio on bass and Jeremy Dutton on drums.

Chick Corea – Trilogy 2 (Concord Jazz) 

2014 Trilogy album documented the magic created by legendary pianist Chick Corea, bassist Christian McBride and drummer Brian Blade; won two Grammy awards in Best Instrumental Jazz Album and Best Improvised Jazz Solo (“Fingerprints”) categories; and left the audiences thirsting for more. Trilogy 2, which was recorded after their world tour, continues to impress with the unique energy from the masterful trio.

Terri Lyne Carrington and Social Science – Waiting Game (Motéma)

This double-disc album from Grammy winner American jazz drummer and band leader Terri Lyne Carrington is a modern jazz masterpiece that touches upon Native American massacre, political prisoners facing exile and homophobia. While the first part features guest performers from a wide musical background such as rappers Rapsody, Kokayi, Raydar Ellis and Maimouna Youssef as well as trumpeter Nicholas Payton, bassists Derrick Hodge and Esperanza Spalding; the second part highlights an improvisation feast with pianist Aaron Parks, guitarist Matthew Stevens and bassist Esperanza Spalding accompanying Carrington.

Paul Bley / Gary Peacock / Paul Motian – When Will The Blues Leave (ECM Records)

Easily credited as one of the most innovative and impressive piano trios of jazz history, this recording from Paul Bley, Gary Peacock and Paul Motian features the trio’s extraordinary 1999 Italy performance. Being the first release after Paul Bley’s death in 2016, When Will The Blues Leave is the zenith of the improvisation masters’ magnificent energy. 

Brad Mehldau – Finding Gabriel (Nonesuch Records)

Finding Gabriel is a nine-track thematic album that opens up a new beyond-genre space in American jazz pianist Brad Mehldau’s discography. Mehldau takes on the piano, synthesizers, percussion, Fender Rhodes and non-lyrical vocals with the company of Ambrose Akinmusire, Sara Caswell, Kurt Elling, Joel Frahm, Mark Guiliana, Gabriel Kahane and Becca Stevens. Finding Gabriel is nominated for the Best Instrumental Jazz Album category at the 62nd Grammy Awards.

Eliane Elias – Love Stories (Concord Jazz) 

Brazilian artist Eliane Elias’ new album shows off her growing versatile talent as a vocalist, pianist, songwriter and producer. The album, which pulls the audience in with Elias’ timeless vocals, features three new compositions as well as orchestral renditions of seven standards including Frank Sinatra and Antonio Carlos Jobim songs.

Art Ensemble of Chicago – We Are on the Edge: A 50th Anniversary Celebration (Pi Recordings)

The striking celebration of a 50 year long, glorious career and over 70 recordings; this double-disc album features the groundbreaking Art Ensemble of Chicago’s studio recordings and a live recording. Moor Mother and Rodolfo Cordova-Lebron’s Afro-futurist poetry inspired vocals brings new perspectives to the band’s collective magic under the lead of Roscoe Mitchell. With a formation that brings the band members together with star talents, We Are on the Edge: A 50th Anniversary Celebration proves that Art Ensemble of Chicago’s kicking magic will be alive for the foreseeable future.

Mats Eilertsen Trio – And Then Comes The Night (ECM Records)

This album brings the Norwegian bassist together with pianist Harmen Fraanje and drummer Thomas Strønen, who is known as an early member of the Food collective, and it is the first ECM recording from the trio. Featuring three compositions from Eliertsen and two from Fraanje, the rest of the album is the product of a collective creation process, which proves that the band’s music has a soul that flows with a glorious common energy.

The Comet is Coming – The Afterlife (Impulse!)

The Afterlife is the second album by one of the most influential figures in the new generation of international jazz scene, Shabaka Hutchings, and his groundbreaking, disruptive trio that he builds new musical worlds with. Featuring jazz, funk and electronic sounds; the raw and absorbing energy of the album’s ups and downs passes on the emotions fully to its audience.

Joey DeFrancesco – In The Key Of The Universe (Mack Avenue Records)

We know Joey DeFrancesco through the sparks he has created with his keyboard over a thirty year-long career. Nominated for the Best Instrumental Jazz Album category in 62nd Grammy Awards, In The Key Of The Universe reveals itself as a spiritual journey and a historic recording as it features the legendary Pharoah Sanders, who joined John Coltrane’s band in 1965 and became one of the most important inspirations for him.

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