The Best Jazz Albums of 2013

An earlier version of this, written when I submitted my ballot for the Jazz Critics Poll, albeit slightly mangled, is saved here. This particular version has been updated to January 6, 2014.

Year after year I present my year-end lists as just that: long, mind-numbing lists like I use every day to keep track of the current year (e.g., 2013, 2012, etc.). Other people's lists often have cover scans and brief write-ups, and it occurred to me that I have all that. Why not just table it up? So that's what I've done here, at least for the jazz half of my listening. (Actually, since we're counting, somewhat more than half.) The non-jazz list is here.

For A-list only: [*] indicates that I reviewed this on the basis of an advance, often a CDR copy (a good thing, I might add, for vinyl-only releases). [**] identifies a record that I've only heard via download or through a streaming service like Rhapsody.

For all lists, I've included 2012 (and in rare cases earlier) records rated after the freeze date (Jan. 1, 2013) that were so obscure they received less than five points in the 2012 metacritic file. These are marked, e.g., '12, after the label.

New Music

1. Billy Martin's Wicked Knee: Heels Over Head (Amulet) Drummer, best known as the middleman in Medeski, Martin & Wood, has released a large pile of specialist albums but nothing like this before. Here he's lined up a small brass band -- Steven Bernstein (trumpet, slide trumpet), Curtis Fowlkes (trombone), Marcus Rojas (tuba) -- and gone back to New Orleans, at least for King Oliver's "Sugarfoot Stomp" although they get the same charge jumping off a Frank London piece called "Chumba Zumba" and never settle into anything obvious or derivative. Bernstein does most of the arranging, and Rojas takes most of the leads. And check out Shelley Hirsch's vocal about hobbling through an Occupy Wall Street march as one of the "99%."
2. Mostly Other People Do the Killing: Slippery Rock! (Hot Cup) Pianoless quartet, where both horn players -- Peter Evans on trumpet and Jon Irabagon on saxes -- have hot hands. Fourth studio album, breaking a string of two classic album cover spoofs with what looks like teen boy group splash, and evidently less history in the songlist (hurts that my eyes can't hack the Leonard Featherweight liner notes, always a source of high-minded obfuscation). That leaves me to draw my own far-fetched analogies: this is slippery in the sense that it follows no discernible time signature, rock in the sense that it is loud and frantic, and that attitude prevails. All these years of waiting for jazz-rock fusion, and what do we get? Fission!
3. The Group: Live (1986, NoBusiness '12) They came out of the New York loft scene, gigged around for a couple years, and left nothing but this newly discovered masterpiece. The booklet shows two quintet posters: their May 3 "world premier" with Ahmed Abdullah (trumpet), Marion Brown (alto sax), Billy Bang (violin), Sirone (bass), and Andrew Cyrille; and another from Sept. 12-13, with Fred Hopkins on bass. Both bassists play on this Sept. 13 date, five pieces with Mingus' "Goodbye Pork Pie Hat" and Brown's "La Piacita" running 18 minutes each, and Miriam Makeba's "Amanpondo" at 25 minutes. Bang manages to swing in any or no time; the horns mesh intuitively, completing one another's thoughts; the bassists have different strong suits, and Cyrille has rarely had better days.
4. Barbara Morrison: A Sunday Kind of Love (Savant) Singer got her start opposite Eddie "Cleanhead" Vinson in 1974, toiled a couple decades in the Johnny Otis Show, has a dozen records since 1995, but I can't imagine any holds a candle to this one. The secret isn't a fine-but-who-are-they pianio trio -- Stuart Elster? Richard Simon? Lee Spath? -- so it must be Houston Person, who is more than just featured here. But it's the singer who hits one softball after another out of the park: "I'm Just a Lucky So and So," "The Green Door," "A Sunday Kind of Love," "On the Sunny Side of the Street," "Let's Stay Together" -- only "I Cover the Waterfront" is out of her zone. Exquisite: the medley of "Smile/Make Someone Happy." I dare anyone not to.
5. Roswell Rudd: Trombone for Lovers (Sunnyside) The "Joe Hill" suite at the end takes some getting used to, but since when has organizing been easy? Everything else is just superb: the opening "Ghost Riders in the Sky" with Steven Bernstein's slide trumpet, Bob Dorough on "Here, There & Everywhere," Fay Victor on "Trouble in Mind," Michael Doucet's violin on "Autumn Leaves" and "Tennessee Waltz," familiar songs that seem perfect when they pop up: "Baby, It's Cold Outside," "Struttin' With Some Barbecue," "Green Onions," "Unchained Melody," "September Song."
6. Revolutionary Ensemble: Counterparts (2005, Mutable Music) An important avant-jazz group during its original 1972-77 run, a trio of Leroy Jenkins (violin), Sirone (bass), and Jerome Cooper (drums). They eventually regrouped and recorded the marvelous And Now . . . (2004, Pi), but their second phase was cut short by the deaths of Jenkins (2007) and Sirone (2009). A 2008 release of a 2005 session offered a taste, but it's not just nostalgia lifting this belated release of the group's last gig. [**]
7. William Parker: Wood Flute Songs: Anthology/Live 2006-2012 (AUM Fidelity, 8CD) I previously wrote up Rhapsody Streamnotes on four digital releases -- at least they showed up on Rhapsody -- comprising six CDs here, so in my current end-of-year rush I focused on the other two discs: a septet live at the Vision Festival in 2009 with Billy Bang, Bobby Bradford, and James Spaulding joining Parker's stellar Quartet (Lewis Barnes, Rob Brown, and Hamid Drake -- they've been together since the extraordinary O'Neal's Porch in 2000); and a big band (William Parker Creation Ensemble) live shot at AMR Jazz Festival in Geneva in 2011. Both discs zing, as does, really, the rest of the box. The two early live sets weren't as consistent as I'd like (cf. 2005's Sound Unity), but their top spots are rarely equalled, and the last two discs -- an expansion of the group that cut Raining on the Moon and a revival of In Order to Survive with an outstanding performance by Cooper-Moore on piano -- just raise the bar. Music at this level deserves to go on and on and on. [late add]
8. Peter Evans: Zebulon (More Is More) Trumpet player, best known as one of the terrorists in Mostly Other People Do the Killing, but has a handful of records on his own, mostly more avant than the band's. Trio, with the ever-dependable John Hébert on bass and Kassa Overall on drums. Trumpet stabs, zips, kicks it up a notch, then another.
9. Steve Coleman and Five Elements: Functional Arrhythmias (Pi) Alto saxophonist, b. 1956, has used Five Elements as his primary group name since 1986, thirteen albums in all. Many explore funk/fusion beats, some are muddied up with vocals, the last couple I didn't care for at all. But this one is stripped way down: two wavering horns (Jonathan Finlayson on trumpet), bass and drums that fully implement the title, a little extra guitar (Miles Okazaki) on five tracks. Perhaps simple, but rarely has the continuous shifting of time come through so clear -- one could even say, functional.
10. Roscoe Mitchell: Duets With Tyshawn Sorey and Special Guest Hugh Ragin (Wide Hive) Saxophonist, 72, a mainstay of the Art Ensemble of Chicago since the late 1960s. Don't have the credits to break this down, but it sounds like the duos give way to trios when trumpeter Ragin jumps in. Also, figure drummer Sorey for the piano -- actually quite impressive -- and Mitchell, in standard AEC operating procedure, adds to the percussion. So a lot going on, and spectacular when they crank it up. [**]
11. Ivo Perelman/Matthew Shipp/Whit Dickey/Gerald Cleaver: Enigma (Leo) Tenor sax, piano, two drummers -- the doubling up isn't conspicuous or necessary even to balance out leaders who run on the loud side, but in an art where "the drummer plays with the band" their separate takes add subtle points -- not that you need them when the Brazilian saxophonist is on such a roll.
12. Dave Bennett: Don't Be That Way (Mack Avenue) Clarinet player, from Michigan, an unabashed Benny Goodman fan -- his two previous albums are Dave Bennett Salutes 100 Years of Benny and Clarinet Is King: Songs of Great Clarinetists. Mostly stays with the classics here: "Slipped Disc," "Begin the Beguine," "Sing, Sing, Sing," "Woodchopper's Ball," and reaches back even further for "St. James Infirmary" (with a vocal) and the closing "When the Saints Go Marching In." Even the one faux pas ("Yesterday," normally a kiss of death) is flat out gorgeous.
13. Trio 3 + Jason Moran: Refraction: Breakin' Glass (Intakt) I file the Trio's records -- eight since 1993 -- under Oliver Lake but Reggie Workman (who's actually listed first here, but not always) and Andrew Cyrille are superstars too, and you can key on any one of them and hear everything a musician can do. Moran has to work to earn a spot in their company, and he does. Two raps: Lake's title cut reminiscing about his mother, and Cyrille's intro to "High Priest." [**]
14. Barry Altschul: The 3Dom Factor (TUM) Drummer, his discography thinned out in the 1980s but he's popped up a few times recently: in the FAB Trio with Joe Fonda and Billy Bang; on Sam Rivers' Reunion with Holland; as "special guest" on Jon Irabagon's Foxy. His first headline album since 1986, but it's basically the flip side of Foxy, a sax trio with Irabagon and Fonda. Not as fun as Foxy or as flamboyant as Irabagon is on Slippery Rock but superb nonetheless, with plenty of reason to focus on the drummer.
15. Rich Halley 4: Crossing the Passes (Pine Eagle) An outdoorsman whose avant-sax relentlessly explores rough and open spaces, Halley has recorded since the 1980s, more so since he's hit retirement age. Quartet adds a second horn -- Michael Vlatkovich's trombone -- to bass (Clyde Reed) and drums (son Carson Halley).
16. Allison Miller's Boom Tic Boom: No Morphine No Lillies (Foxhaven/Royal Potato Family) Previous album was a drummer-led piano trio with "guest" violinist Jenny Scheinman challenging the ever-brilliant Myra Melford. Here Scheinman becomes a regular, giving the group two stars to try to keep in sync, and a new batch of guests step in, including a Rachel Friedman vocal, Erik Friedlander on cello, and a pair of trumpets on the deliriously over-the-top closer.
17. Rodrigo Amado Motion Trio + Jeb Bishop: The Flame Alphabet (Not Two) Trombonist Bishop has made a habit of attaching himself to other performers, often doing little more than adding to the noise quotient -- indeed, that pretty much summed up his previous album with this very talented Portuguese sax trio, but here he puts on a showcase of avant-trombone would impress fans of Steve Swell, or even Roswell Rudd. And Amado is sharp as ever, ably backed by Miguel Mira on cello and Gabriel Ferrandini on drums.
18. Charles Lloyd/Jason Moran: Hagar's Song (ECM) Duets, the venerable saxophonist and one of the most accomplished young pianists of the last decade -- some of those feats coming in Lloyd's Quartet, so this isn't a stab at an odd pairing. No bass or drums lets Lloyd take his time, especially delighting in melodies like "Mood Indigo" and "God Only Knows." Some flute, but it fits right in.
19. Ivo Perelman: Serendipity (Leo) Originally planned as a trio with Matthew Shipp and Gerald Cleaver (who a week later reconvened to record The Foreign Legion), when one was late they put out a call to William Parker to join in and wound up with a quartet. Sometimes hard to judge exactly what Parker adds, but Perelman is remarkably relaxed and fluid from the start, and builds up to some of his most impressive blowing ever.
20. Luis Lopes/Humanization 4tet: Live in Madison (Ayler) Guitarist, from Portugal, has several albums with this quartet, mixing it up with tenor saxophonist Rodrigo Amado, backed by Texan brothers Aaron and Stefan González. Leads off with Arthur Blythe's "Bush Baby" where the see-saw leads are especially infectious. Rest are originals, three from Lopes, one from Amado, and a roughhousing blues from Aaron G.
21. Marty Grosz & the Hot Winds: The James P. Johnson Songbook (Arbors '12) Guitarist, plays banjo and sings some, son of legendary anti-Nazi satirist Georg Grosz. Now in his eighties, playing music originating from the great pianist, mostly from the decade before Grosz's birth. With a terrific trad jazz band: Jon-Erik Kelso (trumpet), Scott Robinson (saxes), Dan Block (clarinets), James Dapogny (piano), Vince Giordano (bass, bass sax, tuba), and Arnie Kinsella (drums) -- the '20s roar again. [**]
22. Ceramic Dog: Your Turn (Northern Spy) Guitarist Marc Ribot's power trio, with Shahzad Ismaily on bass and Ches Smith on drums; second album together, but where Party Intellectuals featured Ribot's name and leaned jazz, this one is hard rock but finds fancier ways to get dissonant. Six songs have lyrics, three sung by Ezter Balint, the others one each from the trio. The songs are solid enough to carry the singer, but the appeal is the guitar busting loose.
23. William Parker/In Order to Survive: Kalaparusha on the Edge of the Horizon (AUM Fidelity) The last CD in the 8-CD Wood Flute Songs box (minus two outtakes), the group is Parker's Quartet plus Cooper-Moore on piano -- the lineup for the In Order to Survive albums from the mid-1990s -- reunited for a Vision Festival live set. Rob Brown pushes his alto sax way into the upper registers, and the pianist puts on one of his shows where you start thinking he may be the most underrated one of the last few decades. [Download only unless you buy the box.] [**]
24. Ross Hammond Quartet: Cathedrals (Prescott) Sacramento-based guitarist, has a handful of interesting albums. Last cut here is a duet with drummer Alex Cline, a good chance to focus on Hammond's technique. But the rest of the album is dominated by Vinny Golia (tenor and soprano sax, flute) in a tour de force over regular time.
25. Dave Douglas Quintet: Time Travel (Greenleaf Music) Same lineup as last year's Be Still -- Jon Irabagon (tenor sax), Matt Mitchell (piano), Linda Oh (bass), Rudy Royston (drums) -- minus the singer and the solemn tone, so they flare out, even with the fancy postbop compositional matrix. Amazing chops, with Douglas so confident he's always game to take on the hottest young saxophonist he can find: before Irabagon, the last three were named Strickland, McCaslin, and Potter. [*]
26. Han Bennink: Bennink & Co. (ILK '12) Legendary Dutch percussionist, age 70, credited with drums here but has been known to hit almost anything, here with Simon Toldam on piano and Joachim Badenhorst on various saxes and clarinet. Free jazz which somehow manages to swing and evoke a carnival air, an effect that the clarinet especially brings out. [**]
27. Scott Neumann Neu3 Trio: Blessed (Origin) Drummer, second album plus a couple dozen side credits since 1996, all over the style map -- including saxophonist Michael Blake's post-Lounge Lizards debut in 1997. Blake is back here, along with bassist Mark Helias, playing eight Neumann originals, one from Helias, and one from Roswell Rudd ("Keep Your Heart Right"). All three are terrific, with Blake in an expansive R&B honking mode, the rhythm section pushing him on and running interference.
28. Ehud Asherie with Harry Allen: Lower East Side (Posi-Tone) Mainstream pianist playing standards with tenor sax -- in fact, Allen is about the closest you can get these days to Coleman Hawkins. They did this last year on Upper West Side, and these may just be leftovers, probably from the same session -- less famous, and less obvious, songs, although they saved "When I Grow Too Old to Dream" for a delicious closer.
29. Adam Lane Trio: Absolute Horizon (NoBusiness) Bassist, justly known for his compositions but decided to wing it here. Trio includes Darius Jones on alto sax and Vijay Anderson on drums. Jones is an imposing player in his own right, and does a nice job of threading the rhythm here. Seems too easy --that's what talent does.
30. Claudia Quintet: September (Cuneiform) John Hollenbeck's soft-toned group -- Matt Moran's vibraphone is more than ever the focal center, with accordion (Red Wienenge) and clarinet/tenor sax (Chris Speed) for color, and bass to round out the bottom. For me, the FDR mashup raises more questions than it answers, but the rest are percussion jams, as inspired as ever.
31. John O'Gallagher: The Anton Webern Project (Whirlwind) Alto saxophonist, ninth album and tends to run away with his side credits, but this time he warms up a concept: based on eight opuses by Austrian 12-tone composer Anton Webern, refashioned for a superb jazz group with Matt Moran (vibes), Pete McCann (guitar), Russ Lossing (keybs), Johannes Weidenmuller (bass), Tyshawn Sorey (drums), and Margaret Grebowicz (voice). This builds outward, and only occasional vocals suggest its providence.
32. Jonathan Finlayson & Sicilian Defense: Moment & the Message (Pi) Trumpet player, first album after quality side credits with Steve Lehman, Steve Coleman, Tomas Fujiwara, and Mary Halvorson. Quintet with Miles Okazaki (guitar), David Virelles (piano), Keith Witty (bass), and Damion Reid (drums) -- his horn front and center, while the guitar and piano players are rising stars, sparkling soloists with an intriguingly complex interplay.
33. Harris Eisenstadt September Trio: The Destructive Element (Clean Feed) Drummer, prolific since 2002, one of his finest his 2011 September Trio with Ellery Eskelin (tenor sax) and Angelica Sanchez (piano). Same group here: Eskelin is superb at stepping around the rhythms, while the pianist burns right through them, adding more as she goes.
34. Lucian Ban: Elevation/Mystery (Sunnyside) Pianist from Romania, stretched out his folkloric/classical side on this year's Transylvanian Concert with Mat Maneri (ECM), but this one -- a quartet with Abraham Burton (tenor sax), John Hébert (bass), and Eric McPherson (drums) -- recorded at Cornelia Street Cafe in NYC sets him in an avant context, especially when the saxophonist works up a full head of steam. Nor is a quiet spot with just the bassist any less captivating.
35. Marty Ehrlich Large Ensemble: A Trumpet in the Morning (New World) Four older compositions, one as far back as 1992, run between 11:07 and 23:21 -- the latter the title piece, with a poem by Arthur Brown (1948-82) narrated by J.D. Parran -- and are bracketed by short "Prelude" and "Postlude" pieces. The Large Ensemble is amply stocked with stars -- there are so many they are staggered into shifts, the piano chair, for instance, alternating between James Weidman and Uri Caine. Rich details, strong solos. [late add]
36. Melodic Art-Tet: Melodic Art-Tet (1974, No Business) Quartet, formed in 1970 by saxophonist Charles Brackeen and three members of Sun Ra's entourage: Ahmed Abdullah (trumpet), Ronnie Boykins (bass), and Roger Blank (drums). They played in lofts, never released an album, but cut this at WKCR in 1974 with a very young William Parker taking over the bass slot, and Tony Waters on percussion. Four long pieces, free with funk overtones, the reeds not as clear as you'd like, but Abdullah a force of nature, and the second half is so ship-shape you could sail back to Saturn.
37. Keith Jarrett/Gary Peacock/Jack DeJohnette: Somewhere (ECM) He's 68 now, and his label keeps shipping out new product every year, but the recording dates have started to creep back. Some of us have long since hit the saturation point, but every once in a while you have to pause and appreciate just how extraordinary this group is. Last time for me was My Foolish Heart: Live at Montreux, a 2001 tape released as a double in 2007, but this, recorded at KKL Luzern Concert Hall in 2009, is also on that level.
38. Mostly Other People Do the Killing: Red Hot (Hot Cup) Moppa Elliott's group takes its terror act to Dixieland, expanding from a quartet to septet along the way -- additions are at piano (Ron Stabinsky), bass trombone (David Taylor), banjo (Brandon Seabrook), while Jon Irabagon picks up the C melody sax, soprano too. The harmony is reminiscent of old times, but the group knows too many new tricks to go authentic -- free rhythm, abstract piano solos, some electronic drone. They're just out to mess with you.
39. Rudresh Mahanthappa: Gamak (ACT) Alto sax quartet, with electric guitar (David Fiuczynski), acoustic bass (François Moutin), and drums (Dan Weiss). This fits a trend of groups (often bass-less trios) where the guitar, rather than expanding the harmony, like piano has traditionally done -- both pushes the sax into a frenzy and can take a solo spot beside it, like a second horn. So not pathbreaking, but, of course, he does it better than almost anyone else.
40. Jonathan Moritz Trio: Secret Tempo (Hot Cup) Tenor saxophonist, born in Iran, moved to California, then Belgium to study and back to CA. First album under own name but he has eight more under group names. This one has Shayna Dulberger on bass and Mike Pride on drums. First impression was that this is the sort of sax record I fall easiest for. After several replays the soprano had me wavering, but the bassist sold the deal.
41. Matt Parker: Worlds Put Together (Bynk) Tenor saxophonist, originally from Fort Lauderdale, came up through the Maynard Ferguson band. Basic band includes piano, guitar, bass, drums, and Julio Monterrey on alto sax, although he strips down on a couple not-quite-solo cuts and adds a party-load of vocals on another. All interesting, whether he's cooing a ballad or smashing up the joint.
42. Ken Vandermark/The Resonance Ensemble: Head Above Water/Feet Out of the Fire (Not Two, 2CD) This is Ken Vandermark's third (or fourth) generation big band project, slimmed down a bit from his Territory Band -- three brass, four reeds, doubled up at bass and drums -- but the group name befits the rich sound he gets, rare cohesiveness, harmony even, in such a large free-for-all. [late add **]
43. Joe Lovano Us Five: Cross Culture (Blue Note) Traditional sax-piano-bass-drums quartet upgraded for the modern era by doubling up the drummers -- Otis Brown III and Francisco Mela -- but what distinguishes the third group album is how much weight the leader carries: one of the great tenor saxmen of the last thirty years, in fine form here.
44. Living by Lanterns: New Myth/Old Science (Cuneiform '12) Compositions and arrangements by Jason Adasiewicz (vibes) and Mike Reed (drums), "based on unpublished compositions and improvisations by Sun Ra," and performed by a star-laden band that is capable of projecting intergalactic imagination: Greg Ward (alto sax), Taylor Ho Bynum (cornet), Ingrid Laubrock (tenor sax), Tomeka Reid (cello), Mary Halvorson (guitar), Joshua Abrams (bass), and Tomas Fujiwara (drums), with Nick Butcher adding electronics on two tracks.
45. Kaze: Tornado (Libra) Quartet with two trumpets (Natsuki Tamura and Christian Pruvost), piano (Satoko Fujii), and drums (Peter Orins). The trumpets burst out of the gate, and the pianist almost makes the drummer an afterthought. And when the fury breaks, they keep it interesting in subtler ways.
46. Samo Salamon Quartets: Stretching Out (Sazas, 2CD) Slovenian guitarist, prolific since 2003, this one a double: one disc each with an American quartet in 2008 and a European one in 2012. The latter, with Dominique Pifarely on violin is dense, scratchy, and ultimately rewarding although it took me a lot of time to pan out. The former, with Donny McCaslin on tenor sax, John Hébert on bass, and Gerald Cleaver on drums, caused no trouble at all: the guitarist recalls his John Scofield roots, and McCaslin follows seamlessly.
47. François Carrier/Michel Lambert/John Edwards/Steve Beresford: Overground to the Vortex (Not Two) Alto sax, drums, bass, piano; Carrier and Lambert, from Montreal, have played together since the 1990s; the others joined in England, where this was recorded. Four long pieces, group improv, the piano evident only on the last two. Carrier is superb, as usual: always searching, often finding.
48. Billy Bang: Da Bang! (TUM) Probably the late, great violinist's last recording -- in Helsinki, about two months before he died. Quintet, with trombone (Dick Griffin), piano (Andrew Bemkey), bass, and drums. Six cuts -- one original, the title cut by Barry Altschul, other pieces from Don Cherry, Ornette Coleman, Miles Davis, and Sonny Rollins. Far from his greatest work, but his solos are unmistakable, and trombone is a nice contrast. Plus you can't go out on a more ecstatic note than "St. Thomas."
49. Ivo Perelman/Joe Morris/Balazs Pandi: One (Rare Noise) Tenor sax trio, with Morris playing electric bass for the first time on record -- he established himself on guitar, but has also played acoustic bass more frequently of late -- and Pandi on drums. Perelman's been knocking out a half-dozen records per year recently, and this, with its choppy intro and an inspired torrent near the end, is another.
50. Haynes & Smoker: It Might Be Spring (Alvas) Phil Haynes (drums) and Paul Smoker (trumpet), just the two of them so this lacks the propulsion of their recent quartet (or Notet) record, but adds a shot of intimacy -- especially since, as the title suggests, they're mostly doing warm and fuzzy standards, including "My Funny Valentine," "My Melancholy Baby," and "Summertime." [late add]
51. Nick Fraser: Towns and Villages (Barnyard) Drummer, based in Toronto, has at least one previous album under his own name, several as Drumheller, a dozen or so side credits. Quartet, modeled loosely on Ornette Coleman's recent two-bass quartet, this one with Rob Clutton on double bass and Andrew Downing on cello. They provide an ever shifting substrate for the horn: Tony Malaby on tenor (and soprano) sax gives a bravura performance, one of his finest ever.
52. The Rempis Percussion Quartet: Phalanx (Aerophonic, 2CD) Dave Rempis first appeared in the Vandermark 5 on alto sax but is equally adept at tenor and soprano. His main vehicle over the past five years has been this quartet, with two drummers (Frank Rosaly and Tim Daisy) and bassist Ingebrigt Hĺker Flaten. Two live sets may seem excessive, but repeated play pushed it over the line, smoothing the rough spots, easing me down during the lulls, certain that something exciting is just around the corner.
53. Chris Morrissey: North Hero (Sunnyside) Electric bassist, second album, quartet: Mike Lewis (sax), Aaron Parks (piano), Mark Guiliana (drums). Lewis plays in a Minneapolis band called Happy Apple with Dave King, who produces here. Guiliana is a fair soundalike for King, Parks is a striking pianist in his own right, and Lewis is a double threat: a honker on the faster ones and a swooner on the ballads. Morrissey wrote both.
54. Ivo Perelman/Matthew Shipp: The Art of the Duet, Volume One (Leo) Pianist Shipp has been the Brazilian avant-saxophonist's most frequent bandmate in his recent six-records-a-year schedule, so a duet seems all but inevitable -- indeed, they've done this before, on Bendito of Santa Cruz in 1996. You'd think exhaustion might set in, but these duets here are clear and sparkling, both sides coherent and connected.
55. Randy Brecker: Night in Calisia (Summit) Second time the trumpeter has collaborated with Polish composer-pianist Wlodek Pawlik, following 2009's Nostalgic Journey: Tykocin Jazz Suite, and I'm pretty sure they're the two best records of his career. Trumpet on top of Pawlik's piano trio backed by Kalisz Philharmonic, as swishy as they get, although the score stretches them, and someone (drummer Cezary Konrad?) minds the rhythm.
56. Jimmy Amadie Trio: Live! At the Philadelphia Museum of Art (TP) Touted as "a hot jazz pianist in the 1950s" and claiming to have palyed with Charley Ventura, Coleman Hawkins, Woody Herman, and Mel Tormé, his discography doesn't start until 1997, mostly piano trio kicking around old standards. These you've heard a million times -- "Summertime," "My Funny Valentine," "Just in Time," "All the Things You Are" -- and he really makes them sparkle.
57. The Paul Smoker Notet: Landings (Alvas) Quartet, actually: the leader on trumpet, Steve Salerno on guitar, Drew Gress on bass, and Phil Haynes on drums. Smoker, b. 1941 in Indiana, has a dozen albums (Wikipedia) or fifteen (AMG) or more (two recent ones are in neither list), although I had only heard one until recently. But the guitar sets the trumpet remarkably well, and Smoker is always up to something interesting. [late add]
58. Linda Oh: Sun Pictures (Greenleaf Music) Bassist, third album, quartet with Ben Wendel (tenor sax), James Muller (guitar), and Ted Poor (drums). Pieces have an inside-out feel to them, nothing showy, fast or loud -- the guitar and sax just build up on the bass waves and carry you along.
59. Hunger Pangs: Meet Meat (ForTune) Avant jazz trio, Tomasz Dabrowski on trumpet, Marek Kadziela on guitar, and Kasper Tom Christiansen on drums -- the guitarist essential in that he can swing between support and lead, and when he takes charge he can be scorching. But he doesn't dominate as completely as at first, so an uncertain balance settles in. [late add]
60. 1032K: That Which Is Planted: Live in Buffalo and Rochester (Passin' Thru) Trio: Kevin Ray on bass, Andrew Drury on drums, and Ku-umba Frank Lacy on trombone, flumpet, voice, and percussion. The vocal preaches a text familiar to anyone who grew up on the Bible (or the Byrds), one that sticks in my craw because I doubt that there's ever a justifiable "time for war" -- but the music is Mingus, with Ayler, McCall, and Threadgill also given respect. Lacy has been around a long time but only has three albums under his name. Terrific to see him the focal point here. [late add]
61. The Ex & Brass Unbound: Enormous Door (Ex) Dutch group, around since 1980, originally figured for punk but guitarists Terrie Ex and Andy Moor dabble in jazz and have various African connections. Arnold de Boer and drummer Katherina Bornefeld sing, and they've hooked up with the most avant horn section ever to grace an Afro-punk band: Roy Paci, Wolter Wierbos, Ken Vandermark, and Mats Gustafsson. Ends with a "Theme From Konono No. 2" that could use more garbage cans but makes do with the horns. [**]
62. Correction With Mats Gustafsson: Shift (No Business) Sebastian Bergström's piano trio, with Joacim Nyberg on bass and Emil Ĺstrand-Melin on drums. Gustafsson plays bari sax here, and for once brought his inside game, playing around the shifts rather than bulling through them. Gives the pianist a chance to shine, and he does. [*]
63. Carlos Alves "Zingaro"/Jean Luc Cappozzo/Jerome Bourdellon/Nicolas Lelievre: Live at Total Meeting (NoBusiness '12) Violin, trumpet/bugle, flutes/bass clarinet, percussion, respectively, a prickly combination. Zingaro, from in Portugal, came out of the postclassical avant-garde with a long discography. Cappozzo has a few albums. Don't know the others, but the drummer is terrific, someone to watch out for. Three long improv pieces, difficult but dazzling, kept a smile on my face all the way through.
64. Art Pepper: Unreleased Art Vol. VIII: Live at the Winery September 6, 1976 (1976, Widow's Taste) Most Unreleased Art volumes focus on his last years, 1980-82, working with regular touring bands. This catches him a few years earlier, with a no-name Bay Area pickup band. Pianist Smith Dobson acquits himself well, but Pepper blows everyone away, from a fast "Caravan" up through the "Straight Life" encore. Mostly staples from his now-numerous live albums, but he's rarely raced through them with so much vigor.
65. Satoko Fujii: Gen Himmel (Libra) Solo piano, not sure how many of those she's recorded in a very prolific career -- AMG lists 44 records since 1995 -- but it's not zero and not many. This has none of the thrash I'm so fond of, so I'm all the more surprised that it succeeds on its own complex melodic terms.
66. Old Time Musketry: Different Times (Steeplechase '12) Group is a quartet, based in New York: Adam Schneit (sax, clarinet), JP Schlegelmilch (piano, accordion, synth, glockenspiel), Phil Rowan (bass), Max Goldman (drums, melodica). Schneit and Schlegelmilch split the writing. They go for soft edges, letting the music just pick you up and sweep you away.
67. Rent Romus' Life's Blood: Truth Teller (Edgetone) Avant-saxophonist (alto/soprano) from San Francisco, drifted through various Bay Area groups (e.g., the Lords of Outland). Mostly trio, with bass (Kim Cass and/or Markus Hunt) and drums (Timothy Orr), plus Rhodes on one cut. The rough stuff is sharp, engaging, and the softer spots draw you in.
68. Odean Pope: Odean's Three (In + Out) Tenor saxophonist, grew up in Philadelphia, played with Jimmy McGriff in the 1960s, Max Roach in the 1970s, led a group aptly named Catalyst, is probably best known for his Saxophone Choir records, but nothing that fancy here, just a powerhouse trio with Lee Smith and Billy Hart, an hour of intense and inventive blowing. You got a problem with that? [late add]
69. Mario Pavone: Arc Trio (Playscape) Piano trio with Craig Taborn and Gerald Cleaver, the title a play on the bassist's similar 2008 piano trio, Trio Arc, with Paul Bley and Matt Wilson. Taborn's ECM trio with Cleaver and Thomas Morgan finished second in the Jazz Critics' Poll this year, so I have to wonder how many of those critics also heard this one -- to my ears both tougher and sharper, the obvious difference the bassist and his challenging pieces. [late add: **]
70. William Parker/Raining on the Moon: Friday Afternoon (AUM Fidelity) Group named for one of Parker's finest albums (2002), with pianist Eri Yamamoto supplementing the Lewis Barnes-Rob Brown two-horn quartet, and Leena Conquest singing her way through the difficult terrain. She's remarkable in ways that remind one of Betty Carter and she makes it look easier. Also time to note what a fantastic drummer Hamid Drake is. [**]
71. David Greenberger/Paul Cebar Tomorrow Sound: They Like Me Around Here (Pel Pel) Spoken word, collected from interviews in nursing homes -- at some point in all of Greenberger's albums I belatedly realize that his homogenized voice is channeling a much more varied group of people, usually when one of those people has to be female. Paul Cebar's score is varied, inventive, sometimes exotic -- tasteful horn charts, bits of field recordings, lots of percussion,
72. Colin Stetson: New History Warfare, Vol. 3: To See More Light (Constellation) Saxophonist, plays everything from alto down but favors the big bass sax, and makes extensive use of circular breathing, which gives his tones resonance and a warbly rhythm, even when playing solo with no overdubs or loops. They did dub in some vocals later, credited to Justin Vernon (aka Bon Iver), and they add to the eeriness of it all. Nothing else quite like it.
73. The Whammies: Play the Music of Steve Lacy Vol. 2 (Driff) Sextet, a Dutch-Chicago-Boston hybrid: Jorrit Dijkstra (alto sax, lyricon), Pandelis Karayorgis (piano), Jeb Bishop (trombone), Mary Oliver (violin, viola), Nate McBride (bass), Han Bennink (drums). Eleven songs by Steve Lacy, plus one by Monk. First volume was terrific, and the new one, a new session, carries on.
74. Jon Lundbom & Big Five Chord: Liverevil (Hot Cup '14, 2CD) Guitarist, group originally a quintet when he named it but they've picked up keyb player Matt Kanelos for this live double, where nearly everything runs past ten minutes, stomping and sliding with two saxophones (Jon Irabagon on the little ones, Bryan Murray on the big 'uns). The guitar leads are fresh and bold, and Irabagon is nothing short of sublime on "North Star."
75. Anthony Branker & Word Play: Uppity (Origin) Composer, directs the jazz program at Princeton. Sixth album, second with this group: Ralph Bowen (tenor sax) and Jim Ridl (piano) are the names you've likely heard of. First two cuts are upbeat, just bubbling over. Less impressive when he gets solemn, with uncredited strings and Charmaine Lee's vocal fills on a Nigeria-themed number, but it builds to an impressive swell, whereas his similar "Ballad for Trayvon Martin" goes for elegiac simplicity.
76. Idan Santhaus: There You Are (Posi-Tone) Big band arranger, first album under his own name, but has a couple of arranger credits, including A Different Porgy & Another Bess for Brussels Jazz Orchestra. His instrument is flute, but he only plays on one cut here. Recorded in two sets with a minority of overlapping musicians. The solos feel composed through, but he has a remarkable knack for drawing them out.
77. Mulatu Astatke: Sketches of Ethiopia (Jazz Village) Ethiopian composer and keyboardist, studied in London and Boston, and worked for a spell in New York with Duke Ellington. He developed his Ethio-Jazz synthesis in the 1970s, and has a handful of albums, but this is the first time he's been able to employ a big band under his own direction. [**]
78. Two Al's: And the Cowgirls Kept On Dancing (Brokken) One Albert and one Alan, but I guess that works. Albert van Veenendaal has recorded a number of remarkable albums on prepared piano -- Predictable Point of Impact and Minimal Damage are two I particularly like. Alan Purves is credited with "percussion, squeaky toys, brim bram, little instruments" -- in other words, exogenous effects as unpredictable as the tricks wired into the piano. Works much more often than not. [late add]
79. Anna Kaluza/Artur Majewski/Rafal Mazur/Kuba Suchar: Tone Hunting (Clean Feed) Alto sax, trumpet/cornet, acoustic bass guitar, drums/kalimba. Kaluza is German, from Köln, has a couple previous albums. The others are probably Polish -- I've run across Mazur and Majewski before. Group improvs, no titles (unless you count "Track 1," etc.), no clash, just even-tempered exploration. The kalimba is a nice touch. [late add]
80. The Road to Jajouka: A Benefit Album (Howe) The Master Musicians of Jajouka, the Moroccan institution first came to worldwide attention when Brian Jones (Rolling Stones, you know) released a their 1968. Current leader, Bachir Attar, would have been four at the time. This is another fortuitous foreign intervention, primarily by Billy Martin (of Medeski & Wood fame), whose illybeats lay the techno-fusion foundation for a parade of guests, including Marc Ribot, DJ Logic, Lee Ranaldo, John Zorn, Bill Laswell, and Ornette Coleman.
81. John Tchicai/Charlie Kohlhase/Garrison Fewell/Cecil McBee/Billy Hart: Tribal Ghost (2007, NoBusiness) The late Danish tenor saxophonist -- Roswell Rudd's partner in the New York Art Quartet -- sparring with a second sax (Kohlhase) and guitar (Fewell), their odd trio rounded out with guest stars on bass and drums. Four cuts, three by Fewell, his guitar tying them into neat little grooves, the saxes not clashing but embroidering.
82. Jörg Fischer/Matthias Schubert/Uli Böttcher: Lurk Lab (Gligg '12) Avant sax trio, listed in front cover order: drums, tenor sax, live electronics. All joint credits, so figure improv. Böttcher seems more like a second drummer than a surrogate bassist, but that's probably an oversimplification -- he also throws in some whistles and whizzes, and at full fury the flurry can be pretty amazing. [late add]
83. Ivo Perelman/Matthew Shipp/Mat Maneri: A Violent Dose of Anything (Leo) The Brazilian avant-saxophonist often has trouble with strings, but Maneri and Shipp go back at least to a 1998 duo, and the viola is prickly here, often engaging like a second horn, sketching out a more treacherous terrain which Perelman is eager to explore -- the first few minutes offer some of his most flightful work ever.
84. Mort Weiss: A Giant Step Out and Back (SMS Jazz) Seventy-eight-year-old clarinet player, started late, says this will be his swansong, evidently blaming the economy more infirmitude. Solo with what I assume are some overdubs, a few originals and a bunch of standards he uses to launch free improvs -- a surprise in that he's always been a swing-to-bop man -- but his command of the clarinet doesn't leave you feeling the need for anything else.
85. Ellery Eskelin: Trio New York II (Prime Source) Sax-organ trio, with Gary Versace on the B3 and Gerald Cleaver on drums; second album together, the first dedicated to the tenor saxophonist's organ-playing mother. All standards, with a Monk piece, others like "Just One of Those Things," "After You've Gone," and "Flamingo." Versace stays clear of the usual soul jazz moves, giving this an odd delicacy, undercutting the spark but bringing out some of Eskelin's most poignant ballad craft.
86. Evan Parker/Barry Guy/Paul Lytton: Live at Maya Recordings Festival (No Business) An august group: their association goes back to LJCO's Ode in 1972, their frequent trios to 1986 (at the latest). I'm not sure how this ranks, but the basics are very solid. Parker's soprano sax is unique, especially with the circular breathing, while his tenor is rougher and more personable.
87. Thomas Borgmann/Wilber Morris/Reggie Nicholson: Nasty & Sweet (1998-99, NoBusiness, 2CD) German tenor saxophonist, not much discography but he does have a 1999 CIMP album with this same trio and a 2003 bash with Peter Brötzmann. The first disc lives up to the title, and the second starts with a piece from the same date. The 1998 session slows toward the end, for a long bass solo and a little sax dirge. [*]

Reissued Music

Ballot calls for top three. I get virtually no reissues from publicists -- in particular, I don't get the pricey boxes from Mosaic that always win in this category, nor the voluminous "complete LPs" from Legacy, not even the well-worn classics Concord bothers to reissue. Nor anything from Europe, where most of the interesting reissues come out.

1. New York Art Quartet: Call It Art (1964-65, Triple Point, 5LP) Extravagant packaging, the 5 LPs each in its own jacket, packed alongside a 156-page clothbound book, both enclosed in a very handsome plywood box: list price $340, which strikes me as insane, but it is a beauty, and presumably the market knows best. The group, with Roswell Rudd on trombone and John Tchicai on alto sax, was more at home in Copenhagen than in New York. They cut two albums, but "old stuff" has been leaking out, and this "previously uncirculated" material is more of the same: consistently interesting, especially for fans.
2. Matthew Shipp: Greatest Hits (2000-12, Thirsty Ear) This "postrock" label hired the avant-pianist to curate "The Blue Series" -- a meeting ground for avant-jazz and DJ culture, which generated the most striking "jazztronica" of the decade. Shipp's own contributions were only part of the story, and later on he turned off the electronics and tried to reassert himself as an acoustic performer -- he is, after all, one of the major jazz pianists of our times. This covers both phases, and to a large extent makes them one.
3. Ornette Coleman: Friends and Neighbors: Ornette Live at Prince Street (1970, BGP) Not many live recordings from when Coleman filled the hole Don Cherry left in his quartet with tenor saxophonist Dewey Redman. The title cut gets an amusing singalong treatment, but then it's down to business, the two saxes slipping deftly by one another, even when they reach for the heights -- of course, Coleman's alto has the advantage up there.
4. Barney Wilen: Moshi Too: Unreleased Tapes Recorded in Africa, 1969-70 (1969-70, Sonorama) These newly uncovered tapes come from his tour of Africa which led to his 1972 album Moshi. I don't have the latter to compare with, but these scattered tracks give you an indication of his range -- including a lovely 13:08 "Serenade for Africa" on soprano, followed by a piece of guitar feedback (probably what the notes refer to as an "acid-rock jam"). Sometimes the Africans participate, take over even, or they may just cheer or jeer from the sidelines. Also, the 21:08 "Black Locomotive" sounds like Miles Davis would a couple years later on. [late add: **]
5. Oliver Lake: NTU: Point From Which Creation Begins (1976, Universal Sound '12) Early, coming out of St. Louis and thinking Africa, ten musicians with electric bass and piano, congas and toys, but plenty of brass when they need it, John Hicks on piano, and surprising guitar by someone named Richard Martin. [**]
6. Miles Davis: Live in Europe 1969: The Bootleg Series Vol. 2 (1969, Columbia/Legacy, 3CD) No one in jazz reinvented himself more times than Davis. These live sets represent the first step after his second great quintet, with Chick Corea, Dave Holland, and Jack DeJohnette replacing the Hancock-Clarke-Williams rhythm section, but despite Corea's electric piano the initial look is avant, not fusion. This was a time when Corea and Holland were developing Circle with Anthony Braxton, a year before Holland's Conference of the Birds. Interestingly enough, the musician farthest out here is Wayne Shorter, who never seemed more intent on channeling Ayler and Coltrane, although Davis takes a few fliers too. It doesn't especially work, and Davis soon went elsewhere, but it's not just interesting either: some major talent in this group.


Although this file was originally written to coincide with my Jazz Critics' Poll ballot, it has moved on. My actual ballot is here, and it's perhaps best to leave it at that.

Additional Consumer News

One thing I always want to know is what the sample size is from which I pick out the year's top jazz releases. So the following are all the 2013 jazz releases that I have reviewed/rated, up to January 9, 2012. The total count comes to 838 (86 + 727 new, 6 + 19 old). (These figures are padded by the inclusion of late grades on 2012 releases, so I'd have to rework them for proper comparisons. Some earlier comparisons: A similar 2012 list [extracted a couple weeks later] came to 592 records. If you add in the unrated records, the comparison becomes 652 for this year, 674 for last year. In 2011, including unrated records, the total was 781, so the long-term trend is down.) That conclusion is probably still correct: I only made it close through a huge last-minute effort to catch up using Rhapsody.

New Releases: 727 total.

  • Susanne Abbuehl: The Gift (ECM) [B]
  • Mario Adnet: Amazonia: On the Forest Trail (Adventure Music) [*]
  • Antonio Adolfo: Finas Misturas (Adventure Music) [*]
  • Agachiko: Yes! (Accurate) [*]
  • Sophie Agnel/John Edwards/Steve Noble: Meteo (Clean Feed) [***]
  • Aguankó: Elemental (RKO) [***]
  • Laura Ainsworth: Necessary Evil (Eclectus) [*]
  • David Ake: Bridges (Posi-Tone) [**]
  • Albare: The Road Ahead (Enja) [*]
  • Howard Alden/Andy Brown Quartet: Heavy Artillery (Delmark) [***]
  • Gabriel Alegria Afro-Peruvian Sextet: Ciudad de los Reyes (Saponegro) [***]
  • Ralph Alessi & Fred Hersch: Only Many (CAM Jazz) [B]
  • Eric Alexander: Touching (High Note) [**]
  • Neil Alexander: Darn That Dream: Solo Piano Vol. 1 (P-Dog) [B-]
  • Geri Allen: Grand River Crossings: Motown & Motor City Inspirations (Motéma Music) [**]
  • Harry Allen/Rossano Sportiello/Joel Forbes: I Walk With Music: The Hoagy Carmichael Songbook (GAC) [**]
  • JD Allen: Grace (Savant) [**]
  • Akua Allrich: Uniquely Standard: Akua Allrich Live! (self-released '12) [B-]
  • Christopher Alpiar Quartet: The Jazz Expression (Behip) [**]
  • The Ambush Party: Circus (De Platenbakkerij) [**]
  • Chris Amemiya & Jazz Coalescence: In the Rain Shadow (OA2) [**]
  • Amikaeyla: Being in Love (Roots Jazz '12) [B]
  • Clipper Anderson: Ballad of the Sad Young Men (Origin) [B]
  • The Stephen Anderson Trio: Believe (Summit) [**]
  • Brian Andres and the Afro-Cuban Jazz Cartel: San Francisco (Bacalao) [**]
  • Lotte Anker/Rodrigo Pinheiro/Hernani Faustino: Birthmark (Clean Feed) [***]
  • Anomonous (Prom Night) [**]
  • Bill Anschell/Brent Jensen/Chris Smyer: Blueprints (Origin '12) [***]
  • The Aperturistic Trio: Truth and Actuality (Inner Circle Music) [***]
  • Hashem Assadullahi: Pieces (OA2) [*]
  • Darcy James Argue's Secret Society: Brooklyn Babylon (New Amsterdam) [**]
  • David Arnay: 8 (Studio N) [*]
  • Bob Arthurs/Steve Lamattina: Jazz for Svetlana (self-released) [**]
  • Dave Askren/Jeff Benedict: It's All About the Groove (DaWay Music) [**]
  • Gilad Atzmon & the Orient House Ensemble: Songs of the Metropolis (World Village) [***]
  • Augi: Citizens of the World (Diapson West '12) [*]
  • Autumn in Augusta: Songs My Mama Would Like (self-released, EP) [***]
  • Bobby Avey: Be Not So Long to Speak (Minsi Ridge) [**]
  • Duo Baars-Henneman: Autumn Songs (Wig) [***]
  • David Bach: Otherworld (Integrity Music) [B]
  • Lynn Baker Quartet: LectroCoustic (OA2) [*]
  • Tarun Balani Collective: Sacred World (self-released) [*]
  • Lucian Ban/Mat Maneri: Transylvanian Concert (ECM) [***]
  • Diego Barber/Hugo Cipres: 411 (Origin) [***]
  • Patricia Barber: Smash (Concord Jazz) [B]
  • Carlos Barbosa-Lima & the Havana String Quartet: Leo Brouwer: Beatlerianas (Zoho) [C+]
  • Lary Barilleau & the Latin Jazz Collective: Carmen's Mambo (OA2) [B]
  • Kenny Barron: Kenny Barron & the Brazilian Knights (Sunnyside) [***]
  • Offiong Bassey (Moonlit Media Group) [*]
  • Michael Bates/Samuel Blaser Quintet: One From None (Fresh Sound New Talent) [***]
  • The Jamie Baum Septet +: In This Life (Sunnyside) [B]
  • Jim Beard: Show of Hands (Sunnyside) [*]
  • Beat Funktion: Moon Town (DO Music) [B]
  • Tim Bedner: Of Light and Shadow (self-released '12) [*]
  • Perry Beekman: So in Love: Perry Beekman Sings and Plays Cole Porter (self-released) [*]
  • Joel Behrman: Steppin Back (self-released '12) [*]
  • Tony Bennett/Dave Brubeck: The White House Sessions, Live 1962 (1962, Columbia/Legacy) *[**]
  • Cheryl Bentyne and Mark Winkler: West Coast Cool (Summit) [**]
  • Jerry Bergonzi: By Any Other Name (Savant) [**]
  • Will Bernard: Just Like Downtown (Posi-Tone) [**]
  • Tim Berne's Snakeoil: Shadow Man (ECM) [***]
  • Brandon Bernstein: But Beautiful (Jazz Collective) [**]
  • Marc Bernstein & Good People: Hymn for Life (Origin) [***]
  • Berserk! (Rare Noise) [*]
  • Robin Bessier: Other Side of Forever (self-released) [**]
  • Andy Bey: The World According to Andy Bey (High Note) [B]
  • Chris Biesterfeldt: Urban Mandolin (self-released) [B]
  • David Binney: Lifted Land (Criss Cross) [*]
  • Ketil Bjřrnstad: La Notte (ECM) [***]
  • Jim Black/AlasNoAxis: Antiheroes (Winter & Winter) [*]
  • Black Host: Life in the Sugar Candle Mines (Northern Spy) [***]
  • Alan Blackman: The Coastal Suite (self-released) [**]
  • Kenny Blake featuring Maria Shaheen: Go Where the Road Leads (Summit) [*]
  • Terence Blanchard: Magnetic (Blue Note ) [*]
  • Michael Blanco: No Time Like the Present (Cognitive Dissonance) [*]
  • Samuel Blaser Consort in Motion: A Mirror to Machaut (Songlines) [**]
  • Samuel Blaser Quartet: As the Sea (Hatology) [***]
  • Carla Bley/Andy Sheppard/Steve Swallow: Trios (ECM) [***]
  • Blue Cranes: Swim (Cuneiform) [B]
  • Stan Bock & the New Tradition: Feelin' It (OA2) [*]
  • Erin Boheme: What a Life (Heads Up) [*]
  • The George Bouchard Group: Listen to Your Dreams (self-released) [B]
  • Ron Boustead: Mosaic (self-released) [C+]
  • Michiel Braam: EBraam 3 (BBB) [*]
  • Geof Bradfield: Melba! (Origin) [***]
  • Cristina Braga: Samba, Jazz and Love (Enja) [**]
  • Ted Brancato: The Next Step (Origin) [*]
  • Brasslands [A Motion Picture Soundtrack] (Evergreene) [**]
  • Anthony Braxton: Echo Echo Mirror House (Victo) [*]
  • Kaylé Brecher: Spirals and Lines (Penchant Four '12) [***]
  • Randy Brecker: The Brecker Brothers Band Reunion (Piloo, CD+DVD) [B]
  • Wilford Brimley With the Jeff Hamilton Trio (Capri) [*]
  • Peter Brötzmann/Steve Noble: I Am Here Where Are You (Trost) [*]
  • Jaimeo Brown: Transcendence (Motema) [*]
  • Jeri Brown: Echoes (Jongleur Productions, CD+DVD) [*]
  • Brussels Jazz Orchestra/Joe Lovano: Wild Beauty (Half Note) [***]
  • David Buchbinder's Odessa/Havana: Walk to the Sea (Tzadik) *[**]
  • Dewa Budjana: Joged Kanyangan (Moonjune) [B-]
  • Buika: La Noche Más Larga (Warner Music Latina) [*]
  • Joe Burgstaller: License to Thrill (Summit) [*]
  • Kenny Burrell: Special Requests (And Other Favorites) (High Note) [*]
  • The New Gary Burton Quartet: Guided Tour (Mack Avenue) [**]
  • Marnix Busstra: Sync Dreams (Buzz Music) [**]
  • John Butcher: Bell Trove Spools (Northern Spy '12) [B]
  • Taylor Ho Bynum: Navigation (The Complete Firehouse 12 Recordings) (Firehouse 12, 4CD) [***]
  • Cacaw: Stellar Power (Skirl) [**]
  • Cactus Truck with Jeb Bishop and Roy Campbell: Live in USA (Tractata) [B-]
  • Lou Caimano/Eric Olsen: Dyad: Plays Puccini (self-released) [B]
  • Uri Caine/Han Bennink: Sonic Boom (816 Music) [***]
  • Joey Calderazzo Trio: Live (Sunnyside) [*]
  • Will Calhoun: Life in This World (Motéma) [B]
  • Carter Calvert: Carter Calvert and the Roger Cohen Trio (self-released '12) [*]
  • Michel Camilo: What's Up? (Okeh) [**]
  • Masha Campagne: Like Water, Like Air (Impetus '12) [*]
  • The Candy Shop Boys: Sugar Foot Stomp (self-released) [***]
  • Bill Cantrall & Axiom: Live at the Kitano (Up Swing '12) [***]
  • Robb Cappelletto Group: !!! (self-released) [**]
  • Marco Cappelli Acoustic Trio: Le Stagioni del Commissario Ricciardi (Tzadik) [**]
  • Ian Carey Quintet + 1: Roads & Codes (Kabocha) [*]
  • Terri Lyne Carrington: Money Jungle: Provocative in Blue (Concord) [*]
  • Daniel Carter/Daniel Levin/Satoshi Takeishi/Devin Brahja Waldman: Say Hello to Anyone I Know (Fast Speaking Music) [**]
  • Marc Cary: For the Love of Abbey (Motéma) [*]
  • Caswell Sisters: Alive in the Singing Air (Turtle Ridge) [B-]
  • Cecily Kate: Standards (self-released '12) [B-]
  • Raquel Cepeda: I'm Confessin' (Peonia Music) [*]
  • Chaise Lounge: Dot Dot Dot (Modern Songbook) [**]
  • Etienne Charles: Creole Soul (Culture Shock Music) [B]
  • Chicago Jazz Orchestra: Burstin' Out! (Origin) [***]
  • Roger Chong: Live at the Trane (self-released) [**]
  • Corey Christiansen: Lone Prairie (Origin) [*]
  • Gerald Clayton: Life Forum (Concord) [B]
  • Jay Clayton: Harry Who?: A Tribute to Harry Warren (Sunnyside) [**]
  • Alex Cline: For People in Sorrow (Cryptogramophone) [*]
  • Club D'Elf: Fire in the Brain (Live at Berklee) (BIRN Cooperative) [**]
  • Kevin Coelho: Turn It Up (Chicken Coup/Summit) [B]
  • Ryan Cohan: The River (Motéma Music) [**]
  • Avishai Cohen With Nitai Hershkovits: Duende (Sunnyside) [***]
  • Freddy Cole: This and That (High Note) [***]
  • George Colligan: The Endless Mysteries (Origin) [**]
  • Colorado Conservatory for the Jazz Arts: Hang Time (Capri) [B]
  • The Convergence Quartet: Slow and Steady (No Business) [***]
  • Laurent Coq: Dialogue (Sunnyside) [*]
  • Larry Corban: The Circle Starts Here (Nabroc) [**]
  • Chick Corea: The Vigil (Concord) [**]
  • Patrick Cornelius: Infinite Blue (Whirlwind) [**]
  • George Cotsirilos Trio: Variations (OA2) [**]
  • Natalie Cressman & Secret Garden: Unfolding (self-released '12) [B]
  • Stephan Crump's Rosetta Trio: Thwirl (Sunnyside) [**]
  • Stephan Crump/Mary Halvorson: Secret Keeper: Super 8 (Intakt) [**]
  • Jaiman Crunk: Encounters (Origin '12) [B-]
  • Jason Paul Curtis: Love Holiday (self-released '12) [*]
  • Andrew Cyrille: Duology (Jazzwerkstatt) [**]
  • Dabrowski Sorey Duo: Steps (ForTune) [**]
  • Ori Dagan: Less Than Three (Scat Cat '12) [C+]
  • Dave Damiani: Watch What Happens (Hard Knocks) [***]
  • The Jay D'Amico Quintet: Tango Caliente (Consolidated Artists Productions) [C+]
  • Barry Danielian: Metaphorically Speaking (Tariqah) [*]
  • David's Angels: What It Seems (Kopasetic) [***]
  • Roger Davidson: Journey to Rio (Soundbrush, 2CD) [***]
  • Jon Davis: One Up Front (Posi-Tone) [**]
  • Kris Davis: Capricorn Climber (Clean Feed) [**]
  • Kris Davis: Massive Threads (Thirsty Ear) [***]
  • Dawn of Midi: Dysnomia (Thirsty Ear) [***]
  • Elton Dean/Paul Dunmall/Paul Rogers/Tony Bianco: Remembrance (2004, NoBusiness, 2CD) [***]
  • Michael Dease: Coming Home (D Clef) [*]
  • Dan DeChellis Trio: Strength and Anger (self-released) [**]
  • Mark de Clive-Lowe & the Rotterdam Jazz Orchestra: Take the Space Trane (Tru Thoughts) [**]
  • Decoy With John McPhee: Spontaneous Combustion (Otoroku) [**]
  • Joey DeFrancesco: One for Rudy (High Note) [***]
  • Hamilton de Holanda Quinteto: Brasilianos 3 (Adventure Music '12) [*]
  • Hamilton de Holanda & André Mehmari: Gismonti Pascoal: The Music of Egberto and Hermeto (Adventure Music) [**]
  • The Dynamic Les DeMerle Band: Feelin' Good (Origin) [**]
  • Tom Dempsey: Saucy (Planet Arts) [*]
  • Tom Dempsey/Tim Ferguson Quartet: Beautiful Friendship (Planet Arts '12) [***]
  • Die Enttäuschung: Vier Halbe (Intakt '12) [***]
  • Eric Divito: Breaking the Ice (Pioneer Jazz Collection '12) [*]
  • Eric DiVito: The Second Time Around (Pioneer Jazz Collection) [*]
  • Eldar Djangirov: Bach Brahms Prokofiev (Motema) [B-]
  • Eldar Djangirov: Breakthrough (Motema) [**]
  • Django Festival Allstars: Live at Birdland 2012 (Three's a Crowd) [**]
  • Marko Djordjevic & Sveti: Something Beautiful 1709-2110 (Goalkeeper) [**]
  • Roberta Donnay & the Prohibition Mob Band: A Little Sugar (Motéma '12) [*]
  • Paulette Dozier: In Walked You (PF&E '12) [*]
  • Dr. Kay & His Interstellar Tone Scientists: The Search for True Happiness (Bangles) [B-]
  • Kaja Draksler: The Lives of Many Others (Clean Feed) [**]
  • Mark Dresser Quintet: Nourishments (Clean Feed) [***]
  • Paquito D'Rivera and Trio Corrente: Song for Maura (Sunnyside) [**]
  • Anne Drummond: Revolving (Origin) [B]
  • Drye & Drye: Open Letter (NCM East, 2CD) [**]
  • George Duke: Dream Weaver (Heads Up) [B-]
  • Elina Duni Quartet: Matanë Malit (ECM '12) [***]
  • Boyd Lee Dunlop: The Lake Reflections (Mr. B Sharp) [**]
  • Louis Durra: Rocket Science (Lot 50 '12) [*]
  • Yelena Eckemoff Trio: Glass Song (Yelena Music) [**]
  • Gilad Edelman: My Groove, Your Move (Sharp Nine) [**]
  • Peter Ehwald: Double Trouble (Jazzwerkstatt) [***]
  • Shauli Einav: Generations (Posi-Tone) [**]
  • Harris Eisenstadt: Golden State (Songlines) [**]
  • The Elec Tet: Shiny Metal Objects (Blujazz) [B]
  • Sarah Elgeti Quintet: Into the Open (Your Favourite Jazz '12) [B]
  • Eliane Elias: I Thought About You: A Tribute to Chet Baker (Concord) [**]
  • Amir ElSaffar: Alchemy (Pi) [***]
  • The Kahil El'Zabar Quartet: What It Is! (Delmark) [***]
  • Kahil El'Zabar's Ritual Trio: Follow the Sun (Delmark) [**]
  • The Engines w/John Tchicai: Other Violets (Not Two) [***]
  • Ellery Eskelin/Susan Alcorn/Michael Formanek: Mirage (Clean Feed) [**]
  • John Escreet: Sabotage and Celebration (Whirlwind) [*]
  • Gene Ess: Fractal Attraction (SIMP) [**]
  • Anna Estrada: Volando (Feral Flight '12) [*]
  • Charles Evans: Subliminal Leaps (More Is More) [**]
  • Fabric Trio: Murmurs (NoBusiness) *[**]
  • Fado Em Si Bemol: QB (Vidisco '12) [*]
  • Ayman Fanous/Jason Kao Hwang: Zilzal (Innova) [***]
  • The Fat Babies: 18th & Racine (Delmark) [***]
  • Lorraine Feather: Attachments (Jazzed Media) [*]
  • Alan Ferber: March Sublime (Sunnyside) [*]
  • Doug Ferony: You Will Be My Music (self-released '12) [B]
  • The Bryan Ferry Orchestra: The Jazz Age (BMG/Relativity) [B]
  • Phill Fest: Projeto B.F.C. (self-released) [*]
  • Joe Fiedler's Big Sackbut: Sackbut Stomp (Multiphonics) [***]
  • Ken Field: Sensorium: Music for Dance & Film (Innova '12) [**]
  • The Matthew Finck Jonathan Ball Project: It's Not That Far (self-released) [**]
  • Fire! Orchestra: Exit (Rune Grammofon) [B]
  • Jörg Fischer: Spring Spleen and Twelve Other Pieces (Gligg '12) [**]
  • FivePlay Jazz Quintet: Five & More (Auraline) [B]
  • Tommy Flanagan/Jaki Byard: The Magic of 2: Live at Keystone Korner (1982, Resonance) [*]
  • Chris Flory: The Chris Flory Quintet Featuring Scott Hamilton (Arbors '12) [***]
  • Food: Mercurial Balm (ECM) [*]
  • Foot Village: Make Memories (Northern Spy) [*]
  • Foreign Motion: In Flight (self-released) [**]
  • Lisa Forkish: Bridges (self-released) [*]
  • Olivia Foschi: Perennial Dreamer (self-released) [***]
  • Ken Fowser/Behn Gillece: Top Shelf (Posi-Tone) [B]
  • Mimi Fox: Standards, Old & New (Origin) [*]
  • Nnenna Freelon/John Brown Big Band: Christmas (Brown Boulevard) [B]
  • Paolo Fresu Devil Quartet: Desertico (Tuk Music) [*]
  • Erik Friedlander: Claws and Wings (Skipstone) [***]
  • Inbar Fridman: Time Quartet Project (Origin) [*]
  • Fred Fried and Core: Core Bacharach (Ballet Tree) [*]
  • Bill Frisell: Big Sur (Okeh) [**]
  • Satoko Fujii Ma-Do: Time Stands Still (Not Two) [**]
  • Satoko Fujii New Trio: Spring Storm (Libra) [***]
  • John Funkhouser: Still (Jazsyzygy) [*]
  • Steve Gadd Band: Gadditude (BFM Jazz) [*]
  • Sérgio Galvăo: Phantom Fish (Pimenta) [***]
  • Gansch & Breinschmid: Live (Preiser) [**]
  • José García: Songs for a Lifetime: Live (self-released '12) [B]
  • Laszlo Gardony: Clarity (Sunnyside) [***]
  • Amos Garrett Jazz Trio: Jazzblues (Stony Plain) [*]
  • Kenny Garrett: Pushing the World Away (Mack Avenue) [B]
  • Giacomo Gates: Miles Tones: Sings the Music of Miles Davis (Savant) [**]
  • Maximilian Geller: Alpenglühen (Ozella) [*]
  • Annette Genovese: Dream With Me (self-released) [*]
  • Brian Gephart: Standing on Two Feet (Origin) [B]
  • Aaron Germain: Chance (Origin) [B-]
  • Ghosts of the Holy Ghost Spermic Brotherhood (Resonant Music) [B-]
  • Ghost Train Orchestra: Book of Rhapsodies (Accurate) [**]
  • Gerry Gibbs Thrasher Dream Trio: Dream a Little Dream (Whaling City Sound) [***]
  • Vana Gierig: Making Memories (Enja) [*]
  • Joe Gilman: Relativity (Capri '12) [*]
  • David Gilmore: Numerology: Live at Jazz Standard (Evolutionary Music '12) [***]
  • Robert Glasper Experiment: Black Radio 2 (Blue Note) [B]
  • Tom Goehring: A Reflected Journey (Mengli Music) [**]
  • Ben Goldberg: Subatomic Particle Homesick Blues (BAG) [***]
  • Ben Goldberg: Unfold Ordinary Mind (BAG) [**]
  • Brad Goode: Chicago Red (Origin) [**]
  • Wycliffe Gordon: Dreams of New Orleans (Chesky '12) [B]
  • Wycliffe Gordon: The Intimate Ellington/Ballads and Blues (Criss Cross) [***]
  • Enrico Granafei: Alone Together (CAP) [***]
  • Gordon Grdina/Mark Helias: No Difference (Songlines) [**]
  • Guillermo Gregorio/Steve Swell/Pandelis Karayorgis Trio: Window and Doorway (Driff) [*]
  • Benny Green: Magic Beans (Sunnyside) [**]
  • Danny Green: A Thousand Ways Home (Tapestry '12) [*]
  • Drew Gress: The Sky Inside (Pirouet) [**]
  • Tianna Hall & the Mexico City Jazz Trio: Two for the Road (Mighty Pretty '12) [*]
  • Jon Hamar: Hymn (Origin '12) [*]
  • Fareed Haque: Trance Hypothesis (Delmark) [**]
  • Scott Healy Ensemble: Hudson City Suite (Hudson City '12) [*]
  • Griffith Hiltz Trio: This Is What You Get . . . (self-released) [B]
  • Ricardo Grilli: If on a Winter's Night a Traveler (Dark House) [**]
  • Giovanni Guidi Trio: City of Broken Dreams (ECM) *[**]
  • Sunna Gunnlaugs: Distilled (Sunny Sky) [*]
  • Trilok Gurtu: Spellbound (Sunnyside) [**]
  • Mats Gustafsson/Thurston Moore: Vi Är Alla Guds Slava (Otoroku) [*]
  • Iro Haarla Sextet: Kolibri (TUM) [**]
  • Brian Haas/Matt Chamberlain: Frames (Royal Potato) [*]
  • Michael Hackett Quintet: New Point of View (Summit) [*]
  • Lua Hadar with Twist: Like a Bridge (Bellalua '12) [C-]
  • Petra Haden: Petra Goes to the Movies (Anti-) [C+]
  • Noah Haidu: Momentum (Posi-Tone) [*]
  • Mary Halvorson Septet: Illusionary Sea (Firehouse 12) [**]
  • Jon Hamar: Idyl Wild (Origin) [**]
  • Scott Hamilton: Remembering Billie (Blue Duchess) [***]
  • Scott Hamilton: Swedish Ballads . . . & More (Charleston Square) [**]
  • Nancy Harms: Dreams in Apartments (Gazelle) [*]
  • Tom Harrell: Colors of a Dream (High Note) [***]
  • The Harris Group: Errands (self-released) [B-]
  • Joel Harrison 19: Infinite Possibility (Sunnyside) [B]
  • Rebecca Harrold: The River of Life (Imaginary Road Studios) [B-]
  • Craig Hartley: Books on Tape Vol. 1 (self-released) [**]
  • Curtis Hasselbring: Number Stations (Cuneiform) [***]
  • Ken Hatfield Sextet: For Langston (Arthur Circle Music) [*]
  • Miho Hazama: Journey to Journey (Sunnyside) [*]
  • Scott Healy-Glenn Alexander Quartet: Northern Light (1991, Hudson City '12) [B]
  • Albert Heath/Ethan Ivrerson/Ben Street: Tootie's Tempo (Sunnyside) [***]
  • John Hébert Trio: Floodstage (Clean Feed) [***]
  • Bruno Heinen Sextet: Karlheinz Stockhausen: Tierkreis (Babel) [***]
  • Gilad Hekselman: This Just In (Jazz Village) [**]
  • Nick Hempton: Odd Man Out (Posi-Tone) [**]
  • Reinmar Henschke: On Air (Ozella) [***]
  • Hera/Hamid Drake: Seven Lines (Multikulti) [***]
  • Marsha Heydt and the Project of Love: Diggin' the Day (Blujazz) [B]
  • Marquis Hill: The Poet (Skiptone Music) [**]
  • Pamela Hines: 3.2.1 (Spicerack) [*]
  • Derrick Hodge: Live Today (Blue Note) [B]
  • Florian Hoefner Group: Falling Up (OA2) [***]
  • Florian Hoefner Group: Songs Without Words (OA2 '12) [***]
  • Eric Hofbauer: American Grace (Creative Nation Music) [*]
  • Dave Holland: Prism (Dare2) *[**]
  • Molly Holm: Permission (Rinny Zin) [*]
  • William Hooker Quintet: Channels of Consciousness (NoBusiness '12) [***]
  • Chris Hopkins/Bernd Lhotzky: Partners in Crime (Echoes of Swing '12) [***]
  • Justin Horn: Hornology (Rotato '12) [*]
  • Tim Horner: The Head of the Circle (Origin) [B]
  • The Bill Horvitz Expanded Band: The Long Walk (Big Door Prize) [*]
  • François Houle & Hĺvard Wiik: Aves (Songlines) [*]
  • Christian Howes: Southern Exposure (Resonance) [**]
  • Brad Hoyt: Far Away From Everyday (Harp Guitar Music) [B]
  • Diane Hubka: West Coast Strings (SSJ) [***]
  • Julia Hülsmann Quartet: In Full View (ECM) *[**]
  • Hungry Cowboy: Dance (Prom Night) *[**]
  • Robert Hurst: Bob: A Palindrome (Bebob) [***]
  • Hush Point (Sunnyside) [***]
  • I Compani: Extended (Icdisc) [*]
  • I Never Meta Guitar Too (Clean Feed '12) [*]
  • Abdullah Ibrahim: Mukashi (Intuition) [**]
  • Iron Dog: Interactive Album Rock (self-released '12) [***]
  • Yoron Israel & High Standards: Visions: The Music of Stevie Wonder (Ronja Music) [**]
  • Ethan Iverson/Lee Konitz/Larry Grenadier/Jorge Rossy: Costumes Are Mandatory (High Note) [***]
  • Vijay Iyer & Mike Ladd: Holding It Down: The Veterans' Dreams Project (Pi) [**]
  • Keefe Jackson's Likely So: A Round Goal (Delmark) [**]
  • Ahmad Jamal: Saturday Morning (Jazz Village) [**]
  • Bob James & David Sanborn: Quartette Humaine (Okeh) [**]
  • José James: No Beginning No End (Blue Note) [B]
  • Scott Jeppesen: El Guapo (Creative Bottle Music) [***]
  • Art Johnson/Marc Devine: Blue Sud (Warrant Music/ITI) [B-]
  • Clarence Johnson III: Watch Him Work (Like Father Like Son Music) [B]
  • Jeff Johnson: Suitcase (Origin '12) [***]
  • Lynn Jolicoeur and the Pulse: World Behind Your Eyes (self-released) [B]
  • Alan Jones & François Théberge: Another View (Origin) [*]
  • Carolyn Lee Jones: The Performer (Cat'nround Sound) [***]
  • Eugenie Jones: Black Lace Blue Tears (self-released) [**]
  • Jessica Jones/Connie Crothers: Live at the Freight (New Artists) [*]
  • Mike Jones Trio: Plays Well With Others (Capri) [**]
  • Oliver Jones: Just for My Lady (Justin Time) [***]
  • Kidd Jordan/Hamid Drake: A Night in November: Live in New Orleans (Valid) [***]
  • Patricia Julien Project: Still Light at Night (self-released '12) [B]
  • Kairos 4tet: Everything We Hold (Naim Jazz) [**]
  • Asuka Kakitani Jazz Orchestra: Bloom (19/8) [***]
  • Gregg Kallor: A Single Noon (Single Noon) [**]
  • The Kandinsky Effect: Synesthesia (Cuneiform) [***]
  • Pandelis Karayorgis Quintet: Circuitous (Driff) [**]
  • Pandelis Karayorgis Trio: Cocoon (Driff) [***]
  • Roger Kellaway & Eddie Daniels: Duke at the Roadhouse: Live in Santa Fe (IPO) [**]
  • Wouter Kellerman: Mzansi (self-released) [B]
  • Tom Kennedy: Just Play! (Capri) [**]
  • Shan Kenner: The Behavior of Vibration (Guitar Lotus) [B]
  • Peter Kerlin Octet: Salamander (Innova) [***]
  • Kikoski Carpenter Novak Sheppard: From the Hip (BFM Jazz) [***]
  • Stan Killian: Evoke (Sunnyside) [**]
  • Dave King Trucking Company: Adopted Highway (Sunnyside) [**]
  • Lisa Kirchner: Umbrellas in Mint (Verdant World) [**]
  • Mark Kleinhaut/Neil Lamb: Jones Street (Invisible Music) [**]
  • Hans Koch-Martin Schütz-Fredy Studer and Shelley Hirsch: Walking and Stumbling Through Your Sleep (Intakt)
  • Annie Kozuch: Mostly Jobim (self-released) [**]
  • Uwe Kropinski: So Wie So: Acoustic Guitar Solos (Jazzwerkstatt) [*]
  • Joshua Kwassman: Songs of the Brother Spirit (Truth Revolution) [B-]
  • Oliver Lake/Christian Weber/Dieter Ulrich/Nils Wogram: All Decks (Intakt) [**]
  • Oliver Lake Big Band: Wheels (Passin' Thru) [**]
  • The Dave Lalama Big Band: The Hofstra Project (Lalama Music) [B]
  • Lama + Chris Speed: Lamaçal (Clean Feed) [***]
  • Michel Lambert: Journal des Épisodes (Jazz From Rant) [***]
  • Brian Landrus Kaleidoscope: Mirage (Blueland) [**]
  • Richard Lanham: Thou Swell (1998, RL Productions) [*]
  • Daniel Lantz Trio: Plays Bond (Do Music) [*]
  • Mary LaRose: Reincarnation (Little(i) Music) [*]
  • Yusef Lateef/Roscoe Mitchell/Adam Rudolph/Douglas Ewart: Voice Prints (Meta) [***]
  • Deborah Latz: Fig Tree (June Moon Productions) [*]
  • Ingrid Laubrock Anti-House: Strong Place (Intakt) [*]
  • Jerry Leake: Cubist: Prominence (Rhombus Publishing) [B-]
  • Lean Left: Live at Café Oto (Unsounds '12) [**]
  • Joëlle Léandre & Lauren Newton: Conversations: Live in Ljubljana (Not Two '12) [B]
  • Aaron Lebos: Reality (self-released) [B-]
  • Jeff Lederer: Jeff Lederer's Swing n' Dix (Little(i) Music) [***]
  • Okkyung Lee: Ghil (Ideologic Organ) [*]
  • Chad Lefkowitz-Brown: Imagery Manifesto (self-released) [*]
  • Billy Lester: Storytime (JKA) [**]
  • Mark Lettieri: Future Fun (Markus Justinius Music) [*]
  • The Alex Levin Trio: Refraction (self-released) [*]
  • Liberation Prophecy: Invisible House (self-released) [B]
  • Dave Liebman/Michael Stephans: Lineage (Whaling City Sound) [*]
  • Steve Lindeman: The Day After Yesterday (Jazz Hang) [C+]
  • Ivan Lins: Cornucopia (Sunnyside) [**]
  • Steve Lipman: Ridin' the Beat (Locomotion '12) [B-]
  • Little Women: Lung (AUM Fidelity) [B-]
  • Joe Locke: Lay Down My Heart: Blues & Ballads Vol 1 (Motéma)
  • Todd Londagin: Look Out for Love (self-released) [B-]
  • Mike Longo and the New York State of the Art Jazz Ensemble: Live From New York (CAP) [**]
  • Harold López-Nussa: New Day (Jazz Village) [***]
  • Luce Trio: Pieces, Vol. 1 (Museum Clausum '12) [*]
  • Steven Lugerner: For We Have Heard (NoBusiness/Primary) [***]
  • Lurk Lab: Live at Shelter Sounds (JazzHausMusik) [***]
  • Dana Lyn: Aqualude (Ropeadope) * [C+]
  • Made to Break: Provoke (Clean Feed) [***]
  • El Nińo Machuca: Searching Your South/Buscando tu Sur (Ozella) [**]
  • Anya Malkiel: From the Heart (self-released) [*]
  • Ray Mantilla: The Connection (Savant) [**]
  • Ray Marchica: A Different View (Sons of Sound) [*]
  • René Marie: I Wanna Be Evil: With Love to Eartha Kitt (Motéma) [*]
  • Diane Marino: Loads of Love (M&M) [**]
  • Sandra Marlowe: True Blue (LoveDog! '12) [B-]
  • María Márquez: Tonada (Adventure Music) [*]
  • Jason Marsalis Vibes Quartet: In a World of Mallets (Basin Street) [C+]
  • Martin Lozano Lewis Wiens Duncan: At Canterbury (Barnyard) [*]
  • The Pedrito Martinez Group (Motema) [B]
  • Pedro Martins: Dreaming High (Adventure Music) [*]
  • Sue Maskaleris: Bring Nothing but Your Heart (Jazilian) [B]
  • Nicolas Masson/Roberto Pianca/Emanuele Maniscalco: Third Reel (ECM) [B]
  • Mark Masters Ensemble: Everything You Did (Capri) [B]
  • Matt and the City Limits: Crash (Island/Def Jam '12, EP) [**]
  • Bill Mays Inventions Trio: Life's a Movie (Chiaroscuro) [B]
  • Rob Mazurek/Exploding Star Electro Acoustic Ensemble: The Space Between (Delmark) [*]
  • Rob Mazurek Octet: The Skull Sessions (Cuneiform) [***]
  • Christian McBride & Inside Straight: People Music (Mack Avenue) [**]
  • Christian McBride Trio: Out Here (Mack Avenue) [***]
  • Mike McGinnis: Ängsudden Song Cycle (482 Music) [**]
  • Mike McGinnis + 9: Road Trip (RKM) [**]
  • Pete McGuinness: Voice Like a Horn (Summit) [***]
  • Earl McIntyre: Brass Carnival & Tribute (self-released) [*]
  • Chris McNulty: The Song That Sings You Here (Challenge '12) [**]
  • Joe McPhee: Sonic Elements: For Pocket Trumpet and Alto Saxophone (Clean Feed) [*]
  • Myra Melford: Life Carries Me This Way (Firehouse 12) [***]
  • Merzbow/Pándi/Gustafsson: Cuts (Rare Noise) [B]
  • Pat Metheny: The Orchestrion Project (Nonesuch, 2CD) [B]
  • Ruth Wilhelmine Meyer/Helge Lien: Memnon (Ozella) [B]
  • Szilárd Mezei Tubass Quintet: Canons: 2nd Hosting (NoBusiness '12) [**]
  • The Miami Saxophone Quartet: Four of a Kind (Fortitude) [***]
  • Michigan State University Professors of Jazz: Better Than Alright (self-released, 2CD) [***]
  • Monday Michiru: Soulception (Adventure Music '12) [B]
  • Mikrokolektyw: Absent Minded (Delmark) [***]
  • RJ Miller: Ronald's Rhythm (Loyal Label) [***]
  • Billy Mintz: Quartet (Thirteenth Note) [*]
  • Matt Mitchell: Fiction (Pi) [***]
  • Nicole Mitchell's Ice Crystal: Aquarius (Delmark) [**]
  • Roscoe Mitchell/Tony Marsh/John Edwards: Improvisations (Otoroku) [***]
  • Charnett Moffett: The Bridge: Solo Bass Works (Motéma) [**]
  • Joe Moffett: Ad Faunum (Not Two '12) [**]
  • Giovanni Moltoni: Tomorrow's Past (C#2 Music Productions) [**]
  • Ben Monder: Hydra (Sunnyside) [B-]
  • M1, Brian Jackson & the New Midnight Band: Evolutionary Minded (Motema) [***]
  • Thelonious Monk: Paris 1969 (Blue Note) [**]
  • Bernie Mora & Tangent: Dandelion (Rhombus) [B-]
  • Sean Moran Small Elephant Band: Tusk (NCM East) [**]
  • Carol Morgan: Retroactive (Blue Bamboo Music) [**]
  • Justin Morell Dectet: Subjects and Compliments (Sonic Frenzy) [***]
  • Michael Moss/Billy Stein: Intervals (4th Stream) [***]
  • Jack Mouse Group: Range of Motion (Origin) [*]
  • Bob Mover: My Heart Tells Me (Motema, 2CD) [***]
  • Mumpbeak (Rare Noise) [*]
  • David Murray Infinity Quartet: Be My Monster Love (Motéma) [***]
  • Stephanie Nakasian: Show Me the Way to Get Out of This World (Capri '12) [**]
  • Ted Nash Big Band: Chakra (Plastic Sax) [*]
  • Marius Neset: Birds (Edition) [B]
  • Jovino Santos Neto: Adventure Music Piano Masters Series Vol. 4 (Adventure Music) [B]
  • New York Voices: Live: With the WDR Big Band Cologne (Palmetto) [B-]
  • Next Collective: Cover Art (Concord) [B-]
  • Nicholl and Farquharson: Della by Moonlight (Big Empty Loo '12) [C-]
  • Pascal Niggenkemper Vision7: Lucky Prime (Clean Feed) [***]
  • Anders Nilsson/Joe Fonda/Peter Nilsson: Powers (Konnex) [***]
  • Tsuyoshi Niwa: At the End of the Day (self-released) [*]
  • Noertker's Moxie: Little Bluedevil (Blue Rider Suite, Vol. 2) (Edgetone '12) [B]
  • Sean Nowell: The Kung-Fu Masters (Posi-Tone) [*]
  • Dawn Oberg: Rye (Blossom Theory Music) [*]
  • Bill O'Connell + The Latin Jazz All-Stars: Zócalo (Savant) [**]
  • Meg Okura and the Pan Asian Chamber Jazz Ensemble: Music of Ryuichi Sakamoto (self-released) [**]
  • Ron Oswanski: December's Moon (Palmetto) [*]
  • Outer Bridge Ensemble: Determined (self-released) [**]
  • Chuck Owen & the Jazz Surge: River Runs (Summit) [*]
  • Steve Owen: Stand Up Eight (OA2) [B]
  • Ulysses Owens Jr.: Unanimous (Criss Cross '12) [*]
  • Klaus Paier/Asja Valcic: Silk Road (ACT) [*]
  • Paris Washboard: Swinging Castle: Paris Washboard in Concert (K&K Verlagsanstalt) [**]
  • Chris Parker: The Chris Parker Trio (GPR) [**]
  • William Parker/Conny Bauer/Hamid Drake: Tender Exploration (Jazzwerkstatt) [***]
  • William Parker Quartet: Live at Yoshi's 2006 (AUM Fidelity, 2CD) [***]
  • William Parker Quartet: Live in Houston 2007 (AUM Fidelity, 2CD) [***]
  • Zeena Parkins: The Adorables (Cryptogramophone) [**]
  • Bennett Paster: Relentless Pursuit of the Beautiful (self-released) [*]
  • Beata Pater: Red (B&B) [B]
  • Cristina Pato: Migrations (Sunnyside) [***]
  • Nicholas Payton: #BAM: Live at Bohemian Caverns (BMF) [***]
  • Gary Peacock/Marilyn Crispell: Azure (ECM) [**]
  • Michael Pedicin: Why Stop Now/Ubuntu (Groundblue) [**]
  • Jeremy Pelt: Water and Earth (High Note) [B]
  • Ken Peplowski: Maybe September (Capri) [***]
  • Ivo Perelman: The Edge (Leo) [**]
  • Houston Person: Nice 'n' Easy (High Note) [**]
  • Bill Peterson Trio: Ruby Diamond (Summit) [**]
  • Madeleine Peyroux: The Blue Room (Emarcy) [**]
  • Dan Phillips BKK Trio: Bangkok Edge (self-released '12) [**]
  • Pink Martini: Get Happy (Heinz) [***]
  • Pixel: Reminder (Cuneiform '12) [B-]
  • Pixel: We Are All Small Pixels (Cuneiform) [B]
  • John Pizzarelli: Double Exposure (Telarc '12) [B]
  • Verneri Pohjola & Black Motor: Rubidium (TUM) [**]
  • Gregory Porter: Liquid Spirit (Blue Note) [B-]
  • Frank Potenza: For Joe (Capri) [**]
  • Chris Potter: The Sirens (ECM) [***]
  • Power of the Horns: Alaman (ForTune) [***]
  • Preservation Hall Jazz Band: That's It! (Legacy) [**]
  • Mike Pride: Drummer's Corpse (AUM Fidelity) [B]
  • Mike Pride/From Bacteria to Boys: Birthing Days (AUM Fidelity) [*]
  • Project Them (Miles High) [*]
  • Miki Purnell: Swingin' to the Sea (Sweet and Lovely Music) [*]
  • Quartet San Francisco: Pacific Premieres: New Works by California Composers (Violin Jazz) [*]
  • Quest: Circular Dreaming (Enja) [**]
  • Tom Rainey Trio: Camino Cielo Echo (Intakt '12) [***]
  • Monica Ramey: And the Beegie Adair Trio (Adair Music Group) [***]
  • PJ Rasmussen: Adventures in Flight (Third Freedom Music) [*]
  • Enrico Rava: On the Dance Floor (ECM) [**]
  • Carline Ray: Vocal Sides (Carlcat) [**]
  • RED Trio: Rebento (NoBusiness) [*]
  • Joshua Redman: Walking Shadows (Nonesuch) [B-]
  • Mary Ann Redmond/Paul Langosch/Jay Cooley: Compared to What (self-released) [*]
  • Ed Reed: I'm a Shy Guy (Blue Shorts) [**]
  • Reut Regev's R*Time: Exploring the Vibe (Enja) [**]
  • Jussi Reijonen: Un (self-released) [*]
  • Resonance: Introductions (Mandala) [C]
  • Eric Revis: City of Asylum (Clean Feed) [***]
  • Dick Reynolds: Music & Friends (Origin) [*]
  • Abigail Riccards: Every Little Star (self-released) [*]
  • The Kim Richmond Concert Jazz Orchestra: Artistry: A Tribute to Stan Kenton (MAMA) [B]
  • Howard Riley: Live With Repertoire (NoBusiness) [*]
  • RJ & the Assignment: Deceiving Eyes (self-released '12) [*]
  • RJ & the Assignment: The Stroke of Midnight (self-released) [B]
  • Bryn Roberts: Fables (Nineteen-Eight) [**]
  • Matana Roberts: Coin Coin Chapter Two: Mississippi Moonchile (Constellation) [**]
  • Sherri Roberts: Lovely Days (Blue House/Pacific Coast Jazz) [B]
  • Troy Roberts: Nu-Jive 5 (XenDen) [*]
  • Ellen Robinson: Don't Wait Too Long (EMR Music '12) [B]
  • Nell Robinson & Jim Nunally: House & Garden (Nell Robinson Music) [B]
  • Sonya Robinson: Whistle (FLV) [*]
  • Barry Romberg's Random Access: Crab People (Romhog, 2CD) [*]
  • Wallace Roney: Understanding (High Note) [**]
  • Adam Rongo: Tell Your Story (D Clef) [*]
  • Frank Rosaly: Cicada Music (Delmark) [**]
  • Rose & the Nightingale: Spirit of the Garden (Sunnyside) [*]
  • Daniel Rosenboom: Daniel Rosenboom's Book of Omens (Nine Winds) [***]
  • Ted Rosenthal Trio: Wonderland (Playscape) [*]
  • The Rosenthals: Fly Away (American Melody) [*]
  • Shamie Royston: Portraits (self-released) [*]
  • Adam Rudolph/Go: Organic Orchestra: Sonic Mandala (Meta) [***]
  • Kermit Ruffins: We Partyin' Traditional Style (Basin Street) [***]
  • Dylan Ryan/Sand: Sky Bleached (Cuneiform) [**]
  • Jackie Ryan: Listen Here (Open Art) [*]
  • The Ali Ryerson Jazz Flute Big Band: Game Changer (Capri) [B-]
  • Terje Rypdal: Melodic Warrior (ECM) [B]
  • Harvie S/Kenny Barron: Witchcraft (Savant) [***]
  • Sachal Studios Orchestra: Jazz and All That: In Memory of Dave Brubeck (Imagine Music) [B-]
  • Michel Sajrawy: Arabop (Dasam Studio '12) [B]
  • Laila Salins/Anne Sexton: Elevator Into the Sky (Alectrona) [**]
  • Cécile McLorin Salvant: WomanChild (Mack Avenue) [***]
  • Angelica Sanchez/Wadada Leo Smith: Twine Forest (Clean Feed) [***]
  • Antonio Sanchez: New Life (CAM Jazz) [B]
  • Nick Sanders Trio: Nameless Neighbors (Sunnyside) [*]
  • Venissa Santi: Big Stuff: Afro Cuban Holiday (Sunnyside) [*]
  • Imer Santiago: Hidden Journey (Jazz Music City) [***]
  • Săo Paulo Underground: Beija Flors Velho E Sujo (Cuneiform) [*]
  • Sasha's Bloc: Melancholy (self-released) [*]
  • Chris Schlarb: Psychic Temple II (Asthmatic Kitty) [B]
  • Nicky Schrire: Space and Time (self-released) [B]
  • Reg Schwager/Michel Lambert: Trio Improvisations (2001-02, Jazz From Rant) [***]
  • Reg Schwager/David Restivo: Arctic Passage (Jazz From Rant) [**]
  • Markus Schwartz/Monvelyno Alexis: Vo-Duo Nou La (Lakou Brooklyn) [B]
  • Irčne Schweizer: To Whom It May Concern: Piano Solo Tonhalle Zürich (Intakt '12) [**]
  • John Scofield: Überjam Deux (Emarcy) [*]
  • Claudio Scolari: Synthesis (Principal '12) [**]
  • Scottish National Jazz Orchestra: In the Spirit of Duke (Spartacus) [***]
  • Seung-Hee: Sketches on the Sky (self-released '12) [**]
  • Sex Mob: Cinema, Circus & Spaghetti: Sex Mob Plays Fellini (The Royal Potato Family) [***]
  • Jan Shapiro: Piano Bar After Hours (Singing Empress) [*]
  • Elliott Sharp Aggregat: Quintet (Clean Feed) [**]
  • Matthew Shipp: Piano Sutras (Thirsty Ear) [**]
  • Julian Shore: Filaments (Tone Rogue '12) [B]
  • Wayne Shorter Quartet: Without a Net (Blue Note) [**]
  • Deborah Shulman & the Ted Howe Trio: Get Your Kicks: The Music & Lyrics of Bobby Troup (Summit) [B]
  • Ben Sidran: Don't Cry for No Hipster (Nardis Music) [***]
  • David Sills: Blue's the New Green (Gut String) [*]
  • Susana Santos Silva/Torbjörn Zetterberg: Almost Tomorrow (Clean Feed) [B]
  • Ricardo Silveira/Vinicius Cantuária: RSVC (Adventure Music) [*]
  • Ricardo Silveira & Roberta Taufic: Atlânticos (Adventure Music) [*]
  • Sarah Silverman: Sarah (self-released) [B]
  • Edward Simon Trio: Live in New York at Jazz Standard (Sunnyside) [***]
  • Donna Singer: Take the Day Off: Escape With Jazz (Emerald Baby '12) [*]
  • Alex Sipiagin: From Reality and Back (5 Pasion) [*]
  • Alex Sipiagin: Overlooking Moments (Criss Cross) [**]
  • Ilia Skibinsky: The Passage (Mythology) [*]
  • Kristin Slipp + Dov Manski: A Thousand Julys (Sunnyside) [**]
  • Dave Slonaker Big Band: Intrada (Origin) [B-]
  • Ches Smith & These Arches: Hammered (Clean Feed) [***]
  • E. Doctor Smith: Quantum (Edgetone) [B]
  • Suzanna Smith: Halfway Between Heaven and Love (Ink Pen) [*]
  • Wadada Leo Smith & TUMO: Occupy the World (TUM, 2CD) [*]
  • Gary Smulyan/Dominic Chianese: Bella Napoli (Capri) [**]
  • Jim Snidero: Stream of Consciousness (Savant) [***]
  • Alex Snydman: Fortunate Action (self-released) [**]
  • Soar Trio: Emergency Management Heist (Edgetone) [***]
  • Clark Sommers: Clark Sommers' Ba(SH) (Origin) [**]
  • Sons of Kemet: Burn (Naim) [***]
  • S.O.S. [John Surman/Mike Osborne/Alan Skidmore]: Looking for the Next One (1974, Cuneiform, 2CD) [***]
  • Spinifex: Hipsters Gone Ballistic (Trytone) [*]
  • Rossano Sportiello/Nicki Parrott/Eddie Metz: Live at Jazz Corner (Arbors '12) [**]
  • Mary Stallings: But Beautiful (High Note) [**]
  • Tomasz Stanko NY Quartet: Wislawa (ECM, 2CD) [***]
  • John Stein: Bing Bang Boom (Whaling City Sound) [***]
  • Chip Stephens Trio: Relevancy (Capri) [**]
  • Dayna Stephens: That Nepenthetic Place (Sunnyside) [**]
  • John Stowell & Dave Liebman: Blue Rose (Origin) [**]
  • Colin Stranahan/Glenn Zaleski/Rick Rosato: Limitless (Capri) [*]
  • Joey Stuckey: Mixture (Senate '12) [B]
  • Sudo Quartet: Live at Banlieue Bleue (NoBusiness '12) [**]
  • Milton Suggs: Lyrical: Volume 1 (Skiptone Music '12) [B-]
  • Ira Sullivan Presents the Jim Holman Trio: Blue Skies (Delmark) [**]
  • Jacqui Sutton: Notes From the Frontier: A Musical Journey (Toy Blue Typewriter '12) [B-]
  • Tierney Sutton: After Blue (BFM Jazz) [B]
  • The Swallow Quintet: Into the Woodwork (ECM) [**]
  • Sweet Talk: Glitterbomb (Prom Night) * [*]
  • Swing Fever Presents Clark Terry/Buddy DeFranco/Terry Gibbs and Guest Vocalist Jackie Ryan: Grand Masters of Jazz (1998-2001, Open Art, CD+2DVD) [***]
  • June Tabor/Iain Ballamy/Huw Warren: Quercus (ECM) [***]
  • Craig Taborn Trio: Chants (ECM) [***]
  • Aki Takase: My Ellington (Intakt) [*]
  • Aki Takase: Plays Fats Waller in Berlin (2004, Jazzwerkstatt) [***]
  • Natsuki Tamura: Dragon Nat (Libra) [*]
  • Tarbaby: Ballad of Sam Langford (Hipnotic) [***]
  • Benjamin Taubkin + Adriano Adewale: The Vortex Sessions (Adventure Music) [*]
  • Melvin Taylor: Taylor Made (Eleven East) [*]
  • Gavin Templeton: In Series (Nine Winds) [***]
  • Jacky Terrasson: Gouache (Sunnyside) [***]
  • Emilio Teubal: Música Para un Dragon Dormido (Bju'ecords) [*]
  • Thiefs (Melanine Harmonique) [*]
  • The Thing: Boot! (The Thing Records) [*]
  • Lizzie Thomas: Easy to Love (self-released) [**]
  • Al Thompson Jr.: City Mainstream (Alcalgar) [B]
  • Rich Thompson: Less Is More (Origin) [*]
  • Bruce Torff: Look Again (Summit) [*]
  • The Ian Torres Big Band: January (Blujazz) [B]
  • Chandler Travis Three-O: This Is What Bears Look Like Under Water (Iddy Biddy) [**]
  • The Michael Treni Big Band: Pop-Culture Blues (self-released) [*]
  • Trespass Trio + Joe McPhee: Human Encore (Clean Feed) [**]
  • Trombone Shorty: Say That to Say This (Verve) [B-]
  • Tunk Trio: Summer Baby (Tunk Music) [*]
  • Steve Turre: The Bones of Art (High Note) [***]
  • Twins of El Dorado: Portend the End (Prom Night) [B-]
  • Uptown Vocal Jazz Quartet: Hustlin\' for a Gig (Housekat '12) [B-]
  • Diego Urcola: Mates (Sunnyside) [**]
  • Chucho Valdés & the Afro-Cuban Messengers: Border-Free (Jazz Village) [*]
  • Manuel Valera & New Cuban Express: Expectativas (Mavo) [*]
  • Corrie Van Binsbergen: Self Portrait in Pale Blue (Brokken) [**]
  • Vandeweyer/Van Hove/Lovens/Blume: Quat: Live at Hasselt (No Business) [***]
  • Rick VanMatre: Lines Above (Summit) [*]
  • John Vanore & Abstract Truth: Culture (Acoustical Concepts) [***]
  • Jacob Varmus: Terminal Stillness (Crows Kin) [*]
  • Eric Vaughn: Minor Relocation (self-released '12) [**]
  • The Verge: Introducing . . . the Verge (Danger Productions '12) [*]
  • Marlene VerPlanck: Ballads . . . Mostly (Audiophile) [**]
  • The Verve Jazz Ensemble: It's About Time (self-released) [*]
  • Fay Victor Ensemble: Absinthe & Vermouth (Greene Avenue Music) [***]
  • Vinx: Love Never Comes Too Late (Dreamsicle Arts) [*]
  • Allen Vizzutti: Ritzville (Village Place Music '12) [B]
  • Volcán (5Pasion) [***]
  • Thisbe Vos: Under Your Spell (Prime Productions) [**]
  • Brahja Waldman's Quartet: Cosmic Brahjas/Closer to the Tones (self-released, 2CD) [**]
  • Wayne Wallace Latin Jazz Quintet: Latin Jazz-Jazz Latin (Patois) [*]
  • Christian Wallumrřd: Outstairs (ECM) * [*]
  • Ben Wanicur: The Excluded Middle (Middle Path) [***]
  • Tim Warfield: Inspire Me! (HHM) [***]
  • Tim Warfield: Tim Warfield's Jazzy Christmas (Undaunted Music '12) [B]
  • Joan Watson-Jones/Frank Wilkins: Quiet Conversations: A Duet (Eye of Samantha '12) [*]
  • Doug Webb: Another Scene (Posi-Tone) [**]
  • Anna Webber: Percussive Mechanics (Pirouet) [*]
  • Eberhard Weber: Résumé (ECM) [**]
  • Michael Webster: Momentus (OA2 '12) [*]
  • Mark Weinstein: Todo Corazon: The Tango Album (Jazzheads) [B]
  • David Weiss: Endangered Species: The Music of Wayne Shorter (Motéma) [**]
  • David Weiss & Point of Departure: Venture Inward (Posi-Tone) [*]
  • Frank Wess: Magic 101 (IPO) [**]
  • Randy Weston/Billy Harper: The Roots of the Blues (Sunnyside) [***]
  • Wheelhouse: Boss of the Plains (Aerophonic) [***]
  • Matt White: The Super Villain Jazz Band (Artists Recording Collective) [**]
  • Carrie Wicks: Barely There (OA2 '12) [***]
  • Bob Wilber: Bob Wilber and the Three Amigos (Arbors '12) [***]
  • Jeff Williams: The Listener (Whirlwind) [**]
  • Mark Winkler: The Laura Nyro Project (Cafe Pacific) [*]
  • Jon Wirtz: Tourist (self-released) [B]
  • Mike Wofford: It's Personal (Capri) [*]
  • Warren Wolf: Wolfgang (Mack Avenue) [B]
  • Bob Wolfman: Transition (self-released '12) [C]
  • Phil Woods & the Festival Orchestra: New Celebration (Chiaroscuro) [B-]
  • Nate Wooley/Peter Evans/Jim Black/Paul Lytton: Trumpets and Drums: Live in Ljubljana (Clean Feed) [**]
  • Nate Wooley/C. Spencer Yeh/Audrey Chen/Todd Carter: NCAT (Monotype) [B-]
  • Nate Wooley Sextet: (Sit In) The Throne of Friendship (Clean Feed) [**]
  • Cory Wright Outfit: Apples + Oranges (Singlespeed Music) [**]
  • Xiu Xiu: Nina (Graveface) [*]
  • Eli Yamin/Evan Christopher: Louie's Dream: For Our Jazz Heroes (Yamin Music) [***]
  • Craig Yaremko Organ Trio: CYO3 (Origin) [**]
  • Yellowjackets: A Rise in the Road (Mack Avenue) [B]
  • Pamela York: Lay Down This World: Hymns and Spirituals (Jazzful Heart '12) [*]
  • Renée Yoxon/Mark Ferguson: Here We Go Again (self-released) [*]
  • Neil C. Young: El Camino (Canadian American '12) [*]
  • Denny Zeitlin: Both/And: Solo Electro-Acoustic Adventures (Sunnyside) [**]
  • Miguel Zenón & the Rhythm Collective: Oye!!! Live in Puerto Rico (Miel Music) [***]
  • Zevious: Passing Through the Wall (Cuneiform) [B]
  • Omri Ziegele/Yves Theiler: Inside Innocence (Intakt) [*]
  • Waclaw Zimpel Quartet: Stone Fog (Fortune) [***]
  • The Dann Zinn 4: Grace's Song (Z Music) [**]
  • James Zollar: It's All Good People (JZAZ) [***]
  • Zs: Grain (Northern Spy) [***]

Reissues, Compilations, Etc.: 19 total.

  • Arnaoudov/Szymanski/Stefens/Park/Xenakis/Minchev: Sonograms (1974-97, Labor) [***]
  • Art Ensemble of Chicago: A Jackson in Your House/Message to Our Folks/Reese and the Smooth Ones (1969, Snapper, 2CD) [***]
  • Tony Bennett: Live at the Sahara: Las Vegas, 1964 (1964, Columbia/Legacy) [*]
  • Bill Doggett and His Combo: Fingertips (1963, Columbia/Legacy) [*]
  • Clare Fischer Orchestra: Extension (1963, International Phonograph '12) [*]
  • Stan Getz Quartet: Live at Montreux 1972 (1972, Eagle Rock) [B]
  • Art Hodes: I Remember Bessie (1976, Delmark) [***]
  • Keith Jarrett: Hymns/Spheres (1976, ECM, 2CD) [*]
  • Steve Kuhn: The Vanguard Date (1986, Sunnyside) [***]
  • Roscoe Mitchell Quartet: Live at "A Space" 1975 (1975, Delmark/Sackville) [**]
  • Wes Montgomery: So Much Guitar! [OJC Remasters] (1961, Fantasy/OJC) [*]
  • Anita O'Day: Have a Merry Christmas With Anita O'Day (1942-70, Kayo Stereophonic, EP) [*]
  • Salsa de la Bahia: A Collection of SF Bay Area Salsa and Latin Jazz (2003-10, Patois, 2CD) [**]
  • Zoot Sims: Compatability (1955, Delmark) [*]
  • Jack Teagarden: Texas Trombone (1958, Black Lion Vault '12) [*]
  • Leon Thomas: The Creator 1969-1973: The Best of the Flying Dutchman Masters (1969-73, BGP) [*]
  • Frank Wess/Johnny Coles: Two at the Top (1983, Uptown '12) [**]
  • Joe Williams: Jump for Joy (1963, RCA Victor/Legacy) ** [B]
  • The Paul Winter Sextet: Count Me In (1962-63, Living Music '12, 2CD) [B]

Let's also list 2013 jazz records I haven't heard for one reason or another -- didn't get them, didn't find them online -- that I'd give a 2% or better chance of cracking the A-list:

  • John Abercrombie Quaret: 39 Steps (ECM)
  • Ralph Alessi: Baida (ECM)
  • Ben Allison: The Stars Look Very Different Today (Sonic Camera)
  • Angles 9: In Our Midst (Clean Feed)
  • Atomic: There's a Hole in the Mountain (Jazzland)
  • Ballister: Mi Casa Es En Fuego (self-released)
  • Joey Baron: Just Listen (Relative Pitch)
  • Zsofia Boros: En Otra Parte (ECM)
  • Taylor Ho Bynum/John Hébert/Gerald Cleaver: Book of Three: Continuum (Relative Pitch)
  • Paul Carlon: La Rumba Is a Lovesome Thing (Zoho)
  • Bill Carrothers: Castaways (Pirouet)
  • Tim Daisy/Jason Stein: Bascula (Peira)
  • Digital Primitives: Lipsomuch and Soul Searchin' (Hopscotch, 2CD)
  • Marc Ducret: Tower Vol. 3 (Ayler)
  • Marc Ducret: Tower Vol. 4 (Ayler)
  • Kahil El'Zabar's Ritual Trio: Follow the Sun (Delmark)
  • Orrin Evans: ". . . It Was Beauty" (Criss Cross)
  • Exploding Star Orchestra: Matter Anti-Matter (RogueArt)
  • Roberto Fonseca: Yo (Concord)
  • Bill Frisell: Silent Comedy (Tzadik)
  • Dennis González Yells at Eels: Colorado at Clinton (Ayler)
  • Frank Gratkowski Quartet: Le Vent Et La Gorge (Leo)
  • Barry Guy New Orchestra Small Formations: Mad Dogs (Not Two)
  • Vyacheslav Guyvoronsky: Around Silence (Leo)
  • The David Hazeltine Trio: Impromptu (Chesky)
  • Fred Hersch and Julian Lage: Free Flying (Palmetto)
  • The Heliocentrics: 13 Degrees of Reality (Now-Again)
  • John Hollenbeck: Songs I Like a Lot (Sunnyside)
  • Adam Lane Quartet: Blue Spirit Band (CIMP)
  • Adam Lane Quartet: Oh Freedom (CIMP)
  • Fredrik Ljungkvist/Yun Kan 10: Ten (Hoob Jazz)
  • Made to Break: Lacerba (Clean Feed)
  • Rob Mazurek: Episodes (Wapapura)
  • Joe McPhee/Evan Parker: What If They Both Could Fly (Rune Grammofon)
  • John Medeski: A Different Time (Okeh)
  • Pat Metheny: Tap: John Zorn's Book of Angels, Vol. 20 (Tzadik)
  • Lisa Mezzacappa's Bait and Switch: Comeuppance (Not Two)
  • Nichole Mitchell: Engraved in the Wind (RogueArt)
  • Evan Parker/Matthew Shipp: Rex, Wrecks and XXX (RogueArt)
  • Aaron Parks: Arborescence (ECM)
  • Jason Roebke & Tobias Delius: Panoramic (Not Two)
  • Bruce Saunders 5: Drift (self-released)
  • Ralph Towner/Wolfgang Muthspiel/Slava Grigoryan: Travel Guide (ECM)
  • Matt Ulery's Loom: Wake an Echo (Greenleaf Music)
  • Vandermark/Gustafsson: Verses (Corbett vs. Dempsey)
  • Ken Vandermark's Topology Nonet: Impressions of Po Music (Okka disk)
  • Kate Westbrook/Mike Westbrook: The Serpent Hit (Westbrook)
  • Mars Williams/Ingebrigt Haker Flaten/Tim Daisy: Moments Form (Idyllic Noise)
  • Matt Wilson Quartet + John Medeski: Gathering Call (Palmetto)
  • Pablo Ziegler and Metropole Orkest: Amsterdam Meets New Tango (Zoho)
  • John Zorn: The Mysteries (Tzadik)