Best jazz albums of 2017

UK Vibe Top 20 Jazz albums of 2017:

For our best jazz albums of 2016 click here


1. Shahin Novrasli – Emanation (Jazz Village) Review here
“This album highlights the exceptional talent of Shahin Novrasli. His art of storytelling within his compositions and improvisational playing is inspiring. “Emanation” is a stunning album that not only deserves international recognition, but also emphasises what a wealth of talent there is in this world, highlighting the pianist as an artist and composer at the top of his game.”


2. Angles 9 – Disappeared Behind The Sun (Clean Feed)


3. Khaled Kurbeh And Raman Khalef Ensemble – Aphorisms (Between Buttons) Review here
“The success of Syria’s future does not depend on the marksmanship of a soldier, but the skill of musicians like Khaled Kurbeh and Raman Khalef, Omar Souleyman’s dance beats, or the absurdist paintings of Houmam al-Sayed. It lies with the people that continue to create and give Syrians a sense of identity instead of being collectively labelled as ‘refugee’.”


4. Uri Gurvich – Kinship (Jazz Family) Review here
“Uri Gurvich has produced a wonderful album with “Kinship”. He is the real deal. Sublime, graceful playing, with a style that can move and excite the listener all within the space of a few seconds. Glorious writing and a killer band make this an album any jazz lover should really stick their neck out and just go and purchase.”


5. Rob Luft – Riser (Edition) Review here
“Riser excels as an album in many ways. Brilliant writing, fabulous individual and collective performances, recorded par-excellence at Real World Studios. But perhaps the best recommendation I can give it, is that I just keep coming back for more. Each and every time I listen to it I feel enthused and invigorated. I love it.”


6. Salim Washington – Sankofa (Private Press)


7. Anouar Brahem – Blue Maquams (ECM) Review here
“What is clear from this recording as a whole is that Anour Brahem has a clear vision of what he is seeking to achieve and the musicians on board this project are of a sufficiently high calibre to deliver the goods with aplomb. An outstanding recording that easily fits into the best albums of the year category.”


8. Ill Considered ‎– Ill Considered (Ill Considered Music) Review here
“…innovation comes from a variety of places and this current era of musicians could lead us into a new direction for the genre.”


9. Robert Mitchell – A Vigil For Justice. A Vigil For Peace (Depth Of Field) Review here
“There is a connectedness, an interactive involvement that brings two art forms together in a cohesive and creative way.”


10. Minco Eggersman – Kavkasia (Volkoren) Review here
““Kavkasia” is Minco Eggersman’s wonderful musical journey, yet in many ways it is a shared experience as it is one of those albums that lets the listener in as the music surrounds and embraces with its own landscape and tales to tell. Immerse yourself in it now.”


11. JD Allen – Radio Flyer (Savant) Review here
“This is vibrant, soulful music that, like all Allen’s previous albums, will stand the test of time. Long may he continue.”


12. Jamie Saft Trio – Loneliness Road (RareNoise) Review here
“Across the whole album there is a rare depth and sincerity that lets out a gentle, soft light, the sound of the trio warm and welcoming, breathing new life into the songs it performs, and quietly yet assuredly standing heads and shoulders out from the crowd.”


13. Charles Lloyd New Quartet – Passin’ Thru (Blue Note) Review here
“Musical ideas are passed around, developed, regurgitated and amended effortlessly throughout the set without any clear weak link – but this is one of the most celebrated ensembles of our time. And although Lloyd would be classed as an elder statesman at 79 as of March 2017, he plays like a 25 year old. He still sounds hungry.”


14. DeJohnette/Grenadier/Medeski/Scofield – Hudson (Motéma) Review here
“At seventy-five minutes some of the numbers are lengthy and demanding, but with this quality of musicianship there is precious little fat to be cut off the bone.”


15. Adrien Chicot – Playing In The Dark (Gaya Music Production) Review here
“Playing In The Dark is both playful and sincere. It is one of the most refreshingly inventive yet repeatedly listenable trio albums I have heard for quite some time. One of those albums where the more you listen, the more you find satisfying reward. A bright future lies ahead for Adrien Chicot and co.”


16. Collocutor – The Search (On The Corner) Review here
“It rises, it subsides, and like life itself, it rests, it races, it questions and it answers. And most of all, it doesn’t dictate, it simply allows the listener to see a doorway. Whether the listener chooses to go through that doorway and encounter whatever experience unfolds, is entirely up to them.”


17. Nitin Sawhney – Live at Ronnie Scott’s (Gearbox) Review here
“This recording is a living, breathing testimony to the unbeatable nature of a great live performance. Sawhney devotees will not be surprised at the creative brilliance of his compositions as they will have heard most of these tunes before.”


18. Daniel Herskedal – The Roc (Edition) Review here
“I found this album to be a breath of fresh air. Maybe it’s a bit of a sweeping statement, but Scandinavian jazz certainly seems to continue to produce wonderful musicians with an incredible capacity to embrace their roots whilst pushing boundaries and musical genres to create some quite simply stunning music.”


19. Cat Toren’s Human Kind (Private Press) Review here
“This album certainly holds true to that tradition and will benefit organisations that fight for civil liberties and human rights. And when all is said and done, taking the music being made in isolation, this is one fine contemporary jazz album and well worth investigation.”


20. Tony Tixier – Life Of Sensitive Creatures (Whirlwind Recordings) Review here

UK Vibe Top 20 compositions of 2017:

(In no order)

Andrew Bain – Accompaniment [LP: Embodied Hope] (Whirlwind Recordings)
Thomas De Pourquery ; Supersonic – Sons of Love [LP: Sons of Love] (Label Bleu)
Wojtek Mazolewski Quintet – London [12”] (Lanquidity Records)
Denys Baptiste – Astral Trane [LP: Late Trane] (Edition Records)
Erica Papillion-Posey – Summertime Feat. Eric Wheeler [LP: From The Deep] (MButterfly)
Salim Washington – A Stritch in Time [LP: Sankofa] (Private Press)
Baptiste Trotignon & Yosvany Terry – Lost Souls [LP: Ancestral Memories] (Okeh)
Joshua Abrams & Natural Information Society – 2128½ [LP: Simultonality] (Tak:til)
Brooklyn Raga Massive – Blue Nile [LP: Coltrane Raga Tribute] (Privtae Press)
Web Web – Journey to No End [LP: Oracle] (Compost)
Sibusiso Mash Mashiloane – I Remember Sisa [LP: Rotha: A Tribute To Mama] (Private Press)
Nubya Garcia – Contemplation [LP: Nubya’s 5ive] (Jazz Re:freshed)
Gilad Atzmon and the Orient House Ensemble – Minor Thing [LP: The Spirit of Trane] (Fanfare)
Radio Citizen – Dense Dance [LP: Silent Guide] (Sonar Kollektiv)
EABS – Pingwin VI [LP: Repetitions (Letters to Krzysztof Komeda)] (Astigmatic Records)
Alfa Mist – Keep On [LP: Antiphon] (Private Press)
Art Fristoe Trio – Seventh-Four Walkup [LP: Double Down] (Merry Lane Records)
Jamie Saft, Steve Swallow & Bobby Previte – Ten Nights [LP: Loneliness Road] (Jamie Saft, Steve Swallow & Bobby Previte)
Hampshire & Foat – End Song [LP: Galaxies Like Grains of Sand] (Athens Of The North)
Terrence Ngassa – Toupouri [LP: Ngassalogy Vol. 3] (Housemaster Records)

5 FAVOURITE REISSUES OF 2017:

(In no order)

Terje Rypdal – Bleak House 1968 (Round 2 Records)
Mankunku Quartet – Yakhal’ Inkomo 1968 (Gallo Record Company/Jazzman Records)
Okay Temiz / Johnny Dyani – Witchdoctor’s Son 1976 (Matsuli Music)
The Otto Donner Treatment – Jazz-Liisa 10 1973 (Svart Records)
Gerardo Iacoucci ‎– Le Avventure 1970 (Finders Keepers Records)

FAVOURITE EXPERIMENTAL 5:

(In no order)

Black Cube Marriage – Astral Cube (El Paraiso Records)
Carlos Niño & Friends – Going Home (Leaving Records)
The Heliosonic Tone-tette – Heliosonic Toneways, Vol. 1 (Sciensonic Laboratories)
Raoul Bjorkenheim / eCsTaSy – Doors of Perception (Cuneiform Records)
Richard X Bennett – Experiments With Truth (Ropeadope Records)

UKVIBE Top 20 Contemporary jazz compositions of 2017:

(In no order)

Misha Mullov-Abbado – Shanti Bell [LP: Cross Platform Interchange]
Verneri Pohjola – First Morning [LP: Pekka]
Alexi Tuomarila – Vagabond [LP: Kingdom]
Tomasz Stańko New York Quartet – December Avenue [LP: December Avenue]
Jeff “Tain” Watts – Water [LP: Blue Vol. 2]
Alex Goodman – Empty [LP: Second Act]
Joe Bowden – Devil Five [LP: Thank You For Listening]
Shahin Novrasli – Jungle [LP: Emanation]
Lucas Pino – Sidestep [LP: The Answer is No]
Mike Downes – Momentum [LP: Root Structure]
Entropi – Stelliferous Era [LP: Moment Frozen]
Danny Janklow – All in the Name of You [LP: Elevation]
Hervé Sellin – 3ème gnossienne [LP: Passerelles]
Grégory Sallet 5tet – Ailleurs #2 [LP: Le Mouvement Crée la Matière]
Tigran Hamasyan – Ancient Observer [LP: An Ancient Observer]
Linda May Han Oh – Firedancer [LP: Walk Against Wind]
Genzo Okabe – Disoriental [LP: Disoriental]
Lorenzo Naccarato – Komet [LP: Lorenzo Naccarato Trio]
Uri Gurvich – Blue Nomad [LP: Kinship]
Cowboys and Frenchmen – Uncommon Sense [LP: Bluer Than You Think]

UKVIBE Top 20 Modern Jazz compositions of 2017:

(In no order)

Jure Pukl & Matija Dedić – Spinning Thoughts [LP: Hybrid]
Steve Slagle – Family [LP: Alto Manhattan]
Miguel Zenón – Academia [LP: Típico]
Julian Vaughn – Afro Blue, Afro Blues [LP: Hey, Lester!]
George Colligan – Effortless [LP: More Powerful]
Chad Lefkowitz-Brown – Onward [LP: Onward]
Mateusz Smoczyński Quintet – Berek [LP: Berek]
Charnett Moffett – We Are Here to Play [LP: Music from Our Soul]
Christian Sands – Freefall [LP: Reach]
Steve Davis – Warrior [LP: Think Ahead]
Alex Sipiagin – Unexpected Reversal [LP: Moments Captured]
Gerald Cannon – Everyman Is A King [LP: Combinations]
Tommy Smith – Resolution [LP: Embodying the Light: A Dedication to John Coltrane]
Matt Lavelle Quartet – Matt’s Mode [LP: Matt Lavelle Quartet]
Jean-Paul Brodbeck Trio – Song For The Ancestors [LP: Extra Time]
Billy Childs – Rebirth [LP: Rebirth]
Gerald Beckett – Out of This World [LP: Oblivion]
Cyrus Chestnut – Nardis [LP: There’s A Sweet, Sweet Spirit]
Lewis Porter-Phil Scarff Group – Journey [LP: Three Minutes to Four]
Sean Jones – Art’s Variable [LP: Live from Jazz at the Bistro]

OUTSIDE THE BOX 6:

Maalem Mahmoud Gania – Colours of the Night (Hive Mind Records)
Sibusile Xaba – Open Letter To Adoniah (Mushroom Hour Half Hour)
Cosmic Analog Ensemble – Les Sourdes Oreilles (My Bags)
Jaimie Branch – Fly or Die (International Anthem)
Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah – The Emancipation Procrastination (Ropeadope Records)
Neotolia (Nazan Nihal & Utar Artun) – Neotolian Song (Interrobang Records)

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