Best of Modern Jazz 2021


Here’s some of the best jazz albums of 2021!


Number Five: Wood River & Cantus domus – Sediments We Move


On Sediments We Move, Charlotte Greve takes us on quite the panoramic tour! Backed by the Cantus domus choir, this is jazz with choir, and it’s positively disconcerting. I love it so much!


Number Four: Skrim – The Crooked Path


The avant-garde jazz journey of Skrim’s Crooked Path release is one you can’t easily forget, as you’ll constantly be thrown this way or that, to the whim of the composers-improvisers leading the boat. An amazing album!


Number Three: Patrick Shiroishi – Hidemi


Of the vast array of releases from saxophonist Patrick Shiroishi, this year, Hidemi struck me the most. This touching album showcases Patrick as a band with himself on multiple instruments and voice. The reason behind the album and the ways in which it is delivered (CD or vinyl, but also accompanied by a book of poems) really accentuate how heartfelt this effort is.


Number Two: Michael Larocca Quintet – Michael Larocca Quintet


The new pieces for quintet from Michael Larocca really cement how great of a drummer and composer he is. With three compositions and one improvisation, the eponymous album, released in December, go in all sorts of places, all of which are absolutely worth your time!


Number One: Matt Mitchell & Kate Gentile – Snark Horse


Snark Horse is a really interesting concept that is expanded to almost ridiculous lengths, thanks to some incredible musicians. The concept is that all compositions are only one-bar long, which gets looped and improvised over and transformed and deconstructed by the various musicians involved in playing it. The result is over five hours and a half! That is beyond comprehension! Yet, all CDs in the boxed set are equally impressive and fantastic to listen to.


Notable Releases

Hover over foreign scripts for pronunciation and romanization.

Tuesday, 16 February

¡Fiasco! – Post-Truth

40:15
modern jazz
Washington, DC
Independent

Read our review.

Tracklist (click to display)


Friday, 26 February

四神Theory of Everything

43:50
avant-garde jazz
New York
Alter-Nativ

Tracklist (click to display)


Friday, 5 March

Hafez Modirzadeh – Facets

62:49
world fusion, jazz
New York, New York
π

Tracklist (click to display)

Gretchen Parlato – Flor

46:39
modern jazz
Los Angeles, California
Edition

Tracklist (click to display)

Sam Newbould – Bogus nōtus

41:42
modern jazz
Amsterdam, Netherlands
Zennez

Tracklist (click to display)


Friday, 19

Sana Nagano – Smashing Humans

60:39
avant-garde jazz
Brooklyn, New York
577

Tracklist (click to display)


Friday, 26

Floating Points, Pharoah Sanders, and the London Symphony Orchestra – Promises

46:33
modern jazz
UK
Luaka Bop

Tracklist (click to display)


Sunday, 21 March

Tomasz Chyła Quintet – Da Vinci

65:04
avant-garde jazz
Gdańsk, Poland
Alpaka

Tracklist (click to display)


Friday, 9 April

Robin Buyer – Tracing a Line

32:44
post-jazz
New York, New York
Independent

Tracklist (click to display)

Vijay Iyer, Linda May Han Oh, and Tyshawn Sorey – Uneasy

71:27
jazz
New York
ECM


Tracklist (click to display)


Tuesday, 20

Chris Pitsiokos – Carny Cant

30:54
avant-garde jazz
New York, New York
Independent

Tracklist (click to display)


Friday, 23

Edredon sensible – Vloûte panthère

51:18
jazz fusion
Toulouse, France
Independent

Tracklist (click to display)


Tuesday, 27

תּיקוןDawn Ceremony for Dreadful Days: חִּקּוּן

58:17
avant-garde jazz
Paris, France
Le Fondeur de son

Tracklist (click to display)


Friday, 30 April

Michael Wollny, Emile Parisien, Tim Lefebvre, and Christian Lillinger – XXXX

44:22
avant-garde jazz
Germany
Act Music


Tracklist (click to display)


Friday, 21 May

James Francies – Purest Form

55:25
post-bop
Houston, Texas
Blue Note


Tracklist (click to display)


Friday, 28 May

Anna Webber – Idiom

104:22
avant-garde jazz
New York, New York
π

Read our review.

Tracklist (click to display)


Friday, 11 June

Julian Lage – Squint

45:19
modern jazz
New York, New York
Blue Note


Tracklist (click to display)


Wednesday, 30 June

سم日本の花

50:30
avant-garde jazz
Paris, France
Umlaut

Tracklist (click to display)


Friday, 23 July

Tumi Árnason – Hlýnun

50:05
avant-garde jazz
Reykjavík, Iceland
Independent

Tracklist (click to display)


Friday, 30 July

Snark Horse – Snark Horse

335:28
avant-garde jazz
Brooklyn, New York
π

Tracklist (click to display)


Friday, 13 August

Trondheim jazzorkester & Ole Morten Vågan – Plastic Wave

83:04
avant-garde jazz
Trondheim, Norway
Odin

Read our review.

Tracklist (click to display)


Friday, 27 August

Skrim – The Crooked Path

38:17
experimental jazz
Norway
Hubro

Tracklist (click to display)


Friday, 3 September

The Claudia Quintet – Super Petite

47:21
avant-garde jazz
Montréal, Québec
Independent

Tracklist (click to display)


Friday, 8 October

The Richmond Avant-Improv Collective – Gestalt

72:28
free jazz, folk
Richmond, Virginia
Cacophonous Revival

Tracklist (click to display)


Friday, 15

Adèle Maury & l’Orchestre national de jazz – Dracula

57:20
avant-garde jazz, musical theatre
France
ONJ

Tracklist (click to display)

Wood River & Cantus domus – Sediments We Move

52:17
indie jazz, contemporary classical
New York, New York
New Amsterdam

Read our review.

Tracklist (click to display)


Friday, 29

Patrick Shiroishi – Hidemi

25:44
modern jazz
Los Angeles, California
American Dreams

Tracklist (click to display)

Sylvie Courvoisier & Mary Halvorson – Searching for the Disappeared Hour

59:20
avant-garde jazz
Brooklyn, New York
Pyroclastic

Tracklist (click to display)


Friday, 5 November

Ampair:e – Ampair:e

45:32
experimental jazz
Cologne, Germany
Yew

Tracklist (click to display)


Wednesday, 1 December

Michael Larocca Quintet – Michael Larocca Quintet

71:03
avant-garde jazz
Connecticut
Guardrail

Tracklist (click to display)


Friday, 3

Adam Rudolph & Go: Organic Guitar Orchestra – Resonant Bodies

43:12
avant-garde jazz
New York, New York
Meta

Tracklist (click to display)


Monday, 6

Luca Perciballi’s Organic Gestures – Approximately Grids with a Plan

50:27
avant-garde jazz
Berlin, Germany
Aut

Tracklist (click to display)


Friday, 10

Travis Duo – Hypnagogia

56:42
avant-garde jazz, free improvisation
New York
Independent

Tracklist (click to display)


Friday, 17

Le Tout sur le tout – All about All

62:47
avant-garde jazz
Washington, DC
Cuneiform

Tracklist (click to display)


Sunday, 19

Nataniel Edelman, Lucas Goicoechea, Martin de Lassaletta, and Leo Gertsner – Montañistas

59:36
avant-garde jazz
Mar Del Plata, Argentina
Discos ICM

Tracklist (click to display)


Thursday, 30 December

Виталий Овчинников квинтетПеремещения

37:50
avant-garde jazz
Saint Petersburg, Russia
Extra Notes

Tracklist (click to display)


Best of 2021

01/01 – Best of Afrobeat
01/02 – Best of Atmospheric Black Metal
01/03 – Best of Avant-Garde Black Metal
01/04 – Best of Brutal Death Metal
01/05 – Best of Classical
01/06 – Best of Death Metal
01/07 – Best of Deathcore
01/08 – Best of Doom Metal
01/09 – Best of Folk
01/10 – Best of Grindcore
01/11 – Best of Hardcore
01/12 – Best Improvisation
01/13 – Best of Indie Rock
01/14 – Best of Jazz Fusion
01/15 – Best of Jazzcore
01/16 – Best of Math Rock
01/17 – Best of Mathcore
01/18 – Best of Metalcore
01/19 – Best of Modern Jazz

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