Mikel Patrick Avery/Courtesy of the Artist
Jazz was everywhere in 2022. As a compliment, this is intentionally double-meaning. I mean, I’ve seen some great examples of improvisers flowing through the culture. I also heard the most glamorous sounds of the widest range of styles. This is one of the reasons why I hesitate on lists claiming to win the definitive Best of 2022 He Jazz. Instead of doing that here, we asked a handful of dedicated listeners to pick their advocates. —Nate Chinen
Cecil Macroline Salvant “Moon Song”
When people talk about Cecil Macroline Salvant, they often welcome her interpretive boldness. A natural focus in light of the tremendous insight she continues to bring to other people’s songs. But can we stop for a moment to marvel at her songwriter, her Salvant? ghost song The healthy balance of native gemstones invites you to do just that. “Moon Song” isn’t the most attention-grabbing of them, but it centers around many of her favorite themes: impossible longing, obsession, and illusions of control. Don’t ever tell me,” she opens with a harmonic progression that immediately feels familiar. What to do with this fragile yet protected commandment? Like the song’s key trope, it’s warm and familiar, but with a distant brilliance. listen here.
Jeff Parker ETA IVtet, Monday at the Enfield Tennis Academy
Now the critical consensus is anointing Makaya McRaven in these times 2022 runaway crossover marvel. It appeared on my own top albums list, as well as many others. Its appeal is clear enough. Our meeting here would like to herald an album conceived in the same spirit and harnessing much of the same energy, but with a more ambiguous and somewhat heady result.Jeff Parker, guitarist and composer is one of McCraven’s longtime collaborators, and his Mondays at the Enfield Tennis Academy share DNA with McCraven’s 2015 breakthrough, In the Moment. Alto her saxophonist Josh Johnson, bassist Anna her Butters (her own work made her another one on our year-end list), and drummer Jay her Bellerose. An immersive listening experience that never settles for his one version of the truth. listen here.
Endea Owens “Where the Nubians Grow”
This year has been a year of cultivation for Endea Owens. Through her initiative, her The Community Cookout, she sows her seeds of hope in New York, offering her neighbors monthly meals and pop-up concerts. As one of the few female instrumentalists in a late-night TV show band, she plants the seeds of inspiration for young female musicians around the world. Her Tiny Desk Concert with her band The Cookout kicked off with an original song dedicated to her hometown of Detroit called “Where the Nubians Grow.” It’s an undeniable groove that personally planted the seeds of perseverance to get us through the final quarter of 2022. listen here.
Baylor Project, The Evening: Live at APPARATUS
One of my coolest memories from this year was experiencing a night of performance in the heart of Manhattan’s Koreatown. I entered the building and an elevator took him up to the fourth floor, home of the lighting design studio. The building has been transformed into an intimate jazz club called ‘Mums’. I was invited to enter through a lush chocolate velvet curtain that gave way to a room filled with pink and gold chrysanthemums. No wonder what came out of that night spawned this now Grammy-nominated album of Baylor’s projects. Gene Balor’s breathtaking vocals, backed by the embrace of her husband, drummer Marcus Balor and their amazing band, made everyone in attendance feel like they were in an intimate secret. listen here.
Ezra Collective “Victory Dance”
Earlier this year, British jazz band Ezra Collective released “Victory Dance,” the first single from the band’s album. Where I’m Mean To BeLed by drummer and bandleader Femi Keleoso, the group plays an infectious mix of many genres, but here Afro-Cuban rhythms and influences come to the fore and are exuberant. It’s a happy, energetic song that opens with cool percussion vamps and transitions into a catchy melody line played in unison by Ifhe Ogunjobi on trumpet, James Morrison on sax, and Kereoso’s brother TJ on bass. Joe Armon-Jones will soon be on the scene, continuing the fire with his genius keyboard artistry. (You can also watch the Tiny Desk version play.) listen here.
Elian Elias calmness
Before I produced her recently published Tiny Desk Concert, I spent a lot of time digging through pianist, singer and composer Eliane Elias’ amazing archives. calmnessDespite being an accomplished composer herself, Elias composed some beautiful pieces for this record, along with works by many great Brazilian composers, including Antonio Carlos Jobim and Dorival Caimi. We have chosen to include the bossa nova standard. The arrangements are exquisite, the sound gorgeous and the performances by Elias and her fellow musicians superb. listen here.
Marcus J. Moore
I realize I cheated a bit – this is not jazz per se – but I couldn’t stop playing “Lumaby” from Mejwan’s excellent album. peak, was released this year. It has roots in salsa and bossa nova, and a light, breezy groove that seems made for warmer climates. For me, it’s a song rooted in the Gal Costa tradition. I cry all year round. This song and album are a must listen. listen here.
Dezron Douglas watchtower
Certain albums tend to emulate weather, and Dezron Douglas’ Atalaya feels like autumn. There’s a chill to it, a level of cool that evokes a fusion of traditional and contemporary New York jazz. Atalaya sounds like a late night set to me. That’s when creative freedom took over and the buttoned-up essence of the 8pm show gave way to after-hours experimentation. Blurring the boundaries between free jazz and hard bop, watchtower It balances restraint and release with the utmost precision, helping the album move forward calmly. listen here.
Terry Line Carrington “Unchanged”
About drummer Terry Line Carrington New standard, vol. 1 Pianist Marta Sanchez’s 2019 release of “Unchanged” melody Ray of Light — Switch from saxophone to trumpet. Still, the slippery, overlapping rhythms that characterize Sanchez’s work remain intact. Sanchez is one of her eleven composers, all female, whose repertoire champions Carrington’s albums in style and message. Interested in those rhythms?Consult A new standard: 101 lead sheets by female composersCarrington’s Real Awareness Book, published this year. listen here.
Little Obonsawin sweet tooth
The most auspicious debut album I’ve heard this year — Sweet Tooth by bassist, singer, and composer Mario Bonsawin — is an intimate, emancipating legacy of Ornette Coleman’s mid-20th-century quartet and the lesser-known. We support both Declarations of Independence. Songs and ideas of the Wabanaki people of Maine. Obamsawin unites these histories with power and ingenuity. “Our people had to innovate endlessly to get us heard,” she said – this is mostly jazz, right? listen here.