The Year in Jazz: 22 for ’22

(Squeezing this in on nearly the last day of the first month of the new year, as I failed to do so earlier)

Another year, another 12 months of too much good music to hear and too little time.

Here, below, is my list of (some of) the stand-out new jazz recordings of 2022. It’s sort of an extended-play version of the Top 10 picks that I submitted for JazzTimes magazine’s “Year in Review” and the 17th Annual Francis Davis Jazz Critics Poll; the latter reflected the votes of 151 critics and journalists from around the world. For the sake of consistency with my JT list, I’m restricting my list to albums released between Nov. 12, 2021 and Nov. 11, 2022.

Here’s an overview I wrote for the JCP: “Jazz remains a thing of great beauty and intrinsic value, a lively art worthy of our support and admiration, despite the best efforts of the likes of Spotify and other bean-counting music industry profiteers to ensure that sales of recordings profit the music’s creators to the least degree possible. Consequently, it’s more difficult than ever for musical artists to sustain life by solely focusing on their artistic efforts. Sadly, in 2022 public radio overlords – at WUSF-FM in my town, Tampa, and elsewhere — continued dismantling decades-long traditions, ditching originally produced jazz programming and replacing it with generic news broadcasts, consequently damaging local musical communities.

For a much more comprehensive look at the year in jazz, check out the piece that fellow Florida-based critic and photographer Ken Franckling wrote for All About Jazz.

As has been the case since forever, my jazz-critic colleagues are more deeply entrenched in and passionate about avant-leaning and free jazz than I suspect I’ll ever be. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Without further ado, my picks, in alphabetical order:

The Bad Plus, “The Bad Plus” (Edition)

Martin Bejerano, “#CubanAmerican” (Figgland)

Steven Bernstein’s Millennial Territory Orchestra featuring Catherine Russell, “Good Time Music (Community Music, Vol. 2)” (Royal Potato Family)

Terri Lyne Carrington, “New Standards Vol. 1” (Candid)

Corey Christiansen, “Standards” (Elk Horn)

Jeff Coffin, “Between Dreaming and Joy” (Ear Up)

Avisha Cohen Trio, “Shifting Sands” (Naive)

Billy Drummond and Freedom of Ideas, “Valse Sinistre” (Cellar)

Al Foster, “Reflections” (Smoke Sessions)

Tom Harrell, “OakTree” (HighNote)

Samara Joy, “Linger Awhile” (Verve)

Julian Lage, “View With a Room” (Blue Note)

Charles Lloyd Trios: Chapel (Blue Note)

Nicholas Payton, The Couch Sessions (Smoke Sessions)

Redman Mehldau McBride Blade, “LongGone” (Nonesuch)

Timothy Norton, “Visions of Phaedrus” (Truth Revolution Recording Collective”

Ethan Philion, “Meditations on Mingus” (Sunnyside)

Joel Ross, “The Parable of the Poet” (Blue Note)

Catherine Russell, “Send For Me” (Dot Time)

John Scofield, “John Scofield” (ECM)

Snarky Puppy, “Empire Central” (GroundUp)

Immanuel Wilkins, “The 7th Hand” (Blue Note)

Note: I inadvertently included Chuck Owen & the Jazz Surge’s terrific “Within Us” on my Top 10 lists, even though it was released two months before the cut-off date. It continued to have a lot of impact in the jazz world through 2021 and into 2022.

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