The Best Jazz Album 2023 – A Comparative Survey

This is the third annual survey of this kind. This year, I have adopted the same basic approach as in the 2022 survey: The table below combines the Anglo-Saxon view of the jazz world, represented by the New York Times and The Guardian and two German sources, Süddeutsche Zeitung and Bayerischer Rundfunk (Bavarian Public Radio). This year, I have added a French source, TSF Jazz, “la première radio Jazz de France.”

As a result, the survey has its fair share of European artists. There is a bit more overlap than we found last year, with four albums mentioned twice – but still, Jazz critics appear to cherish diversity. The albums that got listed twice are:

  • Joshua Redman feat. Gabrielle Cavassa: Where Are We
  • Jaimie Branch: Fly or Die Fly of Die ((World War))
  • Gretchen Parlato & Lionel Loueke: Lean In
  • Cécile McLorin-Salavant: Mélusine

As different as these albums  are, the one thing they have in common is a female lead.

The GuardianThe New York TimesSüddeutsche ZeitungBayerischer RundfunkTSF Jazz
Tyshawn Sorey: Continuing Chief Xian aTunde Adjuah: Bark Out Thunder Roar Out LightningJoshua Redman feat. Gabrielle Cavassa: Where Are WeChet Baker: Blue Room. The 1979 Vara Studio Sessions in HollandThomas Enhco § Stéphane Kerecki: A Modern Singbook
Marius Neset & London Sinfonietta: Geyser - Live at Royal Albert HallJaimie Branch:Fly or Die Fly or Die Fly or Die ((World War))Jamimie Branch: Fly or Die Fly or Die Fly or Die ((World War))Elina Duni: A Time to Remember Pierrick Pédron & Gonzalo Rubalcaba: Pédron & Rubalcaba
Michael Blake / Croma Nova: Dance of the Mystic BlissKassa Overall: Animals Irreversible Entanglements: Protect Your LightStuten Erdenebaatar Quartet: Rising SunKenny Barron: The Source
Gretchen Parlato and Lionel Loueke: Lean InAmbrose Akinmusire: Owl SongWeb Web: Web Max IIBéla Fleck, Zakir Hussain, Edgar Meyer, Rakesh Chaurasia: As We SpeakLéon Phal: Stress Killer
Uriel Herman: Different EyesZoh Amba, Chris Corsano, Bill Orcutt: The Flower School

Michael Hornstein & Oliver Hahn: Conversations NowSun-Mi Hong Quintet: Third Page ResonanceSean Mason: The Southern Suite
Naissam Jalal: Healing RitualsJonathan Suazo: RicanoLeo Bettel Trio: AbstractNils Kugelmann Trio: Stormy BeautyDavid El Malek: Travelling
Angelika Niescier, Tomeka Reid, Savannah Harris: Beyond DragonsMendoza Hoff Revels: EcholocationYussuf Dates: Black Classical MusicMassa: BeitGretchen Parlato and Lionel Loueke: Lean In
Sissoko, Segal, Parisien, Peirani: Les ÉgarésMicah Thomas: RevealBilly Childs: The Winds of ChangeJoshua Redman feat. Gabrielle Cavassa: Where Are WeCécile McLorin-Salavant: Mélusine
John Scofiled: Uncle John’s Band Matana Roberts: Coin Coin Chapter Five: In the GardenDizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, Max Roach, Charles Mingus & Bud Powell: Hot HouseCécile McLorin-Salavant: MélusineEmile Londonien: Legacy
Nikki Iles: Face to FaceEnji: ULaanLes McCann: Never a Dull MomentBen Wendel & José James: All OneErik Truffaz: Rollin'

The photo shows Lionel Loueke, one of the “winners”. I have heard him play in very different contexts: With Herbie Hancock’s band on a big stage, with Dave Holland in a quartet, and in the rather intimate setting of Berlin’s A-Trane with his own trio.

Dear readers, have a wonderful 2024! May you always find time for the kind of music that lifts you up, invigorates you and soothes your mind & soul.




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