My Yearly Top Ten picks

As a voting-member at the Grammy Awards©, I oftentimes feel that exceptional music is overlooked in favor of lesser, better-funded, artists or recordings. In my yearly Top Ten lists, I aim to recognize artistic excellence by showcasing what I believe to be extraordinary recordings, regardless of the budget behind them. Every song on these records is heartfelt and soulful, and it’s a pleasure for me to help spread the word about these truly exceptional artists.

Top Ten 2020

Album Artist Label
I Fall in Love Too Easily Larry Willis HighNote
Vena Rachel Therrien Bonsai
A Life Soundtrack Marina Albero Self-Produced
Django Shift Res Abbasi Whirlwind Recordings
Excursions & Adventures Tim Ray Whaling City Sound
Incontre Massimo Biolcati Sounderscape
Counterpoint Dick Hyman / Ken Peplowski Arbors Jazz
The Meeting Point - With Strings Eric Alexander HighNote
Moment of Clarity Paul Shaw Quintet Summit
The Ripple Jeff Rupert / George Garzone Rupe Media

Top Ten 2019

Album Artist Label
There Are Stars In Brooklyn Q Morrow Self-Produced
Keep Talkin’ Yoko Miwa Ocean Blue Tear
If You Could See Me Now Joe Magnarelli Cellar Live
Somewhere Else Ted Nash Plastic Sax
Joan Of Art Dave Robbins Cellar Live
Rhythm Of Invention Wayne Wallace Patois
We Limit Not The Truth Of God Ezra Weiss Self-Produced
Same Day Delivery Leslie Pintchik Pinch Hard
Wind Off The Hudson Bill O’Connell Savant
Curtis Nowosad Curtis Nowosad Sessionheads United

Top Ten 2018

Album Artist Label
You’d Be So Nice To Come Home To Alexis Cole Venus
On My Way To You Geoffrey Keezer Trio Self-Produced
Skywatcher Stanton Kessler Standing Bear
That’s A Computer Lucas Pino Outside In
So You Say Greg Fishman Self-Produced
The Other Side Of The Story Matt Kane Bounce-Step
Quiet Revolution Ben Allison Sonic Camera
With Pride For Dignity Henry Conerway III Self-Produced
The Space Kenny Werner Pirouet
Tell Me The Truth Roseanna Vitro Skyline

Top Ten 2017

Album Artist Label
Les Liasons Dangereues 1960 Thelonious Monk Quintet SAM Records
Heaven Pete Malinverni Saranac Records
Combinations Gerald Cannon Self-Produced
Serenade for Horace Louis Hayes Blue Note
Wake Up Call Ed Neumeister / New Hat Ensemble Meistero Music
Color Tones John Stein Whaling City Sound
Big Band Minimalism Mats Holmquist MAMA Foundation
Alchemist Luke Sellick Cellar Live
Dreams & Daggers Cecile McLorin Salvant Mack Avenue Jazz
Jazz Tango Pablo Ziegler Trio Zoho Records

Top Ten 2016

Album Artist Label
New Direction Herlin Riley Mack Avenue
Which Way Now? Julian Shore Tone Rogue
Standing Tall Ken Fowser Posi-Tone
Tropical Infinito Antonio Adolfo AAM
I Long to See You Charles Lloyd Blue Note
New York Connections Mike Melito Wee Bop Records
Monk’estra John Beasley Mack Avenue
Canto America Michael Spiro / Wayne Wallace Patois Records
Harlem On My Mind Catherine Russell Jazz Village
Do Your Dance! Kenny Garrett Mack Avenue

Top Ten 2015

Album Artist Label
Blue Whisper Amina Figarova In + Out Records
Ancient Lights Paul Keeling Self-Produced
KOLN Marshall Gilkes WDR Cologne Broadcasts
Emerging Markets Pete Malinverni Glass Beach Jazz
Olmstead’s Whistle Corbin Andrick CA
Home Away From Home Colours Jazz Orchestra Neu Klang
The Return Ben Markley & Clint Ashlock Dazzle Jazz
Ghost Tones Ran Blake A Side Records
Shades and Tones Jeb Patton Cellar Live
Brotherlee Love Terell Stafford Capri