2020: The Year’s Top-Rated Albums

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Carla Bley (left), Steve Swallow and Andy Sheppard recorded Life Goes On for the ECM label.

(Photo: Caterina di Perri/ECM)

FOUR-AND-A-HALF-STAR ALBUMS (Historical)

Keith Jarrett, Munich 2016 (ECM)

FOUR-STAR ALBUMS (New)

3D Jazz Trio, I Love To See You Smile (Diva Jazz)

11 Guys Quartet, Small Blues And Grooves (VizzTone)

Rez Abbasi, Djanto-shift (Whirlwind)

Idris Ackamoor & The Pyramids, Shaman! (Strut)

Ryoko Akama, Dial (Another Timbre)

JD Allen, Toys/Die Dreaming (Savant)

Antibalas, Fu Chronicles (Daptone)

Lynne Arriale Trio, Chimes Of Freedom (Challenge)

Gregg August, Dialogues On Race, Volume One (Iacuessa)

Omer Avital Qantar, New York Paradox (jazz&people/Zamzama)

John Bailey, Can You Imagine? (Freedom Road)

Marc Benham, Biotope (SteepleChase)

Frank Bey, All My Dues Are Paid (Nola Blue)

Tim Berne’s Snakeoil, The Fantastic Mrs. 10 (Intakt)

Peter Bernstein, What Comes Next (Smoke Sessions)

Laila Biali, Out Of Dust (Chronograph/ACT)

Jim Black Trio, Reckon (Intakt)

Black Art Jazz Collective, Ascension (HighNote)

Blaer, Yellow (Ronin Rhythm)

Bohren & Der Club Of Gore, Patchouli Blue (Ipecac)

Moses Boyd, Dark Matter (Exodus)

Geof Bradfield/Ben Goldberg/Dana Hall, General Semantics (Delmark)

Peter Brötzmann, I Surrender Dear (Trost)

The Darius Brubeck Quartet, Live In Poland (Ubuntu)

Brody Buster’s One Man Band, Damn! I Spilled The Blues (Booga)

Gary Brunton/Simon Goubert/Bojan Z, Night Bus (Juste Une Trace)

Ernesto Cervini, Tetrahedron (Anzic)

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    John Coltrane’s Blue World takes its name from a contrafact of Harold Arlen’s “Out Of This World.”

  • 2669_Carla_Bley_Trio_PF1.jpg

    Carla Bley (left), Steve Swallow and Andy Sheppard recorded Life Goes On for the ECM label.

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    James Erskine’s documentary Billie includes vintage photos that have been digitally colorized by artist Marina Amaral.

  • PatMetheny_KATZ1483c_2019_creditJimmyDenaKatz.jpg

    Guitarist Pat Metheny topped two DownBeat Readers Poll categories this year: Guitar and Jazz Album, for his disc From This Place (Nonesuch).

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    Veronica Swift has both a historical connection to the music and a desire to expand its artistic purview.


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