2017 has been a good year fans of jazz and the blues. From more established acts such as Diana Krall, Charlie Watts, Trombone Shorty and Diana Panton to new yet equally promising acts such as Ala.Ni, Nova Collective and others, both genres, which despite their musical differences are still related to one another, have turned out a mass of enjoyable (and in some cases surprisingly) impressive albums. Ala.Ni’s debut album You & I is one of those surprising releases. It also tops this critic’s list of the year’s top new Jazz & Blues albums. Also on this year’s list is Argentine musician Fer Isella’s latest LP The Art of The Possible, new offerings from Putumayo and Music Action Ensemble’s new album Foundation among others.
This year was not an easy one to choose top records. Charlie Watts, who is known just as much for his jazz work as for his work with his band mates in The Rolling Stones, released quite the impressive new offering this year in Charlie Watts Meets The Danish Radio Big Band. Taj Mahal and Keb Mo partnered for the simply titled TajMo. Even veteran blues man John Mayall is still going strong. He released his new album Talk About That this year, too. Back on the jazz side, Charles Lloyd and his new group of fellow musicians released their own standout offering in the form of Passin’ Thru. Even here, there is so much to say. Simply put, coming up with a final list for this year’s new jazz and blues albums was not easy because of the level of talent exhibited across the board. So no dishonor was meant to any act on this year’s list.
As is the case with each Phil’s Picks list, this list features the Top 10 Albums on the list and five additional honorable mention titles. Enough rambling. Without any further ado, here for you is Phil’s Picks’ 2017 Top 10 New Jazz & Blues Albums.
PHIL’S PICKS 2017 TOP 10 NEW JAZZ & BLUES ALBUMS
- Ala.Ni — You & I
- Jazzmeia Horn — A Social Call
- Diana Panton — Solstice/Equinox
- Charlie Watts — Charlie Watts Meets The Danish Radio Big Band
- Taj Mahal & Keb Mo — TajMo
- Charles Lloyd New Quartet — Passin’ Thru
- Diana Krall — Turn Up The Quiet
- Charnett Moffett — Music From Our Soul
- Fer Isella — The Art of the Possible
- Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band — Lay It On Down
- Courtney Pine — Black Notes From The Deep
- Trombone Shorty — Parking Lot Symphony
- Music Action Ensemble — Foundation
- John Mayall — Talk About That
- Jimmy Greene — Flowers: Beautiful Life, Vol. 2
Again, this was NOT an easy list to assemble. This critic still feels rough coming to terms with the list. That is because so many great jazz and blues records were released this year including new material from Elvin Bishop and so many others. Even with that in mind, the list noted here is this critic’s final choice for this year’s top new jazz and blues albums. Now with this list completed, there is still plenty more to go including the year’s top new Rap/Hip-hop albums, reggae albums, rock and hard rock albums as well as the year’s top albums overall. There are also a bunch of categories for DVDs and Blu-rays including box sets for families and for older audiences, new live DVDs and Blu-rays, etc. So stay tuned!
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