Andrew's 2018 in Review: Favourite Jazz Albums

My favourite jazz albums of 2018!

2 years ago

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Did I purposefully pick the 3 genres with the most subgenres to list in a row? Maybe, but jazz music also feels like an impenetrable genre from an outsider. I'll have to admit even for myself I'm still dipping my toes into the jazz world, with basically only listening to the classics and some beyond it. The jazz scene has always appealed to me as someone who loves watching/listening to musicians who are masters of their craft. Though jazz hasn't been a popular genre for a long time, jazz influence has been present in many forms of music. Of course we always assiociate jazz with the high class as well (ironic with it being created by the low class), so I often have to imagine that also keeps outsiders away.

2018 in jazz for at least myself, I started paying more attention to. I've always been on the toes of jazz being highly into progressive rock - so I've checked out great jazz-fusion records, Miles Davis, etc. To me it seems to be making a comeback in popularity due to many reasons though two definitely stand out - that being Kendrick Lamar's heavily jazz inspired hip-hop album, To Pimp a Butterfly, and the jazz maestro himself, Kamasi Washington. I'm going to have to say this before anything else, and that is Kamasi Washington does not appear on this list. Well why? First, this list of course is personal preference but I'd also like to take the time to address how some artists from certain genres get to be the poster boy. I find genres as big as these often have one fan favourite and rest is forgotten. Which is a shame because with such large genres there is bound to be great and better music there. This happens to be the case with Heaven & Earth for myself, where it just isn't that great to other jazz releases. Same goes for metal with Deafheaven, or electronic with Against All Logic (both from this year). Not to say any of those releases are bad in anyway, but I more so want to point out there is so much more to each genre than whatever publications say are "hot". Anyways, this is what these lists are for - to help guide and inform people of other great albums from this year.

Of course as always, this is just a list of my favourite records from this year. I'm just posting album artworks with little descriptions of the sound with it. After I finish these lists, I'll be posting my full list with more in depth discussion.

Park Jiha - Communion/Philos

This one was originally just about Communion but I just learned she released a new album Philos! Technically Communion came out in 2016, but was reissued this year. Park Jiha combines jazz with traditional Korean folk, for a unique experience.

Idris Ackamoor & the Pyramids - An Angel Fell

An amazing spiritual jazz record, that will guarantee you a spiritual journey.

Fire! - The Hands

Jazz rock band returns with another great release. A jazz album that isn't too "jazz" for outsiders.

Kamaal Williams - The Return

Funky at times, this jazz album takes you the streets of London with its fine textures and instrumentation.

Shinya Fukumori Trio - For 2 Akis

I love piano led jazz, so no surprise this album takes a spot up here. It's ECM jazz, so you have an idea of the sound, but just take it up a notch from there.

Eli Keszler - Stadium

I had no idea where to put this album. Maybe more into experimental, but often times this album feels jazzy. It's basically electro-acoustic improvisation album that gets ambient at times.

Sons of Kemet - Your Queen is a Reptile

The album taking year end by storms. This afro-jazz album fills you with a nice sense of culture and history, along with grooves to move along to.

Arve Henriksen - The Heights of the Reeds

Dark, jazzy, and basically ambient music at times. Though no less impressive than any other album on this list.

Makaya McCraven - Universal Beings

This sounds like a beat tape but it is just well put together jazz to sound like a beat tape. The album is jazz musicians playing at their finest.

Esperanza Spalding - 12 Little Spells

Moving farther away from her pop/R&B days, into a more jazz, prog rock style. If you need a little vocals in your jazz, Esperanza Spalding has some of the best in the game.

Further Listening

Binkers and Moses - Alive in the East?

The Necks - Body

Various Artists - We Out Here

Maisha - There is a Place

Mary Halvorson - Code Girl

Onyx Collective - Lower East Suite Part Three

Trygve Seim - Helsinki Songs

Bill Orcutt & Chris Corsano - Brace Up!

Moses Boyd - Displaced Diaspora

Andrew Kalichak

Published 2 years ago