The 2013 NPR Music Jazz Critics Poll

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

NPR Music is pleased to present the results of a poll asking well over 100 jazz critics to pick their favorite recordings of 2013.

For eight consecutive years now, this annual poll has been conducted by Francis Davis, one of the most respected critics in the field. In 2006, he invited 30 of his fellow writers to share ranked lists of their favorite records for the Village Voice, where he was the jazz critic. Since then, the poll has grown tremendously. Over the last month, 136 print journalists, bloggers and broadcasters, mostly from the U.S. but including a few from Europe, nominated over 700 different albums released in 2013. This year, we're thrilled to welcome his exhaustive project to our site.

Below are full results of the 2013 NPR Music Jazz Critics Poll, highlighted by a playlist of the Top 10 overall picks. You'll find a list of the entire Top 50 in the voting for Jazz Album of the Year, with the top finishers in Latin jazz, Vocal, Debut and Reissue as well. (You can find all the raw data, including individual ballots, at the website of Tom Hull, who annually collates all the information from the poll.)

Davis shares his thoughts on each of 2013's Top 10 Jazz Albums below. You'll also want to read his analysis of this year's results, including his personal picks for the year's 10 best jazz albums. We invite you to browse and have a listen. --Patrick Jarenwattananon, NPR Music

The Rest Of The Top 50:

11. Chris Potter, Sirens (ECM) 92.5 points (15 ballots)

12. Keith Jarrett/Gary Peacock/Jack DeJohnette, Somewhere (ECM) 88 (13)

13. Joe Lovano, Cross Culture (Blue Note) 85.5 (12)

14. William Parker, Wood Flute Songs (AUM Fidelity) 85.5 (11)

15. Rudresh Mahanthappa, Gamak (ACT) 82.5 (17)

16. Matthew Shipp, Piano Sutras (Thirsty Ear) 70 (14)

17. Wadada Leo Smith & TUMO, Occupy the World (TUM) 70 (13)

18. Barry Altschul, The 3dom Factor (TUM) 67.5 (10)

19. Gregory Porter, Liquid Spirit (Blue Note) 67 (12)

20. Dave Holland, Prism (Dare2) 65 (11)

21. Matana Roberts, COIN COIN Chapter Two: Mississippi Moonchile
(Constellation) 64.5 (11)

22. Frank Wess, Magic 101 (IPO) 61 (11)

23. Ahmad Jamal, Saturday Morning (Jazz Village) 59 (10)

24. Vijay Iyer & Mike Ladd, Holding It Down: The Veterans' Dreams Project
(Pi) 58.5 (9)

25. Michele Rosewoman, New Yor-Uba: 30 Years - A Musical Celebration of Cuba in America (Advance Dance Disques) 58.5 (8)

26. Nicole Mitchell's Ice Crystals, Aquarius (Delmark) 57.5 (12)

27. Jaimeo Brown, Transcendence (Motema) 57 (7)

28. John Hollenbeck, Songs I Like a Lot (Sunnyside) 56 (8)

29. Myra Melford, Life Carries Me This Way (Firehouse 12) 52 (9)

30. Pat Metheny, Tap: John Zorn's Book of Angels, Vol. 20 (Nonesuch/Tzadik)
49 (9)

31. The New Gary Burton Quartet, Guided Tour (Mack Avenue) 48 (10)

32. Black Host, Life in the Sugar Candle Mines (Northern Spy) 47 (8)

33. Amir ElSaffar, Alchemy (Pi) 46.5 (8)

34. Terri Lyne Carrington, Money Jungle: Provocative in Blue (Concord) 46

35 (tie). Bill Frisell, Big Sur (Okeh) 43 (7)

35 (tie). Fred Hersch & Julian Lage, Free Flying (Palmetto) 43 (7)

37. Jamie Baum, In This Life (Sunnyside) 42 (7)

38. Dawn of Midi, Dysnomia (Thirsty Ear) 41.5 (6)

39. Ben Goldberg, Unfold Ordinary Mind (BAG) 41 (7)

40. Marc Cary, For the Love of Abbey (Motéma) 39 (7)

41. Roswell Rudd, Trombone for Lovers (Sunnyside) 39 (6)

42. Mark Dresser, Nourishments (Clean Feed) 38 (8)

43. Andy Bey, The World According to Andy Bey (HighNote) 38 (6)

44. Eric Revis/Kris Davis/Andrew Cyrille, City of Asylum (Clean Feed) 37 (7)

45 (tie). 3 Cohens, Tightrope (Anzic) 37 (5)

45 (tie). Mostly Other People Do the Killing, Slippery Rock (Hot Cup) 37 (5)

45 (tie). David Murray, Be My Monster Love (Motema) 37 (5)

48. Kenny Garrett, Pushing the World Away (Mack Avenue) 36.5 (7)

49. Etienne Charles, Creole Soul (Culture Shock) 35 (8)

50. Joshua Redman, Walking Shadows (Nonesuch) 35 (6)


1. Miles Davis Quintet, Live in Europe 1969: The Bootleg Series Vol. 2 (Columbia/Legacy) 81 (32)

2. Woody Shaw, The Complete Muse Sessions (Mosaic) 40 (21)

3. Jack DeJohnette, Special Edition (ECM) 38 (19)

4. Clifford Jordan, The Complete Strata-East Sessions (Mosaic) 38 (18)

5. Miles Davis, The Original Mono Recordings (Columbia/Legacy) 37 (15)

6. Paul Motian, Paul Motian (ECM) 27 (13)

7. John Coltrane, Sun Ship: The Complete Session (Impulse/Mosaic) 27 (12)

8. Herbie Hancock, The Complete Columbia Album Collection: 1972-1988 (Columbia/Legacy) 25 (11)

9. New York Art Quartet, 1964-65: Call It Art (Triple Point) 24 (8)

10. Earl Hines, The Classic Earl Hines Sessions: 1928-1945 (Mosaic) 21 (9)


1. Cécile McLorin Salvant, WomanChild (Mack Avenue) 29 votes

2. Gregory Porter, Liquid Spirit (Blue Note) 14

3. Andy Bey, The World According to Andy Bey (HighNote) 10

4. René Marie, I Wanna Be Evil: With Love to Eartha Kitt (Motéma) 7


1. Jonathan Finlayson, Moment and the Message (Pi) 20

2 (tie). Jaimeo Brown, Transcendence (Motema) 11

2 (tie). Matt Mitchell, Fiction (Pi) 11


1. Michele Rosewoman, 30 Years: A Musical Celebration of Cuba in America (Advance Dance Disques) 19

2. Chucho Valdés, Border-Free (Jazz Village) 13

3. Miguel Zenón Oye!!! Live in Puerto Rico (Miel Music) 8

4 (tie). Alexis Cuadrado, A Lorca Soundscape (Sunnyside) 7

4 (tie). The Pedrito Martinez Group, The Pedrito MartinezGroup (Motéma) 7


Voters were asked to submit choices for their top 10 new releases in descending order. Points were weighted by preference, e.g. 10 for 1st place, 9 for 2nd place, etc. Those who submitted unranked lists were awarded 5.5 points per album. Voters also submitted their top three reissues/historical recordings and their lone choices for the year's best vocal, debut and Latin jazz albums. A complete list of ballots is available here.

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Source: NPR


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