One of the joys of being a jazz fan, or a fan of anything (for that matter), is to compare what people consider their “TOP TEN” list of albums. Or pizzas. Or baseball players. Or hot dogs. Or chilli. Or US Presidents. Or preachers. Or…

OK, you get my point. The great thing about a list is that it doesn’t have to be objective. It’s top ten FAVORITE albums. That means, “what are the albums that you’re most often going to keep listening to as time goes by?” Therefore, while “Citizen Kane” may be one of the “greatest” movies ever, it’s not one of my favorites, as I can only take seeing it once every few  years. On the other hand, “The Great Escape,” “Stalag 17,” “Bridge on the River Kwaii,” “Ben Hur,” or “Some Like It Hot” are always there in my top list as I can never see them enough times.

Same with jazz albums. Ornette Coleman’s “Free Jazz” is considered a classic, but once a lifetime is fine with me.

So it is with top ten albums. These albums are the ones I and my associates consider albums that we will keep as our friends, and return to them for continued inspiration.

In ancient times, before there was punctuation marks in writing, the way to emphasize something was to repeat it over and over. That is why in the Bible Jesus says, “Truly, Truly…” He is underlining a point.

Same here with top ten albums. Look for albums that keep popping up on peoples’ lists. Those are the ones you’ll most definitely want to check out. Then, if you like it, try out another album by a journalist/critic on the list. After awhile, these people will become your musical advisors. I got into jazz on the recommendations of Leonard Feather, Scott Yanow and John McDonough, and am a better person for it.

Have fun!


  1. Lucky Thompson-Complete Parisian Small Group Sessions 1956-1959 (Fresh Sound)
  2.  Lizz Wright-Grace (Concord)
  3. Jesus Rocked the Jukebox (Concord)
  4. Bill Evans-Another Time; The Halversum Concert (Resonance)
  5. Anat Cohen-Luminisa/Outra Coise (Anzic Records)
  6. Oscar Pettiford: NYC 1955-58 (Uptown Records)
  7. Miles Mosley: Uprising (Verve)
  8. Dayna Stephens-Gratitude (self produced)
  9. Jaco Pastorius-Liberty, Truth & Soul (Resonance)
  10. Kurt Rosenwinkel-Caipi (self produced)


New Releases:

Miguel Zenón, Típico (Miel)
Kurt Rosenwinkel, Caipi (Heartcore/Razdaz)
Steve Coleman’s Natal Eclipse, Morphogenesis (Pi)
Cécile McLorin Salvant, Dreams and Daggers (Mack Avenue)
Vijay Iyer Sextet, Far From Over (ECM)
Matt Mitchell, A Pouting Grimace (Pi)
Peter Bernstein, Signs Live! (Smoke Sessions)
David Virelles, Gnosis (ECM)
JD Allen, Radio Flyer (Savant)
Matt Wilson, Honey and Salt: Music Inspired by the Poetry of Carl Sandburg (Palmetto)
The Savory Collection, Vol. 3, Honeysuckle Rose: Fats Waller & Friends (National Jazz Museum in Harlem)
Jaco Pastorius, Truth, Liberty & Soul — Live in NYC: The Complete 1982 NPR Jazz Alive! Recording (Resonance)
Bill Evans, Another Time: The Hilversum Concert (Resonance)
II. THOMAS CONRAD All About Jazz, Stereophile
  1. John Vanore Stolen Moments: Celebrating Oliver Nelson (Acoustical Concepts)
  2. Tomasz Stanko December Avenue (ECM)
  3. Stefano Battaglia Pelagos (ECM)
  4. Vijay Iyer Sextet Far from Over (ECM)
  5. Alan Broadbent with the London Metropolitan Orchestra Developing Story (Eden River)
  6. Ambrose Akinmusire A Rift in Decorum: Live at the Village Vanguard (Blue Note)
  7. SFJAZZ Collective Music of Miles Davis & Original Compositions (SFJAZZ)
  8. Bill Evans Another Time: The Hilversum Concert (Resonance))
  9. Charles Lloyd New Quartet Passin’ Thru (Blue Note)
  10. Frank Kimbrough Solstice (Pirouet)


Richie Cole – Latin Lover – Richie Cole Presents

The Cookers – The Call Of The Wild and Peaceful Heart – Smoke Sessions

Heads Of State – Four In One – Smoke Sessions

Eric Hofbauer Quintet – Reminiscing In Tempo – Creative Nation Music

Dick Hyman – Solo At The Sacramento Jazz Festivals – Arbors

Gary Meek – Originals – Self-Released

Hank Mobley – To One So Sweet Stay That Way – Nederlands Jazz Archief

Eddie Palmieri – Sabiduria – Ropeadope

Art Pepper/Warne Marsh – Unreleased Art, Vol. 9 – Widow’s Taste

Cecile McLorin Salvant – Dreams And Daggers – Mack Avenue


Nicholas Payton – The Afro-Caribbean Mix-Tape – Paytone Records
Shotgun Jazz Band – Steppin’ On the Gas – Self
Stanton Moore – With You In Mind – Cool Green Recordings
Vijay Iyer Sextet – Far From Over – ECM
Christian Scott Adunde Adjuah – Ruler Rebel – Ropeadope
Preservation Hall – So It Is – Sony Legacy
Bria Skonberg – With A Twist – Okeh
Noah Preminger – Meditations on Freedom – self
Wadada Leo Smith – Solo: Reflections on Monk – Cuneiform
 Miguel Zenon – Tipico – Miel Music

Hot House Magazine, WCBN-FM, 88.3,,

Detroit Free Press,, Michigan Music Hall Of Fame

Best CD’s of 2017 (Top To Bottom Order)

1- Club D’Elf Live At Club Helsinki (Face Pelt)

2- Craig Taborn Daylight Ghosts (ECM)

3- The Helio-Sonic Tonetette Heliosonic Toneways Vol. I (ScienSonic)

4- Matt Wilson Honey & Salt – The Complete Poems

Of Carl Sandburg (Palmetto)

5- Tomas Fujiwara Triple Double (Firehouse 13)

6- Ralph Towner My Foolish Heart (ECM)

7- Cowboys & Frenchmen Bluer Than You Think (Outside In)

8- Ed Palermo Big Band The Great Un-American Songbook (Cuneiform)

9- Ernesto Cervini – Turboprop Rev (Anzic)

10- Clark Sommers – Lens By A Thread (Eyes & Ears)



Harriet Tubman – Araminta (Sunnyside)
Nate Smith – Kinfolk: Postcards from Everywhere (Ropeadope)
Nicholas Payton – Afro-Caribbean Mixtape (Paytone Records)
Gerald Clayton – Tributary Tales (Motéma)
Laurent Coq – Kinship (jazz&people)
Vijay Iyer –  Far From Over (ECM)
Cecile McLorin – Dreams and Daggers (Mack Avenue)
The Great Harry Tillman – Tilt (Cuneiform Records)
Thelonious Monk – Les Liaisons Dangereuses 1960  (Sam Records)
3 extra if you got the room 😉
Blue Note All Stars – Our Point of View  (Blue Note)
Mr. Jukes – God First (Universal Music)
Kendrick Lamar – DAMN  (Top Dawg Entertainment)
1. Jane Ira Bloom-Wild Lines (Outline)
2. Buffalo Jazz OCtet-Pausa Live (Cadence)
3. Sylvie Courvoisier/Mary Halvorson-Crop CIrcles (Relative Pitch)
4. Kaja Draksler Octer-Gledalec (Clean Feed)
5. Fujii/Smith/Tamura/Mori-Aspiration (Libra)
6. Gato Libre-Neko (Libra)
7.Jason Kao Hwang-SIng House (Euonymus)
8. Wadada Leo Smith-Solo: Reflections and Meditations on Monk (TUM)
9.Tyshawn Sorey-Versimiltude (Pi)
10. Mario Pavone Dialect Trio-Chrome (Playscape)
1. Brian Landrus Orchestra-Generations (BlueLand)
2. Dominique Eade & Ran Blake-Town and Country (Sunnyside)
3. Matt Wilson-HOney and Salt (Palmetto)
4. Wadada Leo Smith-Najwa (TUM)
5. Joe Rosenberg Ensemble-Tomorrow Never Knows (Quark)
6.Laura Campisi-Double Mirror (self released)
7. Jane Ira Bloom-Wild Lines: Improvising Emily Dickinson (Outline)
8. Harris Eisentadt-Recent Developments (Songlines)
9. Jihye Lee Orchestra-April (self released)
10. Rudresh Mahanthappa’s Indo-Pak Coalition-Agrima (self released)
IX LARRY HOLLIS www.cadence
1. Bill Charlap-Uptown, Downtown (Impulse)
2. Peter Bernstein-Signals Live (Smoke Sessions)
3. Dave Stryker-Strykin’ Ahead (Strikezone)
4. Tom Harrell-Moving Picture (Highnote)
5. Joey Defrancesco-Project Freedom (Mack Avenue)
6. Pat Martino-Formidable (Highnote)
7. Harold Mabern-To Love and To Be Loved (Smoke Sessions)
8. Steve Slagle-Manhattan Alto (Panorama)
9. Danny Grissett-Remembrance (Savant)
10. Grant Steward Trio-Roll On (Cellar Live)
X LUDWIG VAN TRIKT www.cadence
1. George Colligan-More Powerful (Whirlwind)
2. Tiziano Tononi and Southbound-Trouble no More…All men are brothers (Long Song)
3. Philipp Gropper’s Philm-SUnSHip (Why PlayJazz)
4. Jass-Mix of Sun and Clouds (Yolk Music)
5. Brian McCarthy-The Better Angels of Our Nature (Revolution Recording Collective)
6. China Moses-Nightintales (MPS)
7. Jason Rigby: Detroit-Cleveland Trio (Fresh Sound New Talent)
8. Steve Colemen’s Natal Eclipse-Morphogenesis (Pi)
9. Ambrose Akinmusire-A RIft In Decorum (BLue Note)
10. Ken Schaphorst Big Band-How to Say Goodbye (JCA)
XI DON LERMAN www.cadence
1. Will Caviness Sextet-A Walk (Cellar Live)
2. Ed Neumeister-Suite Ellington (PAO)
3. Billy Mintz-Ugly Beautiful (Thirteenth Note)
4. Roberta Piket-One For Marian Celebrating Marian McPartland (Thirteenth Note)
5. David Friesen & Glen Moore-Bactrian (Origin)
6. Terell Stafford-Forgive and Forget (HHM)
7. Stevko Busch/Paul Van Kemenade-Dedication (KEMO)
8. Le Rex-Wild Man (Cuneiform)
9. Chicago Jazz Philharmonic-Havana Blue (316 Records)
10. Valentin Clastrier/Steven Kamperman-Fabuloseries (Home Records)
XII KEN WEISS www.cadence
1. Rudresh Mahanthappa’s Indo-Pak Coalition-Agrima (self produced)
2. Miles Okazaki-Trickster (Pi)
3. The Vampires-The Vampires Meet Lionel Loueke (Earshift Music)
4. Irene Schweizer-Joey Baron-Live (Intakt)
5. Satoko Fujii Quartet-Live at Jazz Room Cortez (Cortez Sound)