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C. Andrew Hovan's Best Recordings of 2021


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Even as it seemed that jazz continued its trajectory into the outer limits, there was no lack of pure swinging excellence to experience this past year. Although many of these releases probably flew under the radar of jazz followers with wider ranging tastes, this reviewer always finds it necessary to remind us all how vital and engaging the mainstream vernacular can be in the right hands. In addition, drummers placed at the top with highly musical efforts, while the ever-popular Pat Metheny took honors both under his own name and in a sublime tribute from fellow plectrist John Pizzarelli.

Joe Farnsworth
City of Sounds
Smoke Sessions

Donald Edwards
The Color of Us Suite
Criss Cross Jazz

Orrin Evans
The Magic of Now
Smoke Sessions

Pat Metheny
Side-Eye NYC
Modern Recordings

Bill Charlap
Street of Dreams
Smoke Sessions

Mike LeDonne
It's All Your Fault

John Pizzarelli
Better Days Ahead: Solo Guitar Takes on Pat Metheny

Brian Lynch
Songbook Vol.1: Bus Stop Serenade
Hollistic Music

Renee Rosnes
Kinds of Love
Smoke Sessions

Brian Charette
Power From the Air

Louis Armstrong
The Complete Columbia and RCA Victor Sessions 1946-1966
Mosaic Records

Lee Morgan
The Complete Live at the Lighthouse
Blue Note

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