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Jack Bowers: Top 15 Albums of 2021

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In spite of the Covid pandemic (and sometimes because of it!), 2021 was a splendid year for big-band albums, with eleven receiving 4 1/2-star reviews and one (Out on the Coast by the David Angel Big Band) earning five stars. The dominant dozen are listed here alongside top-rated smaller-group albums by Cory Weeds, Gerry Gibbs and Graham Dechter. One of the albums, Open World, by Chad Lefkowitz-Brown's Global Jazz Orchestra, was "virtually" recorded by musicians from seventeen countries, reaffirming that big bands can overcome almost any obstacles. We look forward to more of the same in 2022

Len Pierro Jazz Orchestra
The Third Quarter
Walking Path Records


Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra
Bernstein Reimagined
MCG Jazz


Dan Bonsanti
Cartoon Bebop
Self Produced


David Angel Big Band
Out on the Coast
Basset Hound Music


Cory Weeds
O Sole Mio!
Cellar Records


The Saskatchewan All Star Big Band
Saskatchewan Suite
Chronograph Records


Mark Masters
Masters & Baron Meet Blanton & Webster
Capri Records


Mike LeDonne
It's All Your Fault
Savant Records


Bob Mintzer / WDR Big Band Cologne
Soundscapes
MCG Jazz


Gerry Gibbs Thrasher Dream Trios
Songs from My Father
Whaling City Sound


Andy Farber Big Band
Early Blue Evening
ArtistShare


Graham Dechter
Major Influence
Capri Records


Chad Lefkowitz-Brown Global Jazz Orchestra
Open World
Self Produced


Jim Knapp Orchestra
It's Not Business, It's Personal
Origin Records


Rodger Fox Big Band
Plays New Zealand
TBone Records

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