Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...


Jeff Dayton-Johnson's Best Releases of 2013

Jeff Dayton-Johnson By

Sign in to view read count
Every year the list gets longer and more heterogeneous. There are blockbusters and obscure little gems, loud jazz and quiet jazz, hip hop and kora music, some of it downright unclassifiable. Which is fine. "Junku," a 1984 track anthologized on Herbie Hancock's spectacular box set below, is in fact both hip hop and kora music! In an interview with the New York Times earlier this year, Hancock said, "The thing that keeps jazz alive, even if it's under the radar, is that it is so free and so open to not only lend its influence to other genres, but to borrow and be influenced by other genres. That's the way it breathes." And when Hancock was accorded presidential honors a few weeks later, rapper Snoop Dogg (heard on the Robert Glasper record listed below) told those assembled, "Herbie, we love you. Thank you for creating hip-hop."

These are the records I kept listening to all year (in alphabetical order). I don't pretend that they're the best of the year. Indeed, I'm still discovering great records from 2012, 2011, and so on, and I'm sure that there will be more great 2013 releases I haven't heard yet. (In fact, there are a few late-2012 discs on this list—see if you can spot them.) When you're listening for the kind of cross-pollination Hancock is referring to, you have to consider lots of records at once. Listen to them in combinations of three or four, and you'll be as sanguine as I am about the vibrancy of the scene—or scenes.


(Nature Sounds)

The Caravan
The Caravan
(Self Produced)

Terri Lyne Carrington
Money Jungle
(Concord Jazz)

Chance the Rapper
Acid Rap
(Self Produced)

The Claudia Quintet

Manu Codjia, Géraldine Laurent & Christophe Marguet
Looking for Parker
(Bee Jazz)

Criolo e Emicida
Ao Vivo
(Universal Brasil)

Miles Davis
Live in Europe 1969: The Bootleg Series, vol. 2

Doctor Magnum
Live at Red Square
(Self Produced)

Satoko Fujii
Gen Himmel

Robert Glasper
Black Radio 2
(Blue Note)

Herbie Hancock
The Complete Columbia Album Collection 1972- 1988

The Night's Gambit
(Iron Works)

Chris Kelsey
The Electric Miles Project
(Self Produced)

Bassekou Kouyate
Jama Ko

Hélène Labarrière

Magic Malik
Tranz Denied
(Bee Jazz)


Orchestre National de Jazz
(Jazz Village)

Run the Jewels
Run the Jewels
(Fools Gold)

Sao Paulo Underground
Beija Flors Velho e Sujo

Wayne Shorter
Without A Net
(Blue Note)

Ballaké Sissoko
At Peace
(Six Degrees)

Sly & the Family Stone

Jonathan Suazo
Extracts of a Desire
(Self Produced)

Craig Taborn

Various Artists
Rough Guide to African Disco
(Rough Guide)

Various Artists
Salsa de la Bahía

Wayne Wallace
Latin Jazz Jazz Latin

Kanye West
(Def Jam)

Steven Wilson
The Raven That Refused To Sing

Mike Wofford
It's Personal
(Self Produced)


comments powered by Disqus

Shop for Music

Start your music shopping from All About Jazz and you'll support us in the process. Learn how.

Related Articles

Year in Review
2018: The Year in Jazz
By Ken Franckling
January 3, 2019
Year in Review
Most Read Articles: 2018
By Michael Ricci
January 1, 2019
Year in Review
Most Read Album Reviews: 2018
By Michael Ricci
January 1, 2019
Year in Review
Popular Tracks: 2018
By Michael Ricci
January 1, 2019
Year in Review
In Memoriam: Jazz Musicians Who Passed in 2018
By Maxim Micheliov
December 31, 2018
Year in Review
Mark Sullivan's Best Releases of 2018
By Mark Sullivan
December 26, 2018
Year in Review
The Top Ten Christmas Jazz Albums Of All Time
By Peter Hoetjes
December 24, 2018