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Year in Review

John Chacona's Best Releases Of 2020


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It's tempting to say that this was the year the music died, and for clubs, concert and festival stages, that might generally be true. Yet, in this most confounding and contrary of years it's thoroughly fitting that as live music grew silent, recordings roared with eloquence, fury and, yes, beauty. Here are the releases that most captivated, moved, consoled and inspired me.

Tyshawn Sorey
Self Produced

Mary Halvorson's Code Girl
Artlessly Falling
Firehouse 12

Irreversible Entanglements
Who Sent You?
International Anthem

Ingrid Laubrock+Kris Davis
Blood Moon
Intakt Records

Manuel Valera New Cuban Express Big Band
José Martí En Nueva York
Greenleaf Music

Dayna Stephens Quartet
Right Now! Live at the Village Vanguard
Contagious Music

Eric Revis
Slipknots Through A Looking Glass
Pyroclastic Records

The Anthony Braxton Project

Matthew Shipp
The Piano Equation
Tao Forms

Ambrose Akinmusire
On the tender spot of every calloused moment
Blue Note

Shabaka And The Ancestors
We Are Sent Here By History

Steph Richards
Northern Spy

Ingrid Laubrock
Dreamt Twice, Twice Dreamt
Intakt Records

Camila Nebbia
ears & eyes Records

Maria Schneider
Data Lords

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