The third album from Charles Lloyd, Bill Frisell, Greg Leisz and co. features reimaginings of Leonard Cohen, Ornette Coleman and The Beach Boys. There are no vocalists on the album but this is more than made up for by deeply emotive and evocative playing from Lloyd and his band mates.
Nala Sinephro - Space 1.8
The captivatingly delicate debut from Nala Sinephro stunned us this year. Space 1.8 features an all star cast, in particular with reed players such as James Mollinson (Ezra Collective), Ahnansé (Steam Down) and Nala’s long time friend and collaborator, Nubya Garcia.
Gary Bartz, Adrian Younge, Ali Shaheed Muhammad - JID006
Gary Bartz joins Younge and Muhammad’s collaborative “Jazz Is Dead” project, hearing Bartz play over slightly harder, hip-hop drums is reason enough alone to give this album your time.
Julian Lage - Squint
Lage is one of the most prodigious jazz guitarists of his generation. Squint was his first album on Blue Note and stands as a testament to not only his playing but also his songwriting.
BadBadNotGood - Talk Memory
The Canadian jazz/hip-hop chameleons return to their instrumental roots in an immersive experience with the help of brazilian composer Arthur Verocai.
Jungle - Loving in Stereo
A fun, easy listening, groove-laden dancing record that provided the perfect late summer soundtrack to 2021.
Little Simz - Sometimes I Might Be Introvert
From the marching drums that open the album with Introvert through to the groove and swagger of Point and Kill towards the end, Sometimes I Might Be Introvert is a stunning exploration of the disconnect between Simz’s life as a rapper and her own personal sense of self. This is the album that cements her place as one of the UK’s finest young talents.
Silk Sonic - An Evening With Sonic
The smoothest thing to emerge from popular music in years. Bruno Mars and Anderson .Paak toured together in 2017 and on that tour the idea for Silk Sonic was born. The project is a throwback to classic late 70s and early 80s soul and funk records, both sonically and visually.
Floating Points & Pharoah Sanders - Promises
A “late-career masterpiece” from Pharoah Sanders according to Pitchfork. Promises is a collaboration between the legendary saxophonist, the London Symphony Orchestra and maverick electronic producer Floating Points. Not really an album at all but a single piece of music divided into nine movements, it is best enjoyed without distraction so turn off your phone for this one.
Fergus McCreadie - Cairn
The young Scottish virtuoso continued to build upon the success of his stunning debut Turas (released in 2018) with Cairn this year. The title track and Cliffside are our highlights from this expressive, expansive and entirely excellent album.