Vijay Iyer tops JazzTimes Critics Poll

Just as in the recent NPR Jazz Critics Poll, Vijay Iyer tops the recently published JazzTimes poll, with “Far From Over” (ECM), from the pianist-composer’s sextet, topping the magazine’s list of the year’s 40 best new releases.

Vijay Iyer

(I voted in both polls).

“Corrosive in its defiance and lyrical in its call for unity, (Iyer’s album) is a grueling, uplifting listening experience,” Thomas Conrad writes about Iyer’s album.

The rest of the Top 10 includes releases by:

  • Three saxophonists — 2)Charles Lloyd New Quartet, “Passin’ Thru” (Blue Note); 3) Steve Coleman‘s Natal Eclipse, “Morphogenesis” (Pi); and (4) Rudresh Mahanthappa‘s Indo-Pak Coalition, “Agrima” (
  • (5) Singer Cecile McLorin Salvant‘s “Dreams and Daggers” (Mack Avenue)
  • (6) Drummer Matt Wilson‘s “Honey and Salt: Music Inspired by the Poetry of Carl Sandburg” (Palmetto)
  • (7) Hudson (Jack DeJohnette/Larry Grenadier/John Medeski/John Scofield), with a self-titled debut album (Motema)
  • (8) Bassist Linda May Han Oh‘s “Walk Against Wind” (Biophilia)
  • (9) Pianist/keyboardist Craig Taborn‘s “Daylight Ghosts” (ECM)
  • 10) Trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire‘s “A Rift in Decorum — Live at the Village Vanguard” (Blue Note)

The JazzTimes critics also honored historical jazz releases. The top 3: Thelonious Monk’s “Les Liaisons Dangereuses 1960” (SAM/SAGA); Bill Evans’ “Another Time: The Hilversum Concert” (Resonance”); and Jaco Pastorius’s “Truth, Liberty & Soul” (Resonance).

“Jaco’s brilliant work as a composer and large-ensemble arranger is impressively showcased on this archival radio recording by his Word of Mouth big band,” I wrote about the double-disc release.

For the complete poll results, pick up the February issue of JazzTimes.


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