The 2016 NPR Music Jazz Critics Poll

First The Pulitzer, Now The Big Prize: Henry Threadgill Tops Our 4th Annual Survey Of Jazz Writers


1. Henry Threadgill Ensemble Double Up, ‚Old Locks and Irregular Verbs‘



2. Wadada Leo Smith, ‚America’s National Parks‘


3. Jack DeJohnette / Matt Garrison / Ravi Coltrane, ‚In Movement‘


4. Mary Halvorson Octet, ‚Away With You‘


5. Michael Formanek / Ensemble Kolossus, ‚The Distance‘


6. Vijay Iyer & Wadada Leo Smith, ‚A Cosmic Rhythm With Each Stroke‘


7. Nels Cline, ‚Lovers‘


8. Matt Wilson’s Big Happy Family, ‚Beginning of a Memory‘



9. Charlie Haden Liberation Music Orchestra, ‚Time/Life (Song for the Whales and Other Beings)‘


10. Steve Lehman & Sélébéyone, ‚Sélébéyone‘


The Rest

11. Darcy James Argue Secret Society Real Enemies 

12. Charles Lloyd & the Marvels I Long to See You 

13. J.D. Allen Americana: Musings on Jazz & Blues 

14. Murray, Allen & Carrington Power Trio Perfection 

15. Jane Ira Bloom Early Americans 

16. Tyshawn Sorey The Inner Spectrum of Variables 

17. Greg Ward Touch My Beloved’s Thought 

18. Aziza (Dave Holland, Chris Potter, Lionel Loueke, Eric Harland) Aziza 

19. Andrew Cyrille Quartet The Declaration of Musical Independence 

20. Jonathan Finlayson & Sicilian Moving Still 

21. Kris Davis Duopoly 

22. Sonny Rollins Holding the Stage: Road Shows, Vol. 4 

23. John Scofield Country for Old Men 

24. Aruán Ortiz Trio Hidden Voices 

25. Tom Harrell Something Gold, Something Blue 

26. Fred Hersch Trio Sunday Night at the Vanguard 

27. Barry Guy The Blue Shroud 

28. Jason Moran The Armory Concert 

29. Mark Dresser Seven Sedimental You 

30. George Coleman A Master Speaks 

31. Jaimeo Brown Transcendence Work Songs 

32. Donny McCaslin Beyond Now 

33. Julian Lage Arclight 

34. Joshua Redman & Brad Mehldau Nearness 

35. Frank Kimbrough Solstice 

36. David Bowie Blackstar 

37. Melissa Aldana Back Home 

38. Carla Bley, Andy Sheppard, Steve Swallow Andando el Tiempo 

39. Cookers The Call of the Wild and Peaceful Heart 

40. Bill Charlap Trio Notes from New York 

41. Brad Mehldau Trio Blues and Ballads 

42. Jeff Parker The New Breed 

43. Wolfgang Muthspiel Rising Grace 

44. Allison Miller’s Boom Tic Boom Otis Was a Polar Bear 

45. Anthony Braxton 3 Compositions (EEMHM) 2011 

46. Logan Richardson Lift 

47. Esperanza Spalding Emily’s D + Evolution 

48. Avishai Cohen Into the Silence 

49. Taylor Ho Bynum Enter the PlusTet 

50. Gregory Porter Take Me to the Alley 


1. Larry Young Larry Young In Paris: The ORTF Recordings 

2. The Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Jazz Orchestra All My Yesterdays: The Debut 1966 Village Vanguard Recordings 

3. Bill Evans Some Other Time: The Lost Sessions from the Black Forest 

4. Miles Davis Quintet Freedom Jazz Dance: The Bootleg Series, Vol. 5 

5. Count Basie & Lester Young Classic 1936-1947 Studio Sessions Mosaic 

6. Various Artists The Savory Collection, Volume 1: Body and Soul: Coleman Hawkins & Friends 

7. Don Cherry, John Tchicai, Iréne Schweizer, Léon Francioli, Pierre Favre Musical Monsters 

8. Keith Jarrett A Multitude of Angels 

9. Shirley Horn Live at the 4 Queens 

10. Peter Kuhn No Coming, No Going 


1. Rene Marie Sound of Red 

2. Branford Marsalis: Special Guest Kurt Elling Upward Spiral

3. Camila Meza Traces

4 (tie). Cyrille Aimee Let’s Get Lost

4 (tie). Gregory Porter Take Me to the Alley 

6 (tie). Norah Jones Day Breaks 

6 (tie). Catherine Russell Harlem on My Mind 

6 (tie). Esperanza Spalding Emily’s D + Evolution 


1 (tie). Victor Gould Clockwork 

1 (tie). Ron Stabinsky Free for One 

3 (tie). George Burton The Truth of What I Am > The Narcissist 

3 (tie). Earprint Earprint 

3 (tie). Jerome Jennings The Beast 

3 (tie). Marcos Varela San Ygnacio 

3 (tie). Christopher Zuar Orchestra Musings 


1. Pedrito Martinez Group Habana Dreams 

2. Jane Bunnett & Maqueque Oddara Linus 

3 (tie). Brian Lynch Presents Madera Latino Madera Latino: A Latin Jazz Perspective on the Music of Woody Shaw 

3 (tie). Alfredo Rodriguez Tocororo 

5. Guillermo Klein Los Guachos V 

6. Edward Simon Latin American Songbook 


Voters were asked to rank their top 10 albums released in 2016. A No. 1 ranking earned 10 points, a No. 2 earned 9 points, and so on. Listings on unranked ballots received 5.5 points each. In the Reissue/Rara Avis category, voters ranked three releases of either previously-published material or unreleased recordings from over 10 years ago. Voters also picked their single favorite Vocal, Latin jazz and Debut recordings of the year.

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