Click here to [close]

Sunday, January 1, 2023

Free Jazz Blog's Album of the Year 2022

We are pleased to announce the Free Jazz Blog's top albums of 2022. Last week, we presented the top 10 recordings from 2022, drawn from the contributions of all the Free Jazz Blog reviewers and then held a vote for the top album.

  1. The top spot goes for the second year to a group featuring the intense piano playing of Pat Thomas (last year, the top spot went to أحمد [Ahmed])

    Pat Thomas & XT (Paul Abbott and Seymour Wright) - “Akisakila” / Attitudes of Preparation (Mountains, Oceans, Trees)  (Edition Gamut)

    The album received a double review this year. Lee wrote:
    As a recording, “Akisakila” / Attitudes of Preparation (Mountains, Oceans, Trees) is undoubtedly in the running for album of the year. The trio’s music is deliriously engaging, frenetic and charged with a hot energy that burns brilliantly. Sidestepping all of Prévost’s warnings about “subtle, insidious, prescribed approaches,” XT and Thomas instead create something direct and uncommonly provoking, a must-own.

    And Fotis said:

    Apart from the music itself in “Akisakila” /Attitudes of Preparation, which is burning free jazz, what strikes me as more important is that the three of them (with Pat Thomas on the piano in full blow out form) create something like a bridge connecting the past with the present. This double vinyl (yes!, we the fetishists applaud in joy) is not a product of three musicians who rely on the past and it’s not, either, the result of the present manifestations of what jazz is. The three of them have managed to create a timeless album, one that incorporates music, words with radical avant-garde tactics and practices.

  2. The masterful Wadada Leo Smith takes second place for his wonderful box-set of duo recordings. 

    Wadada Leo Smith - The Emerald Duets (TUM Records)

    Stef wrote in his review:
    The great fun of listening to all of this consecutively - if you have the time - is the stylistic difference between the drummers. Cyrille, Bennink, akLaff and DeJohnette have very different approaches to their instruments and even to sound. Bennink for instance loves his floor tom, creating mad rhythms and sounds on this single skin, while DeJohnette has a refined approach with lots of cymbal work. 

  3. And in the third spot is Myra Melford and her excellent quintet: 

    Myra Melford Fire and Water Quintet - For the Love of Fire and Water (Rogue Art)

    In his review, Paul declared:
    The music invites the listener in. Though there are moments of abrasiveness, the interlocking of rhythmic ideas, unusual melodic forays, keep it enthralling. The layering of the instruments and melodic ideas beg for repeated listening.

And so, we begin 2023! We thank you for your continued trust and look forward to continuing to share our thoughts on the music that we all enjoy and . This past year, the Free Jazz Blog had 1.62 million views ... we are delighted and hope to continue to spread the word about the music.

Happy New Ears!

The Free Jazz Collective


Monochromios said...

Excellent choices.
The Myra Melford Quintet really surprised me with this year's album.
Lovely work.
Thank you to all the crew for the great free job, hints, suggestion.
I wish you all a great new year.

Unknown said...

HoiaHeyaHeia Most Appreciated Free Jazz Collective! Oh what a glorious choice,thank you very much for your unique incomparably outstanding performance, I'm already really looking forward to all that is to come from you, my very very best wishes Franz

Wendy Lochner said...

Yes, thank you! You’re my first go-to every morning. So glad you’ve added a woman to your review staff too! Maybe more in 2023?

Moe said...

Thanks for all your reviews and posts in 2022!!!!

Richard said...

My choice for album of the year as well. It's an album I'm sure I'll be returning to it for years to come.

Thank you to all of you at FJB for another wonderful year of music. This website enriches my life like no other.

Shaun said...

A wise decision. Credit must also go to Will Holder and Editions Gamut. The whole package is beautifully done.

Anonymous said...

Do you’ll go out of your way to avoid anything with a groove?

eager neophyte said...

Wendy Lochner: "So glad you’ve added a woman to your review staff too! Maybe more in 2023?"

More women on the review staff is not enough, quotas of women are needed. 50.5%, which corresponds to the composition of the US population.
How else can free jazz be contemplated in the current (2023) year? It is no good if there is too much of that "free".

Martin Schray said...

@anonymous: We're mainly a free jazz website, a genre we believe is very much underrepresented in mainstream jazz media. We do consider free jazz still "jazz," however, since it is primarily an improvisatory music form and usually maintains, however broken and distorted at times, some sense of groove or swing.
Apart from that we have reviewed albums by the Sun Ra Arkestra, Dennis Gäbel, Jeff Parker, James Brandon Lewis, Ben Lamar Gay and Moor Mother (among others) - and they really groove, even in a more traditional style.

Paul said...

We welcome all writers who have a passion for the music, please let us know your interest in writing by emailing freejazzblog at


The best thing about lists (as always) is the new discoveries... Now the all womend Myra Melford 5et has become a must buy for me!

Lee said...

Shaun, I strongly agree, I think I mentioned the quality of the design and packaging in my review. The whole presentation melds together nicely.

Anonymous said...

I agree with FOTIS NIKOLAKOPOULOS, it's all about discoveries and moreover giving just three medals has no sense to me. Let's go further: only one winner next year ;)

'For the Love of Fire and Water' is my type here but I easily find 9 equals to accompany it.

'Akisakila / Attitudes of Preparation' is on my shelf but would it make to top 20 or 10? Who knows, miracles happen on 4th listening.

'The Emerald Duets'? My Wadada Leo-Smith but not my album. I pick 'Pacifica Koral Reef' instead.

Anyway guys, happy new year and many thanks for your great job !!!

Matt Parker said...

Great choices!

GENNARO said...

I'd like to mention this album, sadly it's digital only:
TERRA by Marco Colonna Solo (New Ethic Society NES 008)