2019 in general wasn’t a bad year for jazz – great new releases, which will stand the test of time, and some wonderful concerts. Jazz, as in the previous year, will more or less have been 1 .1% of the worlds recorded music market. Streaming is giving our music a bit of a hard time, as Spotify, Deezer, etc. are not presenting jazz the right way and therefore migration of the jazz listener to the services is slow .. physical is still the dominant format globally for jazz and will stay as that for a few more years. The major record companies have lost a bit of interest in Jazz, with Sony hardly doing anything anymore, Warner as well and only Universal with Verve and Blue Note is a bit more active in producing and releasing jazz albums. The rest is moving to the independent labels … and some of them are really expanding and getting more interesting and widen their artist roster … like Edition Records in the UK, Ropeadope, Mack Avenue, Motema, Sunnyside, Smoke, etc in the US and Jazzland Recordings in Norway and many others around the globe. Jazz is alive and thriving … no matter what!!
As every year I will publish here a kind of ‘Best of 2019’ in terms of my personal choice of recordings and concerts from this year. I will put them in alphabetical order, as it is too difficult to select any of them as the best ….
Betty Carter – The Music never Stops
Haftor Medboe Jacob Karlson EP
Hays / Loueke – Hope
Holland / Hussain / Potter – Good Hope
James Brandon Lewis – An Unruly Manifesto
Joanna Wallfisch – Far Away From Any Place Called Home
Ketil Bjornstad – The World I Used To Know
Michael Leonhart Orchestra – Suite Extracts, Vol. 1
Rymden – Reflections & Odysseys
Zela Margossian – Transition
Antonio Lizana & Arturo O’Farrill – Madrid, July
Branford Marsalis Quartet – Sevilla, March
Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah – Madrid, November
Dhafer Youssef – Lyon, July
John Scofield & John Cleary – Madrid, November
Jose James / Melody Gardot – Madrid, July
Michael Leonhart Orchestra – New York, January
Rebekka Bakken – Madrid, November
Rymden – Rotterdam, July
The Bad Plus – Madrid, May and November
Details on these recordings and concert you can find in the various blog posts of mine from January to December.
Special mention deserve the two last recordings I delivered to Okeh/Masterworks as their A&R consultant, Branford Marsalis’ outstanding new quartet album ‘The Secret Between The Shadow And The Soul’, nominated for two Grammy awards, and Theo Croker’s ‘Star People Nation’, which as well is nominated for one Grammy award.
At the close of the year we remember all the wonderful artists, managers, agents, label representatives and friends that passed on in 2019 – they all left something within us and therefore will be remembered for a long time. May they all rest in peace.