Source: The 2020 NPR Music Jazz Critics Poll. I am pleased to say that I was able to participate in this year’s poll (along with 147 of my closest friends). Fun stuff indeed. You can find my individual ballot here if you scroll down a bit.
Below are the results of NPR Music’s 8th Annual Jazz Critics Poll (my 15th, going back to the poll’s beginnings in the Village Voice). These are the jazz albums that lit up a dark, unsettling year. Maria Schneider’s Data Lords was the critics choice — no surprise, though relative unknown Sara Serpa’s victory in the Vocal category in a year when both Kurt Elling and Gregory Porter released new albums was. A Thelonious Monk concert recorded at the unlikeliest of venues — a Northern California high school auditorium — in 1964 was voted the year’s prize rara avis (my catch-all designation for reissues and never-before-issued finds), and the 23-year-old alto saxophonist Immanuel Wilkins’s Omega ran away from the pack in Debut.