A handful of independent labels—some of them owned by musicians, others merely by zealous music fans—didn’t merely hang in there during the pandemic; they thrived during it. At least one popped up as the lockdown reached a fever pitch. And from TAO Forms’ emphasis on “out” sounds to Truth Revolution’s braiding of Latin and straight-ahead jazz to Whirlwind’s embrace of everything hip, these relatively young labels couldn’t be more stylistically diverse.
For Jazz Appreciation Month, let’s enjoy the music spilling forth from the Lincoln Center and other prestigious institutions. But let’s also lend our support to the small-scaled labels putting their noses to the stone during dangerous times. Here are ten jazz labels you need to know in 2021.