AS I REFLECT on a hugely vibrant year for contemporary jazz, it becomes apparent that it is far more difficult than I had imagined to construct a meaningful, sequenced, personal ‘top 20 albums’ list, let alone a ‘top 10’, as the standard of British and international jazz across 2013 has been truly outstanding.

There have been many, many release highlights, the majority of which I have been so fortunate to have the opportunity to review on this blog (see the monthly archive listing here, on the right). To my ears and eyes, every one of these recordings is a ‘winner’ – and I’d simply rather list them all!

But, in the end, my ‘Best of 2013’ jazz selection has come down to just FIVE ALBUMS (each from different labels) which, musically and emotionally, for a variety of reasons, have made the greatest impression on me within the last twelve months (with so many close contenders!!!).

In alphabetical album title order only – and also followed by six must-have debut album recommendations – they are:


Ellington in Anticipation

Mark Lockheart
Subtone Records
Review: AP Reviews

Everything We Hold

Kairos 4tet
Naim Label
Review: London Jazz News / AP Reviews


Kenny Wheeler / Norma Winstone / London Vocal Project
Edition Records
Review: AP Reviews


Sam Leak’s Aquarium
Jellymould Jazz
Review: AP Reviews


June Tabor / Iain Ballamy / Huw Warren
Sample reviews: John Kelman/All About JazzJohn Fordham/The Guardian.


Between Shadows Reuben Fowler  Edition Records  AP Reviews
Engines of Creation Phil Meadows Group  Boom Better Records  AP Reviews
Halftime Rachael Cohen  Whirlwind Recordings  AP Reviews
Insight Maciek Pysz Trio  33Jazz  AP Reviews
Sutures and Stitches Ollie Howell  Whirlwind Recordings  AP Reviews
Thymos Matt Ridley Trio  Whirlwind Recordings  AP Reviews


My sincere thanks to all of the amazing artists (and their record labels) who, through the beauty and creativity of their music, are able to thrill, delight and generate such powerful emotions. It’s been a fantastic jazz year… here’s to 2014!



2 thoughts on “AP REVIEWS: ‘BEST OF 2013’

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