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'Getz at the Gate' makes Slate: 'The Best Jazz of 2019'

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It hasn't been the most leisurely year for listening to music. Between tracking Trump for Slate's War Stories column and writing a book, I may have missed a few albums that belong on this list. (Feel free to protest in the comments section.) That said, from what I did hear, 2019 has been a very good year for jazz records-including a couple of newly discovered gems from the vaults, several releases (a majority of the list) on very small or artist-owned labels, and one surprise that's so jarring you might wonder if I'm joking, but I'm not. The first five albums are listed in the order of what I like best. The next five are ranked somewhat arbitrarily, reflecting the mood of the moment as much as anything; consider them tied for sixth place.

Stan Getz, Getz at the Gate - Another lost treasure, this two-disc concert, recorded at New York's Village Gate in 1961, finds the silky-toned tenor saxophonist coaxed to new heights of expressive powers by a quartet that included pianist Steve Kuhn and drummer Roy Haynes, both of whom had recently backed John Coltrane in his transition to turbulent adventures. Gorgeous, even breathtaking, especially the spiraling ballads.