Stories » John Coltrane, Sons of Kemet, Bill Frisell, Haden - Mehldau and Kurt Elling make NPR: Jazz Critics Poll - Best Music for 2018

Top 10 for May

John Coltrane, Sons of Kemet, Bill Frisell, Haden - Mehldau and Kurt Elling make NPR: Jazz Critics Poll - Best Music for 2018

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Below are the results of NPR Music's 6th Annual Jazz Critics Poll (my 13th annual, going back to its beginnings in the Village Voice). Wayne Shorter's Emanon was voted Album of the Year, and Cecile McLorin Salvant's The Window Best Vocal. Shorter and Salvant have won these categories previously (thrice in Salvant's case), and Both Directions at Once: The Lost Album marks the second victory in Rara Avis (a catch-all term for reissues, vault discoveries, and the like) for John Coltrane. 

Both Directions at Once, John Coltrane's posthumous cache of studio recordings from 1963, surprised us once already. Its victory in the historical category will surprise precisely no one - certainly not the 74 critics, just over half the voting body, who included it on their ballot. (Forty-seven of those voters, myself included, made it their No. 1.) That air of inevitability arises not only from the fact that this is unheard studio material from one of our most exalted heroes, leading the band that perfectly defined his sound. It's also a time capsule from a fantastically volatile period in Coltrane's artistic development, and a pivotal moment in his career. That it raises as many questions as it answers is only part of the abiding intrigue. -Nate Chinen

Also selected as top picks are:

Sons of Kemet, Your Queen Is a Reptile 

 

Bill Frisell, Music IS 

 

Charlie Haden & Brad Mehldau, Long Ago and Far Away 

 

Kurt Elling, The Questions 

 

 
SEE THE NPR: Jazz Critics Poll - Best Music for 2018 PAGE