Sunday, December 19, 2021

BEST OF JAZZ AND NEW MUSIC, 2021 (a personal view)

 BEST OF JAZZ AND NEW MUSIC, 2021: John Pietaro

This year in which we celebrated the return of live performance and simultaneously foresaw a rise in virus numbers and the resumption of show and venue closings, the pervasive issue remains on the anti-vax know-nothings affecting the lives of the careful, caring and compliant. Health regs and advisories as simple as getting a lifesaving vaccine are not too much to ask for, yet conservative talking heads retain their manipulative stronghold over the frightened Right, conveniently confounding vacc mandates as anti-liberty.  That's a rancid swill of "states' rights", xenophobia, guns-lobbies, white citizens' councils (spelled with three Ks), sexist old boys' clubs and corporate dollars. While the effects of this on the creative community shouldn't be first in the complaint line, the fact is, artists and arts institutions have been decimated and the prospect of yet another lockdown has already seen tours cancelled and records labels rethinking contracts. Still, artists will make art---and have. The outcome of this year's anxious output has been something special, and this much we can revel in. And should. 

And then going forward,  let's simply close out anyone who selfishly risks YOUR life and the lives, health and lifestyles of everyone around us. The arts are about healing and such ignorant, self-centered arrogance should not be tolerated by artists and art-lovers of conscience. 


Now then, following is my personal BEST OF JAZZ AND NEW MUSIC, 2021...


alto sax: David Lee Jones / Darius Jones / Devin Brahja Waldman

tenor sax: James Brandon Lewis / Andrew Lamb

baritone sax: Claire Daley / Dave Sewelson / Gary Smulyan

flute: Nicole Mitchell / Cheryl Pyle

trumpet: Kirk Knufke / Mac Gollehon / Ingrid Jensen

trombone: Steve Swell / Chris McIntyre

violin: Sam Bardfeld / Sarah Bernstein / Gwen Laster

viola: Melanie Dyer / Joanna Mattrey

cello: Lester St. Louis

acoustic guitar: Stephane Wrembel 

electric guitar: Aurelien Budyack / Vernon Reid / Bill Frisell

upright bass: Ken Filiano / William Parker / Cameron Brown

electric bass: Jamaaladeen Tacuma / Bill Laswell / Steve Swallow

piano: Vijay Iyer / Helen Sung / Mara Rosenbloom

drumset: Ches Smith / Hamid Drake / Cindy Blackman-Santana

percussion: Warren Smith / Bobby Sanabria

vibraphone: Joel Ross

multi-instrumentalist: Elliot Sharp / Daniel Carter 

vocals: Sheila Jordan / Fay Victor

spoken word: Anne Waldman / Patricia Smith / Ngoma Hill 


banjo: Brandon Seabrook / Arnt Arntzen

harp: Zeena Parkins

washboard: Newman Taylor Baker

laptop: Ikue Mori


 Lee Odom (soprano sax) 

Luke Stewart (upright and elec bass)


Mingus Big Band /Afro-Yaqui Music Collective / Maria Schneider Orchestra



Three Layer Cake / Ceramic Dog / The Fringe


1) Mingus Big Band, 11/9/21, the Django at the Roxy Hotel, NYC

2) Anne Waldman (with William Parker and James Brandon Lewis), 9/30/21, First Unitarian Universalist Church of Brooklyn

3) Andrew Lamb’s Circadian Spheres of Light Project, 12/1/21, Roulette, Brooklyn NY

4) Ceramic Dog/the Messthetics, 10/2/21, the Bell House, Brooklyn NY


Bush Tetras, 11/13, 21, Le Poisson Rouge, NYC / Ivan Julian- new album and performance!


Warren Smith / Sheila Jordan / Dick Griffin / Legs McNeil


Manhattan: Le Poisson Rouge, Clemente Soto Velez Center, the Django

Brooklyn: Roulette, Barbes, Mama Tried


ESP-Disk / Rare Noise / 577


Ceramic Dog, Hope (Northern Spy)

James Brandon Lewis/Red Lily Quintet, Jesup Wagon (Tao Forms)

Three Layer Cake, Stove Top (Rare Noise)

Benjamin Boone, The Poets Are Gathering (Origin)

New Muse 4Tet, Blue Lotus (Muffymarie)

Sarah Bernstein, Exolinger (577) 

Francisco Mela featuring Matthew Shipp and William Parker, Music Frees Our Souls (577)


Sarah Bernstein, Exolinger (577)


Sheila Jordan: Comes Love (Capri)


Bush Tetras, Rhythm and Paranoia (Wharf Cat)

RADIO STATION (broadcast)-


RADIO STATION (streaming)-

Give The Drummer (

Sheena’s Jungle Room (

Maker Park Radio (MakerParkRadio.NYC)

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