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The 50 Best Albums of 2020 So Far

Even in the coronavirus-shortened record release schedule of 2020, the year has offered a mountainous feast of sublime music. The 50 best albums of 2020 so far are an eclectic and increasingly "woke" bunch.

Recent
Music

Daniel Carter, William Parker, and Matthew Shipp Prove Their Collective Worth on 'Seraphic Light'

Improvising is one thing. Improvising in a trio setting is another thing. Making beautiful and complex music together completely off-the-cuff is something else entirely.

Music

2018 Belongs to Matthew Shipp

The fearless pianist drops two albums on ESP-Disk... for starters.

Music

Ivo Perelman: Philosophers Stone / Octagon / Heptagon / Scalene / Live in Baltimore / Live in Brussels

The prolific, free-blowing tenor saxophonists releases six recordings at once, including two live sets, that demonstrate (again) his ability to invent in the moment with collaborators of all kinds.

Music

Whit Dickey / Mat Maneri / Matthew Shipp: Vessel in Orbit

A trio of viola, piano, and drums plays a recital of total improvisation, but the adventure is beautiful, focused, cohesive. Recommended to any listener with a taste for the (slightly) different.

Music

Matthew Shipp Trio: Piano Song

Pianist Matthew Shipp's final album for Thirsty Ear finds him going about his usually adventurous trio business.

Music

David S. Ware and Matthew Shipp: Live in Sant'Anna Arresi 2004

David S. Ware and Matthew Shipp have made beautiful music together for 17 years, but chose this occasion to make a lovely racket.

Music

Matthew Shipp Trio: The Conduct of Jazz

Matthew Shipp proves once again why he belongs in the upper echelon of modern jazz pianists.

Music

Matthew Shipp: I've Been to Many Places

Avant garde pianist Shipp explores his musical past through this contemporary solo set, hinting at where we may find him in the future.

Music

Darius Jones and Matthew Shipp: Cosmic Leider: The Darkseid Recital

Chamber jazz that cries, whispers, and aches beyond standard harmony but with focus and clarity despite being wholly improvised.

Music

Black Music Disaster: Black Music Disaster

If you listen to only one organ-driven free-jazz album featuring members of Spiritualized and Spring Heel Jack in 2012, make it this one.

Music

The Best Jazz of 2011

Jazz is ready to go just about anywhere these days, and our list this year travels a good distance from free playing to fusion, controlled singing to daring solo piano.

John Garratt and Will Layman
Music

Darius Jones & Matthew Shipp: Cosmic Lieder

Here's a duet album sure to stretch your brain as well as your ears. It's certainly not for everyone.

Music

Matthew Shipp: Art of the Improviser

Matthew Shipp gave his 50th birthday a few victory laps last year, and this double album is the outcome.

Music

The Shape of Jazz That Came...

The awake, aware folks who make and receive these offerings celebrate an ever-evolving music that resists boundaries, the sort capable of communication that transcends language and explanation.

Music

Matthew Shipp Trio: Harmonic Disorder

A jazz trio operating outside the music, peeking inside and achieving remarkable and listenable results.


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