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The 10 Best Jazz Albums Of 2023

2023 has been a transitional year for jazz. We lost one of the genre’s most brilliant composers and performers, Wayne Shorter; free jazz flamethrowers Peter Brötzmann and Charles Gayle; genteel pianist Ahmad Jamal; bassist, composer and Spike Lee’s father Bill Lee; singer Tony Bennett; trombonist Curtis Fowlkes; bassist Richard Davis; pianist and composer Carla Bley; saxophonist Mars Williams, known to some as a modern free jazz hero and others as the dude from the Psychedelic Furs; and some people I consider jazz-adjacent, like Brazilian singer Astrud Gilberto and guitarist Jeff Beck, who made a series of excellent fusion albums in the mid ’70s. And while Shabaka Hutchings is still alive, he announced his intention to quit playing the saxophone, and disbanded all of his current groups: Sons Of Kemet, The Comet Is Coming, and Shabaka And The Ancestors.

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