20 Gregory Porter, Donald Smith, Mansur Scott, Paul Zauner’s Blue Brass Great Voices of Harlem PAO Records An easy-going stroll into the jazz-soaked atmosphere of Harlem in the company of former St Nick’s pub scene stalwarts Mansur Scott, Donald Smith, and everyone’s favourite, Gregory Porter.
19 Alice Zawadzki China Lane Whirlwind Recordings A promising debut from the vocalist-violinist, switching at will from sounding like a pop singer on the title track to immersing herself in the Sephardic folk tradition.
18 Caterina Zapponi Romantica Motéma Beguilingly sung and interpreted by Zapponi with Italian and French flavours, like a picture postcard you’d want to keep on the wall. Bristles with a strong retro swing feel and ambience.
17 Molly Johnson Because of Billie Decca An easy-street, rather than ‘troubled’, Billie Holiday themed album from the Canadian vocals star.
16 Cyrille Aimée It’s a Good Day Mack Avenue A feelgood affair, delivered by Aimée in a style located half way between Stacey Kent and Madeleine Peyroux.
15 Alicia Olatuja Timeless World Tune Records A soulful voice to remember on an album full of well considered and convincingly interpreted love songs.
14 Roseanna Vitro Clarity: Music of Clare Fischer Random Act Records Vitro enters unchartered territory for any singer in a songbook album setting with clever vocal interpretations of Clare Fischer’s work the theme.
13 Laurie Antonioli Songs of Shadow, Songs of Light: The Music of Joni Mitchell Origin Records There isn’t exactly a shortage of Joni Mitchell-inspired albums. But you can never have too many. Made with a lot of love, skill, and ideas.
12 Blue-Eyed Hawk Under the Moon Edition Literary influences shadow Under the Moon, and singer Lauren Kinsella at her most natural, conjures their benevolent inspiration.
11 Karen Mantler Business is Bad Xtra WATT Full of deadpan humour, little home truths and catchy tunes an album sure to acquire a cult following with its Suzanne Vega-live vocals and free jazz riffs.
10 Dena DeRose We Won’t Forget You… HighNote Skilled tribute to Shirley Horn, a must for anyone interested in the art of classic jazz singing.
9 Al Jarreau My Old Friend: Celebrating George Duke Concord A very sophisticated soul-pop-jazz hybrid that engages throughout in a stirring tribute to the late ex-Zappa man Duke.
8 Curtis Stigers Hooray For Love Concord Records Crooning doesn’t come much creamier than Curtis Stigers. An impossibly mythic jazz past, perhaps, but also Stigers’ most impressive album yet.
7 Christine Tobin A Thousand Kisses Deep Trail Belle Records A Leonard Cohen-themed album that continues Tobin’s rich run of form in recent years.
6 Mark Murphy Shadows TCB An unknown Murphy album from the 1990s released for the first time. Engrossing and experimental, a master at work.
5 Olivia Trummer Fly Now Contemplate Music Olivia Trummer makes a dramatic breakthrough with Fly Now, knottily introspective on ‘Snow Colored Streets’ a little in the Emilia Mårtensson vein, others unselfconsciously emotional, navigating her way into a jazzier space on a track such as ‘Gotta Miss Someone.’
4 Catherine Russell Bring it Back Jazz Village The music of a lost era comes alive. Highlights include Russell’s very smooth take on Fats Waller and Andy Razaf’s ‘Strange as it Seems.’
3 Emilia Mårtensson Ana Babel Emilia Mårtensson returns with the singer’s best to date. Beyond genre but soaked in songcraft and improvisation, the product of a highly original talent.
2 Norma Winstone Dance Without Answer ECM Up there with Distances, Winstone and her trio’s best work together, the inclusion of the complex title track as well as the moving ‘It Might Be You’ are just two of many reasons to discover this remarkable record.
1 Zara McFarlane If You Knew Her Brownswood Recordings The sound of a soulful new jazz vocals generation at ease with the past and the present in McFarlane’s hands, with an ear for the future.