20 DanaMeilana 6 JazzNBelfast no label
Singer Dana Masters and saxophonist Meliana Gillard lead a finely tailored soulful and gospel tinged modern mainstream band capturing a scene bursting with ideas

19 The Scottish National Jazz Orchestra In the Spirit of Duke Spartacus
A connoisseur’s choice in an orthodox interpretation of Ellington classics by the award winning Scottish big band institution

18 Jeff Williams The Listener Whirlwind Recordings
Human scale live recording Williams superbly Motian-like in one of the most considered albums of the year

17 Vole The Hillside Mechanisms Babel
Roland Ramanan’s impressive free jazz and improv approach comes of age

16 Gilad Atzmon Songs of the Metropolis World Village
A ballad-laden meditation on the urban experience, one of Atzmon’s very finest releases, up there with Exile and his work with Robert Wyatt

15 Andre Canniere Coalescence Whirlwind 
State-of-the-art acoustic post-bop from imaginative trumpeter Canniere and his fine band

14 Liane Carroll Ballads Quiet Money
A confessional album gathering together many classic torch songs cleverly collected and interpreted that espouse loneliness, loss, but above all a longing for love. Carroll at her best

13 Sam Crowe Group Towards the Centre of Everything Whirlwind
A sense of compositional scale on a robustly creative meta-album by pianist-composer Crowe and chums

12 Kenny Wheeler, Norma Winstone, and London Vocal Project Mirrors Edition
The extraordinary late-period flowering of Kenny Wheeler’s artistry continues, on this nuanced vocals and poetry-inspired set

11 Human Being Human Babel
Quite a debut by drummer and composer Stephen Davis’ improv quartet coloured by the violin of the maverick Dylan Bates, the talismanic presence of pianist Alexander Hawkins, and the electronicist, trumpeter Alex Bonney

10 Gwyneth Herbert The Sea Cabinet Monkeywood
A concept album based on the story of an imagined woman who walks the beach alone picking up things she finds adding them to her “sea cabinet”. Whimsy that takes itself seriously, as Herbert enters her prime

9 Ellington in Anticipation Ellington in Anticipation Subtone
Reminiscing in tempo customised for the Polar Bear generation and expertly captured by Mark Lockheart’s free wheeling band

8 Mark Edwards In Deep Quiet Money
Pianist Edwards’ singers album, with Claire Martin, Liane Carroll and Carleen Anderson at their best, delivering one of the biggest surprises of the year

7 Soweto Kinch The Legend of Mike Smith Soweto Kinch Recordings
A post English-riots London fable double album shaped around an abiding fascination with the seven deadly sins, improvising and wordplay click into place in an impressive display

6 Jason Rebello Anything But Look Lyte Records
Strong songs, effortless improvising and a soulful dimension, Jason Rebello pulls off the comeback of the year

5 Blue Touch Paper Drawing Breath Provocateur
Colin Towns has clearly found a new seam of inspiration with his relatively new Anglo-German band here channelling a scene from the “Scottish play” among the highlights

4 Kit Downes Quintet Light From Old Stars Basho
Chamber jazz signifiers, free improv, cinematic “road movie” conceptual material, and quality ‘jam’ blow-out routines see the five come alive

3 June Tabor/Iain Ballamy/Huw Warren Quercus ECM
Not since Lammas has a folk-jazz project succeeded in such joyous fashion

2 Sons of Kemet Burn Naim
‘Rivers of Babylon’ will never sound quite the same again as the Kemets play a pair of aces with their tub-thumping debut

1 The Impossible Gentlemen Internationally Recognised Aliens Basho
Witty and warm The Impossible Gentlemen return with a new producer and bass chum in Steve Rodby, and the band sound as if they’re having fun. Unexpectedly endearing romance-laden themes, and circuitous improvising of the highest order