Labels - 20 of '22's best so far

Counting down in order of preference thinking solely about impact - not resting on any laurels 20 Limited Noise (UK) Avant singer Andrew Plummer's fledgling label impressed us a lot with its hand-picked Will Glaser release. Let's hope Plummer does …

Published: 17 Jun 2022. Updated: 18 days.

Counting down in order of preference thinking solely about impact - not resting on any laurels

20 Limited Noise (UK)

Avant singer Andrew Plummer's fledgling label impressed us a lot with its hand-picked Will Glaser release. Let's hope Plummer does more in the future

19 Basho (UK)

Quiet in recent years but David Forman's Like a Rainbow and the latest Vienna Chamber Diaries were very welcome indeed

18 Ubuntu (UK)

Best thing that this prolific label of Martin Hummel's did this year so far was to release an EP by The W and the bar is set typically high

17 Jazz Re:Freshed (UK)

EP-loving label champions the new London generation Z scene and in 2022 to date best of all is by Jas Kayser

16 Gearbox (UK)

Audiophile inclined label notable this year for the new Binker and Moses Feeding the Machine, the peerless duo's best album yet

15 Nonesuch (USA)

Reliable as ever in 2022 with new releases from Mary Halvorson most notable and groundbreaking

14 CAM Jazz (Italy)

While not output-heavy in 2022 so far CAM Jazz punched above its weight once again with the marvellous Enrico Pieranunzi album The Extra Something

13 Criss Cross (Netherlands)

Straightahead label going through a good spell because of the stunning new David Binney album A Glimpse of the Eternal

12 Whirlwind (UK)

Exhibiting a prodigious release schedule as ever, we liked their Walter Smith III and Matthew Stevens record most of all

11 Intakt (Switzerland)

Avant-garde international sounds from Switzerland - Intakt's Lisbeth Quartett is for us the big cheese so far in 2022

10 Verve (USA)

Wonderful to see the historic label put out a very strong jazz album, the first in a long while, in Let Sound Tell All. More pianists, please

9 Jazzland (Norway)

Mainly listed because of the moving Bugge Wesseltoft album Be Am which is the best thing that we have heard all year

8 Cellar Live (Canada)

One of the leading straightahead indies putting out quality work in quantity regularly and increasingly seizing the label agenda. Look out for the formidable new Billy Drummond and Freedom of Ideas record Valse Sinistre later this summer

7 ECM (Germany)

The whole continent of Europe's top jazz label. Hardly breaking news. But Kit Downes' trio album Vermillion was world class this year and the best UK release of all in the first half of 2022. Might ECM sign more UK and Irish acts? Let's hope so. In the meantime look out for Seb Rochford's debut as a leader given that a recording is already in the can

6 Gondwana (UK)

This year Matt Halsall, Kerstan Mackness and co introduced fine new duo Vega Trails. Spiritual jazz and electronica-inclined Gondwana continue to dazzle with their presentational and curatorial skills

5 Edition (UK)

Top UK label at the moment for pristine technically first class sound in that regard primus inter pares with Gearbox and for graphics presentation, increasingly the home of a lot of well-known American acts notably Kurt Elling, Marquis Hill and Chris Potter. Latest signings include Mark Giuliana

4 Posi-Tone (USA)

Another straightahead label in the mantle a little of HighNote and Mack Avenue who put out quality work in quantity regularly and if anything even more feel-good. Art Hirahara's Ascent is our favourite of Marc Free and co's releases

3 Storyville (Denmark)

Less trad or reissues-focused it seems recently the quality is and has always been high no matter personal stylistic predilections. We certainly liked T. S. Monk's first album in a long while Two Continents One Groove a whole lot

2 Impulse! (USA)

Notable for a remarkable EP Afrikan Culture by the newly one-word Shabaka issued by the Creed Taylor-founded label dubbed ''the House That Trane Built'' in Ashley Kahn's ringing phrase

1 Blue Note (USA)

Since bassist Don Was became president Blue Note has thrilled the generations unborn in 1939 when the label began who continue to discover its joyfulness and groove. This year is no different with Ethan Iverson's Every Note is True and Gerald Clayton's Bells on Sand our favourites. Go back to the top of this post, hit play on 'The More It Changes' and you know it's like a Sesame Street moment in its tender poignancy, lyrics by Ethan's wife, the writer Sarah Deming, and wise philosophy

Further reading

Shabaka, top. Photo via Impulse!

Donate

Tags:

Ahead to the Town and the City

Two tracks from The Town and the City 'Swagger' and 'Albatross' are now streaming. Co-produced by Matt Roberts this Porcupine Studios recorded six-tracker has pianist Alberto Palau, bassist Will Harris of Michelson Morley fond regard and drummer …

Published: 16 Jun 2022. Updated: 19 days.

Next post

Two tracks from The Town and the City 'Swagger' and 'Albatross' are now streaming. Co-produced by Matt Roberts this Porcupine Studios recorded six-tracker has pianist Alberto Palau, bassist Will Harris of Michelson Morley fond regard and drummer Jay (Undoing) Davis with the saxist leader for this 1 July release. Matt Anderson, photo: via Leeds Conservatoire

Donate