Jack Bowers: Top 15 Albums Of 2021 

January 7, 2022

In spite of the Covid pandemic (and sometimes because of it!), 2021 was a splendid year for big-band albums, with eleven receiving 4 1/2-star reviews and one (Out on the Coast by the David Angel Big Band) earning five stars. The dominant dozen are listed here alongside top-rated smaller-group albums by Cory Weeds, Gerry Gibbs and Graham Dechter. One of the albums, Open World, by Chad Lefkowitz-Brown's Global Jazz Orchestra, was "virtually" recorded by musicians from seventeen countries, reaffirming that big bands can overcome almost any obstacles. We look forward to more of the same in 2022 

Len Pierro Jazz Orchestra 
The Third Quarter 
Walking Path Records 

Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra 
Bernstein Reimagined 
MCG Jazz 

Dan Bonsanti 
Cartoon Bebop 
Self Produced 

David Angel Big Band 
Out on the Coast 
Basset Hound Music 

Cory Weeds 
O Sole Mio! 
Cellar Records 

The Saskatchewan All Star Big Band 
Saskatchewan Suite 
Chronograph Records 

Mark Masters 
Masters & Baron Meet Blanton & Webster 
Capri Records 

Mike LeDonne 
It's All Your Fault 
Savant Records 

Bob Mintzer / WDR Big Band Cologne 
MCG Jazz 

Gerry Gibbs Thrasher Dream Trios 
Songs from My Father 
Whaling City Sound 

Andy Farber Big Band 
Early Blue Evening 

Graham Dechter 
Major Influence 
Capri Records 

Chad Lefkowitz-Brown Global Jazz Orchestra 
Open World 
Self Produced 

Jim Knapp Orchestra 
It's Not Business, It's Personal 
Origin Records 

Rodger Fox Big Band 
Plays New Zealand 
TBone Records