Discover more from The Honest Broker
The Best Recordings of 2021 (Part Two of My Honorable Mention List)
My top 100 is coming soon, but in the meantime here are 100 additional albums of exceptional merit—all styles, all genres
Today I’m publishing my honorable mention list of 2021 recordings in two installments. (It’s simply too large to fit on one email for my newsletter subscribers.) Below is part two—here’s the link to part one.
This is, as mentioned, the honorable mention list, not my top 100—I’ll share that with paid subscribers in a few days. But there are so many outstanding recordings I can’t fit on that list, yet still deserve recognition. So I publish an honorable mention list each year, and put as much care into it as for my top 100.
Each of the 100 artists featured below is well worth your attention and support. And, sad to say, many of these albums, are little-known indie or self-produced projects you could easily miss. I’ve included a link with each title—it will take you to a Bandcamp, YouTube, or other webpage where you can get a taste of the music.
I listened to more than one thousand new releases in 2021—this is my most time-consuming project each year, but also a labor of love. As always, this is a list without boundaries, encompassing all musical styles and genres.
The Honest Broker is a reader-supported guide to music, books, and culture. Both free and paid subscriptions are available. If you want to support my work, the best way is by taking out a paid subscription.
The 100 Best Recordings of 2021: Honorable Mention List (in alphabetical order) Jihye Lee Orchestra Daring Mind Big Band Jazz Joe Lovano and Dave Douglas Other Worlds Jazz Hayden Mack Covers! Polyphonic Pop Covers from an 18-Year-Old in Calgary Magneto Requiem pour Satana Warsaw Surf Guitar Meets Ennio Morricone Film Music Kiazi Malonga Tembo Kia Ngoma Debut Album from Congolese-American Musician Featuring Drum-Driven Music (9 Different Percussion Instruments) Wynton Marsalis / JALC Septet The Democracy! Suite Traditional Concert Jazz Suite The Master Musicians of Joujouka Live in Paris Live Recording by a Famous Collective of Jbala Sufi Trance Musicians Mark Masters Ensemble (with Art Baron) Masters & Baron Meet Blanton & Webster Modern Big Band Revisits Classic Ellington Compositions Brad Mehldau Variations on a Melancholy Theme Contemporary Music for Piano and Orchestra Vince Mendoza (with Guests) Freedom Over Everything Third Stream Orchestral Jazz Pat Metheny Side-Eye NYC (V1:IV) Jazz Guitar Steve Million (with Steve Cardenas) What I Meant to Say Jazz Quartet Charles Mingus (and Guests) Mingus at Carnegie Hall (Expanded Edition) Expanded Edition of a Classic 1974 Live Jazz Recording Monodrone Customer Service Customer Service Music for Phone Calls on Hold Fabiano do Nascimento Ykytu Jazz/Brazilian Solo Guitar Willie Nelson That's Life Willie Nelson Sings Frank Sinatra New Moon Jelly Roll Freedom Rockers New Moon Jelly Roll Freedom Rockers Vol. 2 Music from Blues "Super Group" Oxalys Nonetto: Works by Nino Rota, Hanns Eisler & Bohuslav Martinů Nonet Works by Modern Composers Pangaea Chamber Players Three Perspectives Chamber Music by 3 Contemporary American Composers (Ned Rorem, Jennifer Higdon and Dan Locklair) Marco Papiro La Finestra Dentata Electronic Works by Swiss-Italian Composer & Graphic Designer Gretchen Parlato Flor Jazz Singer Sufi Parveen Kanha Sufi Electronica Chant/Hip-Hop Rosa Passos Dunas: Live in Copenhagen Bossa Nova The Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band Dance Songs for Hard Times Juke Joint Dance Band Marcos Resende & Index Marcos Resende & Index Previously Unissued Brazilian Jazz Fusion from the 1970s Max Richter Exiles Minimalism Noir Riga Saxophone Quartet Saule Tikai (Merely Sun) New Music for Saxophone Quartet Oscar Rossignoli Inertia Solo Jazz Piano RTÉ Concert Orchestra/Andrew Penny Arthur Sullivan: Ballet Music Premiere Recording of Lost Music by Sir Arthur Sullivan Philipp Schiepek & Walter Lang Cathedral Guitar and Piano Duets Suitable for a Cathedral Sesquialtera C'est ce Qui Altéra Brass Band Music for Strange and Haunted Dreamscapes Dr. Lonnie Smith (with Iggy Pop) Breathe Hammond B-3 Soul Jazz Sō Percussion, Dawn Upshaw, and Gil Kalish Caroline Shaw: Narrow Sea Contemporary Music for Voice, Piano and Percussion Sons of Kemet Black to the Future New Genre-Crossing Jazz from the UK Joseph Spence Encore Previously Unreleased Tracks from Bahamian Guitar Iconoclast Matthew Stevens Pittsburgh Homemade Solo Jazz Guitar Album Sting The Bridge First Rock Album from Sting in 5 Years SWR Big Band (with Guests) Bird Lives—The Charlie Parker Project Big Band Jazz Versions of Charlie Parker Songs Justin Taylor La Famille Rameau Baroque Harpsichord Music Jeremy Thompson Vasily Kalafati: Piano Music Piano Music by Neglected Russian Composer (Teacher of Scriabin & Stravinsky) Killed During the Nazi Siege of Leningrad 3hattrio Lost Sessions American Desert Music from Utah The Unseen The Goatman Film Soundtrack/Ambient Instrumentals of Paranoia Various Artists Edo Funk Explosion Vol.1 Edo Highlife from Nigeria (Late 1970s-1980s) Various Artists Longing for the Shadow: Ryūkōka Recordings, 1921-1939 Western-Influenced Ryūkōka Popular Music from 1920s & 30s Japan Hassan Wargui Tiddukla Morrocan Banjo Music Tony Joe White Smoke from the Chimney Previously Unreleased Tracks from Swamp Rock Singer-Songwriter Dan Wilson Vessels of Wood and Earth Jazz Guitar John Wilson/Sinfonia of London English Music for Strings (Britten-Bliss-Bridge-Berkeley) Early 20th Century British Orchestral Music (by the 4 Bs) ХАРА / KHARA Mandragora Ethno-Funk Dance Music from Russian Shamans (Played with Horsehead Fiddle, Jew's Harp, Glucophone, Zither, Etc.) Neil Young Young Shakespeare (Live) First Official Release of Intimate Neil Young Solo Concert from 1971
Give a gift subscription to The Honest Broker this holiday season.