It’s a little late this year, but here is Jazz History Online’s Summation of 2023. Not too many changes in my little corner of the jazz world this year, except for one issue that I will discuss presently. Excuse me, as I step up on my soap box…

The Compact Disc’s demise continued its slow crawl during 2023. Despite all of the naysayers, I still receive hundreds of CDs in the mail every year, there are still brick-and-mortar stores selling the silver discs, and mail-order giants like Amazon sell millions of discs per year. The major change I noticed in 2023 is that the bottom dropped out of the used CD market. In years past, one could prune their CD collection and make some extra money by selling their gently-used discs to a local record store. Nowadays, CDs are so devalued that record stores offer insultingly low amounts for CDs that are in new or barely used condition. Last spring, I filled a carry-on bag with approximately 250 discs—some unopened—and offered them to a well-known store on the East Coast. The total amount offered was approximately 12 cents per album. I received a little more because I opted for store credit rather than cash, and within 30 minutes of browsing their stacks, I found two bargain-priced used discs, one of which was an extremely rare digital edition from the 1980s, and the other an out-of-print reissue signed by the artist. So, this store had no apparent interest in used CDs acquired from me or anyone else. The same trend applies to libraries, many of which will not accept donations of large CD collections, owing to a lack of interest by their patrons and a lack of space to store the materials. It is extremely disheartening to think that the music collections that many of us have collected and curated for decades may hereafter be only fit for the landfill.

Rant over, but please consider the myriad consequences of this problem.

On to the best-of lists!

Robert W. Harwood, “I Went Down to St. James Infirmary” (Genius)
Stephanie Stein Crease, “Rhythm Man” (Oxford)

BEST NEW CDs (Instrumental):
Artemis, “In Real Time” (Blue Note)
Annie Booth, “Flowers of Evil” (AnnieBell)
Buselli/Wallarab Jazz Orchestra, “The Gennett Suite” (Patois)
Sara Caswell, “The Way to You” (Anzic)
Craig Davis, “Tone Paintings” (MCG Jazz)
Aaron Diehl & The Knights, “Zodiac Suite” (Mack Avenue)
Jeff Lederer, “Schoenberg on the Beach” (little i)
Bobby Sanabria Multiverse Big Band, “Vox Humana” (Jazzheads)
Erica Seguine/Shon Baker Orchestra, “New Day Bends Light” (self-released)
Umlaut Chamber Orchestra: “Zodiac Suite” (Umlaut)

BEST NEW CDs (Vocal):
Ann Hampton Callaway, “Finding Beauty” (Shanchie)
Mary Foster Conklin, “These Precious Days” (self-released)
Jane Irving, “Don’t Quit Now” (self-released)
Jo Lawry/Linda May Han Oh/Allison Miller–“Acrobats” (Whirlwind)
Gretchen Parlato/Lionel Loueke–“Lean In” (Edition)
säje” (self-released)
Nicky Schrire, “Nowhere Girl” (Anzic)
Audrey Silver, “Oklahoma: Jazz Arrangements from the Musical” (Messy House)|
Luciana Souza/Trio Corrente, “Cometa” (Sunnyside)
Nicole Zuraitis, “How Love Begins” (Inside Out)

Dave Brubeck Quartet, “Live from the Northwest, 1959” (Brubeck Archives)
John Coltrane/Eric Dolphy, “Evenings at the Village Gate” (Impulse)
Dizzy Gillespie/Charlie Parker/Bud Powell/Charles Mingus/Max Roach, “Hot House: The Complete Massey Hall Recordings” (Craft)

Sloane: A Jazz Singer” (Cutter Studios)

Anita Wardell (New York, NY; November 12)
Artemis (Arden/Wilmington, DE; October 13)
Fred Hersch/Esperanza Spalding (Newark, NJ; January 29)
Manhattan Transfer (New York, NY; June 9)
Joyce Moreno (New York, NY; August 18)
Terell Stafford (Philadelphia; February 4)

Leny Andrade, Burt Bacharach, Dave Bailey, Buddy Baker, Guido Basso, Harry Belafonte, Tony Bennett, Karl Berger, Lee Berk, Carla Bley, Oscar Brashear, Neil Bridge, Peter Brötzmann, Dennis Budimir, Harriet Choice, Jay Clayton, Tony Coe, John Colianni, Richard Davis, Jerry Dodgion, João Donato, Wally Fawkes, Ken Franckling, Charles Gayle, Astrud Gilberto, Mick Goodrick, Duško Gojković, Toni  Harper, Redd Holt, Ahmad Jamal, Keiko Jones, Phil Kelly,  Bill Lee, Carlos Lyra, Les McCann, Larry McKenna, David Meeker, Butch Miles, Dom Minasi, Max Morath, Cobi Narita, Tony Oxley, Don Rader, Sandra Reaves-Phillips, Alan Raph, Willie Ruff, Carl Saunders, Don Sebesky, Wayne Shorter, Carol Sloane, W. Royal Stokes, Steve Voce, Jack Wilkins.

Two upcoming collections of 1950’s Vanguard Jazz Showcase albums (Mosaic); Various liner note projects (TBA) and my comprehensive book on the “Pyramid” game shows.

Thanks to all of our loyal readers, sponsors, and those who have donated money, time, and services to this site. We hope to continue for many years to come, and we trust that we will continue to receive your support and readership.

Thomas Cunniffe.



Scroll to Top