Mary Chapin Carpenter - Stones in the Road
Intelligent, poetic songwriting, catchy choruses, an accessible folk-country veneer and a husky honey-dripping voice put MCC in a field of her own.
Robert Dick - Jazz Standards on Mars
Flautist’s jazz/classical synthesis from outer space with the Soldier String Quartet; includes Hendrix’s “Machine Gun” on bass flute.
Kurt Elling - The Messenger
Elling has brought back the art of jazz singing, using his voice both to impart lyrics and as an improvising instrument in the band.
Charlie Haden & Pat Metheny - Beyond the Missouri Sky
Two adventurous jazzmen from the Midwest dive into the subgenre of Americana jazz, setting a new standard for guitar/bass duos in the process.
John Hiatt - Slow Turning
Blues rock for the thinking man (or woman).
Dave Holland Quintet - Not For Nothin'
The crowning achievement of the best acoustic jazz band of the era, complex instrumental interactions and intriguing musical conversations.
Shirley Horn - You Won't Forget Me
Simply beautiful jazz, mostly slooooowwww ballads and a hint of swing; the precursor to Diana Krall and her clones.
Incognito - 100 and Rising
They call it acid jazz, but it’s really old-school soul music with a touch of ‘70s CTI jazz.
Herbie Mann - Peace Pieces
Mann does Bill Evans without a piano and makes the best album of his 50-year recording career.
John Mellencamp - The Lonesome Jubilee
Fiddle-bedecked acoustic/electric guitar blend, powerhouse drums, heartfelt save-the-world lyrics and the rockingest band on the planet.
Pentangle - Open the Door
Jazz-inflected musicianship and folkie vocal harmonies make for English folk-rock at its finest.
John Scofield - Quiet
An acoustic guitar plus Gil Evans-inspired horn charts equals quiet beauty.
Paul Simon - Graceland
The first world music hit record; Simon visited South Africa and rejuvenated his career and pop music.
John Stewart - Punch the Big Guy
Filled with anger, righteous indignation, political awareness and compassion, Stewart merges the personal, the spiritual, and the political.
Sting - The Dream of the Blue Turtles
Pop music with a jazz sensibility while aiming for significance and meaning.
McCoy Tyner Trio with Michael Brecker - Infinity
Tyner and Brecker give lessons in jazz improvisation, combining amazing technique and creativity on this full throttle blowing session.
U2 - The Joshua Tree
Rock music stripped raw conveying Big Messages delivered with intensity, honesty and grit.
Loudon Wainwright III - History
Confession, pathos, humor and intelligence sung by a man with his heart on his sleeve and a twinkle in his eye.
XTC - Nonsuch
The best band from the new wave era brings the ‘60s and the ‘90s together with Beach Boys harmonies, Beatlesque songwriting and crunching guitars.
Yellowjackets - Dreamland
A unique group sound, individual virtuosity and compositional excellence that takes contemporary jazz to a higher level.