By Gili Malinsky
By Bob Ruggiero
By Hilary Hughes
By Peter Gerstenzang
By David R. Adler
By Devon Maloney
By Brian McManus
By Jessica Hopper
Charlie Haden, Rambling Boy (Decca). Hillbilly and proud of it. An Ornette Coleman cameo would have completed the circle nicely, but even then, I bet I'd still be raving about Bruce Hornsby's vocal on "20/20 Vision," to say nothing of Haden's opening bass solo, with its allusions to the same bluegrass favorites he quoted on Coleman's "Ramblin' " nigh on 50 years ago. (Unranked)
Honorable mention: Ben Allison, Little Things Run the World (Palmetto); Steven Bernstein's Millennial Territory Orchestra, We Are MTO (Mowo); Theo Bleckmann & Fumio Yasuda, Berlin (Winter & Winter); Bill Frisell, History, Mystery (Nonesuch); Vijay Iyer, Tragicomic (Pi); Carmen Leggio, Carmen Leggio Quartet (Mighty Quinn); William Parker, Petit Oiseau (Aum Fidelity); Revolutionary Snake Ensemble, Forked Tongue (Cuneiform); Matana Roberts, The Chicago Project (Central Control); Martial Solal, Longitude (CamJazz).
Reissues: Art Tatum, Piano Starts Here: Live at the Shrine/The Zenph Re-Performance (Sony Classical); Anthony Braxton, The Complete Arista Recordings of Anthony Braxton (Mosaic); Dizzy Gillespie, Showtime at the Spotlite: 52nd Street, New York City, June 1946 (Uptown).
Vocal: Catherine Russell, Sentimental Streak (World Village).
Latin: Bebo Valdés & Javier Colina, Live at the Village Vanguard (Calle 54 Norté).
Debut: Ideal Bread, The Ideal Bread(KMB).
I should add that I might never have heard my Best Debut choice had it not shown up on a number of early ballots, piquing my curiosity. Hopefully, this will encourage you to take a peek at the individual ballots yourselves—think of them as a critics' grapevine—and they're all available at villagevoice.com. A whopping 79 critics voted this year: David R. Adler, Clifford Allen, Larry Applebaum, Paul Blair, Larry Blumenfeld, Shaun Brady, Stuart Broomer, Thomas Conrad, John Corbett, Lawrence Cosentino, Francis Davis, Steve Dollar, Laurence Donohue-Greene, Ken Dryden, Steve Feeney, Sean Fitzell, Ken Franckling, Phil Freeman, David Fricke, Will Friedwald, Ted Gioia, Kurt Gottschalk, Steve Greenlee, Laurel Gross, James Hale, Ed Hazell, Don Heckman, Tad Hendrickson, Andrey Henkin, Geoffrey Himes, Eugene Holley, Lynn Horton, Tom Hull, Robert Iannapollo, Willard Jenkins, Martin Johnson, Mike Joyce, George Kanzler, Fred Kaplan, Larry Kart, Elzy Kolb, Art Lange, Suzanne Lorge, Kevin Lynch, John McDonough, Jim Macnie, Howard Mandel, Peter Margasak, Ken Micallef, Bill Milkowski, Dan Morgenstern, Russ Musto, Ivana Ng, Dan Ouellette, Ted Panken, Thierry Peremarti, Bob Porter, Doug Ramsey, Derk Richardson, Joel Roberts, Gene Seymour, Bill Shoemaker, Hank Shteamer, Slim, Michael Steinman, Jeff Stockton, W. Royal Stokes, Mark Stryker, Zan Stewart, John Szwed, Jeff Tamarkin, Neil Tesser, George Varga, Jason Weiss, Michael J. West, K. Leander Williams, Josef Woodard, Ron Wynn, and Scott Yanow.