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Best Historical Releases 2020

Monk Palo Alto 1968

Thelonious Monk's 1968 California high-school concert was one of 2020's most compelling unearthed jazz treasures.

A teenager who got Thelonious Monk to play at his high school, a British saxophonist just now getting his historical due, two 1970s independent labels run by African-American jazz artists, and a charmed city for an iconic singer are among the offerings on Night Lights' annual roundup of historical jazz releases from the past 12 months.  Here's my complete list of favorites (not all of them were able to fit into the show):

The Awakening, Hear, Sense And Feel

Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers, Just Coolin'

Brecker Brothers, Live And Unreleased

Doug Carn, Spirit Of The New Land

George Coleman, In Baltimore

Paul Desmond, Complete Toronto 1975 Recordings

Bill Evans, Live At Ronnie Scott's

Ella Fitzgerald, The Lost Berlin Tapes

Tubby Hayes, Complete Fontana Recordings

Charles Mingus, Bremen 1964 & 1975

Thelonious Monk, Palo Alto

Don Pullen/Milford Graves, The Complete Yale Concert

Sonny Rollins, Rollins In Holland

Shirley Scott, One For Me

Neal Swainson, 49th Parallel

Various artists, Spiritual Jazz V. 11: Steeplechase and Spiritual Jazz V. 12: Impulse

Barney Wilen/Tete Montoliu, Barney And Tete: Grenoble '88

Honorable mention:  Mosaic Records' Hank Mobley Complete Blue Note 1963-1970 and Woody Herman Decca, Mars and MGM Sessions 1943-1954 sets came out near the end of 2019, not in time for last year's list and technically too early for this one.  But they are both excellent, and you can hear Herman set annotator Jeff Sultanof, as well as music from the set, on this Night Lights episode:  Woody Herman's Trip To Mars

Additional suggestions from listeners and readers

Joe Castro, Passion Flower

Dexter Gordon, Montmartre 1964

Sam Rivers, Ricochet and Braids

Sun Ra, Egypt 1971

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