Ted Gioia
The 100 Best Albums of 2015 (coming soon)...meanwhile below you
will find the honorable mention list— another 100 titles worth hearing.
And
here is a list of my 201 favorite tracks of 2015.
HONORABLE MENTION

I will soon start counting down my 100 best of the year. Meanwhile here is my Honorable Mention
list
another 100 recordings of distinction, each one worthy of your listening attention:

Rez Abbasi  Intents & Purposes  Jazz
Lee Actor  Piano Concerto Contemporary Classical Music
Kiran Ahluwalia  Sanata: Stillness Indian/Saharan/Jazz Fusion
Gabriel Alegría Afro-Peruvian Sextet  Ten Afro-Peruvian Jazz
Altan  The Widening Gyre  Irish Music Made in Nashville
Laurie Antonioli & Richie Beirach  Varuna  Jazz Vocal and Piano Duets
Sara Bareilles  What's Inside: Songs from the Waitress  Pop
Arga Bileg and Heiri Kanzig  Agula: Swiss-Mongolian Music Exchange Project  Jazz-World Music Fusion
Sonny Black  Heart and Soul  Blues
Terence Blanchard  Breathless  Jazz/R&B/Hip-Hop
Travis Bretzer  Waxing Romantic  Pop
Leon Bridges  Coming Home  Old School Soul
Andy Brown   Soloist  Solo Jazz Guitar
Canned Heat with John Lee Hooker  Carnegie Hall 1971  Previously Unreleased Live Blues-Rock Concert
Eliza Carthy & Tim Erkisen  Bottle  Traditional Anglo-American Folk Music
Bianca Caruso  Bravado  Country/Americana
Anat Cohen  Luminosa  Brazilian Jazz
Conspirare  Pablo Neruda: The Poet Sings   Choral Settings of Neruda Poems
Contact  Brian Eno: Discreet Music Minimalist Music
Shemekia Copeland  Outskirts Of Love   Blues
Kat Dahlia  My Garden Cuban-American Singer-Songwriter
Alexandre Desplat  Soundtrack to Suffragette  Film Soundtrack
Dave Douglas  Brazen Heart  Jazz
Lara Downes   A Billie Holiday Songbook  Classical Arrangements of Billie Holiday Songs
The Eagle Rock Gospel Singers  Heavenly Fire  Contemporary Gospel
Mark Egan  Direction Home  Jazz
Mathias Eick  Midwest  Jazz
Eighth Blackbird   Filament  Contemporary Classical Music
Emika  Klavirni  Contemporary Piano Music
ETHEL String Quartet  Documerica   Contemporary Chamber Music
Renée Fleming & Emerson String Quartet  Alban Berg: Lyric Suite  Modern Classical Music
Fresh Cut Orchestra  From the Vine  Jazz
Brian Gallagher  All That's Ahead   Singer-Songwriter
Gao Hong   Pipa Potluck   World Music Fusion
Claudio Curti Gialdino   Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco: Piano Music  Modern Classical Music
Judd Greenstein & Michi Wiancko  Soundtrack to The Mend  Film Soundtrack
J.J. Grey & Mofro  Ol' Glory   Soul/Rock/R&B
Laura Groves  Committed Language  Soulful Electropop
Hanoi Masters  War is a Wound, Peace is a Scar   Vietnamese Folk Music
H Hawkline  In the Pink of Condition  Pop-Rock
Heads of State  Search for Peace  Jazz
Albert 'Tootie' Heath   Philadelphia Beat  Jazz
John Hollenbeck   Songs We Like a Lot   Jazz
Indiana   No Romeo  Singer-Songwriter
Ahmad Jamal  Live in Marciac: August 5, 2014   Jazz
Anders Jormin/Lena Willemark, Karin Nakagawa   Trees of Light   Jazz
Elle King   Love Stuff  Singer-Songwriter
Petros Klampanis  Minor Dispute   Jazz
Andrzej Kosendiak  Gorczycki II  Early Polish Polyphony
Diana Krall  Wallflower  Pop-Jazz
Queen Latifah and other artists   Bessie (Music from the HBO Film)  Blues
Barrington Levy  Acousticalevy   Reggae
The Lilac Time  No Sad Songs  Folk-Pop
Martin Lubenov's Jazzta Prasta   Impressions  Balkan Jazz
Lyambiko  Muse  Jazz-Pop-Soul
Mbongwana Star   From Kinshasa  EDM/Congolese Music
JD McPherson  Let the Good Times Roll   Rock 'n' Roll
James McMurtry   Complicated Game  Country
Marcus Miller  Afrodeezia  Funk/Jazz/R&B
Josh Nelson  Exploring Mars   Jazz
Willie Nelson & Merle Haggard  Django and Jimmie  Country
Thomas Newman  Soundtrack to Bridge of Spies  Film Soundtrack
Danielle Nicole  Danielle Nicole  Blues/Rock/Roots
Jim O'Rourke  Simple Songs   Singer-Songwriter
Mike Pace and the Child Actors  Best Boy   Pop-Rock
José Luis Pastor  The Evidence: El Arte Medieval de la Péñola  Early Music
Gary Peacock  Now This   Jazz
Itzhak Perlman & Emanuel Ax  Fauré & Strauss Violin Sonatas   Classical Music
Gretchen Peters  Blackbirds   Country/Folk/Roots
Enrico Pieranunzi  Tales from the Unexpected   Jazz
Noah Preminger  Pivot: Live at the 55 Bar   Jazz
Reggie Quinerly  Invictus  Jazz
Quixosis  Aguas   Ecuadoran Electronica
Joshua Radin  Onward and Sideways  Singer-Songwriter
Enrico Rava  Wild Dance  Jazz
Terry Riley   ZOFO Plays Terry Riley  Contemporary Music for 2 Pianists (on 1 Piano)
John Roney   Preludes  Jazz Piano Arrangements of Classical Music
Ryuichi Sakamoto/Taylor Deupree/Illuha  Perpetual  Experimental Electronic Music
András Schiff  Franz Schubert  Schubert Played on Fortepiano
Seattle Symphony & Ludovic Morlot   Henri Dutilleux: Métaboles  Contemporary Classical Music
The Sixteen   Spirit, Strength & Sorrow  Contemporary Liturgical Choral Music
Snarky Puppy with the Metropole Orkest  Sylva   Jazz
Jim Snidero   Main Street   Jazz
SOAK (aka Bridie Monds-Watson) Before We Forgot How to Dream  Irish Singer-Songwriter
Bjorn Solli    Aglow: The Lyngor Project: Volume 1  Jazz
Simone Sou, Guilherme Kastrup and Benjamim Taubkin   Sounds of Life  Brazilian Jazz
Tamikrest  Taksera (Live)   Malian Folk-Pop
Otis Taylor  Hey Joe Opus Red Meat  Trance Blues
Ryan Truesdell's Gil Evans Project  Lines of Color: Live at Jazz Standard  Big Band Jazz
Donnie Trumpet & The Social Experiment  Surf  Hip-Hop
Shankar Tucker  Filament   Clarinet Music with Indian/Jazz/Electronic Fusion
Twerps   Range Anxiety  Australian Pop-Rock
Various Artists   Hommage à Eberhard Weber  Jazz
Various Artists  A Guide to the Birdsong of South America Bird Song + South American Electronica
The Vespers  Sisters and Brothers  Folk-Pop
Alex Walker/New Russia State Symphony   Havergal Brian: Symphonies 6, 28, 29, 31  Modern Classical Music
Kenny Wheeler  Songs for Quintet  Jazz
Matthew E. White  Fresh Blood  Singer-Songwriter
Brian Wilson  No Pier Pressure  Pop
Wilten Boys’ Choir (condcuted by Johannes Stecher)  Arvo Pärt: Babel  Contemporary Choral Music for Boys' Choir
Follow Ted Gioia on Twitter at
www.twitter.com/tedgioia
To purchase, click on album title
Selected articles by Ted Gioia
available on the web

The African Origins of the Love Song
The Rise of the Fragmented Novel
Why Are Music Scholars Ignoring Musical Universals?
The Adventurer's Guide to Finnegans Wake
Notes on Conceptual Fiction
Has Music Criticism Turned Into Lifestyle Reporting?
Vladimir Nabokov, Sci-Fi Writer
If John Coltrane Had Lived
The Decline of Satire
The Backlash Against Jazz
The Con Man Who Invented American Popular Music
The Bumbling Shostakovich
The Rise of Artisan Music
What We've Learned About the NSA
The 8 Memes of the Postmodern Mystery
Ted Gioia Interviews Composer Terry Riley
Why the Fuss About Jonathan Franzen?
Slaves for Love: How Bondage Shaped the Love Song
A Conversation About Jazz with Ted Gioia
The 100 Best Recordings of 2014
The 100 Best Recordings of 2013
The 100 Best Recordings of 2012
The 100 Best Recordings of 2011
The Weirdest 1960s Novel of Them All
Franco: The James Brown of Africa
How Alice Got to Wonderland
The King of Western Swing
Post Cool
The Year of Magical Reading
How to Fix Online Music
My 10 Favorite Novels on Music
A Conversation with Ted Gioia about Love Songs
The Music of the Tango
The Letter That Changed the Course of Modern Lit
Doris Lessing's The Golden Notebook
Do Blues Musicians Need to be Really, Really Old?
The Unconventional Sci-Fi of Kurt Vonnegut
Twelve Essential Tango Recordings
Alan Lomax and the FBI
Robert Musil and The Man Without Qualities
A History of Cool Jazz in 100 Tracks
Why Only Revolutions Will Not Be Televised
David Foster Wallace's Infinite Jest
The Crisis in Music (video lecture)
How Music Videos Changed Love Songs
Why Bessie Smith Matters
The New Revolt of the Masses
Apple's New Paradigm for Music
Fix-Up Artist: The Chaotic SF of A.E. van Vogt
Jazz Vocals in the New Millennium
A History of New Orleans Music in 100 Tracks
The Making of Ulysses
The Great American Novel That Wasn't
In Search of Dupree Bolton
Gulliver's Travels and the Birth of Genre Fiction
Five Essays on Novelist John Fowles
Where Did Our Revolution Go?
How Lester Young Changed the English Language
The Reinvention of the Cowboy Novel
The Many Lives of James Joyce
The Complex Gender History of the Love Song
William Gaddis's The Recognitions
5 Lessons the Music Biz Can Learn from TV
Hipsters: The New Scapegoats
B.B. King's Best Performances
The Most Mysterious Woman in Sci-Fi
12 Memorable Works of Hispanic Fiction
Thomas Pynchon's Inherent Vice
The Alt Reality Nobel Prize
The Decline of a Great Jazz Record Label
Don DeLillo's Underworld
Milton Nascimento: 12 Essential Tracks
When Science Fiction Grew Up
The Most Influential Film of the 20th Century
Donna Tartt's The Goldfinch
Jonathan Franzen's The Corrections
Curse You, Neil Armstrong!
Bill Evans: 12 Essential Tracks
Early Vintage Wynton Marsalis
Remembering Cordwainer Smith
My Favorite American Novel
Q&A with Ted Gioia
The Jazz Pianist JFK Saved
A Look Back at Martin Gardner
Robert Heinlein at One Hundred
The Fourteen Skies of Michael Chabon
Is Bird Dead?
Philip K. Dick's VALIS
Why Lester Young Matters
Vladimir Nabokov's Pale Fire
Who is Grace Kelly?
Italo Calvino's Winter's NIght
Jonathan Lethem's The Fortress of Solitude
Could Chet Baker Play Jazz?
Thomas Pynchon's Gravity's Rainbow
The Jazzy Side of Frank Zappa
Fritz Leiber at 100
Günter Grass's The Tin Drum
David Mitchell's Cloud Atlas
Harlem Jazz: 12 Essential Tracks
Mark Z. Danielweski's House of Leaves
The Postmodern Mystery: 50 Essential Works
Art Tatum at 100: 12 Essential Tracks
Fringe Guitar
J.G. Ballard's Crash
Interview with Dana and Ted Gioia
The Puzzling Case of Robert Sheckley
Robert Johnson and the Devil
Fear and Self-Loathing in Scandinavia
Herbie Hancock: 12 Essential Tracks
Remembering Drums of Passion
Keith Jarrett: 12 Essential Tracks
In Defense of The Hobbit
Brad Mehldau: 12 Essential Tracks
David Foster Wallace's The Pale King
The South Asian Tinge in Jazz
Assessing Brad Mehldau at Mid-Career
Cormac McCarthy's Blood Meridian
Can Clubs Legally Ask Musicians to Play for Free?
Jonathan Littell's The Kindly Ones
Lennie Tristano: 12 Essential Tracks
Virginia Woolf's Orlando
Why Cool is Dead
A Tribute to Richard Matheson
Denny Zeitlin on Mosaic
The Chronicles of Narnia
Tito Puente: The Complete 78s (1949-1955)
Toni Morrison's Beloved
The Tragedy of Richard Twardzik
Michael Chabon's Telegraph Avenue
The Science Fiction of Samuel Delany
Can Tarzan Survive in a Post-Colonial World?
Ian McEwan's Atonement
Can a Dictionary be a Novel?
New Details About the Young William Gaddis
Interview with Ted Gioia (on Delta Blues)
William Gaddis's JR
Roberto Bolaño's 2666
Talking to Myself About the State of Jazz
Thomas Mann's The Magic Mountain
Italo Calvino's Neglected Sci-Fi Masterpiece
Philip Roth's American Pastoral
Ken Kesey's Novel-in-a-Box
How I Learned I Was a Jazz Fan
Related Links:

My 201 Favorite Tracks of 2015
The 100 Best Albums of 2014
The 100 Best Albums of 2013
The 100 Best Albums of 2012
The 100 Best Albums of 2011


BACKGROUND  

I am often asked how I compile my
annual list of the 100 best albums.
Here is some background information.  

What styles of music do I include in
my listening?
 

I listen to all genres and all styles of
music. I like to listen to music that is
fresh and different, and this spurs me
to search outside the dominant
commercial categories and hit
releases. But I also listen to the
heavily promoted albums from the
major labels.    

How much music do I listen to?   

I like to hear new music every day.   
During 2015 I listened to more
than 1,000 new  album releases.
(The exact number was 1,016.)  

Why do I compile this list?

Like any music lover, I enjoy
sharing my favorite music with others.
But in the last few years, a different
motivation has spurred me. I believe
that the system of music discovery is
broken in the current day. There is
more music recorded than ever before,
but it is almost impossible for listeners
to find the best new recordings.  The
most creative work in music is
increasingly found on self-produced
projects and releases from small
indie labels— to an extent hardly
conceivable only a decade ago.  Very
little of this music ever shows up on
the radio, where formats seem to get
narrower and narrower with each
passing year.  Music fans once heard
good new music at indie record stores,
but most of them have closed. Or
they could read reviews in the
newspaper, but both the newspapers
and the music reviews are shrinking or
disappearing. And the big record
labels are the worst culprits of all,
picking acts for their looks or their
potential appeal to fourteen-year-olds,
or some other egregious reason, and
in general jumping on the most trivial
passing fads. On the other hand,
the Internet presents an almost
infinite amount of music and music
commentary—yet where do fans
even begin to separate the good from
the bad and ugly?  My personal solution
to this dilemma has been to listen to
lots and lots of music, and try to
identify recordings of quality and
distinction. I share my list because
I know, from past experience, that
many other listeners are frustrated
with the broken system of music
discovery, and are also looking for
good new music.  

What criteria do I apply?  

I have no axe to grind.  My list is
filled with music I enjoy, and suspect
others will too—especially if they
have a reasonably good ear, and
an open mind.  I like recordings that
show some flair and creativity, a
sense of style, solid musicianship,
and an emotional commitment to
the moment of performance. I
appreciate it when an artist
possesses a sense of musical
tradition; on the other hand, I don’t
want to see slavish imitation of the
past.  When music strikes me as
too formulaic or contrived or cold,
I start to lose interest.  Like any critic,
I want my readers to think that I am
cool and hip and oh-so-up-to-date,
but I learned some time ago that
many of the best recordings are
decidedly uncool and unhip.  So if
you want to laugh at me for honoring
a Broadway musical or country singer,
go right ahead. But also check
out some of the lesser-known titles on
the list...you might just be pleasantly
surprised by what you hear.

Happy listening!