Ted Gioia
The 100 Best Albums of 2011

1     William Elliott Whitmore   Field Songs   Americana / Roots Music                
2     Tinariwen   
Tassili   World music
3     Fred Hersch   Alone at the Vanguard   Jazz
4     Bon Iver   Bon Iver   Folk / pop
5     Joshua Redman   James Farm   Jazz        
6     Nico Muhly   
Seeing is Believing   Contemporary classical        
7     Ambrose Akinmusire   
When the Heart Emerges Glistening   Jazz
8     Now Ensemble   Awake   Contemporary classical                
9     Keith Jarrett  
 Rio   Jazz        
10   Gary Clark Jr.   The Bright Lights EP   Blues
11   L Konitz, B Mehldau, C Haden & P Motian   Live at Birdland   Jazz                
12   Gustavo Dudamel   
Bruckner / Sibelius / Nielsen   Classical                
13   Adam Cruz   
Milestone   Jazz                
14   Todd Reynolds   
Outerborough   Contemporary classical                
15   Pat Metheny   What's It All About   Jazz                
16   Lara Downes  
13 Ways of Looking at the Goldberg  Contemporary classical                
17   Fleet Foxes   Helplessness Blues   Folk rock                
18   James P. Johnson   
Jazz Nocturne   Classical concert jazz                
19   Andy Statman   Old Brooklyn   Americana / Roots Music                
20   Liza Ferschtman  
Julius Röntgen: The Violin Concertos   Classical                
21   Glenn Kaiser   
Cardboard Box   Blues
22   Charles Lloyd & Maria Farantouri   Athens Concert   Jazz / World Music
23   The Decemberists   The King is Dead   Indie folk rock
24   Vasily Petrenko   Shostakovich: Symphonies 6 & 12   Classical
25   Amina Alaoui   Arco Iris   World music
26   Phantasm   William Byrd: Complete Consort Music   Classical
27   Chick Corea & Stefano Bollani   Orvieto   Jazz
28   James Whitbourn   Living Voices   Contemporary classical
29   Bombino   Agadez    World music
30   Laura Marling   A Creature I Don't Know   Folk pop
31   Sonny Rollins   Road Shows, Vol. 2   Jazz        
32   Phillip Schroeder   
Passage Through a Dream   Contemporary classical        
33   Miguel Zenón   
Alma Adentro: The Puerto Rican Songbook   Latin jazz        
34   Kronos Quartet   
Uniko   Contemporary classical        
35   Kenny Brown   Can't Stay Too Long   Blues        
36   Marcin Wasilewski   
Faithful   Jazz        
37   Robert Aldridge   
Elmer Gantry   Contemporary opera        
38   Anthony Wilson   
Seasons   Jazz        
39   Eilen Jewell   
Queen of the Minor Key   Americana / Roots Music        
40   Chicago Symphony Orchestra Brass   
Live  Classical
41   John Wesley Harding   The Sound of His Own Voice   Singer-songwriter
42   Spaces   Nothing Exists but Atoms and the Void   Celestial rock
43   Tony Bennett   Duets II   Great American Songbook
44   The Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band   Peyton on Patton   Blues
45   Craig Taborn   Avenging Angel   Jazz
46   Guy Clark   Songs and Stories   Country
47   Hilary Hahn & Valentina Lisitsa   Charles Ives: Four Sonatas  Classical
48   Rudresh Mahanthappa   Samdhi   Jazz
49   Glenn Jones   The Wanting   Folk
50   Mieczysław Weinberg   Piano Works   Classical
51   Eddie Vedder   Ukulele Songs   Singer-songwriter
52   B. Mehldau, K. Hays & P.Zimmerli   Modern Music  Contemporary classical
53   Michael Giacchino   Soundtrack to Super 8   Soundtrack
54   Kevin Devine   Between the Concrete and Clouds   Indie rock
55   Jefferson Friedman   Quartets   Contemporary classical
56   Denny Zeitlin   Labyrinth   Jazz
57   Wilco   The Whole Love   Folk rock
58   The Head and the Heart   The Head and the Heart   Indie folk-pop
59   Various artists   The Lost Notebooks of Hank Williams   Country
60   Collin Vallon   Rruga   Jazz
61   The Unthanks   Last        English folk
62   Brad Mehldau   Live in Marciac   Jazz
63   Fabrice Ravel-Chapuis   En Danger   Contemporary classical
64   Radiohead   The King of Limbs   Rock
65   The Civil Wars   Barton Hollow   Indie folk
66   James Carter   Caribbean Rhapsody   Jazz
67   Wye Oak   Civilian   Indie folk rock        
68   Enrico Rava   
Tribe   Jazz        
69   Chris Dingman   
Waking Dreams   Jazz        
70   Simone Dinnerstein   
Bach: A Strange Beauty   Classical        
71   Becca Stevens   
Weightless   Jazz-inflected folk music        
72   Anonymous 4   Secret Voices   Early music        
73   Gretchen Parlato   The Lost and Found   Jazz        
74   Moreland & Arbuckle   
Just a Dream   Electric blues        
75   Bobby Long   
A Winter Tale   Singer-songwriter
76   Joe Lovano   Bird Songs   Jazz
77   Thomas Dybdahl   Songs   Norwegian singer-songwriter
78   Dave Alvin   Eleven Eleven   Blues Rock
79   Gerald Wilson   Legacy        Jazz
80   Dario Marianelli   Soundtrack to Jane Eyre   Soundtrack
81   JD Allen   Victory   Jazz
82   Vince Gill   Guitar Slinger   Country
83   Bobby Sanabria   Tito Puente Masterworks Live!   Latin jazz
84   Julian Lage   Gladwell   Jazz
85   George Strait   Here for a Good Time   Country
86   Joss Stone   LP1   R&B/Soul
87   Memory Tapes   Player Piano   Ambient
88   Jeremy Pelt   The Talented Mr. Pelt   Jazz
89   Mary Flower   Misery Loves Company   Blues
90   Striggio   Mass in 40 Parts   Classical
91   Adele   21   Singer-songwriter
92   Blue Highway   Sounds of Home   Bluegrass
93   Ben Allison   Action-Refraction   Jazz
94   St. Vincent   Strange Mercy   Indie rock
95   Thomas Dolby   A Map of the Floating City   Singer-songwriter
96   Lady Antebellum   Own the Night   Country pop
97   Mathias Eick   Skala   Jazz
98   Volosi and Lasoni   Wołosi i Lasoniowie   World Music
99   Steve Mackey & So Percussion   It Is Time   Contemporary classical
100 Gary Burton   Common Ground   Jazz
The 100 Best Albums of 2011

I try to listen to new music every day, and have made this a part of my daily routine for many years.  I'm not
sure how many new CDs I heard during the course of 2011, but on some days I listen to four or more
albums in their entirety, and a typical week will find me checking out 15-20 new releases.  As the list below
makes clear, I tend to range widely over various styles and genres.  

I am impressed by how much outstanding music is recorded nowadays, but I am equally struck by how well
hidden it is.   More than at any time in my life, the best music is hard to find.  You will almost never hear it
on the radio, and increasingly it is not even on the radar screens of the major labels.  The record stores,
where fans once learned about important new releases, have mostly gone out of business.  Even as music
becomes more omnipresent and accessible, new barriers prevent listeners from hearing the most talented
and creative artists.  

For this reason, I am sharing a more complete listing of my favorite albums this year.  In a world in which
the best music is hidden from view, personal recommendation and word-of-mouth become the main
gateways for discovering exciting new sounds.  I present this large list as a guide to those who are looking
for inspiring, intelligent and mind-expanding music, and want some guidance from someone who sifts
through the many new releases looking for the cream of the crop.

Below are my selections for the 100 best CDs of 2011.  I encourage you to check out some artists that you
haven't heard before.  And if you hear something you like, spread the word.

                                                                                                                                                Ted Gioia
Honorable Mention

Florencio Asenjo   
The Batrachomyomachia   Contemporary classical        
Rory Block   Shake ' Em on Down   Blues          
Ron Carter   Ron Carter's Great Big Band   Jazz      
Gerald Clayton   Bond: The Paris Sessions   Jazz    
François Couturier   Tarkovsky Quartet   Jazz            
The Creole Choir of Cuba  Tande-La   World music                          
Kurt Elling   The Gate   Jazz     
Paul Geremia   Love My Stuff   Blues     
Stefon Harris   Ninety Miles   Jazz            
Joel Harrison   The Music of Paul Motian   Jazz  
itsnotyouitsme   Everybody's Pain is Magnificent   Electronica-Ambient                            
Ben Johnston   String Quartets 1, 5 & 10   Contemporary classical                
Robert Earl Keen   Ready for Confetti   Country   
Alison Kraus and Union Station   Paper Airplane   Bluegrass / pop      
Shelby Lynne   Revelation Road   Singer-songwriter      
Donny McCaslin   Perpetual Motion   Jazz              
Mike Patton   The Solitude of Prime Numbers   Soundtrack                
Austin Peralta   Endless Planets   Jazz                
Robert Quinney   Bach: Trio Sonatas for Organ   Classical               
Erwin Schrott   Rojotango   Classically-tinged world music      
Pedro Soler & Gaspar Claus   Barlande   World music                
Smith Westerns   Dye it Blonde   Indie Rock    
Various Artists   Miles Español: New Sketches of Spain   Latin jazz           
Tom Waits   Bad as Me   Singer-songwriter   
Warrior King   Tell Me How Me Sound   Reggae                                   
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