Tommy Smith Quartet: The Quartet released an outstanding tribute to John Coltrane during the year, Embodying the Light, and played a hugely exciting concert in the Edinburgh Jazz Festival. Backed by Calum Gourlay, Pete Johnstone and Sebastiaan de Krom, Smith’s playing is reaching new heights. Superb! (Patrick Hadfield)

Jason Yarde: This and every year. (Alan Hayward)

Stefano Amerio: The unseen musician in the room, the engineer of Artesuono Studio, Udine, Italy for beautiful sound and undoubted inspiration to all involved on the Julian Costello Quartet’s Transitions and on Maciek Pysz’s and Daniele di Bonaventura’s Coming Home. (Mary James)

Rob Luft: A young guitarist who has contributed so much in recent years to fellow musicians’ gigs and albums finally, at the ripe old age of 23, released his own: Riser is exciting and different, and shows why he is so much in demand. (Peter Jones)

Alice Zawadzki: I think she’s fabulous (Barb Jungr)

Thelonious Monk and Mike Gibbs: two birthday boys of 2017 (combined age of 180 years), continuous inspiration. (Hans Koller)

Binker and Moses: London sax/drums duo, for both their terrific double CD Journey To The Mountain Of Forever, and their sustained creativity over a full 90 minutes of duo performance at the Edinburgh Jazz Festival in July. (Mark McKergow)

Rob Luft – two nominations
Publicity picture
Big Bad Wolf: Debut Pond Life was a real boxer’s uppercut of an album and the band’s Rob Luft the Mohammed Ali of jazz guitar, floating like a butterfly and stinging with his impressive soloing. (Rob Mallows)

Skeltr: For sheer energy and pace, Sam Healey and Craig Hanson’s intense new duo is gathering momentum fast. A  fairground ride for the soul. (Steve Mead)

Vein Trio: The Swiss trio brought Spring delight with their inviting, original music in The Chamber Music Effect, only to follow it in the autumn with remarkably intelligent and successful interpretations of Maurice Ravel’s output in Vein Plays Ravel (UK saxophonist Andy Sheppard guesting). I can’t recommend highly enough this longtime collaboration between pianist Michael Arbenz, bassist Thomas Lähns and drummer Florian Arbenz for such astonishing attention to detail and sheer dedication to art. (Adrian Pallant)

Jihad Darwish: For bravely reclaiming his own name despite obvious reasons many wouldn’t, and in a period which I think reflects this honesty, bringing to conclusion an utterly honest, original, and impressive album of his own work, due for release in 2018. On the bandstand always digging in and asking the best of himself and most importantly encouraging it from those on stage with him. (Robin Phillips)

Petter Eldh (Michael Rüsenberg, Köln, jazzcity.de)

Dave Holland: I love the fact that Dave who lives over there is so frequently over here and is making such a big difference. I couldn’t get to what sounds like his big UK gig of the year as the focal point of the Ambleside Days Festival (Mike Collins wrote it up for his own site) but I did get to the NYJC gala. A new album with Evan Parker? Bring it on! (Sebastian Scotney)

Jasper Høiby: For bass playing that lit up three great bands I heard live this year – Phronesis, Fellow Creatures, and Malija (twice). Each in their way is an absolute gem. (Jon Turney)

Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society: In 2016, the band whose work best anticipated the poisonous double-think and fake fake news of the new world order was Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society. Now it’s nearly 2018, and the 45th president, against all common sense, is still in the White House. When it’s all over, Argue’s Real Enemies will evoke the mood of the current madness as vividly as a newspaper home page. (My review of Real Enemies from 7 Nov 2016) (John L Walters)

Burton Greene at Cafe Oto
Drawing by Geoff Winston (© 2017. All Rights Reserved.)

Burton Greene: I’ll spotlight the pianist who accompanied Patty Waters at a great gig at Cafe Oto. One of the best pianists I’ve heard playing live, he’s not well known here. Based in Amsterdam for many years (via Chicago and New York), his versatility, invention and sharpness bring to mind the palettes of Cecil Taylor, Monk and Keith Tippett. He just made that piano sing! His double CD recorded live in Amsterdam in 2016-17 is titled Compendium. (Geoff Winston)