Transcendent recordings don't come with a label identifying their magnificence, but they're easy to pick out. I had the honor and privilege of receiving, and listening to, more than 375 CDs for review consideration in 2012. I reviewed approximately 165 of them and these were the 15 that rose above the rest. Some are bold and others practice the art of quiet seduction, but every one of them won me over from the get go and remain close to my ears and heart (Note: these albums are not ranked in order of preference):
I was first exposed to jazz while working overseas in Africa as a Peace Corps Volunteer. I would listen to the Voice of America on the radio and they had a nightly jazz program on at 10:00pm. I learned a lot about jazz listening to this program. I also had a friend who listened to real jazz by artists like Charles Mingus, Eric Dolphy and Archie Shepp. On my way home from Africa I landed in New York and had the opportunity to see the George Adams/Don Pullen quartet at the Village Vanguard as well as Kenny Barron and Ron Carter at another club, and was in heaven.