A theme for this year's list? How about "Jazz Unbound?" I initially planned on placing my picks into different categories, as I've often done in the past. But I thought better of it. The releases that caught my ear in 2015 cover the entire spectrum of possibilitywinning straight-ahead outings, audacious affairs, dynamic debuts, intimate encounters, stellar suites, extravagant aural feasts, sublime solo statements, everything else in betweenso why box them all up in separate places? I had the pleasure of covering more than one hundred and fifty albums for All About Jazz this year. Thesein no rank, order, or categoryare the two dozen that made a lasting impact:
I love jazz because it has allowed me to find my own voice.
I was first exposed to jazz as a child through my parents.
The best show I ever attended was Cassandra Wilson and Dianne Reeves. AMAZING!!!
The first jazz record I bought was Carmen Sings Monk.
My advice to new listeners is to listen with your heart and feel with your experiences.