Every year, the task of picking the best releases seems to be quite an onerous assignment. This year was especially difficult because, of the four hundred or so discs I listened to, many kept resurfacing for more attention. As I write, I haven't yet spun the new (yes, new) releases by Albert Ayler (Stockholm, Berlin 1966 (Hatology)) and Evan Parker (At Somewhere There (Barnyard Records)).
What I am saying is, I certainly missed a few killer recordings and that this list of twelve notable releases is incomplete and imperfect. I did love every one of them, though, and I am certainly thankful that jazz artists continue to record and perform authentic music.
I love jazz because it's been a life's work.
I was first exposed to jazz by my father.
I met Hampton Hawes.
The best show I ever attended was Les McCann.
The first jazz record I bought was Herbie Hancock.
My advice to new listeners is to listen at a comfortable volume.