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2012 was a year of stimulating music made all of the more relevant by artists who poured out their hearts and souls in diverse and compelling ways. Younger voices emerged like pianist Robert Glasper and drummer Henry Cole to deliver contemporary visions through fresh personal and cultural influences . Esteemed trumpeter/composer Wadada Leo Smith brought his monumental four-disc project to life, inspired from events centered around America's tumultuous past within the Civil Rights Movement. Another creative exploit included the convergence of modern jazz and an influential Argentine literary work in saxophonist Miguel Zenon and pianist Laurent Coq's Rayuela(Sunnyside), dedicated to novelist Julio Cortázar's work of the same name. As always, there were simply not enough hours in the day to experience so many of the year's releases. Here are a few that made lasting impressions.
Jazz is a creative explosion of individual freedom and communication.
I was first exposed to jazz when I was a kid. My father had a music store.
The best live performance I ever attended was Kenny Garrett in Harlem, New York.
The first jazz record I bought was Saxophone Colossus by Sonny Rollins.
My advice to new listeners is keep listening!