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Not all my time was spent "head down" developing new systems and maintaining the site. I was privileged to hear several outstanding releases in the past twelve months and have distilled my master list to a very special eighteen.
I'm always on the lookout for sleepers and this year I was rewarded in the early summer with Moacir Santos's Ouro Negro an epic 2-disc set. Those not familiar with Mr. Santos's work (I wasn't) should investigate.
Now, I don't receive every new jazz release, but I do receive enough to formulate a list of winners that I'd recommend without hesitation.
The CDs listed below represent the crème de la crème of my 2004 listening experience. I even tossed in a handful of honorable mentions for good measure.
I love jazz because it mixes intellect and emotion in a very spontaneous way.
I was first exposed to jazz by liberating a Coltrane and a Pharoah Sanders record from a friend in NYC and listening to them over and over until I got it.
My advice to new listeners is you have to take the time to listen to some jazz tunes a number of times until it starts to make sense.