It was another productive year for "Team AAJ" as we delivered some new features and upgraded several others across the website. We also beefed up our editorial staff to better manage the increasing number of contributors.
The programming staff (Mike Lorenz and myself) continued to build on our foundation that has firmly established AAJ as the nexus for jazz online. And the esprit de corps is stronger than ever as we forge ahead in 2009.
Last year's accomplishments ranged from subtle refinements to dramatic improvements and our impressive spike in traffic has kept us inspired and focused. Musicians have also encouraged us with their praise and suggestions. Thanks everyone!
2009 is already proving to be another exciting year. We're developing a new photo gallery, we're working on a streaming audio solution (so musicians can showcase their music), we're building a gathering place for students, and we're reviewing how best to deliver video.
Back to 2008 and the music.
I heard somewhere (NPR?) that 2008 wasn't a very good year for jazz music. That person and I are obviously not on the same service lists, as I was exposed to consistently strong efforts every day. From the thousands of CDs that arrived at AAJ HQ, here are some that received the most ear play. I highlighted some specific releases from Sunnyside Records as well as some standout vocal releases.
I was first exposed to jazz when I was tiny. My earliest memory is watching Ella Fitzgerald scat on a Christmas special when I was no older than four. Like many who are from tiny towns, my first extended exposure was listening to the high school jazz band when I was a kid
I was first exposed to jazz when I was tiny. My earliest memory is watching Ella Fitzgerald scat on a Christmas special when I was no older than four. Like many who are from tiny towns, my first extended exposure was listening to the high school jazz band when I was a kid. For some reason I remember an arrangement of Hey Jude they did. My first real exposure was Stan Kenton in the Smithville, MO high school gym. Kenton and the band director there were old friends, so he would play there from time to time. My dad took me without telling me where we were going and it was the only show he ever took me to. I remember that Bobby Shew played Send In Clowns and I damn near levitated I was so excited. The huge sound and amazing chords floored me. I believe I was 13 at the time. I immediately started practicing and taking lessons. Music became a passion and nearly a career. I also listened to Dick Wright's Jazz Show on KANU every night. I can't even start to explain what I learned lying in bed listening to Dick talk about jazz. I met him once when I was struggling to put together a solo for Joy Spring playing in a combo at KU. Stopped by his office and asked for recommendations. He showed up at my jazz ensemble rehearsal the next day with a tape with example solos. What a kind man Dick Wright was.
My advice to new listeners is to stop worrying about what music is important and focus on music you like. I spent quite a bit of my music life listening to important music I didn't necessarily like. Must say I have quite a bit more fun now listening to music that I deeply enjoy. Some of it is even important.
Login to your All About Jazz member account to submit articles and press releases, upload images, edit musician profiles, add events and business listings, communicate with other members via personal messages, submit inqueries or contribute any content.