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2010 was special for its sheer quality in quantity. While no one album truly ran away from the pack (as evidenced by the vast disagreements between other writers' top recording lists this year), each month seemed to produce something new and fantastic. Represented here are 15 releases, some by well-established names and some by new(ish) faces, all highly deserving of greater recognition. While I always look for a diverse array of artists, labels, instrumentation, styles, etc., the only consideration in assembling this list was great music with emotional impact. The resulting variety was only a happy coincidence.
I love jazz because anything is possible; it has few rules and the best jazz breaks those ones. I prefer free improv because it doesn't really have any rules at all.
I was first exposed to jazz in my teens (in the late sixties).
The first jazz record I bought was Filles de Kilimanjaro by Miles Davis, shortly followed by Extrapolation by John McLaughlin.
My advice to new listeners is to listen as widely as possible and not to make snap judgments--stick with it.