I like that we make this list every year. No, it's not as well read as our other posts. It doesn't exactly fit what we do. But I like the rounded nature of this, that there's a humor in making a jazz and non-jazz list, of the other vast majority of the market share while still including folks who are still just as independent. Many on this list are jazz musicians anyway, because we just can't help ourselves and our tastes. Here's our picks from that collective taste that we just can't help.
I've been thinking more and more about rotation lately, about the boundary that music must get through in order to find its way into my phone where I listen to everything primarily, the phone an extension of myself like these devices are for us all for better and for worse. I eschew the predatory Spotify and rather connect myself to the artist savvy enough to digitize himself and herself for those who want the possession but need the space. I think about access and presentation and ease as much as I think about the beauty of musical decisions made in the moment around forms familiar and yet to be. It all matters, and my living with the music -- having it in my life, in bike and bus rides, in my workday, playing at art gallery openings -- involves passing barriers. I know I'll be thinking about this for quite some time more as I continue on this path in music. Nevertheless, here, now, at this point of the year, I know that my rotation, flawed a system as it may be, is part of my life, as all our lives have their own respective flaws. These are the albums that made it through the gauntlet, never failed to impress, and kept me moving in my life as they went through my rotation.
We all have our favorites. We also have our need to make sense of the world. I hold to the belief that genre is important because while some can say there are only two kinds of music, good and bad, that still doesn't help describe the music much. Direction is important, so is mood. However, virtuosity rules over all. I feel like listening to many different kinds of music and sometimes my mood shifts. These were my favorites of the albums that I've played just as fervently this year as the jazz albums I've listened to, whenever the mood so suited.
We roll out favorite albums of the year this week on the site, though I'm dragging on the process some (apologies to the staff, y'all). I have my own lists done, though I've barely begun on my non-jazz write ups. However, since my list is complete, I wanted to play a show of honorable mentions, and talk up Christian Scott's show one more time.
The Line-Up for 11 December 2015
Pianist/keyboardist Jesse Fischer's latest album, Day Dreamer, is his finest yet and he's continuing to find new places to go as an artist as he works through this material. His latest work is as a good and proper music video director, putting together the video for "Refuge" featuring Sarah Elizabeth Charles on vocals (side note-- her own album, Inner Dialogue, is likely one of the best vocal albums of the year). It's still heavy on the performances as opposed to his usual live in the studio videos, but it's still a good forward move. Check it out after the jump.