Jazz best lists of 2009

Chicago Trib cultural critic Julia Keller decries year-end “best of” lists for their “chilly, retrospective nature,”for  their by-definition 12-month perspectives trumping spontaneous enthusiasm, and for their reinforcement of consensus. Nonsense. Here are three opportunities to see what jazz critics are recommending as 2009’s hot recordings, and there’s some consistency, but most of the choices are highly individualistic and certainly reflect musical currents of right now — 

  • Here again are my favorites, with full explanation why, posted a month ago — and published as a simple list, with those of 18 esteemed colleagues, at the Jazz Journalists Association website . . .
  • Francis Davis tabulated 99 writers’ votes for a Village Voice poll; it’s not online yet (try Wednesday a.m.), so I’ll report them:

        Album of the Year: Vijay Iyer’s Historicity

        Reissue: Louis Armstrong’s Complete Decca Sessions 1935- ’46 (Mosaic Records)
        Vocal: Gretchen Parlato for In A Dream
        Debut: Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society, Infernal Machines 
        Latin: Miguel Zenon’s Esta Plena
  • Ted Gioia, blogging at Jazz.com, had separate “blues and roots” and “jazz” list.
And I’m sure all of us missed some good ones. But these lists are not intended to canonize works or place them beyond criticism, so much as to provoke discussion and encourage their discovery. Happy listening.

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