At long last, it's the show featuring the Nextbop/Art of Cool staff's favorite albums of the year. After a month of planning and a solid week of writing and posting, there's not much more than can be said about the picks for this week's show that our staff lists haven't already said, so I'll let the music and our work speak for itself.
The Line-Up for 20 December 2013
As we reach the end of another season of year-end lists, I still find it just as difficult to find some thread to move through this year as when I started this endeavor some weeks ago. Yes, there is a boldness in these albums, in the works that have been created this year. There have been folks like Ben Allison or Darryl Reeves who made inspiring work and produced & released it independently. There are artists like Wayne Shorter and Terence Blanchard who are continuing to push forward in their careers re-inspired by the record label business once more. Some artists continued to swing and others made lofty, difficult, rewarding art pieces. Yet as long as these artist made work that is true to themselves and connect to an audience in an awe-inspiring way, it's not hard to see how success can grow from there. I find it hard to say whether or not it's been a good year for music in any given year because looking for the best of music is what my job is all about. These folks at the top of our staff list have made my job pretty easy.
I spent quite a while looking through our staff list to find some sort of theme for the music we liked this year, but try as I might, there was nothing I could say. There was no overarching, coalessing word I could lasso around these albums other than what we could probably say about the rest of the albums we're discussing this week, or this time of year, or what we hope to do on this site other than "excellent".
The Everything Else lists don't get nearly as much web traffic as our jazz lists do. Of course, this makes sense-- this is a jazz and fringe jazz website. People visit this site to learn about what's going on in this specific genre. Talking about music that doesn't fit in this genre is a move outside of the format and purview of Nextbop, and eventually of The Art of Cool Project as well. However, we continue with this look at all the other kinds of music we love because we as a staff have tastes broader than jazz and many of the musicians and folks we love and follow have tastes broader than this one genre as well. We are large, we contain multitudes, and occasionally we take those multitudes and put them together in list format.
This week's show is all selections from my favorite jazz albums of 2013. I'm not sure what more I could say on top of the legions of lists I spent the last week writing (before this week of even more lists and this Friday's show reflecting said lists of the whole staff), but I'm going to try. Otherwise, here is a one hour radio version of the personal list of favorites I put together last week.
The Line-Up for 13 December 2013