I didn't quite know what to do in the lag from the conclusion of the Season of Lists and I didn't want to play Christmas music (especially since the stream would exist throughout this week and why play Christmas music in the week after Christmas?) so I went through my personal list of favorite jazz albums and put this show together in a jiffy. This does sort of make yet another batch of blurbs a bit difficult since how much more can I really say that I haven't said already in the lists? (So I didn't.) However, it continued the holiday cheer.
The Line-Up for 23 December 2016
A quick pre-amble: jazz is so diverse that it’s near-impossible to compare and rank the "best" albums of the year (Editor's note: which is why Nextbop refers to these lists as our "favorites" as opposed to "the best", because words are important). How does one rank Julian Lage, Darcy James Argue, Takuya Kuroda, and Brad Mehldau against each other? The answer of course is that one doesn’t - you listen to what moves you, when it moves you. The broadness of the jazz genre also brings up the interesting question of what to even include in these comparisons, particularly for things that are maybe on the edge of "jazz." What makes a jazz album jazz? Solos? Extended harmony? Inclusion of a jazz standard? (What’s a jazz standard in 2016? "Teen Spirit?")
So ok, these lists are, at least at some level, irrelevant. That said, 2016 has been a bounty of music, both jazz and otherwise. There are a bunch of things that have really impressed this year and why not take the opportunity to celebrate them?
I had love and specific passion this year. I felt more detached, as many of my dispatches have noted over the last year but particularly in this week of assessment. I felt a listlessness about even completing this list, yet the need to communicate was still there. The need for completeness (in a task that can never be completed) still gnaws at me. I still had to express my voice since oddly enough some people were still wondering. I still also had to make known in list form what could probably have been surmised from week after week of Line-Up playlists. It's the Season of Lists and much like the rest of the holidays, the obligations just couldn't be ignored any longer. Also much like the holidays, once the obligation wears off, one can gleam some of the nice attributes of it all (or find someone to complain about it all with later). The holiday season and lists are all about appreciation and finding mutual complaints.
The countdown episode of The Line-Up wherein I play songs from our favorite albums of the year. It's a rather easy hour to program, which is a relief from all the preparation from the Season of Lists in the first place. This time, I'm live in the studio running through it all, which is a nice little addition to things.
The Line-Up for 16 December 2016
I couldn't come up with ten. I blame myself, living out in the woods with tenuous internet and not seeking out as I should have new sounds this year, at least not with the usual amount of diligence. I know there were things I missed, which this year's staff lists revealed to me. I was aware that I should be hip to Solange's new one. I wasn't even thinking about Thao & the Get Down Stay Down. I didn't even try to cop the new Laura Mvula and I know better than that. Still, my ears heard new sounds and found that they were good. I'll do better searching next year, though this year still served my ears pretty well. Hopefully, you agree that they can do the same for you.