Befitting the time of year we presently find ourselves mired in, NPR's A Blog Supreme has come out with its Top 10 Jazz Albums of 2012. Notwithstanding my pessimism about the very tenability of such lists, which I maintain, I nonetheless feel compelled to peek through my fingers as I cover my face with my hands. I listened to most of the music and wasn't really horrified by any of it which I heard, definitely a win. (The Don Cherry cover was mildly horrifying aesthetically, but not, I suppose, wholly inconsistent with his own thinking.) If you're looking for an endorsement, I'm afraid that's as close as I can get: professional obligation and morbid curiosity
Why such morbidity, the cultural relativists in the room demand to know? Going back to school has cut somewhat into my internet trolling time, but the time I have been able to spend over the last year or so has more often than not turned up artifacts which I do find truly horrifying, so much so in some cases that it is not their categorization as jazz or the clear outpacing of talent by promotion but, in fact, their mere existence which I find most troubling. One reason among many, I suppose, that it would be easier to delve deeper into the work that already exists than to actively seek out new things; a recent conversation here at school reminds me, though, that there are still people in the world (musicians, in fact) who claim to have exhausted all the music they are aware of, new or old, and need to find more just to have something to listen to. That seems impossible to me, but perhaps that's because I've done more canvassing than studying to this point in my life, and thus the realm of canvassed music comes to seem inexhaustible even as I truly know very little about it. There's no excuse, really, for not knowing something about what's going on now, and also, I think, grave consequences of a few different varieties for becoming truly out of touch with the Zeitgeist, even if you consider yourself a dissident; but since there's just so much stuff, filters become necessary evils in the equation, and because I so deeply distrust herd mentality (we call it other, cheerier things now, like "social media"), I try to source from a wide variety of them, and blogging, say what you want, is often helpful in this regard. I promise my participation at least one month out of the year.