Jazz: Semi-Top 10 For 2011

… I’m excited over what has been a bounty of new jazz, new playing, new thinking, not only through this year but over the past few years. Aesthetically, the music is as strong and vital as its ever been, and the music is also exploring its own history in ways that are exciting, because there’s much more to jazz than Bird, Ellington and ’60s era Blue Note. Lists aren’t the best way to handle this, but they are not terrible and the practical consideration, at least for me, is that they help me craft some, hopeful, coherence out of my usual confusion and fatigue. And so, in no particular order (except what iTunes considers alphabetical) are the 10 best 2011 jazz releases for the first half of 2011: