I received the first request for a year-end top 10 list the other day.
This always presents a challenge this time of year, because my list is far from carved in stone. I keep track of recordings that are worthy contenders throughout the year as I receive and hear them, but inevitably there are things I haven't delved into deeply enough by November to determine whether they'll bump something else off the list. For example, I haven't spent nearly enough time with three recordings I know will be contenders for my final list: the new Ornette Coleman, Dave Holland and Keith Jarrett. These are musicians whose work I savour, so I always set them aside for leisuretime listening, and that always seems to get pushed off by more pressing demands. There are also a number of things I should go through again; I know there's at least one Anthony Braxton set that I didn't pay enough attention to.
Still, there are a few things that seem like "locks" at this point. The Brian Lynch tribute to Eddie Palmieri with Phil Woods is exceptional, and is probably far enough up the list that it won't get bumped, and that's likely also the case for Andy Biskin's lovable blenderization of the Stephen Foster songbook with the great Pete McCann on guitar.
So, for some lists, like the one we post on the Jazz Journalists Association website, I'll stall until the last minute. There's just too much listening left to do.