I'm always a bit hesitant to draw a line on new releases midway through November, but since I've just submitted my first list to a publication – AllAboutJazz Los Angeles – I can't delay posting here any longer.
Even as I post I've just listened to Ben Ratliff's intriguing audio review of the new Rudresh Mahanthappa CD, which I don't have yet, and I have a new Alex Cline sitting on my desk that looks very promising.
So, with the proviso that this may still change...
1. Mary Halvorson Trio – Dragon’s Head (Firehouse 12)
2. Anthony Braxton – Quartet (Moscow) 2008 (Leo)
3. Donny McCaslin Trio – Recommended Tools (Greenleaf)
4. Vijay Iyer – Tragicomic (Sunnyside)
5. Bennie Maupin Quartet – Early Reflections (Cryptogramophone)
6. Anthony Braxton – Trio (Victoriaville) 2007 (Victo)
7. Manuel Mengis Gruppe 6 – The Pond (hatOLOGY)
8. Jane Ira Bloom – Mental Weather (Outline)
9. Charles Lloyd Quartet – Rabo De Nube (ECM)
10. Wadada Leo Smith’s Golden Quartet – Tabligh (Cuneiform)
Two Braxtons? I easily could've stretched it to three by including the big band set that Victo released this year, and of course there's the entire Arista reissue set to consider if one includes historical recordings in the top 10, but that's it for now.
All in all, a very good year. Lots of other things that could've/should've made the list, but I tried to stick to my approach of "nominating" things as I heard them and not re-thinking the decisions.
[UPDATE 20.11.08: Well, my instincts about the Alex Cline recording were right; it's killing, and jumps onto the list around the #7 spot.]