Looking back over my list of CDs received in 2008, it's clear that it was a better-than-average year. As regular readers may recall, I set out to celebrate Anthony Braxton this year, and it turned out to be a great year for that – capped by the release of the box set of Arista recordings and Braxton's 2008 quartet set from Moscow. That worked out so well that I've decided to do the same thing with Cecil Taylor in 2009. I mined some of his catalogue this year to fill some holes in my collection, picked up some things that were recommended by colleagues, and I'm looking forward to exploring them all next year.
Personal musical highlights in 2008 include the list of great concerts already noted, of course, and my top 10 list of CDs – the definitive version of which will appear in this week's Village Voice – but also a few others. Topping the list would have to be the privilege of spending some time in the company of some masters. I'm a firm believer that you should take any chance you have to catch people like Taylor, Ornette Coleman and Wayne Shorter while they're still with us, and I was lucky enough to see all three play this year, and to spend a couple of moments expressing my thanks to Coleman and Shorter in person for all the great inspiration they've shared through their music.
So, here's to 2009. I hope you have a great musical year, and as always I look forward to hearing your reactions to the music or whatever you read here.