Tuesday, October 27, 2009

First Cut

November approaches—a point driven home by the enormous, air-filled pumpkin on my neighbour's lawn—so it's time to look back over the 600 or so CDs that have found their way to me this past year and try to winnow them down to a short list of Top 10 candidates. To make this process easier, I highlight recordings that have struck me throughout the year. I don't keep a running total, though, so I'm never sure how many will be waiting come short list time.

What's this? Amazingly, there are exactly 10 things on the list. Not sure how that happened, but it's seems too good to be true.

Did I listen to fewer things this year? Don't think so. Fewer things to choose from? Absolutely, given the economic times, but not that many fewer.

Well, there's still some work to do, because I know Vijay Iyer's new disc is supposed to be a killer, so it will surely be in contention. The logistics of cross-border PR means that it hasn't reached me yet, though I do have a link to a download. So that's one. Another that is beckoning, as soon as I get through the current review assignments, is Keith Jarrett's Testament, which also promises great things.

Still, that's only 12. Funny, because it seemed like a good year. It's definitely a solid 10 so far; I'd put any one of them against anything in the past decade, and a couple have potential to be really memorable recordings years in the future. They definitely separated themselves from the pack, so some further analysis needed, but I'm happy that this year's list-making promises to be relatively painless.


Peter Hum said...


I roughed my list last week, as well as my "Top 10 of the last decade" list. I thought I had things sitting pretty still, but then today Doug Fischer passed me the new ones from Rez Abbasi and Stefano Bollani.

I think very highly as you know of the Vijay and Keith discs. We might overlap there....


James Hale said...

Oh, great!

I hadn't even thought about a Top 10 of the decade. I knew I was getting off too easily.

I've heard the Abbasi and have the Bollani sitting here unopened.

Okay, the work is not over yet.