I missed Sonny Rollins at Carnegie Hall. Likewise John McLaughlin with his new fusion band, and the Keith Jarrett Trio in their latest New York appearance, and Branford Marsalis in his Jazz at Lincoln Center tribute to Gil Evans. I couldn’t make it to the 50th anniversary of the Monterey Jazz Festival, or to Duke University for the premiere of Jason Moran’s In My Mind: Monk at Town Hall, 1959. A critic can’t be everywhere at once.
But he can try, and try I did. Along the way I heard a wealth of stuff that bolstered my view of jazz as a robust and still-evolving art. Even with some difficult losses this year-ranging from Michael Brecker, the beloved tenor saxophonist, to Tonic, the Lower East Side club-our scene has held up, even managed to flourish. Consider the impressively self-assured debut recordings issued this year, including Kendrick Scott’s The Source (World Culture), Antonio Sanchez’s Migration (Cam Jazz), Tyshawn Sorey’s That/Not (Firehouse 12) and the self-released efforts Tintal Drumset Solo (by Dan Weiss) and Brooklyn Qawwali Party (via a band led by Brook Martinez). And those are just albums by drummers; don’t even get me started on guitarists.