In spite of the perception of jazz as an increasingly niche market, the year's best show a style of music that remains ever youthful in its exploration of new territories, expanding its diversity and range of expression.
When the Levees Broke, elegant and anguished, encourages you to see, and more importantly, to care about and act on what you see. It is political in the most significant sense, and won't let you forget it.
Another former 'Young Lion' on trumpet nods toward Bitches Brew in his middle age. But the sound is as much Metheny as it is Miles, despite Herbie Hancock being the producer. Through it all, however, Blanchard plays singingly.