In early December I usually make a year-end mix of the tunes I’ve enjoyed for distribution with a small group of friends. That circle of distribution has grown smaller over the last five or so years. Last year, I didn’t make a mix at all. I made one this year, but — for a couple of reasons — have not shared it beyond a couple of folks in town.

One reason, which probably makes a difference if you’re curious enough to go listen, is that the two mixes are almost entirely jazz or jazz-adjacent, and I know that’s to everyone’s taste. I’m not going to impose an expectation of some kind of reaction on someone who is going to feel a burden to respond. If you like jazz, great — follow the links to listen. If not, we can chat about something else.

The second reason is, as I think the music in the mix largely conveys, I feel like I have less to say than I did several years ago. It doesn’t mean I’m any less interested in the world around me — I’m thinking about it about the same amount as always — but that I am reserving comment for moments when I think it’s most important or valuable. Not everything I think needs to be a public thought, and not everything I would wish to express needs to happen through words.

Finally, before we get to the mixes: You will see a link to a public Spotify playlist following the track list. Do not follow me on Spotify. I do not regularly use the service. These may be the only playlists I share in the next eleven months — or ever.

2018 (Mix One)

  1. The Kenny Barron Quintet – Aquele Frevo Axé | Concentric Circles
  2. Emil Brandqvist Trio – Starlings | Within a Dream
  3. Snorre Kirk – Blues Overture | Beat
  4. Bombino – Adounia Idagh | Deran
  5. David Virelles – Tapame Que Tengo Frio | Igbo Alakorin (The Singer’s Grove) Vol. I & II
  6. Pablo Lapidusas International Trio – Nandri | Bora
  7. Bixiga 70 – Levante | Quebra Cabeça
  8. Thompson Egbo-Egbo – Gangsta’s Paradise | Gangsta’s Paradise – Live at The Horseshoe Tavern
  9. Orquestra Akokán – Mambo Rapidito | Orquestra Akokán
  10. Anbessa Orchestra – Gize Suite | Negestat
  11. Sons of Kemet – My Queen is Harriet Tubman | Your Queen is a Reptile
  12. Bill Frisell – Change in the Air | Music IS
  13. Pipe Dream – Summer Prayer | Pipe Dream
  14. John Prine – Summer’s End | The Tree of Forgiveness
  15. Bobo Stenson Trio – Canción Contra la Indecisión | Contra la Indecisión
  16. Tord Gustavsen Trio – The Other Side | The Other Side
  17. Mathais Eick – For My Grandmothers | Ravensburg

Note: Spotify does not have Track 5, David Virelles’ glimpse into the musical heritage of Santiago de Cuba via his beautiful rendition of “Tapame Que Tengo Frio.” Instead, I have included Kamasi Washington’s “Testify” from Heaven and Earth.

Listen on Spotify

2018 (Mix Two)

  1. Dmitry Chemierv Quintet – Ghost | Dmitry Chemierv Quintet [EP]
  2. Keith Jarrett, Gary Peacock, & Jack DeJohnette – One for Majid | After the Fall
  3. Cuong Vu 4-tet – Alive | Change in the Air
  4. Anthony Joseph – Suffering | People of the Sun
  5. Tohru Aizawa Quartet – Samba de Orfeu | Tachibana
  6. Yellowjackets – Mutuality | Raising Our Voice
  7. Daniel Erdmann, Christophe Marguet, Claude Tchamitchian, & Henri Texier – A n’importe quel prix | Three Roads Home
  8. Aaron Parks – Small Planet | Little Big
  9. Edward Simon – Uninvited Thoughts (with Afinidad & Imani Winds) | Sorrows & Triumphs
  10. Trygve Seim – Ciaccona per Embrik | Helsinki Songs
  11. Charlie Haden & Brad Mehldau – My Old Flame | Long Ago and Far Away

Listen on Spotify