you can find my favorite 15 albums of the year here, at the esteemed Billy Hepfinger's blog, Tenth Avenue Music.
But before you click on over, here are a few other year-end awards, commemorating everything from the worst to the weirdest of the year.
EPIC FAIL album of the year: Herbie Hancock - The Imagine Project
After pulling off the upset of all upsets during the 2008 Grammy Awards, I guess Herbie Hancock felt he was musically invincible, that even a silly idea like playing pop tunes with famous people around the world would turn into an epoch-defining album. Well, he did that, and it was just as terrible as one would think. I couldn't get through Seal and Pink singing the most ponderous version of "Imagine," well imaginable, before laughing in pain.
Honorable mention: Brad Mehldau - Highway Rider
It was ambitious, risky, and messy (which I usually like, see linked list), but it never got airborne. Mehldau is better with fewer people around him, not more.
Albums that probably would have made my list if I had actually heard them:
Steve Coleman & the Five Elements - Harvesting Semblances and Affinities
Chris Lightcap's Bigmouth - Deluxe
Geri Allen - Flying Toward the Sound
Myra Melford's Be Bread - The Whole Tree Gone
Jason Adasiewicz - Sun Rooms
Sharpest Dressed Performer - The JACK Quartet, Bang on a Can Marathon
Some very classy pastels belied the intensity of their performance of Xenakis' Tetras. I then saw one of them go into Banana Republic after the hit.
Honorable Mention - Darcy James Argue at Cafe Oto
He's upgraded from baggy jeans and dark t-shirts to a garish silver vest. Just needs to get matching ones for the band :P
Most Absurd Orchestral Moment - The opening three minutes of Marc Anthony Turnage's "Hammered Out" at the BBC Proms
He liked it and put a ring on it.
Honorable Mention - The New York Philharmonic performing Magnus Lindberg's "Kraft"
It's nice to see the notoriously crochety ensemble (they still haven't played a note of Phillip Glass!) take on a piece that requires the percussion section to go to a junkyard and then hang gongs from the ceiling.