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2009: The Year Of Living Improvisationally

This was a good year for discovering jazz. WBGO celebrated its 30th anniversary. My show, The Checkout, launched in April. A Blog Supreme followed suit. We rocked coverage of the 55th Newport Jazz Festival. Our series, Live at the Village Vanguard, is hitting its stride as a multimedia experience from New York's greatest listening space — now online. More and more, at least in public media, it's never been easier to seek out new experiences in jazz.

With many hundreds of new recordings each year, jazz maintains a lot of biodiversity in its tiny ecosystem. Chances are, it's got something for everyone, but finding the right fit is like searching for an ant in the jungle; it's never an easy quest, but when it happens, you'll likely find an entire colony. Here are the 10 finest jazz records of 2009.

Click here for more entries in our Best Music of 2009 series.

Copyright 2009 WBGO

Josh Jackson is the associate general manager for programming and content at WRTI.