Well, that's torn it completely - I've started to enjoy Jazz records.
And I don't mean the kind where Miles Davis blows cool in the 50s. And I don't mean the kind of Jazz that's been ripped apart by rock (Soft Machine) or drones (The Necks) or avant leanings (Carla Bley) or tampered with in any other way. I just mean the kind where talented, sometimes egotistical people take solos over beautifully complicated chords and melodies.
Interestingly, the ones that have brought on this brain explosion are piano trios (with some extras). I've got one other such record in my collection - Bill Evans at the Village Vanguard - that always felt rather delicious every time I put it on. (Even if the very name reeked of all things I should have abhored).
Now (via reviews in The Wire) I've heard 2 lovely releases from this year.
First off is Tord Gustavsen whose latest record, "The Ground", is just drop dead gorgeous with lots of empty space, stately chords and simple accompaniement:
mp3: Edges of Happiness
Then there's E.S.T.'s "Viaticum" which is a bit more group orientated and has a less staid nature but is still overseen by effortless piano playing.:
mp3: Tide Of Trepidation
I don't feel any great admiration or wonder for these obviously marvellous pianists. Isn't that what how you're supposed to react? Give them a huge round of applause after another lengthy solo, followed by another round of applause as the next member of the trio trakes the next solo, etc, etc, ad infinitum.
However, I do feel moved by the music they're making. Which is much more than can be said for approximately 90% of the stuff I'm hearing this year.
Or maybe I'm just getting old and I'll wind up with a 3,000 arcane live recordings of some be-bop sax player taking up space in my living room.
 I've just been told by Ian (who should know) that EST aren't really proper jazz. And, no, I suppose they're not with all their slightly trippy rhythms and long sections of deeply ambient tinkling and occassional rock elements. So that's all OK then. I can now breathe easier.