Saxophone player Jimmy Heath, one of many jazz artists who put out great work in 2006.
There's no sense in asking for them to agree on 2006's best jazz album: It was hard enough for WBGO hosts Gary Walker, Rhonda Hamilton and Michael Bourne to pick their top five. But they did just that, and sat down to discuss the music and what it means to them. The list they assembled was extensive: industry stalwarts who continue to produce great music, such as Jimmy Heath (who recently celebrated his 80th birthday) and his Big Band, as well as younger musicians exploring new directions in jazz, including Steven Bernstein and his Millennial Territory Orchestra. For good measure, the list includes some vocalists (including Karrin Allyson and the up-and-coming Cat Russell), and some blues, too.
New York-based NPR station WBGO has been broadcasting some of the best jazz music in the world since 1979.