Christian aTunde Adjuah
From Christian Scott's ambitious double-album Christian aTunde Adjuah to Vijay Iyer Trio's triumphant Accelerando, there were plenty of landmark jazz releases to choose from in 2012. However, setting aside any academic or conceptual arguments, if there is one theme that links all of our choices on this list, it is pure listenability. Jazz shouldn't have to be a vitamin you take because it's good for you. And just because a jazz album is thoroughly enjoyable doesn't mean it won't have some deeply challenging musical notions for you to ponder. Whether it was maverick saxophonist Peter Brötzmann's fiery yet gentle 70th birthday concert Solo + Trio Roma, bassist Marcus Miller's rethinking of what contemporary smooth jazz can be on Renaissance, or Jason Palmer's loving deconstruction of soul singer Minnie Riperton's repertoire on Take a Little Trip, these albums all caught our attention and still haven't let go.

The Bad Plus - Made Possible
Tim Berne - Snakeoil
Peter Brötzmann - Solo + Trio Roma
Avishai Cohen - Triveni II
Ravi Coltrane - Spirit Fiction
Marilyn Crispell/Mark Dresser/Gerry Hemingway - Play Braxton
Meredith D'Ambrosio - By Myself
Jack DeJohnette - Sound Travels
Chano Domínguez - Flamenco Sketches
Dave Douglas Quintet - Be Still
Kenny Garrett - Seeds from the Underground
Hans Glawischnig - Jahira
Gordon Grdina's Haram - Her Eyes Illuminate
Tom Harrell - Number Five
Vijay Iyer Trio - Accelerando
Masabumi Kikuchi - Sunrise
Marcus Miller - Renaissance
Jason Palmer - Take a Little Trip: Jason Palmer Plays Minnie Riperton
Jeremy Pelt - Soul
Kurt Rosenwinkel - Star of Jupiter
Jenny Scheinman - Mischief & Mayhem
Christian Scott - Christian aTunde Adjuah
Wadada Leo Smith - Ten Freedom Summers
Steve Turre - Woody's Delight

Listen to the best tracks from our favorite Jazz albums of 2012 in this playlist: