Looking through the many albums reviewed on Marlbank this year the main categories you could sub-divide everything into fall under these rough style headers: 1 chamber jazz 2 bop & hard bop 3 mainstream-swing (sometimes including jazz-vocals) 4 big-band 5 free-jazz/avant 6 post-bop & Cool including New Cool 7 jazz-rock/funk and 8 futurejazz-electronica including Nordic experimental

Big-band has had a good year with far more quality albums reviewed than in recent years, Manchester’s Beats & Pieces prominent, veterans Loose Tubes firing on all cylinders and Colin Towns back touring and terrific on Drama. Swing big bands too also made their mark at the Proms.

One of the generally positive things happening is the splintering, the hybrid forms that continue to develop making jazz that bit more uncategorisable, even if some of these seem a little arcane for now. Even chamber jazz which on the face of it is quite easy to pinpoint (eg an acoustic often small group style drawing on both improvised music and classical traditions) can be elusive, huge in terms of musical terrain drawing on different inspirations modern or ancient including the globally conscious and spiritual.

Billie Holiday, above, the centenary of whose birth was marked this year by new tributes and compilations