A reformed journalist who wisely joined our NPR affiliate in 1995, Fields takes the honor this year not because she's done something different but rather because she's been consistent -- consistently good. Her playlist spans decades but is selective and smart. No pop jazz or smooth jazz or acid jazz or faux jazz of any sort. Whether it's bebop, hard bop, postbop, cool, modern, or straight ahead, Fields has an unerring ear for quality, such as Muhal Richard Abrams, George Adams, Pepper Adams, Eric Alexander, Geri Allen, Anita Baker, Chet Baker, Kenny Barron, Gary Bartz, Cindy Blackman, Art Blakey, Carla Bley, Paul Bley, Arthur Blythe, Joanne Brackeen, Michael Brecker, Clifford Brown, Benny Carter, Betty Carter, James Carter, Cyrus Chestnut, Ornette Coleman, Steve Coleman, Alice Coltrane, John Coltrane, Chris Connor, Stanley Cowell, Tadd Dameron, Anthony Davis, Miles Davis, Jack DeJohnette, Eric Dolphy, Lou Donaldson, Kenny Dorham, Billy Eckstine, Marty Ehrlich, Duke Ellington, Kevin Eubanks, Robin Eubanks, Bill Evans, Gil Evans, Jon Faddis, Art Farmer, Ella Fitzgerald, Tommy Flannagan, Chico Freeman, Von Freeman, Curtis Fuller, Kenny Garrett, Stan Getz, Dizzy Gillespie, Dexter Gordon, Charlie Haden, Herbie Hancock, Roy Hargrove, Craig Harris, Stefon Harris, Antonio Hart, Johnny Hartman, Hampton Hawes, Coleman Hawkins, Roy Haynes, Julius Hemphill, Eddie Henderson, Joe Henderson, John Hicks, Billy Higgins, Andrew Hill, Johnny Hodges, Billie Holiday, Dave Holland, Fred Hopkins, Shirley Horn, Lena Horne, Freddie Hubbard, Bobby Hutcherson, Ahmad Jamal, Joseph Jarman, Keith Jarrett, Elvin Jones, Etta Jones, Hank Jones, Philly Joe Jones, Thad Jones, Clifford Jordan, Wynton Kelly, Stan Kenton, Lee Konitz, Oliver Lake, Harold Land, George Lewis, Charles Lloyd, Abbey Lincoln, Joe Lovano, Gloria Lynne, Christian McBride, Steve McCall, Carmen McRae, Charles Mingus, Thelonious Monk, Jason Moran, Lee Morgan, Lawrence "Butch" Morris, Gerry Mulligan, Mark Murphy, David Murray, Melton Mustafa, Oliver Nelson, James Newton, Greg Osby, Charlie Parker, Nicholas Payton, Gary Peacock, Art Pepper, Oscar Peterson, Michel Petrucciani, Chris Potter, Bud Powell, Dewey Redman, Joshua Redman, Dianne Reeves, Rufus Reid, Sam Rivers, Max Roach, Sonny Rollins, Wallace Roney, Gonzalo Rubalcaba, Roswell Rudd, George Russell, David Sanchez, Pharoah Sanders, Maria Schneider, John Scofield, Archie Shepp, Wayne Shorter, Horace Silver, Nina Simone, Jimmy Smith, Lonnie Liston Smith, Dakota Staton, Sonny Stitt, Billy Strayhorn, John Stubblefield, Sun Ra, Art Tatum, Billy Taylor, Cecil Taylor, Toots Thielemans, Leon Thomas, Henry Threadgill, Charles Tolliver, Stanley Turrentine, McCoy Tyner, Chucho Valdes, Sarah Vaughan, Cedar Walton, Dinah Washington, Ben Webster, Joe Williams, Mary Lou Williams, Tony Williams, Cassandra Wilson, Gerald Wilson, Nancy Wilson, Phil Woods, and Lester Young.

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