For the final Jazz Notes column of the year I met up with writer, blogger and presenter of InterFM's "OK Jazz" show James Catchpole to talk about the year in jazz at Eddie's Lounge in Tokyo's Arakawa Ward. It's run by our mutual friend, groove organist Eddie Landsberg.

We started off chatting about some of our favorite releases of the year, and it will come as no surprise to anybody who's been following this column to learn that my pick for top album of the year is Ai Kuwabara Trio Project's April release, "The Sixth Sense."

The 22-year-old pianist's second LP featured a strong, fresh set of tunes connected by a central concept: intuition. Her passion and enthusiasm for music come through on the album, but her live shows are even more impressive, as confirmed by her performance at the Tokyo Jazz Festival in September.