Rather than a specific person or group, the local jazz artist of the year is the vibrant Twin Cities jazz scene in its entirety. Recently, the scene has survived daunting odds, including the closing of the fabled Artists' Quarter. Nobody's getting rich, but jazz is thriving artistically here. It's a scene that's surprisingly broad and excitingly diverse, stretching from bop to big band, fusion to avant-garde, swing to pockets of trad and more esoteric stuff. It's also strikingly collaborative, with many musicians surfacing in seemingly dozens of contexts. And it's encouragingly deep, extending from nonagenarian elder statesmen like saxophonist Irv Williams to savvy vets like Debbie Duncan to up-and-comers like trumpeter Adam Meckler, right down to solid college and high school jazz education programs. There are bands seemingly on the cusp of greatness like the Atlantis Quartet as well as graduates of the local scene making their marks on a larger stage, lately including singer José James. Meanwhile, clubs like Jazz Central, Black Dog, and Icehouse have picked up some of the venue slack (and the emerging Vieux Carré shows promise), while the annual Twin Cities Jazz Festival continues to grow and evolve. Altogether, it's evidence of a quality jazz scene showing remarkable resiliency, on the rise and suggesting great things to come.