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BEST OF / YEAR END

John Kelman's Best Releases of 2014

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2014 was another challenging year, with a personal health matter that began in early summer (thankfully finally diagnosed, non-life threatening and now being treated, though still waiting for signs of improvement) slowing down both travel and the usual breakneck writing in a significant way. Since the rule of this list is that any titles on it must have been reviewed, there are many releases that deserved consideration but are exempt because there was insufficient time to review them. So, bearing that in mind, here are just a few of the top recorded events in jazz and beyond for ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Levin Brothers: Levin Brothers

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He may have ultimately become best-known in the progressive rock world for his ongoing work with King Crimson, Peter Gabriel, Stick Men and the Crimson ProjeKct, but 68 year-old bassist and stick player Tony Levin has no shortage of jazz credentials, playing with everyone from Gary Burton and Mike Mainieri to Chuck Mangione and Buddy Rich from the late '60s through the early '70s. Classically trained like his younger sibling, brother Pete has stayed more decidedly in the jazz world for most of his career, recording with everyone from Gil Evans and David Sanborn to Jimmy Giuffre and John Scofield ...

MULTIPLE REVIEWS

Led Zeppelin Remastered: The Second Batch (IV & Houses of the Holy)

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I, II, III | IV, Houses of the Holy Following the 1-2-3 punch of its first three albums--first released between January 1969 and October 1970 and reissued in June, 2014 as the first batch of a year-long series of overdue (and expanded) remasters of its entire nine-album catalog--Led Zeppelin continued on an upward trajectory, touring extensively and beginning to introduce songs that would ultimately appear on the British rock band's fourth album, one that bucked all marketing conventions and contained neither the name of the band nor the name of the album beyond a series of symbols, ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Keith Jarrett/Charlie Haden/Paul Motian: Hamburg '72

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With Sleeper: Tokyo, April 16, 1979 (2012) and Magico: Carta de Amor (2012), ECM Records began digging into its archives, unearthing two live recordings that revealed even more about a collection of artists whose reputations were already plenty secure as some of the label's most important from its early years--in the first case, pianist Keith Jarrett's Scandinavian-centric “Belonging Quartet," with saxophonist Jan Garbarek, bassist Palle Danielsson and drummer Jon Christensen; in the second, the Transatlantic trio of Norway's Garbarek, Brazilian pianist/guitarist Egberto Gismonti and American bassist Charlie Haden. Hamburg '72 is another significant find: a live recording that, unlike Sleeper ...

LIVE REVIEWS

Pat Metheny Unity Group at Centrepointe Theatre

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Pat Metheny Unity Group Centrepointe Theatre Ottawa, Canada November 12, 2014 “Every time we're planning a tour," he said to the near-sellout crowd at Ottawa, Canada's Centrepointe Theatre, “I always ask 'are we going to play Ottawa?' You think I'm joking..." It's not often that the opportunity arises to catch a group near the beginning and end of a year-long world tour but, after seeing guitarist Pat Metheny's Unity Group at Stavanger, Norway's Mai Jazz Festival in early May, 2014, a second opportunity arose to catch the group's tour in support of Kin ...

THE BIG QUESTION

Is it OK for artists to pay writers for reviews?

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When did it become acceptable or common practice for artists to pay for an album review? Recently, All About Jazz writers have been asked by artists--and with increasing regularity--if they would write an album review for pay. We have also encountered writers actively soliciting musicians to pay for reviews... and we think that's wrong. All About Jazz has a strict conflict of interest policy: those paid in any capacity surrounding a release--liner notes, press sheets, biographies or photos--are automatically precluded from reviewing that recording at AAJ. The same policy also precludes artists from paying contributors to ...

MULTIPLE REVIEWS

Robert Fripp: Across Four Decades with Brian Eno and Theo Travis

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In a professional career now approaching 50 years, guitarist Robert Fripp may be at his most visible when he's finding that “way of doing things" that necessitates the return of his flagship King Crimson--its recently revived and revitalized seven-piece, three-drummer lineup completing its 20-date American debut tour in early October 2014, including two exhilarating nights at San Francisco's Warfield Theatre. It was so successful--and, perhaps most importantly, so enjoyable--for the 68 year-old co-founder of the group that shook the world 45 years ago with the release of In the Court of the Crimson King (DGM Live, 1969) that talks are ...



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