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BEST OF / YEAR END

Phil Barnes' Favourite Albums of 2014

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The sheer volume of great records that I have managed to hear, and the knowledge that there are many more that I haven't, means that I make no pretence of presenting a list of the definitive albums of the year. Instead, this is a snapshot list of the ten records that I have enjoyed the most that were released in 2014 and which I have reviewed for All About Jazz. There are several that have just missed the cut including great records from the likes of GoGo Penguin, Paragon and Partisans. Similarly some records by Louis Sclavis and ...

BEST OF / YEAR END

Top Ten Christmas Jazz Recordings Of All-Time

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While moldy Christmas songs and great jazz seem as compatible as egg nog and Tanqueray, there have been instances where the planets have aligned to create songs that display the best of both genres. Ten instances, to be exact, and you'll find them below. Do you agree? Then post your holiday toast to my list. Don't agree? Post the all-time Christmas jazz song of your choice at the AAJ Bulletin Board. I will save a special lump of coal just for you. “The Christmas Song" by Dexter Gordon From The Panther! (Original Jazz Classics)

REDISCOVERY

Jan Garbarek Group: Wayfarer

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Jan Garbarek Group Wayfarer ECM Records 1983 Today's Rediscovery? Jan Garbarek Group's Wayfarer, the saxophonist's 1983 ECM recording with Bill Frisell, Eberhard Weber and Michael DiPasqua. I was fortunate enough to have seen this group in a small club while on a trip to Boston the same year, and I still remember it to this day. Most people seem to prefer the previous group record, Paths, Prints (ECM, 1982), with Jon Christensen in the drum chair, but Wayfarer's three wonderfully atmospheric, extended pieces--the opening “Gesture," second side opener “Pendulum" and extraordinary title track--give ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Christoph Irniger - Pilgrim: Italian Circus Story

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Young Swiss saxophonist, composer Christoph Irniger is one to watch. His blossoming stature on the European jazz scene is partly due to his invigorating and meticulous compositional approach. With this second incarnation of the Pilgrim band, he continues his methodical and climactic buildups; chock full of emotive sentiment, often formulating an incandescent standpoint, toggling between and peaceful and harrowing textures. Here, guitarist Dave Gisler generates some high heat while adding a jazz fusion dimension to these works that also skirt avant-garde style expressionism. Irniger also injects punchy rock and peppy grooves into the mix, escalated by his zinging exchanges with ...

DVD/VIDEO/FILM REVIEWS

Jeff Beck: Live in Tokyo

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Jeff Beck Live in Tokyo Eagle Vision 2014 Even though it's tempting to close the eyes and become awash in the sound Jeff Back's making with his band during Live in Tokyo, it's well-nigh impossible not to take the eyes off the guitarist for the duration of this DVD. And it's not because the eccentric guitarist hogs the spotlight--he defers to guitarist Nicholas Meier more than once-for the intro of Jim Hendrix' “Little Wing" as well as Meier's own “Yemen"-and steps aside as bassist Rhonda Smith moves forward literally and instrumentally with her thumb-picking interval ...

LIVE REVIEWS

Steve Coleman and Five Elements at SFJAZZ

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Steve Coleman and Five Elements SFJAZZ San Francisco, CA December 14, 2014 “The main thing that I consciously try to follow is things I find in nature, in universe. Basically I see the universe as sort of giant palette of forms within forms."--Steve Coleman He is a 2014 MacArthur Fellow. An alto saxophonist and bandleader who has taught at UC Berkeley. A disciple of Chicago saxophonists Von Freeman, Sonny Stitt and Bunky Green. A founder of M-Base, a movement seeking to combine non-western and contemporary musical concepts. An artist who has influenced pianist ...

GENIUS GUIDE TO JAZZ

Jingle All the Damned Way

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I'm not an unreformed Scrooge, I assure you. I do not lack for holiday spirit, even if I don't decorate the Geniusdome until it looks like a busload of drag queens crashed into a 30-foot Balsam fir. Christmas, to me, is attending Mass on Christmas Eve and then spending Christmas Day cooking a feast for my family. Christmas, to me, looks like the last 5 minutes of How the Grinch Stole Christmas (the really good animated one, not the Jim Carrey version that makes me want to go through the credits and slap everyone involved in the creation of that ...



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