Best of / Year End


Jakob Baekgaard's Best Releases of 2014

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2014 proved to be another fruitful year for jazz. The artists on this list represent many different musical directions, but that is the wonder of jazz. It is so many things and the world would indeed be poorer if the idiom was restricted to one particular sound. These artists all have a fresh approach to the music, but, at the same time, they respect tradition. Argentinian pianists Francisco Lo Vuolo and Paula Shocron know the language of the standards and even Danish saxophonist Lars Greve's enchanting dialogues with nature has its predecessor on saxophonist Peter Brötzmann's and drummer Han Benninks ...


John Kelman's Best Live Shows of 2014

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Less travel in 2014, due to an unexpected health problem, meant fewer shows than seen in the past half dozen years, but there was still plenty from which to choose for this 2014 list of some of the best live music heard from Montreal to Tallinn, San Francisco to Stavanger and, of course, at home in Ottawa, Canada--where, in addition to another outstanding year for the TD Ottawa Jazz Festival, some off-season programming also brought some outstanding music from the harshest cold of the winter to the latter part of a particularly beautiful fall. In chronological sequence, here are 20 ...


Dan Bilawsky's Best Releases of 2014

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How does an album end up on this list? It really comes down to two things: strength on impact and staying power. Some records hit hard from the start, ultimately losing power with play after play. Other records come on gently, growing on the ear and the mind over time. But it's the truly rare one that manages to draw you in immediately and retain its power over time. I had the absolute pleasure of reviewing nearly two hundred albums for All About Jazz in 2014. These were the two dozen among them that hooked me from the start and ...


Bruce Lindsay's Favorite Albums Of 2014

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Christmas Comes But Once A Year, And When It Does It Brings... Lists. Lots of lists. Here's another. A quick glance at this particular list makes it clear that this has been, for me, a singers' year. Let me make it clear from the off--this isn't my list of the best vocal albums I've heard this year, it's my list of the best albums. Half of these recordings have a singer's name on the cover, most of the rest feature vocalists on the majority of their tracks--even the mainly instrumental album by The Puppeteers includes a bit of ...


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 ...


Troy Collins' Best Releases of 2014

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Considering the quantity of recordings released in a year's time, attempting to compile an end of the year list mentioning every first-rate session would be difficult at best. The ten titles included below are among the most exceptional new jazz albums I've heard in 2014. Kyle Bruckmann's Wrack ...Awaits Silent Tristero's Empire (Singlespeed Music) Oboist Kyle Bruckmann based this pan-stylistic “musical phantasmagoria" on Thomas Pynchon's early novels, juxtaposing genres with a mercurial glee that parallels the author's referential literary gamesmanship. Bruckmann has demonstrated a penchant for stylistic diversity before, but never with the ...


Kurt Gottschalk's Top 12 for 2014

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A dozen of my top picks and in no particular order. <br /><br />Dave Burrell & Steve Swell Turning Point No Business Neneh Cherry & FourTet Blank Project Smalltown Supersound Gato Libre Dudu Libra JazzWerkstatt Wien New Ensemble Sympathikus-Parasympathikus JazzWerkstatt Ju Sei and Utah Kawasaki U is for Utah ftarri / meenna David Krakauer The Big Picture Table Pounding Records Potsa Lotsa ...

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