Mark F. Turner's Best of 2014

Mark F. Turner By

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Typically, when music is labeled it gets thrown into a box that limits its artistic scope. But the four letter word "jazz" in today's environment obliterates typical categorization as found in these diverse releases.

Ambrose Akinmusire
The imagined savior is far easier to paint
(Blue Note)

In his early thirties trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire is developing his own voice as one of today's brightest and most imaginative young leaders with a recording whose music breathes multicolored flowers, shades of blue, and swings with creativity.

Brian Blade
The soft-spoken yet explosive drummer is well known as an integral member of saxophonist Wayne Shorter's quartet. Here, he reunites his long time Fellowship collective with music that travels along the roads of his hometown of Shreveport, Louisiana and emotive contemporary jazz.

Elizabeth Shepherd
(Linus Entertainment)
Thought-provoking lyrics and funky-pop driven hooks walk hand-in-hand in this enjoyable release which features the Canadian-based musician, singer and songwriter featuring Benin, West African jazz guitarist Lionel Loueke.

Enoch Lee
Finish Line
Fully realized and filled with purpose, pianist Enoch delivers a most memorable debut that reveals his ability as a writer whose charts bring the best out of some of today's most respected jazz musicians.

Eric Hofbauer
Prehistoric Jazz Volume 1: The Rite of Spring
(Creative Nation Music)
It's one thing to tackle the complexities of Igor Stravinsky's 20th century classic The Rite of Spring but quite another to interpret it so uniquely as done by Boston-based guitarist Eric Hofbauer.

Erik Truffaz / Murcof
Being Human Being
(Mundo Recordings)
French jazz trumpeter Erik Truffaz and Mexican electronica producer Murcof provide a hypnotic soundtrack to animator/filmmaker Enki Bilal's multimedia project on the fatal beauty and striking qualities of humankind.

Flying Lotus
You're Dead
Acclaimed electronica musician and producer Steven Ellison aka "Flying Lotus" is the great nephew of Alice Coltrane but has forged a named outside of his jazz roots. This inventive release is admittedly his most jazz-oriented recording that combines hip hop, and electronic music with contributions from rapper Snoop Dog to pianist Herbie Hancock in a concept album which focuses on what happens to human consciousness after death.

Jason Moran
All Rise: A Joyful Elegy for Fats Waller
(Blue Note)
One of most recognized jazz pianists of today pays tribute to 1930's icon Fats Waller and reinvents classics such as "Ain't Misbehavin'" and "Honeysuckle Rose" with fresh vigor.

Joshua Redman
Trios Live
There's nothing like the experience of live jazz but sometimes a recording can capture its essence. Documented with two different trios at two venues, this is one of the saxophonist's best releases to date.

Marko Churnchetz
Recorded in 2012, Slovenian born pianist / composer Marko Churnchetz delivers one the hottest progressive releases of the year with the help of a tight band which includes searing work from saxophonist Mark Shim. Think Vijay Iyer and Craig Taborn as Churnchetz's sheds mad skills with precision, deft form, and freedom.

Miguel Zenon
Identities Are Changeable
(Miel Music)
Saxophonist Miguel Zenon continues to excavate and illuminate his heritage, this time with jazz quartet, a stellar large ensemble, and music interspersed with spoken interviews from New Yorkers of Puerto Rican descent.

Tigran Hamasyan
Shadow Theater
Armenian folk music blended through progressive jazz, funk, and other influences, capture the imagination and talent of pianist Tigran Hamasyan.

Wadada Leo Smith
The Great Lakes Suites
Two influential and prolific avant-garde giants—trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith and saxophonist Henry Threadgill—both in their seventies, collaborate and exhaust the limits of free jazz with depth and sensitivity in this two disc set.

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