We're fortunate to experience so much new music year after year at SFJAZZ—2014 being no exception! We've compiled a list (in no particular order) of our Top 15 albums of 2014 that we've also experienced live. We posted the first five already. Below is the second. Third coming tomorrow. Again, the list isn't exhaustive—if you have any favorites from the year, comment below or give us a shout on social!
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Long-time member of the Wayne Shorter Quartet, founding member of the SFJAZZ Collective, and leader of The Fellowship Band, Brian Blade is everywhere! The Fellowship Band doubled up between Monterey Jazz Festival and SFJAZZ back in September, winning over any audience member not already hip to the project with beautiful new music off Landmarks (Blue Note), as well as pianist-cowriter Jon Cowherd's Mercy (Blue Note, Artist Share).
Who better to fill Brian Blade's seat in the SFJAZZ Collective than drummer Eric Harland? Since leaving the Collective in 2012 to focus on his own projects, Harland has established himself as a go-to collaborator, and a leading voice on all things drum. He brings Voyager to SFJAZZ in January for his first residency as a 2014-15 SFJAZZ Resident Artistic Director. Although we haven't experienced the group live yet, we can't get enough of Vipassana (GSI Records), and can't wait for the live debut!
Melissa Aldana blew up in 2014, a year after winning the 2013 Thelonious Monk Competition (for good reason!). Melissa Aldana & Crash Trio (Concord Music Group) is the young Chilean sax star's first definitive statement as an artist. The "strolling" (piano-less) trio tore it up in the Joe Henderson Lab back in September (sharing the weekend w/ Brian Blade).
Marc Ribot, Henry Grimes, and Chad Taylor pay tribute to the great Albert Ayler and John Coltrane. The trio's SFJAZZ performance back in May was pretty "out" (in a righteous way), and they definitely aren't holding back on the live recording, at one of the world's greatest jazz clubs. From the music itself, to the heavy dynamics within the trio, Live At The Village Vanguard (Pi Recordings) carries some serious weight.
Triveni also hasn't yet performed at SFJAZZ, but we're fortunate to hear trumpeter Avishai Cohen regularly with the SFJAZZ Collective. Dark Nights is something special. Triveni gets an eclectic, layered sound for a trio (plus special guests, including sister Anat Cohen). On Dark Nights (Anzic Records), Cohen takes his innovative use of electronics and effects up a notch, a sound that played a vital role in the Collective's award-winning Wonder (2012).