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 and second five already. Below is the third... Again, the list isn't exhaustive—if you have any favorites from the year, let us know!
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For those who got down at Jason Moran's Fat's Waller Dance Party (remember that Fats mask?) back in 2013 during his first residency as a SFJAZZ Resident Artistic Director, All Rise (Blue Note) is the record! Moran, who has bridged jazz with skateboarding, comedy, hip-hop and classical music, brings the spirit of Fats Waller—the consummate entertainer and stride-pianist—to modern jazz.
Trios Live (Nonesuch) differs from many previous Joshua Redman releases. The accomplished saxophonist, Berkeley-native, and co-founder of the SFJAZZ Collective sounds freer than ever before playing live with his new piano-less trio. It was a homecoming when Redman finally took the SFJAZZ Center stage leading his own group this past October.
Since winning both the Thelonious Monk and Carmine Caruso Competitions in 2007, trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire has blossomed into one of the most compelling new jazz artists and instrumentalists on the scene. A native of Oakland, Akinmusire performed at the San Francisco Jazz Festival as far back as 1999. In his sophomore Blue Note release, the imagined savior is far easier to paint, Akinmusire expands on his Quintet's unique sound and chemistry, weaving in strings and vocals.
For those familiar with Miguel Zenón, this album title should sound familiar. As a 2013-14 SFJAZZ Resident Artistic Director, Zenón explored Latin American identity and consciousness in different musical contexts. Identities are Changeable (self-released) shifts the focus to the Puerto Rican community in New York, how identity changes, and stays the same in a new environment. Easily one of Zenón's most ambitious projects to date, Identities brings together an all-star big band (writing reminiscent of some of Zenón's larger works for the SFJAZZ Collective), as well as recorded interviews.
Yes, we admit to a bias, but SFJAZZ Collective: 10 switches things up for our all-star octet. Over the past 10+ years, many of the leading voices in jazz (several included in this Top 15) have contributed to what has become a robust SFJAZZ Collective Book. 10 features the hits—hip arrangements of jazz greats plus originals by members past and current—all performed live by today's Collective.