|‘Renaissance Man’ Clark Tracey’s Quintet (personnel below) at|
Herts Jazz Festival September 2014. Photo credit: Melody McLaren
Our writers’ selection of established artists (over 35 – for artists under 35 see our other list) who have made a mark in 2014:
Julian Arguelles. Not having seen him for play for maybe ten years, I have seen Julian Arguelles play in five gigs this year, in various combinations. His quartet gig in the Edinburgh Jazz Festival is one of my highlights of the year, and his playing all round has been superb. (Patrick Hadfield)
Pete Churchill (three people wrote)
– I witnessed Pete Churchill’s work with children and young people. It was so unashamedly positive and hopeful, I thought it was so needed at a time when we push cynicism on people from such a young age. He is a musician who demonstrates exactly what jazz educators should be like.
– Over the past year Pete has been helping Jon Hendricks to realise a project stalled for 30 years, adapting Gil Evan’s band charts from Miles Ahead and travelling to New York to draw lyrics out of Hendricks and to create a vocal version of this classic album, to be performed by us in the London Vocal Project.
– Pete has inspired and aided countless young jazz musicians, both in institutions but also by example. His latest project will truly put Britain on the map as a driving force in the world of Jazz.
Chick Corea. The 3 CD recording of Chick Corea’s outstanding trio (Brian Blade/Christian McBride) made during their world tour 2012/13.One of the best “live” recordings I have ever come across –Trilogy
Jamie Cullum. As musician he’s put out a fascinating jazz album, Interlude. As an advocate for strength and depth of the UK scene he is the most effective we have, and by a mile. Having just passed 35 he’s definitely the youngest on this list.
Rachelle Ferrell. I was worried she’d have lost some of her range or power but it was all there and emotionally she held such a deep connection with the audience at Ronnie’s. It’ll stay in my memory for a long, long time.
Tim Garland.Redoubtable British reedsman Tim Garland confirmed his ever-increasing prowess as performer and composer, writing for both quintet (great personnel) and the Royal Northern Sinfonia strings in his excellent 2CD ‘Songs to the North Sky’. Also an important figure in the realisation of Phil Meadows’ recent Engines Orchestra debut release.
Hans Hassler, the German classical, folk and jazz accordionist whose latest album “Hassler” has been playing here since the day it arrived.
Noel Langley has been on the scene as a trumpeter for a quarter of a century, but this year he emerged from session work and sterling big band duty with his CD Edentide. It is a surprising, refreshing mixture of different styles that coalesce into a magnificent whole; a great recording.
John McLaughlin, who in his seventies is still showing breaking the boundaries of what the guitar can do on albums like March’s The Boston Record
Simon Purcell. His career as an educator has been parallel to one as a performer, and he has finally released an album, Red Circle, under his own name. Not so much a ‘First timer as an ‘About timer’. Other notable About Timers in 2014 were Alison Rayner, Jake McMurchie and Noel Langley.
Quercus (Huw Warren, Iain Ballamy, June Tabor) as a collective who have built upon their 2013 self-titled ECM release. Just beautiful and understated music.
Paul Rogers. I’ve gone for a bass player. Paul Rogers’ 7 string acoustic bass playing, especially with Whahay, just pips John Edwards, Barry Guy and Chris Laurence.
Ben Sidran….two excellent new records in a row – ever improving with age.
Alison Rayner. When you’ve been a highly respected, busy bassist since the 1970s, what do you do next? Now in her 60s, Alison Rayner has just released her first CD (Alison Rayner Quintet, courtesy of a Jazz Services Recording Subsidy) and is nearing the end of a 16-date tour: from funky Guest Stars-style grooves to more introspective compositions.
Keith Tippett. The pianist never fails to amaze, technically, imaginatively and conceptually – whether galvanising and steering his young octet through ‘The Nine Dances of Partick O’Gonogon’, or in non-verbal duet with Julie Tippetts , or razor-sharp with Peter Brötzmann and Steve Noble (as BNT) , riding three-horseman-like into the unpredictable (all seen at Cafe Oto) – he is always a joy to witness.
Clark Tracey, Renaissance Man. After a challenging year ending with his father, British piano legend Stan Tracey, passing away in December 2013, drummer Clark Tracey launched an impressive comeback, releasing the debut CD of the current Clark Tracey Quintet, with Harry Bolt (piano); Chris Maddock (sax), Henry Armburg Jennings (trumpet), Dan Casimir (bass)- picture above- and launching a new jazz series at Hemel Hempstead’s Cellar Club, while continuing to lead Herts Jazz Club, and Festival.
Mark Turner. The saxophonist released his first album as leader for 13 years in 2014. Lathe of Heaven was certainly worth the wait: Turner created a virtuosic, personal and moving record, a master-class in melody and control.
Jason Yarde. He impressed in many different contexts this year: with Andrew McCormack, Township Comets, The Dedication Orchestra, Denys Baptiste’s Let Freedom Ring, on record with Louis Moholo. His contributions are always apt and incisive, and often raise things to another level. (Jon Turney)
OUR FOUR 2014 YEAR -END LISTS
LIST 1 THE BEST MOMENTS OF 2014
LIST 2 JAZZ MUSICIANS OF 2014 (UNDER 35)
LIST 3 JAZZ MUSICIANS OF 2014
LIST 4: JAZZ WISHES FOR 2015