Jazz 100
The Best of 2014
The Best Jazz Ever Released Digitally


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III
BadBadNotGood
2014 [Innovative Leisure]


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Toronto-based outfit that cut their teeth posting instrumental jazz covers of cutting-edge hip-hop songs. Consisting of Matthew Tavares (keyboards, synths), Chester Hansen (bass), and Alexander Sowinski (drums) - these guys are all genuinely talented jazz musicians capable of producing highly original and incisively inventive electronic grooves.





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Enter
Fire! Orchestra
2014 [Rune Grammofon]


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Saxophonist Mats Gustafsson, bassist Johan Berthling, and drummer Andreas Werliin are at the forefront of improvisational big-band Nordic jazz. In fact, they probably qualify as the whole sub-genre. AllMusic critic James Pearce dubbed it, "...a complex and magical record with many twists and turns." Jazz 100 wholeheartedly agrees.





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Injuries
Angles 9
2014 [Clean Feed]


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Swedish saxophonist and composer Martin Küchen's 'Angels 9' outfit plays free jazz like they mean it. Antonio Poscic of 'The Free Jazz Collective' website notes the album's "contemplative and spiritual thread" and calls it, "…big band music that frames grand and expansive moments within minimalist and quite improvisational borders."





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The Imagined Savior…
Ambrose Akinmusire
2014 [Blue Note]


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Post-bop trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire expands his roadshow quintet to add guitarist Charles Altura, the OSSO String Quartet, and vocalists Becca Stevens, Theo Bleckmann, and Cold Specks. AllMusic's Thom Jurek asserts that while the album may be moody and multi-directional, "…this set's achievement is commensurate with its ambition."





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Inner Fire
The Souljazz Orchestra
2014 [Strut]


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Groovers and funksters rejoice! SJO is here to save your soul. This oufit, under the leadership of composer Pierre Chrétien, hails from Ottawa… which from the sound of things is somewhere between Africa and the Caribbean. As Brent Faulkner from popmatters.com puts it, "…only the most hardcore nitpicker can find much wrong."





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Digital Dream Sequence
Trioscapes
2014 [Metal Blade]


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A very rough description of this trio's sub-genre would be 'avant-garde jazz fusion'… sort of like Mahuvishna Orchestra without John McLaughlin's searing guitar, but with a dash Frank Zappa musical mahem on the side. The lineup includes Dan Briggs (bass, piano), Walter Fancourt (flute, tenor sax) and Matt Lynch (drums, percussion).





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Open Me
Guillaume Perret & The Electric Epic
2014 [Kakoum]


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This French jazz fusion band was formed in 2008 by composer and electric sax player Guillaume Perret. Their music is often classified as 'zeuhl', a progressive music sub-genre that is a conglomeration of musical genres - including neoclassicism, romanticism, modernism and fusion.





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Kin (<-->)
Pat Metheny Unity Group
2014 [Nonesuch]


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A big hit with his fans, the second outing from guitarist Pat Metheny's Unity Band finds him closer to the PMG sound that launched his stardom. In tow are drummer Antonio Sanchez, saxophonist Chris Potter, bassist Ben Williams and new addition multi-instrumentalist Giulio Carmassi. Metheny's best for quite a while.





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Rising Son
Takuya Kuroda
2014 [Blue Note]


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N.Y.C.-based trumpeter Takuya Kuroda's major label debut is a funkified soulful chill-out that some might find surprising considering his Japanese roots. Friend and producer José James cameos on 'Everybody Loves the Sunshine', a highlight not to be missed. Rising Son is a 55-minute groove that is sure to satisfy.





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Birdman (Soundtrack)
Antonio Sanchez
2014 [Milan]


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Antonio Sanchez rose to prominence in the jazz world as a drummer recording with guitarist Pat Metheny. He composed the first 16-tracks on this soundtrack to the black comedy Birdman, directed by Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, by improvising to a rough cut of the movie. An unusual record to say the least, expect the unexpected.


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