The 2014 Jazz Awards (and mine)

The Jazz Journalists’ Association announced its 2014 awards this week. I don’t think I’ve disagreed with so many of its picks. In most cases, I’d simply rank others higher than the JJA balloteers; in some cases, though, I part from their judgment pretty vigorously. Here are some of the JJA winners, followed by my choices:

Record of the Year:
(JJA) Wayne Shorter, Without a Net (Blue Note).
(Me) Darcy James Argue & Secret Society, Brooklyn Babylon (New Amsterdam). (I’m in a minority here, but I think Shorter’s latest is overrated: the band is great, but Shorter noodles too much.)

Composer of the Year:
(JJA) Maria Schneider.
(Me) Maria Schneider. (No argument here.)

Historical Record of the Year:
(JJA) Miles Davis, Live in Europe 1969 (Columbia Legacy).
(Me) Clifford Jordan, The Complete Strata-East Sessions (Mosaic). (The Jordan is what historical reissues are for.)

Large Ensemble of the Year:
(JJA) Maria Schneider’s Jazz Orchestra.
(Me) Maria Schneider’s Jazz Orchestra. (Yes!)

Mid-Sized Ensemble of the Year:
(JJA) Wayne Shorter Quintet.
(Me) Dave Douglas-Joe Lovano Sound Prints Quintet. (This band played one of the most exciting sets I’ve seen at the Village Vanguard lately—where’s the album?)

Trio or Duo of the Year:
(JJA) Randy Weston-Billy Harper.
(Me) The Bad Plus (if just for the Rite of Spring audacity, though I would like to hear the Weston-Harper).

Trumpeter of the Year:
(JJA) Terence Blanchard.
(Me) Dave Douglas.

Tenor Sax of the Year:
(JJA) Joe Lovano.
(Me) Sonny Rollins. (In fairness, JJA has declared Rollins “emeritus,” so he’s disqualified from winning again.)

Alto Sax of the Year:
(JJA) Lee Konitz.
(Me) Steve Coleman.

Pianist of the Year:
(JJA) Craig Taborn.
(Me) Jason Moran (or maybe Marc Cary).

Clarinetist of the Year:
(JJA) Anat Cohen.
(Me) Ben Goldberg.

Multi-Reed Player of the Year:
(JJA) Joe Lovano.
(Me) Scott Robinson.

Guitarist of the Year:
(JJA) Bill Frisell.
(Me) Bill Frisell (though Marc Ribot comes very close).

Violinist/Cellist of the Year:
(JJA) Regina Carter.
(Me) Erik Friedlander (runner-up to Jenny Scheinman or Mark Feldman).

Bassist of the Year:
(JJA) Christian McBride.
(Me) William Parker.

Drummer of the Year:
(JJA) Jack DeJohnette.
(Me) Roy Haynes (runner-up: Matt Wilson).

Anyway, a lot of very good musicians out there!

Bixby's picture

I don't know of an album, but there is audio from their 2012 appearance at the Vanguard.

Allen Fant's picture

Thanks! for sharing FK. Another banner year for Jazz, IMO. I fell in love w/ Jazz music about 10 years ago and have no volition of turning back.

pablolie's picture

Best album,best writer,best vocalist.

BradleyP's picture

You said it, pablolie.  I so often think of the heartfelt poetry in Porter's line " water under bridges that are already burned" and try think of who else can write and sing lyrics like that in any genre.  It's a mighty short list. 

romath's picture

Your mention of The Bad Plus sent me onto YouTube to listen to several of their tracks from different times.  Whew, talk about soporific!  I don't hear any human life there. But then, a lot of people get off on those players from smaller west coast U.S. towns that compose ocean-inspired music.