The lists below are my choices from the 500 or so CDs (and one LP) that I received for review during 2014. NOTA BENE: All of my choices are in alphabetical order by artist and thus are equally rated.


Paul Bley, Blue (ECM)

Diva, A Swingin’ Life (MCG Jazz)

Mary Halvorson-Michael Formanek-Tomas Fujiwara: Thumbscrew (Cuneiform)

Penguin Cafe, The Red Book (Penguin Cafe)

Tineke Postma and Greg Osby, Sonic Halo (Challenge)

Sonny Rollins Road Shows, Vol.3 (Okeh)

Ada Rovatti, Disguise (Piloo)

Daniel Smith, Smokin Hot’ Bassoon Blues (Summit)

Wadada Leo Smith, Jamie Staff, Joe Morris, and Balazs Pandi, Red Hill (Rarenoise)

Miguel Zenon, Identities Are Changeable (Miel Music)


The Columbia and RCA Victor Live Recordings of Louis Armstrong and the All Stars (Mosaic)

Bud Powell, Birdland 1953 (ESP)

60 Years of Jazz (Delmark)


Catherine Russell, Bring it Back (Jazz Village)


Zan Stewart, Street Is Making Music (Mobo Dog)


Eliana Cuevas, Espejo (Alma)


Renée Fleming, Christmas in New York (Universal Music Classics)

Jennifer Leitham, Future Christmas (Sinistral)

Sackville All-Stars, Sackville All Star Christmas Record (Sackville/Delmark)

Tony Trischka, Of a Winter's Night (Tony Trischka)


Lena Bloch, Feathery (13th Note) The Michael Blum Quartet, Initiation (Michael Blum Music) Sherie Julianne, 10 Degrees South (Azul do Mar) Allegra Levy, Lonely City (SteepleChase/LookOut) Lauren Meccia, Inside Your Eyes (Spirit Music) Vance Thompson's Five Plus Six, Such Sweet Thunder (Shade Street)


Rez Abbasi, Intents and Purposes (ENJA) Jason Adasiewicz's Sun Rooms, From the Region (Delmark) Jason Anick, Tipping Point (Magic Fiddle Music) The Awakening Orchestra and Kyle Saulnier, Awakening Orchestra, Vol. 1: This is Not the Answer (Innova) Ballister (Dave Rempis, Fred Lonberg-Holm, and Paal Nilssen-Love), Worse For The Wear (Aerophonic) Mike Bardash Quintet, Polygon (Rhombus) Battle Trance (Travis Laplante, Matthew Nelson, Jeremy Viner, and Patrick Breiner), Palace of Wind (New Amsterdam) Alex Belhaj's Crescent City Quartet, Sugar Blues (Raymond Street) Paul Bollenback, Portraits in Space & Time (Mayimba Music) Dewa Budjana and Jimmy Johnson, Surya Namaskar (Moonjune) Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra, The L.A. Treasures Project (Capri) The Cookers (Billy Harper, Donald Harrison, Eddie Henderson, David Weiss, George Cables, Cecil McBee, and Billy Hart), Time and Time Again (Motema Music) Connie Crothers Quartet, Deep Friendship (New Artists) Connie Crothers & Paula Hackett, Sharing the Thrill (New Artists) Charles Davis, For the Love of Lori (reade street) Orbert Davis' Chicago Jazz Philharmonic Chamber Ensemble, Sketches of Spain (Revisited) (3/16 Records) James Davis, Beveled (ears&eyes) Akua Dixon, Akua Dixon (Akua’s Music) Ewan Dobson, Acoustic Metal (Candyrat) Laura Dreyer, Vida Arte Amor (Mayimba) Echoes of Swing (Colin T. Dawson, Chris Hopkins, Bernd Lhotzky, and Oliver Mewes), Blue Pepper (Act Music) John Ellis, Mobro (Parade Light) Oran Etkin, Gathering Light (Motema Music) David Friesen Circle 3 Trio, Where The Light Falls (Origin) George Gee, Swing Makes You Happy (Rondette) Sax Gordon, In The Wee Small Hours (Delmark) Danny Green Trio, After The Calm (OA2) Rich Halley 4 (featuring Michael Vlatkovich, Clyde Reed, and Carson Halley), The Wisdom of Rocks (Pine Eagle) Phil Haynes, Drew Gress, Dave Liebman, No Fast Food (CornerStoreJazz) Fred Hersch Trio, Floating (Palmetto) Harmonie Ensemble and Steven Richman, conductor, Henry Mancini: Music for Peter Gunn (Harmonia Mundi) Alexander Hawkins, Song Singular (Babel) Alexander Hawkins Ensemble, Step Wide, Step Deep (Babel) Holly Hoffman, Low Life: The Alto Flute Project (Capri) Ideal Bread, Beating The Teens: Songs Of Steve Lacy (Cuneiform) Max Johnson, The Invisible Trio (Fresh Sound) Mimi Jones, Balance (Hot Tone Music) Kalle Kalima & K-18, Bunuel De Jour (Tum) Darrell Katz and The JCA Orchestra, Do You Ride? (Leo) Assaf Kehati Trio, Naked (AKJazz) Frank Kimbrough, Quartet (Palmetto) David Krakauer, The Big Picture (Table Pounding) Matt Lavelle & John Pietaro, Harmolodic Monk (Unseen Rain) Kenny Lavender, Conscious Journey, Part 1 & 2 (Kenny Lavender Music) Mike Longo, Step On It (Consolidated Artists Productions) Gordon Lee with the Mel Brown Septet, Tuesday Night (OA2) Roberto Magris Quintet, Morgan Rewind: A Tribute to Lee Morgan Vol. 2 (Jmood) Raymond MacDonald & Marilyn Crispell, Parallel Moments (Babel) Rudresh Mahanthappa, Bird Calls (Act Music & Vision) Telsa Manaf, Tesla Manaf (Moonjune) Mike Markaverich Trio, One More for the Road (Marktime) Eugene Marlow’s Heritage Ensemble Reimagines Popular Hebraic Melodies, Mosaica (MELL Enterprises) Delfeayo Marsalis, The Last Southern Gentlemen (Troubador Jazz) Shawn Alliance Maxwell’s, Shawn Maxwells Alliance (Chicago Sessions) Pete McGuinness Jazz Orchestra, Strength in Numbers (Summit) Brad Mehldau & Mark Guiliana, Mehliana: Taming the Dragon (Nonesuch) The Microscopic Septet, Manhattan Moonrise (Cuneiform) Tony Monaco, Furry Slippers (Chicken Coup) Jack Mouse & Scott Robinson, Snakeheads & Ladybugs (Jack Mouse & Scott Robinson) The North, Slow Down (This Isn't The Mainland) (Dowsett) Jim Norton Collective, Time Remembered: Compositions Of Bill Evans (Origin) Now's the time, The Best in Contemporary Jazz from France & Luxembourg (Babel) Ed Palermo Big Band, Oh No! Not Jazz!! (Cuneiform) Evan Parker, Paul Dunmall, Tony Bianco, Extremes (Red Toucan) Nicholas Payton, Numbers (PAYTONE) Clarence Penn & Penn Station, Monk: The Lost Files (Origin) Leslie Pintchik, In The Nature Of Things (Pintch Hard) Anthony Pirog, Palo Colorado Dream (Cuneiform) Pixel Queen, Jeremy Manasia (Blujazz) Kerry Politzer, Below the Surface (Pjce) Louis Prima Jr. & The Witnesses, Blow (Warrior) PJ Rasmussen, Another Adventure (Third Freedom Music) Rebirth Brass Band, Move Your Body (Basin Street) Marc Ribot Trio (with Henry Grimes and Chad Taylor), Live at the Village Vanguard (PI Recordings) David Roitstein and Larry Koonse, Conversations (Jazz Compass) Ellen Rowe Quintet, (featuring Ingrid Jensen), Courage Music (PKO) Joe Sample & Ndr Bigband, Children of the Sun (Pra) Scottish National Jazz Orchestra, American Adventure (Spartacus) Scottish National Jazz Orchestra, Culloden Moor Suite (Spartacus) Halley Shoenberg, Private Concert (Timescape Music) Marc Seales, American Songs, Volume 2 - Blues And Jazz (Origin) Simakdialog, Live at Orion (Moonjune) Matt Slocum (With Walter Smith III, Dayna Stephens, Gerald Clayton and Massimo Biolcati), Black Elk's Dream (Chandra) Adam Smale, Out of the Blue (Adam Smale Jazz) Wadada Leo Smith, The Great Lakes Suites (Tum) Tyshawn Sorey, Alloy (PI Recordings) Sivan Rotem Trio, For Emotional Use Only (Fresh Sound) Stan Kenton Alumni Band, Road Scholars Live (Summit) Doc Stewart, Code Blue! (Doc Stewart) Ben Stolorow and Ian Carey, Duocracy (Kabocha) Dave Stryker, Eight Track (Panorama) Swiss Youth Jazz Orchestra, Future Steps: Live at Jazzaar Festival 2014 (Shanti) “Sweet” Sue Terry and Friends, Live at the Deer Head Inn (Deer Head) Ken Thomson And Slow/Fast, Settle (Ncm East) Camille Thurman, Origins (Hot Tone Music) Shirazette Tinnin, Humility: Purity of My Soul (Hot Tone Music) The Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, OverTime: Music of Bob Brookmeyer (Planet Arts Recordings) The Weave, The Weave (Rufus Albino) Dan Weiss, Fourteen (PI Recordings) David Weiss, When Words Fail (Motema Music) David White Jazz Orchestra, The Chase (Mister Shepherd) Brad Whiteley, Pathless Land (Destiny Recordings) Woven Entity, Woven Entity (Babel) Yagull, Kai (Moonjune)


Dee Alexander, Songs My Mother Loves (Blujazz) Laurie Antonioli, Songs Of Shadow, Songs Of Light: The Music Of Joni Mitchell (Origin) Margie Baker, So Many Stars (Consolidated Artists Production, Inc.) Perry Beekman, Bewitched (Perry Beekman) Janice Borla Group, Promises to Burn (Tall Grass) Susan Clynes, Life Is . . . (Moonjune) Dee Daniels, Intimate Conversations (Origin) E. J. Decker, A Job of Work (Candela) Bob Dorough, Eulalia (Merry Lane) Cynthia Felton, Save Your Love for Me (Felton Entertainment) Lisa Ferraro, Serenading the Moon (Pranavasonic Universal) Carol Fredette, No Sad Songs for Me (Soundbrush) Kat Gang, Dream Your Troubles Away (Arbors Jazz) Hilary Gardner, The Great City (Anzic) Jua, Colors of Life (Chocolate Chi Music) Rebecca Kilgore, I Like Men (Arbors Jazz) Lauren Kinhan, Circle in a Square (Dotted i) Ellen LaFurn, C'est LaFurn (Ellen LaFurn) Julie, Julie Lyon Quintet (Unseen Rain) Sharon Marie Cline, This Is Where I Wanna Be (Sharon Marie Cline) Tony Messina, All About Love and Life (Heart to Heart) Robert Moore, Outta My Soul (Reference) Beata Pater, Golden Lady (B&B) Judy Philbin & Adam Levine, Keeping It Simple (Judy Philbin) Annie Ross, To Lady With Love (Red Anchor Productions, Inc.) Kate Ross, People Make the World Go Round (KimCourt Productions) Judi Silvano & Michael Abene, My Dance (Jsl) Lyn Stanley, Potions (A.T. Music) Marlene VerPlanck, I Give Up, I’m in Love (Audiophile) Roseanna Vitro, Clarity: Music of Clare Fischer (Random Act) Ingrid Felts & Ken Watters, Watters/Felts Project (Summit) Libby York, Memoir (Libby York Music)


Harry Allen’s All-Star Brazilian Band, Flying Over Rio (Arbors Jazz) Phil Degreg & Brasilia, Brazilian People (Prevenient Music) Paulinho Garcia, Beautiful Love (Jazzmin) Steve Pouchie and Wilson Chembo Corniel North By Northeast (Latin Jazz Alive) Various Artists, Salsa de la Bahia: A Collection of SF Bay Salsa and Latin Jazz (Patois)


James Armstrong, Guitar Angels (Catfood) Eden Brent, Jigsaw Heart (Yellow Dog) Otis Clay & Johnny Rawls, Soul Brothers (Catfood) Daunielle, Daunielle (Catfood) The Ebony Hillbillies, Barefoot and Flying (EH Music Inc.) Robin Eubanks + Mental Images, Klassik Rock Vol. (ArtistShare) Gaelic Storm, The Boathouse (Lost Again) Emmylou Harris, Wrecking Ball (Nonesuch) HowellDevine, Modern Sounds of Ancient Juju (Arhoolie) Tommy Malone, Poor Boy (M.C.) Nickel Creek, A Dotted Line (Nonesuch) Portland Cello Project, Homage (Jealous Butcher) (CD & LP) Third Coast Percussion and David T. Little, Haunt of Last Nightfall (New Amsterdam)


Michael Cerveris and Judy Kuhn, Fun Home (P.S. Classics) Sutton Foster and Colin Donnell, Violet (P.S. Classics) Audra McDonald, Lady Day at Emerson's Bar & Grill (P.S. Classics)


Smoky Babe, Way Back in the Country Blues (Arhoolie) Evergreen Classic Jazz Band, Early Recordings 1915-1932 (Jump/Delmark) Chubby Jackson Big Band, New York City 1949: Ooh, What An Outfit! (Uptown Jazz) Illinois Jacquet and Leo Parker, Toronto 1947 (Uptown Jazz) Charles Lloyd, Manhattan Stories (Resonance) Howard McGhee, West Coast 1945-1947 (Uptown Jazz) The Duke Pearson Big Band, Baltimore 1969 (Uptown Jazz) Don Pullen, Richard's Tune (Sackville/Delmark) Scottdale String Band, Old Folks Better Go to Bed (Arhoolie) Buddy Tate Quartet, Texas Tenor (Sackville/Delmark) Sonny Til And The Orioles, Live In Chicago 1951 (Uptown Jazz) Lennie Tristano, Chicago April 1951 (Uptown Jazz) Dave Van Ronk, Down on Washington Square: The Smithsonian Folkways Collection (Smithsonian/Folkways) George Van Eps, Once In Awhile (Jump/Delmark) Various Artists, This Ain't No Mouse Music!: The Story of Chris Strachwitz and Arhoolie Records (Arhoolie)


Eric Clapton, The 1970s Review (Sexy Intellectual/MVD Visual) Mos Def, The Last Poets, et alii, Freestyle: The Art of Rhyme (Hip Hop Films/MVD Visual) Michael Flek, Warrick Sony, Lee Thomson, et alii, Punk In Africa (Punk In Africa/MVD Visual) Eileen Twain, Shania: The Discovery Of Eileen Twain (Video Service Corp/MVD Visual) Suzanne Vega, Solitude Standing (Wienerworld/MVD Visual)

W. Royal Stokes was the 2014 recipient of the Jazz Journalists Association’s Lifetime Achievement in Jazz Journalism Award. He has been observing the jazz, blues, and popular music worlds since the early 1940s. He was editor of Jazz Notes (the quarterly journal of the Jazz Journalists Association) from 1992 to 2001 and has participated in the annual Down Beat Critics Poll since the 1980s. He hosted his weekly “I thought I Heard Buddy Bolden Say . . . .” and Since Minton’s on public radio in the 1970s and ’80s. He has been the Washington Post's jazz critic and editor of JazzTimes and is the author of The Jazz Scene: An Informal History from New Orleans to 1990 (Oxford University Press, 1991), Swing Era New York: The Jazz Photographs of Charles Peterson (Temple University Press, 1994), Living the Jazz Life: Conversations with Forty Musicians about Their Careers in Jazz (Oxford University Press, 2000), and Growing Up With Jazz: Twenty-Four Musicians Talk About Their Lives and Careers (Oxford University Press, 2005). His trilogy of novels Backwards Over will see publication in the fall and winter of 2014. He is currently at work on a memoir and a W. Royal Stokes Jazz, Blues & Beyond Reader.