Celtic Jazz Album - "Current Affairs" by Runa. As long as Shannon keeps singing, I'll keep listening.
Latin Jazz Album - "On the #1" by Steven Kroon. Steven has had a long and distinguished career as a sideman but his leadership role is amazing.
Standard Jazz Album - "Anthem for a New Day" by Helen Sung. She covers Jazz standards and she writes what may become standards. She is an exemplary pianist and a first-rate composer and arranger.
Digital Download Album - "Life Unstaged" by Mike Prigodich. Chick Corea called him a great composer. His band includes Reinhardt Melz and Damien Erskine. The best rhythm section on the west side of the galaxy.
Fusion Album - "Idiot Fish" by Wally Schnale. A brilliant drummer with Hristo Vitchev on guitars makes for one of the most fun albums of the year.
Debut Album - "Motifs" by Chiarra Izzi. A charming and talented vocalist from Italy who is set to take America.
Progressive Album - "Tribal Dance" by Tohpati. With Jimmy Haslip and Chad Wackerman on board, Tohpati won this spot early in the year and never let go. Big score for MoonJune Records.
Live Album - "Before You Know It (Live in Portland)" by Ezra Weiss Sextet. Weiss has won multiple awards for composing and this sextet brings them to vivid light.
Solo Album - "What a Beautiful Day" by Toshi Onizuka. Jazz guitar with a hard Flamenco bite. Look for him on YouTube. The song "Light in Shade" may be my favorite song ever written.Album by a Duo - "Levin Brothers" by Pete and Tony Levin. Yes, they had other musicians in support but Pete and Tony were the focus. Sweet, straight-up Jazz.
Album by a Trio - "Ask Me Tomorrow" by George Colligan with Ted Poor and Linda Oh. I rarely see a musician consistently make the right choices so consistently as Colligan in choosing his musicians. Another album that grabbed me early in the year and hung on against all challengers.
Album by a Quartet - "Travelogue" by Todd Bishop Group. Bishop is a brilliant drummer and adds Weber Iago for that lyrical, melodic strength that few can equal.
Album by Large Ensemble - "Tuesday Night" by Gordon Lee & Mel Brown Septet. Mel Brown is a legend and Gordon Lee writes for the Septet. They are at the famed Jimmy Mak's Jazz venue in Portland, Oregon every Tuesday night. One of the hottest large groups around.
Guitar Album - "Surya Namaskar" by Dewa Budjana. Another MoonJune Records offering to a larger world. Featuring Jimmy Johnson & Vinnie Colaiuta, it is one of the best albums of the year.
Sax Album - "Melissa Aldana & Crash Trio" by Melissa Aldana and Crash Trio. She is the winner of the Thelonious Monk International Competition for 2013 and she is setting the Jazz world on fire. Concorde Records signed her and she is not looking back.
Vocal Album - "Child's Play" by Debbie Orta. If only because she covered Donnie Hathaway, it would be enough for me. But Orta knows how to swing and she covers standards and more with ease and charm.
Trumpet Album - "Urban Folklore" by Thomas Marriott. With Orrin Evans on piano and Donald Edwards on drums, this is not-to-miss. I'm keeping my eye on Marriott.
Piano Album - "Below the Surface" by Kerry Politzer. George Colligan surrenders the piano to Kerry Politzer and he sits the drum throne. With David Valdez on the sax, Politzer creates a brilliant album of straight-ahead Jazz that took my attention and has kept it.
Bass Album - "Nathan East" by Nathan East. The anchor for Fourplay and Clapton's touring group and, most recently, DaftPunk has finally taken the helm and created the most fun album of the year. That was an easy pick!
Most Enjoyable Touring Group of 2014 - Hristo Vitchev Quartet as they tour Japan supporting the "Familiar Fields" album of 2013. One of the best Jazz albums of the decade! Hristo Vitchev with Weber Iago is something never to be missed.
YouTube Live Performance of 2014 - Christian McBride & Melissa Aldana Duet at Umbria Jazz Winter Festival. January 3 was a long time ago but nothing came along to beat it for me. Go here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lGbokaAI3TM
Record Label of the Year - MoonJune Records. Leonardo Pavkovic brought us the albums by Dewa Budjana, Tohpati, simakDialog, Dusan Jevtovic, Susan Clyne and more. A HUGE year for MoonJune!
Favorite Album of the Year - "The Alchemist" by Thierry Maillard Trio. Astonishingly beautiful. The trio with string orchestration was amazing but the compositions and arrangements were heart-breaking in their sheer beauty.