10. Medeski, Martin, and Wood with Nels Cline - Woodstock Sessions, Vol. 2 (Woodstock Sessions)
The payoff on this album is in the deep grooves that this quartet falls into, but the messy, abrasive jams that come before and after those grooves provide the necessary context. When MMW hooked up with John Scofield, the resulting album smoothed out some of the rougher edges - not so here, as Nels Cline provides some crunchy tones that Medeski is happy to play off of.
As l look back at the albums I loved most this year, I realized the importance of being swept up. There's intellectual noodling and the need to keep attention; there's creating new ideas and reforming old ones; there's high and lows in energy, but what I loved the most this year wasn't just the creating of interesting artistic work but if that work is done so well, the music made so compellingly, that it melts this cold, robotic heart and sweeps me up, or sweeps others up just as much. There's been all this talk this year about the Year of the Drummer or how this year is better or worse in music than the year before, but ultimately, the connection the music makes -- whether or not you get swept up -- makes all the difference. Here are the ten albums that took me out of my everyday this year and made each day something a little bit more.
I must admit, there's a lot of music this year,even music that I may be praising in this very list, that I may forget some time later. Next year, or two years from now. There's just so much to keep track of nowadays. But for now, in this moment at the end of the year, I would like to feel confident saying that I enjoyed these albums the most.
We don't like to say "best" around here. We're limited people with limited knowledge, fans with a platform. There's no way we have heard everything released this year or are able to assess what's truly "best" from this year. But there are some things we've listened to more than others. Things that have moved us more, emotionally or physically. There are albums that overall have worked for us better than others. There are things that we have considered our favorites, some more than others. That's the assessment we're making here, as we do every year, and we're glad you so esteem the opinion of these people with limited knowledge, fans with a platform.
Like any good lover of music, our tastes at Nextbop are wide. Some overlap, some shape others in regard to genre, but there's a lot of music released this year that we love and are taking the chance to point out to you that are great even if they don't necessarily swing or even fit out in the fringe of jazz. Here's our favorite releases of everything else from 2014.