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2014: the best bits

Lisa Dwan The mouth belongs to the actress Lisa Dwan, the only thing visible in an otherwise completely blacked-out Duchess Theatre during her performance of Samuel Beckett’s Not I, staged in London at the beginning of the year (and later in New York). It was part of an evening of three short Beckett monologues, all delivered by Dwan. Footfall and Rockabye were marvellous but Not I was as close to music as speech can get: a rapid-fire 10 minutes carrying a phenomenal emotional charge. There were lots of good things this year, but nothing better than that.

LIVE MUSIC

1. Louis Moholo-Moholo Quartet (Cafe Oto, May)

2. Charles Lloyd’s Wild Man Suite (Barbican, November)

3. Caetano Veloso (Barbican, May)

4. Evan Parker + AMM (Cafe Oto, October)

5. City of Poets (Pizza Express, September)

6. Dylan Howe’s Subterranean (Warwick Arts Centre, October)

7. Daniel Humair Quartet (Berlin Jazz Festival, November)

8. Rowland Sutherland’s Enlightenment (Union Cafe, December)

9. Georgie Fame & the Blue Flames (Ronnie Scott’s, April)

10. The Necks (Cafe Oto, October)

11. Whahay (Vortex, November)

12. Plaistow (Pizza Express, November)

13. Kokomo (Half Moon, Putney, August)

14. René Urtreger Trio (Timothy Taylor Gallery, June)

15. Mike & Kate Westbrook: Glad Day (St Giles in the Fields, February)

16. Allen Toussaint (Ronnie Scott’s, April)

17. Christian Wallumrød Ensemble (Vortex, February)

18. Aki Takase & Alexander von Schlippenbach: Celebrating Eric Dolphy (Berlin Jazz Festival, November)

19. Jan Garbarek + Hilliard Singers (Temple Church, November)

20. Keith Tippett Octet (Cafe Oto, February)

21. Gilad Atzmon Quartet + Sigamos Quartet (Ronnie Scott’s, August)

22. The Pop Group (Islington Assembly Hall, October)

23. Jason Moran/Robert Glasper piano duo (Festival Hall, November)

24. Nick Malcolm Quartet (Vortex, June)

25. Bill Frisell’s Guitar in the Space Age (Barbican, November)

NEW RECORDINGS

1. Ambrose Akinmusire: the imagined savior is far easier to paint (Blue Note)

2. Steve Lehman Octet: Mise en Abîme (Pi)

3. Hakon Stene: Lush Laments for Lazy Mammal (Huber)

4. Peter Hammill: …all that might have been… (Fie)

5.  Mark Turner Quartet: Lathe of Heaven (ECM)

6. FKA twigs: LP1 (Young Turks)

7. Cécile McLorin Salvant: WomanChild (Mack Avenue)

8. Billy Childs: Map to the Treasure (Masterworks)

9. Alexander Hawkins: Song Singular (Babel)

10. Rosanne Cash: The River & the Thread (Columbia)

11. Paul Bley: Play Blue (ECM)

12. Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings: Give the People What They Want (Dap-Tone)

13. Bobby Hutcherson: Enjoy the View (Blue Note)

14. Lucinda Williams: Down Where the Spirit Meets the Bone (Highway 20)

15. Einstürzende Neubauten: Lament (Mute)

16. Bobby Wellins/Scottish NJO: Culloden Moor Suite (Spartacus)

17. Keith Jarrett/Charlie Haden: Last Dance (ECM)

18. Raymond McDonald & Marilyn Crispell: Parallel Moments (Babel)

19. Lee Konitz/Dan Tepfer/Michael Janisch/Jeff Williams: First Meeting (Whirlwind)

20. Peirani & Parisien Duo Art: Belle Époque (ACT)

21. Ruben Blades: Tangos (Sunnyside)

22. Marc Ribot Trio: Live at the Village Vanguard (Pi)

23: John Zorn: Transmigration of the Magus (Tzadik)

24. Dom Coyote, Emily Barker & Ruben Engzell: Vena Portae (Humble Soul)

25. Louis Moholo-Moholo Unit: For the Blue Notes (Ogun)

ARCHIVE RECORDINGS

1. Bob Dylan: The Complete Basement Tapes (Columbia)

2. John Coltrane: Offering: The Complete Temple University Concert (Impulse)

3. Jon Hassell/Brian Eno: Fourth World Vol 1: Possible Musics (Glitterbeat)

4. Jimmy Giuffre 3 & 4: New York Concerts (Elemental)

5. Spontaneous Music Ensemble: Oliv + Familie (Emanem)

6. Krzysztof Komeda / Andrzej Trzaskowski: Jazz in Polish Cinema (Jazz on Film)

7. Various: The Bert Berns Story Vol 3: Hang on Sloopy (Ace)

8. Mose Allison: Complete Prestige Recordings 1957-59 (Fresh Sound)

9. Duke Ellington: Contrapuntal Riposte (Squatty Roo)

10. Roy Orbison: Mystery Girl Deluxe Edition (Sony Legacy)

11. Don Cherry: Modern Art / Stockholm 1977 (Mellotronen)

12. Miles Davis: At the Fillmore (Columbia)

13. Various: Vamps et Vampire: The Songs of Serge Gainsbourg (Ace)

14. Schlippenbach Trio: First Recordings (Trost)

15. Charles Lloyd: Manhattan Stories (Resonance)

16. Joe Harriott: Southern Horizons / Free Form / Abstract (Fresh Sound)

17. Evelyn “Champagne” King: Action (BBR)

18. Joe Harriott/Amancio D’Silva: Hum Dono (Vocalion)

19. Various: Cracking the Cosimo Code (Ace)

20. Abelardo Barroso & Orquesta Sensacion: Cha Cha Cha (World Circuit)

FILMS: NEW

1. Winter Sleep (Kış Uykusu) (dir. Nuri Bilge Ceylan)

2. The Past (Le Passé) (dir. Asghar Farhadi)

3. Camille Claudel 1915 (dir. Bruno Dumont)

4. Ida (dir. Pawel Pawlowski)

5. Boyhood (dir. Richard Linklater)

6. The Grandmaster (一代宗師) (dir. Wong Kar-Wai)

7. Goodbye to Language (Adieu au langage) (dir. Jean-Luc Godard)

8. Leviathan ( Левиафан) (dir. Andrey Zvyagintsev)

9. American Hustle (dir. David O. Russell)

10. Get On Up (dir. Tate Taylor)

FILMS: DOCUMENTARY

Night Will Fall (dir. Andre Singer)

Finding Vivian Maier (dir. John Maloof & Charlie Siskel)

Bayou Maharajah (dir. Lily Keber)

FILMS: REVIVED

Far from Vietnam (Loin du Vietnam) (dir. Chris Marker with Agnès Varda, Jean-Luc Godard, William Klein, Claude Lelouch, Joris Ivens, Alain Resnais, 1967)

Zabriskie Point (Michelangelo Antonioni, 1968)

BOOKS: MUSIC

1. Marcus O’Dair: Different Every Time: The Authorised Biography of Robert Wyatt (Serpent’s Tail)

2. Mark Ellen: Rock Stars Stole My Life (Hodder & Stoughton)

3. Colin Harper: Bathed in Lightning: John McLaughlin, the ’60s and the Emerald Beyond (Jawbone)

4. Rick Bragg: Jerry Lee Lewis: His Own Story (Canongate)

5. Harvey Kubernik: Turn Up the Radio! Rock, Pop & Roll in Los Angeles 1956-1972 (Santa Monica Press)

6. Richard Havers: Blue Note: Uncompromising Expression (Thames & Hudson)

7. Victor Maymudes & Jacob Maymudes: Another Side of Bob Dylan (St Martin’s Press)

8. David Stubbs: Future Days: Krautrock and the Building of Modern Germany (Faber & Faber)

9. Joel Selvin: Here Comes the Night: The Dark Soul of Bert Berns and the Dirty Business of Rhythm & Blues (Counterpoint)

10. Steve Lowenthal: Dance of Death: The Life of John Fahey, American Guitarist (Chicago Review Press)

BOOKS: FICTION

Patrick Modiano: The Search Warrant (Collins Harvill)

BOOKS: POETRY

David Harsent: Fire Songs (Faber)

EXHIBITIONS

Late Turner: Painting Set Free (Tate Britain, London, September)

Anselm Kiefer (Royal Academy, London, October)

Henri Matisse: The Cut-Outs (Tate Modern, April)

AND FINALLY…

One afternoon in October a bespectacled young man sat down at an upright piano on the concourse of St Pancras International station and played “The Girl From Ipanema” very slowly, as though he were just inventing it, very gently testing the harmonic structure, finding new angles from which to approach the melody. He followed it with a couple of choruses of gospel-blues, investigated with a similar sense of understatement and absolute freshness. Then he got up and walked away.

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14 Comments Post a comment
  1. Peter Hussey #

    This is a blog I follow, his music taste is catholic, and one blog will talk about a soul singer, the next free jazz, the next classical. Among the films he lists Ida appears a must see. I would not say that anything he recommends is a good buy, but they are worth exploring. Have a great Christmas. Peter

    December 19, 2014
  2. Marcel Berlins #

    Incomprehensible Omission: Bayou Maharajah (the James Booker doc.)

    December 19, 2014
  3. Mick Steels #

    Very fine documentary on the remarkable Ms Dwan shown on Sky Arts last year, she explains her acting technique with clarity and humour. Well worth seeking out

    December 19, 2014
  4. Brian Currie #

    Thanks for great year of “Blue Moments”.

    Seasons’ Greetings ! !

    December 19, 2014
    • Thank you. And to you, too.

      December 19, 2014
      • Hi Richard,

        Thanks for all your contributions to a now must-read blog.

        Regards for 2015.

        Paul Crowe

        December 20, 2014
  5. David Everall #

    I assume from it’s absence in the list that you weren’t particularly impressed by “The History of Rock ‘n’ Roll in Ten Songs” which I think you mentioned on Twitter when you received it.

    December 23, 2014
  6. crocodilechuck #

    The Blue Moment: an isle of enlightened tranquility in a world of increasing ugliness, brutality & violence.

    Thank you, Richard.

    December 29, 2014
  7. GRAHAM ROBERTS #

    Happy New Year – and what a great list of your 2014 ‘best bits’ to see out the old one! I’ve bought quite a few of the CDs on your list during the year but one that has passed me by but which your recommendation prompted me to buy at the weekend is the Cecile McLorin Salvant ‘WomanChild’ set. It’s fantastic – great singer, terrific support from a fine band – and hopefully there will UK shows from her in 2015.

    I look forward to following your blog in the coming year – and what a great start, with the Moholo-Moholo quartet kicking things off in the first week of January at the Café Oto.

    December 29, 2014
  8. colin lazzerini #

    Just in case you missed it – an important archival recommendation from me would be the 2014 remastering of Jimmy Giuffre’s “Western Suite” from 1958.
    A complete knock-out, then and now: then, because the music still stands; now, because the great care and love invested in its restoration is sparklingly self-evident.
    Happy New Year.
    Thank you for a marvellous blog.

    January 6, 2015

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