Continuing on with our favorite tracks from 2014; Revive is privileged to have worked with a few of the artists listed below and we look forward to what the next year has in store for what we call “a resurgence of soul music and our time of redefining the status quo of jazz.”

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Scroll down to check out the Top 15 Songs of 2014 Part II. For Part I, click here.

“El Reparador De Sueños”  – Time’s Tales by Jeff Ballard

Featuring Lionel Loueke and Miguel Zenon, the trio on this recording explores a wide variety of material, but Zenon’s unique arrangement of “El Reparador De Sueños,” a pop song written by Silvio Rodríguez (also known as Cuba’s John Lennon), stands out. The unusual phrasing of the seven lends the simple melody a lot of interest, and everyone is right at home with the island feel. This also features one of my favorite recorded solos by Loueke.

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“Fing Fast” – Still Casual by Walter Smith III 

“Fing Fast” is definitely a burner, but it’s the beautiful harmonies that first captured my attention. Pianist Taylor Eigsti’s lush voicings provide a rich backdrop for the melody while drummer Kendrick Scott manages to make it feel easy and danceable despite the tempo. This quality really distinguishes the tune, and between Scott’s comping and the colorful harmony, the soloists have a lot to work with. The beautiful ending showcases Scott and Eigsti, who subtly transition out of all the intensity.

“The Edenist” – Lathe of Heaven by Mark Turner Quartet

One of the most remarkable things about the compositions on Lathe of Heaven is how much momentum remains underneath melodies, like the one on “The Edenist,” that are not rhythmically dense; Turner and trumpeter Avishai Cohen ride the propulsive energy beautifully. This can be attributed in no small part to drummer Marcus Gilmore’s incredible comping, which drives the whole record, this tune being no exception. Cohen and Turner’s solos are both incredible, and the song really opens up when the blowing starts.

 
 

“By Fire” – By Fire by Hiatus Kaiyote

Nai Palm’s vocal stylings always succeed in getting the heart racing and Haitus Kaiyote continue this trend by dropping By Fire just when I thought I’d heard it all for this year (and then Black Messiah drops, wut?)

What makes this track so special from start to finish is that it never gets boring. It’s edgy and the form is so out of the box, it feels like they’ve taken a couple of separate song ideas and sewn them together to create the perfect little outfit. “By Fire” is by far one of HK’s standout tracks and it’s not hard to see why, once you get a listen to that incredible descending bass line. Tip for vocalists: use that line as warm up and voila, your chords are ready for the big stage.

 “Tesla” – You’re Dead by Flying Lotus 

Not sure how we can do an end of the year list and not include Fly Lo in it. You’re Dead’s second track features Thundercat rocking those insane 64th note phrases with the legendary Herbie Hancock giving us a throwback performance that harkens to the In A Silent Way Session all over Gene Coye’s brushwork. “Tesla” is just under two minutes, clocking in at 1:54, yet it delivers more of a musical statement than a lot of other releases.

“Angie La La” – If You Knew Her by Zara McFarlane

We were all blown away when Zara McFarlane covered the classic Nora Dean cut, “Angie La La.” McFarlane’s version is slightly slower than the original but still maintains all the elements that can be found in Dean’s classic dub track. Rocking with McFarlane on the “Angie La La” is the incomparable trumpeter and vocalist Leron Thomas.

“You’re Still The One” – The Thought of You  by Otis Brown III

Is there a bit of nepotism here that we’re featuring a song that we released? Sure, but considering that The Thought of You showcased a band comprised of Robert GlasperBilal, production by Derrick Hodgeas well as guest vocal spots for Gretchen Parlato, it would be a crime if we didn’t include this. Arranged by Glasper, The Thought of You’s version of Shania Twain’s classic song features Parlato singing effortlessly over the track’s 7/8 meter.

List compiled by Paul Naser, Shilpa and Meghan

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