Top Five Jazz Albums of 2014 Devin Yamanaka Victor Forman Gary G. Vercelli Monday, December 22, 2014 GARY VERCELLI George Cables: Icons & Influences (High Note) This veteran pianist salutes his departed colleagues with passionate compositions dedicated to Cedar Walton and Mulgrew Miller. Key track: "Farewell Mulgrew" (2) Kenny Barron & Dave Holland: The Art of Conversation (Impulse/Blue Note) Top-notch duets from arguably the best pianist and bassist on the planet. Key track: "Segment" (4) Brian Charette: Square One (Positone) Charette is an innovator on the Hammond B-3 and is blossoming as a composer. He’s joined by a very competent rising guitarist, Yotam Silberstein and drummer Mark Ferber. Key track: "Aaight!" (1) Bobby Hutcherson: Enjoy The View (Blue Note) The veteran vibraphonist returns to Blue Note with able support from Joey DeFrancesco, David Sanborn, and Billy Hart. Key track: "Montara" (5) Chick Corea: Trilogy (Concord) Pristine live recordings from a world tour with bassist Christian McBride and drummer Brian Blade. Issued on a 3-CD set. Key track: "Alice In Wonderland" (Disc 2, track 2) VICTOR FORMAN As I struggle with getting older, grayer and past my (ahem - very "successful") prime, countering my sadness at having lost it comes this reassuring song from Catherine Russell from her early-2014 album Bring It Back: her cover of the early 1950s Esther Phillips hit written by Johnny Otis, "Aged and Mellow." Young people, take comfort. Those older people you now find repulsive: don't fear getting old because as you age, they look better to you. That attraction is, in fact, something about being aged and mellow:Junior may be young and strongerBut I'll take grandpa 'cause he's had it longerI like my men like I like my whiskeyOoh, aged and mellow! DEVIN YAMANAKA There are lots of songs about heartache that sound good, but this one feels good, too. Catherine Russell sings with the seldom-heard balance of wistfulness and sass, an unusual combination and one only she could pull off so well. Listen if you're past the stages of grieving and just want someone to say it plainly. Sing it, Cat! MELODY STONE I wouldn't normally chime in on this topic, but I have to echo the sentiments made by Devin and Victor. Catherine Russell's vocal stylings are so captivating and fun you don't have to know anything about jazz to really appreciate this album. I found myself really relating to this song - and I think I have a new nick-name around the station.