Well I’m a touch late, but I couldn’t let the previous year pass by without imparting some sort of reflection on what moved me in 2014. The forthcoming lists will be presented haphazardly and in no particular order, much the like the music therein was consumed. Processing so much information can be daunting and usually leaves me working to get organized at the end of the year– but it’s always, always fun. Whittled down from some 500+ albums, EPs, mixes, and singles, here are some of my thoughts on 2014.
My Favorite San Diego Releases of 2014
Nathan Hubbard – Encinitas and Everything After (Vol. 1-5)
Nathan Hubbard‘s monumental Encinitas and Everything After— a five volume collection of twenty-five compositions clocking in at a cool five hours— was unquestionably the most impressive release from a San Diego artist last year. The deserved winner of the San Diego Music Award for “Best Jazz Album”, this work certainly surpasses the concepts of both “jazz” and “album”, constrained by little other than the limits of how much the human mind is capable of processing in 2014 and Hubbard’s expansive creative vision. This warm tribute to Encinitas, the small beach community that sits a stone’s throw north of San Diego (and Nathan’s hometown), feels a bit more like everything and everything after. A work that begins like a languid, sunkissed Sunday afternoon between the eucalyptus and the shoreline, only to patiently dip into cool night and build back to day again, these five volumes dispatch the listener through a mix of chaotic dreams, hazy memories, heartfelt eulogies, snapshots of particular places and times, ruminations on the passage of time itself, and beyond. In other words, this is an examination that utilizes seemingly every reflective angle available to it. Hubbard’s often experimental and highly collaborative approach yields a personnel roster of some seventy-two performers who contributed to both new compositions and some that date as far back as 1992, performed in a myriad of arrangements— from tape and sample-based electronic experiments, to more traditional jazz quartets, to larger and more varied ensembles.
To be honest, I’m still processing this opus and probably will continue to process it for some time to come. But, what better reward for a listener is there than that? You can navigate those depths yourselves when you pick up all five volumes of Encinitas and Everything After over at Nathan Hubbard’s Bandcamp page.