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Nate Chinen’s “The Year in Gigs 2014”

From Marsalis to Lage to Iyer, plenty of memorable nights

Fabian Almazan
Julian Lage at Winter Jazz Fest 2012
Steve Lehman

What is it, exactly, that makes a superlative gig? I ask myself that question near the close of every year, in preparation for this column, and the answers don’t always line up. But one thing I can say with confidence is that a gig only rises to the level of greatness when there’s a moment-ideally, a handful of them-that stays with me long after the applause dwindles and the check is paid.

Looking back over my calendar months later, those standout moments spring instantly to mind, with an almost sensory presence that puts me right back in the room. If I can’t conjure even one of these, chances are that the gig in question was merely very good, which, for the purposes of this conversation, isn’t quite good enough.

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