By Steve Weinstein
By Bryan Bierman
By Lindsey Rhoades
By Chaz Kangas
By Ben Westhoff and Sarah Purkrabek
By Jena Ardell
By Jesse Sendejas Jr.
By Katherine Turman
13. Ruby Braff, You Can Depend on Me (Arbors). Nat Hentoff long ago observed that as trumpet players grow older they sound more like Louis Armstrong. Braff began as an Armstrong man, developing a prim, glimmering, nuanced take of his own, yet has never sounded more maturely in his thrall, backed by a quartet (including the late Bob Haggart) that knows better than to get in his way.
Honorable Mention: Jim Hall's By Arrangement (Telarc); Art Ensemble of Chicago's Coming Home Jamaica (Atlantic); Three Baritone Saxophone Band Plays Mulligan (Dreyfus); Tony Williams's (really Mulgrew Miller's) Young at Heart (Columbia); Tim Berne's Paraphrase Visitations (Screwgun); Chris Potter's Vertigo (Concord); Mark Turner's In This World (Warner Bros.); David Murray's Creole (Justin Time); Rosemary Clooney and the Count Basie Orchestra's At Long Last (Concord); James Carter's In Carterian Fashion (Atlantic); the late Barrett Deems's Groovin' Hard (Lydia); Daryl Sherman's A Lady Must Live (After 9); Scott Hamilton and Bucky Pizzarelli's The Red Door (Concord); Joe Morris's Cloud of Black Birds (Aum Fidelity); and nearly the entire Netherlands Metropole Orchestra series (Koch), especially the new volumes by Bob Brookmeyer, Bill Holman, and Lee Konitz.
Betty Carter and Frank Sinatra, rest in peace.