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
1. MARILYN CRISPELL:Storyteller(ECM) With help from drummer-composer Paul Motian, the pianist continues her welcome run of lovesome abstractions.
2. CRAIG TABORN:Junk Magic (Thirsty Ear) Taborn brings genuine caprice to the knob-twiddling arts, inventing the least metallic electro-jazz prototype yet.
3. MARIA SCHNEIDER: Concert in the Garden (ArtistShare) Schneider's orchestral instrument breathes like an organism and churns like a precision machine.
4. ANDY BEY: American Song (Savoy Jazz) His baritone and falsetto are two of jazz's most lustrous timbres. After several close calls, here's an album truly worthy of them.
5. REVOLUTIONARY ENSEMBLE:And Now . . .(Pi) The chamber-improv avatars renew their relevance with this vigorous, unsentimental release.
8. GONZALO RUBALCABA:Paseo (Blue Note) These days, the piano phenom holds chops in check, which doesn't keep his New Cuban Quartet from forging slippery, sharp-cornered fusions.
9. JIM BLACK: Habyor (Winter & Winter) Black's AlasNoAxis band eschews jazz trappings in favor of fuzzy textures and childlike tunes.
10. ICP ORCHESTRA:Aan & Uit (ICP) Misha Mengelberg's rogues heed the very Dutch impulse of blending avant-garde mayhem with sepiatone swing, while dancing around a dozen good punchlines.