By Chaz Kangas
By Katherine Turman
By Phillip Mlynar
By Harley Oliver Brown
By Abdullah "T Kid" Saeed
By Matt Caputo
By Devon Maloney
By Chris Chafin
1. THELONIOUS MONK QUARTET: Thelonious Monk Quartet With John Coltrane at Carnegie Hall (Blue Note) Monk on top of the world, Coltrane in the throes of discovery, and each inspiring the other's best efforts.
2. JOHN COLTRANE: One Down, One Up: Live at the Half Note (Impulse) The Coltrane Quartet at its most ferocious, especially on the blistering title track.
3. PAUL MOTIAN/JOE LOVANO/BILL FRISELL: I Have the Room Above Her (ECM) Motian's apparently simple compositions are fodder for exquisite chamber interplay, and his drumming suggests the crawl of lengthening shadows.
4. VIJAY IYER: Reimagining(Savoy) Pianism is one reason to pay heed to this quartet outing, Iyer's strongest yet. Another is his rhythm concept beguiling, befuddling, and legitimately new.
5. ROSCOE MITCHELL QUINTET: Turn (RogueArt) Gripping inside-out miniatures from an AACM elder, with a heavy next-generation crew.
6. CUONG VU: It's Mostly Residual (Artist Share) As trumpeter and composer, Vu favors darkness and warmthwhich explains why this album provides such a hospitable setting for Bill Frisell.
7. PAT METHENY GROUP: The Way Up(Nonesuch) Metheny's billowing suite overcomes pretense with high musicianship and thematic coherence.
10. ROBERT GLASPER: Canvas(Blue Note) Bright and buoyant reveries from this year's big arrival, whose trio shows serious promise.