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
Another Ken Vandermark vehicle, or actually two. He wrote a batch of dedications to beats and raw powerevocations of Coxsone Dodd, King Tubby, Lee Perry, Burning Spear, Miles Davis, Hank Shocklee, the Stoogesand took them first to Oslo, then to Chicago. Nate McBride, in his Spaceways Inc. electric-bassist mode, made both trips. In Oslo, Lasse Marhaug's electronics plug into the rhythmic team of Ingebrigt Haker Flaten and Paal Nilssen-Love, a powerhouse platform for Vandermark's tenor sax. But the Chicago group has an extra dimension in Jeff Parker's guitar. Some Vandermark band names are obscure, but this one is just what it claims. A
A Life in the Day of B19: Tales of the Tower Block
Kinch's previous Conversations with the Unseen littered its tasty sax-blowing with rap skits. This time he reverses the ratio, burdening both: The raps are saddled with an ambitious narrative concept that's peculiarly British and left waiting a second volume to resolve (not that you care), while the grime beats stunt the instrumentals. He's conscious enough that he has one character urging him to "put down the microphone and stick to the sax." But the irony is wasted in this shotgun wedding. B MINUS
William Parker/Hamid Drake
First Communion + Piercing the Veil 
Riddim exercises and intimate exotica, doubling a studio reissue with a live warm-up.
Joe Morris/Ken Vandermark/Luther Gray
Abstract guitar leads spur tenor-sax improvs recycling one piece six ways.
Peter Brötzmann Chicago Tentet
American Landscapes 1
Big birds have deep, rumbling hearts . . .
State of the Union
[Fresh Sound New Talent]
Framing a voiceover critique of (political) stupidity with somber free jazz, forcing musicians (and us) to think.
As Is . . . Live at the Blue Note
Fluid quintet showcases the bassist's songbook, plus funky "Caravan."
Once More with Feeling [1960s-'70s]
Prolific studio pro offers a taste of old-fashioned clarinet.
Tord Gustavsen Trio
Low-key, precise, sensible, satisfyingarchetypal ECM piano.
[Fresh Sound World Jazz]
Piano trio, transported with Afro-Latin beats, oud, and melodica.
Ethnic Heritage Ensemble
Hot 'n' Heavy
A quartet now, with Fareed Haque's guitar adding pan-ethnic groove to hot trumpet, heavy sax, and El'Zabar's pan-ethnic beats.
Redeems his Miles Davis debut by jettisoning the keyboards and trumpet.
If Hebden's laptop fails the Turing test for improv, it's for lack of competition.
Nicole Mitchell/Harrison Bankhead/Hamid Drake
Indigo Trio/Live in Montreal
Fred Anderson's rough-tumbling rhythm section, iced with flute.
Peter Brötzmann Chicago Tentet
American Landscapes 2
. . . which swell over time, pumping longer and louder.
Charles Mingus Sextet with Eric Dolphy
A rough and amusing draft for Town Hall Concert and all those Euro bootlegs Sue Mingus fumes over.
75th Birthday Bash Live!
History repeats, tragedy and farce in no particular order.
Beyond the Wall
Crawling up Mount Coltrane, making fake vistas look painful.
Lost his hip, leaving sensory deprivation and orchestral torture.