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
Mary Lou Williams
A Grand Night for Swinging (1976) [High Note]
Of course she can swing, but wait till you hear her deconstruct.
And So I Lived in Old New York . . . [Smalls]
The Chris Byars Quartet, bass-ackwards.
Marilyn Mazur/Jan Garbarek
The saxophonist hypnotic as a snake charmer, taming Mazur's exotic percussion.
Steve Lehman Quintet
On Meaning [Pi]
Complex, thought-challenging abstractions set to offbeat jingle-jangle riddims.
Luminosity [Doubledave Music]
Talks his way into vocalese jams but keeps his cool, the humor of "Hungry Man" and "Full of Myself"; true because he's neither.
Sal Mosca Quartet
You Go to My Head [Blue Jack Jazz]
A posthumous teaser from the Tristano school pianistbreezy, brainy standards from Gershwin, Parker-Gillespie, Konitz-Marsh.
Breakfast on the Morning Tram [Blue Note]
French chanson and samba, a recipe for heartbreak penned by Kazuo Ishiguro and scored with soft sax.
Present Tense [Emarcy]
Showcases his remarkable talents, but not his former ability to conceptualize a whole album.
The Jack & Jim Show
Hearing Is Believing [Boxholder]
Samba with the girl from Al Qaeda, shooting ducks with Cheney.
Hits by Brits [Challenge]
"A Nightingale in Berkeley Square," "Cherokee, "These Foolish Things"enough for a record.
Jason Kao Hwang/Edge
Stories Before Within [Innova]
Dense shades of Chinese jazz fiddle, tarted up by Taylor Ho Bynum's cornet.
Painting Time [T&T Music]
World-wise beats and crisp, healthy horns; pop jazz minus the junk food.
Brad Leali Jazz Orchestra
Maria Juanez [TCB]
Groomed in Basie's ghost band, still tapping the great atomic power.
Rob Brown Trio
Sounds [Clean Feed]
Another Vision Festival piece, a free sax trio with cello and taiko drums.
Marty Ehrlich & Myra Melford
Deceptively calm sax-piano duets, but not enough tinder to catch fire.
The Rocco John Group
Don't Wait Too Long [COCA Productions]
Iacovone plays alto sax, cut his teeth in '70s lofts, cooled his heels in Alaska, returns as gray-haired demon.
The Joe Locke Quartet
Sticks and Strings [Jazz Eyes]
The vibraphonist's favorite strings are on Jonathan Kreisberg's guitars.
The Prince's Groove [Prince V]
New Jersey's leading Hammond B-3 salesman demonstrates his product with guest stars at every turn, including Houston Person on the sax ballad.
Ernest Dawkins' New Horizons Ensemble
The Messenger [Delmark]
A tailgate party, Chicago-style, down and dirty but further out.
Nicole Mitchell's Black Earth Ensemble
Black Unstoppable [Delmark]
The Pied Piper of the AACM, her great musical mish-mash marred by faux-gospel vocals. B MINUS
Obvious metaphors for Katrina: trumpet buried in heavy keyboard sludge, loud drums, immobile bass. B MINUS