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.
Paul Shapiro's Ribs and Brisket Revue
Yiddish revivalism so far beyond the pale he's pinching songs from Slim Gaillard.
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.
Flag Day [Sunnyside]
Mellow, measured tenor-sax quartet, with subtle surprises from John Abercrombie, John Hebert, and Paul Motian.
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.
Maria Schneider Orchestra
Sky Blue [ArtistShare]
Winner of the Voice poll and another Grammy, but leaves me cold; guess I'd rather roll Beethoven over than teach him some Gil Evans tricks. B
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