Jazz Consumer Guide: Little Innovations Run the World

Echoes of Basie, Mingus, Tyner, etc., with chops and abstractions all their own

Itinerant drummer, with Kieran Hebden's laptop in tow, meets up with Senegalese pros for a slick little groovefest.

Maceo Parker
Roots & Grooves
Heads Up

The WDR Big Band Cologne goes to heaven, backing the man with the keys on one disc of Ray Charles, and another of James Brown.

Art Pepper
Unreleased Art, Vol. III: The Croydon Concert, May 14, 1981
Widow's Taste

A hot set with a "favorite group" he rarely recorded with—remarkable as usual.

Peter Brötzmann/Peeter Uuskyla
Born Broke
Atavistic

Two discs, no bassist, less terror, more soul, vibrant as ever, aging with some grace, some bitterness.

Bobby Previte & the New Bump
Set the Alarm for Monday
Palmetto

Slick rhythm, with drums and vibes leaping over one another, but Ellery Eskelin and Steven Bernstein cut the grease.

Houston Person/Ron Carter
Just Between Friends
High Note

Pitching woo, directed more at old chestnuts than each other.

Jon Larsen
The Jimmy Carl Black Story
Zonic Entertainment/Hot Club

Grandmother of invention tells tall tales over chintzy avant-lounge.

Marcin Wasilewski Trio
January
ECM

A near-perfect quiet storm of ECM piano, with every little detail carefully locked into place.

ZMF Trio
Circle the Path
Drip Audio

Avant violin; a Revolutionary Ensemble for liberal Vancouver.

Territory Band-6 With Fred Anderson
Collide
Okka Disk

Ken Vandermark's territory band makes more sense centered on Anderson, who breathes soul into the transatlantic avant's peculiar blues.

Louie Bellson & Clark Terry
Louie & Clark Expedition 2
Percussion Power

A bang-up big band whose octogenarian leaders are still swinging like they did for Ellington.

Willie Nelson/Wynton Marsalis
Two Men With the Blues
Blue Note

Neither man feels the blues, but call out a song and chances are they can wing it.

Esmée Olthuis/Albert Van Veenendaal
The Mystery of Guests
Evil Rabbit

Guests like drummer Han Bennink and guitarist Corrie van Binsbergen flesh out a sax-piano duo with plenty of rough edges and unfinished ideas.

Mort Weiss/Ron Eschete
All Too Soon
SMS Jazz

Clarinet-guitar duets—a late bloomer from the bebop generation alongside a young 7-stringer who can swing.

The James Moody and Hank Jones Quartet
Our Delight
IPO

Bebop upstarts, octogenarians now, relishing Gillespie and Dameron.

The Peter Brötzmann Octet
The Complete Machine Gun Sessions (1968)
Atavistic

The original fount of saxophonic terror, a certified classic, and still farther out than you really want to go.

DUDS

Rob Mosher's Storytime
The Tortoise
Old Mill

More proof that jazz is the semipop classical of the 21st century. B MINUS

Lindha Kallerdahl
Gold
ESP-Disk

Near-solo voice; shows that the avant-garde can still find new ways to annoy. C PLUS

Kate McGarry
If Less Is More . . . Nothing Is Everything
Palmetto

Stupid pet tricks, without the cute factor. C

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