Jazz Consumer Guide: Adapt, Improvise, Party

A cross-section of young/old and avant/traditional gets drunk on everything

Honorable Mention

Arthur Kell Quartet
BJU Records

Bassist writes tight little figures, spun by Brad Shepik's guitar and Loren Stillman's alto sax into harmolodic heaven.

Allen Toussaint
The Bright Mississippi

A New Orleans pro with beaucoup connections shows a light touch with trad jazz.

Mulatu Astatke
New York–Addis–London: The Story of Ethio Jazz 1965–1975

Got out of Swinging Addis while the getting was good, picking up Latin and jazz notions just to splice them with hints of home.

Joe Morris
AUM Fidelity

Not so distinctive a bassist, but like every saxophonist he trios with—Petr Cancura here—he delivers a jolt of freedom.

Paul Giallorenzo
Get In to Go Out
482 Music

Josh Berman and Dave Rempis enjoy the free jousting of a pianoless quartet, while the pianist-leader finds clever ways to contribute.

The Second Approach Trio With Roswell Rudd
The Light

Passing through Moscow, the great trombonist gets sucked into a maelstrom of flying scat-singing and piano, like he never left the '60s.

Mike Reed's People, Places & Things
About Us
482 Music

Following an album about their ancestors, they tap into themselves for the sound of Chicago today.

Henry Threadgill Zooid
This Brings Us To, Vol. 1

Too much flute and some dead spots, but miraculous stretches confirm the leader's genius, a relief after too long a break.

Chris Potter Underground

Electrified with Adam Rogers's guitar and Craig Taborn's Fender Rhodes, the sax-whiz card pumps up the volume.

Chad Taylor
Circle Down
482 Music

Drummer-led piano trio, a snappier strategy than letting the pianist run things.

The Aggregation
Groove's Mood

La Tanya Hall sings a couple of Stevie Wonder songs, bait for Eddie Allen's brass stylings.

The Harry Allen–Joe Cohn Quartet
Plays Music From 'South Pacific'

A swinging, enchanted evening, with singers Rebecca Kilgore and Eddie Erickson cornier than Kansas in August.

Louis Sclavis
Lost on the Way

Double reeds romp and roll over Maxime Delpierre's guitar buzz.

Avram Fefer
Clean Feed

Freebop sax trio imagines "Sheep in Wolves' Clothing" and other fractious fairy tales.

Joe Morris Quartet
Today on Earth
AUM Fidelity

Returns to guitar, trading lines with Jim Hobbs—a kinder, gentler version of the Fully Celebrated Orchestra.

Erik Friedlander
Broken Arm Trio

Cello-led string bop—light, loose, slightly oblique.

Jeff Johnson
Tall Stranger

Bass-centered trio, the playing field leveled with Hans Teuber's faint reeds and soft splashes on the drums.

John Patitucci Trio

The bassist's record, so note the solos, the sonic balance, and the nuanced grooves, not just Joe Lovano.

Dave Holland/Gonzalo Rubalcaba/Chris Potter/Eric Harland
The Monterey Quartet
Monterey Jazz Festival

Live postbop superstar jam, the pianist's Afro-Cuban vibe feeding everyone's thoughts.

Peter Delano
For Dewey [1996]

More importantly, featuring Dewey—the late Mr. Redman's tenor infiltrates three of eight cuts, vibrant as ever.

The Ron Hockett Quintet
Finally Ron

Longtime journeyman clarinetist gets the Arbors red-carpet treatment for another round of those good ol' good 'uns.

Branford Marsalis Quartet
Marsalis Music

Same quartet as Requiem 10 years ago, the CEO letting his crew do the work while he perfects his soprano.

Lucky 7s
Pluto Junkyard
Clean Feed

Freebop grunge, muscled up with double-barreled lead trombones, gussied up with splashes of cornet and vibes.

Marty Grosz
Hot Winds

Rhythm guitarist cranks the winds, supplied by Dan Block and Scott Robinson, up to "hot."

Oliver Jones/Hank Jones
Pleased to Meet You
Justin Time

An Oscar Peterson–inspired piano trio reinforced by an elder whose extra piano adds more depth and gravity than flash.

Stacy Dillard

Tenor saxophonist, fierce at high speeds, soulful when he slows down.

Steve Shapiro/Pat Bergeson
Backward Compatible

Swinging guitar-vibes duo, with Nashville Hot Clubber Annie Sellick pledging her love to Daddy.

Dennis González
A Matter of Blood

Old-school, avant-garde mournful trumpet over a hard-working Curtis Clark–Reggie Workman–Michael T.A. Thompson rhythm section.

Miroslav Vitous Group With Michel Portal
Remembering Weather Report

Strange thing, memory, blotting out fusion keyboards in favor of Dvorak variations on Ornette and Miles.

Johnny Varro & Ken Peplowski
Two Legends of Jazz

Journeymen on piano and clarinet evoke the legendary era of small-group swing.

Rez Abbasi
Things to Come

Four songs with Indian vocals fortify the extended Indo-Pak Coalition, but the world-class band eschews fusion for postbop.

Harry Allen
New York State of Mind Challenge

A graceful swing through town, from "Harlem Nocturne" to "Chinatown, My Chinatown."


Mary Halvorson & Jessica Pavone
Thin Air
Thirsty Ear

Beat-up chamber jazz played as inept anti-folk and sung worse. B-

Robert Glasper
Double Booked
Blue Note

Continues to make nice progress as a mainstream piano trio-ist, but his Experiment is unstable and prone to stink bombs. B-

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