By Bob Ruggiero
By Hilary Hughes
By Peter Gerstenzang
By David R. Adler
By Devon Maloney
By Brian McManus
By Jessica Hopper
By Harley Oliver Brown
NYNDK The Hunting of the Snark
Jazzheads Too rowdy for chamber jazz even if the touchstones are classical, if that's what you call Ives, Grieg, Perle, et al.
Scott DuBois Black Hawk Dance
Sunnyside Supple guitarist leads an edgy quartet where Gebhard Ullman makes most of the noise.
Jason Adasiewicz's Rolldown Varmint
Cuneiform Underground Chicago with a colorful swish of vibes.
BAG Charlie Hunter fusion grooves with clarinet dressing in lieu of synth and Ron Miles's cornet for occasional bite.
Gabriel Johnson Fra_ctured
Electrofone Bold swathes of soundtrack electronica, burnished with bolts of trumpet.
Kirk Knuffke Amnesia Brown
Clean Feed Free trumpet trio, with Doug Wieselman a double threat on clarinet and engagingly primitive guitar.
3 Trombone Solos
Dolfjin A limited instrument, seldom given such range of expression.
Roberto Rodriguez The First Basket
Tzadik Soundtrack for a David Vyorst film on early Jewish basketballers; a pastiche of klezmerish pieces con salsa.
Satoko Fujii Ma-Do Desert Ship
Not Two Bass and drums present, but only to heighten the piano-trumpet intercourse.
Matt Lavelle and Morcilla The Manifestation Drama
KMB Jazz Somehow manages to get his bass clarinet in your face as much as his trumpet.
Dan Tepfer/Lee Konitz Duos With Lee
Sunnyside Young pianist, ancient genius, no drama, nothing rushed—just pick a key and improvise.
482 Music Sax-drums improvs, like Vandermark/Nilssen-Love but more together.
Minamo Kuroi Kawa–Black River
Tzadik Crashing Satoko Fujii piano and soothing Carla Kihlstedt violin, evened out into two discs of intricate serenade.
Luis Lopes/Adam Lane/Igal Foni What Is When
Clean Feed Starts with a dissonant guitar nod to Sonny Sharrock, ends with badass bass solo.
Will Sellenraad Balance
Beeswax Long, sinuous guitar lines intertwined with Abraham Burton's earthy sax.
Gary Peacock/Marc Copland Insight
Pirouet Famous bassist and not nearly famous enough pianist snuggle up for discreet pleasures.
David Crowell Ensemble Spectrum
Innova Philip Glass saxophonist builds on minimalist rhythmic vamps, tightly boxed but tougher than chamber jazz.
Dave Douglas Spirit Moves
Greenleaf Music The spirit of Lester Bowie returns, trademarked by wit and funk, with a brass band "Mr. Pitiful" that is anything but.
John Hollenbeck Rainbow Jimmies
GPE A résumé stuffer, with two Claudia Quintet cuts, some chamber music, and percussion collectives.
Cynthia Sayer Attractions Plunk Banjo picker who sings too much fronts a retro dream band featuring guitar picker Bucky Pizzarelli.
Satoko Fujii Orchestra Tokyo Zakopane
Libra Big band, no piano, lots of Kelly Churko guitar, more horns.
Fight the Big Bull All Is Gladness in the Kingdom
Clean Feed Bigger (and louder) than ever, with Steven Bernstein joining the fray.
John McLaughlin and the 4th Dimension To the One
Abstract Logix Forty years of meditation on the one true fusion.
Pat Metheny Orchestrion
Nonesuch The fancy technology just lets him be himself, more mellifluous than ever.
Ralph Towner/Paolo Fresu Chiaroscuro
ECM Lushly resonant guitar and stately trumpet—a masterful match of color and texture.
Led Bib Sensible Shoes
Cuneiform Double-sax fusion group, drawing from rock the concept that you find the path to the next by paying louder.
Esperanza Spalding Chamber Music Society
Heads Up Soft, shapeless strings, layered in all sorts of scat. B-
Jamie Cullum The Pursuit
Verve Fewer tics, lamer songs. C