Jazz Consumer Guide (27):

These are the prospecting notes from working on Jazz CG #27. The idea here was to pick an unrated record from the incoming queue, play it, jot down a note, and a grade. Any grade in brackets is tentative, with the record going back for further play. Brackets are also used for qualifying notes: "advance" refers to a record that was reviewed on the basis of an advance of special promo copy, without viewing the final packaging; "Rhapsody" refers to a record that was reviewed based on streaming the record from the Rhapsody music service; in this case I've seen no packaging material or promotional material, except what I've scrounged up on the web. In some of these cases there is a second note, written once I've settled on the grade. Rarely there may be an additional note written after grading.

These were written from April 11, 2011 to August 1, 2011, with non-finalized entries duplicated from previous prospecting. The notes have been sorted by artist. The chronological order can be obtained from the notebook or blog.

The number of records noted below is 249 (plus 84 carryovers). The count from the previous file was 227 (+96). (before that: 248+113, 218+96, 207+125, 219, 225, 226, 230, 293, 291, 240, 259).

Muhal Richard Abrams: SoundDance (2009-10 [2011], Pi, 2CD): Chicago pianist, b. 1930, AACM founder and eminence grise, gets more respect in polls than I'd expect although arguably should get more. Looking back over my database, I find I'm all over the place with him -- admiring early albums like Things to Come From Those Now Gone (1972) and the recently reissued Afrisong (1975), being a bit overwhelmed by his big orchestras like The Hearinga Suite (1989), winding up pretty cautious on his recent works for Pi. I could hedge here on these two disc-long improv duos -- they're not compelling and I find myself phasing in and out -- but something tells me this is the time to show some respect. The Fred Anderson set is the easy one: he mellowed noticeably over his post-retirement decade-plus, and has rarely sounded sweeter than here -- I'm not the sort of person who gets all weepy over losing someone, but this could do the trick. The set with George Lewis is more demanding, more intellectual, as one would expect. But I do love his trombone, and the piano goes beyond abstraction to teasing him along. Bought a copy of Lewis's massive AACM history a while back, and hope to find time to read it some day. Maybe then this will come clear; until we'll just let the mystery be. A-

Agogic (2010 [2011], Tables and Chairs): I filed this eponymous group album under trumpeter Cuong Vu, but on second thought Andrew D'Angelo (alto sax, bass clarinet) is, as I should have expected, the more forceful leader. Squaring off the quartet are Luke Bergman on electric bass and Evan Woodle on drums. The two-horn jousts are pretty exciting although they sometimes come unfrayed under the heat of battle. The two-horn unison dirge makes a powerful sound as well. B+(***)

Ambrose Akinmusire: When the Heart Emerges Glistening (2010 [2011], Blue Note): Trumpet player, b. 1982 in Oakland, CA; second album after one on Fresh Sound New Talent. Mostly postbop quintet, with Walter Smith III shagging him on tenor sax, Gerald Clayton on piano, Harish Raghavan on bass, and Justin Brown on drums, although Jason Moran takes two shots on Fender Rhodes. Hits quality notes over staggered rhythms. B+(**) [Rhapsody]

Eric Alexander: Don't Follow the Crowd (2010 [2011], High Note): Prolific tenor saxophonist, big mainstream sound, capable on ballads, even better at speed. Quartet with Harold Mabern on piano, Nat Reeves on bass, Joe Farnsworth on drums. Pretty much his typical album, although Mabern is a slight shift from his usual pianists. B+(**)

Ralph Alessi and This Against That: Wiry Strong (2008 [2011], Clean Feed): Trumpet player, eighth album since 2002, which moves him beyond the usual temptation to treat him as a superb sideman. Group names after his 2002 album, although the only constants are saxophonist Ravi Coltrane and bassist Drew Gress -- Andy Milne plays piano, and Mark Ferber drums. B+(***)

J.D. Allen Trio: Victory! (2010 [2011], Sunnyside): Tenor saxophonist, b. 1972 in Detroit, fifth album since 1999. Started mainstream but has his own sound and a powerful presence, especially in sax trios like this one. With Gregg August on bass and Rudy Royston on drums. B+(***)

Ben Allison: Action-Refraction (2011, Palmetto): Another one I expected to show up but didn't. Pretty good bassist, even better composer: last three records on Palmetto scored A- here. Only one original here. The covers start with Monk but into rock and elsewhere: PJ Harvey, Donnie Hathaway, Neal Young, Samuel Barber, Paul Williams. Guitarists Steve Cardenas and Brandon Seabrook are central, with Jason Lindner on synth as well as piano, and Michael Blake on bass clarinet and tenor sax. Sort of an instrumental prog rock feel, but tighter, more determined. B+(***) [Rhapsody]

The Ambush Party (2008 [2011], De Platenbakkerij): Eponymous first album, group a quartet: Natalio Sued (tenor sax), Oscar Jan Hoogland (piano), Harald Austbø (cello), Marcos Baggiani (drums). Recorded in Amsterdam, no background on any of them. Free improv, what they call instant composition. Rugged not rough, with a little of that circus undertow the Dutch are so fond of. B+(**)

Scott Amendola Trio: Lift (2010, Sazi): Drummer, best known in the Nels Cline Singers; fourth album since 1999, a trio with Jeff Parker on guitar and John Shifflett on bass. Mostly hews to rock grooves, but much more to it. Especially good showcase for Parker. B+(***)

Bill Anschell: Figments (2010 [2011], Origin): Seattle pianist, AMG counts seven albums since 1997. Solo piano this time, all covers, majority folk/rock from the 1960s (two Lennon/McCartneys, "Alice's Restaurant," "Spinning Wheel") into the early 1970s ("Big Yellow Taxi," "Desperado"). Nice as far as it goes. B

E.J. Antonio: Rituals in the Marrow: Recipe for a Jam Session (2010, Blue Zygo): Poet, grew up in Harlem, got a MBA from NYIT, she doesn't dislose any timeline other than that she first published in 2003. First album; I've seen mention of a book but Amazon doesn't have it. Words don't strike me with the clarity of Dan Raphael's record, but she scratches raw and her praise song gospel whoop on "Pullman Porter" registers strongly. Backed with bass pulse, Michael T.A. Thompson soundrhythium, and best of all Joe Giardullo's reeds -- mostly soprano sax to my ear. Gets better along the way, which may mean I need to give it more time, but it already makes a terrific contrast to the Raphael/Halley record. B+(***)

Arrive: "There Was . . ." (2008 [2011], Clean Feed): Chicago group: Aram Shelton (alto sax), Jason Adasiewicz (vibes), Jason Roebke (bass), Tim Daisy (drums). Same group under Shelton's name released Arrive in 2005 (recorded 2001, so they go back quite a ways). Good saxophonist, fast, inventive, would have been a slick bebopper in the day; adds a little more now. Vibes add a little fluff. B+(**)

Clint Ashlock Big Band: New Jazz Order (2008 [2011], self-released): Trumpet player, from Kansas City, leading a standard big band (although so many musicians come and go I didn't check to see if all the sections always add up). Bobby Watson joins on two cuts, which scarcely matters except for the imprimatur he lends to musicians I've never heard of. The guitar keeps things going, the section work is snappy, they have a great time -- much like the territory bands of yore. B+(***)

Omer Avital: Free Forever (2007 [2011], Smalls): Bassist, from Israel, has been in New York at least since 1994, with nine albums since 2001. Quintet, with Avishai Cohen (trumpet), Joel Frahm (tenor and soprano sax), Jason Lindner (piano), and Ferenc Nemeth (drums). Group pieces have a sophisticated swing and a bit of Latin tinge. Three "interludes" spotlight the trumpet, piano, and bass. Never thought of Frahm as a soprano player before -- maybe he's just never had such rich, expressive material to play. B+(***)

Harrison Bankhead Sextet: Morning Sun Harvest Moon (2010 [2011], Engine): Bassist, from Chicago, first album as leader but has side-credits since 1991, mostly with Malachi Thompson, Fred Anderson, Roscoe Mitchell, and Nicole Mitchell. Starts with a pair of wood flutes. Picks up the bass and a beat and even dabbles in what sounds a little like South Africa, eventually moving into more treacherous regions, although idiosyncratic, underkeyed rhythm pieces predominate. Two reed players, Edward Wilkerson Jr. and Mars Williams; James Sanders on violin (all the more useful for a Leroy Jenkins tribute); Avreayl Ra on drums and Ernie Adams on percussion. Nothing here blows you over. It keeps returning to the center, which is the bass. A- [Rhapsody]

Banquet of the Spirits: Caym: The Book of Angels Volume 17 (2010 [2011], Tzadik): More John Zorn compositions, or maybe the same old ones cut up, tossed up, and redressed with a different bunch of musicians. Brazilian percussionist Cyro Baptista seems to be leader here -- everything is given remarkable rhythmic twists, something that drummer Tim Keiper helps with. The others flesh out those twists: Brian Marsella (piano, harpsichord, pump organ) and Shanir Ezra Blumenkranz (oud, bass, gimbri). All four add vocals. Not necessarily a good idea, but infectious here. B+(**) [Rhapsody]

Chris Barber: Memories of My Trip (1958-2010 [2011], Proper, 2CD): English trombonist, one of the major figures in Britain's trad jazz movement in the 1950s, looking back from age 80 on a career that did more than preserve past music: Barber was especially important in building British interest in American bluesmen, which led to all sorts of things, not least the Rolling Stones. I don't have good dates on everything here, but some of the earliest tracks come from a 1958 tour with Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee; later tracks feature bluesmen from Muddy Waters to Jeff Healey, but also Lonnie Donegan, Van Morrison, and Andy Fairweather Low. The guest star framework slights Barber's own play and his wry vocals, making room for old jazz hands like Edmond Hall, Albert Nicholas, and Trummy Young. But at least he leaves some space for Ottilie Patterson, his long-time singer and wife. Could use more of her, and more jazz instrumentals: Hall's "St. Louis Blues" is definitely a high point. B+(**) [Rhapsody]

Diego Barber: The Choice (2010 [2011], Sunnyside): Guitarist, b. 1978 in Lanzarote, Canary Islands; studied in Lanzarote, Madrid, and Salzburg, before moving to New York in 2007. Second album. Cover has small print: Featuring: Seamus Blake, Larry Grenadier, Ari Hoenig, Mark Turner, Johannes Weidenmueller. No per track credits, but their contribution is small too, and vanishes completely for the final three-track "Sonata Banc D'Arguin." B

BassDrumBone: The Other Parade (2009 [2011], Clean Feed): Longtime collaborators, Ray Anderson (trombone), Mark Helias (bass), and Gerry Hemingway (drums) first hooked up in 1977, cutting Oahpse in 1978. First used the group name on Wooferlo in 1987, but their reference album for me is 1997's (Hence the Reason) (Enja). Not sure how many BassDrumBone records there are -- Hemingway's website refers to Cooked to Perfection as the group's "sixth and latest," but doesn't have all of its predecessors, and there are at least two since. This is the latest: can't say Anderson is at his peak, but he's an able and inventive frontman, and Helias and Hemingway are marvelous, as usual. B+(***)

Bebop Trio (2011, Creative Nation Music): Former NEC students: Lefteris Kordis (piano, from Greece), Thor Thorvaldsson (drums, from Iceland), and Alec Spiegelman (clarinet, from Brooklyn). Drummer has mostly played in rock bands. Clarinetist also belongs to Klezwoods. Group/album name is a misnomer: their covers stake out various pianists, some bebop, some harder to pin down: Bud Powell, Duke Ellington, George Shearing, Elmo Hope, Herbie Nichols, Lennie Tristano. Still, Spiegelman's model isn't Buddy DeFranco or Jimmy Giuffre; it's Steve Lacy, who was famous for bypassing bebop when he jumped from trad jazz to avant-garde. Lacy taught some at NEC during his last years, and Irène Aëbi passed some Lacy charts to Spiegelman, and one thing led to another. B+(***)

The Louie Belogenis Trio: Tiresias (2008 [2011], Porter): Tenor saxophonist, don't have any biographical info but has recorded since 1993, can't say how many albums or how important he was to each since he's often worked behind group names -- Prima Materia, God Is My Co-Pilot, Exuberance, Flow Trio, Old Dog. Always struck me as a journeyman free player, but his workmanship here is exceptionally formidable on five group improve plus a few minutes of John Coltrane's "Alabama" -- of course the group helps, Michael Bisio on bass and Sunny Murray on drums. B+(***)

Cheryl Bentyne: The Gershwin Songbook (2010, ArtistShare): Singer, b. 1954, best known as part of Manhattan Transfer since 1979, but has ten solo albums, most since 2002. This one is a lock, mostly top drawer songs, given light, delectable treatments with piano (Corey Allen or Ted Howe), Peter Gordon's flutes, and Ken Peplowski's bubbly clarinet. Mark Winkler joins for "Let's Call the Whole Thing Off." Only disappointment is "Summertime," which has yielded so many great versions I've long wanted to dump them all into a mixtape. Here she goes falsetto, with a lot of warble to the backup, which just seems weirdly off. B+(*)

Tim Berne/Jim Black/Nels Cline: The Veil (2009 [2011], Cryptogramophone): Front cover just has initials: "bb&c"; spine has last names: "Berne/Black/Cline"; back cover spells it all out, and adds "recorded live at the stone NYC." Alto sax-drums-guitar, if you still need to know. Starts off with a repetitive thing then slides into deep thrash, which is something Cline is prone to and that the others can play with, but it settles out into something more interesting. Still mostly a guitar album -- Berne's sax rarely breaks out. B+(***)

Big Neighborhood: 11:11 (2006, Origin, 2CD): Group: Chris Fagan (alto sax), David White (guitar, guitar synth), Doug Miller (bass), Phil Parisot (drums). Second album. Been on my shelf a long time. Partly I've avoided it because I rarely feel up to tackling multi-disc sets by unknowns, although it turns out that all this could have been squeezed onto a single CD. White and Miller split most of the writing, with one piece by Parisot. Flows along nicely on the guitar, the sax mostly window dressing. B

Ketil Bjørnstad/Svante Henryson: Night Song (2009 [2011], ECM): Piano-cello duet. Bjørnstad was b. 1952 in Oslo, Norway; has 30-some albums since 1989, 7 on ECM; classical training, touches on folk-jazz and avant-classical and plays with the moderated intensity you expect from Manfred Eicher's pianists. Henryson was b. 1963 in Stockholm, Sweden; also moved through classical music to jazz, although he also pops up on the occasional Yngwie Malmsteen heavy metal album. Nice, relaxing, not too pretty. B+(**)

Jim Black/Trevor Dunn/Oscar Noriega/Chris Speed: Endangered Blood (2010 [2011], Skirl): Oversized packaging, roughly the size of a DVD box, which makes it inconvenient for filing. Not clear if Endangered Blood is deemed a group title, but the four artists are more usefully listed on the front cover. Drums, bass, alto sax/bass clarinet, and tenor sax respectively. One cover, Monk's "Epistrophy"; everything else is credited to Speed, so it must be alphabetical order governing the credits. The faster the rhythm propels them, the more interesting this gets -- "Tacos and Oscars" is the standout track. B+(***)

Ran Blake: Grey December: Live in Rome (2010 [2011], Tompkins Square): Pianist, b. 1935, thirty-some albums since 1961, many of them solo, especially recently. Difficult player for me to get a handle on, even when he plays something as familiar as "Nature Boy." This doesn't move much, and while the melodic motifs are not without interest, I can't really tell you why. B [Rhapsody]

Art Blakey & the Jazz Messengers: The Sesjun Radio Shows (1978-83 [2011], T2 Entertainment, 2CD): The second in a series of radio shots from Tros Sesjun in the Netherlands -- Chet Baker came out first, last year. Blakey was in the midst of a comeback in the late 1970s: his most famous lineup introduced Wynton and Branford Marsalis, but they're not in any of the three sets here. Instead, Bobby Watson and Donald Harrison play alto; David Schnitter, Billy Pierce, and Jean Toussaint tenor; Valery Ponomarev and Terence Blanchard trumpet. The May 1980 group bops hardest (Pierce, Watson, and Ponomarev, with James Williams on piano and Charles Fambrough on bass), their set split across the two discs. Blakey responds as usual, playing even harder. B+(**)

T.K. Blue: Latin Bird (2010 [2011], Motéma): Also known as Talib Kibwe; plays alto sax and flute; b. in New York, mother from Trinidad, father from Jamaica; studied at NYU and Columbia; joined Abdullah Ibrahim 1977-80, moved to Paris for early 1980s, hooked up with Randy Weston for a long stretch. Released three albums as Talib Kibwe 1986-96; five now as T.K. Blue, starting in 1999. This one is simple enough: Charlie Parker songs with Latin percussion -- Roland Guerrero on congas, Willie Martinez on traps -- with Theo Hill on piano and Essiet Okon Essiet on bass, plus a couple guests: Lewis Nash takes over the drums on two cuts, and Steve Turre plays shells and 'bone on three. Not the overpowering player Bird was, but that's fine by me. The two originals are OK, but the one non-Parker cover is a dead spot: "Round Midnight," which subtracts rather than adds to the theme. B+(**)

Bones & Tones (2009 [2011], Freedom Art): Eponymous quartet album, everyone credited with percussion as well as: vocals/kora (Abdou Mboup), vibes (Warren Smith), marimba/bells (Lloyd Haber), and bass (Jaribu Shahid). The marimba-vibes stands out in an endless African groove, not much differentiated but very listenable as is. B+(**)

Brazilian Groove Band: Anatomy of Groove (2009, Far Out): Leo Gandelman project. He plays sax, flute, keyboards (here at least), has 15-20 records under his own name, the majority with obvious Brazilian themes (Brazilian Soul, Bossa Rara, Perolas Negras, Ao Vivo, like that). The horns are massed up like salsa, but the guitars work Brazilian themes, and the beats feel electronic: all seems a bit off, but not enough to be odd. Packaging at least is truthful, including the absence of definite articles. B [Rhapsody]

Jaki Byard: A Matter of Black and White: Live at the Keystone Korner, Vol. 2 (1978-79 [2011], High Note): Pianist, 1922-99, released his first record in 1960, was an important figure in the 1960s, not avant-garde but not in any mainstream either -- Out Front! (1961) is a prime example, and I also like The Last From Lennie's (1965, came out in 2003) although I missed the two volumes that preceded it. Solo piano, well-worn standards -- "God Bless the Child," "Alexander's Ragtime Band," "Do You Know What It Means to Miss New Orleans," "I Know a Place," "'Round Midnight," "Day Dream," among others. Bright, touching. B+(***)

The Chris Byars Octet: Lucky Strikes Again (2010 [2011], SteepleChase): Tenor saxophonist, plays some soprano as way too many do, but actually started on alto; AMG hasn't bothered to provide a biography yet, but for those who have paid attention he is one of the major arrivals of the past decade (e.g., his Photos in Black, White and Gray was one of my pick hits). What you might call a hard-core bebopper (not same as hard bopper). Focused on Gigi Gryce last time out, moved back a bit back to Lucky Thompson this time, who hit the cusp between swing and bebop almost perfectly -- aside from his own superb records he played in the septet on some of Charlie Parker's most famous singles, and for my money he was the star. Byars gets a lot of help here, adding Zaid Nasser's alto, Mark Lopeman's baritone, Scott Wondholt's trumpet and John Mosca's trombone, which saves him from a more direct comparison. Eloquent arrangements, rich and flowing, with a touch of swing. [PS: First thing I did when I got this was to ask the publicist to fill in the gap left by two recent Byars albums on SteepleChase I didn't get. Still waiting.] A-

Taylor Ho Bynum/Joe Morris/Sara Schoenbeck: Next (2009 [2011], Porter): Maybe one of those records you're supposed to play extra loud, because at my normal volume I'm not hearing much of anything here -- scattered squiggles of Schoenbeck's bassoon, scratch guitar, isolated bits of cornet. Doesn't jive with reviews I've read, and doesn't seem likely to come together even if I were inclined to give it extra effort. B-

Uri Caine/Arditti String Quartet: Twelve Caprices (2010 [2011], Winter & Winter): Jazz pianist who has taken quite a bit of classical music as his starting point, some of which I've begrudgingly found interesting (e.g., Plays Mozart) and some appalling (e.g., Robert Schumann: Love Fugue), faces off for a set of improvs with Irvine Arditti's well established classical string quartet. The strings are abstractly modernistic, the piano cutting against the grain. B+(*) [Rhapsody]

Fredrik Carlquist: Playing Cool (2010 [2011], FCJazz): Tenor saxophonist, b. 1969 in Jönköping, Sweden; based in Barcelona; fourth album since 1999. Two originals, ten covers intended to explore "his influences from players llike Paul Desmond, Stan Getz and Lars Gullin." Helping with the latter is "special guest" baritone saxophonist Joan Chamorro on three tracks; rest is sax-guitar-bass-drums quartet. That adds up to a pretty mild mannered sax album. One song is even called "Sweet and Lovely," but really they all are. B+(**)

Brian Carpenter's Ghost Train Orchestra: Hothouse Stomp: The Music of 1920s Chicago and Harlem (2009 [2011], Accurate): Trumpet player, from Florida, moved to Boston in 2000, starting a band called Beat Circus, which has three albums of "Weird American Gothic" (on Cuneiform; haven't heard them). Band here includes some well known players: Andy Laster and Matt Bauder on saxes, Curtis Hasselbring on trombone, Brandon Seabrook on guitar; also Dennis Lichtman on clarinet, violin, viola, tuba, and drums. Focuses on four bands: Charlie Johnson's Paradise Orchestra, McKinney's Cotton Pickers, Tiny Parham and His Musicians, and Fess Williams' Royal Flush Orchestra. Gets many of the pre-swing quirks right, but I'm not sure that's a plus. B+(**)

François Carrier/Alexey Lapin/Michel Lambert: Inner Spire (2010 [2011], Leo): Alto saxophonist, from Canada (Quebec actually), b. 1961, has been on a tear since 1998. I've recommended a bunch of his albums. Trio, with his longstanding drummer Michel Lambert, plus pianist Alexey Lapin -- picked him up when they cut this in Moscow. He works his usual free jazz charms; piano doesn't quite come out, but has promising moments. B+(***)

François Carrier: Entrance 3 (2002 [2011], Ayler): Alto saxophonist with his longtime trio -- Pierre Côté on bass, Michel Lambert on drums, always an excellent freebop group -- recorded at the Vancouver Jazz Festival with Bobo Stenson sitting in on piano. Stenson is excellent here, but spreads the group out. B+(**)

James Carter: Caribbean Rhapsody (2009-10 [2011], Emarcy): Starts with "Concerto for Saxophones and Orchestra," composed by Roberto Sierra (from Puerto Rico), played by Sinfonia Varsovia Orchestra (from Warsaw, Poland), conducted by Giancarlo Guerrero, with Carter handling the saxophones. Then we get a "Tenor Interlude" showcasing Carter; another Sierra composition, "Caribbean Rhapsody," with the Akua Dixon String Quartet, Regina Carter for a violin solo, bass, and soprano and tenor sax; finally a "Soprano Interlude." So this is basically a sax with strings thing, except that for the bulk of the record the strings are in charge. Ever since Charlie Parker saxophonists have been eager to play in front of strings, and they haven't all been atrocious -- Stan Getz's Focus and Art Pepper's Winter Moon are two resounding exceptions, but I can't think of any others offhand. The "interludes," by the way, are solo; they do help to clear out the ears. B-

Rondi Charleston: Who Knows Where The Time Goes (2009 [2011], Motéma Music): Singer, from Chicago, father taught English and played jazz piano, mother taught voice; studied at Juilliard. Third album since 2004; starts mostly covers (Sandy Denny, Stevie Wonder, Jobim of course), but winds down with four songs co-written with pianist Lynne Arriale and the annoying "Freedom Is a Voice" ("freedom is a man"; no lyric sheet but that's what it sounds like). Best thing here is "Please Send Me Someone to Love" -- but even there she'd rather come on strong. B-

Bruno Chevillon/Tim Berne: Old and Unwise (2010 [2011], Clean Feed): Bassist, b. 1959 in France, one previous album under his own name, side-credits with Louis Sclavis, André Jaume, Daniel Humair, Marc Ducret, Stefano Battaglia, Tony Malaby. Berne has a lot of records going back to 1979. He sticks to alto sax here, his main instrument. Chevillon wrote all of the pieces. Pays to focus on the bass here -- a more diversified source of noise than the sax, which just moves from note to note, however inventively. B+(***)

Steve Coleman and Five Elements: The Mancy of Sound (2007 [2011], Pi): A sequel to last year's Harvesting Semblances and Affinities, cut around the same time with the same band. I didn't care much for the previous album, and was surprised to find it polling well in year-end lists. My problem is vocalist Jen Shyu: I find her distracting and unnecessary even when I can't understand her (most of the time, especially on the 5-part Yoruba-derived "Odú Ifá Suite"). The horns -- Coleman's alto sax, Jonathan Finlayson's trumpet, Tim Albright's trombone -- weave around interestingly, and the rhythm section is superb, again. B+(*)

Francis Coletta/Jonas Tauber: Port Saïd Street (2010 [2011], Origin): Coletta plays "Godin electroacoustic guitar"; b. 1957 in Marseilles, France, also the source of the title where it seems to have a Beale Street resonance; has at least three previous records, not counting countless collaborations. Tauber plays cello here, bass elsewhere; is from Switzerland, has a couple previous albums. Intimate, chamberish, flows gently, nothing fancy. B+(*)

Marc Copland: Crosstalk (2010 [2011], Pirouet): Real good postbop pianist, has a couple dozen record since 1988, paired in a quartet with real good alto saxophonist Greg Osby. Wonder why it didn't work. (Thumbing through my database, I see they've done it before, only slightly more successfully, on Night Call in 2003. B+(*)

Laurence Cook/Eric Zinman: Double Action (2009 [2011], Ayler): Zinman is a pianist; Cook is credited with drums, percussion, and Casio wk1630. Blips and bangs, broken up and swirled around, chaos made fun. B+(**)

Alexis Cuadrado: Noneto Ibérico (2009 [2011], Bju'ecords): Bassist, from Spain, based on Brooklyn; fourth album since 2001. Brooklyn nonet, Marc Miralta's cajon and percussion adding to the Spanish flavor, as do a trio of "special guests" on four tracks -- not explained on the album but the website credits them with "Flamenco Handclaps and 'Jaleos'." The rest of the group are names I recognize: Perico Sambeat (alto/soprano sax, flute), Loren Stillman (alto/tenor sax), Avishai Cohen (trumpet/flugelhorn), Alan Ferber (trombone), Brad Shepik (guitar), Dan Tepfer (piano), and Mark Ferber (drums). Groups that size often get cluttered or break into pieces but this one is cohesive throughout, the horns weaving and bobbing, the flow inexorable. Don't have a recording date, just that the piece debuted in October 2009. A-

Claire Daly Quintet: Mary Joyce Project: Nothing to Lose (2011, Daly Bread): Baritone saxophonist, fifth album since 1999, first I've heard although I've noted her winning Downbeat's poll several times. Also plays alto sax and flute here, credibly in both cases, but the big horn is the treat. Quintet includes piano (Steve Hudson, who wrote or co-wrote about half of this), bass, drums, and Napoleon Maddox ("human beat box"). Mary Joyce was a relative ("father's first cousin") who among other things drove a dogsled from Juneau to Fairbanks in 1935-36 (1,000 miles) -- a story capped off in the closer ("Epilogue"). B+(***)

Henry Darragh: Tell Her for Me (2010, self-released): Pianist, singer-songwriter from Texas; studied at San Jacinto College and University of Houston. First album, with six originals and five standards. Has a soft spot for Chet Baker, especially on "Everything Happens to Me" -- even adds some soft trumpet, by Carol Morgan. B+(*)

Mon David: Coming True (2009, Free Ham): Singer, from somewhere in the Philippines, based somewhere in US. Second album. Mostly standards, some (like "Footprints") jazz pieces run through the vocalese mill. Technically impressive, and in some ways rather likable, but I have little taste for his mannerisms -- comparisons to Mark Murphy are lavishly earned -- so in the end I find this more annoying than not. Includes a duet with Charmaine Clamor, another talented Filipino. B-

Jenny Davis: Inside You (2009 [2010], self-released): Singer, from Seattle, third album. Wrote one of ten songs, the others scattered standards with Charlie Parker's "Confirmation" and Lennon & McCartney's "Blackbird" on the far edges. Barely backed by Chuck Easton (guitar, flute) and Ted Enderle (bass), with Louis Aissen's tenor sax on one cut. The boppish stuff has a touch of Sheila Jordan, not pushed so far, but she doesn't need a lot of support. Ambivalent about "Blackbird" -- almost invariably a disaster -- not to mention the obligatory Jobim. B+(**)

Miles Davis: Bitches Brew Live (1969-70 [2011], Columbia/Legacy): Something of a misnomer, combining three previously unreleased cuts from a pre-Bitches Brew July 1969 performance at Newport with six from an Isle of Wight set the following August. Neither group matches the album band -- Wayne Shorter, John McLaughlin, and Joe Zawinul are among the missing -- nor do the songs line up. The former group was stripped down with Chick Corea, Dave Holland, and Jack DeJohnette; the latter was buffed up, adding Gary Bartz, Keith Jarrett (on organ), and Airto Moreira. So this is basically yet another live set from the period when Davis made his transition from hard bop to fusion, and from dingy jazz clubs to stadia. Pretty hot one, too; all the more confusing since I mostly recall Bitches Brew as our favorite chill-out album of the early 1970s. B+(***)

Matija Dedic Trio: MD in NYC (2009 [2011], Origin): Pianist, b. 1973 in Zagreb, Croatia; studied in Austria, is based in Zagreb, but recorded this in New York, with Vicente Archer on bass and Kendrick Scott on drums. Second album, both trios. Rather quiet, inside stuff. Don't have much more to say. B

Papa John DeFrancesco: A Philadelphia Story (2010 [2011], Savant): Organ player, Joey's father, seventh album since 1992, which is to say he didn't really get his career going until after Joey started recording. Mostly trio, with John DeFrancesco Jr. on guitar and Glenn Ferracone on cover. Despite the cheesesteaks on the front cover and the girth on the back, Papa John has a light touch on the Hammond, and this skips along pleasantly. Three cuts add horns: Joe Fortunato's tenor sax on "Blues in the Closet," plus two tracks with Joey playing trumpet: doesn't stretch much but he's actually pretty good. B+(*)

Michael Dessen Trio: Forget the Pixel (2010 [2011], Clean Feed): Trombonist, also credited with electronics. Second album; also appears in a pianoless two-horn quartet, Cosmologic, which I file under saxophonist Jason Robinson. Here, in a trio with Christopher Tordini (bass) and Dan Weiss (drums), just the trombone is out front, which slows things down a bit, but the focus is useful. B+(*)

Lars Dietrich: Stand Alone (2010 [2011], self-released): Dutch alto saxophonist, based in New York, not to be confused with Bürger Lars Dietrich, a German "comedy rapper and entertainer," author of albums like Dicke Dinger. Second album. No credits given; title suggests Dietrich plays everything, which mostly sounds to me like keyboards and synth drums. Don't know about his previous album, but I'd file this one under electronica: the beats are a little less mechanical than the norm, but even when the rhythm gets slippery it's just transformed into another species of plastic. B

Al Di Meola: Pursuit of Radical Rhapsody (2010 [2011], Telarc): Guitarist, b. 1954, studied at Berklee, joined Chick Corea's Return to Forever 1974-76 as they slipped into the 1970s fusion muddle; has 30-some albums since 1976, of which I've heard two (one with John McLaughlin and Paco de Lucia) so I'm way behind the curve here -- never quite convinced it's one worth learning. Pretty fancy here, with a wide range of Latin effects from flamenco to tango to salsa, accordion and slinky percussion (including Mino Cinelu on four cuts), bits of Gonzalo Rubalcaba piano, three songs with dripping string arrangements, two covers ("Strawberry Fields Forever" and "Over the Rainbow") with Charlie Haden on bass. Like I said, fancy. B+(*) [advance: 2011-03-15]

Eldar Djangirov: Three Stories (2009 [2011], Masterworks Jazz): Pianist, b. 1987 in Kyrgyzstan, then still part of the Evil Empire. A proverbial child prodigy, "discovered" at age 9 playing in a festival somewhere in Siberia, moved to Kansas City (supposedly to soak up its jazz legacy, although I assure you no one will ever detect a trace of Bennie Moten or Pete Johnson here), cut his first record in his teens, going by first name only. First record using his last name, a welcome sign of maturity. Solo piano. He's never tried to shake his good classical education, featuring pieces by Bach and Scriabin alongside standards like "Darn That Dream" and "Embraceable You" and three originals -- only "In Walked Bud" and "Donna Lee" offer the slight whiff of jazz. B

Chris Donnelly: Solo (2008 [2010], ALMA): This has been sitting around awhile: package says 2008, artist's website says released in September 2008; AMG says 2009 and also says 2010; my records say 2010; can't find the hype sheet. Pianist, from somewhere in Canada, studied and currently teaches in Toronto. Debut record -- looks like there is a later one but I didn't get it. Solo, like the title says. Donnelly wrote 7 of 11 tracks; the others are Bill Evans, Bud Powell, a set of variations on Charlie Parker's "Donna Lee," and a "Cinderella Medley." Pretty decent as these things go, the originals well-conceived exercises, the covers have their intrigues. Bet he'd sound even better with bass and drums, even at the expense of some clarity. B+(*)

Dave Douglas: United Front: Brass Ecstasy at Newport (2010 [2011], Greenleaf Music): Same four brass plus drums lineup as on Douglas's Spirit Moves (2009): trumpet (Douglas), trombone (Luis Bonilla), French horn (Vinent Chancey), tuba (Marcus Rojas), and drums (Nasheet Waits). Repeats four songs, plus "Spirit Moves" (which somehow missed the album it was title of) and "United Front" -- three Douglas tunes and Hank Williams' "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry." Redundant if you don't care, but seems like more is more to me. Too bad I got to nag them every time out. B+(***) [Rhapsody]

Benjamin Drazen: Inner Lights (2010 [2011], Posi-Tone): Saxophonist, alto and soprano, from Roslyn, NY, b. 1972; studied at New England Conservatory with George Garzone (who else?); moved back to NYC in 1995. Debut album, quartet with piano (Jon Davis), bass (Carlo de Rosa), and drums (Eric McPherson); seven originals plus "This Is New" and "Polka Dots and Moonbeams." Fat pitch right down the middle. B+(**)

Kermit Driscoll: Reveille (2010 [2011], Nineteen-Eight): Bassist, b. 1956 in Nebraska, plays acoustic and electric; studied with Jaco Pastorius, graduated from Berklee. First album on his own, although he has about 60 side-credits since 1987, many with Bill Frisell (who returns the favor here), some in groups like New and Used. With Kris Davis on piano (sometimes prepared) and Vinnie Colaiuta on drums. Wrote 8 of 10 songs, with Trad's "Chicken Reel" offering the best Frisell effect. (The other cover is from Joe Zawinul, also exceptional in its power riffing.) In effect, a slightly less distinctive Frisell album. B+(**)

Lajos Dudas: 50 Years of Jazz Clarinet: The Best of Lajos Dudas (1976-2007 [2011], Jazz Sick, 2CD): Clarinet player, also some alto sax, b. 1941 in Budapest, Hungary; not sure when he moved to Germany, evidently by 1973 when he started teaching in Neuss, North Rhine-Westphalia. Reportedly has "over 50 Singles/LPs/CDs"; liner notes cite 17 here, plus seven cuts identified as radio shots. Fifty years goes back to his first performances, back when he was studying at the Bela Bartok Conservatory and the Franz Liszt Academy of Music. His recording career is shorter, starting around 1976 with his first Reflections on Bach -- a subject he returns to several times later. Still, this is very much jazz, even though he hardly fits into the trad, bop, or avant niches. Discs aren't strictly chronolgical, but the first one leans early (1978-94) with its Bach, Liszt, and HR Big Band (also a cut with guitarist Atilla Zoller). Second leads off with a vigorous "Summertime," then more Bach before he moves into a 1995-2007 stretch and it gets more interesting. B+(**)

Eco D'Alberi (2008-09 [2011], Porter): First album from Italian group: Edoardo Marraffa (tenor and sopranino sax), Alberto Braida (piano), Antonio Borghini (double bass), Fabrizio Spera (drums). Four pieces, two cut at Vision Festival in New York, the others in Pisa and Zurich a year-plus later. Free jazz, improv pieces, the longest at 32:00, with scratchy sax and crashing piano and lots of ancillary noise from the back, much like it's been done ever since Ayler. B+(**)

Mathias Eick: Skala (2009-10 [2011], ECM): Trumpeter, also plays guitar, vibes, bass; b. 1979 in Norway; second album; about 30 side credits since 2002, including groups Jaga Jazzist (relatively good acid jazz) and Motorpsycho (some kind of metal?). This breaks through the Nordic chill which ECM more often intensifies. Trumpet is warm and bright, Andreas Ulvo's piano moving shiftly through the undergrowth. Band varies from cut to cut, often doubling up on drums (Torstein Lofthus and Gard Nilssen), with tenor sax on one cut, harp on another, here then gone. A-

Harris Eisenstadt: Woodblock Prints (2010, NoBusiness): This album got a lot of year-end attention last year -- I think it even won a poll in Spain for best album of the year, so I figured I should check it out. The drummer is barely audible, but his compositions for nonet offer intriguing, albeit mostly plodding, moves. The group is divided into a "brass trio" (French horn, trombone, and tuba) and a "wind trio" (clarinet, alto sax, bassoon). Final piece ("Andrew Hill") picks up the pace and begins to live up to the billing. B+(**) [Rhapsody]

Harris Eisenstadt: Canada Day II (2010 [2011], Songlines): Drummer, b. 1975 in Toronto; has been around -- New York, Los Angeles, Gambia -- winding up in Brooklyn, where he has close to ten records since 2002 and a growing reputation as a composer. Same group did Canada Day in 2008: Matt Bauder (tenor sax), Nate Wooley (trumpet), Chris Dingman (vibes), Eivind Opsvik (bass). The horns can spin free or play postbop harmony, but in either case the vibraphone offers both a soft sell and a lot of open space. Full of surprises which may or may not work; hard to tell in a single pass. B+(***) [Rhapsody]

Peter Eldridge: Mad Heaven (2011, Palmetto): Vocalist, plays piano, best known as a founding member of New York Voices, also a member of the group Moss. Third album since 2000 under his own name. Writes a little (7 of 12, with help), leaning Brazilian on most of the rest. Makes ample use of his background singers, or excessive may be more what I meant. Mostly backed with guitar-bass-drums-percussion, but a few cuts add horns, most importantly Joel Frahm (tenor sax). I've found his tics annoying in the past, but this nearly slipped by me, until his uncommonly warbly "The Very Thought of You." B-

Shane Endsley and the Music Band: Then the Other (2010 [2011], Low Electrical): Trumpet player, from Denver, studied at Eastman, based in Brooklyn, second album, looks like 30-40 side credits since 1998 (with Steve Coleman). Quartet with Craig Taborn (piano), Matt Brewer (bass), and Ted Poor (drums). Good group, was feeling kind of ambivalent about the trumpet until the sharp finale, "Gallery Piece." B+(*)

Peter Erskine/Bob Mintzer/Darek Oles/Alan Pasqua: Standards 2: Movie Music (2009 [2011], Fuzzy Music): Prerogatives of alphabetical order, although the label seems to be Erskine's property, and he's probably the most famous among near-equals -- you know, the drummer back in Weather Report. At least I assume that ranks him above Mintzer's long run with the Yellowjackets -- a group I've never been fond of, but the tenor saxophonist was always the best thing they had going. Pasqua and Oles are established pros with no tainted baggage. They make a nice, mild-mannered group here, easing their way through juicy themes like "Cinema Paradiso" and "Rosemary's Baby" and snagging a couple of Cole Porter songs that have far outlived their movies. B+(*)

Ellery Eskelin Trio: New York (2011, Prime Source): Tenor saxophonist, b. 1959 in Wichita, KS; grew up in Baltimore; mother played organ, and this record, an organ trio, is dedicated to her; moved to New York in 1983 and has twenty-some albums since 1988, mostly on the Swiss Hat label(s). With Gary Versace on organ, Gerald Cleaver on drums. Five songs, played loose -- only one I initially IDed was "How Deep Is the Ocean." No grease to the organ: Versace patiently fills in rather than reiterate the usual grind, leaving Eskelin free to plot out his own path. A-

Orrin Evans: Captain Black Big Band (2010 [2011], Posi-Tone): Judging from the credits, seems to be a very big band, with 10 trumpets, 5 trombones, 14 saxes and a bass clarinet, 3 pianos, but I also note that it was recorded in three chunks, the first day and track in Philadelphia, two more days (4 and 2 tracks respectively) later in New York, so I wonder if everyone was really everywhere all the time. (Some of the bass and drums players are linked to specific tracks.) Pianist Evans wrote 4 of 7 pieces, the last four. The band is crackling hot, but I'm not getting much out of it, just a lot of drive and energy. B+(*)

Peter Evans Quintet: Ghosts (2010 [2011], More Is More): Trumpet player, best known for his work in Mostly Other People Do the Killing, but has 7 albums under his own name since 2006. Most of those have been solo or small group, nothing as big as this, literally let alone figuratively. With Carlos Homs (piano), Tom Blancarte (bass), Jim Black (drums), and Sam Pluta (live processing) -- the latter hard to figure, or easy to blame. Aside from the processing, this rumbles and roars more like MOPDTK than anything Evans had done on his own. I'm torn here, duly impressed but not sure I really like this sort of splatter action. B+(*)

Farmers by Nature [Gerald Cleaver, William Parker, Craig Taborn]: Out of This World's Distortions (2010 [2011], AUM Fidelity): Yet another instance of a group's previous album, entered into by a set of individuals, has assumed group stature, as if the previous album was especially notable (which, by the way, this one wasn't). Still, the individual names ride the masthead, as they indeed still have marketing value. Group is reportedly "a fully-improvising unit, a complete musical collective." Cleaver plays drums, Parker bass, Taborn piano; Parker's done numerous piano trios -- with Matthew Shipp, of course, even more with Cecil Taylor. Taborn actually manages some Taylor moments here -- far more exciting than the slow start or the melodic end. B+(***)

Avram Fefer/Eric Revis/Chad Taylor: Eliyahu (2010 [2011], Not Two): Sax-bass-drums trio, with Fefer (b. 1965) playing alto and tenor here -- a change of pace from recent albums where he's focused more on clarinet, bass clarinet, and soprano sax. Tenth album since 1999. More tuneful and grooveful than you expect free jazz to be, but that's largely because the rhythm section is so together. A-

Michael Feinberg: With Many Hands (2010 [2011], self-released): Bassist, b. 1987 in Atlanta, "raised on hip hop, international grooves, resurgent singer/songwriters and indie rock"; based in New York. Bio says this is his second album (looks like first was Evil Genius in 2009). Lists a sextet's worth of musicians on cover but no instrument credits: as best I can figure, Godwin Louis (alto sax), Noah Preminger (tenor sax), Alex Wintz (guitar), Julian Shore (piano), Daniel Platzman (drums). Postbop verging on freebop: jumps around a lot, shifting times, the sax(es) up front pushing limits. B+(**)

Fernandez & Wright: Unsung (2009 [2010], New Market Music): Singer Vanessa Fernandez, guitarist Steve Wright, home base Melbourne, Australia. First album, backed with piano, organ, bass, drums, percussion. Wrote their own material. Has a dark, dank sound, a resonant voice with occasional jazz fillips. B

FivePlay Jazz Quintet: Five of Hearts (2008-10 [2011], Auraline): Guitarist Tony Corman and pianist Laura Klein produced and split the eleven songs 6-5 in favor of Corman. The others are Dave Tidball (saxes, clarinet), Alan Hall (drums), and Paul Smith (bass), listed in that order for no reason I can fathom. Second album, the first out in 2010. Corman has previous albums as Triceratops and as Crotty, Corman and Phipps. Klein has a previous duo with vibraphonist Ted Wolff. Looks like they intercepted in Boston -- lots of Berklee resumes -- although I also see a note that Tony and Laura got married in 1984 and moved to the Bay Area. They bill what they do as "melodic modern jazz," and that's about right. The leaders' instruments tend to hold things together and keep them flowing, and Tidball's reeds ride the waves instead of cutting against the grain. Not to be confused with Sherrie Maricle's quintet, Five Play. B+(**)

Flow Trio: Set Theory: Live at the Stone (2009 [2011], Ayler): Louie Belogenis (tenor/soprano sax), Joe Morris (bass), Charles Downs (drums). Pretty basic avant sax trio. Belogenis has appeared on a couple dozen records since 1993, mostly in groups like this one. He makes playing tenor sax a study in struggle, wrenching each note in turn from the device. Title track runs 29:31. Other two 17:23 and 6:56, the latter turning to soprano where he is pleasantly asured. B+(**)

Danny Frankel: The Interplanetary Note/Beat Conference (2010, self-released): Drummer, has a couple records under his own name, quite a few side credits since 1980 (very few jazz). Trio with Nels Cline on guitar, Larry Goldings on organ. Guitar is distinctive, especially for an organ trio, and the rhythm is relatively slinky, which reduces the organ to filler. B+(*)

Bill Frisell: Sign of Life (2010 [2011], Savoy Jazz): Effectively a string quarter only with Frisell's guitar in place of one of the violins -- the other is Jenny Scheinman's, with Eyvind Kang on viola and Hank Roberts on cello, a group he calls his 858 Quartet. He used this lineup before on Richter 858 (2005, Songlines), which I thought took the chamber jazz concept way too far toward classical. This rarely does so, roughly splitting the difference with his Americana-ish trio. All original pieces, unlike recent albums where there's usually a couple covers to refer to. B+(**)

Jake Fryer/Bud Shank Quintet: In Good Company (2009 [2011], Capri): Fryer is a young British alto saxophonist with a trad bent, which nowadays is as likely to embrace 1950s mainstreamers -- Shank, of course, also Phil Woods -- as the pre-boppers. Shank died shortly after this: a West Coast alto saxophonist, b. 1926, came up in progressive big bands and recorded some sweet cool jazz records in the 1950s, although by my reckoning his best records came out in the early 1990s (cf. Lost in the Stars and I Told You So!). I haven't managed to untangle the two saxes here, which makes it possible to view the whole thing as a sharp revival for Shank, and a fine memento. With Mike Wofford (piano), Bob Magnusson (bass), and Joe La Barbera (drums). Fryer wrote 6 of 9 pieces -- titles like "Bopping With Bud," "Tip Top and Tickety Boo," "Breaking Loose," and "In Good Company." A-

Chantale Gagné: Wisdom of the Water (2010 [2011], self-released): Pianist, from Quebec, studied in Montreal, and later with Kenny Barron. Second album, the first a trio with Peter Washington and Lewis Nash. This adds Joe Locke on vibes. One cover ("My Wild Irish Rose"), the rest Gagné originals (one co-credited with Locke). B+(**)

Roy Gaines and His Orchestra: Tuxedo Blues (2009 [2010], Black Gold): Blues shouter, an appellation commonly used for blues-based KC big band singers like Walter Brown, Jimmy Rushing, and Big Joe Turner. B. 1937 in Texas, started on piano but switched to guitar on hearing T-Bone Walker. Played in the Duke-Peacock house band (Big Mama Thornton, Bobby Bland); worked with Rushing, Coleman Hawkins, Ray Charles, Chuck Willis, Quincy Jones, Aretha Franklin, Diana Ross, Stevie Wonder, and T-Bone Walker. Has a dozen albums since 1982. Not a top notch singer, but he gives a strong showing here, an anachronism in front of a big band, but true to his calling. B+(**)

Alekos Galas: Mediterranean Breeze (2010, Ehos): Bouzouki player. No biography, but was recorded in Laguna Beach, CA; also in Glendale, Chicago, and Las Vegas. Debut record. Most (or all) originals. Backed by band: usually guitar, keyb, bass, drums, some extra percussion. Uses the word "fusion" a lot, also "smooth jazz" and "pop"; does manage to keep it breezy. B-

Laszlo Gardony: Signature Time (2011, Sunnyside): Pianist, b. 1956 in Hungary, studied at Béla Bartók Conservatory in Budapest, then got a scholarship to Berklee and never looked back -- teachers there now. Tenth album since 1986, a quartet with Stan Strickland on tenor sax (and voice on one song, sort of scatting along), John Lockwood on bass, and Yoron Israel on drums and vibes. Wrote six of ten songs, covering "Lullaby of Birdland," Strayhorn ("Johnny Come Lately"), and two Beatles songs ("Lady Madonna" and "Eleanor Rigby"). Straightforward, develops the melodies, puts a little kick into the rhythm. The sax comes and goes, not essential, but adds some depth and variety when it's there. B+(*)

David Gibson: End of the Tunnel (2010 [2011], Posi-Tone): Trombone player, fifth album since 2002, the first three on retro-leaning Nagel-Heyer. Quartet, with Julius Tolentino on alto sax, Jared Gold on organ, and Quincy Davis on drums. Strong showing for Gold, who contributes two tunes (vs. five for Gibson, plus covers of Herbie Hancock and Jackie McLean), and the horn pairing works out nicely, with Tolentino aggressive and the trombone adding some much needed bottom funk. B+(**)

Tania Gill: Bolger Station (2009 [2011], Barnyard): Pianist, lives in Toronto; first album, also credited with organ and voice. Group includes Lina Allemano (trumpet), Clinton Ryder (bass), and Jean Martin (drums). I don't get a strong sense of direction here; interesting little piano bits, some trumpet twists, two Gill vocals, so plain that's probably her limit, but not without charm. B+(*)

Pedro Giraudo Jazz Orchestra: Córdoba (2010 [2011], Zoho): Argentine bassist, plays electric and acoustic, moved to New York in 1996; fourth album since 2002. Orchestra has 11 pieces, many New Yorkers I recognize from elsewhere but no big names: four reeds, three brass, an extra cajón in the rhythm section. Flows elegantly, the sort of thing that shows how jazz has supplanted classical forms as a composing medium. B+(*)

Jared Gold: All Wrapped Up (2010 [2011], Posi-Tone): Organ player, fourth album since 2008, coming out fast. I was most impressed by him on Oliver Lake's Organ Quartet album Plan. This, like the Lake record, is a quartet with sax, trumpet, and drums, but mainstreamers Ralph Bowen and Jim Rotondi can't cut the grease like Lake and Freddie Hendrix. Leaves a lot of slick spots. B

Larry Goldings: In My Room (2010-11 [2011], BFM Jazz): Organ player, b. 1968, fourteen albums since 1991 and many more side credits. This is a change of pace: solo piano, rather delicate and measured. The title cut, from Brian Wilson as the Beach Boys turned introspective, is a find, although the Lennon-McCartney that closes the set drifts off into indeterminate space. About half originals, half covers (mostly from the same period, with the Stephen Foster and "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" even more venerable). B+(*)

GRASS on Fire: Gowanus Reggae and Ska Society Plays Catch a Fire (2010, Mighty Gowanus): "GRASS" is an acronym for Gowanus Reggae and Ska Society. Album is "produced by Sumo & Natecha," which as best I can translate are bassist J.A. Granelli and keyboardist Nate Shaw. Catch a Fire is the 1973 Wailers album, with "Kinky Reggae" and "Midnight Ravers" turned into "Kinky Midnight" and "High Tide or Low Tide" added from the bonus tracks that surfaced on several of the numerous reissues. The others I recognize are notable jazz musicians, like saxophonists Paul Carlon and Ohad Talmor -- indeed, the saxes and Mark Miller's trombone are the main things that distinguish this edition. No vocal credits, but someone can't help but sing along to "Slave Driver." B

Iro Haarla Quintet: Vespers (2010 [2011], ECM): Plays piano and harp, b. 1956 in Finland, 5th album since 2001, two on the Finiish label TUM, two on ECM. Quintet gives her two horns -- Mathias Eick (trumpet), Trygve Seim (tenor/soprano sax) -- bass (Ulf Krokfors) and drums (Jon Christensen). Seems soft at first, then chilly, then you finally notice the hidden strength of the horns -- not surprising given that Eick and Seim regularly produce strong albums under their own names. B+(**)

Noah Haidu: Slipstream (2009 [2011], Posi-Tone): Pianist, from Charlottesville, VA. First record, although he's in a group called Native Soul which has two records, one unplayed in my queue somewhere. Post-hardbop quintet, has a front line that should be able to generate some heat: Jeremy Pelt on trumpet, Jon Irabagon on alto sax. They do break out on occasion, but not so often, with the piano thickly entangled. B

Rich Halley Quartet: Requiem for a Pit Viper (2010 [2011], Pine Eagle): Consistenty superb tenor saxophonist, based in Portland, OR, has a background as a natural scientist which may make him more sympathetic to rattlesnakes than most of us. Quartet pairs him with trombonist Michael Vlatkovich. While the contrast and interplay is interesting, most of the time the two play in unison, which aside from some not especially pleasing harmonics wastes the opportunity the second horn opens up -- how much so is clear from when it happens. B+(**)

Tom Harrell: The Time of the Sun (2010 [2011], High Note): Plays trumpet, flugelhorn; has close to 30 albums since 1976, a postbop player with tricky compositions and (occasionally) brilliant runs. Best moments here are on the simple side, squaring off against Danny Grissett's piano. Adding Wayne Escoffery's tenor sax seems like too much trouble, although he can impress, as always. B+(*)

Harriet Tubman: Ascension (2010 [2011], Sunnyside): The Harriet Tubman you've probably (but not necessarily, especially if you've been "educated" in Texas) heard of was born in 1822, in Maryland, into slavery. She escaped, then returned to help others escape through the underground railroad, and helped guide fugitive slaves to freedom in Canada. She helped John Brown organize his ill-fated insurrection at Harper's Ferry. During the Civil War she was an armed scout and spy for the Union. After the war she worked for women's suffrage. She died in 1913, but was well remembered in the civil rights and women's liberation movements more than a half century later. A couple years ago Marcus Shelby cut a gospel-tinged jazz album called Harriet Tubman, in her honor. But this ain't that; this Harriet Tubman is a fusion band formed by Brandon Ross (guitar), Melvin Gibbs (bass), and J.T. Lewis (drums). They cut a record in 1998, another in 2000, and now a third. The new group is billed as Harriet Tubman Double Trio, the additions Ron Miles (trumpet), DJ Logic (turntables), and DJ Singe (turntables). The spiritual clash they are looking for comes with the title cut, which starts the album off with 8:09 from John Coltrane's rafter raiser, then returns periodically for more inspiration. Coltrane's piece is either one that moves you or not -- it doesn't bother trying to reason with you. Tubman more than anything else was a force for action, and that's what the band aims for -- they do aim high. B+(***)

Atsuko Hashimoto: . . . Until the Sun Comes Up (2010 [2011], Capri): Organ player, from Osaka, Japan. Career dates from early 1990s; recorded half an album in 1999 (5 cuts, the other 5 by Midori Ono Trio), and five more since 2003. This one is a trio with Graham Dechter on guitar and Jeff Hamilton on drums. That's an old soul jazz formula, and this fits the bill nicely. Still, I wonder how much it matters. B+(*)

Pablo Held: Glow (2010 [2011], Pirouet): Pianist, b. 1986 in Germany; third album since 2008, after two piano trios. This one adds trumpet, two saxes, harp, celesta/harmonium, cello, and extra bass, but doesn't sound like a large band, a nonet or even a septet. The extra instruments color and shade, sometimes to interesting effect but more often they just dissolve into the ether. Can't even complain it sounds cluttered. B

Fred Hersch: Alone at the Vanguard (2010 [2011], Palmetto): Pianist, of course, has close to 30 album since 1984, cultivated his Bill Evans comparisons with 1990's Evanessence. I thought last year's Whirl was a triumph -- best thing he's ever done, although I'm not much of an expert. Guess that's all it took to get him to do another solo album -- don't know how many he has, but must be a handful (still way short of Jarrett). You know better than I whether you're up for this. Personally, I don't buy all of Art Tatum's solo piano albums, and he's a helluva lot sexier than this. But there's nothing lame or disingenous here, and I'm as happy as anyone that's he's still kicking. B+(*)

Lisa Hilton: Underground (2010 [2011], Ruby Slippers): Pianist, from San Luis Obispo, CA, has 15 album since 1997, most of the early ones with titles suggesting chintzy cocktail piano and romance: Cocktails at Eight, In the Mood for Jazz, Jazz After Hours, Midnight in Manhattan, After Dark, all with alluring cover photography -- My Favorite Things may be the most alluring in that respect. I've only heard one previous album, didn't think much of it, but this one is something else. For starters, she's got a first rate group: Larry Grenadier on bass, Nasheet Waits on drums, and J.D. Allen on tenor sax. Wrote all but one Bill Evans piece. Pretty respectable outing, the piano authoritatively centered. Allen doesn't break out, as he can, but he's an asset. B+(**)

Art Hirahara: Noble Path (2010 [2011], Posi-Tone): Pianist, from San Francisco Bay Area, based in Brooklyn. AMG lists four previous records, but only one appears on his website discography. Piano trio, with Yoshi Waki (bass) and Dan Aran (drums). Wrote 8 of 12 songs. Puts a nice spin on covers ranging from Porter to Ellington. B+(**)

William Hooker: Crossing Points (1992 [2011], NoBusiness): Drummer, b. 1946, has a couple dozen albums since 1982; seems like a lot of them are ad hoc improv duos and trios, but he usually winds up with his name on top or first -- not many side credits, although AMG lists a couple with Lee Ranaldo. This is a duo with alto saxophonist Thomas Chapin -- Hooker's name is out front of the title, with "featuring Thomas Chapin" following -- cut just as Chapin was hitting his stride (cf. Insomnia) before his early death in 1998. First piece starts out tentative and ugly, but soon enough rights itself, in large part because the drummer gets out front and dares the saxophonist to keep up. B+(***)

The Essential Lena Horne (1941-75 [2010], Masterworks/Legacy, 2CD): Black-white singer-dancer-actress, a tough ten years older than Eartha Kitt, but Horne knocked down many of the doors that Kitt walked through. "Stormy Weather" was her big hit in 1941, and that got her into Hollywood. Still, she was a terrific big band singer, taking firm command on the many show tunes and standards here -- most of the cuts date from 1957-62, with a few from 1941-44 and a couple later. A-

Ron Horton: It's a Gadget World . . . (2009, Abeat): This shows up under Ben Allison's name both in AMG and Rhapsody -- gave me a bit of a pause as it would have broke the string of A- records mentioned in reviewing Allison's new record. Cover lists trumpet/flugelhorn player Horton up top in caps, then "featuring Antonio Zambrini" (piano, also wrote 4 of 9 tracks plus the liner notes), then way down at the bottom Allison (bass) and Tony Moreno (drums). Brisk postbop, a couple of nice piano spots, a lot of first-rate trumpet. B+(**) [Rhapsody]

Marika Hughes: Afterlife Music Radio: 11 New Pieces for Solo Cello (2010 [2011], DD): Cellist, debuts with two records, has a couple dozen side credits since 1997, including Tin Hat, Ani DiFranco, and various Tzadik projects. Solo cello. Eleven pieces written by other musicians, evidently just for this project. Names I recognize (mostly string players): Charlie Burnham, Nasheet Waits, Trevor Dunn, Jenny Scheinman, Carla Kihlstedt, Abraham Burton, Todd Sickafoose, Eyvind Kang. Well, you know the problem with solo anything, and this can run thin or ragged, but she loves the sound -- story goes that she switched from violin instantly first time she plucked the low C string. Tiny bit of vocal on the mysterious twelfth track. B+(**)

Marika Hughes: The Simplest Thing (2010 [2011], DD): Plays cello, wrote most of the songs (sometimes with band help), and sings them. Not jazz, although she draws on some jazz musicians, and vocal jazz isn't a very useful genre these days. CDBaby is even less helpful: they list genre as "Pop: Chamber Pop" and recommend "if you like: Eva Cassidy, Roberta Flack." I suppose there are people who like Cassidy and/or Flack, but that's shooting pretty low. On many superficial points, the obvious comparison would be to Grammy-winning bassist-singer Esperanza Spalding, but Hughes is a stronger writer, a much better arranger, has good taste in friends (cf. "Back Home," with Jenny Scheinman's violin and Charles Burnham's gravelly duet vocal), and has a lot more voice. B+(**)

Julia Hülsmann Trio: Imprint (2010 [2011], ECM): Pianist, b. 1968 in Bonn, Germany; sixth album since 2003, three on ACT, two on ECM. AMG reports that she also sings, but not here. Piano trio, very typical of Manfred Eicher's productions: clean, poised, articulate, not too fast or too free but not predictable either. B+(**)

I Compani: Mangiare! (2010 [2011], Icdisc): Dutch group, led by saxophonist Bo van der Graaf, but they've been around a long time, with more than a dozen albums since 1985. Early albums were focused on the films of Federico Fellini and the film music of Nino Rota (who resurfaces here in the first piece). Last album was based on circus music (Circusism), and you get more than a mere taste of that here as well, but the food theme eventually takes over. Band mixes the leader's soprano and tenor sax, trumpet and trombone, violin and cello, bandoneon, piano, bass, and drums -- with some diversion on synth and "cheap organ." Less avant and even more amusing than the similar bands of Breuker and Mengelberg. B+(***)

Abdullah Ibrahim & Ekaya: Sotho Blue (2010 [2011], Sunnyside): South African pianist, b. 1934, cut his first record in 1963, titled Duke Ellington Presents the Dollar Brand Trio; throughout his long career his trick card has always been to slip in South African melodies, especially bits of township jive -- there are many fine examples of this, like the 1983 album Ekaya that he later took for his band name. Spent much of his career in exile, but since the Apartheid regime fell he's been a national hero. This new album lacks any trademark South African touches even though South Africa creeps into his song titles. But it's about as Ellingtonian as anythng he's done: with three saxes plus trombone, the horns lead, the piano connects multilayered movements, with searching patches and gorgeous sweeps. A-

Inzinzac: Inzinzac (2010 [2011], High Two): Every now and then when I get to a record I find that I had mistyped it when I listed it in "unpacking" and stuffed it into the appropriate nooks and crannies of my filing system. Happened here, then I made yet another mistake trying to fix it, and floundered fruther until I got the hang of it -- was reminded of Ike Quebec trying to play Monk. Philadelphia trio: guitarist Alban Bailly writes the songs (took several tries to get his name typed right, too); Dan Scofield plays soprano and tenor sax (I know him from Sonic Liberation Front); Eli Litwin drums. Scofield's line on the group: "an improvising jazz trio playing rock music in odd time signatures." By "rock" he means loud and harsh, and fast; by "odd" he means odd. I get quite some charge from the thrash. Just not sure how long it will hold up. By the way, group name comes from a town in France (Inzinzac-Lochrist), where Bailly is from. [A-]

Inzinzac (2010 [2011], High Two): Guitar-sax-drums trio: says they're "an improvising jazz trio playing rock music in odd time signatures" which is about right if by rock you mostly mean loud. Whereas guitar displaced sax in rock and roll, in what we might call hardcore fusion the two instruments are often side-by-side, the guitar tuned sax-like, sometimes louder but never quite as clear as the horn. Dan Scofield mostly plays soprano here, so he consistently come out higher and clearer, providing a sharp metallic edge to Alban Bailly's guitar backbone. The "odd" time signatures include free. A-

Whitney James: The Nature of Love (2009 [2010], Stir Stick Music): Standards singer, first album, no bio; has a fairly well known band with Joshua Wolff (piano), Matt Clohesy (bass), Jon Wikan (drums), and paired almost duet-like, Ingrid Jensen (trumpet/flugelhorn). Attractive singer, but not distinctive enough to retain my focus when the song isn't as ingrained for me as "Tenderly" or "How Deep Is the Ocean." B

Billy Jenkins: Jazz Gives Me the Blues (2011, VOTP): English jazz guitarist, b. 1954, has some very interesting records scattered about his discography -- 1998's True Love Collection, with its bent '60s pop retroviruses is a favorite -- but lately he's reinvented himself as a gravel-mouthed blues slinger, which is mostly what you get here, but now and then you sense the guitar wants to sneak out and play something fancy. B+(**) [Rhapsody]

Clarence "Jelly" Johnson: Low Down Papa (1920s [2011], Delmark): Enhanced piano rolls, second volume in Delmark's series after Jimmy Blythe's Messin' Around Blues. Johnson is more obscure: was in the army 1917-19, started recording piano rolls after he got out -- no specific dates but liner notes imply 1920-23; Johnson recorded for Paramount 1923-25, but I don't know how much. Liner notes say he moved to Detroit in late 1920s, and died there on August 9, but don't say which year. Sounds pretty up-to-date if these were recorded that early -- no residual traces of ragtime which still marked most 1910's pianists. Does sound a little bloodless. B+(**)

Darren Johnston/Aram Shelton/Lisa Mezzacappa/Kjell Nordeson: Cylinder (2011, Clean Feed): No recording date given -- unusual for this label -- but songs are all copyright 2011, so this may be the first recorded-in-2011 album I've gotten to. Familiar names: trumpet, alto sax/clarinet/bass clarinet, bass, drums. Each writes two songs, or three for Shelton. Free jazz, struggles a bit here and there but has lots of fine moments, especially the trumpet. B+(**)

Etta Jones & Houston Person: The Way We Were: Live in Concert (2000 [2011], High Note): Blues-based jazz singer, aspired to Billie Holiday but reminds me more of Bessie Smith, b. 1928, cut quite a few records for Prestige 1960-65, got a second shot with Muse in 1975 and High Note in 1997, which is to say she owed her career to Joe Fields, an exec at Prestige and owner of Muse and High Note, and to Houston Person, his A&R man and her regular saxophonist. This starts with just the band for four cuts -- Stan Hope (piano), George Kaye (bass), Chip White (drums), and Person -- starting with "Do Nothin' 'Till You Hear From Me" and culminating in a gorgeous "Please Send Me Someone to Love." Jones enters with "Fine and Mellow," "Lady Be Good," but doesn't really take charge until the end, with "Ma, He's Makin' Eyes at Me" and a "I'll Be Seeing You" that can only be described as swinging. She died a year later, so some credit for the souvenir. B+(**)

Dave Juarez: Round Red Light (2010 [2011], Posi-Tone): Guitarist, from Barcelona, Spain; cut this in Brooklyn, but current base is Amsterdam. First album, with Seamus Blake (tenor sax), John Escreet (piano), Lauren Falls (bass), and Bastian Weinhold (drums). Juarez wrote all of the songs, and plays a key role but Blake does his best to blow him away, in a remarkable performance I can't quite get into. B+(*)

Stan Killian: Unified (2010 [2011], Sunnyside): Tenor saxophonist, from Texas, based in New York, debut album, mostly quartet with Benito Gonzalez on piano, bass and drums split, and guest horns featured on the cover: Roy Hargrove, Jeremy Pelt, David Binney. Postbop to open, although when he picks up the pace he sounds more like retro bebop. B+(*)

The Essential Eartha Kitt (1952-57 [2011], RCA/Legacy, 2CD): Black-white-Cherokee singer-dancer-actress with a penchant for mambos en français, mixes show tunes, standards, novelties -- her big hit was "Santa Baby," not that it was that big -- and W.C. Handy's blues. This six-year slice covers her commercial prime, the basis of her future iconic status, but she reinvented herself so many times and so effectively you're barely getting a glimpse. Still, the one you're least likely to know, unless you're a hell of a lot older than I am. B+(***)

Landon Knoblock/Jason Furman: Gasoline Rainbow (2008 [2011], Fractamodi): Piano-drums duo, based in New York but originally got together in Miami. Second album together. Knoblock, b. 1982, has two other albums since 2007. Strong performance, a lot of rumble in the piano. B+(**)

Adam Kolker: Reflections (2010 [2011], Sunnyside): Tenor saxophonist, also credited with alto flute, bass clarinet, flute, and clarinet here. Fifth album since 1999. Mostly a very reflective trio with John Hébert on bass and Billy Mintz on drumss. Adds several scattered guests: Judi Silvano and Kay Matsukawa (voice, one track each), John Abercrombie (guitar, 2), and Russ Lossing (piano, 3), but he guests never manage to perturb the mood much. Very seductive at its core. B+(**)

Kathleen Kolman: Dream On (2010 [2011], Walkin' Foot Productions): Singer, from Montana, based in New England somewhere; second album, after one in 1999 called The Dreamer. Band mates come and go, although saxophonist Rick DiMuzio is gone after a promising opener. Title song is from Aerosmith; one original, three from Brazil (two Jobims, one Lins). She sings with poise and depth. B+(*) [advance]

Lee Konitz/Brad Mehldau/Charlie Haden/Paul Motian: Live at Birdland (2009 [2011], ECM): New York Times advance, quoted in hype sheet, promises "soft anarchy, a gig without preparation or rehearsal," and that's pretty much it. Six standards, counting Miles Davis and Sonny Rollins, given 10-15 minutes each. Mehldau is the best prepared, but Konitz is the person of interest, and he's a bit out of it, though it's hard to say why, or to dismiss what he plays, when he plays. B+(**)

Ben Kono: Crossing (2010 [2011], 19/8): B. 1967, grew up in Vermont, studied at Eastman and UNT, did a stretch with the Army's Jazz Ambassadors, settled in New York in 1998. Plays reeds; credited here with: oboe, english horn, flute, alto flute, clarinet, bass clarinet, tenor saxophone, shakuhachi. Has mostly appeared in big bands: John Hollenbeck, Chris Jentsch, Ed Palermo, Jamie Begian. First album, with Hollenbeck (drums), John Hébert (bass), Pete McCann (guitar), Henry Hey (keybs), and Heather Laws (voice and french horn). One thing this shows is that not all horns are created equal: the sax sections are terrific, the flutes and oboe superfluous (all the more so when Laws weighs in). B+(*)

Annie Kozuch: Here With You(2009 [2010], self-released): Standards singer, raised in Mexico City, got a Dramatic Arts degree from Mills College in Oakland, CA; based in New York. First album. Leads off with Jobim, but rather than getting him out of the way she returns three songs later with one of the nicest strolls through "Corcovado" I've heard, and later on returns with a third Brazilian piece, this one by Pixinguinha. Spanish songs from Pedro Junco and Armando Manzanera are less successful, but she nails English-language songs (what she calls "jazz tracks") like "I Love Being Here With You" and "You're Getting to Be a Habit With Me." B+(**)

Jonathan Kreisberg: Shadowless (2010 [2011], New for Now Music): Guitarist, b. NYC, grew up in Florida, came back in 1997. AMG lists eight records since 1997. Probably too simple to take this as a fusion play, but that's easy to do with guitarists. With Will Vinson on sax, Henry Hey on piano, Matt Penman on bass, Mark Ferber on drums. Sax and piano don't add much. B

Ernie Krivda: Blues for Pekar (2011, Capri): Tenor saxophonist, b. 1945 in Cleveland; AMG credits him with 24 records since 1977, starting on Inner City with a lot on Cadence/CIMP -- labels I don't get and have trouble finding, so this is the first I've heard by him. Given the labels, I pictured him as more avant, but he has album titles like Tough Tenor, Red Hot and Focus on Stan Getz and Perdido, so clearly I need to do some research and get my bearings. "Pekar" is late cartoon auteur Harvey Pekar, who's quoted in the booklet: "Ernie Krivda is one of the best jazz tenor sax men in the world." Five covers (including tunes by Sonny Rollins and Dexter Gordon) followed by two originals, each running 8-12 minutes. Four cuts are spiced up with trumpet (Sean Jones on two, Dominick Farinacci on the others), and all of them are barnburners with a powerful swing undertow. Not sure if that's how Krivda usually plays, or just how Pekar liked it. B+(***)

Femi Kuti: Africa for Africa (2010 [2011], Knitting Factory): Fela's eldest son, also plays alto sax, grew up in his father's band and continues the Afrobeat groove, with 15 albums now since 1989. This is close to formula: the beats, the sax, the chant vocals, the politics (but the pidgin English remains far short of eloquent). Fourteen moderate-length songs adds up to a long album (total 62:56), but nothing stretches out like the old Fela albums used to. B+(**)

La Cherga: Revolve (2011, Asphalt Tango): Not jazz, more like trans-Yugoslav dubstep, with its Balkan brass run through a Jamaican sound system. Their previous, even better album (Fake No More) featured a striking vocalist, replaced here with Adisa Zvekic (from Bosnia) and occasional guest MCs; evolution turned around -- maybe that's how they translate it. A-

Alexey Lapin/Yury Yaremchuk: Anatomy of Sound (2010, SoLyd): Russian pianist, appears with François Carrier on Inner Spire so I thought I should check him out further. (Also has a new solo piano album on Leo, Parallels.) Yaremchuk is from the Ukraine; plays soprano sax (first three cuts) and bass clarinet (two more). Last two cuts offer a solo each, with Lapin engulfed in roiling chordal density where Yaremchuk spaces out the sounds of his bass clarinet. The improv together is on the ugly side of free, but picks up interest whenever they get faster and louder. B+(*) [Rhapsody]

Matt Lavelle: Goodbye New York, Hello World (2009 [2011], Music Now!): Plays trumpet and bass clarinet, a unique combo, although here he substitutes cornet and flugelhorn for the trumpet, and adds alto clarinet to the bass clarinet, playing each of his four instruments on two songs each (7 total, so one shares flugelhorn and alto clarinet). Three cuts are done with just bass (plus one more with gongs), spread out with pieces that add drums and Ras Moshe on tenor sax. The larger group pieces are exceptionally strong, but the solo horns are clear and commanding as well. A-

Nguyên Lê: Songs of Freedom (2010 [2011], ACT): Guitarist, b. 1959 in Paris, France, draws on the Vietnamese music of his ancestors, also on Jimi Hendrix. Has 17 albums since 1990. Describes this record as "a tribute to those musicians who established pop culture in the '70s with their mythic songs," and proclaims them to "have truly become World Music i.e. 'music the world listens to.'" Aside from a couple short connecting pieces, the songs come from the Beatles ("Eleanor Rigby," "Come Together"), Stevie Wonder ("I Wish," "Pastime Paradise"), Bob Marley ("Redemption Song"), Led Zeppelin ("Black Dog," "Whole Lotta Love"), Janis Joplin ("Mercedes Benz"), Cream ("Sunshine of Your Love"), and Iron Butterfly ("In a Gadda Da Vida"). All feature guest singers I've never heard of (and don't expect to ever again): Youn Sun Nah, David Linx, Dhafer Youssaf, Ousman Danedjo, Julia Saar, Himiki Paganotti. (Their names strike me as selected to illustrate Lê's world music concept.) I'd have preferred more of the instrumental breaks, where Lê's electric guitar powers over tinkly vibes and percussion. B

Jerry Leake & Randy Roos: Cubist Live (2010 [2011], Rhombus Publishing): Leake is a percussionist, collects instruments and techniques from all around the world, records them, writes books about them, teaches them -- Indian, Persian, Latin American, all over Africa. Record company has "publishing" in the title because his books outnumber his records (currently 7 to 6). First record I heard by him, The Turning (2006), played like an encyclopedia, which I thought a neat idea at the time. But so did his last, Cubist, which I backed a bit down on, only to receive a letter from him chiding me for failing to recognize his "masterpiece." Well, this isn't a masterpiece either, but the nine long songs (total 76:41) fit and flow. Thanks to guitarist Roos -- promoted from producer last time to a byline -- he's got a band here. The flute-phobic should be warned, but actually this picks up a head of steam when the flute comes out, and gets even better when Stan Strickland reverts to sax. Better still when the extra drummers (Ben Paulding and Marty Wirt, plus Lisa Leake on percussion and Mike Doud on tabla) quicken the pace. Back cover says "file under world & rock" but the mix makes most sense as jazz. A-

Gordon Lee: This Path (2010, OA2): Pianist, b. 1953 in New York City; studied at Syracuse and Indiana; moved to Portland, OR in 1977, worked 1980-85 in New York, then returned to Portland. Seventh album since 1982. Works with two trios here, plus a couple of solo cuts, one with Miguel Bernal on cajon. B+(**)

Okkyung Lee: Noisy Love Songs (2011, Tzadik): Cellist, from Korea, moved to New York 2000; second album on Tzadik; looks like three or four others. With no lyrics one can argue whether these even are love songs. That some are noisy is beyond doubt, but not many, and not very: the cello-violin-bass can turn squelchy, but mostly plot out sweet melodies, with piano (Craig Taborn) and/or trumpet (Peter Evans) for occasional elaboration, and percussion (John Hollenbeck and Satoshi Takeishi) -- lots of tinkly tones. B+(**) [Rhapsody]

Les Doigts de l'Homme: 1910 (2011, ALMA): French quartet, three guitars (Olivier Kikteff, Yannick Alcocer, Benoit "Binouche" Convert) and acoustic bass (Tanguy Blum), dedicated to Django Reinhardt -- album title takes the year of Reinhardt's birth. Fourth album. Two cuts add clarinet for some welcome variation; otherwise very inside its thing. B+(*)

Daniel Levin: Inner Landscape (2009 [2011], Clean Feed): Cellist, sixth album since 2003, a solo, tough to do. Gets some extra sound out early using the body for percussion, which provides some useful variety. B+(**)

Vesa-Matti Loiri: 4+20 (1971 [2011], Porter): Finnish flautist, vocalist, actor; b. 1945. AMG lists 33 records, starting in 1968, but this is the only one they've evidently heard. It's a weird one, mostly flute and percussion, a guitar, sometimes adding piccolo and/or soprano sax (no less than Eero Koivistoinen). Six songs in "Mummon Kaappikello" is a change of pace, with tenor sax and cartoonish vocals. Title cut is from Stephen Stills, not that he'd recognize it. B+(*)

Amy London: Let's Fly (2009-10 [2011], Motéma): Standards singer, b. 1957, grew up in Cincinnati, studied opera at Syracuse, moved to New York in 1980, worked on stage, taught voice. Third album, including one with longtime guitarist Roni Ben-Hur. Fancy technique, easily slips around the notes, and gets fine support from Ben-Hur and a tag team of pianists. Includes a tribute to Annie Ross. B+(*)

Tom Luer: Project Popular (2009 [2011], Origin): Saxophonist (tenor and soprano), originally from Wisconsin, studied and taught at UNT, based in Los Angeles. First album, quintet with piano (mostly Fender Rhodes), guitar, bass, drums. The "popular" in the project is to mix five 1980s-vintage rock covers in with three originals, drawing on Pearl Jam, Coldplay, Soundgarden, Audioslave, and Prince. Only one that really registered with me was "Black Hole Sun" -- nice to hear, holds up well. B+(*)

Steven Lugerner: These Are the Words/Narratives (2010 [2011], self-released, 2CD): Reed player -- alto and soprano sax, clarinet and bass clarinet, flute, oboe, English horn -- from California, based in New York. First album, actually two in symmetrical packaging joined at the spine. These Are the Words is an edgy near-all-star quartet with Darren Johnston on trumpet, Myra Melford on piano, and Matt Wilson on drums. Needless to say, the sharpest edge there is the pianist, who slices and dices a set of pieces with Hebraic titles. Narratives is something else, a septet with no one I'm familiar with (produced by flautist Jamie Baum, who doesn't play), with neatly layered horns over effortlessly flowing guitar and piano. Quite a lot to sort through, and I'm not sure I am there yet. [B+(***)]

Steven Lugerner: These Are the Words/Narratives (2010 [2011], self-released, 2CD): Reed player -- clarinet, bass clarinet, soprano sax, alto sax, oboe, English horn -- leads a sharp quartet (Darren Johnston, Myra Melford, Matt Wilson) on one disc and a more sprawling mostly-European septet on the second. Melford is sharp as ever, but doesn't get to do much as the softer reeds tend to coalesce into fog. B+(**)

Jon Lundbom & Big Five Chord: Quavers! Quavers! Quavers! Quavers! (2011, Hot Cup): Guitarist, originally from Chicago, now in Brooklyn. Looks like Big Five Chord was a self-released 2003 album, ancient history but for its group name reverberations. Second album with Moppa Elliott's Hot Cup crew: Jon Irabagon and Bryan Murray on saxes, Elliott on bass, Matt Kanelos on keybs, and Danny Fischer on drums. Guitar is tantallizingly jagged throughout but doesn't really explode until the closer, a ditty called "Faith-Based Initiative," after which the saxes follow suit. B+(***)

Maïkotron Unit: Ex-Voto (2011, Jazz From Rant): Quebec-based trio: Pierre Côté (bass, cello), Michel Côté (bass clarinet, saxophones), and Michel Lambert (drums), where the latter two also play something called a maïkotron. Invented by Michel Côté in 1983, the only description I've found: "a woodwind instrument, played with a reed and a tenor saxophone mouthpiece, but made up of many instruments at once: trumpet valves, the bell of a cornet, parts of a euphonium and a clarinet." The instrument has evolved over time, and evidently there are various prototypes, some capable of ranging below the bass saxophone. This is reportedly the Unit's seventh album, but the first available on CD -- suggesting it's been a while. (I can't find any other reference to the missing records.) Compositions here are based on paintings (numbered tableaux), most (or perhaps all) named in Latin. I can't say as I understand any of it, but find it all strangely fascinating -- not the puzzle of mapping the stray sounds to the mysterious instrument but how the sonic abstractions cohere into quaint and inimitable grooves. A-

Curtis Macdonald: Community Immunity (2009 [2011], Greenleaf Music): Alto saxophonist, based in New York, studied at New School, where he now teaches. First album, or as he puts it on his website, "latest record." Quintet with a second sax (Jeremy Viner on tenor), piano (David Virelles or Michael Vanoucek), bass (Chris Tordini), Greg Ritchie (drums), one-shot guests on guitar, violin, and voice (none of which I recall). The sort of tightly orchestrated postbop that makes me worry about academia. B

Thomas Marriott: Constraints & Liberations (2009 [2010], Origin): Trumpet player, from Seattle, b. 1975, fifth album since 2005 (with a sixth one out since then). Quintet with Hans Teuber on tenor sax, Gary Versace on piano, Jeff Johnson on bass, and John Bishop on drums. Six originals, plus one piece by Johnson. Postbop, probably his strongest record to date, both for the clarity of his trumpet and an impressive performance by Versace. B+(**)

Thomas Marriott: Human Spirit (2009 [2011], Origin): Plays trumpet/flugelhorn. Sixth album since 2005. A variation on the organ trio, with Gary Versace on the B-3 and Matt Jorgensen on drums. Marriott shares the front line with alto saxophonist Mark Taylor -- by far the most aggressive player in this group, where the organ seems an afterthought and the trumpet dressing. B

Chad McCullough & Bram Weijters: Imaginary Sketches (2010 [2011], Origin): Trumpet and piano, respectively, leading a quartet with Chuck Deardorf on bass and John Bishop on drums. Third album for McCullough, not counting his work in the Kora Band; based in Seattle. The pianist was b. 1980 in Belgium; looks like he has one previous trio album, several group efforts. Pairing does a nice job of bringing out the rich lustre of the instruments. B+(*)

Terrence McManus/Mark Helias/Gerry Hemingway: Transcendental Numbers (2009 [2011], NoBusiness): Guitar/bass/drums trio. McManus and Hemingway have a slightly earlier duo called Below the Surface Of that I have rated a tad above this, probably because the jagged metal guitar was more striking, although I should double check because it's unlikely the bassist doesn't add something valuable. He is interesting in his own right, and the drummer is superb. [B+(***)]

Terrence McManus/Mark Helias/Gerry Hemingway: Transcendental Numbers (2009 [2011], NoBusiness): With Gerry Hemingway and Mark Helias, more scattered than his duo with Hemingway alone, more because he favors scratchy abstraction here over the electrified chords there. That seems like a strategic choice, not something to pin on the bassist, who is fine as always. B+(***)

John Medeski & Lee Shaw: Together Again: Live at the Egg (2009 [2011], ARC): Before Shaw started recording in her 70s, she taught pianos, and Medeski was one of her more famous students. With Shaw's trio, Medeski doubles up on piano or plays organ (or melodica). The piano is nice and crisp, and the organ kicks up quite a groove. B+(*)

Brad Mehldau: Live in Marciac (2006 [2011], 2CD+DVD): Trifold package, with a plastic tray in the middle for the DVD, the two CDs just slipped into the outer panels. Indeed, they plug this as DVD+2CD rather than the other way around, so I suppose I'm remiss in not watching the DVD, but I hardly ever bother with the things. Solo piano. My first thought was that he's aiming for his Köln Concert, and I doubt that he's ever rollicked more like Jarrett than on the first disc here. But whereas Jarrett worked one long improv, this is a program -- mostly originals on the first disc, all covers on the second (Nick Drake, Kurt Cobain, James Alan Shelton, Lennon/McCartney, Rodgers/Hammerstein, Bobby Timmons). Impressive, as usual. B+(**)

Eddie Mendenhall: Cosine Meets Tangent (2010 [2011], Miles High): Pianist, bio mangled, but "directs the jazz department" at Monterey Peninsula College, seems to be from those parts, studied at Berklee, spent seven years in Japan. First album. Wrote 8 of 10 pieces, with one from vibraphonist Mark Sherman, one from Rodgers and Hart. Quartet with John Schifflett on bass, Akira Tana on drums. The vibes dominate early on in one of Sherman's finest performances. By coincidence I was writing something about MJQ while listening to this. These guys are much faster, not that that was necessarily the point. B+(**)

Sei Miguel/Pedro Gomes: Turbina Anthem (2008 [2011], NoBusiness): Pocket trumpet/guitar duets. I've run across Miguel before: b. 1961 in Paris, lived in Brazil before settling down in Portugal in the 1980s. Released a record in 1988, more since 2002 including two on Clean Feed: one under his own name and another as part of Afterfall (which I filed under guitarist Luis Lopes). Not much on Gomes; probably his first record. Cranks up lots of guitar distortion, playing it for rhythm and harmonic backdrop for the trumpet. Too harsh to recommend highly, but too visceral to ignore. Stef, who has fewer compunctions about what other people think, gave this all five stars. B+(***)

Antoinette Montague: Behind the Smile (2009 [2010], In the Groove): Singer. Wrote the title cut, but the rest are more or less standards -- Bill Broonzy, Dave Brubeck, and Marvin Gaye are outliers. Second album. Don't see where the band is credited -- just a picture and some thank yous, but if I could line up Mulgrew Miller, Peter Washington, Kenny Washington, and a big-toned sax player like Bill Easley I'd brag about it. Everything here impresses me as well done, except for the CD packaging -- very polyethelene. B+(*)

Wolfgang Muthspiel: Drumfree (2010 [2011], Material): German guitarist, b. 1965, frequently (in Europe, that is) compared to Metheny and Scofield, although I like him much more -- Bright Side was a pick hit a while back, and Black and Blue is also on my full-A list. As the title announces, no drums this time. Andy Scherrer shadows the guitar on various saxophones, and Larry Grenadier plays bass, so this works within a narrow bandwidth, its surface shimmering with little hint of depth. B+(**)

Native Soul: Soul Step (2008 [2011], Talking Drum): Filed this under pop jazz, a mistake I blame on the packaging -- they sure try to look like another variant of Four Play. Actually, a mainstream postbop sax-piano-bass-drums quartet; even when they try to go with electric bass and keyb they stay firmly rooted on the jazz side. All four members contribute 2-3 songs -- bassist Marcus McLaurine is the overachiever. Two covers: one from Jimi Hendrix, the other "End of a Love Affair." B+(**)

Marius Neset: Golden Xplosion (2010 [2011], Edition): Saxophonist (soprano and tenor), from Norway, 25 (1985?), did a semester at Berklee, studied more in Copenhagen, latched onto Django Bates, who plays keyboards here. Second album. The fast stuttery sax runs are fun. The ballads aren't. And Bates indulges in some keyboard overkill early on, intended to crank up the energy level, which works to a point. Some folks are blown away, but some of us are old enough to recall Bates' old sax chum, Iain Ballamy. B [Rhapsody]

New Tricks: Alternate Side (2010 [2011], New Tricks): I've started referring to records by artists who can't go to the trouble to think up a label name "self-released," but the back cover here says "New Tricks Records" so credit where credit is due. Quartet: Mike Lee (tenor sax), Ted Chubb (trumpet), Kellen Harrison (bass), Shawn Baltazor (drums). Lee wrote 6 of 9 songs; Chubb the other 3. Was blogging about Miles Davis when I put this on, so I was immediately struck by the '50s vibe, bop only hotter and harder, with no piano to underwrite the chords and gum things up. Second group album -- Lee also has two under his own name; don't think any of the others do, although the bassist has some side credits. This sort of clash is bracing, but on occasion they slow down, yoke the horns together, and act like modern postboppers. B+(**)

New York Electric Piano: Keys to the City: Volumes 1 & 2 (2011, Buffalo Puppy, 2CD): Pat Daugherty-led group, sixth album since 2004. He plays keyboards and sings. Split this release into two discs, one with vocals, one instrumental. On the vocal volume he trades off with Deanna Kirk and Ava Farber. Erik Lawrence is notable in the band, playing various saxes and alto flute. Some nice stuff on both discs, but not consistently so. B

Nordic Connect: Spirals (2008 [2011], ArtistShare): Trumpet player Ingrid Jensen, b. 1967 in Vancouver, BC, Canada; studied at Berklee; AMG counts six albums since 1994, coutning her previous Nordic Connect album but not this one. Group includes sister Christine Jensen (alto/soprano sax), Maggi Olin (piano, often Fender Rhodes), Mattias Walin (bass), and Jon Wikan (drums) -- Olin and Welin are Swedish, Wikan from Alaska with Norwegian roots (married to the trumpeter). Olin wrote 5 of 9 pieces, and her electric piano is the center point of the action, vs. just one piece for Ingrid Jensen (two for Christine, one for Wikan), so AMG may be justified in treating this as a group effort. Still, the trumpet is what shines brightest here. B+(***)

Vince Norman/Joe McCarthy Big Band: Bright Future (2009 [2010], OA2): Norman plays various saxophones, tenor probably his first choice; his father, Ray Norman, played in the big bands of Claude Thornhill and Charlie Barnet, and he played in the Army's Jazz Ambassadors. McCarthy, a drummer, played in the Navy's Jazz Ensemble. Second album together, both big bands, the only thing unconventional is that they rely on guitarist Gary Malvaso for more than rhythm. B+(*)

Hubert Nuss: The Book of Colours (2008 [2010], Pirouet): Pianist, b. 1964 in Germany (Neckarsulm, near Stuttgart -- interesting to compare the bare bones English and extraordinary German Wikipedia pages on Neckarsulm). Fourth trio album since 1998, with John Goldsby (bass) and John Riley (drums). Rather quiet and contained. B+(*)

The NYFA Collection: 25 Years of New York New Music (1988-2010 [2010], Innova, 5CD): I've been avoiding this, if for no more reason than sheer length. NYFA is the New York Foundation for the Arts, set up in 1983. Since then they've provided fellowships for over 200 new music composers, and they're showing off 52 of them in this set. They run the gamut, but have been programmed to flow somewhat: the third disc is the most jazz-centric, with Iconoclast, Rudresh Mahanthappa, Fred Ho, John Lindberg (sometimes d/b/a BLOB), Newman Taylor Baker. The fourth and fifth shade more classical. The first is more avant, mostly primitivist rhythm pieces. Packaged in a double-width jewel case with a loose booklet for each disc packed with lots of information in small type, and priced like a sampler. B+(**)

Bill O'Connell: Rhapsody in Blue (2009 [2010], Challenge): Pianist, b. 1953 in New York, got a rep for Latin jazz working for Mongo Santamaria. AMG lists 7 records since 1978. Mostly originals, the title bit from Gershwin, "Bye Bye Blackbird"; has a few Latin flourishes, especially Richie Flores percussion on two tracks, but is mostly straightforward, ebullient mainstream jazz, with Steve Slagle on alto and soprano sax. B+(*)

Mark O'Connor Quintet: Suspended Reality (2007 [2011], OA2): Saxophonist, lists alto first but all the pics I see show him with a tenor. Originally from Austin, TX; studied at UNT; now based in Chicago, writing a doctoral dissertation on Joe Farrell. Second album. Quintet includes trumpet (Victor Garcia), piano (Ben Lewis, or Mark Maegdlin on one track), bass (Jonathan Paul), and drums (Tom Hipskind). Wrote 8 of 10 tracks, all but "A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square" and a Johnny Griffin tune ("A Monk's Dream"). A mixed bag. At first I was impressed by the sax tone and presence, but the trumpet detracts from that. Then I noted the complex Afro-Cuban rhythms of "Cady's Groove," but those too were a passing fancy. Some real talent at play here; just not sure for what. B+(**)

Mark O'Leary/Peter Friis-Nielsen/Stefan Pasborg: Støj (2008 [2011], Ayler): Guitar-bass-drums, respectively. O'Leary is a guitarist from Ireland, has over a dozen albums since 2005 (although recording dates go back to 2000). I've heard very few of these, and don't have a good sense of what he's up to. The sound of the guitar seems unnaturally constrained, muffled even on stretches where the moves are dense and muscular; in comparison, Pasborg's drums are always sharp and clear. B+(*)

Lutalo "Sweet Lu" Olutosin: Tribute to Greatness (2010, Sweet Lu Music): Singer, from Gary, IN, based in DC after passing through Atlanta and the military. He grew up on gospel, but found his calling in vocalese, drawing on King Pleasure and Jon Hendricks and writing a little himself. Don't recognize the band, but Winfield Gaylor's sax helps. B

Open Graves with Stuart Dempster: Flightpatterns (2010 [2011], Prefecture): Sometimes I think it might be interesting to expand my niche a bit and try to cover anything that shows up in the post-classical contemporary composition whatever-you-call-it grabbag -- something that the Voice covered extensively for many years under Tom Johnson and Kyle Gann -- but then I remember that I don't know very much about the subject and I haven't followed it at all closely for a good twenty years. Still, I do recognize Dempster: trombonist, b. 1936, specializes in long, slow drone pieces done in huge, echo-laden chambers. Open Graves is Jesse Olsen ("multi-instrumentalist") and Paul Kikuchi (percussionist), from Seattle. This is typical of Dempster, but unless you listen to it in your own sensory-deprivation chamber you're unlikely to get much more than tinkles and faint echoes out of it. B-

Operation ID: Legs (2011, Table & Chairs): Seattle group, or as they put it, "Seattle's (the world's?) only minimalistic, avant-garde, electro-pop, noise-cluster, synth-rock, free-jazz, experimental, dance-prog band": Ivan Arteaga (sax), Jared borkowski (guitar), Rob Hanlon (synthesizers), David Balatero (bass), Evan Woodle (drums). Hard to keep all those genre-fucks coexisting, so they tend to rotate from one to the other. Would be eclectic if they could space them out a bit and make at least some seem unexpected. B

Orchestre National de Jazz: Around Robert Wyatt (2009 [2011], Bee Jazz, 2CD): This looks to have been one of Daniel Yvinec's first projects on becoming artistic director of ONJ. The songs are all by Robert Wyatt, arranged by Vincent Artaud. The eleven songs on the first disc all have vocals, rotating between seven guests, including Wyatt himself on four cuts; only other guest I recognize is Rokia Traore. The band does a nice job of straddling jazz and prog idioms. Second disc adds four Bonus Tracks, totalling 21:37, only one repeat from the first disc: two more Wyatt vocals, one by Traore, and a particularly luscious one by Yael Naim. B+(**)

Orchestre National de Jazz: Shut Up and Dance (2010 [2011], Bee Jazz, 2CD): ONJ was founded in 1986, a legacy of Miterrand's socialism, or more specifically Culture Minister Jack Lang. AMG lists seven records since 1996, including a Led Zeppelin tribute called Close to Heaven. Various artistic directors came and went, currently Daniel Yvinec, managing the current ten-piece band: most notable trait here is the large number of people with at least some use of electronics. Program here was written by percussionist John Hollenbeck. Not my idea of dance music, but rich in percussion and electronics, scaled between his big band and his Claudia Quintet. B+(**)

Other Dimensions in Music featuring Fay Victor: Kaiso Stories (2010 [2011], Silkheart): Group was originally formed in 1989 with Roy Campbell (trumpet), Daniel Carter (alto sax), William Parker (bass), and Rashid Bakr (drums). They cut a group improv album for Silkhear then, then reappeared in 1997 with two albums for AUM Fidelity, one with Matthew Shipp added. This is their fourth, with Charles Downs taking over the drums for Bakr, but the more important change is adding vocalist Fay Victor. As Lars-Olof Gustavsson explains in the liner notes, he was looking to do a vocal album, found Victor, then matched the band. Victor is a very strong, distinctive vocalist -- when I reviewed her Cartwheels Through the Cosmos all I could do was compare her to Betty Carter -- and she takes yet another twist here, exploiting her Trinidadian roots with eight lyrics from classic calypso tunes (Roaring Lion, Lord Executor, Lord Kitchener, Mighty Sparrow) and 1939 field recordings. The free jazz improv doesn't make this easy, introducing a tension as Victor is torn between tying the rhymes down and surrendering to the chaotic rhythm. B+(***)

Matt Panayides: Tapestries of Song (2010 [2011], Pacific Coast Jazz): Guitarist, b. in Cincinnati, raised in Indianapolis; been in New York "for more than 10 years." First album, all originals; in a quartet with Rich Perry (tenor sax), Steve LaSpina (bass), and Dan Weiss (drums). Liquid tone with a slight metallic sheen, remains clear even with the sax running over it. B+(**)

Evan Parker & Konstrukt: Live at Akbank Jazz Festival (2010 [2011], Re:konstrukt): Two solo shots on soprano sax (14:07 and 8:50), done as only Parker can do them, the first with a lot of circular breathing, the second less tricked up. Followed by two "collective improvisations" with Parker sparring with a Turkish group, including a second soprano sax (Korhan Futaci), guitar, drums, percussion. These average 22 minutes of engaging noise, the sort of contretemps that Parker can conjure up any time he has the inkling. B+(*) [Rhapsody]

Rich Pellegrin Quintet: Three-Part Odyssey (2010 [2011], OA2): Pianist, first album, wrote three of eight pieces, drawing on band members R. Scott Morning (trumpet, flugelhorn), Neil Welch (tenor sax), and Evan Flory Barnes (bass) for all but one of the rest -- the odd piece out is "Piano Phase" by Steven Reich. The other quintet member is drummer Chris Icasiano -- odd enough, the one name I'm most familiar with. The eight pieces are organized into three parts, hence the title. Postbop, but the horns can get pretty aggressive, and the piano blocks well. Rather like the Reich intermission too. B+(**)

Ken Peplowski: In Search of . . . (2007-10 [2011], Capri): Plays clarinet and tenor sax; b. 1959, AMG lists 33 albums since 1987, plus numerous side credits, a very steady, unspectacular retro swing player. This pads a quartet session -- Shelly Berg on piano, Tom Kennedy on bass, Jeff Hamilton on drums -- with three cuts from 2007 with Greg Cohen (bass) and/or Joe Ascione (drums) and Chuck Redd (vibes) on one cut. Best when it gets lively, as in "Peps"; otherwise this shades into prettiness, which isn't so bad either. B+(**)

Ivo Perelman Quartet: The Hour of the Star (2010 [2011], Leo): Brazilian tenor saxophonist, has been on a hot run lately and keeps it going here. Actually just 4 of 6 cuts are quartet, with Matthew Shipp on piano; the others just Joe Morris on bass and Gerald Cleaver on drums. Shipp pushed Ware harder, but the rhythmic density he brings here is a plus. Perelman was never as heavy as Ware, Brötzmann, et al., but he skits agilely around the corners. B+(***)

Alex Pinto Quartet: Inner State (2010 [2011], self-released): Guitarist, b. 1985 in Silver Spring, MD (near DC); father from Mangalore, Karnataka, India, worked for World Bank which moved the family around, including a stint in Russia; mother from Wisconsin. Studied at McGill (in Montreal), wound up in San Francisco. First album. Quartet includes Jon Armstrong (tenor sax), Dave Tranchina (bass), Jaz Sawyer (drums). Pinto wrote all the pieces, working in some Indian tunings and breaking out on his solos, although Armstrong comes off even more muscular. B+(**)

Pitom: Blasphemy and Other Serious Crimes (2010 [2011], Tzadik): Guitarist Yoshie Fruchter's group, adopting the name of their possibly eponymous first album, as seems to happen over and over and again. With Jeremy Brown (violin, viola), Shanir Ezra Blumenkranz (bass), Kevin Zubek (drums). Evidently has to do with Yom Kippur, attonement, and "punkassjewjazz." Heavy guitar riffs with dense metallic filler over Jewish riddims. No vocals, so they neither make nor break it. B+(**) [advance: Feb: 22]

Debbie Poryes/Bruce Williamson: Two & Fro (2010 [2011], OA2): Piano-sax duets. Poryes, based in San Francisco area, cut an album in 1982, only a couple since. Williamson plays alto sax, soprano sax, clarinet, bass clarinet, and flute. Also infrequently recorded, his debut in 1992, one more since, plus a couple dozen side credits. Wrote one song each, plus do seven covers, jazz (Shorter, Coltrane, Davis), standards, Beatles, closing with a long, slow "Ol' Man River" that is particularly nice. B+(*)

Tobias Preisig: Flowing Mood (2009 [2010], ObliqSound): Violinist, b. 1981 in Zurich, Switzerland; studied in Paris and at the New School in NYC. Looks like his second album; also has a couple with pianist George Gruntz and a few group records. Quartet with piano, bass, and drums. Title is appropriate, especially the sense of flow. Especially striking when the violin is clear and sharp. B+(**) [advance: 2010-06-01]

Premier Roeles: Ka Da Ver (2009 [2011], Vindu Music): Sure muddled this when I listed it for unpacking, but the cover was far from clear and I didn't recognize Dutch bassist Harmjan Roeles. The other credits, which are even more illegible on the card insert: Gerard van der Kamp (alto sax, soprano sax), Nico Hixijbregts (piano), and Fred van Duijnhoven (drums). Free jazz, nearly as muddled as the typography and as unorthodox as the packaging, but there's something to it -- like the early 1970s discs that John Corbett uncovered as "lost masterpieces" for Atavistic's Unheard Music Series. B+(***)

Q.E.D. [Ben Thomas/Chris Stover/Alex Chadsey]: Yet What Is Any Ocean . . . (2010 [2011], Origin): Seattle trio; all three write songs (Thomas 4, Chadsey 3, Stover 2). Thomas plays vibes, cajon, bandoneon, percussion; has three previous albums. Stover plays trombone; Chadsey piano. Makes for a nice combination of sounds, especially when they work up a groove. B+(**)

Dan Raphael/Rich Halley/Carson Halley: Children of the Blue Supermarket (2008-09 [2011], Pine Eagle): Raphael is a poet, b. 1951 in Pittsburgh, changed his name from Daniel Raymond Dlugonski (says his driver's license reads Dan Raphael Dlugonski); influenced by the beats, studied at Cornell; moved to Portland, OR in 1977. Has six books. I've never read him -- haven't read poetry since the late 1960s, when I read everyone he was reading, Yevtushenko included. Not sure if he's ever been recorded before, but he's terrific here: the phrases just shoot out, nearly every one hitting an unexpected target somewhere beyond you. Too fast for me to scribble down -- the two I got near the end were "because night is when we get to talk back" and the last line, "my brain is the largest city in the world." Wish I had a lyric sheet. Behind him is Rich Halley, a gray-haired tenor saxophonist who spent most of his adult life as a field biologist, and a drummer with the same last name, presumably his son. Striking as the poetry might be on its own, the sax shadowing it heightens every line. He has a distinctive sound and style, comparable (not to say similar) to Von Freeman. He can't stretch out much here, but is terrific nonetheless. My only quibble is the line equating Kansas and Iowa: not the same at all (except in the middle of a corn field, of course). Suggest he read Richard Manning: Grassland and do some exploring. Not that he's wrong about Malta's low level of coronary heart disease. A

Joshua Redman/Aaron Parks/Matt Penman/Eric Harland: James Farm (2010 [2011], Nonesuch): Can't call this a supergroup -- only saxophonist Redman comes close, although drummer Harland's the sort of guy who gets into such groups. But it's not Redman's backup group either. Both Parks (piano) and Penman (bass) are on the rise, and each writes three songs here (same as Redman, leaving one for Harland). Parks has one previous album, a good one, on Blue Note (which had a good run of breaking piano stars, notably Jason Moran and Bill Charlap). Penman has two, on Fresh Sound New Talent, which I've missed (tough to get them these days; something I miss, perhaps a casualty of the weak dollar). Solid work all around, tuneful and beatwise. B+(***)

R|E|D|S: Sign of Four (2009 [2011], Origin): Quartet, first group record, an anagram of initials, although the order given on the back cover and inside is: Ed Epstein (baritone sax), Bjarne Roupé (guitar), Göran Schelin (bass), Dennis Drud (drums). Epstein was born in El Paso, TX; studied at University of Oregon, and played around the west coast before relocating to Sweden in early 1970s. Has one album, a couple dozen side credits, most notably with Johnny Dyani. Rest of the group is Danish, lightly recorded as far as I can tell -- Schelin has one album, Roupé some credits with Michael Mantler. Only birth date I could find is Drud in 1967, and he seems to have the least gray hair. Understated but moves smartly, the baritone a nice contrast to the guitar. B+(*)

The Essential Django Reinhardt (1949-50 [2011], RCA/Legacy, 2CD): A thin slice from Reinhardt's underappreciated postwar period, sets by two quintets with local rhythm sections recorded in Rome. The former returns to the Hot Club formula with old hand Stéphanne Grappelli on violin; the latter ditches the violin in favor of clarinet and alto sax played by André Eryan. Both work nicely, especially given a familiar tune that responds to a little gypsy swing. B+(**)

Michel Reis: Point of No Return (2009 [2011], Armored): Pianist, b. 1982 in Luxembourg, studied at Berklee and New England Conservatory -- about the two-thousandth musician I've seen to mention George Garzone on his resume. Based in New York. Third album, with flugelhorn (Vivek Patel) and soprano sax (Aaron Kruziki) adorning what's at heart a piano trio album. (The horns appear on 3 of 9 cuts, together on the first, just flugelhorn on the other two.) B+(**)

Júlio Resende Trio: You Taste Like a Song (2010 [2011], Clean Feed): Portuguese pianist. Two previous albums were HMs, lifted by bravura saxophone performances. This one is just piano trio, which also does the trick. Two covers: one I don't recognize from Radiohead, one I do from Monk. B+(***)

Claire Ritter: The Stream of Pearls Project (2009-10 [2011], Zoning): Pianist; b. 1952 in Charlotte, NC; studied with Ziggy Hurwitz and (later) Mary Lou Williams and Ran Blake. Tenth album since 1988. Eighteen original pieces ranging from 1:41 to 4:30, each referring to some instance of water in nature: the Charles River, Franconia Notch, 1000 Islands, Horshoe-Niagara Falls, Carolina Ponds, Ocracoke Island, Kill Devil Hills, Kitty Hawk, Currituck Beach, Pamlico Sound. Some of the pieces are solo piano, translating her sharp eye into sure-footed sound; others add percussion (Takashi Masuko), banjo, cello, accordion, vibes. I like it best when the pace picks up and the accordions -- yes, there are two -- kick in, but every piece finds its place. A-

Matana Roberts: Live in London (2009 [2011], Central Control): Alto saxophonist from Chicago, always identifies herself as a member of AACM even though the Association was founded forty years before she came up -- kind of like growing up in a union family. With Robert Mitchell (piano), Tom Mason (bass), and Chris Vatalaro (drums). First song runs 27 minutes, everything skewed at odd angles, just like in the good old days. B+(***) [Rhapsody]

Matana Roberts: Coin Coin Chapter One: Gens de Couleur Libre (2010 [2011], Constellation): Young alto saxophonist from Chicago, has the AACM thing going, a couple of good records under her belt. This is an ambitious dive into black history, a large band with three saxes, trumpet, piano, guitar, some strings, two bassists, drums, various odds and ends, many pieces with vocals. A lot of rage, understandable enough, but hard to follow. "I Am," for instance, starts with screams, which out of context are faintly ridiculous, then segues into a singsong rap odd but not untouching or uninteresting. There's something here, probably more than just catharsis. B+(**) [Rhapsody]

Roswell Rudd: The Incredible Honk (2011, Sunnyside): The great trombonist of our era, entitled to this title even though he doesn't do much to earn it here. Most of the record is given over to a wide range of world music -- Cuban, Cajun, Chinese, Malian -- each with their special guests -- Michel Doucet's take on Rudd's own "C'etait dans la nuit" is the most successful. Even better is when Rudd strips down to basics, as on his "Waltzin' with My Baby" or an amazingly poignant "Danny Boy." B+(***)

Jochen Rueckert: Somewhere Meeting Somebody (2010 [2011], Pirouet): Drummer, b. 1975 near Köln, Germany; moved to New York in 1995. Second album, the first dating from 1998; AMG lists 30 side credits. Wrote 9 of 11 pieces here, adding one each from Herbie Hancock and Martin Gore (Depeche Mode). Group looks superb on paper -- Mark Turner (tenor sax), Brad Shepik (guitar), Matt Penman (bass) -- but the guitar doesn't pop out, and the sax just glides along, making few waves. B+(*)

Bobby Sanabria: Tito Puente Masterworks Live!!! (2008 [2011], Jazzheads): Drummer, b. in New York, grew up in South Bronx, studied at Berklee. Sixth album since 1993, the last few big band affairs: the band here is billed as Manhattan School of Music Afro-Cuban Jazz Orchestra, conducted by Sanabria. This program of Tito Puente standards blows out all the gaskets, which is to say it sounds an awful lot like a vintage Puente disc. Looks like one too: I imagine some customers will be fooled, not that they'll mind much. B+(***)

Sanda: Gypsy in a Tree (2010 [2011], Barbes): Vocalist, Sanda Weigl, evidently her first album. Don't know how old she is, but she's been around: born in Romania, fled for political asylum in East Germany, then after 1968 decided that wasn't so great either. Wound up in New York, singing traditional gypsy songs in front of a band of Japanese expat jazz musicians: Shoko Nagai (piano, accordion, farfisa), Stomu Takeishi (electric bass), and Satoshi Takeishi (percussion). Also picked up some help from Doug Weiselman (guitar, clarinet) and Ben Stapp (tuba). Picked up some Brecht-Weill influence, but that only seems to have made the album even darker. B+(*)

Scanner with the Post Modern Jazz Quartet: Blink of an Eye (2010, Thirsty Ear): Scanner is Robin Rimbaud, b. 1964 in London, producer, AMG credits him with 38 albums since 1992. The PMJQ advances on the classic Modern Jazz Quartet lineup: Khan Jamal on vibes, Matthew Shipp on piano, Michael Bisio on bass, Michael Thompson on drums. It's been several years since Shipp worked with a DJ, so it's nice to get some of the mechanistic beats back in play -- best part is the tail end where that's about the only thing going. Harder to read Jamal here. He's an innovative player, even further removed from Milt Jackson than Shipp is from John Lewis, but I'm having trouble picking him out. If I get a real copy I'll give this another shot. B+(**) [advance]

Avery Sharpe: Running Man (2010 [2011], JKNM): Bassist, plays electric 6-string as well as acoustic, had a long association with Yusef Lateef and McCoy Tyner, has 10 records on his own since 1988, picking up the pace around 2005. Pianist Onaje Allan Gumbs is a credible Tyner clone. Craig Handy plays a lot of soprano sax and some tenor sax, does a nice job with the former. Maya Sharpe sings a couple songs. Gumbs, Handy, and drummer Yoron Israel write one each, leaving Sharpe eight. B+(*)

The Lee Shaw Trio: Live at Art Gallery Reutlingen (2009 [2011], ARC): Pianist, b. 1926 in Oklahoma, switched from classical to jazz after meeting Count Basie, married drummer Stan Shaw and moved to Albany, NY, a good place to remain obscure. First record was 1996 on avant-garde label CIMP; second came after Stan Shaw died in 2001, and now she has eight. Not really a trio record: first four cuts add baritone saxophonist Michael Lutzeier, three of the last four tenor saxophinist Johannes Enders, both impressively out front on covers like "Falling in Love Again," "Body and Soul," and "Stella by Starlight." B+(**)

Matthew Shipp: Art of the Improviser (2010 [2011], Thirsty Ear, 2CD): Pianist, one of the few I've spent enough time with to be able to follow. A decade-plus ago he was talking like he'd played everything he wanted to play and intended to stop, then he got a job with an avant-rock label and started a remarkable series of mash-ups and mergers between DJs and avant-jazzists -- his own Nu Bop and Equilibrium and Harmony and Abyss were highlights there. At his peak, Rolling Stone asked me to write up a survey of his work for their CD guide -- one of the very few jazz pianists to make a cut that excluded Ellington, Tatum, Monk, Powell, Pullen, and loads more. Even though he's hardly ever touched an electronic keyb, he started polling higher on electric than on acoustic. Since then it's as if he's backed down, seeking to regain his self-respect: he's mostly limited himself to trios and solo outings, strictly acoustic, not as avant as in his early days (although even then he was more indebted to Bud Powell than to Cecil Taylor). This time, with a title befitting Brad Mehldau, he gives you two live sets, one of each. The trio with Michael Bisio on bass and Whit Dickey on drums flows swiftly, the bass and drums heightening his own rhythmic conception, with a cover of "Take the A Train" to help secure your bearings. The solo takes more effort to chew, but plenty of food for thought there, too. B+(***)

Matthew Shipp/William Parker/Beans/Hprizm: Knives From Heaven (2011, Thirsty Ear): Basically, an Antipop Consortium joint, with Beans (Robert Stewart) rapping over High Priest (Kyle Austin, here dba Hprizm) electronics, with Shipp's piano and Parker's bass keeping it real. (Also seem to have cornered the publishing.) Would go further with better rhymes, although most of the parts without lyrics are intriguing synth fragments, the piano a plus, the bass hard to sort out. B+(*)

Liam Sillery: Priorité (2009 [2011], OA2): Trumpet player, from New Jersey, studied at Manhattan School of Music. Fifth album since 2004, mostly quintets with sax-piano-bass-drums (one with organ-guitar instead of piano-bass). With Matt Blostein (alto sax) and Vinnie Sperrazza (drums), who have their own band, plus Jesse Stacken (piano) and Thomas Morgan (bass). Postbop sophistication, everyone fitting in nicely, doing the things well schooled groups do these days. B+(*)

Blaise Siwula/Nobu Stowe/Ray Sage: Brooklyn Moments (2005, Konnex): More background. Siwula plays alto and tenor sax, bass clarinet, bamboo flute; Stowe piano; Sage drums. Siwula was b. 1950 in Detroit; has a couple dozen albums (AMG's discography starts in 1994, which strikes me as late). All improv, rough to start although they mix it up, and the bass clarinet part softens the blows. First record by Siwula I've heard, so I'm way behind here. B+(***) [cdr]

Blaise Siwula/Dom Minasi/Nobu Stowe/Ray Sage: New York Moments (2006, Konnex): Siwula plays soprano, alto, and tenor sax here -- no bass clarinet; Minasi guitar; Stowe piano; Sage drums. More spontaneous composition, group improvs, twice dropping down to trio strength. At times it all works, but often it feels a bit crowded, or cramped. B+(*)

Tommy Smith: Karma (2010 [2011], Spartacus): Tenor saxophonist, b. 1967 in Scotland, studied at Berklee, had a run on Blue Note that is long out of print, more records on Linn where his amazing facility often outran his ideas -- for me his breakthrough was Blue Smith in 2000, where he finally slowed down and let his rich tones develop. Returned to Scotland after that, releasing little publicized records on his own label, cultivating local talent, directing a group called Scottish National Jazz Orchestra. One of the few records I managed to get hold of was a duo with pianist Brian Kellock, Symbiosis (2005) -- an early Jazz CG Pick Hit, one of the best records of the decade. So I was surprised to get this one, replete with a full color promo booklet no less: a quartet with three of his young Scottish protégés -- Steve Hamilton on piano, Kevin Glasgow on electric bass, Alyn Cosker on drums. Fine group, but it all turns on the saxophonist, who seems a bit subdued at first, until he realizes he's got to finish the job himself, and closes with a dazzling finish. A-

Wadada Leo Smith: Lake Biwa (2002-04 [2004], Tzadik): Well-regarded album featuring Smith's Silver Orchestra. Can't find any track credits, so presumably the whole group plays everywhere, but I have my doubts about the three pianists, two bassists, and/or three drummers. The other slots include alto sax (John Zorn), tuba (Marcus Rojas), violin (Jennifer Choi), and cello (Erik Friedlander), as well as Smith's trumpet. Four long pieces (11:14 to 23:50), dense, cluttered, sometimes gets under your skin, then something amazing happens. B+(*) [Rhapsody]

Wadada Leo Smith's Organic: Heart's Reflections (2011, Cuneiform, 2CD): Smith's idea of organic is plugged in: his credit is for "electric trumpet" as well as trumpet; he uses four electric guitarists, two electric bassists; Angelica Sanchez plays Wurlitzer as well as acoustic piano; and he has two laptop credits. Trumpet-led fusion inevitably recalls Miles Davis, but Smith has been there and done that in his Yo! Miles group with Henry Kaiser. But this is definitely post-Yo!: the mix is far more complex, as is the groove. The opener (dedicated to Don Cherry) and the multipart "Heart's Reflections: Splendors of Light and Purification" (which finishes the first disc and sprawls over onto the second) pack quite some charge. Not so sure about the last two tracks, dedicated to Toni Morrison and Leroy Jenkins respectively. Maybe they stall a bit, or just test my endurance. [B+(***)]

Wadada Leo Smith's Organic: Heart's Reflections (2011, Cuneiform, 2CD): Mostly electric, including the trumpet as well as lots of guitars and bass, plus some keyb and laptop, which wouldn't have been my first expectation for a band named Organic, but the AACM vet who a decade ago took a wild turn through electric Miles (Yo! Miles) has his own sense of history. First disc, with its Don Cherry tribute opening and a big chunk of the title thing, is uproarious. Second winds down the title thing and ends with tirbutes to Toni Morrison and Leroy Jenkins, which are more halting, erratic, difficult. A-

Jim Snidero: Interface (2010 [2011], Savant): Alto saxophonist, b. 1958, eighteen records since 1987. I missed his early stuff on Criss Cross, RED, and Double-Time; finally caught up with Savant -- thought Crossfire was exceptional. Quartet with bass, drums, and Paul Bollenback on guitar (always a nice touch). Often sounds terrific, but this seems a bit cryptic. B+(**)

The Rossano Sportiello Trio: Lucky to Be Me [Arbors Piano Series, Volume 22] (2010, Arbors): Pianist, b. 1974 in Vigevano, Italy. Plays old fashioned stride with a light touch. Joined Dan Barrett at a festival in Switzerland in 2002, and has increasingly worked himself into the Arbors swing network: second album on his own, two more charming duos with bassist-singer Nicki Parrott, side credits especially with Harry Allen. This is a trio with Frank Tate (bass) and Dennis Mackrel (drums), old standards which increasingly includes the 1950s (Thad Jones, J.J. Johnson, Bill Evans, Tommy Flanagan), light and mostly delightful. Closes with something by Bach, no doubt part of his education, just not something I ever learned to care for. B+(**)

Terrell Stafford: This Side of Strayhorn (2010 [2011], MaxJazz): Nine Billy Strayhorn songs, a couple co-credited to Duke Ellington. Saxophonist Tim Warfield also plays (soprano listed ahead of tenor), but Stafford's trumpet and flugelhorn are nearly always up front, well oiled and brightly polished. Bruce Barth plays piano, Peter Washington bass, Dana Hall drums. Stafford's seventh album since 1995. First I've heard, although I must have bumped into him ten times on others' records. Could go higher on this. [B+(***)]

Starlicker: Double Demon (2011, Delmark): Rob Mazurek (cornet), Jason Adasiewicz (vibes), John Herndon (drums). Mazurek is a guy with lots of ideas, which you can trace through the various Chicago Underground Duo/Trio/Quartet configurations on up to his Exploding Star Orchestra. Where the latter typically engages a dozen musicians, this trio manages to cover the same space much more compactly. Does put more pressure on the cornet to lead, and for once he does. A-

Nick Stefanacci Band: 26 Years (2010, NS): Saxophonist (alto, tenor, soprano), also plays flute and keybs; based in New York; first album, not much of a bio but he could be doing one of those Adele things with his title. What throws you at first are the vocals: Kenny Simmons, reminds me of Blood Sweat & Tears, which I don't regard as damning although you might. (Still, what they mostly remind me of is a relative who confided in me that she didn't like them at first until she saw them on TV and realized they were white). Stefanacci sings some too. I find it all rather corny, and a bit sweet, but don't expect anyone else to. B

Storms/Nocturnes [Geoffrey Keezer/Joe Locke/Tim Garland]: Via (2010 [2011], Origin): Second album for the trio -- previous one recorded in 2002, released with Garland's name first and Keezer's last (UK label then, US label now). Respectively: piano, vibes, saxophones/bass clarinet. Garland, as I said, is British, b. 1966, has about ten albums, plays a lot of soprano as well as tenor, was prominent enough he got "featuring" credits while he was with Bill Bruford. Keezer, b. 1970, was Art Blakey's last pianist. Has a dozen-plus albums since 1989 including major labels Blue Note and Columbia. Locke you know. Aside from the previous group album they've played around with each other. Still, I'm surprised at how little chemistry there is. The pieces don't mesh, and Garland and Locke are pretty unassertive. B-

Subtle Lip Can (2010, Drip Audio): Canadian trio: Isaiah Ceccarelli (percussion, piano), Bernard Falaise (guitar), Joshua Zubot (violin, low octave violin). Falaise is the best known: b. 1965, has three records under his own name since 2000, plays in various borderline rock/jazz groups, notably Miriodor. Zubot is presumably related to violinist and label head Jesse Zubot (who is credited here with mastering the disc). He also plays in a bluegrass group called The Murder Ballads. Ceccarelli also seems like a familiar surname, but the only jazz Ceccarellis I've been able to find (two of them) are firmly rooted in Europe. First group record. Fractured, somewhat random noise, quasi-industrial with the strings and percussion. Striking at first, but doesn't grow into something you want to spend much time with. B+(*)

Helen Sung: (re)Conception (2009 [2011], SteepleChase): Pianist, from Houston, TX; fifth album since 2004. Piano trio, with the stellar mainstream rhythm section of Peter Washington and Lewis Nash. She doesn't write much -- one song here, not unusual although her debut was about half originals; picks two Ellingtons, Shearing's title cut, Monk, Bacherach, Loesser, others more obscure. B+(**)

Sunny Voices (1981-2008 [2009], Sunnyside): Label sampler, from a perennial contender for best jazz label of whatever year. Founded in 1982 by François Zalacain and Christine Berthet, the label's taste has always been eclectic, sometimes influenced by its ability to pick up records stranded in France. However, this sampler is limited to vocal tracks, where eclectic tastes turn into pretty idiosyncratic ones. Meredith D'Ambrosio has been on board from the beginning, and they picked up Jay Clayton in the mid-'90s; Jeanne Lee and Linda Sharrock appear via opportune reissues; most of the later tracks come from Europe or Latin America, and two (Ana Moura and Milton Nascimento) are picked up from Tim Ries' Stones World. I've heard slightly more than half of the albums (10 of 17) and don't especially recommend any. They flow rather painlessly here, but this isn't very useful. B-

Jacqui Sutton: Dolly & Billie (2010, Toy Blue Typewriter): Singer, from Orlando, FL; fifty-something, first album. The Dolly Parton-Billie Holiday concept is only explicit on the first ("God Bless the Child") and last ("Endless Stream of Tears") songs. In between there's a piece from Porgy and Bess, two from BeTwixt, BeTween, & BeTwain, some more show tunes I don't quite get. Band is called the Frontier Jazz Orchestra, led by pianist-trombonist Henry Darragh, with Paul Chester on bango, Max Dyer on cello, Aralee Dorough on flute, Alan Hoff on accordion, some others. It's meant to be a little corny, and Sutton's voice careens recklessly through the maze, scattering hay bales hither and yon. C+

The Sway Machinery: The House of Friendly Ghosts Vol. 1 (2010 [2011], JDub): Brooklyn collective centered around Balkan Beat Box guitarist-vocalist Jeremiah Lockwood, "inspired by ancient Jewish Cantorial music, blues, afro-beat and rock," goes to Mali's Festival in the Desert and comes back with featured singer Khaira Arby and such guests as Djilmady Tounkara and Vieux Farka Touré, mixing it up with horns from Antibalas. Sounds interesting, and is, but the parts clash more than mesh, and much of the interest comes from the wreckage. B+(*) [advance]

Craig Taborn: Avenging Angel (2010 [2011], ECM): Pianist, from Detroit, made his first impression in James Carter's quartet. Has a half dozen records under his own name, starting with a trio in 1994 and picking up the pace after 2001, and has done a lot of session work lately. In particular, he's played a lot of Fender Rhodes and is one of the few pianists who seem to improve on it. This, however, is acoustic piano, solo: figure it as a move to establish his bona fides as a real jazz pianist, and it mostly does just that. B+(**)

Taeko: Voice (2009-10 [2010], Flat Nine): Singer, full name Taeko Fukao, born and raised near Kyoto, Japan; based in New York, not sure how long. Second album. Wrote one song, picks two more from Japanese sources, picks others from Ellington to Monk to Hancock and Shorter to Marvin Gaye and Sly Stone. Scats quite a bit early on. B

Trio Richochet: February 2006 (2006, self-released): Nobu Stowe (piano), Tyler Goodman (bass), Alan Munshower (drums). First of a bunch of background music Stowe sent me. Aims at "post-fusion," where "post" is something new and "fusion" is a bit of everything. One cover ("Nardis"), the rest Stowe originals. Bright, upbeat, dynamic; some ballad-type things to mix it up. B+(***)

Jeremy Udden's Plainville: If the Past Seems So Bright (2011, Sunnyside): Saxophonist, from Plainville, MA, the town name he took for his second album and kept for his group on this his third. Studied in Boston, played in Either/Orchestra, now based in Brooklyn. Credit here read alto sax, soprano sax, and clarinet. Group includes Brandon Seabrook on guitar, Pete Rende on keyboards (Fender Rhodes, pump organ, Wurlitzer), Eivind Opsvik on bass, R.J. Miller on drums. He seems to be seeking out plainness, hiding behind nearly transparent electronic chimes, a strategy that turns out to be rather winning in spite of itself. Two songs have vocals, as understated as everything else. B+(*)

Diego Urcola Quartet: Appreciation (2010 [2011], CAM Jazz): Trumpet player, b. 1965 in Argentina, fourth album since 2003. Fronts a very capable group with Luis Perdomo on piano, Hans Gawischnig on bass, and Eric McPherson on drums -- those name "featuring" on the front cover, plus Yosvany Terry is credited with chekere. All originals, each dedicated to someone worthy. B+(**)

Nicholas Urie: My Garden (2010 [2011], Red Piano): Composer, b. 1985, listed as conductor here. Second album. Music for poems by Charles Bukowski, the lyrics sung by Christine Correa, who always strikes me as a tad operatic. Attractive packaging, but the light blue type on off white is too subtle, downright unreadable. The music itself has numerous interesting passages, the group only slightly below big band weight (4 reeds, 3 trumpets, 2 trombones, piano-bass-drums), mostly names I recognize including John Hébert, who usually lifts everything he touches. Problem here is a common one: the curse of trying to wrap music around words meant to stand on their own. B

Colin Vallon Trio: Rruga (2010 [2011], ECM): Pianist, b. 1980 in Lausanne, Switzerland; based and teaches in Bern; third album since 2004. Piano trio with Patrice Moret on bass and Samuel Rohrer on drums, both contributing songs. Played it three times. Not much snap, mostly quiet majesty. B+(**)

John Vanore & Abstract Truth: Contagious Words (2010 [2011], Acoustical Concepts): Trumpet player, composer, arranger, leader of the big band he calls Abstract Truth. About the only bio I have on Vanore is that he played for Woody Herman in the 1970s, and put the first edition of his band together in 1981. Last year he reissued a 1991 album called Curiosity. This one is new, cut in June and December of 2010. Not very well defined in the early going, but sneaks up on your and closes very strong, getting a lot out the guitar and slipping a French horn into the brass. B+(*)

Johnny Varro: Speak Low (2011, Arbors): Pianist, b. 1930, cites Jess Stacy and Teddy Wilson as influences, came up with Buddy Hackett, played for Eddie Condon; not much discography as a leader until he hooked up with Arbors in 1992, but this is his 11th album with them (side credits go back to 1954 with Phil Napoleon). Standards, with Warren Vaché (cornet) and Harry Allen (tenor sax) vying to see who can be the most debonair, with Nicki Parrott (bass) and Chuck Riggs (drums). Maybe a little too debonair there. B+(**) [Rhapsody]

Roseanna Vitro: The Music of Randy Newman (2009-10 [2011], Motéma): Standards singer, b. 1951 on the Texas side of Texarkana. Eleventh album since 1982. Leans too hard on Newman's movie music, not trusting his biting wit or irony -- you'd hardly recognize what "Sail Away" is about. Also leans too hard on Sara Caswell's violin. The extra sincerity does offer some returns on "In Germany Before the War." B

Cuong Vu 4-tet: Leaps of Faith (2010 [2011], Origin): Trumpet player, b. 1969 in what was then called Saigon, in Vietnam. Came to US in 1975, grew up in Bellevue, WA; studied at New England Conservatory; spent some time in New York, then moved back to Seattle, teaching at UW and having a pretty significant impact on the area. He's long had a fusion focus, and I haven't been much impressed by what he's come up with, but this is an advance: adding a second electric bassist (Luke Bergman) to his trio (Stomu Takeishi on electric bass and Ted Poor on drums) adds a lot to what I reckon you can call the grunge factor -- all the more amusing when burying standards like "Body and Soul" and "My Funny Valentine" but it neatly sets off the trumpet. B+(**)

Giancarlo Vulcano: My Funny Detective (2008 [2011], Distant Second): Guitarist, grew up and is based in New York, second album, the soundtrack for a movie that doesn't exist (a film noir, no less). Credits include working as music director for the TV show 30 Rock. This has some of the usual traits of soundtracks: short vignettes (6 of 12 finish in less than two minutes), fill up space, don't leave much aftertaste. Most distinctive thing is the use of two trombones (Brian Drye and Ryan Keberle) as the only horns. B+(*)

Weasel Walter/Mary Halvorson/Peter Evans: Electric Fruit (2009 [2011], Thirsty Ear): Drums, guitar, trumpet, respectively -- no credits on cover or insert, but someone plays drums. Evans and Halvorson are famous names by now -- Halvorson more like infamous, since I keep missing out on what are supposed to be her best records. Took some more effort to dig up the dirt on Walter: b. 1972 in Rockford, IL; given name Christopher Todd Walter; Hal Russell protege, although he couldn't have been more than 20 when Russell died, but that left him in the company of Mars Williams and Ken Vandermark. Formed the Flying Luttenbachers by 1994: AMG lists them as Jazz, but under Styles they're Math Rock and Grindcore and Black Metal as well as Avant-Garde Jazz, so you tell me. AMG list 7 albums under Walter's name, plus he has various other groups and projects, including Lake of Dracula, Burmese, XBXRX, Hatewave, and Zs (albeit more recently than the one impressive record I've heard). Abstract and gravelly, with Halvorson's note-bending guitar tricks and the trumpet blasts shooting past each other, the drums off enough to give it all some coherence. B+(**)

Cedar Walton: The Bouncer (2011, High Note): Pianist, b. 1934, has a ton of records since 1967, this one being typical, both in his lyrical runs and in the way he handles horns -- Vincent Herring (alto sax, tenor sax, flute) on 5 cuts, Steve Turre (trombone) on two. Wrote six of eight cuts, adding one from bassist David Williams, recalling one from J.J. Johnson. B+(**)

David S. Ware/Cooper-Moore/William Parker/Muhammad Ali: Planetary Unknown (2010 [2011], AUM Fidelity): The new quartet, but it doesn't quite seem settled yet. The change at piano is intriguing, but Cooper-Moore has far less impact than Matthew Shipp did, especially in the old quartet's maturity. As for the new drummer, Rashied Ali's younger brother can hang with this crowd, but he's the senior citizen here. What's harder to gauge is Ware: his first three cuts on tenor strike me as routine (not a word that often occurs to me with Ware), the next three on soprano more intriguing, as is the finale on stritch. It's gotten to where I expect Ware to blow me away every time -- well, maybe not solo -- so I'm confused here, or maybe just slow. [B+(***)]

Davis S. Ware/Cooper-Moore/William Parker/Muhammad Ali: Planetary Unknown (2010 [2011], AUM Fidelity): Continuing rehab, testing out a new quartet with two subs older than the old quartet -- no point in even thinking about replacing Parker -- with the old fire coming back, colored a bit by switching to soprano three tracks in, then winding up the seventh on stritch. Ware's soprano is distinctive but wears a bit thin. Had my doubts at first about Cooper-Moore's piano, but focusing in I hear sharp angled comping, not as fluid as Shipp but suits the leader fine. A-

Marcin Wasilewski Trio: Faithful (2010 [2011], ECM): Piano trio, with Slawomir Kurkiewicz on bass and Michal Miskiewicz on drums, first came to our attention as Tomas Stanko's "young Polish band" a few years back. Third album together, growing ever more refined, and perhaps as a result less interesting. B+(**)

Christian Weidner: The Inward Song (2010, Pirouet): Alto saxophonist, b. 1976 in Kassel, Germany; studied in Hamburg, Stockholm, and Berlin, where he is currently based. Second album. Quartet with Colin Vallon on piano (Vallon has a new ECM album in my queue), Henning Sieverts on bass, and Samuel Rohrer on drums. All originals. Light, delicate sound, almost lurks behind the piano, giving it all an ECM-lite feel. B

Bastian Weinhold: River Styx (2010 [2011], self-released): Drummer, b. 1986 in Germany; studied at Conservatory of Amsterdam, New School, and Manhattan School of Music; based in New York. First album, quintet with tenor sax (Adam Larson), piano (Pascal Le Boeuf), guitar (Nils Weinhold), bass (Linda Oh), and drums. Very postbop, lots of time shifts and slippery harmony, all quite fancy. B+(*)

Mark Weinstein: Jazz Brasil (2010 [2011], Jazzheads): Flautist, plays an alto flute on the cover pic, credits also specify concert and bass flutes. Has about 15 records going back to 1996, mostly Latin-themed although one early title is Shifra Tanzt, and a more recent one leaned on Monk for Straight No Chaser. The Brazilian twist here comes from the rhythm section -- Nilson Matta on bass and Marceito Pellitteri on percussion -- and they come alive on the few Brazilian tunes, especially Ary Barrosa's "Brazil." Their treatment is more cautious on two Monks, "Nefertiti," pieces by Herbie Mann and Joe Henderson. Kenny Barron plays piano. B+(*)

Walt Weiskopf Quartet: Recorded Live April 8, 2008 Koger Hall University of South Carolina (2008 [2011], Capri): Presented as a memoir of late drummer Tony Reedus, who died Nov. 16, 2008; the most upfront and personable outing I've heard by the mainstream tenor saxophonist, plus a strong assist from pianist Renee Rosnes -- haven't heard much from her since her Blue Note contract lapsed nearly a decade ago. Paul Gill plays bass. B+(***)

David Weiss & Point of Departure: Snuck Out (2008 [2011], Sunnyside): Trumpet player, b. 1964 in New York City but studied at NTU. Fourth album, first two on Fresh Sound New Talent 2001-04, third last year called Snuck In. State of the art postbop quintet, with Nir Felder's guitar in the middle, J.D. Allen's tenor sax the contrasting horn, and the rhythm (Matt Clohesy on bass and Jamire Williams on drums) slipping and sliding every which way. B+(**)

Ezra Weiss: The Shirley Horn Suite (2010 [2011], Roark): Pianist, b. 1979, grew up in Arizona, studied in Oregon, wound up in New York. Fifth album since 2002. (I still have an earlier one, Alice in Wonderland: A Jazz Musical, wedged in my queue; something I should do something about.) A tribute to Shirley Horn, focusing more to her underrated piano than on her voice -- although the very similar sounding Shirley Nanette sings four songs (all Weiss originals). Weiss wrote five of nine pieces, taking the four covers as instrumentals for a tasteful piano trio. B+(***)

Mort Weiss: Mort Weiss Meets Bill Cunliffe (2010 [2011], SMS Jazz): Or to continue the title further: With Special Guest the Undisputed Father of the Jazz Flute Sam Most. I can't argue, although it looks like James Moody played a little jazz flute before Most's 1953 debut, and while I can't find any credits for Frank Wess before 1954, he's a few years older than Moody, nearly a decade older than Most. Most cut ten records 1953-59, then a few more for Xanadu 1976-79. The better known flautist is Herbie Mann, a few months older than Most but with no records until 1954. Most always struck me as someone trying to translate Charlie Parker to flute as literally as possible. Not a great or even very notable innovation, but he's much more listenable than nearly all of the jazz flute that followed. Still, he adds little more than color and background here. Pianist Cunliffe is superb at establishing the swing rhythm, guitarist Ron Eschete' (no idea why he prefers the apostrophe to an acute accent) swings too, and the leader's clarinet is bright and cheery. A nice diversion is Peter Marx's spoken word "Readings of Kerouac 1" which is really about Slim Gaillard. Out of character is the cut Weiss turned over to his grandson. Weiss, you should recall, started to leave his mark after retirement age. Fifth album I've heard since 2006, and very nearly his best. [By the way, my copy has a manufacturing defect which renders the last cut interminable.] B+(***)

Neil Welch: Boxwork (2009 [2011], Table & Chairs): Tenor saxophonist, b. 1985, from Seattle, studied at University of Washington, has a couple of albums. This one is solo, something that often has the air of practice exercises. He takes this slow and soft, with gentle sonic modulation, more atmospheric than anything else. Still, the low pitch keeps you from getting too comfortable. B+(**)

Kenny Werner: Balloons (2010 [2011], Half Note): Pianist, b. 1951 in Brooklyn, has 25-30 albums since 1977, considered a postbop player -- I've heard very few of his records, and flagged his Guggenheim-winning orchestral No Beginning No End as a dud. Still, he bounces back impressively here, using the oldest trick in the book: a really first-rate band, recorded live: David Sanchez (tenor sax), Randy Brecker (trumpet), John Pattitucci (bass), and Antonio Sanchez (drums). Four pieces stretch out, the horns taking especially strong solos, the piano holding the fort together. Ends with a drum flourish. B+(***)

Max Wild: Tamba (2008 [2010], ObliqSound): Alto saxophonist, from Zimbabwe; second album. "Tamba" means dance in Shona, probably the language of most of the lyrics here -- sung by various people, primarily Sam Mtukudzi. Has a joyous township vibe to it. B+(**) [advance: 2010]

Jessica Williams Trio: Freedom Trane (2007 [2010], Origin): Pianist, b. 1948, has close to 40 records since 1976, a lot of solos, many more trios. Four Coltrane songs here, plus four originals. Impeccable, as usual. B+(**)

Anthony Wilson: Campo Belo (2010 [2011], Goat Hill): Guitarist, b. 1968, son of big band arranger Gerald Wilson, has ten or so albums since 1997. This is a quartet with a Brazilian rhythm section: André Mehmari (piano, accordion), Guto Wirtti (bass), and Edu Ribeiro (drums). Not stereotypically Brazilian, but light and seductive nonetheless. B+(**)

Curtis Woodbury (2010, Jazz Hang): Plays violin and tenor sax, impressive on both but plays much more violin here. Eponymous debut album. Don't have any bio, but album was recorded in Utah, seems to be where he's from. Group includes another Woodbury, Brian, on trombone, plus piano, bass, and drums. Two originals, six covers -- Scott Joplin, Astor Piazzolla, Sonny Stitt, Michel Camilo, Dave Holland, "You Are My Sunshine." Nice range. B+(**)

Nate Wooley Quintet: (Put Your) Hands Together (2010 [2011], Clean Feed): Trumpet player, not a lot under his own name but a couple dozen side credits since 2002. Group spread out with Josh Sinton on bass clarinet, Matt Moran on vibes, Eivind Opsvik bass, and Harris Eisenstadt drums. Not much chemistry between the horns, and the vibes seem like an afterthought. "Elsa" has an appealing Monkish jerikness to it. B

John Zorn: Nova Express (2010 [2011], Tzadik): Ten Zorn compositions, played by a piano-bass-vibes-drums quartet: John Medeski, Trevor Dunn, Kenny Wollesen, Joey Baron. Takes a book title from William S. Burroughs -- song titles include "Dead Fingers Talk" and "The Ticket That Exploded." Nothing MJQ-ish. The vibes add an electric ring to the piano, but compete in the same space, and both can clash fiercely. Does tail off into a nice groove-laden thing at the end. B+(**) [Rhapsody]

Carry Over

The following records, carried over from the done and print files at the start of this cycle, were also under consideration for this column.

  1. Afterfall (2008 [2010], Clean Feed) B+(***)
  2. Aida Severo (2007 [2009], Slam) B+(***)
  3. Rodrigo Amado: Searching for Adam (2010, Not Two) A-
  4. Lynne Arriale: Convergence (2010 [2011], Motéma) B+(***)
  5. David Ashkenazy: Out With It (2009, Posi-Tone) B+(***)
  6. Michaël Attias: Twines of Colesion (2008 [2010], Clean Feed) B+(***)
  7. Jerry Bergonzi: Convergence (2008 [2011], Savant) A-
  8. Tim Berne: Insomnia (1997 [2011], Clean Feed) B+(***)
  9. Carlos Bica + Matéria-Prima (2008 [2010], Clean Feed) B+(***)
  10. Ketil Bjørnstad: Remembrance (2009 [2010], ECM) B+(***)
  11. BLOB: Earphonious Swamphony (2010, Innova) B+(***)
  12. Dan Block: Plays the Music of Duke Ellington: From His World to Mine (2009 [2010], Miles High) B+(***)
  13. Jane Ira Bloom: Wingwalker (2010 [2011], Outline) B+(***)
  14. Hadley Caliman & Pete Christlieb: Reunion (2009 [2010], Origin) B+(**)
  15. Chaise Lounge: Symphony Lounge (2010, Big Round) B+(***)
  16. Conference Call: What About . . . ? (2007-08 [2010], Not Two, 2CD) A-
  17. The Convergence Quartet: Song/Dance (2009 [2010], Clean Feed) B+(***)
  18. Contact: Five on One (2010, Pirouet) B+(***)
  19. The Cookers: Cast the First Stone (2010 [2011], Plus Loin Music) B+(***)
  20. Correction: Two Nights in April (2009 [2010], Ayler) B+(***)
  21. Mirio Cosottini/Andrea Melani/Tonino Miano/Alessio Pisani: Cardinal (2009, Grimedia Impressus) B+(***)
  22. Ernest Dawkins' New Horizons Ensemble: The Prairie Prophet (2010 [2011], Delmark) A-
  23. Decoy & Joe McPhee: Oto (2009 [2010], Bo Weavil) B+(***)
  24. Todd DelGiudice: Pencil Sketches (2010 [2011], OA2) B+(***)
  25. The Dynamic Les DeMerle Band: Gypsy Rendezvous, Vol. One (2008 [2009], Origin) B+(***)
  26. De Nazaten & James Carter: For Now (2009 [2011], Strotbrocck) A-
  27. Carlo De Rosa's Cross-Fade: Brain Dance (2009 [2011], Cuneiform) A-
  28. Ismael Dueñas Trio: Jazz Ateu (2009 [2010], Quadrant) A-
  29. Hilario Duran Trio: Motion (2010, Alma) B+(***)
  30. Peter Epstein & Idée Fixe: Abstract Realism (2008 [2010], Origin) B+(***)
  31. Ellery Eskelin/Gerry Hemingway: Inbetween Spaces (2010, Auricle) A-
  32. John Fedchock NY Sextet: Live at the Red Sea Jazz Festival (2008 [2010], Capri) B+(***)
  33. Oscar Feldman: Oscar e Familia (2009, Sunnyside) B+(***)
  34. Ken Filiano & Quantum Entanglements: Dreams From a Clown Car (2008 [2010], Clean Feed) B+(***)
  35. Free Fall: Gray Scale (2008 [2010], Smalltown Superjazz) A-
  36. Stephen Gauci/Kris Davis/Michael Bisio: Three (2008 [2010], Clean Feed) B+(***)
  37. Dave Glasser: Evolution (2010, Here Tiz) B+(***)
  38. Gord Grdina Trio with Mats Gustafsson: Barrel Fire (2009 [2010], Drip Audio) A-
  39. Bob Greene: St. Peter Street Strutters (1964 [2009], Delmark) B+(***)
  40. Matt Herskowitz: Jerusalem Trilogy (2009-10 [2010], Justin Time) B+(***)
  41. Ben Holmes Trio (2009, self-released) B+(***)
  42. Honey Ear Trio: Steampunk Serenade (2010 [2011], Foxhaven) A-
  43. Humanization 4tet: Electricity (2009 [2010], Ayler) A-
  44. Jon Irabagon: Foxy (2010, Hot Cup) A-
  45. Jaruzelski's Dream: Jazz Gawronski (2008 [2010], Clean Feed) B+(***)
  46. The Jazz Passengers: Reunited (1995-2010 [2010], Justin Time) B+(***)
  47. Joan Jeanrenaud/PC Muñoz: Pop-Pop (2010, Deconet) B+(***)
  48. Barb Jungr: The Men I Love: The New American Songbook (2009 [2010], Naim) B+(***)
  49. Eero Koivistoinen & Co.: 3rd Version (1973 [2010], Porter) A-
  50. Andrew Lamb Trio: New Orleans Suite (2005 [2010], Engine) B+(***)
  51. Brian Landrus: Foward (2007 [2010], Cadence Jazz) B+(***)
  52. Gianni Lenoci: Ephemeral Rhizome (2008 [2009], Evil Rabbit) B+(***)
  53. The David Liebman Trio: Lieb Plays the Blues à la Trane (2008 [2010], Challenge) B+(***)
  54. The Giuseppi Logan Quintet (2009 [2010], Tompkins Square) B+(***)
  55. Jon Lundbom & Big Five Chord: Accomplish Jazz (2009, Hot Cup) B+(***)
  56. Brian Lynch: Unsung Heroes (2008-09 [2011], Hollistic Music Works) B+(***)
  57. Rebecca Martin: When I Was Long Ago (2010, Sunnyside) B+(***)
  58. Alexander McCabe: Quiz (2009-10 [2010], CAP) A-
  59. Terrence McManus/Gerry Hemingway: Below the Surface Of (2008 [2010], Auricle) A-
  60. Sebastiano Meloni/Adriano Orrù/Tony Oxley: Improvised Pieces for Trio (2008 [2010], Big Round) B+(***)
  61. Moon Hotel Lounge Project: Into the Ojalá (2010 [2011], Frosty Cordial) A-
  62. Rakalam Bob Moses/Greg Burk: Ecstatic Weanderings (2002 [2010], Jazzwerkstatt) B+(***)
  63. Mostly Other People Do the Killing: The Coimbra Concert (2010 [2011], Clean Feed, 2CD) B+(***)
  64. William Parker & the Little Huey Creative Music Orchestra: For Percy Heath (2005 [2006], Victo) A-
  65. Adam Pieronczyk: Komeda: The Innocent Sorcerer (2009 [2011], Jazzwerkstatt) A-
  66. Mike Reed's People, Places & Things: Stories and Negotiations (2008 [2010], 482 Music) B+(***)
  67. Júlio Resende: Assim Falava Jazzatustra (2009, Clean Feed) B+(***)
  68. Scenes [John Stowell/Jeff Johnson/John Bishop]: Rinnova (2009 [2010], Origin) B+(***)
  69. Adam Schroeder: A Handful of Stars (2010, Capri) B+(***)
  70. Trygve Seim/Andreas Utnem: Purcor (2008 [2010], ECM) B+(***)
  71. Serafin: Love's Worst Crime (2010, Serafin) B+(***)
  72. Sean Smith Quartet: Trust (2011, Smithereen) B+(***)
  73. Sonic Liberation Front: Meets Sunny Murray (2002-08 [2011], High Two) B+(***)
  74. Jason Stein's Locksmith Isidore: Three Kinds of Happiness (2009 [2010], Not Two) B+(***)
  75. Steve Swell's Slammin' the Infinite: 5000 Poems (2007 [2010], Not Two) A-
  76. Jamaaladeen Tacuma: For the Love of Ornette (2010 [2011], Jazzwerkstatt) B+(***)
  77. Tarbaby: The End of Fear (2010, Posi-Tone) B+(***)
  78. Tide Tables [Paul Kikuchi/Alexander Vittum]: Lost Birdsongs (2005 [2010], Prefecture) B+(**)
  79. The Ullmann/Swell 4: News? No News! (2010, Jazzwerkstatt) B+(***)
  80. Matt Vashlishan: No Such Thing (2008 [2009], Origin) B+(***)
  81. David S. Ware: Onecept (2009 [2010], AUM Fidelity) A-
  82. Doug Webb: Renovations (2009 [2011], Posi-Tone) B+(***)
  83. Howard Wiley and the Angola Project: 12 Gates to the City (2008 [2010], HNIC Music) B+(***)
  84. Zed Trio: Lost Transitions (2009 [2010], Ayler) B+(***)