Jazz Consumer Guide (28):

These are the prospecting notes from working on Jazz CG #28. 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 August 1, 2011 to December 31, 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 402 (plus 85 carryovers). The count from the previous file was 249 (+84). (before that: 227+96, 248+113, 218+96, 207+125, 219, 225, 226, 230, 293, 291, 240, 259).

Rez Abbasi's Invocation: Suno Suno (2010 [2011], Enja): Guitarist, from Pakistan, eighth album since 1995, not counting his work with Rudresh Mahanthappa's Indo-Pak Coalition -- a trio with Dan Weiss on drums that is expanded to five here, adding Vijay Iyer on piano and Johannes Weidenmueller on bass, only here the compositions are all Abbasi. The star power of Mahanthappa and Iyer is undeniable, but it comes off as unduly heavy, jerky, dramatic -- impressive in its own right. B+(*) [Rhapsody]

Jason Adasiewicz's Sun Rooms: Spacer (2011, Delmark): Vibraphone player, based in Chicago, the one guy everyone out there goes to for the craft. Trio with Nate McBride (bass) and Mike Reed (drums). First-rate musicians, but the effort is a little thin all around. B+(*)

Mario Adnet: More Jobim Jazz (2011, Adventure Music): Jobim orchestrated for a not-quite big band -- runs 7 to 11 pieces -- which clears up Jobim's characteristic lightness, adding not just density but sumptuous warmth. A sequel to Adnet's 2007 Jobim Jazz, with a Baden Powell tribute in the meantime. B+(*)

Antonio Adolfo/Carol Sabaya: Lá e Cá/Here and There (2010, AAM): Brazilian pianist, composer of a couple pieces here; AMG lists 17 records since 1992; Discogs has fewer records but they're almost all earlier, the first from 1969. Sabaya, his daughter, sings, a cool treat although Adolfo's piano excursions are every bit as delicious. Aside from Adolfo's originals, everything else has stood the test of time: "All the Things You Are," "A Night in Tunisia," "Time After Time," "Lullaby of Birdland," "'Round Midnight," a lot of Jobim and Cole Porter, sometimes segued together. B+(***)

Antonio Adolfo: Chora Baião (2011, AAM): Brazilian pianist, hard to say how important he is down there, but has recorded since 1969. I belatedly caught up with his 2010 Lá e Cá with daughter Carol Saboya and put it on my HM list. Saboya sings one song here, too, but these are mostly instrumentals, mostly choro or baião, uniformly nice and tasteful, nearly as ingratiating. B+(**)

Afro Bop Alliance: Una Más (2010 [2011], OA2): Big band with extra Latin percussion: Roberto Quintero (congas) and Dave Samuels (vibes, marimba), otherwise pretty much the Vince Norman/Joe McCarthy Big band. Hot in spots, merely tepid in others; saved, I think, by Quintero. B+(*)

Amina Alaoui: Arco Iris (2010 [2011], ECM): Singer, from Fez, Morocco; has studied classical music traditions in Morocco and France, philosophy and linguistics, with interests straying as far as Persian classical music. Has a handful of albums. Focus here is on Andalusian music, including fado and flamenco, which was driven back to North Africa by the Spanish Reconquista. With violin, oud, guitar, mandolin, percussion. B+(**)

Aimée Allen: Winters & Mays (2010 [2011], Azuline Music): Singer, wrote (or co-wrote with brother David Allen) 6 of 12 songs here (plus added lyrics to a Pat Metheny piece). From what little bio I've been able to piece together, studied at Yale, then got law degrees from Columbia and the Sorbonne in France. Two previous albums, one in French. Practices law by day and sings by night. Band includes Pete McCann on guitar (sauve and exceptionally tasty here), as well as piano, bass, and drums, plus Victor Prieto on accordion for three cuts. One Brazilian piece (Powell, de Moraes), nice percussion there. Some of the covers are striking -- she really digs into "Bye Bye Blackbird," for instance. The originals are harder to gauge, but she's smart, determined, and can make a point. B+(**)

Geri Allen: A Child Is Born (2011, Motéma Music): Solo piano/organ/clavinet/Fender Rhodes, plus "vocal soundscape engineering and design" on one track, other voices on two more. Christmas music more or less, mostly attributed to Trad. with two originals added. Sometimes the mind drifts aimlessly, but it's hard to disguise pieces like "We Three Kings" and "Little Drummer Boy." B

Harry Allen: Rhythm on the River (2011, Challenge): Thirteen "river" songs, two by Hoagy Carmichael, the only one without "river" in the title is "Roll On, Mississippi, Roll On" although the musty old Stephen Foster "Old Folks at Home" had to reach into the parents for "Swanee River" -- wonder how they missed "Old Man River"? The band gets such a charge on the four songs joined by Warren Vaché and his cornet that Allen's quartet sounds down at first. Eventually that pays off in drawing out the tenor saxophonist's sumptous balad tone. B+(***)

Fabian Almazan Trio: Personalities (2010-11 [2011], Biophilia): Pianist, from Cuba, based in New York, first record. Ben Ratliff recently wrote him up as one of four young pianists doing innovative things, along with Kris Davis (whom I like a lot) and two others I hadn't heard of. The trio cuts, with Linda Oh on bass and Henry Cole on drums, offer an ambitious mix of postbop moves. Two more cuts add a string trio led by violinist Meg Okura, and they rub me the wrong way, especially the one written by someone named Shostakovich. B+(*)

The Ames Room: Bird Dies (2010 [2011], Clean Feed): Sax trio, bills themselves as "minimal maximal terror jazz." Saxophonist Jean-Luc Guionnet is French, but bassist and drummer (Clayton Thomas and Will Guthrie) have suspiciously Anglo names. Second album, just one 48:20 staccato rumble, daring you to turn the volume up to see if you can discern any changes. I did, a little. B+(**)

Eliane Amherd: Now and From Now On (2011, ELI): Guitarist-singer-songwriter, from Switzerland, based in New York. First album. Good voice. Nice beat. Didn't follow the songs, but the lyrics are in the booklet -- even the one non-original, from Tom Waits. B+(*)

Charlie Apicella & Iron City: Sparks (2009 [2010], Carlo Music): Guitar-organ trio, with Apicella on guitar, Dave Mattock on organ, and Alan Korzin on drums. Second album. He's studied with Dave Stryker, but he's basically a Grant Green guy -- wrote 3 of 8 tunes, covering Green, Dr. Lonnie Smith, Lou Donaldson, Steve Cropper/Don Covay, and Michael Jackson -- he's a lightweight, but the latter was tastier than anything on Joey DeFrancesco's Jackson tome. Five cuts add Stephen Riley on tenor sax, to little effect. Two cuts add a violinist (John Blake or Amy Bateman), and that's something worth exploring further. B

Christian Artmann: Uneasy Dreams (2010-11 [2011], self-released): Flute player, based in New York, for biographical background about all he says is that he was "raised on a heavy dose of Bach in Germany and Austria," and that he's studied at Berklee, Frankfurter Musikwertstatt, Princeton, and Harvard Law. Second album, with bass and drums, piano on most cuts, voice (Elena McEntire) on three, percussion on three. No label, but his artwork and packaging are very nice. Mostly original pieces, some short free improvs. I'm no flute fan, but he has an approach that I can't pigeonhole into any of the obvious styles, including the one for folks who grew up on too much Bach. B+(**)

ArtsWest: The Vocal Jazz Collective: Redefition (2009 [2010], OA2): ArtsWest is some kind of organization in Seattle: produces events, runs a theater company and an art gallery, offers education although I'm not sure you can call it a school, is "a community center and economic attractor." Jeff Baker, who has a few vocal jazz albums of his own, is Director of Vocal Music, and the Vocal Jazz Collective is a set of vocalists including 13-year-old Andrew Coba, who doesn't have a lead here but is somewhere in the choir -- not clear that the others are much older. The band is made up of Seattle all-stars including Brent Jensen on sax and Thomas Marriott on trumpet, arranged by pianist Justin Nielsen. Singers Camille Avery, LeAnne Robinson, Georgia Sedlack, Cari Stevens, Fara Sumbureru, Karmen Wolf, Harris Long, and Mary Thompson get one or two standards each. Good band -- the instrumental breaks are all expert. None of the singers are especially memorable, but overall this is surprisingly pleasant. B

AsGuests: Universal Mind (2010 [2011], Origin): Basically a duo -- Michal Vanoucek (piano) and Miro Herak (vibes) -- although they also perform as a quartet with bass and drums, and here they add strings (violin, viola, cello). Vanoucek is from Slovakia, b. 1977; I've run into him before. Herak is from the Czech side but is based in Slovakia. Has a fancy chamber jazz feel, speeding up with the vibes chime in. B+(*)

Pablo Aslan Quintet: Piazzolla in Brooklyn and the Rebirth of Jazz Tango (2011, Soundbrush): The official birth of jazz tango was announced in 1959 by new tango composer Astor Piazzolla, living at the time in New York and recording a record called Take Me Dancing with a jazz quintet. Piazzolla himself considered the record "dreadful" but Aslan, an Argentine bassist based in Brooklyn who over the last decade has produced the best jazz tango albums ever, decided to give it another shot. Aslan added an extra Piazzolla tune to the seven plus two covers from the album ("Laura," "Lullaby of Birdland"). For the group, he went back to Buenos Aires -- Gustavo Bergalli (trumpet), Nicolas Enrich (bandoneon), Abel Rogantini (piano), and Daniel "Pipi" Piazzolla (drums, Astor's grandson). I don't have the original album to compare to, but I don't doubt that Aslan has managed to pep it up. Still, feels a bit compressed. B+(**)

Andrew Atkinson Quartet: Live: Keep Looking Forward (2011, self-released): Drummer-led quartet, b. 1982 -- I read his bio as saying in Jamaica, but somehow he wound up in Miami. First album, with Tevin Pennicott on tenor sax, Jim Gasior on piano, and Kurt Hengstebeck on electric bass. Atkinson, Pennicott, and Gasior wrote one song each, plus one split between Atkinson and Pennicott; plus four covers -- a Jobim, "Softly as in a Morning Sunrise," and two from Miles Davis (forgetting about Victor Feldman on "Seven Steps to Heaven"). Group is fast, upbeat, a lot of fun. Pennicott's from Georgia. I noticed him before when he lifted Kenny Burrell's Be Yourself to HM status, and he's even better here, in a real sax blowout. A-

Mike Baggetta Quartet: Source Material (2010 [2011], Fresh Sound New Talent): Guitarist, based in New York. Third album with his name first, plus three duos with Kris Tiner -- one with Tiner's name first, two as Tin/Bag. Quartet includes Jason Rigby on "saxophones" (pictured on soprano, also plays tenor), Eivind Opsvik on bass, and George Schuller on drums. B+(**)

Yaala Ballin: On the Road (2010 [2011], Gallery): Standards singer, born in Israel, has a New York band and a previous album on Smalls, as do most of her band: Zaid Nasser (alto sax), Chris Byars (tenor sax), and Ari Roland (bass); the others are Vahagn Hayrapetyan (piano) and Keith Balla (drums). Leans heavily on blues -- two medleys, "Evil Gal Blues/Salty Papa Blues" and "Long Gone Blues/Wise Woman Blues" tower like the pylons in a suspension bridge, and you never doubt her right to sing those blues. "I Cried for You" can't help but remind me of Jimmy Rushing, a thought that brings me nothing but pleasure. The saxophonists stay within their roles, but are superb, as expected. A-

Baloni: Fremdenzimmer (2010 [2011], Clean Feed): Trio: Joachim Badenhorst (bass clarinet, clarinet, tenor sax), Frantz Loriot (viola), and Pascal Niggenkemper (double bass). Don't think I've ever run across Loriot before, but he is central here, setting the tone and dynamics, and when he decides to whine and mourn no one else can break free. B+(*)

Billy Bang's Survival Ensemble: Black Man's Blues/New York Collage (1977-78 [2011], NoBusiness, 2CD): The late, great violinist's first two albums -- the first so obscure I missed it when I assembled a discography for my 2005 Voice piece on Bang. A quartet for the first record, with Bilal Abdur Rahman on tenor and soprano sax, William Parker on bass, and Rashid Bakr on drums. Rahman, an old friend of Bang's, picked up Islam in prison and recorded reluctantly but more often than not his cutting and slashing is terrific here. Both albums are hit and miss, with bits of spoken word spouting political critique -- "when the poor steal, it's called looting; when the rich steal, it's called profit" is one turn of phrase. Second album adds Henry Warner on alto sax and Khuwana Fuller on congas -- Warner's another player who shows up on rare occasions but always makes a big impression. Way back when I would probably have hedged my grade, seeing each album as promising but half-baked, but now they're indisputable pieces of history -- and not just because Bang and Parker went on to have brilliant careers. Also note that the label in Lithuania that rescued them cared enough to provide a 36-page booklet on the era and this remarkable music. A-

Rahsaan Barber: Everyday Magic (2010 [2011], Jazz Music City): Saxophonist (tenor, alto, soprano, also flute), teaches at Belmont U. in Nashville; second album. Calls his group Everyday Magic -- Adam Agati (guitar), Jody Nardone (piano), Jerry Navarro (bass), and Nioshi Jackson (drums) -- and adds a couple guests. His tenor is strong and full-toned, and he gets some funk out of the guitar-piano combo without compromising his postbop cred. The other horns slack off a bit. B+(*)

John Basile: Amplitudes (2011, StringTime Jazz): Guitarist, b. 1955 in Boston, ninth album since 1986. Solo, plugged his guitar into an iPhone, some kind of "app," and ProTools with "no amps and some digital plug in effects." One original, mostly standards (including one Jobim), covers of tracks by John Abercrombie and Ralph Towner. B+(*)

Michael Bates: Acrobat: Music for, and by, Dmitri Shostakovich (2011, Sunnyside): Bassist, or "bassist-composer" as he likes to say -- as does nearly everyone, which is why I almost never retain the second part, but the balance is worth noting with him, even more so than with such distinguished composer-bassists as Ben Allison and Adam Lane. I must admit I was put off by the Shostakovich theme, unfortunately, regrettably: for one thing, only one (of nine) pieces is by Shostakovich; for another, his postbop orchestration -- a superb group with Chris Speed (alto sax, clarinet), Russ Johnson (trumpet), Russ Lossing (piano, rhodes), and Tom Rainey (drums) -- of "Dance of Death" is a high point here, possibly because it signifies to me more as rock (as Weill does) than as classical. The affinities of the other pieces isn't clear to me, but as tightly composed postbop pieces they are remarkably varied and inventive. Should play this some more. [B+(***)]

Stefano Battaglia Trio: The River of Anyder (2009 [2011], ECM): Pianist, b. 1965 in Milan, has 30 albums since 1986, four on ECM -- two early ones tied explicitly to Bill Evans. Has a knack for impressing me without offering a hook on which to hang a review. B+(**)

The Return: The Gerry Beaudoin Trio With Harry Allen (2011, Francesca): Guitarist, AMG lists seven previous albums going back to 1992 but doesn't have this one, which may be digital only. Has a very light touch in a trio with bass and drums, doing eight tracks, none of which I recognize as standards. Tenor saxophonist Allen tries his best to fit in, which mostly means toning himself down to near invisiblity. B [Rhapsody]

Dee Bell: Sagacious Grace (1990 [2011], Laser): Singer, b. 1950 in Fort Wayne, IN; cut a couple records for Concord 1983-85, but nothing since until now. This session was shelved for technical reasons but has finally been cleaned up and dedicated to her late pianist Al Plank. Standards, including a couple jazz tunes Bell wrote lyrics to. Band includes John Stowell on guitar, and (even better) Houston Person on tenor sax. B+(*)

Stephane Belmondo: The Same as It Never Was Before (2011, Sunnyside): Trumpet/flugelhorn player (also credited with bass trumpet and shells), b. 1967 in France. Second album, quartet with Kirk Lightsey (piano), Sylvain Romano (bass), and Billy Hart (drums). Wrote about half of the pieces, drawing one from Lightsey, others from Wayne Shorter, Stevie Wonder, also "Everything Happens to Me." B+(**)

Daniel Bennett Group: Peace & Stability Among Bears (2010 [2011], Bennett Alliance): Plays alto sax, flute, clarinet. B. 1979 in Rochester, NY; studied at Roberts Wesleyan in Rochester, then at New England Conservatory in Boston (ah, finally found the inevitable George Garzone reference). Has two previous bear-themed albums on his website, all attributed to the Group, which started as a trio then added a bassist. Current lineup: Chris Hersch (guitar), Jason Davis (bass), Rick Landwehr (drums). He calls this "folk jazz" and cites Steve Reich's minimalism as an influence. Repetitive patterns slide around the guitar, with even the alto sax pitched about as high as it can go. B+(***)

George Benson: Guitar Man (2011, Concord): Guitarist, was so dedicated to Wes Montgomery that he worked Boss Guitar into his first album title, but by the early 1970s had slid into light shlock and in 1976 scored a breakthrough hit with his undistinct vocals. I wrote him off long ago, but I've gotten a few of his recent records -- for some reason this is the only one Concord serviced me with in 2011, and this is the least awful of the last three. For one thing, only three vocals, and his Stevie Wonder impersonation is so uncanny he gets away with "My Cherie Amour"; for another, he takes two cuts solo, and he still has that sweet touch, even on something as moldy as "Danny Boy." On the other hand, his funk isn't even fake, and the best you can say for his string-drenched "I Want to Hold Your Hand" is that the melody is unrecognizable. B-

David Berkman: Self-Portrait (2011, Red Piano): Pianist, b. 1958, sixth album since 1998 -- the inevitable solo one. Mix of standards, starting with "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes," and originals, four of them designated sketches. Self-assured, balanced tone, runs on cold logic, impeccable as these things go. B+(**) [Rhapsody]

Sarah Bernstein: Unearthish (2010 [2011], Page Frame Music): Violinist, based in Brooklyn, seems to be her first album although she has a big role in Iron Dog's Field Recordings 1. Duo, with percussionist Satoshi Takeishi. More vocals here, things with sensible lyrics, more spoken than not, reminds one of Laurie Anderson -- of course, the violin tips that direction. B+(***)

Steven Bernstein's Millennial Territory Orchestra: MTO Plays Sly (2011, Royal Potato Family): A small big band based on pre-Basie models with a postmodern twist -- trumpet (Bernstein), trombone (Curtis Fowlkes), three reeds (Doug Weiselman, Peter Apfelbaum, Erik Lawrence), guitar/banjo (Matt Munisteri), violin (Charles Burnham), bass (Ben Allison), drums (Ben Perowsky) -- has gigged regularly for over a decade but this is just their third album. Eleven Sly Stone songs (counting "Que Sera Sera") with guest vocals, two "Sly Notions" instrumentals, a "Bernie Worrell Interlude": the covers offer more horns but don't stray far from the originals, mostly adding weight (which tends to be the case 40 years down the road). Worrell, Vernon Reid, and Bill Laswell help out; of the singers Dean Bowman is the most Sly-like, and Shilpa Ray the slyest. Fun, of course, but I don't hear it either stepping back or moving forward. B+(**) [advance]

Carlos Bica & Azul: Things About (2011, Clean Feed): Title listed above artist name, so it can flow as one, even into the smaller print "featuring Frank Möbus and Jim Black" (guitar and drums). Bica is a bassist, from Portugal, has at least seven going back to his 1996 album Azul (with Möbus, Black, and a couple guests -- and there seem to be a couple more Azul albums in the meantime. Möbus has a record/group called Der Rote Bereich -- AMG shows one album, but his website lists six. He's a disarmingly unfancy player, so it takes a while to sink in how charming he is. And it's good not to overwhelm the bassist, who has plenty to contribute on his own. B+(***)

Dan Blake: The Aquarian Suite (2011, Bju'ecords): Saxophonist (doesn't specify further), based in New York. Has a previous, self-released record called The Party Suite. This is a two-horn quartet, with Jason Palmer on trumpet, Jorge Roeder on bass, and Richie Barshay on drums. Vigorous, expansive postbop, grabs you at high speed, loses a bit when they slow it down. B+(**)

Ran Blake/Dominique Eade: Whirlpool (2004-08 [2011], Jazz Project): Piano-voice duets. Blake cut his first album in 1961, calling it The Newest Sound Around, and has thirty-some records since, most either solo piano or duets with vocalists (most notably Jeanne Lee; recently with Christine Correa and Sara Serpa). Eade was b. 1958 in England, met Blake when she studied at New England Conservatory. She has six albums since 1992 (counting this one). Her voice is right on target, so clear it needs little dressing, and Blake makes more out of less as well as anyone. B+(***)

Anthony Branker & Word Play: Dialogic (2011, Origin): Composer/music director, originally a trumpet player, b. 1958, graduated from and teaches at Princeton. Third album using this role/methodology -- has an earlier record as Tony Branker. All interesting postbop directions, but this one is the most straightforward: basically an old-fashioned sax-piano-bass-drums quartet, with Ralph Bowen, Jim Ridl, Kenny Davis, and Adam Cruz. Can't fathom how the dialectics of Mikhail Bakhtin inspired this, or why the all-instrumental group is called Word Play, but that's largely because the music is so satisfying we're left with few questions. B+(***)

Bobby Bradford/Mark Dresser/Glenn Ferris: Live in LA (2009 [2011], Clean Feed): Cornet, bass, trombone respectively. Bradford, b. 1934, has a long, and relatively unheralded, avant-garde career -- I've missed virtually all of it myself, including his famous work with John Carter. Ferris I know even less about: b. 1950 in Los Angeles; played early on with Don Ellis, Harry James, and Frank Zappa; has six albums since 1995, mostly on Enja; goes back a long ways with Bradford. With bass but no drums, this takes its time getting anywhere, wallowing in murky depths, which seems to be the point. B+(**)

Randy Brecker With DR Big Band: The Jazz Ballad Song Book (2010 [2011], Red Dot Music): Also with the Danish National Chamber Orchestra, who get smaller type on the cover and mostly lurk in the background, like an ugly set of drapes. The DR Big Band is a polished unit with some players -- especially in the reed section -- who can dish out an impressive solo. But Brecker takes most of the solos, and everythign else amounts to little more than a fancy frame around his trumpet. B+(*)

Wolfert Brederode Quartet: Post Scriptum (2010 [2011], ECM): Pianist, b. 1974 in the Netherlands. AMG lists four albums, most likely too few; his website shows 20, many under other names (especially vocalist Susanne Abbuehl). Quartet includes Claudio Puntin (clarinets), Mats Eilertsen (double bass), and Samuel Rohrer (drums). Originals, including one each from Rohrer and Puntin, three from Eilertsen. Very pretty, not quite lush. B+(**)

Zach Brock: The Magic Number (2010 [2011], Secret Fort): Violinist, b. 1974 in Lexington, KY. Third album since 2005, not counting a couple EPs. Quartet with bass, drums, and extra percussion, with some vocal exuberance toward the end. Poised with some swagger, pushes the violin up front and makes it sing. B+(**)

Rob Brown/Daniel Levin: Natural Disorder (2008 [2010], Not Two): Brown plays brashly free alto sax, b. 1962, best known as a key to William Parker's pianoless quartet; has more than a dozen albums under his own name since 1989, mostly on obscure labels. Levin plays cello, b. 1974, has been prolific since 2003 with nine albums (on Clean Feed and Hat). Duo. Often engaging, especially when the cello pitches in, but a long stretch of solo alto wears thin. B+(*) [Rhapsody]

The Dave Brubeck Quartet: Last Time Out: December 26, 1967 (1967 [2011], Columbia/Legacy, 2CD): Unofficial tape, probably off the soundboard, found in a closet and dusted off. Brubeck had announced his brief retirement to start at the end of 1967, but in most regards this just extended the hundred-plus concerts the Quartet had given during the year. A long running, immensely popular group, With Paul Desmond, the alto saxophonist who had given the Quartet its signature sound since 1951, drummer Joe Morello and bassist Eugene Wright, who had joined in 1956 and 1958 respectively. Lots of interesting stuff, ending in a "Take Five" that leaps right off the stage. B+(***)

Bryan and the Haggards: Still Alive and Kickin' Down the Walls (2011, Hot Cup): Second group album, not what I'd call enough longevity to justify the title. Two saxophonists -- Bryan Murray and Jon Irabagon, doubling up on tin whistle and penny whistle respectively -- plus John Lundbom on guitar (and banjo), Moppa Elliott on bass, and Danny Fischer on drums. Six songs written by Merle Haggard, plus two he's sung a lot ("San Antonio Rose" and "Sing a Sad Song"), with avant vamps -- the opening "Ramblin' Fever" is a real workout; great shtick, but "If We Make It Through December" gets stuck on Irabagon's clarinet and wobbles on for 10:05, making one doubt that we will. B+(***)

Katie Bull: Freak Miracle (2009 [2011], Innova): Singer, from and based in New York, has at least three previous albums since 2000. Has plaudits on her website from Jay Clayton and Sheila Jordan. She takes similar liberties with her material -- mostly self-written, but the covers show her attack more clearly. Joe Fonda (bass) and Harvey Sorgen (drums) are longstanding band members; Jeff Lederer plays tenor and soprano sax and clarinet; piano is divided between Landon Knoblock and Frank Kimbrough. B+(*)

Jane Bunnett & Hilario Duran: Cuban Rhapsody (2011, ALMA): Duets, with Cuban pianist Duran and longtime Cubanophile, Canadian soprano saxophonist/flutist Bunnett -- her first Cuban-themed album was Spirits of Havana in 1991 and she's never let up. She plays more flute here but I much prefer her soprano. Seems a bit spare with no percussion, although Duran certainly knows his stuff. B+(*)

Greg Burk Trio: The Path Here (2009 [2011], 482 Music): Pianist, originally from Michigan, moved to Slovakia after graduation, based in Rome now. Has a dozen albums since 2000. This one is a piano trio, with Jonathan Robinson on bass, Gerald Cleaver on drums, with a couple curves -- Burk plays washint (a wooden flute from Ethiopia) on one piece, Robinson some thumb piano. Both are variations I could enjoy more of, but the piano-bass-drums is typically bright, sharp, reflective. B+(**) [Nov. 15]

Kenny Burrell: Tenderly: Solo Guitar Concert (2009 [2011], High Note): Eighty-year-old guitarist (must have been 78 at the time), recapitulates a career that took off in the late 1950s, sticking close to his craft and not complicating it by having to work/compete with other musicians. Centerpiece is his "Ellingtonia Montage," much like how Ellington Is Forever sits on the pinnacle of his discography. No surprise that it runs slow or that two-thirds through he announces his intent to play "quieter," but by then he's probably hooked you. B+(**)

The New Gary Burton Quartet: Common Ground (2011, Mack Avenue): What's new about this Quartet, as opposed to the one he recorded a live album with in 2009, is replacing guitarist Pat Metheny and bassist Steve Swallow with Julian Lage and Scott Colley: younger players, most likely cheaper too, plus they contribute songs, so the leader is down to one in ten. (Drummer Antonio Sanchez, who pitched in two songs, was kept over.) Probably a smart move for Burton, but not as smart as letting Lage take the lead, and adding a little something instead of vying for top dog. B+(**) [Rhapsody]

Buzz Bros Band: Ppff Unk (2009 [2011], Buzz Music): Dutch group, led by guitarist Marnix Busstra, with his brother Berthil Busstra on keyboards, Frans Van Geest on double bass, and Chris Strik on drums, with "special guest" Simone Roerade singing two songs. Founded in 2001, as near as I can figure out they have two albums and some DVDs. I've run into Marnix before, on a couple of pretty good albums with vibraphonist Mike Mainieri. The keyb/guitar mix here is often quite sweet, with or without any noticeable funk quotient. B

Taylor Ho Bynum Sextet: Apparent Distance (2011, Firehouse 12): Cornet player, has been popping up all over the place recently, but claims this as his "primary working ensemble." There's a lot to like about the group -- Jim Hobbs (alto sax), Bill Lowe (bass trombone, tuba), Mary Halvorson (guitar), Ken Filiano (bass), Tomas Fujiwara (drums) -- not least its extreme range and diversity (almost to the point of divisiveness). Yet even though the pieces fit together uncomfortably, neither of the most exposive players (Hobbs, Halvorson) break out -- most likely the gravity exuded by Filiano and (especially) Lowe keeps them in orbit. B+(***)

Michael Cain: Solo (2011, Native Drum Music): Pianist, b. 1966, AMG lists seven albums since 1990 (but missed this one, and who knows what else). Google really wanted to dispatch me off to some British actor. Solo piano and a bit of electronics: slow, gentle, has some appeal. B+(*)

Uri Caine Trio: Siren (2010 [2011], Winter & Winter): Piano trio, with John Hébert on bass and Ben Perowsky on drums. I'm not much good at describing piano trios -- wish I had a booklet to crib from, or at least get some orientation -- but Caine is a superb jazz pianist (except when he's playing classical music, and sometimes even that's pretty good), very fast here. B+(***) [Rhapsody]

Brent Canter: Urgency of Now (2010 [2011], Posi-Tone): Guitarist, from Los Angeles, studied under Kenny Burrell, moved to New York. Second album, previous self-released. Organ quartet, with Adam Klipple or Pat Bianchi on organ, Seamus Blake on tenor sax, and Jordan Perlson on drums. Guitar stands out, but the framework is pretty conventional, and the only surprise with Blake is how little he brings to the party. B

Marco Cappelli Acoustic Trio: Les Nuages en France (2010 [2011], Mode/Avant): Guitarist, b. 1965 in Naples, in Italy; studied at Conservatario di Santa Cecilia in Rome, then at Musik-Akademie in Basel, Switzerland. Website shows four previous albums, including one as EGP (Extreme Guitar Project). Acoustic Trio adds Ken Filiano on double bass and Satoshi Takeishi on percussion. Bass seems louder and more pronounced than the guitar, which furtively sneaks in and out, with a scratchy abstractness. Takeishi is superb. Record is reportedly inspired by Fred Vargas thrillers, and the booklet provides what appear to be lyrics (in French, with English trots), but no one sings -- just a little something to read along. B+(***)

Frank Carlberg: Uncivilized Ruminations (2011, Red Piano): Pianist, from Finland, AMG lists nine albums since 1992 but that's probably short. Album packaging is sort of a slate gray with white (and light orange) type on it, which my eyes are nowhere near up to deciphering. The music is kind of like that too: I've heard enough to want to move on, but there is a lot of subtle contrasts in the mix: two superb saxophonists in John O'Gallagher and Chris Cheek, the invaluable John Hébert on bass, Michael Sarin on drums, and Christine Correa on vocals. I often can't stand Correa's opera voice, but this time it seems to fit naturally into the overall jumble. B+(**)

William Carn: William Carn's Run Stop Run (2011, Mythology): Trombonist, b. 1969, from Canada. First album, although AMG lists a few dozen side credits. Quartet, with guitars (Don Scott), basses (Jon Maharaj), and drums (Ethan Ardelli). Both Scott and Maharaj contribute songs, as does producer David Binney. B+(*)

Ralph Carney's Serious Jass Project: Seriously (2011, Smog Veil): San Francisco group, led by the sax/clarinet player from Akron who started up in rock group Tin Huey, has long worked with Tom Waits, and occasionally thrown off odd projects on the side. Second group album. First was a dandy, and this comes close to hitting the same sweet spot. Leads off with one from Buddy Tate, then Coleman Hawkins, then two (of three) Ellington tunes. Quartet with keyboard, bass, and drums, plus a guest guitarist on a couple cuts, vocalist Karina Denike on two, a couple more vocals by guys in the band. B+(***)

François Carrier/Michel Lambert/Alexey Lapin: All Out (2011, FMR): Alto sax-drums-piano trio, the first two long-time chums from Quebec, Lapin a Russian pianist who joined them for a slightly earlier album on Leo, Inner Spire. The two records are roughly equivalent: open-ended free improvs, more group than individuals, the piano adding something but rarely distinctive. B+(***)

Terri Lyne Carrington: The Mosaic Project (2011, Concord): Drummer, b. 1965, two 2002-04 postbop records seemed promising -- especially the second with Greg Osby -- but her 2009 More to Say was such soggy R&B that I dumped her into my pop jazz file. However, this one has gotten so many raves that I thought I should check it out. She makes use of 20 musicians, all female, most well known (e.g., horns: Ingrid Jensen, Anat Cohen, Tineke Postma; keybs: Geri Allen, Patrice Rushen, Helen Sung; the eight vocalists include Dee Dee Bridgewater, Nona Hendryx, Carmen Lundy, Gretchen Parlato, Diane Reeves, and Cassandra Wilson; also credited with "commentary": Angela Davis). Several brought their own songs; Carrington wrote 5 of 14, with Irving Berlin, Al Green, and Lennon-McCartney the outsiders. The horn solos always come up with something interesting, the keybs lean to fusion but aren't swallowed by it, the vocals are, well, credible. B+(**) [Rhapsody]

Bill Carrothers: A Night at the Village Vanguard (2009 [2011], Pirouet, 2CD): Pianist, b. 1964 in Minneapolis, has more than a dozen albums since 1992, mostly trios, one from 2005 called Shine Ball that I especially liked (possibly because it's the one he played prepared piano on). This is another trio, with Nicholas Thys on bass and Dré Pallemaerts on drums, the same group he recorded Swing Sing Songs with ten years earlier. A disc for each set that night, both sets starting off with Clifford Brown songs, winding up with about half originals. Not so clear at my usual volume levels; cranking it up helped with the definition, but I still can't come up with much to say. B+(*)

James Carter Organ Trio: At the Crossroads (2011, Emarcy): With Gerald Gibbs on organ and Leonard King, Jr. on drums, plus others as the opportunity arrises: trumpeter Keyon Harrold (3 tracks), guitarists Bruce Edwards or Brandon Ross (3 tracks each), vocalist Miche Braden (2 cuts; King sings a third). Carter plays soprano sax (1 cut), baritone (3), alto (4), and tenor (7 cuts, 2 of those also on baritone). Gibbs and King wrote one piece each; otherwise all covers, only Ellington's "Come Sunday" (leading into trad's "Tis the Old Ship of Zion" for a little sacred mystique) done much; and while Jack McDuff's "Walking the Dog" is the real spiritual center here, Carter also takes his blues refracted through Julius Hemphill and Ronald Shannon Jackson. Braden's boisterous vocal on "The Walking Blues" comes as a surprise four cuts in, then no more vocals until the gospel sideline at 10-11. Nothing wrong with the vocals -- more wouldn't have been unwelcome -- but what you really want to hear is the saxman busting loose, which doesn't happen often enough but is mighty wondrous when it does. A-

Ron Carter: Ron Carter's Great Big Band (2010 [2011], Sunnyside): At one point, Morton & Cook (The Penguin Guide) went through their big book counting names and concluded that the guy who had appeared on the most albums was bassist Ray Brown, with just over 300. I did a pretty comprehensive discography of William Parker a while back and saw that he was closing in on 300 -- he's probably topped it now, although not all of those albums would appear in any given edition of The Penguin Guide. I've never tried that with Ron Carter, but I've read claims that he's played on over 1000 albums. That's hard to grasp but it's not inconceivable (figure 25 per year for 40 years). He's certainly played on a lot -- I don't think I saw a single one of the recent CTI reissues that he didn't play on. He even has a lot more under his own name than I expected: AMG lists 53, but I've only picked up five. I've always found him tough to figure, sometimes tempted to view him as someone just fortunate to be in the right places -- above all Miles Davis's late-1960s quintet -- at the right time, but every now and then I hear something from him that makes me wonder if he really isn't one of the foremost bassists of his generation. This record doesn't settle anything. I think he means us to parse the title as "(great) (big band)" rather than "(great big) (band)" -- he's only an English horn over a standard weight, and doesn't have a guitar. But most of the musicians are names you'll recognize. He wrote 2 of 13 pieces, picked most of the rest from the bebop generation (Gillespie, Stitt, Mulligan, Lewis, Nat Adderley, Shorter, with nods to Ellington, Handy, and Sy Oliver. Lays out plenty of solos for his stars. It's all very neat, just not quite enough to bow you over. B+(**)

Ernesto Cervini Quartet: There (2010 [2011], Anzic): Drummer, b. 1982, grew up in Toronto, studied there and at Manhattan School of Music, based in New York. Second album -- first was titled Here. Quartet: Joel Frahm (saxophones), Adrean Farrugia (piano), Dan Loomis (bass). Mainstream group, swings, most impressive when Frahm takes charge -- especially on tenor, but he's earned the right to play soprano as well -- and the group, notably the pianist, keeps up. Recorded live at Cory Weeds' Cellar Jazz Club, so everyone gets their solo space. B+(**)

Brian Charette: Learning to Count (2009 [2011], SteepleChase): Organ player, fourth album since 2000 (according to AMG and his website, although the latter doesn't list them, and the former doesn't include one I've heard from 2008 (Missing Floor) and a newer Music for Organ Sextette that I have a CDR of. This is a trio, with Mike DiRubbo on alto sax and Jochen Rückert on drums -- same idea as DiRubbo's Chronos earlier this year (which had Rudy Royston on drums), the writing credits favoring the leader in both cases (with this one adding three covers: Wayne Shorter, John Lewis, Steve Winwood). DiRubbo's always a terrific mainstream player, so the main difference seems to be in the writing: Charette is wonderfully restrained, nudging the pieces forward without showboating let alone wallowing in soul jazz clichés. I hear a lot of organ records and usually wonder: why bother? This works. A-

Cinque: Catch a Corner (2011, ALMA): I filed this under organ player Joey DeFrancesco, but closer examination would have given it to bassist-producer-arranger Peter Cardinali -- the songs are attributed to the group (with Robi Botos on piano/fender rhodes, John Johnson on saxes, and Steve Gadd on drums) except for two covers at the end, one each from Cedar Walton and Paul Simon: "Still Crazy After All These Years" -- they wish. B

Gerald Cleaver/Uncle June: Be It as I See It (2010 [2011], Fresh Sound New Talent): Drummer, from Detroit, has a half dozen albums since 2001. No idea where the group name comes from, but it's basically a sextet with two horns (Andrew Bishop on flute, bass clarinet, soprano and tenor sax; Tony Malaby on soprano and tenor sax), piano (Craig Taborn), viola (Mat Maneri), and bass (Drew Gress), with occasional voices and a bit of guest guitar or banjo. Can be rough and noisy, smoky, or stretch out into an orchestration that is almost Ellingtonian. B+(**) [Rhapsody]

Cloning Americana: For Which It Stands (2010 [2011], Sunnyside): Postbop quartet, principally saxophonist Billy Drewes and bassist Scott Lee who split the writing chores (score 8-to-4 for Drewes, with one joint piece, plus one by pianist Gary Versace, none from drummer Jeff Hirshfield). Slippery modern postbop, with a message at the end sung tentatively by Drewes, concluding "We are all one." Back cover explains: "The above narrative is in response to the apparent decline in the basic social values of respect, compassion, and tolerance. Too many of those entrusted with the honorable task of promoting and sustaining these values are failing us, causing unnecessary inequality and suffering." Amen. B+(**)

Avishai Cohen: Seven Seas (2010 [2011], Sunnyside): Bassist, b. 1970 in Israel, has a dozen albums since 1998, establishing himself as a superb composer, adding electric bass to his acoustic, even plays piano on two cuts here, and often working with oud (Amos Hoffman here, also credited with electric guitar) suggesting a more open Middle Eastern dialogue. Cut in Sweden with a lot of guys whose names end in "sson" -- plus Jimmy Greene on soprano and tenor sax, Shai Maestro on piano, and Itamar Doari on percussion. I could do with fewer vocal passages -- booklet provides trots for three short songs, and there are choral background passages -- the instrumental passages are powerfully evocative. B+(**) [August 30]

Emmet Cohen: In the Element (2010 [2011], BadaBeep): Young pianist -- 20 on the cover and 21 on his website -- won third prize in this year's Monk competition. Debut album, mostly trio, with Greg Gisbert joining on trumpet for four cuts. Postbop, pretty much what talented young pianists do these days. B

Freddy Cole: Talk to Me (2011, High Note): Crooner, b. 1931 but didn't get going until 1990 with an album that pleaded I'm Not My Brother, I'm Me. Twenty-some albums later, 50+ years after brother Nat died, coming off his best two albums ever, he hardly needs an introduction. Still, he takes a batch of obscure songs -- two Bill Withers tunes and "Mam'selle" are the only ones I recognize -- at a very leisurely pace, dressing them up with Harry Allen's tenor sax and Terell Stafford's flugelhorn; could hardly be smoother, or grab you more gently. B+(**)

Cecilia Coleman Big Band: Oh Boy! (2010 [2011], PandaKat): Pianist, b. 1962 in Long Beach, CA; based in New York, although she teaches part-time at Cal State Long Beach. Seventh album since 1992; first with a big band (six reeds, standard brass, piano, bass, and drums) -- a few names I recognize, but not many. Wrote all the pieces. Contemporary postbop, well orchestrated but doesn't stand out either in the solos or the crispness of the section work. B+(*)

Come Sunday: Crosscurrents (2011, self-released): Vocal group -- Bill Brickey, Lindsay Weinberg, Alton Smith, Sue Demel -- backed by guitar, bass, and drums, assuming the name of the Duke Ellington song -- they also cite Thomas Dorsey and Mahalia Jackson as inspirations. Thirteen gospel pieces, eight by trad. Best news here is that Stevie Wonder's "Heaven Is 10 Zillion Light Years Away" has entered the canon, but I'd much rather hear Wonder do it. B-

Marc Copland/John Abercrombie: Speak to Me (2011, Pirouet): Piano-guitar duets, both long-time masters with a history of playing together -- I quickly found their Contact album in my HMs, but that was fleshed out with Dave Liebman, bass, and drums. In my note I talked about "each working their discreet charms." Here, without the rhythmic propulsion and the commanding voice of a harm, a better word would be "discrete." B+(*)

Chick Corea/Stefano Bollani: Orvieto (2010 [2011], ECM): Two pianists, nothing else, recorded live at Umbria Jazz Winter 2010. Mostly standards, including two Jobims and "Jitterbug Waltz," plus two stabs at the title improv. I have even more trouble with piano duos than solos -- at least it's clear who's doing what in them -- and there's not enough clash here to convince me when both are playing. B

Patrick Cornelius: Maybe Steps (2010 [2011], Posi-Tone): Alto saxophonist, from San Antonio, studied at Berklee, based in New York. Fourth (or fifth) album since 2001. Quintet with piano (Gerald Clayton), guitar (Miles Okazaki), bass (Peter Slavov), and drums (Kendrick Scott). Wrote 9 of 11 songs (covers Kurt Weill and George Shearing). Those are all strong players, but little things nag at me, like the alto tone at high speed. B+(*)

Corrie en de Grote Brokken: Vier! Het Beste van de Grote Brokken (1997-2004 [2011], Brokken): Dutch guitarist Corrie van Binsbergen released this to mark her 25th anniversary, but the sampler narrows in on a relatively short stretch with a big, brassy band -- trumpet, trombone, typically three saxes, vibes or marimba, fronted by singers Bob Fosko and Beatrice van der Poel. Lots of flashy guitar, most of it closer to rock than to jazz, but knowing nonethless -- I'm reminded of some of Roy Wood's early-1070s stabs at neoclassic rock and roll, but the vibes suggest Zappa if only I'd paid him any heed. B+(**)

Larry Coryell: With the Wide Hive Players (2010 [2011], Wide Hive): One of the original fusion guitarists -- by the way, the answer to my question about Gary Burton's earliest quartet -- plugs in with the avant-funk house band of Gregory Howe's Berkeley label. Sax and 'bone flesh out the heavy riffing. B+(*) [Rhapsody]

Yamandu Costa/Hamilton de Holanda: Live! (2008 [2011], Adventure Music): Brazilian duets. Costa plays 7-string guitar, has at least eight albums since 2004, but this is the first I've heard; de Holanda plays 10-string mandolin, has at least ten albums, a natural pick once bluegrass mandolinist Mike Marshall took a major interest in choro and launched this label. The two string instruments mesh like classical chamber music, the attack more pronounced, mostly fast and furious. B+(*)

François Couturier: Tarkovsky Quartet (2009 [2011], ECM): Pianist, b. 1950 near Orléans, France; background in classical music. AMG lists five albums since 2002. Has lately been drawing on the filmmaker Andreï Tarkovsky (1932-86) for inspiration. Quartet includes Jean-Marc Larché (soprano sax), Anja Lechner (cello), and Jean-Louis Matinier (accordion). B+(*)

Coyote Poets of the Universe: Pandora's Box (2011, Square Shaped): Denver group, fifth album since 2003; I figure them as a rock group with some jazz and world instruments -- Patty Shaw's saxes, Mark Busi's djembe and bongos, some fiddles, banjo, an oboe or flute -- and some spoken poetry although mostly Melissa Ingalls' vocals. I recall last time writing Christgau to recommend a choice cut. This time that would be "Quittin' Time" with its Lester Young namecheck and cover note: "adult language on this track," or as my friend Arthur translates, redeeming social content. B+(*)

Shirley Crabbe: Home (2011, MaiSong): Standards singer, studied at Northwestern and Manhattan School of Music. First album. Has a full-featured band including Brandon Lee on trumpet, Dave Glasser on sax, and Donald Vega on piano -- but even with Glasser on hand she wrangled Houston Person for two guest shots (his "Lucky to Be Me" solo a highlight). Songs jump around, ranging from "Summertime" to Sondheim and Carole King ("Far Away"). On the right song she can be very striking -- "Detour Ahead" seems to always be the right song. B+(**)

Adam Cruz: Milestone (2010 [2011], Sunnyside): Drummer, b. 1970 in New York City, has a lot of side credits since 1991 (Eddie Palmieri, Chick Corea, Edward Simon, David Sanchez, Danilo Pérez, Chris Potter, Steve Wilson, Ray Barretto are only some of the names; 70-some albums), but this is his first under his own name -- and a big one: wrote all eight pieces (long ones, add up to 75:49). He's joined by Potter (tenor sax), either Wilson (soprano sax) or Miguel Zenón (alto sax), Simon (piano), Steve Cardenas (guitar), and Ben Street (bass). Brash contemporary postbop, the horns stellar, especially when one or the other finds some solo room. B+(**) [Rhapsody]

Andrew Cyrille & Haitian Fascination: Route de Frères (2005 [2011], TUM): Drummer, b. 1939 in Brooklyn, parents (mother at least) from Haiti; has a couple dozen records since 1971 as leader, well over 100 side credits (The Hawk Relaxes seems to have been his first, but more typical was his work in Cecil Taylor's late-1960s groups). The Haitian connection here includes guitarist Alix Pascal and percussionist Frisner Agustin. The others are Lisle Atkinson on bass and Hamiett Bluiett on baritone sax: the latter's gruff but muffled sound is crucial, with everyone else just adding to the seduction. A-

Mark Dagley: Mystery of the Guitar (2011, Abaton Book Company): Guitarist, first album although he also played on something called El Gato with Frick-the-Cat, and he seems to have a much more substantial reputation as a visual artist -- mostly abstracts. Studied classical guitar, including a class with André Segovia. Played in a short-lived Boston punk band called the Girls (cf. Live at the Rathskeller 5.17.79, which I sought out for Recycled Goods but ultimately graded B). This is solo, folkloric in a rather oblique way, like no one else so much as John Fahey. B+(**)

Joseph Daley Earth Tones Ensemble: The Seven Deadly Sins (2010 [2011], Jaro): First album by Daley, although his discography goes back to 1971 and most of it points this way. He plays tuba and euphonium here, with a little trombone and other low register horns on his resume. Has mostly worked in big bands -- Gil Evans, Sam Rivers, Carla Bley, Muhal Richard Abrams, George Gruntz, Bill Dixon -- with side roles in Howard Johnson's Gravity and Bill Cole's Untempered Ensemble. Huge group here, lots of guys you know -- Marty Ehrlich, Scott Robinson, Lew Soloff (I presume, notes say Lou), Eddie Allen, Craig Harris, Vincent Chancey, Onaje Allan Gumbs, Warren Smith, Satoshi Takeishi, and a quorum of the tuba players union, including Howard Johnson and Bob Stewart. Fast, slick, complex, oh so deep. B+(***) [Rhapsody]

John Daversa: Junk Wagon: The Big Band Album (2011, BFM Jazz): Trumpet player, also EVI. Second album, both Big Band; has pretty scattered side credits -- Burt Bacharach, Fiona Apple, Kim Richmond, Yellowjackets, Andrae Crouch. Title cut leans toward hip-hop, but backs away, and I don't have any idea what he really wants to do, other than be a bit different. "Cheeks" is an example that delivers both on textures and solo, which is what you hope for in a big band. B+(*)

Norman David and the Eleventet: At This Time (2011, CoolCraft): Soprano saxophonist, composer, wrote a textbook called Jazz Arranging; b. in Montreal, moved to US in 1970s, since 1979 in Philadelphia, where he's Artist-in-Residence at Temple U. Second album, after a 2001 quartet. The Eleventet comes in just shy of big band weight, with four reeds instead of five, two trumpets and two trombones instead of four each -- as flexible but puts less emphasis on section muscle. A few names: George Garzone, Dick Oatts, Tim Hagans, John Hébert. Strong solo spots, neatly arranged. B+(*)

Roger Davidson Quintet: Brazilian Love Song (2009 [2010], Soundbrush): Pianist, b. 1952 in France but grew up in New York; has 11 albums since 2000's Mango Tango, all keyed to Latin rhythms, the majority Brazilian. Silly of me to have ignored this for a year now -- the title on the spine, the cartoonish cover in the Brazilian national colors, the "30 years of Brazilian music" blurb seemed unappealing, but the fine print suggests otherwise: Davidson (whose name isn't visible on the spine) himself has been more and more impressive each time out, well on his way to becoming a Latin pianist-of-all-trades like Dick Hyman. Also turns out that instead of recycling moldy bossa novas, he composed all the music -- dating some pieces as far back as 1978, so he's recycling his files. Also Pablo Aslan produced -- the Argentine bassist, I've never seen him associated with a dud project yet. The Quintet is Brazilian where it counts -- Paulo Braga on drums and Marivaldo Dos Santos on percussion -- and Aaron Heick's sax doesn't let anyone get too laid back. A-

Kris Davis: Aeriol Piano (2009 [2011], Clean Feed): Pianist, originally from Canada, based in New York. Has several excellent records, but they've mostly featured top saxophonists like Tony Malaby. This one is solo piano, inevitably a little thin but interesting nonetheless, especially for her rhythmic workings. Note that the inside photos show her leaning over the box, not operating the keys. B+(**)

Miles Davis Quintet: Live Europe 1967: Bootleg Vol. 1 (1967 [2011], Columbia/Legacy, 3CD+DVD): Something like this was inevitable -- especially since the DVD was slipped into the 70-CD Miles Davis: The Complete Columbia Album Collection (now no longer complete) -- and the Vol. 1 promises more are in the works. (For comparison, Legacy's Dylan Bootleg series is up to Vol. 9.) The sets were recorded Oct. 11-Nov. 7, 1967, which slots this between Nefertiti and Miles in the Sky in the Davis discography, midway in an empty stretch as far as live recordings go. The group is the Quintet you know so well: Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock, Ron Carter, Tony Williams. The set lists recycle, with "Agitation" leading off the first two CDs and both sets on the DVD -- it has a strong trumpet lead to set the stage. Sophisticated music but not so exciting: on the DVD the group is focused, cool and workmanlike, no excess motion or emotion. Not a major find, but a remarkable group. A-

Dead Cat Bounce: Chance Episodes (2010 [2011], Cuneiform): Basically, a saxophone quartet (Matt Steckler, Jared Sims, Terry Goss, Charlie Kohlhase) plus bass (Dave Ambrosio) and drums (Bill Carbone). Fourth album since 1998. The quartet are just creditd with saxophones and woodwinds, and I don't know them well enough to pick them out from the photo (except that I figure Kohlhase for the baritone). Steckler wrote all the pieces, liner notes too. I've always had problems with the monophonic tones and limited harmonics of sax quartets, but the bass seems to tie them all together, as well as pick up the pace, and this group is really impressive when they pick up a full head of steam. B+(***)

Chuck Deardorf: Transparence (2007-10 [2011], Origin): Bassist (upright, electric, fretless), b. 1954, based in Seattle, teaches at Cornish College of the Arts. First album, but has 40-50 side credits, going back to Don Lanphere in 1984. Wrote 1.5 of 10 pieces here (the co-credit with pianist Bill Mays), with two more pieces by musicians on the record (Bruce Forman, Jovino Santos Neto). Looks like the pieces were recorded over several years with various combos yet the flow together remarkably well, mostly due to the four guitarists. B+(**)

Deep Blue Organ Trio: Wonderful! (2010 [2011], Origin): Booklet says "Recorded December 18, 19 and 20, 2011" -- I'm pretty sure that's just wrong, not prophetic. Chris Foreman plays organ, Bobby Broom guitar, Greg Rockingham drums. Group has four albums since 2004. This one is all Stevie Wonder songs, although scarcely any register with me as such. Presumably that's because jazz guys like to change things around. On the other hand, I find the faint overtones vaguely annoying. B-

Joey DeFrancesco: 40 (2011, High Note): Hammond organ player, b. 1971, probably the most celebrated, no doubt also most prolific (AMG lists 28 albums) of his generation. Albums is named for his age -- something I missed when unpacking. Trio with Rick Zunigar on guitar and Ramon Banda on drums. Zunigar has three albums on his own -- one titled Organ Trio -- and side work with Stevie Wonder, but isn't much of a factor here. The leader, however, has a knack for conjuring up gritty tones, serving them up fat. B+(*)

The Dynamic Les DeMerle Band: Gypsy Rendezvous, Volume Two (2008 [2011], Origin): Volume One is an HM in my ill-fated last Jazz CG column, and this is the same thing only with more faux pas -- DeMerle's Louis Armstrong impression, for one. The setup is that DeMerle plays drums and sings in an amusedly offhanded way, while wife/vocalist Bonnie Eisele takes the straight leads. The band is your basic Hot Club -- violin (Willie Wainwright), guitar (Tom Conway and Phil Benoit), and bass (Marcus Johnson) -- and a couple guests drop in. Think Louis Prima and Keely Smith, but DeMerle isn't as funny, and Eisele isn't as stuck up. B+(**)

Claire Dickson: Scattin' Doll (2009-10 [2011], NDR): Standards singer, b. 1997 -- that's right, 13 years old or less when she cut this, her first album. I certainly wouldn't have guessed her age, especially third track in when she growls and scats her way through "Black Coffee" -- a song that ages all who touch it. She doesn't have an especially memorable voice, and there's nothing very distinctive about her phrasing, but she shows some sass and class in her songs, and can scat credibly. Three cuts have horns, which help but are front-loaded, so the record tails off a bit. B+(*)

Chris Dingman: Waking Dreams (2011, Between Worlds Music): Vibraphonist, from San Jose, CA; studied at Wesleyan, which put him in Anthony Braxton's orbit, but closer to home under Jay Hoggard. Based in New York. Has side credits since 2004 with Steve Lehman, Harris Eisenstadt, Ambrose Akinmusire. First album, with Akinmusire on trumpet, Loren Stillman on sax, Fabian Almazan on piano, plus bass, drums, and occasional guests. Open textures, lots of space. B+(*) [advance]

Mike DiRubbo & Larry Willis: Four Hands, One Heart (2010 [2011], Ksanti): Alto sax-piano duo. DiRubbo is b. 1970, has six previous albums since 1999, mostly mainstream labels, consistently makes a strong impression. Willis is 30 years older (b. 1940), has played a bit of everything; rarely got his name up front before 1990, but has a couple dozen albums since; is a thoughtful accompanist, doing a nice job of setting up and fleshing out the sax. One original each, six covers mostly bop era; "Star Eyes" always gets my attention. B+(**)

Jack Donahue: Parade: Live in New York City (2010 [2011], Two Maples): Singer, based in New York, fourth album -- all covers here but I don't know about previous albums and his website suggests he writes some. Draws twice each on Jimmy Webb and Harold Arlen (one with Mercer, the other with E.Y. Harburg -- spelled Yarburg on the back cover). Backed with piano-bass-drums plus trumpet (Marcus Parsley) on one cut. Voice sticks with you, and he seems like a likable crooner. B

Armen Donelian: Leapfrog (2010 [2011], Sunnyside): Pianist, b. 1950 in New York, parents Armenian, his father barely escaping from the massacres in Ottoman Turkey. Has a dozen albums since 1980, a few more side credits, notably with Billy Harper and Mongo Santamaria. Postbop quintet with Marc Mommaas (tenor sax), Mike Moreno (guitar), Dean Johnson (bass), and Tyshawn Sorey (drums). Mommaas is a strong figure here, able both to slip in behind the piano and bull his way to the front. Still, the cut I like best is "Mexico" where he lays out, letting the guitar sway gently around the piano, a lush tropical breeze. B+(***)

Chris Donnelly: Metamorphosis (2011, Alma): Pianist, based in Toronto; second album, solo like the first, this time the 50:43 title piece broken into ten movements. Better when he was covering other people. Better when he played his own stuff but didn't have to hack it into an überconcept. Better when he wore clothes. B-

Dave Douglas: Rare Metals [Greenleaf Portable Series Volume 1] (2011, Greenleaf Music): One of three new albums, each with different groups pursuing different facets of Douglas's art. This is Brass Ecstasy -- four brass horns, Vincent Chancey on French horn, Luis Bonilla on trombone, Marcus Rojas on tuba, and Douglas on trumpet, along with Nasheet Waits on drums. Third recent album by the group. Five originals, starting with a piece called "Town Hall" that brings the old brass band era back to life, but even more striking is the lone cover, a decidedly ascetic "Lush Life." B+(***)

Dave Douglas: Orange Afternoons [Greenleaf Portable Series Volume 2] (2011, Greenleaf Music): Postbop quintet, with stars Ravi Coltrane on sax and Vijay Iyer on piano, rising stars Linda Oh on bass and Marcus Gilmore on drums. All Douglas originals. The sort of thing Douglas did a lot of a decade ago -- and which I found annoying more often than not, ultimately throwing my hands up and figuring I'm just not smart enough to follow him. Not sure which of us is mellowing out, but I will note that neither Coltrane nor Iyer break out, which must mean they're pinned down by the compositions. B+(**)

Dave Douglas/So Percussion: Bad Mango [Greenleaf Portable Series Volume 3] (2011, Greenleaf Music): So Percussion is a quartet -- Josh Quillen, Adam Sliwinski, Jason Treuting, and Eric Beach -- postclassical in orientation (Steve Reich's Drumming was their second album), although like Kronos Quartet they like to circulate. Ten or more albums since 2004. This is their most obvious jazz connection, and their group dynamics are so tight I'm tempted to call this a trumpet-percussion duo. Good spot for Douglas to let it fly, and the opening "One More News" makes good of that. B+(***)

Lajos Dudas/Hubert Bergmann: What's Up Neighbor? (2011, Jazz Sick): Clarinet-piano duets, writing credits evenly distributed, although much of this feels improvised. Leans a bit toward the wayward abstract, not unlike the 1960s work of Jimmy Giuffre and Paul Bley. B+(**)

Phil Dwyer Orchestra: Changing Seasons (2011, ALMA): Composer, big band leader, plays saxophone and piano (only briefly here), b. 1965 in Canada; has at least three albums. This one adds a "Featuring Mark Fewer" byline -- Fewer plays the violin leads, and arranged the strings that supplement (and usually overshadow) the big band. Closer to classical than to jazz -- all swish and no swing -- with four movements, each named for a season. C+

Echoes of Swing: Message From Mars (2010 [2011], Echoes of Swing): Retro-swing group, based in Germany, recorded this (their fifth) album in Austria. Quartet: Colin T. Dawson (trumpet, b. England), Chris Hopkins (alto sax, b. US but moved to Germany when he was young), Bernd Lhotzky (piano), and Oliver Mewes (drums). Dawson sings two songs -- the Chet Baker style on a Billie Holiday song ("Don't Explain") is a striking effect. Lhotzky rearranges some Chopin, and there's a piece from Dmitri "Schostakowitsch," but Teddy Wilson and Ellington are the more favored sources. B+(***)

Yelena Eckemoff: Grass Catching the Wind (2009-10 [2011], Yelena Music): Pianist, from Moscow, moved to US in 1991. Website lists 17 albums, doesn't give dates -- probably start in early 1990s -- but divides them up as 4 classical, 2 vocal, and 11 "original instrumental" albums, including one that came out after this one (Flying Steps, with Derek Oleszkiewicz and Peter Erskine; don't have it). This is a piano trio, cut in Copenhagen with Mads Vinding on bass and Morten Lund on drums. All originals. Most have strong rhythm and I always like that in a pianist, along with crisp and clever fingerwork. B+(**)

Yelena Eckemoff: Flying Steps (2010 [2011], Yelena Music): Pianist, born and raised in Moscow, with one of those rigorous Soviet educations in classical music. Moved to US in 1991. Classical music dominates her discography, but she's edged into jazz and produced several more-than-credible trio records. This one includes Darek Oleszkiewicz on bass and Peter Erskine on drums. B+(**)

Marty Ehrlich's Rites Quartet: Frog Leg Logic (2011, Clean Feed): Plays alto sax, soprano sax, and flute, leading a quartet with James Zollar (trumpet), Hank Roberts (cello), and Michael Sarin (drums). Strong interplay for most of the way -- the flute, of course, is the weak link. Zollar usually lurks in the background, but when he gets a solo shot he reminds you how underrated he is. B+(***)

Harris Eisenstadt: September Trio (2010 [2011], Clean Feed): Drummer, has tended lately to rig his records to emphasize his compositions rather than his position. Trio includes Ellery Eskelin (tenor sax) and Angelica Sanchez (piano), so this lacks the drive and connectivity that a bassist should add: it runs a bit slow, muted, but spacious. Been hearing a lot from Eskelin lately, and I'm afraid that I've fallen uncritically in love with all of it. The pianist holds up her end too. B+(***)

Eliane Elias: Light My Fire (2010 [2011], Concord): Pianist, b. 1960 in Brazil, AMG lists 23 albums since 1986. Not sure when she started singing -- certainly by 1997's Sings Jobim, which I found utterly dreamy. Her voice is in the affectless Astrud Gilberto tradition, a bit more accommodating and gracious. While I routinely complain about American singers and their "obligatory Jobim" picks, she nails her turf down -- OK, no Jobim here, but Gilberto Gil joins in for three cuts, and her guitar and percussion picks are near perfect. The songs in English, including "My Cherie Amour" and the slowed down title cut, are impeccably cool, and she scats her way through "Take Five" with Randy Brecker adding a bit of highlight. I will complain about the photography: not that she's getting too old for cheesecake, but the lighting makes her look strangely pale and purple. [A-]

Amir ElSaffar Two Rivers Ensemble: Inana (2011, Pi): Trumpet player, b. 1977 in Chicago, father Iraqi, studied classical music at DePaul before wandering into jazz. Third album since 2003. Like several other prominent second generation hyphenated-Americans, he looks back to his ancestral land for a unique angle on jazz -- the two rivers, of course, the Tigris and Euphrates. Sextet mixes Arab classicists with avant-jazzbos -- Ole Mathisen (tenor/soprano sax), Zafer Tawil (oud, perussion), Tareq Abboushi (buzuq), Carlo DeRosa (bass), Nasheet Waits (drums) -- for a dense, somber sound. B+(***)

Empirical: Elements of Truth (2011, Naim Jazz): English quartet: Nathaniel Facey (alto sax), Lewis Wright (vibes), Tom Farmer (bass), Shaney Forbes (drums); Farmer does most of the writing, followed by Facey (2) and Wright (1). Third album since 2007. Sax lines are cutting edge postbop, the vibes adding a light and flighty contrast. B+(**) [Rhapsody]

John Escreet: The Age We Live In (2010 [2011], Mythology): Pianist, b. 1984 in Doncaster, UK; moved to New York 2006. Third album since 2008: quartet with David Binney (alto sax, electronics), Wayne Krantz (guitar), and Marcus Gilmore (drums, percussion), but adds extra musicians -- brass (Brad Mason, Max Seigel) and strings (Christian Howes, credited with the whole kaboodle not just violin). The electronics are the clue: Escreet plays more electric keyb than acoustic piano, and the overall vibe pushes into fusion territory. Binney is a bright spot, and this is similar to his Graylen Epicenter (on the same label). Can't say much about the strings, and suspect it's just as well I didn't notice. B+(*)

European Movement Jazz Orchestra: EMJO: Live in Coimbra (2010 [2011], Clean Feed): Can parse the cover at least two ways -- e.g., artist could just as well be "EMJO [European Movement Jazz Orchestra]. Group was formed in 2007 "with the idea of being the cultural ambassador of Germany, Portugal, and Slovenia during the time of their presidency of the European council." Those nations seem to cover the many names I don't recognize in this slightly enlarged big band (5 trumpets, 5 reeds, 4 trombones, piano, guitar, 2 basses, drums) -- Benny Brown is the only name that looks unaccounted for, although I can't swear the obvious East Europeans (Markovic, Kopac, Pukl, Draksler, Modern Kukic) are all from Slovenia. Isidor Leitinger conducts. Five of six pieces come from five different band members. In conception combines fado and "Blasmusik" and "Slovenian poetry"; in effect, postmodern but not quite free, with an industrial undertow. B+(*)

Falkner Evans: The Point of the Moon (2010 [2011], CAP): Pianist, originally from Oklahoma, played for a while with Asleep at the Wheel, moved to New York in 1985 and went into jazz, notably with Cecil McBee. Fourth album since 2002. Aside from the last two cuts, this is a pretty typical hard bop group, with Greg Tardy (tenor sax), Ron Horton (trumpet), Belden Bullock (bass), and Matt Wilson (drums), the stereotypical postbop jazz sound. Shifts a bit at the end, with Gary Versace sitting in on the last two cuts, one on organ, the other on accordion. Both slow the pace, blunt the horns, and the latter slips in a little tango. B

Orrin Evans: Freedom (2010 [2011], Posi-Tone): Pianist, b. 1976 in Trenton, NJ, raised and based in Philadelphia, studied at Rutgers with Kenny Barron. Has a dozen-plus albums since 1994. Seven of nine cuts are piano trio here, with Dwayne Burno on bass and either Byron Landham or Anwar Marshall on drums. The other two cuts add Larry McKenna on tenor sax. First trio cut is up and strong -- song is by Charles Fambrough, one of three people the album is dedicated to -- but the sax cut drops the piano into the background, as happens again late in the album when the piano finally reasserts itself. B+(**)

FAB Trio: History of Jazz in Reverse (2005 [2011], TUM): Name comes from a fortunate combination of initials: Joe Fonda (bass), Barry Altschul (drums), and Billy Bang (violin), whose death last year makes this all the more precious. Group did a previous album together, in 2003, Transforming the Space (CIMP) -- a record I like at least as much as this one. A-

Jeff Fairbanks' Project Hansori: Mulberry Street (2009-10 [2011], Bju'ecords): Trombone player, studied at University of South Florida, now based in New York. First album (only one of 4 side credits AMG lists looks right). Korean-themed big band project -- presumably wife (and guest cellist) Heun Choi Fairbanks has something to do with the interest. Baritone saxophonist Fred Ho, whose Afro Asian Music Ensemble set the standard for this sort of thing, gets a "with special guest" credit on the front cover, but only appears on two tracks. There are spots where the Korean rhythms and tones emerge, but mostly a pretty solid big band record. B+(*)

Kali. Z. Fasteau/William Parker/Cindy Blackman: An Alternate Universe (1991-92 [2011], Flying Note): New release, comes out same time as the reissue of Prophecy, a more scattered 1993 album documenting this same period -- guess you can call these outtakes. Fasteau has worked through several permutations of her name -- no idea why the period in "Kali." appeared, but "Z." once appeared as Zusann. She was b. 1947, childhood split between New York and Paris, lived in sixteen countries, picked up instruments from most of them. She married Donald Rafael Grant, a bassist who also played clarinet with Coltrane in his latter avant-garde phase; fifteen years her senior, he died in 1989, which is about the point when Fasteau started her solo career. (A compilation of her 1975-77 work with Garrett, Memoirs of a Dream, is fascinating.) She plays a dozen-plus instruments, none especially well although she is a fearless risktaker and sometimes makes it pay off. Here she rotates between cello, soprano sax, and electric piano, with bassist Parker on all tracks, drummer Blackman on 5 (of 8). The cello seems to grow out of Parker's bass, full of razor edges. The soprano is rough and warbly. The electric piano is played more for toy percussion, held back to let the bass and drums wander. B+(**)

Fattigfolket: Park (2010 [2011], Ozella Music): Scandinavian quartet -- recorded this in Norway, at least one previous album in Denmark; not sure where all the musicians come from: Gunnar Halle (trumpet), Halvard Godal (sax, clarinet), Putte Johander (bass), Ole Morten Sommer (drums). Eleven songs named for parks or parklike locales (like "Grunewald"). Free but not very fleet, hemmed in by their folk jazz hypothesis. B+(*)

Avram Fefer/Eric Revis/Chad Taylor: Eliyahu (2010 [2011], Not Two): [was: A-] A

Agustí Fernández: El Laberint de la Memória (2010 [2011], Mbari Musica): Pianist, b. 1954 in Spain; AMG credits him with 12 albums, Discogs with 24, his own website claims 50 but doesn't list that many -- earliest one listed is 1987. This would be his eighth solo album, with a large percentage of the rest duos. Nothing fancy here, but every step seems meticulously thought out, precise and evocative. B+(***)

Joe Fiedler Trio: Sacred Chrome Orb (2011, Yellow Sound Label): Trombonist, based in New York (since 1993), fourth album since 2005. First was a daunting tribute, Plays the Music of Albert Mangelsdorff. This is a trio with John Hebert and Michael Sarin, the sort of thing that puts the horn constantly on the spot. And he proves to be as inventive as his German mentor, while avoiding the squawk and whine that suggested to me horses being slaughtered. A-

Scott Fields & Multiple Joyce Orchestra: Moersbow/OZZO (2009 [2011], Clean Feed): Guitarist, from Chicago, has a couple dozen albums since 1993, about as close as anyone to being an American analog to Derek Bailey. Doesn't play here; instead conducts MJO through a 13:54 piece dedicated to Merzbow and the much-longer 4-part "OZZO." MJO was founded in 2008 by Frank Gratkowski (alto sax), Carl Ludwig Hübsch (tuba), and Matthias Schubert (tenor sax), with 24 members credited here -- a little bit of everything (except guitar), including computer and analog electronics. Has that scratchy, abstract feel, but is rarely without interest, and more pleasing than anyone would expect. B+(**)

5 After 4: Rome in a Day (2011, Alma): Toronto, Canada group, looks like this is their seventh album -- website says five but I count six there (not including this one); don't have date info, and AMG (sharp as ever) only lists this one. Drummer Vito Rezza wrote 7 of 11 pieces; keyboardist Matt Horner 3, with one group improv. Johnny Johnson plays "woodwinds"; Peter Cardinali bass and organ, and gets credit for horn arrangements. Postbop, gets a little soft and slick as Johnson moves up-register from tenor and Horner switches to Rhodes or organ. B

The Flail: Live at Smalls (2010 [2011], Smalls Live): New York quintet: Dan Blankinship (trumpet), Stephan Moutot (tenor sax), Brian Marsella (piano), Reid Taylor (bass), Matt Zebroski (drums). Second album (I think: AMG lists this one, CDBaby has another one; their own website is utterly useless -- can't believe people pay money for design like that). Figure post-hard bop, but the horns and piano can pick up and run away from the pack. Runs 71 minutes, and never lets up. B+(**)

The Flail: Live at Smalls (2010 [2011], Smalls Live): Post-hardbop quintet, fast and tight over a 71-minute set. I got so flustered at their Flash-only website that I gave up and vented, unable to ferret out their discography or biographies which turn out all to be there somewhere, so I missed 2 of 4 records going back to 2002 -- they do play like a band that's hung together for quite some time. Maybe I was too busy trying to shut down the sound that erupts every time you click anything -- I was, after all, trying to listen to their CD at the time. Or maybe I was just annoyed at having to fight through layers of PDF for a couple paragraphs of text, or scroll through those idiot Flash text widgets. God, I hate Flash! But if you're in the market for a fully tricked out, highly counterintuitive website, check out theflail.com -- must be someone's labor of love, for this sort of thing doesn't come easy. As for the CD: B+(**)

Joel Forrester/Phillip Johnston: Live at the Hillside Club (2010 [2011], Asynchronous): The two principals of the Microscopic Septet, which has been making interesting music since 1981 -- most recently, see Friday the Thirteenth: The Micros Play Monk. Here they play as a duo, Forrester on piano, Johnston on soprano sax, which gives you a bare framework of their act and repertoire. Four Monk songs, one from Johnston, the rest Forrester. Tempting to say this would be great if they'd just flesh it out a little: bass and drums, some extra horns with a little more weight like a baritone sax, maybe the marvelous Michael Hashim. B+(**)

Four: On a Warm Summer's Evenin' (2010, Jazz Hang): Idaho group, nominally a saxophone quartet with Mark Watkins (soprano, alto), Brent Jensen (alto), Sandon Mayhew (tenor, and Jon Gudmundson (baritone). I'm familiar with Jensen, who has several good records on Origin. Everyone else is new to me, especially the group's de facto leader, Watkins, who wrote or arranged everything (9 originals, 3 covers, one by Coltrane, one more that might as well be -- "Chim Chim Cheree" -- and "My Funny Valentine"). Watkins teaches at BYU-Idaho, another new one on me: the former Ricks College in Rexburg, ID, an LDS-owned institution with nearly 15,000 students (more than the population of Rexburg as recently as 1990 -- Salon called it "the reddest place in America" after Bush got 93% of the vote in 2004). The group is supplemented by the BYU-Idaho Faculty Jazz Ensemble (rhythm section), including guitarist Corey Christiansen, and a much larger Faculty and Alumni band/orchestra/jazz ensemble, which gives Watkins a lot to arrange. This has spots that get cluttered, but for the most part everyone is well-behaved and it all grows into a warm, luxurious flow. B+(*)

The Four Bags: Forth (2010 [2011], NCM East): Chamber jazz group, combining trombone (Brian Drye), accordion (Jacob Garchik), guitar (Sean Moran), and clarinet/bass clarinet (Michael McGinnis). Fourth album since 2000. I reckon the lack of bass and/or drums seals them into the chamber realm -- no chance of getting swept away in the rhythm -- but they have an impressive sonic density, especially when Moran's guitar turns on the juice. B+(*)

Fourthought: Fourthought (2010 [2011], Nambulo Music): New York quartet's eponymous debut album, with two principals writing all but one cover ("Green Dolphin Street") -- Nicholas Biello (alto sax, soprano sax) and Manuel Weyand (drums) -- plus Kerong Chok (piano, Fender Rhodes) and Cameron Kayne (bass). Weyand (b. Germany) and Biello met at Manhattan School of Music; Kayne hails from Buffalo, Chok from Singapore. Smart postbop, some bite to the alto. B+(*)

Ken Fowser/Behn Gillece: Duotone (2010 [2011], Posi-Tone): Sax/vibes respectively, Fowser pictured on the cover with a tenor, Gillece with mallets. Gillece wrote 8 of 10, Fowser the other two. Gillece has nothing under his own name, but he appeared on Fowser's two previous records. Quintet with Donald Vega (piano), David Wong (bass), Willie Jones III (drums). Straight mainstream postbop, faster than usual (a good idea). B+(**)

Fred Fried and Core: EnCore (2011, Ballet Tree): Guitarist, b. 1948 in Brooklyn, influenced by George Van Eps who led him to the 7-string guitar on most of his 10 records -- here he moves on to an 8-string. Trio with bass (Michael Lavoie) and drums (Miki Matsuki). Take a middle road and works out intricacies from there. B+(*)

Erik Friedlander: Bonebridge (2011, Skipstone): Cellist, more than a dozen albums since 1995; not sure that you can find anyone else in jazz history who's done more notable music with the instrument. Inevitably, cello suggests chamber music, with a focus on composition feathered out with multiple strings, which is what you get here with: Doug Wamble (guitar), Trevor Dunn (bass), and Mike Sarin (drums). B+(***)

Bill Frisell: All We Are Saying . . . (2011, Savoy Jazz): Framed as an album of John Lennon songs, although 7 of 16 are of a vintage where they also credit Paul McCartney. Doesn't seem to have been intended as a deep conviction tribute; rather, something that Frisell got roped into trying on a tour and like the sound of. From his liner notes: "This wasn't my idea. I didn't ask to do it. Ever since I've entered into the world of music, I've never really had to figure out what to do. The music always tells you what to do, where to go. There's always something new waiting right there in front of you." That something is the guitarist's logic in picking around a melody, so striking early on when he attacked artists as diverse as Ives and Madonna, honed over 40+ albums into an ingenious reflexive style. His intuitive approach fares about as well as any with the Beatles' songs -- a common temptation to people who grew up with them (Frisell was b. 1951) hoping to modernize the standards songbook, one that has almost never succeeded. With Greg Leisz on steel guitar and Jenny Scheinman on violin, plus Tony Scherr on bass and Kenny Wollesen on drums, the string sound is pure and saccharine sweet -- something one tires of, although it's unlikely that the opener, "Across the Universe," will ever sound more sumptously gorgeous. B+(**)

Satoko Fujii Min-Yoh Ensemble: Watershed (2009 [2011], Libra): Min-Yoh means folk music in Japanese, and three (of eight) songs here are identified as "Japanese traditional folk" -- the others are Fujii originals. Not knowing anything about Japanese folk music that can't be reduced to traditional instruments (none such here, but there are some vocals), I'm at a loss. Fujii plays piano, along with Andrea Parkins (accordion), Curtis Hasselbring (trombone), and Natsuki Tamura (trumpet). Accordion mostly adds density, and trombone darker tones. B+(**)

Satoko Fujii Orchestra New York: Eto (2010 [2011], Libra): Prolific Japanese pianist -- a quick count shows 17 Jazz CG records for her and/or her husband-trumpeter Natsuki Tamura. Among many other groups, she runs four big bands, three based in Japan plus this all-star outfit in New York, on their 8th album together here. The big thing here is the 14-part "Eto Suite," plus three shorter pieces. Strong solos but less hectic than previous albums, with some nicely arranged stretches. B+(**)

Curtis Fuller: The Story of Cathy & Me (2011, Challenge): Trombonist, b. 1934 in Detroit, came up in hard bop bands -- Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers, the Art Farmer-Benny Golson Jazztet -- as well as credits with Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Sonny Clark, Bud Powell, Cannonball and Nate Adderley, Lee Morgan, Wayne Shorter, Jimmy Smith, Joe Henderson, Dizzy Gillespie, lots of guys who are long dead. Cathy was Fuller's wife, the former Catherine Rose Driscoll, who also died in 2010. No idea when they met and married, a detail that slipped through the cracks of an otherwise generous booklet. The album is broken up into three sections separated by spoken word "interludes." Two vocals by Tia Michelle Rouse also chop up the flow, which traces a grand arc from upbeat youth to solemn age. B+(**)

Hal Galper Trio: Trip the Light Fantastic (2011, Origin): Veteran pianist, b. 1938, has thirty-some albums since 1971, including some real gems -- some I've noticed: Portrait (1989), Just Us (1993), Art-Work (2009). Trio with his label's ace rhythm section: Jeff Johnson on bass and John Bishop on drums. Three originals, four covers ("Guess I'll Hang Out My Tears to Dry," "Be My Love"). B+(*)

Rob Garcia 4: The Drop and the Ocean (2011, Bju'ecords): Drummer, grew up in the Bronx (Pelham), studied at NYU and SUNY Purchase. Has at least two previous records (since 2005), short list of side credits. Quartet: Noah Preminger (tenor sax), Dan Tepfer (piano), John Hebert (bass). The first two are young guys who have gotten a lot of notice for their own albums; Hebert is one of those bassists who makes everything better. B+(**)

Giacomo Gates: The Revolution Will Be Jazz: The Songs of Gil Scott-Heron (2010-11 [2011], Savant): Singer, says somewhere he was 40 in 1990, so figure b. 1950; drove trucks, worked on the Alaska Pipeline, tried singing in Fairbanks bars but didn't get very far; moved to Connecticut, cut a record in 1995, four more since. Attracted to Jon Hendricks and vocalese, also a source of Scott-Heron's music. (Let me interject that I've long had a kneejerk reaction to the flamboyant hipsterism of vocalese, and that turned me off from Scott-Heron's albums, regardless of how appealing the politics were.) Gates thought about doing a Scott-Heron albums back in the early 1990s, but didn't get going on it until Scott-Heron returned after a 13 year hiatus with I'm New Here last year. Then Scott-Heron died at 62 on May 27 this year, a few weeks before this arrived in the mail. Avoids the most overtly political tracts in favor of the jazz legacy, sentimentalizes "New York City," keeps the hopes and prayers alive, but also the "Gun" dilemma. A deeper, more measured singer, who can scat but doesn't have to. Limits the horns to two cuts, using Claire Daly on baritone once and on flute for "Winter in America," where it belongs. B+(***)

The Jeff Gauthier Goatette: Open Source (2011, Cryptogramophone): Violinist, was involved in Vinny Golia's Nine Winds label back in the 1990s and launched Cryptogramophone around 2000, which has taken Golia's avant-garde tendencies and turned them into something more commercial -- Nels Cline is the label's star. Gauthier himself has five albums on the label (seven total). In this one four (of six) musicians are credited with effects -- Gauthier, John Fumo (trumpet), Nels Cline (guitar), and David Witham (keyboards, accordion) -- leaving only bass (Joel Hamilton) and drums (Alex Cline) with no extra tricks. The result is a semi-fusion, often impressive especially when everyone works in sync. B+(**)

Glows in the Dark: Beach of the War Gods (2010 [2011], self-released): Richmond, VA quintet: Scott Burton (guitar), Scott Clark (drums), John Lilley (alto & tenor sax), Reginald Pace (trombone), Cameron Ralston (bass). Burton writes, aside from the four group-credited "Violent Rome" pieces. Draws inspiration from soundtracks, which this on occasion slouches into. Otherwise they can mount an interesting presence. B+(*)

Otzir Godot: Kas Kas (2009, Epatto): Drummer, from Finland. First record, a few years old now, got it along with a new one. All improvised. Five cuts are duos with saxophonist Ikka Kahri, two more are duos with Robin DeWan on didgeridoo, the other four are brief solos. The sax-drums duos are smartly balanced, engaging. The deep hums less interesting but a nice backdrop for the percussion, which never pushes too hard. B+(**)

Otzir Godot: Drum Poems (2011, Epatto): Drummer, from Finland, second album, plays solo using a wide, world encircling range of percussion instruments. Thirteen pieces, mostly conceptual, have some interest but also have their limits. B+(*)

Volker Goetze Orchestra: NY 10027 (2011, G*Records): Trumpeter, from Germany; has a previous album with kora player Ablaye Cissoko listed first. This is a big band, recorded in New York, with modern tendencies, not afraid to get a little mussed up, noisy even. B

Aaron Goldberg and Guillermo Klein: Bienestan (2009 [2011], Sunnyside): Two pianists, although not a piano duet album. Klein, the senior member less because he's four years older (b. 1970) than because he wrote all of the originals (7.5 of 13, the fraction an intro to "All the Things You Are" to close the album). But Goldberg is the lead pianist, with Klein chiming in on Fender Rhodes: no track credits between them, but seems like mostly one or the other, which means mostly Goldberg. Also on board: Matt Penman (bass), Eric Harland (drums), Miguel Zenon (alto sax on five cuts, including both Charlie Parker tunes), and Chris Cheek (tenor sax on two, soprano on one, all of those with Zenon, none by Parker). Traces of tango seep in here and there -- Klein is from Argentina, so that's almost a given. The rapid-fire rat-a-tat of "Human Feel," with both horns in sync, is especially noteworthy. B+(**)

Vinny Golia Quartet: Take Your Time (2011, Relative Pitch): Plays the whole range of clarinets, saxes, and flutes; b. 1946, has been very prolific since 1977, releasing almost all of his work on his own Nine Winds label, but occasionally strays -- Greetings From Norma Desmond is a personal favorite. Plays soprano/alto/tenor sax here, with Bobby Bradford on cornet, Kin Filiano on bass, and Alex Cline on drums. This group generates a lot of heat, and while Golia's riffing sometimes seems a bit pat (by which I mean I've never cared for that Charlie Parker up-and-down shit), Bradford always hangs in there and adds something interesting. B+(***) [Rhapsody]

Mac Gollehon: Odyssey of Nostalgia (2011, American Showplace Music): Trumpet player. Website is a helpless piece of Flash, so I'm short on bio. AMG lists six albums since 1996: two with "smokin'" in the title, one "straight ahead," one In the Spirit of Fats Navarro. This one digs around various old blues bags, including "Brother Can You Spare a Dime" and "Nobody Knows You When You're Down and Out," but also "Two Sleepy People" and "Dirtynogooder Blues" and "Over the Rainbow." Band includes Ronnie Cuber (baritone sax, flute), Bill Easley (clarinet, alto sax), Amina Claudine Myers (organ), Ron McClure (bass), Warren Smith (drums), Junior Vega (congas), and features Olga Merediz's vocals on about half of the tracks. Some work, some not so much. B+(**)

Dennis González/João Paulo: So Soft Yet (2010 [2011], Clean Feed): Duets, González on trumpet and cornet, Paulo (full name: João Paulo Esteves Da Silva) on acoustic and electric piano, also accordion. They did this once before, in 2009's Scape Grace, but this works better, partly because Paulo's rotation keeps it from settling into a rut, but mostly charm and intimacy. B+(***)

Jerry Gonzalez: Jerry Gonzalez y el Comando de la Clave (2011, Sunnyside): Trumpet player, b. 1949 in New York, played congas for Dizzy Gillespie, then moved on to Eddie Palmieri's band, then his own Fort Apache Band. Moved to Spain around 2000, hooking up with Flamenco musicians for Jerry Gonzalez y los Piratas del Flamenco (recorded 2001, released 2004), and now this belated sequel. (Don't have recording dates here. Again, Diego "El Cigala" sings, but the focus is less on him than on the beat -- Alberto "Chele" Cobo's clave, Israel Suarez "Piraba"'s cajon. Several standards appear -- "Tenderly," "Love for Sale," "In a Sentimental Mood," "Obsesion" -- and that's where the trumpet breaks away from the distractions. B+(**)

Danny Grissett: Stride (2011, Criss Cross): Pianist, from Los Angeles, studied at Cal Arts, based in New York. Fourth album since 2006, a trio with Vincente Archer on bass and Marcus Gilmore on drums. Has very little swing, let alone stride, to his style; basically a straight-up postbop player with a deft touch. Three originals, five covers range from Chopin to Tom Harrell and Nicholas Payton. B+(*) [Rhapsody]

The Gurdjieff Folk Instruments Ensemble: Music of Georges I. Gurdjieff (2008 [2011], ECM): Gurdjieff was born c. 1866, father Greek, mother Armenian, in Armenia, then part of the Russian Empire, and died 1949, best known as some kind of spiritual teacher -- he described what he was doing as "esoteric Christianity" or "the fourth way." Along the way he wrote some music, often working with Thomas de Hartmann, drawing on Central Asian folk and religious music, Russian Orthodox liturgical music, and other sources. This is some of that, played on traditional instruments (oud, blul, kanon, santur, tar, saz, duduk, etc.) by a group in Yerevan, Armenia, under the direction of Levon Eskenian. This has a preserved-in-amber air: minimal, elegant, delicate, enchanting. B+(**)

Gutbucket: Flock (2010 [2011], Cuneiform): First squawk out of the box sounds great, plus the song there is called "Fuck You and Your Hipster Tie." Band consists of Ken Thomson (saxes and clarinets, mostly alto sax), Ty Citerman (guitar), Eric Rockwin (bass, mostly electric), and Adam Gold (drums). Fifth album since 2001. As with several recent fusion groups, the sax (or even clarinet) gives the guitar a sharper edge, and working that sound is the group's strong suit. The rock rhythms, though, can get a bit sludgy. B+(**)

Tim Hagans: The Moon Is Waiting (2011, Palmetto): Trumpet player, b. 1954 in Ohio, has had a rather scattered career with 11 albums since 1983 -- jazztronica fusion, tributes to Miles Davis and Freddie Hubbard, seems like mostly big band work lately. This is straightforward postbop, a quartet with Vic Juris on guitar, Rufus Reid on bass, Jukkis Uotila on drums (and piano). Juris is as distinctive as ever, which throws everything off just enough to give Hagans his edge. B+(**)

Randy Halberstadt: Flash Point (2010, Origin): Pianist, b. 1953 in New York, based in Seattle, teaches at Cornish College of the Arts; has a book, Metaphors for the Musician: Perspectives From a Jazz Pianist, and four albums since 1991. Quintet with Thomas Marriott (trumpet), Mark Taylor (alto sax), Jeff Johnson (bass), and Mark Ivester (drums). Halberstadt wrote 6 of 9 pieces, covering Sam Rivers ("Beatrice"), Miles Davis ("Solar"), and "On Green Dolphin Street." Postbop. Impressed more by the piano than by the horns, which probably help to broaden and stabilize the record but are never what's interesting. B+(*)

Mary Halvorson and Jessica Pavone: Departure of Reason (2011, Thirsty Ear): Guitar-viola duo: Halvorson is a frequently astounding young guitarist, Pavone an erratic violist, both sing some, and together they trend towards folk music, or anti-folk, or something slightly stranger. B+(*) [advance]

Sir Roland Hanna: Colors From a Giant's Kit (1990s-2002 [2011], IPO): Pianist from Detroit, lived 1932-2002, has a couple credits in 1959 but his discography picks up in 1971 and he remain productive to the end. Solo piano, something he did at least a dozen albums of, from various sessions -- annoying that I can't find a detailed accounting. Mix of originals and covers. Can be dense and even dazzling, but I can't latch onto anything as especially interesting. B+(*) [Rhapsody]

Eric Harland: Voyager: Live by Night (2008 [2011], Sunnyside): Drummer, b. 1978, first album under his own name (looks like it was originally released in 2010 on Space Time in France; Sunnyside picks a lot of its records off French labels), but has a long list of credits since 1997. He wrote all but the last two pieces here: one by Sam Rivers, and a four-part thing by pianist Taylor Eigsti. Band includes Walter Smith III (tenor sax), Julian Lage (guitar), Eigsti (piano), and Harish Raghavan (bass). Lage is often dazzling, and Smith has a standout night. Drummer too. B+(***)

Stefon Harris/David Sanchez/Christian Scott: Ninety Miles (2011, Concord Picante): Three mainstream jazz stars, more or less, visit Cuba, hooking up with two local "piano-led Cuban jazz quartets" (meaning piano-bass-drums+percussion), one led by Rember Duharte, the other by Harold López-Nussa. The visitors have some trouble finding their bearings (especially the vibraphonist), but once Scott rips off a blistering trumpet solo the tide turns, and the percussion carries the day. B+(*) [Rhapsody]

Donald Harrison: This Is Jazz: Live at the Blue Note (2011, Half Note): Alto saxophonist, b. 1960 in New Orleans, father was big chief of four different New Orleans Indian tribes, a family trade Harrison followed it, although he also picked up some bebop, worked his way through Art Blakey's boot camp, and most recently has been playing both sides in HBO's Treme. This is the postbop side, a trio with Ron Carter and Billy Cobham. Starts with two Carter pieces, then a 5:39 bass solo on "You Are My Sunshine" -- the sort of thing that doesn't come through well on record no matter how mesmerizing it may have been live. Picks back up again with "Seven Steps to Heaven," and closes strong on Harrison's "Treme Swagger." B+(**)

Werner Hasler/Karl Berger/Gilbert Paeffgen: Hasler/Paeffgen/Berger (2010 [2011], NoBusiness): Hasler plays trumpet and dabbles in electronics; b. 1969, based in Switzerland, has a couple previous records. Berger plays vibes; he goes back a long ways (b. 1935 in Germany). Paeffgen is a drummer, b. 1958 in Germany, based in Switzerland. The vibes gives this a light and slippery background, against which the trumpet is meticulously etched. The electronics helps, too. B+(**)

Roy Haynes: Roy-Alty (2011, Dreyfus): Drummer, not of the first generation of bebop drummers but came hot on their heels with a Zelig-like knack for being everywhere you'd want to be: with Lester Young at the Royal Roost in 1948, with Charlie Parker at St. Nick's in 1951, with Bud Powell and Stan Getz and Wardell Gray and Miles Davis and Sonny Rollins -- all by 1955; with Sarah Vaughan at Mister Kelly's in 1957, with Thelonious Monk at the Five Spot in 1958, on Introducing Nat Adderley. Eventually he went on to cut 30-some albums under his own name, winning Downbeat polls in categories like Jazz Artist of the Year. He'd be considered a grey eminence now, except he keeps his pate shaved and no one in history ever has looked more fit at 86. Roy Hargrove and Chick Corea get a "featuring" sticker. The booklet also spotlights what he calls the Fountain of Youth Band: Jaleel Shaw (alto sax), Martin Bejerano (piano), and David Wong (bass). Not sure if Corea plays beyond his two featured spots. Hargrove is featured on 6 of 10 tracks, Shaw is impressive throughout, and the closer (McCoy Tyner's "Passion Dance") adds Marcus Strickland for a blow out. Presumably it's Haynes talking the intro to "Tin Tin Deo" (with Roberto Quintero's extra percussion) -- who else can plausibly claim to have discovered Chano Pozo? Big, bright, a celebration. B+(***)

Kevin Hays: Variations (2011, Pirouet): Pianist, 13th album since 1994, not counting his recent duo with Brad Mehldau on Patrick Zimmerli's Modern Music, which this seems to be a study for. Twenty-four short cuts divided into three sets, most of the pieces appearing in variations in each. B+(**)

Kieran Hebden/Steve Reid/Mats Gustafsson: Live at the South Bank (2009 [2011], Smalltown Superjazz, 2CD): Hebden does laptronica under the name Four Tet, and is something of a star as those things go. Somehow he hooked up with Reid -- a drummer, had a couple of obscure but quite good 1970s avant records, plus a resume that includes Motown, James Brown, and Fela Kuti; sadly, Reid died in 2010, a couple years into a very productive comeback. Gustafsson is a Norwegian saxophonist -- plays tenor and baritone, not specified which here but sounds like mostly bari -- has a group called the Thing, plays a lot with Ken Vandermark and a little with Sonic Youth. He can be unbearably noisy, but holds to an interesting range here, adding soulful depth to the blips and beats. Length 82:55. A-

Thomas Heberer's Clarino: Klippe (2010 [2011], Clean Feed): Trumpet player, b. 1965 in Germany, based in New York since 2008. Probably has ten or so records more/less under his own name since 1988 -- I can't find a definitive list, as well as side credits with Alexander von Schlippenbach (including Berlin Contemporary Jazz Orchestra) and Misha Mengelberg (including ICP Orchestra). Trio with Joachim Badenhorst (clarinet, bass clarinet) and Pascal Niggenkemper (bass). Slow and moody, a tone painting that never quite resolves. B

Gilad Hekselman: Hearts Wide Open (2010 [2011], Le Chant du Monde): Guitarist, b. 1983 in Israel, in New York since 2004, graduating from New School and sticking around. Third album: 6 (of 10) cuts trio with Joe Martin (bass) and Marcus Gilmore (drums). The other four add saxophonist Mark Turner. Intricate, poised, nice tone to the guitar. Sax doesn't really add much. B+(*)

Gerry Hemingway Quintet: Riptide (2009 [2011], Clean Feed): Drummer-led quintet, with Oscar Noriega (alto sax, clarinet, bass clarinet), Ellery Eskelin (tenor sax), Terrence McManus (guitar), Kermit Driscoll (acoustic bass, electric bass guitar). I assumed this would flesh out Hemingway's superb duos with Eskelin and McManus so I latched onto their flights, but if anything this is more tightly bound to the beat -- deliriously so in the reggae-inspired "Backabacka" but also in the slower, more muted pieces that preceded it, seeming to draw the record down when really they were setting it up. A-

Julius Hemphill/Peter Kowald: Live at Kassiopeia (1987 [2011], NoBusiness, 2CD): New old music from two dead guys, likely to be missed if you have any idea who they are, and all the more poignant for being so intimate. Kowald is the German bassist of the 20th century, always intriguing, not least solo -- his solo Was Da Ist is a Penguin Guide crown album. Hemphill was an alto saxophonist, best known for his harmonic explorations with the World Saxophone Quartet and Five Chord Stud, which left him underappreciated as a solo player. First disc here is all solo: three 6-8 minute ones by Hemphill, a 32:20 by Kowald. They feel like studies, something slightly above practice, nice examples of each one's art. Second disc brings them together in three duos, where they start out distinct and gradually merge. I'm sentimental enough to be tempted to rate this higher, but Hemphill plays a lot of soprano sax here, I haven't compared this to such similar fare as his duo Live in New York with cellist Abdul K. Wadud, and I'm unlikely to return to the solos -- although Kowald's is probably a better intro than the daunting Wa Das Ist. B+(***)

Nick Hempton: The Business (2010 [2011], Posi-Tone): Alto saxophonist, b. 1976, from Australia, based in New York; second album, a quintet with Art Hirahara (piano), Yotam Silberstein (guitar), Marco Panascia (bass), and Dan Aran (drums). Mainstream, high energy, rarely flags. Wrote 8 of 10, covering "Gee Baby Ain't I Good to You" and "From Bechet, Byas, and Fats" (Rahsaan Roland Kirk). Gets strong support, especially from Silberstein. B+(**)

Ig Henneman Sextet: Cut a Caper (2010 [2011], Stichting Wig): Dutch viola player, b. 1945, from Haarlem. Her website lists 15 albums since 1981 -- the first two as FC Gerania, two more as Queen Mab Trio. The Sextet has no drums, giving it a chamber feel, but lots of options: Ab Baars (tenor sax, clarinet, shakuhachi), Axel Dörner (trumpet), Lori Freedman (bass clarinet, clarinet), Wilbert De Joode (bass), and Marilyn Lerner (piano). Difficult terrain, but Baars is as sure-footed as I've ever heard him, and Lerner's piano themes always get your attention, perhaps to regroup from the horns. B+(**)

Magos Herrera: México Azul (2010 [2011], Sunnyside): Singer, from Mexico, seventh album since 1997. This one was cut in New Jersey with a stellar jazz group -- Tim Hagans (trumpet), Adam Rogers (guitar), Luis Perdomo (piano), John Patitucci (bass), Alex Kautz (drums), Rogerio Boccato (percussion) -- although I don't find she gets much out of them. Songs are all in Spanish, evidently mostly movie themes. Dark voice, dramatic, but one of those hard to judge singers for those of us who don't understand the language. B

Mace Hibbard: Time Gone By (2010 [2011], MHM): Alto saxophonist, b. 1976 in Waco, TX; studied at U. Texas in Austin, based in Atlanta. Second album, hard-bop-style quintet with trumpet, piano, bass and drums. Nice tone, soulful and a bit lush. B+(**)

High Fiddelity: Tell Me! (2004-10 [2011], High Fiddelity): German group, led by violinist Natalia Brunke, b. 1971 in Munich; first or second album -- she also has a string trio called Casablanca which as I understand it has a demo album but I can't tell how it is distributed. Group includes piano, bass, and drums, plus vocalist Marina Trost. The violin leads are quite charming. The vocals -- all in English, by the way -- could use more sass, especially on a title like "My Life Is So Damn Beautiful (Once You Left It)." B+(*)

Marquis Hill: New Gospel (2011, self-released): Trumpet player, based in Chicago, first album, a mainstream thing with soulful integrity, the front line shared with two saxophones, the rhythm section filled out with both piano and guitar. Modestly runs 36:36 -- in a more commercial genre this would be counted as an EP. B+(*)

Mr. Ho's Orchestrotica: Third River Rangoon (2011, Tiki): Boston group, led by Brian O'Neill (vibes, percussion), was a big band on their 2010 debut (Presents . . . The Unforgettable Sounds of Esquivel), stripped down to a quartet here, with Geni Skendo on bass flute and c-flute, Jason Davis on bass, and Noriko Terada on percussion. Aims for 1950s exotica; comes up a bit flat. B

Fred Ho and the Green Monster Big Band: The Sweet Science Suite (2011, Mutable/Big Red Media): Subtitled: "A Scientific Soul Music Honoring of Muhammad Ali." Baritone saxophonist, b. 1957 in Palo Alto, CA, of Chinese descent, has built a notable career out of bridging African, Asian, and American musics, and charging them with political immediacy, working especially in a big band context -- the last few years he's called his group the Green Monster Band, and they usually live up to the name. Numerous strong passages here, but also a few rough spots, and the vocals near the end didn't connect. [Don't have recording date. Ho has been fighting colon cancer since 2006, and at least some of his recent spate of records predate his illness, but there's some reason to think this is more recent.] B+(*) [Rhapsody]

Fred Ho and the Green Monster Big Band: Year of the Tiger (2004 [2011], Innova): Pre-illness, unreleased at the time, I'd guess, because it's a hoary mess, although it has inspired moments, ridiculous ideas, and such an enthusiastic implementation it's hard to carp. There's a big suite called "Take the Zen Train," offering "Optometry for the Vision-less" and critiquing "The Violence of Virtuosity." There are medleys of Michael Jackson and Jimi Hendrix -- the Jackson descends into a long sequence of horror movie sounds on "Thriller" that cry out for video. There's a huge people's chorus on "Hero Among Heroes" -- reminds me of Maoist mass propaganda although I wouldn't claim that it is. B [Rhapsody]

Ari Hoenig: Lines of Oppression (2009 [2011], Naïve): Drummer, from Philadelphia, part of the Smalls retro bop crowd -- cut a good album for them in 2004, The Painter. I was looking for one called Punkbop: Live at Smalls, and found this one instead. Quartet with Tigran Hamasyan on pianos, Gilad Hekselman on guitar, and either Orlando Le Fleming or Chris Tordini on bass, with various of them vocalizing, sounding rather like tapdance. Best at high speed with everyone pounding away. B+(*) [Rhapsody]

The Human Element (2011, Abstract Logix): World fusion quartet: Scott Kinsey (synths, piano, vocoder), Arto Tunçboyaciyan (percussion, vocals), Matthew Garrison (bass), Gary Novak (drums). AT is by far the most accomplished member, b. 1957 in Turkey, has at least eight records since 1989, wrote 8 of 14 cuts here, plus carries a lot of weight with his vocals. MG may be the best known: the son of Coltrane Quartet bassist Jimmy Garrison, mostly (always?) plays electric bass, has 3 albums and a few dozen side credits. B+(*)

Jason Kao Hwang/Edge: Crossroads Unseen (2010 [2011], Euonymous): Violinist, group named after a previous album; quartet with Taylor Ho Bynum (cornet, flugelhorn), Ken Filiano (bass), and Andrew Drury (drums). I find the title cut drags melodramatically -- it's not obvious whether this is tied into Hwang's expertise in Chinese classical music, but I get the sense that there should be actors on stage when this plays. The rest of the pieces are more sprightly, as much affinity to Billy Bang as we're likely to find. Don't hear much from Bynum, but you can't go wrong with Filiano. B+(**)

Jason Kao Hwang/Spontaneous River: Symphony of Souls (2010 [2011], Mulatta): Guess I complained too soon about Hwang's classical inclinations. This is a full-fledged symphony, eleven movements, played with 15 violins, 5 violas, 5 cellos, 6 basses, and 7 guitars -- some names I recognize in the small print, but not even the composer stands out in the dank mix. Not without its interest, and might gain something if you cranked the volume up. B+(*)

Hybrid 10tet: On the Move (2011, BBB): Cover also mentions, in small print, "braam": that would be pianist Michiel Braam, who put this group together and wrote their pieces. Group is built from a classical string quartet (Matangi Quartet), a rowdy rock rhythm section (bass and drums, anyway, plus the pianist, and you might also factor in Carl Ludwig Hübsch's tuba), plus some avant-jazz brass (Taylor Ho Bynum on cornet, Nils Wogram on trombone). The mix is often spectacular -- as on the tango-ish "Cuba, North Rhine-Westphalia" and the funk-noise of "Fat Centered Gravy" -- but sometimes not. (I initially suspected the strings, but it's not quite that simple.) The pianist, as usual, has fun. B+(**)

Ideal Bread: Transmit: Vol. 2 of the Music of Steve Lacy (2009 [2010], Cuneiform): Quartet: Josh Sinton (baritone sax), Kirk Knuffke (trumpet), Reuben Radding (bass), Tomas Fujiwara (drums). Sinton is the only one I don't run into often, but he's not a total stranger, and seems to be the leader here. Second group album. Transposing Lacy's soprano lines to baritone gives them a new feel, but nothing with Lacy is ever overly familiar, so this feels fresh all over. A-

Mikko Innanen & Innkvisitio: Clustrophy (2009 [2011], TUM): Saxophonist (alto, baritone, soprano), b. 1978 in Lapinjärvi, Finland. I count six albums with his name up front since 2006, plus group albums with Gourmet, Delirium, and Triot (Sudden Happiness was a Jazz CG pick in 2004). Three reed players here -- Innanen, Fredrik Ljungkvist, and Daniel Erdmann, playing various saxes, clarinets, and toy versions thereof. At center is Seppo Kantonen on synth, much splashier than electric piano or organ, plus there's Joonas Riippa on drums and, going along with the toy fascination, pocket trumpet. The splattershot noise gives you a quick jolt, especially right out of the box. Doesn't all live up to that, but breaks out in entertaining ways. B+(***)

Iron Dog: Field Recordings 1 (2005-06 [2011], Iron Dog Music): Sarah Bernstein on violin and voice, Stuart Popejoy on bass guitar; website lists Andrew Drury on drums, but here drummer is Tommaso Cappellato on 3 of 6 tracks. "Sonic landscapes," "minimalist structures erupt[ing] into frenetic, metallic onslaughts" -- something like that, maybe not so frenetic, but striking. B+(**)

Anne Mette Iversen: Milo Songs (2011, Bju'ecords): Bassist, composer of course, from Denmark (not clear from her bio), studied piano at Royal Danish Academy of Music in Copenhagen, bass at Rhythmic Conservatory of Music (also Copenhagen), got a BFA at New School in 2001. Based in New York. Fourth album since 2004, a quartet with John Ellis (tenor sax, clarinet), Danny Grissett (piano), and Otis Brown III (drums). Ellis is especially fine here, as he's been on several recent records. Grissett has his spots. As for the bassist-composer, the whole thing flows effortlessly, her role inconspicuous, and perhaps all the more remarkable for that. B+(***)

Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey: Race Riot Suite (2011, Royal Potato Family): Tulsa group, recorded in Tulsa, so you know what race riot they're talking about -- if not, see here: took place in 1921, the only time I'm aware of where residential neighborhoods in the US were bombed by aircraft. Group has been around since the late 1990s, with close to a dozen records. Chris Combs (lap steel, guitar) wrote and arranged all of this, except for group improvs titled prayers. Group includes: Brian Haas (piano), Jeff Harshbarger (bass), and John Raymer (drums), and this time they're augmented by five horn players, including Peter Apfelbaum (baritone sax) and Steven Bernstein (trumpet). Haas goes all the way back to the beginning; Raymer joined in 2007, Combs joining in 2008, Harshbarger 2010. No words, so you're on your own figuring out why the upbeat "Black Wall Street" segues into a gloomy piece like "The Burning." The horns tend to drown out the core band, and while what they do is often interesting, it doesn't quite stand on its own. B+(*)

Maria Jameau and Blue Brazil: Gema (2010 [2011], Challenge): Singer, b. in Boston, middle name Billings, "has played piano for 30 years, with guitar, flute, and percussion as secondary instruments" (none evident here), has taught at New England Conservatory, based in Sebastopol, California, has one previous record. This is Brazil-themed, with pieces from Ben, Jobim, others less famous, and occasional hints of Africa. Local band includes guitar, "electric 8-string hybrid bass & guitar," percussion, and flute. Nicely done. B+(*)

Daniel Jamieson's Danjam Orchestra: Sudden Appearance (2010 [2011], OA2): Big band -- 5 woodwinds, 4 trumpets, 4 trombones, piano, bass, drums, voice (Jihne Kim) on 3 of 8 cuts, percussion on 2. Jamieson, originally from Toronto but based in New York, composed and conducted. First album, not many names I recognize in the orchestra. Jim McNeely, who knows more than a little about big bands, co-produced. Nothing very surprising here, but very solid as postbop big band goes. B+(**)

Keith Jarrett: Rio (2011, ECM, 2CD): Solo piano, recorded live in Rio de Janeiro on April 9, 2011, divided up into Parts I-XV spread across two discs. Sounds not unlike the dozens of other solo albums he's released since The Köln Concert sold five million copies, except that his general trajectory, like life itself, has been to slow down and smell the roses -- so one thing I can note is that he provides little (if any) of his own vocal accompaniment here. I've slowed down enough myself to find this more than moderately pleasant, although every time rapturous applause erupts I wonder what I missed. B+(*)

Jazzvox Presents: In Your Own Backyard (2009-10 [2011], OA2): Seventeen songs (only two originals) by nine singers -- three by Jo Lawry; two each by Kathleen Grace, Kelley Johnson, Kristin Korb, John Proulx, Stephanie Nakasian, Hanna Richardson; one each by Nich Anderson and Cathy Segal-Garcia -- backed minimally (most with just one of piano, bass, or guitar; no one with more than two, and no drums, but one accordion). Mixed bag, but many cuts are striking, including Anderson's "Time After Time" -- he produced, but seems to be the only one without a record out, and is the only one whose name is missing from the cover. I guess Jazzvox is his baby, and that's enough. B+(*)

Darren Johnston's Gone to Chicago: The Big Lift (2010 [2011], Porto Franco): Trumpet player from San Francisco, plays in the Nice Guy Trio, also pops up in various avant-garde groups. This trip to Chicago is a fruitful example, hooking Johnston up with: Jeb Bishop (trombone), Jason Adasiewicz (vibes), Nate McBride (bass), and Frank Rosaly (drums). The brass attack is neatly balanced, the vibes bright, the rhythm roiling. Mostly Johnston originals, plus one from Ornette Coleman and the closer from Duke Ellington, a "Black and Fan Fantasy" from an even deeper and darker jungle. B+(***)

Darius Jones: Big Gurl (Smell My Dream) (2011, AUM Fidelity): Alto saxophonist, second trio album, this one with Adam Lane (bass) and Jason Nazary (drums), which seem to be his forte -- much more impressive than his duo with Matthew Shipp, let alone his Little Women group album. Intense, passionate free sax, although he's also expressive when he slows down. Dedicates this to George Clinton, but you won't find much on the one. A-

Melvin Jones: Pivot (2009, Exotic): Trumpet player, from Atlanta, storied at Morehouse, then Mason Gross School of the Arts (in New Jersey). First album. Glossier than hard bop, but that's the basic setup: Mace Hibbard on alto and tenor sax, Louis Heriveaux on piano, Rodney Jordan on bass, and Leon Anderson on drums, except when various "guests" break in. Upbeat, boisterous, souful, a bit on the slick side. B+(**)

Tony Jones/Kenny Wollesen/Charles Burnham: Trio: Pitch, Rhythm, and Consciousness (2011, New Artists): Only released on LP, although I'm working off a CD-R. Jones plays tenor sax -- only time I've run across him before was on a record by his wife, alto saxophonist Jessica Jones. Burnham plays violin, and Wollesen drums. Free, but slow and moody, the violin receding into bass range. B+(*) [advance]

Kidd Jordan: On Fire (2011, Engine): Avant saxophonist from New Orleans, b. 1935, has recorded infrequently because there's no market for avant-garde in New Orleans. With Harrison Bankhead, who grew up under Fred Anderson's wing, on bass and cello, plus Warren Smith on drums and vibes. Starts off squawky -- always a risk with Jordan -- but steadies on slower fare, a superb bass solo, and resourceful percussion. B+(**) [Rhapsody]

Kambar Kalendarov & Kutman Sultanbekov: Jaw (2011, Cantaloupe Music): Spine just says "JAW"; the two names above are in small print on the front cover, and several more musicians are named inside -- AMG also credits Nurlanbek Nyshanov, who claims 4 compositions (vs. 3 and 2 for the others; everything else belongs to trad.). Recorded in Kirghizstan, mostly using Kirghiz jaw harps -- Jew's harp is a corruption, and a misnomer. Each note has a lot of overtones so you mostly get simple melodies with lots of reverb, some resembling what you get in Tuvan throat singing. Some pieces have other Kirghiz instruments -- woodwinds, some kind of cello. Not much differentiation, but a distinctive exotic sound. B

Benji Kaplan: Meditações No Violão (2011, Circo Mistico): Guitarist, from New York, visited Brazil in 2003 and got into the music. Second album, following a CDR in 2007. Solo guitar, 4 of 14 songs having "choro" in the title. Sounds very deeply Brazilian to me, soothing and enchanting. B+(*)

Kaze: Rafale (2010 [2011], Libra): New Satoko Fujii-Natsuki Tamura group, a quartet with Christian Pruvost adding a second trumpet and Peter Orins on drums. The latter two are from France. Pruvost has one album; Orins, as far as I can tell, none under his own name, but he wrote 3 of 6 pieces (Fujii 2, Tamura 1). No dueling among the trumpets. In most cases one takes a high road while the other goes low, with much of the album winding up in the dirt. The exception is the final cut called "Blast" where everyone is cranking. B+(**)

Paul Kikuchi: Portable Sanctuary Vol. 1 (2009-10 [2011], Present Sounds): Percussionist, based in Seattle, has several recent records. He is rejoined here by trombonist Stuart Dempster, whose concept of "deep listening" -- mostly long, low drones -- is hegemonic here. With some guitar and electronics, and two extra percussionists. Intriguing, but sometimes hard to hear what little is going on. B+(*)

Dave King Trucking Company: Good Old Light (2011, Sunnyside): Drummer, best known in the Bad Plus piano trio, but also in the notable Minneapolis group, Happy Apple. Second album with his name up front, the first his Indelicate solo, this very much a group album: Chris Speed and Brandon Wozniak on tenor sax, Erik Fratzke (of Happy Apple) on electric guitar, and Adam Linz on upright bass. Densely rhythmic and upbeat -- reminds me a bit of Claudia Quintet (with Speed) only in a deeper groove. B+(***)

Lisa Kirchner: Something to Sing About (2010 [2011], Albany): Singer; website says songwriter (1 song plus some lyrics here), and actress (evidently some theatre and TV, but nothing in IMDB). Describes father as "a contemporary classical composer, conductor and pianist" -- must be Leon Kirchner (1919-2009) -- and mother as "a coloratura soprano who had performed classical lieder and show tunes in New York supper clubs." One cached broken link identifies a Lisa (Beth) Kirchner as b. 1953 in Los Angeles, which is possibly right. Fourth album since 2000. Don't know about the others, but aside for her one original, the other seventeen songs here start with music from a recent classical composer -- Charles Ives is the oldest by far, followed by Aaron Copland, with Wynton Marsalis the youngest (again, by far; I'd have to go back and recheck to be sure, but William Schimmel, b. 1946, who also plays accordion here, is probably second-youngest). Some pieces came with lyrics, but for most of them she adds a found text -- William Shakespeare, Lewis Carroll, and K.D. Lang are some sources I recognize -- or writes her own. The band usually includes Sherman Irby (alto sax, flute), Schimmel (accordion), Joel Fan or Xavier Davis (piano), Dwayne Burno or Vicente Archer (bass), Ron Jackson (guitar), and Willie Jones III (drums). Described like that, I don't see how this can possibly work, yet it does. The songs have no whiff of aria or lieder, the voice is on the sly side real divas never entertain, the band evens out the rough edges, with Schimmel's accordion nudging the songs into shape and Irby's a delight. B+(***)

Søren Kjaergaard/Ben Street/Andrew Cyrille: Femklang (2011, ILK): Pianist, b. 1978 in Denmark; co-founded the label, has a dozen or so albums since 2001. This is the third with Street (bass) and Cyrille (drums). B+(**) [Rhapsody]

Jan Klare/Jeff Platz/Meinrad Kneer/Bill Elgart: Modern Primitive (2010 [2011], Evil Rabbit): Klare plays alto sax/clarinet/flute, has four albums since 2001; Platz guitar; has a couple albums; Kneer double bass, one previous album; and Elgart drums, also with a couple. Not quite a supergroup, but finely balanced for jousting, the guitar throwing sax-like leads as well as rolling with the rhythm, such as it is. B+(**)

AJ Kluth's Aldric: Anvils and Broken Bells (2010 [2011], OA2): Tenor saxophonist, based in Chicago. Second album. Group is electric -- electric guitar ("many buttons & knobs"), electric bass, with both Kluth and trumpeter James Davis credited with effects. Fusion, I suppose, but not a throwback to the 1970s jazz fusion stuff (though maybe Alice Cooper and Black Sabbath): dense sheets of sound, heavy on the heavy, occasional fast breaks. B+(*)

Lee Konitz: Insight (1989-95 [2011], Jazzwerkstatt): Front cover also has, in much smaller type, name of Frank Wunsch, the pianist who duets with Konitz on 6 of 9 tracks. Spine only has Konitz's name, which in the algebra of parsing album covers carries a bit more weight. Plus the album starts off with three solo cuts, and Wunsch doesn't make much of an impression even when he plays. Konitz, on the other hand, does. Like most solo/duo sax records, he stays within the speed limit, but his tone is uncommonly fine and the improvs are rigorously intelligent. Pieced together from five sessions scattered over six years. Includes some soprano sax as well as the usual alto. B+(***)

Itai Kriss: The Shark (2010 [2011], Avenue K): Flute player, b. in Israel, seems to be based in New York. First album, although he's also done something with a Latin group called Cachimba Inolvidable. Mostly quartet with Aaron Goldberg on piano, Omer Avital on bass, and Eric McPherson on drums; adds John Ellis's tenor sax for one cut, Avishai Cohen's trumpet for two, the latter carrying the day. The flute is bright and lively in a '50s boppish way, but it's still just a flute. B

Oliver Lake & Jahi Sundance: Lakes at the Stone (2008 [2011], Passin Thru): Lake, b. 1942 in Arkansas, plays alto sax, has more than 30 albums since 1971, many more credits including his long tenure with the World Saxophone Quartet. I suspect that Jahi Sundance is his son, hence the plural Lakes. He pops up occasionally as a producer, and Discogs credits him with three albums. No credits on what he does here, but he's basically a DJ, manipulating turntable, maybe laptop samples, mostly percussion to mix with what is otherwise solo sax, but someone works in a right-on rap on "If I Knew This," and another on "Where You Is, Is Where You At." B+(**) [Rhapsody]

Lama: Oneiros (2011, Clean Feed): Trumpet-bass-drums trio; respectively, Susana Santos Silva (b. 1979), Gonçalo Almeida, and Greg Smith. Santos Silva has a record (Devil's Dress) and a few side roles, including EMJO. Almeida wrote 6 of 8 pieces -- one each for the others. Dense, heavy, bunched-up in the lower registers, doesn't move much but goes where it wants. B+(*)

The Landrus Kaleidoscope: Capsule (2010 [2011], Blueland): Brian Landrus, b. 1978, plays baritone sax, bass clarinet, bass flute, has a couple previous records: the first on Cadence planted him in free jazz territory, but two on Blueland have backed off. This one is effectively a quiet storm outing, lots of soft low sounds with swooning guitar (Nir Felder), backed with keyb (Michael Cain), acoustic bass (Matthew Parish), and drums (Rudy Royston). B+(***)

Travis Laplante: Heart Protector (2011, Skirl): Tenor saxophonist, one of two saxes in the free noise band Little Women -- the other is Darius Jones, who makes better albums on his own. First album under his own name, solo; starts with long obscene drones, eventually working up some patterns. B+(*) [Oct. 18]

Le Boeuf Brothers: In Praise of Shadows (2009-11 [2011], 19/8): Twins Remy Le Boeuf (alto sax, bass clarinet, tenor sax) and Pascal Le Boeuf (piano), lead a New York group with Mike Ruby (tenor sax), Linda Oh (bass), Henry Cole (drums), slipping in Nir Felder's guitar for one song, with Adria Le Boeuf doing "ambient vocals" on another, Pascal singing one, and a string quartet somewhere. Attempts to draw together various strands into "a rich brand of modern jazz"; has its moments, but sometimes when you try to be cleverly eclectic you wind up with a mish mash. B

Adia Ledbetter: Take 2: Rendezvous With Yesterdays (2010 [2011], Jazzijua): Singer, from Durham, NC, based in New York. Second album, mostly standards but she writes some around the edges, and claims two songs whole. I hear a touch of Billie Holiday on "Darn That Dream" but later on it's gone. At one point breaks into a soliloquy on how wonderful her future is that starts with "Obama is president, and the Steelers just won the Super Bowl" -- caught me off guard as I was writing a long post at the time on how poorly Obama has performed as president. She does have a bright future, or would if the country did. B+(*)

Jeff Lederer: Sunwatcher (2010 [2011], Jazzheads): Saxophonist (tenor, soprano, clarinet), name I recognize (looks like mostly from Matt Wilson records, although I see a couple others in his credits list), first album. Quartet with Jamie Saft (piano, organ), Buster Williams (bass), and Matt Wilson (drums). Wrote 5 of 8, covering Duke Pearson, Paul Bley, and trad. ("Break Bread Together"). Charges hard from the box and bowls you over in that mode, hard to resist. Less so the softer horns and slower stuff, but the band is so good they keep him together even there. B+(***)

Mike LeDonne: Keep the Faith (2011, Savant): Organ player, one of the better ones around, leading an all-star group -- Eric Alexander (tenor sax), Peter Bernstein (guitar), Joe Farnsworth (drums) -- all with a lot of practice doing this sort of thing. Very hot, of course, but they've managed to burn the essence out of what used to be called soul jazz. When people would talk about, oh, Jack McDuff or Charles Earland or Groove Holmes "burnin'" what they meant was more like smoldering than flames jumping this way and that. B+(*)

Helge Lien Trio: Natsukashii (2010 [2011], Ozella): Pianist, from Norway; fourteen albums since 2000, including some as Tri O Trang (a piano-sax-tuba trio) and HERO (piano-sax duo), but mostly trio records with this same group since 2001: Frode Berg on bass, Knut Aalefjaer on drums. My copy has a sticker with a quote from Jazzwise: "Lien creates music of unexpected depth and slow burn intensity." That is precisely correct -- I would add something about the rumbling of the undercarriage, and point out that he's closer to Jarrett than to most of ECM's northern tier pianists. B+(**)

Lim: Lim With Marc Ducret (2010 [2011], Kopasetic): AMG files this under a French "hardcore rapper" who likes his upper case ("LIM") and has titles like Triples Violences Urbaines, Le Maxi Délinquant, and Voyoucratie -- an SFFR, I'd say, but a miss here. This group is a Swedish sax trio preferring lower case ("lim"), led by Henrik Frisk (various saxes, writes all the songs), with David Carlsson (electric bass) and Peter Nilsson (drums). The three play an admirable brand of free jazz where the rhythm section keeps everything interesting. Ducret is a French guitarist who's played most notably with Tim Berne, which is to say he's right at home here, always quick to zag when the sax zigs. A- [Rhapsody]

Lisa Lindsley: Everytime We Say Godbye (2010 [2011], self-released): Standards singer, b. in Ogden, UT; shares birthday with Sarah Vaughan but doesn't disclose the year -- far enough back to have raised and home schooled three daughters. Based in Bay Area. First album. Also has an acting resume, but nothing I recognize. Backed here by piano (George Mesterhazy) and bass (Fred Randolf). The lack of drums signals a desire to take these songs slow and easy, which may (or may not) be your idea of sultry. Didn't make much of an impression on me until she changed the pace with a bright and chipper "It's Only a Paper Moon." After that the slow treatment on "Why Don't You Do Right" did take on a smoky air, but "The Girl From Ipanema" felt belabored. B

Steve Lipman: There's a Song in My Heart (2010-11 [2011], Locomotion): Sinatra without the voice -- what, the hat isn't enough? Good thing he kept his day job: a dental practice in Windsor, CT. On the other hand, his band -- no one I've heard of, although the type is so illegible it's hard to make out any names -- swings gracefully, and his overbite has a certain comic charm. When Google offered a squiggle on "a comic career" I entertained the possibility of a put-on, but turns out there's another Steve Lipman, who got his start during the ancien regime, offering: "I'm 11 years old, and I've learned to tie my shoes really well. So if President Bush ever comes to town, I'll teach him too." B

Charles Lloyd Quartet with Maria Farantouri: Athens Concert (2010 [2011], ECM, 2CD): Tenor saxophonist, b. 1938, built both a popular and critical rep in the late 1960s with a group that introduced Keith Jarrett. Nothing in my database for him from 1969-89 when ECM picked him up -- AMG lists 9 records 1970-83, two with four stars, most with two, and has an empty gap from 1983-89. Since joining ECM he's been on a roll, especially lately with this quartet: Jason Moran (piano), Reuben Rogers (bass), Eric Harland (drums). Farantouri is a Greek vocalist, b. 1947, has 30 or more albums, and a political record that sent her into exile during the military coup years -- I've seen reference to her as the "Joan Baez of Greece" but caution against taking that seriously. Live concert, spread over two discs. Took me a while to acclimate to her voice, which is deep and striking (the Greek Abbey Lincoln?). A couple instrumentals let the band shine on the first disc, but by the second it all meshes. A-

Luis Lopes: Lisbon Berlin Trio (2011, Clean Feed): Guitarist, from Portugal, has a couple records under his own name, more as Afterfall and Humanization 4tet, and he's shown up on the side of other very solid records. Everything he does is worthwhile, but he's mostly complemented saxophonists (like Rodrigo Amado) -- his 2009 trio What Is When seemed like a bit less, but this trio with Robert Landferman on bass and Christian Lilinger on drums settles it. His use of feedback gives this an extra charge. Also, Lilinger does exactly what you want in a free drummer. A-

Harold Lopez Nussa Trio: El País de las Maravillas (2010 [2011], World Village): Full name: Harold López-Nussa Torres. Born and based in Havana, Cuba, although this, his fourth album since 2007, was recorded in France. Mostly piano trio, plus sax (David Sanchez) on 4 of 11 tracks. Definitely has that Cuban kick to the piano. B+(**) [advance]

Mark Alban Lotz & Istak Köpek: Istanbul Improv Sessions May 4th (2010 [2011], Evil Rabbit): Flute player, b. 1963, Dutch but grew up in Thailand and Uganda. AMG credits him with six albums since 1994 -- certainly an undercount, although I'm at a loss as how to sort the 35 albums he lists on his website (I'd certainly credit him with the six albums by Lotz of Music, but his role in Cachao Sounds: La Descarga Continua is likely minor). Here he plays with Turkish group Islak Köpek (two tenor saxes, guitar, cello, and laptop; three names look Turkish and two Anglo). Lotz ranges from piccolo to bass flute, and the latter gets a lot of use here. Considerable sonic interest here, especially when they get loud and dense, which is their preferred mode -- although improv being improvised they sometimes swing and miss. B+(**)

Allen Lowe: Blues and the Empirical Truth (2009-11 [2011], Music & Arts, 3CD): Probably better known for his books and compilations -- the 9-CD American Pop: An Audio History From Minstrel to Mojo and the 36-CD That Devilin' Tune: A Jazz History plus their separately published books, with a new 36-CD blues series in the works -- than for his original music. I first discovered him when Francis Davis tabbed his first two self-released 1990-92 albums as Pick Hits in an earlier edition of Jazz Consumer Guide -- critical admiration that continues as Davis wrote liner notes for this release. Based in Maine, mostly cut with a local group occasionally spiced with outside star power -- Marc Ribot, Matthew Shipp, Roswell Rudd, Lewis Porter -- this digs deeper than I could have imagined into blues form, blues notes, and blues psyche, turning every aspect over and inside out. Lowe plays alto, C melody, and tenor sax, and guitar. While most of the guitar is played by Ray Suhy or Marc Ribot, Lowe especially stands out on "Williamsburg Blues" -- his guitar with Shipp's piano. Three discs means some sprawl, comparable I'd say to 69 Love Songs in that neither the theme nor the invention ever wears thin. (Well, maybe a bit in the middle disc.) A-

Allen Lowe: Blues and the Empirical Truth (2009-11 [2011], Music & Arts): [was: A-] A

Duda Lucena Quartet: Live (2011, Borboleta): Guitarist-singer-songwriter from Recife, Brazil; based in Charleston, SC, of all places. Wrote most of his previous album, but only one song here ("Sol" -- title song of said album), opting instead for the standards: Jobim, Djavan, Donato, Veloso, Gil. Quartet includes piano, bass, drums -- no one I recognize, but for all I know they could be big names in Charleston. Loose, informal, leader certainly knows his stuff. B+(*)

Vincent Lyn: Heaven Bound (2011, Budo): Pianist, first album, describes it as "cool jazz with a mix of classical and bossa nova." Has a longer career as an actor and stunt man, especially in Hong Kong martial arts films -- website has a lot of pics of him handling swords. Group includes guitar, sax/flute, bass, drums, percussion, and Fernanda Capela singing the bossa nova-oriented pieces, while the classical bits (Rachmaninoff, Satie, Piero Domenico Paradisi) center on the piano. It's all rather genteel, not especially interesting as jazz but pleasant in a nicely rounded way. B+(*)

Rudresh Mahanthappa: Samdhi (2008 [2011], ACT): Alto saxophonist, grew up in US, picked up his Indian roots on the rebound, as is so often the case. Cites Charlie Parker as influence, of course, but also Grover Washington, David Sanborn, the Brecker Brothers, and the Yellowjackets -- guess you had to be there, but he does try to fold his more complex ideas back into neatly accessible packages. Also credited with laptop here. Band includes electric guitar, electric bass, and drums, giving him a slicked back fusion sound, but also "Anand" Anantha Krishnan on mridangam and kanjira, reminding you how he's different. A-

Tony Malaby: Tony Malaby's Novella (2011, Clean Feed): Tenor saxophonist, credited first with soprano here. Has a dozen albums since 1993, but I mostly run into him on side credits where he always helps out and often steals the show. One such venue is pianist Kris Davis's Quartet. Davis returns the favor here, not just playing but arranging six pieces from previous Malaby albums for a nonet: four reeds, three brass, her piano, and John Hollenbeck's drums -- no bass but Dan Peck's tuba, Ben Gerstein's trombone, Andrew Badro's bari sax, and Joachim Badenhorst's bass clarinet offer plenty of bottom support. The front-line horns are Ralph Alessi's trumpet, Michael Attias's alto sax, and Malaby's soprano/tenor, but they rarely stand out. I haven't managed to take it all in yet, but it sure is heavy. [B+(***)]

Mambo Legends Orchestra: ¡Ten Cuidao! Watch Out! (2011, Zoho, 2CD): Mostly long-time veterans of Tito Puente's big band -- John Rodriguez, Jose Madera, Mitch Frohman, Frankie Vazquez, Cita Rodriguez, Marco Bermudez are singled out on the back cover. Lots of punch in the horns, rhythm up the wazoo, Vazquez's vocals. It's a bit much by the end, but quite a thrill along the way. B+(***)

Bob Mamet Trio: Impromptu (2010, Counterpoint): Pianist, cut three albums 1994-97 which gave him something of a rep for crossover or pop jazz (AMG: "pop-jazz with a brain"). This is his first album since, a straight acoustic piano trio with Darek Oles[kiewicz] on bass and Joe La Barbera on drums, all original pieces. Bright, lively, accessible without falling into any of the usual pop jazz ruts. B+(**)

René Marie: Black Lace Fredian Slip (2011, Motéma Music): Singer, b. 1955, cut her first album in 2000 after raising a couple of kids. I belatedly checked out her second, the Penguin Guide crown-winning Vertigo, just before this one, with its striking standards interpretations, guest horns, swing and scat. None of that is particulary evident here, where she wrote 10 (of 13) songs, works with a rhythm section I've never heard of, has unknowns guest on two songs (harmonica and guitar). Still, even without the scat she's are remarkable singer. Too early to tell about the songs (e.g., "Rim Shot"), but the title is a salacious opener, and "Tired" is a blues that buttons the record down tight. B+(***) [Rhapsody]

Denman Maroney: Double Zero (2008 [2011], Porter): Plays hyperpiano, his term for a piano that is played not just from the keyboard but by using various implements to strike, bow, or otherwise agitate the strings. The effect is to add elements of bass (or higher-pitched string instruments) and percussion, some in combination with the conventional piano sounds, some instead of. Solo hyperpiano here, one titled piece in nine parts; runs on and doesn't sustain interest although it has its moments, especially when the inner and outer approaches work in tandem. B+(*)

Jessie Marquez: All I See Is Sky (2011, Carena): Singer, from Eugene, OR (as near as I can figure out). Father grew up in Cuba; she visited Cuba in 1996 and wound up recording her first album there. This is her third, counting one with guitarist Mike Denny's name also on the cover. She has co-credits on 7 of 13 songs; sings and writes a more in Spanish than in English, also taking the Jobim closer in Spanish. Rafael Trujillo's percussion keeps the vibe going, and John Nastos adds some tasty sax, then gets the right effect switching to flute on the Jobim. B+(*)

Wynton Marsalis & Eric Clapton: Play the Blues: Live From Jazz at Lincoln Center (2011, Reprise, CD+DVD): The guitarist picked the tunes, anticipating that this would turn out to be a jazz album based on blues rather than a blues album with some extra horns. I suspect his early exposure was to British trad stalwarts -- Chris Barber, Ken Colyer, Humphrey Lyttelton and their kin -- although he's enough of an Americaphile that he must know when he's treading on Louis Armstrong, and maybe even George Lewis. Marsalis arranged the pieces and went for a King Oliver front line -- two trumpets (Marcus Printup), trombone (Chris Crenshaw), clarinet (Victor Goines) -- forgoing the tuba for Carlos Henriquez's bass, adding Don Vappie's banjo, Dan Nimmer on piano, and Ali Jackson on drums and washboard. Clapton, in turn, brought along his old keyb player, Chris Stainton. Clapton has often been nicked for his lack of blues voice, but he's plenty strong here -- while managing to duck the last three songs, one going to Crenshaw, the last two to guest Taj Mahal. Can't claim that the DVD is worth the extra $6-9 it will cost you: it's a straight concert film, a bit more patter and some shots of rehearsing, all of which helps. A-

Will Martina: The Dam Levels (2011, self-released): Cellist, born and raised in Canberra, Australia; based in New York. Has a few side credits, including with Burnt Sugar. First album, trio with Jason Lindner on piano and Richie Barshay on drums -- both adding significantly which keeps this very balanced. B+(**)

Pat Martino: Undeniable: Live at Blues Alley (2009 [2011], High Note): Guitarist, b. Pat Azzara in Philadelphia 1944; cut mostly soul jazz albums 1966-76; suffered a brain aneurysm which caused amnesia, but was able to cut an album again in 1987 and has worked steadily since 1994. I've rarely been impressed by his return -- great story, of course, wish him well and all -- but this one seems to be his calling: an organ quartet, with Tony Monaco on the Hammond, Eric Alexander on tenor sax, and Jeff Watts on drums. Monaco could be a little less soupy, and Alexander could be more boisterous, but the guitarist is always at the top of his game. B+(***)

Nicolas Masson: Departures (2010 [2011], Fresh Sound New Talent): A prodigious, important label; unfortunately, I've only gotten their work via artist publicists for the last couple years. Masson is from Switzerland, b. 1972, plays tenor sax here, and bass clarinet elsewhere. Fourth album since 2001, a quartet with Ben Monder (guitar), Patrice Moret (bass), and Ted Poor (drums). Postbop, sophisticated and slippery, as is Masson's tenor tone, the steel framework provided more by Monder's guitar. B+(**)

Nilson Matta & Roni Ben-Hur: Mojave (2011, Motéma): Brazilian bassist and Israeli guitarist, both New York based, both with such substantial discographies I won't bother looking them up. In smaller front cover print: Victor Lewis (drums) and Café (percussion) -- don't know the latter but he's invaluable here. Mostly a Brazilian program (Jobim, Pixinginha, Baden Powell) with two pieces by Ben-Hur, two by Matta, one by Lewis, one by Burt Bacharach. Nice to focus on Matta's bass for once, the guitar adding tasteful highlights and a little icing. B+(***)

Marilyn Mazur: Celestial Circle (2010 [2011], ECM): Percussionist, born in US, raised in Denmark, assembled this group as artist-in-residence at Norway's Molde Jazz Festival in 2008: Josefine Cronholm (voice), John Taylor (piano), Anders Jormin (double bass). Mazur's percussion is delicate and tends to get lost, although the vocals and everything else compete to be unobtrusive. B+(*)

Christian McBride Big Band: The Good Feeling (2011, Mack Avenue): One of the unwritten rules of jazz these days seems to be that everyone wants to (and gets to) lead a big band sooner or later. McBride's reportedly been working on his charts for years, but his ideas are pretty stock: conventional five reeds (plus Loren Schoenberg on two cuts), four trumpets, four trombones, piano, bass, and drums (no guitar), with singer Melissa Walker featured on a few cuts. Fine band, a mix of name soloists and guys who show up in everyone's big band. B+(*)

Christian McBride: Conversations With Christian (2011, Mack Avenue): Thirteen songs, each a duet between the bassist and someone else: four singers (Angelique Kidjo, Sting, Dee Dee Bridgewater, and Gina Gershon), five pianists (Eddie Palmieri, Dr. Billy Taylor, Hank Jones, George Duke, Chick Corea), Regina Carter (violin), Russel Malone (guitar), and Ron Blake (tenor sax). No dates, but Jones and Taylor died in 2010. It's hard to get any sort of consistency or momentum out of this sort of thing, especially when the constant is the bass, but the vocalists are spread out, the piano-bass connecting tissue rather than filler. Also helps that McBride talks along on two vocal cuts, drawing Gershon out and keeping Bridgewater from falling over the top. B+(**) [Rhapsody]

Bill McHenry: Ghosts of the Sun (2006 [2011], Sunnyside): Tenor saxophonist, leading a quartet with Ben Monder (guitar), Reid Anderson (bass), and Paul Motian (drums). Postbop, a bit off center, probably because that's all the foundation the drummer provides. B+(*)

Joe McPhee/Michael Zerang: Creole Gardens (A New Orleans Song) (2009 [2011], NoBusiness): Another case where one's reaction to the Katrina catastrophe was to keep doing what one does anyway, although one could credit the tragedy with moderating McPhee, keeping his tone in check, somber and studied. He is brilliant both on alto sax and pocket trumpet. Zerang drums along, accenting and encouraging, doing all he needs to do. A-

Medeski Scofield Martin & Wood: MSMW Live: In Case the World Changes Its Mind (2011, Indirecto, 2CD): I don't see much evidence of minds changing, here or elsewhere. John Medeski, Chris Wood, and Billy Martin were probably more responsible than any other group for the resurgence of groove-heavy funk in the 1990s. True, if you listen to Martin's percussion discs and follow Medeski's side projects you'll run into some more adventurous music, but they always seem to return to form together. Guitarist John Scofield is a natural fit: he gives them an elegant lead instrument, and they rival his best organ groups from the 1980s. Plus, going live means you get to recycle. B+(**)

Brad Mehldau/Kevin Hays: Modern Music (2011, Nonesuch): Piano duo, actually just the front men appearing above the title for Patrick Zimmerli, below the title and "composed and arranged by" but in larger type. Zimmerli is a saxophonist, b. 1968, has five albums from 1998 (six if you count this one). He been working the boundaries between jazz and classical, and has a number of compositions commissioned for classical groups. Here he wrote 4 of 9 pieces, arranged an original each by Mehldau and Hays, plus ones by Steve Reich, Philip Glass, and Ornette Coleman. B+(***)

Susie Meissner: I'm Confessin' (2010 [2011], Lydian Jazz): Standards singer, grew up in Buffalo, grandmother played stride piano which led her to Ellington, Gershwin, Porter (all represented here, Duke twice). Second album. Nice voice, great songs, band swings, trombonist Wycliffe Gordon earns his special guest status on his four tracks. B+(*)

Francisco Mela & Cuban Safari: Tree of Life (2010 [2011], Half Note): Drummer, b. 1968 in Bayamo, Cuba. Third album since 2005. The first two were very impressive, but I've played this four times now and already lost my thread of thought. Could do without the vocals (Esperanza Spalding), for one thing. B+(*)

Pat Metheny: What's It All About (2011, Nonesuch): Solo guitar, covering songs mostly from the 1960s and 1970s, probably things that strike a nostalgic note to a kid from Missouri born in 1954, but as one born in 1950 in Kansas I have to say that several are songs I'd just as soon never hear again. He does do some interesting things with them -- only "Cherish" resists the treatment. B+(*)

Metta Quintet: Big Drum/Small World (2011, Jazzreach): A project of Jazzreach, a 501(c)(3) non-profit "dedicated to the promotion, performance, creation and teaching of jazz music." Third album I'm aware of under this name: bassist Joshua Ginsburg and drummer Hans Schuman are the constants, with piano and horns rotating -- currently, Marcus Strickland (tenor and soprano sax), Greg Ward (alto sax), and David Bryant (piano). They play five pieces: one by Strickland, the others by name players not in the band -- Omer Avital, Rudresh Mahanthappa, Yosvany Terry, and Miguel Zenón. First-rate postbop, well within the lines but I suppose you have to be when trying to be educational. B+(**)

Miles Español (2011, Entertainment One, 2CD): Only got an advance so I'm not sure how this is packaged. I filed it under Bob Belden ("conceived and produced by"), in large part because it seems like his kind of thing, although his only other credit is percussion/marimba on one track. I cribbed the credit list (36 musicians) from the hype sheet, which misspelled names, often omitted instruments, and was inconsistent between specifying percussion instruments and grouping them together. Most players only show up for 1-3 tracks (out of 16), with percussionist Alex Acuña way out front (10 tracks), followed by Sammy Figueroa (6). This remakes 4 of 5 titles from Sketches of Spain (omits "Will o' the Wisp," and smashes "Saeta" and "Pan Piper" into one track); adds two loosely related Miles Davis pieces ("Flamenco Sketches," "Teo/Neo"); and picks up extra pieces, mostly from its guest stars (Rabih Abou-Khalil, Chick Corea, Jack DeJohnette, Niño Joseles, Jorge Pardo, Gonzalo Rubalcaba, John Scofield). Four of the pieces go orchestral (flutes and bassoon and such, Abou-Khalil's oud and Edmar Castañeda's harp the only strings); the others stick with small groups, leaning a bit too much on piano, but otherwise the whole thing hangs together and flows. A step toward "jazz repertory," if that interests you. B+(**) [advance]

Nicole Mitchell: Awakening (2011, Delmark): Flute player, b. 1967 in Syracuse, NY; grew up in California; moved to Chicago in 1990 and got involved in AACM, becoming co-president in 2006. Tenth album since 2001. Has won Rising Star Flute in the Downbeat critics poll several times, and won outright this year, something she'll probably do regularly over the next decade. Most famous flute players are saxophonists slumming -- Frank Wess and James Moody have dominated this category, but Moody died and Wess is nearly 90. Young flautists mostly come up with a rigorous classical background, but Mitchell has her own sound and dynamics, probably drawing on Roscoe Mitchell and Henry Threadgill. Still, flute doesn't do much for me, so while she glides over the rhythm I'm more impressed by the band: Jeff Parker on guitar, Harrison Bankhead on bass, and Avreeayl Ra on drums. B+(**)

Yoko Miwa Trio: Live at Scullers Jazz Club (2010 [2011], self-released): Pianist, b. 1970 in Kobe, Japan; moved to US in 1996 with a Berklee scholarship. Fourth album since 2001, a trio with Greg Loughman on bass and Scott Goulding on drums. Three originals, five covers starting with "This Could Be the Start of Something" and including Lou Reed's "Who Loves the Sun." Most convincing at high speed -- dazzling might be the word. B+(***)

Nils Petter Molvaer: Baboon Moon (2011, Thirsty Ear): Trumpet player, from Norway, started out in Masqualero with Arild Andersen, emerged under his own name on a couple albums on ECM with drum machines: the first flush of what came to be called jazztronica, which led to a merger with Matthew Shipp's jazz-DJ synthesis label. Erland Dahlen handles the percussion this time, favoring log drums and steel drums over electronics, with Stian Westerhus plugging his guitars, keybs, pedals, and toys in -- all fitting background for Molvaer's trumpet, but it mostly leans atmospheric. Exception is "Recoil," which cranks up the volume for a rush of intensity. B+(***) [advance]

Silvano Monasterios: Unconditional (2010 [2011], Savant): Pianist, from Caracas, Venezuela; moved to Miami in 1990, where he cut this. Has at least two previous albums. Upbeat, lush -- especially with Troy Roberts' sax running wild -- with more than a little Latin tinge. B+(*)

Martin Moretto: Quintet (2009 [2011], self-released): Argentine guitarist, based in New York. First album, a quintet with Bill McHenry (tenor sax), Phil Markowitz (piano), Santi Debriano (bass), and Vanderlei Pereira (drums). The guitar is elegant and seductive. Not sure what it means that I can't recall the sax. B+(*)

Carol Morgan Quartet: Blue Glass Music (2011, Blue Bamboo Music): Blue-tinted cover photo too. Trumpet player, from Texas, studied at Juilliard, teaches in New York. Fourth album: quartet with Joel Frahm (tenor sax), Martin Wind (bass), and Matt Wilson (drums). Five covers ranging from Cole Porter to Ornette Coleman, plus a song each from Frahm and Wind. Straight-ahead postbop, nice mix from the horns, strong leads, loses a bit when the tempos slow. B+(**)

Paul Motian: The Windmills of Your Mind (2010 [2011], Winter & Winter): Aside from the intro and its reprise at the end, a very low key standards album, sung in not much more than a whisper by Petra Haden, with guitarist Bill Frisell slipping in fine touches, Thomas Morgan steady on bass, and the leader doing whatever it is he's been doing for fifty-some years now. B+(*) [Rhapsody]

Motif: Art Transplant (2011, Clean Feed): Quintet, with Norwegian bassist Ole Morten Vågan (b. 1979) the principal and presumed leader -- the other candidate is the trumpet player noted on the front cover in small print as "(with Axel Dörner)," who wrote one piece. The others are Atle Nymo (tenor sax, bass clarinet), Håvard Wiik (piano, plays in Free Fall with Ken Vandermark), and Håkon Mjåset Johansen (drums). Hard bop lineup, but veers off in various directions: a little industrial noise, some flush piano stretches, horns going off in various directions. B+(*)

Mark Moultrup: Relaxin' . . . on the Edge (2003-10 [2011], Mark Moultrup Music): Keyboardist, vocalist, composer, arranger, originally from Detroit, now Chicago-based. Fifth album since 2001, all but one 2010 cut recorded in 2003. Cover photos from Yosemite. First cut is instrumental, dominated by Chris Collins' edgy postbop sax, not what I was expecting. Second cut took off with post-disco fusion keybs and choral vocals. Third shifted to melodramatic piano measured against the bass. Fifth song offers an ordinary hipster vocal complaining about the overcomplication of ordering coffee. Then back to more overorchestrated schmaltz. I suppose it says something that he manages most of the mess with his own keyboards. It's rare that one person finds so many distinct ways to make an awful record. D+

Alphonse Mouzon: Angel Face (2011, Tenacious): Drummer, b. 1948 in Charleston, SC; emerged as fusion was picking up steam, playing with Weather Report early on, Larry Coryell's Eleventh House, cutting his own albums for Blue Note in the early 1970s. As things cooled down, launched his own label, Tenacious Records, in 1981, and has at least 14 records since. Never paid much attention to him, so the most striking thing here is the surfeit of riches. He's basically running a quintet here, but at piano he alternates between Cedar Walton and Kenny Barron; at bass Christian McBride and Darek Oleskiewicz; his main trumpet players are Arturo Sandoval and Wallace Roney (Shonzo Ohno gets one cut); the tenor sax slot is shared by Ernie Watts, Don Menza, and Bob Mintzer, with Antoine Roney and Charles Owens getting one cut each. These are guys who can break out and do something interesting, and sometimes they do, but mostly they burnish the leader's painless, pleasant funk groove. B+(*)

Leszek Mozdzer: Komeda (2011, ACT): Pianist, b. 1970 in Poland, classically trained and as likely to turn in Impressions on Chopin as this set of solo piano meditations on the patron saint of Polish jazz, Krzyzstof Komeda. Solo piano never does much for me unless it has a big rhythmic kick; this doesn't, but otherwise it's hard to fault. Need to play it again, maybe in the context of other Komeda tributes (which seem to be far easier to score than the old albums are). [B+(**)]

Mozik (2010 [2011], self-released): Boston group, led by Brazilians Gilson Schachnik (keyboards) and Mauricio Zottarelli (drums), with flute (Yulia Musayelan), guitar (Gustavo Assis-Brasil), and bass (Fernando Huergo). Zottarelli insists he didn't like Brazilian music until he moved to Boston. I detect an air of respectful reunion, winning out over a mischievous desire to mix things up. Three Jobims, one each from Monk and Hancock, two originals (by Schachnik), one more ("Canto das Tres Raças"). B+(*)

David Murray Cuban Ensemble: Plays Nat King Cole en Español (2010 [2011], Motéma): More inspired by than based on Cole's 1958-62 Spanish-language records, En Español and More En Español. Cole took backing tracks from a small Cuban group and dubbed in his sweet vocals -- one story is that the 1958 revolution prevented him from finishing the album in Havana. Murray is at least equally circuitous, recording his Cuban band in Buenos Aires with tango singer Daniel Melingo -- as rough as Cole is smooth -- then dubbing in strings in Portugal, mixing the album in France, and mastering it in the UK. Even with Melingo on board, the vocals are trimmed way back, leaving more room for the sax, as imposing as ever. A-

Nanette Natal: Sweet Summer Blue (2011, Benyo Music): Singer, plays some acoustic guitar, b. 1945 in Brooklyn, eighth album since 1971. Not much band here -- a lead guitarist, bass, drums, and violin, but mostly they stay quiet. She tones her technique down quite a bit too: could pass for a folksinger here, earnest and credible, such a strong, distinctive singer she no longer needs to flaunt it. B+(***)

Josh Nelson: Discoveries (2011, Steel Bird): Pianist, from Los Angeles, fifth album since 2004. Wrote all but one of the pieces, naming them for things like "Dirigibles" and "Tesla Coil" -- with featured quotes inside the package from Mark Twain and H.G. Wells, his interest in new things is curiously dated. Group is spread out with three horns, but the most satisfying parts lead with the piano. B+(*)

Richard Nelson Large Ensemble: Pursuit (2011, Heliotrope): Guitarist, teaches at University of Maine at Augusta, has a couple previous albums. The Large Ensemble is a 13-piece group -- 4 reeds (including flute), 4 brass, viola, cello, guitar, bass, drums -- that does the five-part title piece. The album finishes with two 9+ minute quintet pieces. I didn't get much out of either, possibly as much due to recording dynamics (i.e., lack of) as of the music itself, which at least makes room for the guitar. B-

The New Universe Music Festival 2010 (2010 [2011], Abstract Logix, 2CD): John McLaughlin's label puts on a show. In recent years he's dropped the Mahavishnu title, returned to hard fusion, and grayed up so elegantly that his picture on the cover, well except for the guitar, looks like he just stepped out of a painting of the Founding Father. He gets the last set here, along with Zakir Hussain on tabla, stealing some of his thunder. The other groups are nearly all guitar-keyb-bass-drum outfits, with one violin, and percussionist Arto Tunçboyaciyan slipped in. The guitarist all take their cues from McLaughlin, the others rarely straying from early 1970s fusion icons. The "new universe" sounds much like an old and mostly disparaged one, but they're so set on making it work you have to give them some credit. I haven't seen this much purism since the Dixieland revival of the 1950s. B+(**)

New York Standards Quartet: Unstandard (2010 [2011], Challenge): David Berkman (piano), Tim Armacost (tenor sax, etc., alto flute), Gene Jackson (drums), Yosuke Inoue (bass), listed in that order. Berkman has five albums since 1998 -- the first two an impressive debut, the others dribbling out slowly. Armacost has a similar pattern, five albums since his 1996 debut on Concord -- I haven't heard those. I hadn't noticed Inoue, from Japan, but he's been in New York for 13 years, with six albums. Jackson pops up all the time. Group has a previous Live in Tokyo (2008). I saw Benny Carter once and he introduced "How High the Moon" as "the jazz musician's national anthem," so it's especially poignant as the lead standard here. Other standards come from Benny Golson, Jimmy Van Heusen ("But Beautiful"), Bill Evans, and Warren-Dubin ("Summer Night"), but about half of the pieces are originals by the band -- I guess, the only thing jazz musicians like more than standards is rolling their own. B+(***)

The Nice Guy Trio: Sidewalks and Alleys/Walking Music (2010 [2011], Porto Franco): Darren Johnston (trumpet), Rob Reich (accordion), Daniel Fabricant (bass). Second group album, with Reich composing the first five-part title suite and Johnston the latter, also in five parts. The accordion gives them an old world feel, part chamber music but earthier. I liked their first record quite a bit, but have trouble here with the added weight of string trio -- tends to overwhelm the former piece, fitting more discreetly into the latter. B+(*)

NY Jazz Initiative: Mad About Thad (2010 [2011], Jazzheads): Well, aren't we all? Thad, of course, is Thad Jones, elder brother to Hank and Elvin (all three are in Downbeat's Hall of Fame), trumpeter, composer. NY Jazz Initiative is mostly an octet (two pianists alternate; an extra trombone shows up on the first cut), with soprano/tenor saxophonist Rob Derke listed first and given credit for arranging 4 of 8 pieces -- the other pieces were arranged by non-members. The three saxes (Derke, Ralph Lalama, Steve Wilson), trumpet (David Smith), and trombone (Sam Burtis, who also plays some tuba) light this up. B+(***)

Nordeson Shelton: Incline (2011, Singlespeed Music): Alto sax-drums duo -- drums by Kjell Nordeson, sax by Aram Shelton. Shelton passed through Chicago on his way to his current base in Oakland, which sharpened his instincts for developing a distinct tone and style, but that's never been more clear than in this basic context. Nordeson's credits include Mats Gustafsson (AALY Trio) and Paul Rutherford, Atomic and Exploding Customer. B+(***)

Sean Nowell: Stockholm Swingin' (2010 [2011], Posi-Tone): Tenor saxophonist, b. 1973, third album, cut live at the Glenn Miller Café in Stockholm with what appears to be a local crew: Fredrik Olsson (guitar), Leo Lindberg (piano), Lars Ekman (bass), and Joe Abba (drums), with three tunes credited to the band members, one to Nowell, one Swedish trad, plus Ellington, Strayhorn, and Tyner. Nowell is a mainstream guy who flexes a lot of muscle, turning this into a high speed, high volume romp. B+(***)

Oz Noy: Twisted Blues Volume 1 (2010 [2011], Abstract Logix): Guitarist, originally from Israel, now based in New York, fifth album since 2005. Fusion guy, likes his lines long and loud, knows a few blues licks, but still needs to work on that twisty stuff. B

Bill O'Connell: Triple Play Plus Three (2010 [2011], Zoho): Pianist, b. 1953, studied at Oberlin; has eight or so records, with an early one in 1978, another in 1993, the rest since 2001 as he moved more into Latin jazz. I was tempted to attribute this to Bill O'Connell Plus Three, but changed my mind after checking and finding another Triple Play album. The core group is O'Connell and Richie Flores (congas). The "plus three" are Paquito D'Rivera (clarinet), Dave Samuels (vibes), and Dave Valentin (flute), who take turns filling out a trio. The rotation avoids any ruts, but I rather prefer the guestless stretches where O'Connell pushes harder and breaks up his flow. B+(**)

Ocote Soul Sounds: Taurus (2011, ESL Music): Brooklyn Latin funk group, led by Martin Perna (flutes, saxes, shekere, quijada, tambourine, melodica, vocals, guitar, bass), a spinoff from Antibalas Afrobeat Orchestra. Fourth album. Adrian Quesada (guitar, bass, electric piano, organ, background vocals) was on the masthead the last two albums; he continues here, but has receded typographically but remains co-leader. Grooveful, politically astute. B+(**)

Arturo O'Farrill & the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra: 40 Acres and a Burro (2010 [2011], Zoho): Pianist, took over his father's big band (Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra) in 1995. AMG credits him with seven albums since 1999, missing two ALJO discs, and I'm not sure what else. This combines O'Farrill's quintet, the ALJO big band, and a raft of guests -- Paquito D'Rivera, David Bixler, and Heather Martin Bixler get pics on the back cover. Three O'Farrill originals, including "A Wise Latina" and the title track. Grossly cluttered, except for rare moments when the rhythm breaks through, as in the pieces by Pixinguinha and Astor Piazzolla -- the latter even puts the horns to good use. B-

Nils Økland/Sigbjørn Apeland: Lysøen: Hommage à Ole Bull (2009-10 [2011], ECM): Violinist, b. 1961 in Norway; 4th album since 2004. Apeland plays piano and harmonium in duets, or quite often you only hear one or the other. Ole Bull was a Norwegian violinist and composer from 1810-1880. The music draws on Bull, trad., Edvard Grieg (one piece), and adds four new pieces (one each, two together). Not much momentum, but immediate and arresting. B+(**)

Olavi Trio & Friends: Triologia (2008 [2011], TUM): No idea how common a name Olavi is in Finland, but drummer Olavi Luohivouri rounded up two more for this project: Teppo Olavi Hauta-aho (bass), and Jari Olavi Hongisto (trombone). All, in the great Sun Ra tradition, also play percussion, with bird whistles, wood blocks, musical boxes, and toy instruments prominently featured. The "friends" show up on two tracks each: Verneri Pohjola (trumpet, also played with Louhivouri in Ilmilekki Quartet), Juhani Aaltonen (tenor sax, has been active since 1970 and should be a household name by now), and Kalle Kalima (electric guitar, had a recent album on TUM). Combination tends toward the murky side, although every now and then you'll hear something interesting. B+(*)

Harold O'Neal: Marvelous Fantasy (2011, Smalls): Pianist, second album, had a fine mainstream trio last time, shoots for a solo this time. Wrote all the pieces. Trends soft and melodic, probably his idea of marvelous, maybe even of fantasy. B+(**)

Oregon: In Stride (2010, CAM Jazz): Quartet, founded in 1970 as some sort of world-jazz fusion band. The most distinctive member, at least up to his death in 1984, was Collin Walcott, who played sitar, percussion, all sorts of things. The other three remain to this day: Paul McCandless (oboe, English horn, various saxes and clarinets), Ralph Towner (guitar), and Glen Moore (bass). The group disbanded after Walcott's death; the other three regrouping in 1987 with Indian percussionist Trilok Gurtu, and now carry on with drummer Mark Walker. This is their 28th album. I've only heard a few at both ends of their career. Horns trend toward the ethereal, guitar toward the sublime, pulse and beat move along, with nothing especially standing out. B+(**)

The Oscuro Quintet: Music for Tango Ensemble (2010 [2011], Big Round): Based in Philadelphia: Alban Bailly (guitar), June Bender (violin), Benjamin Blazer (bass), Shinjoo Cho (accordion, bandoneon), and Thomas Lee (piano). Bailly composed the five-part "Five Procrastinations"; the rest draws on Argentine masters. AMG (and others) tend to file this as classical, probably for the same things that turn me off. Still has its charms -- "oddly OK" was the judgment from the other room. B+(*)

Christian Pabst Trio: Days of Infinity (2010 [2011], Challenge): Pianist, b. 1984 in Germany, moved to Netherlands in 2006, studying at Conservatory of Amsterdam. First album. Six (of ten) cuts are piano trio with David Andres on bass and Andreas Klein on drums. The other four add trumpet player Gerard Prescencer. The piano is vibrant, mostly upbeat. The trumpet and flugelhorn offer a nice change of pace. B+(**)

Gretchen Parlato: The Lost and Found (2010 [2011], ObliqSound): Singer, b. 1976, third album since 2005, writes most of her own material. Has a slight whisper to her voice which is generally appealing but isn't enough to carry a song a cappella (as she attempts in "Alô, Alô"), so a good band should help. She has Taylor Eigsti (piano), Derrick Hodge (bass), Kendrick Scott (drums), and sometimes Dayne Stephens (tenor sax), all toned down to fit her demure style. One cut that works: "All That I Can Say." B- [Rhapsody]

Beata Pater: Blue (2011, B&B): Singer, born and grew up in Poland, moved to US 15-plus years ago. Fifth album since 1993. Most of the pieces are originals by her and/or piano-organ player Mark Little -- the opener is "Afro Blue" (Mongo Santamaria), closer "Blue in Green" (Miles Davis), with two more pieces by Krzysztof Komeda in the middle. Voice has a thin, unreal quality, indulging in a lot of scat. Gets a bit better toward the end when the beat picks up. B

Nicholas Payton: Bitches (2011, In + Out): Trumpet player from New Orleans, solidly grounded in the tradition, which got him a gig with Kansas City, a Louis Armstrong tribute, and a super record with Doc Cheatham, but his more modern moves haven't worked out as well -- some jazztronica, here a move into vocal-heavy 1970s-retro r&b. Like Stevie Wonder, he plays all of the instruments, leaning heavily on the keybs, although only his trumpet remains distinctive. His croon ranges from competent to annoying, occasionally supplemented by guest females -- not clear if they are the intended subject of the title, or some other form of malapropism. B [Rhapsody]

Deborah Pearl: Souvenir of You: New Lyrics to Benny Carter Classics (2011, Evening Star): Singer, writes plays, studied at Barnard then moved to Los Angeles, where Benny and Hilma Carter "became like surrogate parents." Carter wrote "Souvenir of You" as a tribute to Johnny Hodges on his passing, so Pearl added a lyric as a tribute to Carter. Two cuts here sample Carter's 1992 big band record Harlem Renaissance so she gets to sing along with her late mentor -- Carter died in 2003 at 95; Hilma, who dated Carter in the '30s but didn't marry him until sometime in the '70s, is still alive (as far as I can tell, probably in her 80s). Pearl's first album. Aside from the two big band cuts, everything else is done with piano, bass and drums. No problem with the music, of course, but after sixty years of vocalese hackwork, I'm surprised how well the lyrics fit -- she describes them as figuring out a puzzle -- and "Doozy Blues" should go straight into the songbook of anyone who's ever been satisfied with a Jon Hendricks lyric. [A-]

Michael Pedicin: Ballads . . . Searching for Peace (2011, Jazz Hut): Tenor saxophonist, b. 1947, from Philadelphia, father played sax on some early rock and roll records in the 1950s. Tenth album, cites Coltrane for his ballad style, comes out strong and clear and preternaturally calm. With John Valentino on guitar, alternating pianists (Barry Miles and Andy Lalasis), bass and drums. B+(***)

Dida Pelled: Plays and Sings (2010 [2011], Red): Singer-guitarist, from Israel, based in New York, first album, recorded in Brooklyn but released on an Italian label associated with producer (trumpet player on two cuts) Fabio Morgera. With Tal Ronen on bass, Gregory Hutchinson on drums, and Roy Hargrove playing trumpet on three tracks. Standards, at least if you count Wes Montgomery, Horace Silver, and "Can't Take My Eyes Off You" (a Frankie Valli song I definitely count). Engagingly ordinary voice, holds her own on a couple of long guitar solos. B+(**)

Oscar Peñas: From Now On (2009 [2011], Bju'ecords): Guitarist, b. 1972 in Barcelona, Spain; attended Berklee, based in New York. Has two previous Fresh Sound New Talent albums. This is a quartet with Dan Blake on tenor and soprano sax, Moto Fukushima on electric bass, and Richie Barshay on drums, with a couple guests here and there. His guitar builds on all that classical heritage, and the soprano in particular is a close harmonic mate. B+(**)

Oscar Perez Nuevo Comienzo: Afropean Affair (2011, Chandra): Pianist, born in New York, father left Cuba in 1966. Studied at University of North Florida and Queens College. Second album, the first his subsequent group name. With Greg Glassman (trumpet), Stacy Dillard (tenor/soprano sax), Charenee Wade (vocals), bass, drums, percussion. Ends with the three part "The Afropean Suite" but all the pieces are flowing suite-like things, the voice adding an unsettling aura. B [October 11]

Houston Person: So Nice (2011, High Note): Hard to think of any tenor saxophonists who have aged so gracefully. Age 76 when this was cut. Interesting that he's added a couple Arbors artists to sit in on a few tracks: Warren Vaché (4 cuts, including first three) and Howard Alden (5 cuts, including first two). They help, and I'd love to hear Person and Vaché cover a full album, but the really nice stuff is when they drop down to a quartet -- John Di Martino (piano), Ray Drummond (bass), Lewis Nash (drums). B+(***)

Enrico Pieranunzi Latin Jazz Quintet: Live at Birdland (2008 [2011], CAM Jazz): Pianist, b. 1949 in Rome, Italy, has 30+ records since 1975 -- one of the major jazz pianists of his generation. For this Latin Jazz project, he wrote 6 of 7 pieces (two with "Danza" in the title, one "Choro"), and added two horns to his trio with John Patitucci and Antonio Sanchez: Diego Urcola (trumpet) and Yosvany Terry (alto & soprano sax, plus a percussion credit). B+(**)

Jean-Michel Pilc: Essential (2011, Motéma): Pianist, b. 1960 in Paris, France; at least 14 records since 1989, most from 2000 on. Solo piano, roughly half originals and half covers; not as fast and furious as some of his trios, but interesting, easiest to factor on the tortured originals. B+(**)

Pilc Moutin Hoenig: Threedom (2011, Motema): Piano trio: Jean-Michel Pilc (piano), François Moutin (bass), Ari Hoenig (drums). Pilc, b. 1960 in Paris, France, seemed to explode on the scene in 2000 with a rapid fire series of fast and fierce albums. I don't get the same sense here: not just that he's slowed down but that he's working inside the pieces -- needless to say, his sensitivity, touch, and wit are clearest on the half he didn't write. B+(*)

Augusto Pirodda: No Comment (2009 [2011], Jazzwerkstatt): Pianist, b. 1971 in Cagliari (Sardinia, Italy); studied in Netherlands, now based in Brussels. Has a couple previous albums -- one solo, also a duo with Michal Vanoucek. Drew the A-Team for this trio: Gary Peacock on bass, Paul Motian on drums. Quiet, slow, so subtle I damn near missed it but the bass kept sneaking around to grab me. [B+(***)]

Potsa Lotsa: The Complete Works of Eric Dolphy (2009-10 [2011], Jazzwerkstatt, 2CD): Complete comes to 27 pieces, dispatched in 95 minutes over two discs. The group is led by alto saxophonist Silke Eberhard, who arranged the pieces for two brass (Nikolaus Neuser on trumpet, Gerhard Gschlobl on trombone) and two saxes (Patrick Braun on tenor, Eberhard on alto). Dolphy usually played with other horns, so there is some similarity, and the pieces to managed to evoke all facets of his range. B+(*) [Rhapsody]

Mike Prigodich: A Stitch in Time (2011, Mexican Mocha Music): Pianist, electric keybs as well as acoustic; studied at Wheaton, worked in Chicago, moved to Portland in 1998. Credits "becoming a cancer patient in 2008" as a wake-up call, pushing him to compose more, leading to this first album. Calls his core group MPEG (Melz/Prigodich/Erskine Group), with Reinhardt Melz on drums, Damian Erskine on bass. Saxophonist John Nastos, guitarist Brandon Woody, and percussionist Rafael Trujillo also get credits on the front cover, and a couple others on one or two -- Tim Jensen gets a flute feature. Seems like this gets tripped up in a couple of spots, rare breaks in the upbeat funk attack. I've always been a sax fan, and Nastos is consistently tasty here, but the strongest bit is a guitar solo from the otherwise underutilized Woody. B+(*)

Scott Ramminger: Crawstickers (2011, Arbor Lane Music): Singer, plays tenor and other saxes, from DC area, wrote his songs on his debut album: is basically an r&b guy, upbeat, appreciates the finer things in life, which include gumbo, cheap beer, and that rumba beat. B+(*)

Phil Ranelin: Perseverance (2011, Wide Hive): Trombonist, b. 1940 in Indianapolis. A founder of the Tribe, in Detroit in the early 1970s, and much later Build an Ark in Los Angeles, community-centric groups which bridge avant-garde and populist sensibilities. Front cover proclaims: "With Henry Franklin and Big Black"; Franklin plays bass, was also b. 1940, has a couple dozen albums and a hundred side-credits but isn't a name I recognize; Big Black (Danny Ray) plays conga, is even older (b. 1934), is someone I've run across a few times before. Both have sweet spots here, but so does everyone else, with Kamasi Washington (tenor sax) and Mahesh Balasooriya (piano) most prominent, also Louis Van Taylor (bass clarinet, alto flute), Tony Austin (drums), and a couple more percussionists. Ranelin wrote all the pieces, and sets the pace, his trombone leads rough and rugged but pitched into grooves, with vamps all around. My kind of party. A- [Rhapsody]

Mark Rapp's Melting Pot: Good Eats (2010 [2011], Dinemac): Trumpet player, from South Carolina, moved to New Orleans and hooked up with Elis Marsalis; now seems to split his time between New York and Geneva, Switzerland. Has a previous album which should be in my queue somewhere -- let that be a cautionary tale for folks who send me advances only; also The Strayhorn Project with Don Braden's name listed first. The meltdown here is part soul jazz (Joe Kaplowitz on organ and Ahmad Mansour on guitar), wrapped around some bebop-boogaloo (6 of the first 7 songs are by Lou Donaldson) with a funk chaser ("Everything I Do Is Gonna Be Funky," Quincy Jones' "Streetbeater," and closing with an irresistibly bouncy "The Glory of Love." Rapp wrote the title cut. Also says here he plays didgeridoo, too. Don Brade guests on five cuts, tenor sax and alto flute. B+(**)

Enrico Rava Quintet: Tribe (2010 [2011], ECM): Trumpet player, b. 1943 in Italy, built a reputation on the avant-garde in the 1970s but his ECM records have lately slowed down, trying to make up in intensity. Quintet includes Gianluca Petrella, the young trombonist who got a lot of attention when he was briefly on Blue Note, as well as Giovanni Guidi on piano, bass and drums, and guest guitar on four cuts. B+(*)

Red Hot + Rio 2 (2011, E1 Music, 2CD): Twenty-some years after the first Red Hot + Blue record turned AIDS-fighting pop stars onto Cole Porter in one of the better songwriter-tribute records ever, I lost track of the series fifteen years ago when the first Red Hot + Rio came out. This one doubles down, swelling to two discs to give extra heft to its second volume status. No lack of authentic Brazilian stars here -- Caetano Veloso, Tom Zé, Joyce Moreno, Os Mutantes, also Seu Jorge, Carlhinos Brown, Bebel Gilberto -- often paired with well-meaning Americans ranging from David Byrne to Aloe Blacc, Of Montreal, and Beirut. I don't have full credits, but the rhythm section more often than not saves the show. Give it some time and you'll find some gems, like the one attributed to Toshiyuki Yasuda ("Aguas de Março"). B+(*) [advance]

Ed Reed: Born to Be Blue (2010 [2011], Blue Shorts): Standards singer, b. 1929, grew up in Watts, but didn't get around to cutting a record until 2006 -- spent too much time in San Quentin, for one thing, even if it did give him the chance to sing with Art Pepper. Starts off slow, especially on the title track. Does get some help from Anton Schwartz's tenor sax, and gets more comfortable bouncing between vocalese and Joe Turner, but not much. B

Rufus Reid & Out Front: Hues of a Different Blue (2010 [2011], Motéma): Bassist, prominent enough that he gets his name as the leader of a piano trio -- the pianist in question is Steve Allee, who has a few records under his own name, as does Brazilian drumer Duduka Da Fonseca. Allee is sharp here, and Reid gets in some solos. He's also lined up guests to mix it up on five tracks (if you believe the credits, which I don't): various mixes of Toninho Horta (guitar), Freddie Hendrix (trumpet), JD Allen (tenor sax), and Bobby Watson (credited with tenor sax, but must be alto; Watson also appears uncounted on "These Foolish Things": a highlight). B+(*)

Greg Reitan: Daybreak (2011, Sunnyside): Pianist, originally from Seattle, based in Los Angeles. Third album, all trios with Jack Daro on bass and Dean Koba on drums. Wrote most of twelve songs, but covers Shorter, Zeitlin, Jarrett, and Evans. B+(*)

Nadav Remez: So Far (2010 [2011], Bju'ecords): Guitarist, from Israel, studied at Berklee and New England Conservatory. First album, with alto sax/clarine (James Wylie), tenor sax (Steve Brickman), trumpet on two tracks (Itamar Borochov), piano (Shai Maestro), bass (Avri Borochov), and drums (Ziv Ravitz). Wrote 8 of 9 pieces, the other by trad. The large group tends to crowd him out, but "The Miracle" is an exception where he builds up solid, solemn force. B+(*)

The Rempis Percussion Quartet: Montreal Parade (2011, 482 Music): Dave Rempis, best known as the Vandermark 5's junior saxophonist, leads, the group name reflecting that the quartet has two drummers (Tim Daisy and Frank Rosaly). Even with double the drum solos, Rempis is fast and furious out front. The other member is bassist Ingebrigt Haker Flaten, of Vandermark's School Days project (and many more). Two long pieces, free jazz blowouts. (Wonder whether another spin or two would push it over the top -- this is the third straight RPQ album with the same grade, which makes me suspect at least one should go higher.) B+(***) [Rhapsody]

Sonny Rollins: Road Shows Vol. 2 (2010 [2011], Doxy/Emarcy): First volume seemed archival, spanning 28 years with scattered groups, not that the tenor sax changed much over time. This one sticks with three recent concerts, pulling one cut from each of two October, 2010 shows to sandwich four cuts from Rollins' 80th birthday bash on Sept. 10, 2010. The party cuts shuttled guest stars in and out: Christian McBride, Roy Haynes, Jim Hall (one cut with Rollins introducing but laying out), Ornette Coleman (also one cut, introduced enigmatically), and Roy Hargrove (two cuts). I'm tempted to complain about the talk, but he's always gracious, presumably even more so in his Japanese during the closer ("St. Thomas" -- only thing wrong there is that at 2:50 it's way too short). Also about dilution, but Hargrove makes a fine foil for "Rain Check," and I've yet to fully puzzle out Coleman's solo. But why complain? As Rollins himself said of Coleman Hawkins, it's impossible to think of him without feeling joy. A-

Daniel Rosenthal: Lines (2010 [2011], American Melody): Trumpet player, based in Boston, studied with Steve Lacy at New England Conservatory, has played in Either/Orchestra since 2006 (which got him in on their Ethiopian kick). First album. Mostly a two-horn quartet, with Rick Stone's alto sax slipping and sliding around him, cutting a clean harmonic path. Four tracks add Wes Corbett on banjo -- the closer, "Standing," is mostly just the two of them, and especially striking. B+(***)

Ted Rosenthal: Out of This World (2010 [2011], Playscape): Pianist, b. 1959, one of those names I recognize from Concord's Maybeck Recital Hall Series but never bothered to investigate further. Fourteenth album since 1989, a trio with Noriko Ueda on bass and Quincy Davis on drums, all standards, all ones I should know instantly but are reworked so thoroughly I only catch occasional glimpses. Jumps right at you from the git go; even when they slow down you're never quite sure what they're up to. In short, the sort of invention you rarely find in a piano trio, where everything old is new again. A-

Florencia Ruiz: Luz de la Noche (Light of the Night) (2011, Adventure Music): Argentine diva, or maybe I just mean torch singer, projects a lot of drama and emotion, although for all I know she could be as vapid as Enya -- a comparison I've seen, though meant to be more flattering. Hugo Fattoroso (piano) and Jaques Morelembaum (cello) are cited as "featuring" -- must be big names in Argentina, because they only show up for one and two cuts here. B+(*)

Samo Salamon Trio: Almost Almond (2006 [2011], Sanje): Guitarist, b. 1978 in Yugoslavia, now Slovenia. Twelve albums since 2002, counting one as Ansasa Trio. Trio with Drew Gress on bass and Tom Rainey on drums. I've mostly heard him with saxophone in the past -- cf. Two Hours, with Tony Malaby -- where he fights his way to the front, but starting out there he's less aggressive here, steely at best, slipping into a crafted eloquence near the end. B+(**)

Dino Saluzzi: Navidad de los Andes (2010 [2011], ECM): Argentine bandoneon player, b. 1935, twelfth album for ECM since 1982. Or maybe more: AMG has lately developed a bad habit of misfiling records under second or third artists, so they attribute this one to cellist Anja Lechner. Third artist here is Felix Saluzzi (tenor sax, clarinet): he makes very little impact here, but is a plus when he does. "Christmas in the Andes": not insuferably Xmas-y; in fact, all Saluzzi originals with a couple of co-credits. Slow, lush sounds in spare arrangements. B

Poncho Sanchez/Terence Blanchard: Chano y Dizzy! (2011, Concord Picante): Reasonable headliners for a recital of a prime slice of jazz history, but Blanchard won't risk losing his cool so has no way of touching Gillespie, and Sanchez couldn't be crazier than Pozo if his life depended on it. Starts with a medley -- "Tin Tin Deo," "Manteca," "Guachi Guaro" -- then "Con Alma" before letting Blanchard and others in the band peddle their wares. Winds up being a real nice groove album, with equally nice ballad spots, not that I understand why. B+(**) [Rhapsody]

Heikki Sarmanto Big Band: Everything Is It (1972 [2011], Porter): Pianist, b. 1939 in Finland, influenced by George Russell, ran an interesting avant-fusion band in the early 1970s, later became artistic director of UMO Jazz Orchestra. His big band is long on reeds (including Eero Koivistoinen and Juhani Aaltonen, names you should know by now), short on brass (three trumpets, two trombones), doubled up on drums. Noisy as these things go, which is fine with me, but the main distinction here is Taru Valjakka's soprano-diva vocals on the "Marat" suite, which I could have done without. B+(*)

Jake Saslow: Crosby Street (2011, 14th Street): Tenor saxophonist, debut album, inventive postbop with a soft edge. With Mike Moreno (guitar) and/or Fabian Alamzan (piano), plus bass (Joe Martin) and drums (Marcus Gilmore). B+(**)

Jonathan Scales: Character Farm & Other Short Stories (2011, Le Rue): Plays steel pan, an instrument common in Trinidad, functions here like vibes in a rhythmic flow of guitar, bass, and percussion. Third album. Attractively packaged in comic book/graphic novel art by Gregory Keyzer. Some guests appearances, adding soprano sax or flute or violin. No words, which is OK by me. B

Scenes: Silent Photographer (2010 [2011], Origin): Trio: guitarist John Stowell, bassist Jeff Johnson, drummer John Bishop. Stowell has long struck me as an interesting, understated stylist, and his records -- both under his own name and as Scenes -- have generally been close to my HM line. This time Johnson outwrote him 4 to 3 -- the other three pieces are by Shorter, Hancock, and Coltrane. B+(*)

Andreas Schmidt/Samuel Rohrer/Thomas Heberer: Pieces for a Husky Puzzle (2009, Jazzwerkstatt): Piano, drums, trumpet respectively. Schmidt was b. 1967, more than a dozen credits start around 1990, hard to tell how many; AMG lists Andreas Schmidt as a classical music vocalist, but that is someone else (b. 1960). Seven cuts, each called "Puzzle Piece" followed by a number. Slow and abstract improvs, thoughtful and brooding (or maybe just droning); doesn't leave the drummer much to do. B+(*) [Rhapsody]

John Scofield: A Moment's Peace (2011, Emarcy): Guitarist, was a key figure in the 1980s and up through Groove Elation and Quiet in 1994-96 with his fluid style and fascination with funk grooves, but hasn't done much of interest since. This is a back-to-basics quartet, with Larry Goldings on piano and organ, Scott Colley on bass, and Brian Blade on drums. Temper changes depending on Goldings' keyboard choice, but that highlights both sides of Scofield's style. His best album since his heyday: had it come out in 1998 we might complain that he's slowing down, but now it feels like a welcome second breath. B+(***)

Dred Scott: Prepared Piano (2007-08 [2009], Robertson): Pianist, originally from St. Louis, went to college in Ohio, spent 10 years in Bay Area, then moved to New York in 1999, which makes him how old? Extensive discography on his site goes back to a 1991 record with Anthony Braxton (8+3 Tristano Compositions), but aside from his three trio records I've heard of nothing else he's done. He played drums on that Braxton record -- probably the right orientation for prepared piano ("Funky" sounds like it's mostly percussion). Mostly short pieces, discreet building blocks ready to add up to something. [My impression is that this is being reissued on Ropeadope, but my copy looks like the old, original edition.] B+(**)

Dred Scott Trio: Going Nowhere (2010 [2011], Ropeadope): Can't find any evidence that Dred Scott isn't the pianist's given name. Like his famous namesake he is from St. Louis, but the resemblance ends there. With Ben Rubin on bass and Tony Mason on drums. All originals except for a shrewdly deconstructed "7 Steps to Heaven." I am duly impressed, but don't have much to say. B+(**) [advance]

Mark Segger Sextet: The Beginning (2010 [2011], 18th Note): Drummer, from Edmonton, now based in Toronto, first album; composes all eight pieces here, for a sextet including trumpet (Jim Lewis), tenor sax/clarinet (Chris Willes), trombone (Heather Segger), piano/melodica (Tania Gill), and bass (Andrew Downing). He calls the pieces "idiosyncratic" with such sources as "soca rhythms, chamber music, and the abstract pointillism of contemporary free improvisation." No doubt about idiosyncratic: slippery postbop, disjointed and improbably reconnected. B+(**)

Karl Seglem: Ossicles (2005-10 [2011], Ozella): Tenor saxophonist, from Norway, 27th album since 1988 (AMG lists 15; also misspells his name two different ways in their brief bio). Draws on folk sources, playing against hardanger fiddle, incorporating various goat horns (one credit for antilope horn [sic?]), with a bit of African mbira. B+(***)

Sara Serpa: Mobile (2010, Inner Circle Music): Singer, b. 1979 in Portugal, studied at Berklee and New England Conservatory, based in New York. Has a duo album with Ran Blake, at least three under her own name. This one is spare, mostly done with just bass and drums (Ben Street and Ted Poor), with piano added on 4 (of 10) cuts (Kris Davis) and guitar on three of those (Andre Matos). Texts are evidently taken from lit -- Homer, Herodotus, Melville, Steinbeck, Naipaul, Kapuscinski -- although I can't make any of them out and suspect she's just scatting. B

SFE: Positions & Descriptions: Simon H. Fell Composition No. 75 (2011, Clean Feed): Not sure what SFE stands for -- Simon Fell Ensemble? (Having a bad eye day, and the microprint on the foldout is all blurred.) Fell is a bassist, b. 1959 in England, has a couple dozen albums since 1985, some dedicated to numbered compositions. He's someone anyone who's spent much time perusing The Penguin Guide will know about, but this is the first of his records I've actually come across. Group has 15 members plus conductor Clark Rundell, offering a bit of everything: flute, two clarinets, alto and bari sax, trumpet, tuned percussion, harps, piano, guitar, violin, theremin, bass, drums, electronics. Wish I had a better sense of how this fits in. Doesn't strike me as cluttered or chaotic, but sure is complex. B+(***)

Kenny Shanker: Steppin' Up (2009 [2011], Posi-Tone): Alto saxophonist, from New York, first album, with Art Hirahara on piano and Lage Lund on guitar. Wrote 9 (of 10) pieces, ending with "Somewhere." Typical postbop moves, a bit on the shiny side, always a risk with his instrument. B

Matthew Shipp/Joe Morris: Broken Partials (2010 [2011], Not Two): Piano-bass duo. Shipp is one of the few pianists I can follow all the way down to solo, probably because his attack remains so sharp, but also the flow of his lines makes sense. Morris is best known as a guitarist, but is warm and supportive on bass, and shows more edge than I expected when he gets the lead. B+(***) [Rhapsody]

Aaron Shragge & Ben Monder: The Key Is in the Window (2010 [2011], Tzviryu Music): Trumpet-guitar duets. Monder is a well-known guitarist but most of what you know about him -- especially his sense of groove -- is not relevant here. Don't know much about Shragge: studied at New School and NYU, is interested in the music of North India and Japan, also plays shakuhachi. Looks like his first album, although he has a piece of another one (or two). Mostly slow, deep, trance-like. B+(**)

Jen Shyu/Mark Dresser: Synastry (2009-10 [2011], Pi): Vocalist, b. 1978 in Peoria, IL; parents from Taiwan and East Timor; based in New York. Has several albums since 2002, a research interest in "Taiwanese folk and aboriginal music" extending to Chinese-Cubans, but is best known for her work with Steve Coleman's group. Dresser, of course, is one of our foremost bassists, so these are voice-bass duos. I have a tough time when jazz singers get arty -- a primal case of opera-phobia, I'm afraid -- but this somehow slips through. B+(**)

Side A: A New Margin (2010 [2011], Clean Feed): Free jazz trio: Ken Vandermark (tenor sax, clarinet), Håvard Wiik (piano), Chad Taylor (drums). First group album, although Wiik is in Vandermark's Jimmy Giuffre-inspired Free Fall group and they have five or so albums together, and Taylor has been bouncing around Chicago's underground long enough he must have bumped into Vandermark somewhere. Writing credits are evenly distributed. Given recording date omits year, but the most likely October is last year. Vandermark takes a clarinet feature with remarkable grace and poise, but he mostly races through fast changes, loud and rough yet they seem remarkably complete and coherent. A-

Audrey Silver: Dream Awhile (2009 [2011], Messy House): Standards singer, got an MBA and worked in advertising, A&:R at CBS Masterworks, then became Director of Marketing at a jazz label (Chesky). Cites Jon Raney (pianist son of guitarist Jimmy Raney) for pointing her back to performing, and Sheila Jordan for lessons. Second album, backed with piano-bass-drums plus guitar on 3 (of 11) cuts. Can start a song on her own and find a unique path through it. B+(**)

Alex Sipiagin: Destinations Unknown (2011, Criss Cross): Trumpet player, b. 1967 in Russia, moved to US in 1991, started in big bands, has more than a dozen albums since 1998. Bright tone, dynamic, runs in fast company with Chris Potter and David Binney on sax, Craig Taborn on keyb, Boris Kozlov on bass, and Eric Harland on drums. A little fancy for hard bop, or basic (meaning hard-charging) for postbop. The long set closes with a ballad. B+(**) [Rhapsody]

Enoch Smith Jr.: Misfits (2011, self-released): Pianist, b. 1978 in Rochester, NY. Second album, a piano trio plus vocalist Sarah Elizabeth Charles -- although there are also uncredited male vocals. Seems like too much singing at first, especially once Smith finally opens up some space for his unconventionally percussive piano. Mostly originals; covers include "Caravan" and "Blackbird" (one song I wish the jazz world would just give up on). B+(*)

Wadada Leo Smith's Mbira: Dark Lady of the Sonnets (2007 [2011], TUM): For such an uncompromising avant-gardist, Smith has been remarkably catholic recently, working in all sorts of combos and forms. No mbira here (although it's a song title): trio consists of Min Xiao-Fen, from Nanjing, China, who plays pipa, and Pheroan akLaff on drums. Min has several albums -- traditional Chinese and classical, I gather. She provides an exotic twist here, but doesn't settle into a consistent role, so she mostly serves to set Smith off. B+(***)

Warren Smith: Dragon Dave Meets Prince Black Knight From the Darkside of the Moon (1988 [2011], Porter): Drummer, b. 1934, AMG credits him with seven albums since 1979, or maybe nine, but they also confuse him with the eponymous rockabilly singer from the 1950s. Has well over 100 side credits, early on including Mingus, Kirk, and Pearls Before Swine (also says here he was on Astral Weeks and Lady Soul and Best of Herbie Mann). When he did get a chance to record for a fairly mainstream label he called his record Cats Are Stealing My $hit (on Mapleshade in 1995). Anyway, no one stole this, uh, "children's story -- with adult language -- depicting the conflict between two super beings (super powers) unable to co-exist, whose resulting clash disturbs and alters the face of the planet" -- i.e., the state of the world in the 1980s. Could be more didactic, but it's hard to follow the voices, especially with all the crashes and explosions. On the other hand, Smith's marimba keeps the clashes moving along smartly. B+(*)

Sonore: Cafe Oto/London (2011, Trost): Free sax trio: Peter Brötzmann (alto/tenor sax, clarinet, tarogato), Ken Vandearmark (tenor sax, clarinet), Mats Gustafsson (baritone sax). Fourth album for group, although each has played with one or both of the others many times. Each wrote one piece; the fourth is jointly attributed, which usually means improvised on the spot. Even at 38:42 the noise can be wearing, especially since each horn has the same palette to draw from. B [Rhapsody]

Tyshawn Sorey: Oblique - I (2011, Pi): Drummer, b. 1980, first caught my attention in bands with Vijay Iyer and/or Steve Lehman, especially Fieldwork. Released a composer's album in 2007, That/Not, which got a lot of attention (number two on Francis Davis's year-end list) -- I had to go to Rhapsody for a listen, was duly impressed, but couldn't spend much time with it. Between 2002-06 he composed a set of 41 compositions, ten of which appear here, in a quintet setting with Loren Stillman (alto sax), Todd Neufeld (guitar), John Escreet (keyboards), and Chris Tordini (bass). The pieces slip and slide around the free rhythm, not easy and never settling into any sort of norm. A-

Sounds and Silence: Travels With Manfred Eicher (1980-2008 [2011], ECM): Soundtrack for a film by Peter Guyer and Norbert Wiedner, a documentary on ECM founder/producer Manfred Eicher. Leans toward the classical end of ECM's spectrum -- one Puccini cut, two Arvo Pärt, plus affinity exotica from Gurdjieff, Anouar Brahem, Dino Saluzzi, Eleni Karaindrou -- and away from conventional jazz. Enjoyed a bit of Marilyn Mazur percussion. One could easily construct a better sampler. B-

The Spokes: Not So Fast (2009 [2011], Strudelmedia): Title is descriptive enough: hard to get much momentum without bass and drums, especially if all you have to work with are horns, plus you get that sax quartet feel with nothing but neatly puffed discrete notes. Trio: Andy Biskin (clarinet), Curtis Hasselbring (trombone), Phillip Johnston (soprano sax). All three write: Biskin 6 of 12, Johnston 4, Hasselbring 2. B+(**)

Jason Stein Quartet: The Story This Time (2011, Delmark): Bass clarinetist, b. 1976 in Long Island, studied at Bennington (Charles Gayle, Milford Graves) and Michigan, wound up in Chicago where he hooked into one of Ken Vandermark's less successful projects (Bridge 61). Has three trio albums as Locksmith Isidore, each step showing growth, and a Solo that ain't bad for that sort of thing. Adds a second, sharper horn to get a quartet -- Keefe Jackson on tenor sax and contrabass clarinet -- along with Joshua Abrams on bass and Frank Rosaly on drums. The sax works with and against the bass clarinet. A-

John Stein: Hi Fly (2011, Whaling City Sound): Guitarist, originally from Kansas City, studied and teaches at Berklee; ten albums since 1995. Quartet with Jake Sherman on piano and organ, John Lockwood on bass, and Ze Eduardo Nazario on drums. Wrote 5 of 10 songs, the others trending standard except for Randy Weston's title tune, the originals leaning toward John Scofield-style funk. The organ fits that mode but isn't a major factor. B+(*)

Andrew Sterman: Wet Paint (2011, Innova): Plays tenor sax and alto flute. I figure this is his fifth album since 2002, but AMG splits him up between classical -- he has an album of Philip Glass: Saxophone (Glass, of course, is a pop star in my house) -- and otherwise (meaning jazz in this case). With piano-bass-drums across the board, otherwise split up with Richie Vitale's trumpet/flugelhorn on four cuts, Todd Reynolds' violin on four more -- each taking on the characteristics of the accompaniment. B+(*)

Colin Stetson: New History Warfare Vol. 2: Judges (2011, Constellation): Saxophonist -- plays most reeds, French horn, flute, cornet, but is most noted for the big bass sax -- originally from Ann Arbor, based in Montreal where he works with Arcade Fire and Bell Orchestre. AMG lists four albums, including New History Warfare Vol. 1 in 2008. This is billed as "solo horn compositions" but some percussion is evident, one song is labeled a Bell Orchestre remix, and there are occasional vocals -- Sheila Worden somewhere, Laurie Anderson spoken word on four pieces. Circular breathing turns the horn vamps into continuous tapestries, patterns repeating with various dissonances, and everything else just adds to the sonic interest. A- [Rhapsody]

Colin Stetson: Those Who Didn't Run (2011, Constellation, EP): Two ten-minute pieces. Don't have credits, but sounds like circular breathing sax vamps shagged by extra electronics, the rhythm in the repetition, the dissonance all over the place. Impressive, but on the way to wearing out its welcome when it ended. B+(**) [Rhapsody]

Joan Stiles: Three Musicians (2011, Oo-Bla-Dee): The other two, their names flanking Stiles' somewhat less boldly, are saxophonist Joel Frahm (tenor, one cut on soprano) and drummer Matt Wilson. Stiles is a pianist, moved from classical to jazz in 1986 at Manhattan School of Music, and contiues to teach there and at the New School. Third album, the group here stripped down from the sextet she used on the remarkable Hurly Burly. Two originals, not counting "In the Sunshine of My Funny Valentine's Love" which is credited to Rodgers/Clapton/Bach. One from Mary Lou Williams, who is more than a research interest, followed by two Monks, which set up the remarkable interpolation of "Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?/Can't Buy Me Love." Frahm is superb, of course, in etching out the themes Stiles elaborates. B+(***)

Rick Stone Trio: Fractals (2011, Jazzand): Guitarist, from Cleveland, studied at Berklee, wound up in New York. Fourth album since 1990, widely spaced (1994, 2004, 2011). Four covers -- three standards and a Billy Strayhorn piece you don't run into often ("Ballad for Very Sad and Very Tired Lotus Eaters") -- seven originals. Trio with Marco Panascia on bass and Tom Pollard on drums. Has a thin metallic sound, focused on long likes like Wes Montgomery but doesn't pick up the pace. B+(*)

John Stowell/Michael Zilber Quartet: Shot Through With Beauty (2007-09 [2011], Origin): Guitar and tenor/soprano sax respectively, with John Shifflett (acoustic bass) and Jason Lewis (drums) below the line. Stowell is the senior member, from Connecticut, seems to be based in Portland, OR. Cut his first record in 1978, then not much until he landed on Origin in 1998. He has a distinctive, seductive style, with several recent HM candidates (mostly under the group name Scenes). Zilber plays tenor and soprano sax; has four records since 1988. He wrote four songs here (one co-credited to Stowell); Shifflett and Lewis wrote one each -- the other four are from Kenny Wheeler, Dizzy Gillespie, and John Scofield (two). Often-delicate postbop, the sax personable, the guitar adds to the sparkle. B+(**)

Colin Stranahan/Glenn Zaleski/Rick Rosato: Anticipation (2011, Capri): Front cover and spine mention surnames only. Piano trio, drummer's name first, probably because he has three previous albums with the label, whereas pianist Zaleski's only other credit is second billed behind Mark Zaleski, and bassist Rosato only has one other side credit. Six originals (Zaleski 3, Rosato 2, Stranahan 1), three covers ("All the Things You Are," "Boplicity," "I Should Care"). Solid work, a bit on the quiet side. B+(*)

Marcus Strickland: Triumph of the Heavy: Volume 1 & 2 (2011, Strick Muzik, 2CD): Tenor saxophonist, b. 1979, has consistently impressed at least since 2006 -- I haven't the two 2001-03 FSNTs, which AMG doesn't think much of -- always seeming on the edge of breaking something big wide open. I guess this is it: it's certainly big, with one trio disc -- the second, the Ben Williams on bass and twin brother E.J. Strickland on drums -- the other adding pianist David Bryant. The quartet is spread out a bit more, and thinner as Strickland switches to alto for 5 of 10 tracks, and soprano on three -- plays tenor on four, the main reason the totals don't add up is that he plays everything (including clarinet and bass clarinet) on "Virgo." Probably safe to rank him the best soprano among his generation of tenor players -- it seems like an organic extension of his tenor rather than something he copped from Coltrane or Shorter (or Marsalis or Potter). Still, the first disc won me over; the second just kicked my ass. A-

Jane Stuart: Don't Look Back (2010 [2011], JSM): Standards singer (wrote 1 of 12 songs here; 1 of 13 on her previous album). Based in New York. Second album. Band includes Dave Stryker (guitar) and Dick Oatts (alto sax, flute) although I didn't notice them much. Two Lennon-McCartneys (a decent arrangement of the unjazzable "Eleanor Rigby"), two Dave Frishbergs, one Gershwin (a nice shot at "Summertime" which has been done and done and never wears out), one Porter, others more obscure. B+(*)

JC Stylles: Exhilaration and Other States (2009 [2011], Motéma Music): No periods to be seen anywhere near "JC" -- may stand for his given name, Jason Campbell. Ampersand on spine title but not on cover. AMG misfiled this under Pat Bianchi's name. Stylles is a guitarist, New York-based, first album. Bianchi plays organ, and Lawrence Leathers drums, so this is a soul jazz retro. Nicely done, as these things go. "Love for Sale" is a romp; "Don't Explain" is plaintive and delicate. B+(*)

Ira Sullivan & Stu Katz: A Family Affair: Live at Joe Segal's Jazz Showcase (2010 [2011], Origin): Couple of old guys with big grins on the cover. Sullivan's a Chicago fixture: b. 1931, cut a couple albums in the late 1950s, shows up every now and then, mostly playing tenor sax, sometimes alto, soprano, trumpet, flugelhorn, flute -- cut an album in 1981 called Ira Sullivan Does It All. Left the flute home here (thanks for that). Katz plays vibes. AMG gives him one side credit back in 1970. Group straddles swing and bop, starting with two new Sullivan pieces, then "Pennies From Heaven," then "Scrapple From the Apple." They bring up a singer for "Yesterdays" -- Lucia Newell, forget how she was introduced but she slings the scat liberally. B+(**)

Travis Sullivan: New Directions (2010 [2011], Posi-Tone): Alto saxophonist, b. 1971, has a couple previous records, the first from 2000, another a collection of Björk songs released in 2008 as Travis Sullivan's Bjorkestra. Mainstream quartet with Mike Eckroth (piano), Marco Panascia (bass), and Brian Fishler (drums). Eight originals, two covers (one Rodgers/Hart). Nothing strikes me as a new direction, but the sax is fast and slick and inclined to soar out of the matrix. Hard to complain about that combo. B+(**)

Susan SurfTone: Shore (2011, Acme Brothers): Guitarist, signs her songs Susan L. Yasinski. Group includes organ, bass, and drums, by Avory, Lynn, and Stephi SurfTone, respectively. Basically, instrumental rock, like Dick Dale, or Duane Eddy without a signature trick. Her originals all have agreeably brief one-word titles. Ends with a cover of "Riders on the Storm." Nothing wrong with this, but it's pretty far down on the list of things I find interesting. B-

John Surman: Flashpoint: NDR Workshop - April '69 (1969 [2011], Cuneiform, CD+DVD): The middle of a very rich period for the 25-year-old soprano/baritone saxophonist, coming out of Mike Westbrook's group, leading The Trio (with Barre Phillips and Stu Martin), his first album under his own name just out and his big band Tales of the Algonquin in the near future, and (this and) other projects falling through the cracks. His NDR workshop assembled four reeds (Surman, Alan Skidmore on tenor sax and flute, Ronnie Scott on tenor sax, Mike Osborne on alto sax), Kenny Wheeler (trumpet, flugelhorn), two trombones (Malcolm Griffiths and Eric Kleinschuefer), piano (Fritz Pauer), bass (Harry Miller), and drums (Alan Jackson). Five pieces: the two featuring Surman's soprano are irresistible vamps, as is the closer after they get past their everyone-raise-hell patch at the beginning. The slower pieces have more trouble gaining traction, although there are crackling solos here and there. The DVD is a straight b&w take of the album -- probably a rehearsal but close to the final mark. B+(***)

The Tierney Sutton Band: American Road (2011, BFM Jazz): Sutton is a standards singer, ninth album since 1998; I don't know them all, but wasn't much impressed until she got happy with On the Other Side in 2006. After a good record idiosyncrasies start to look like character traits, although the confluence of the two would be pretty clear here in any case. She's in the band as a matter of principle, but singer's bands are meant to be invisible -- Betty Carter's excepted, of course, but we're not talking her here -- and this one is pretty anonymous. Her standards this time are well worn, and she piles the weight on, more than "On Broadway" can handle, enough to make "Summertime" and "It Ain't Necessarily So" creak. And I'm dumfounded by an "Amazing Grace" that isn't anywhere near graceful but remarkable nonetheless, and an "America the Beautiful" that isn't, that I'd just as soon not be bothered with. She's finally convinced me that she's kind of weird. But she's still not Betty Carter. B+(**)

The Taal Tantra Experience: Sixth Sense (2011, Ozella): German-based Indian music group, led by tabla player Tanmoy Bose, with a mix of German and Indian names in the microscopic credits text. The tabla is impressive enough, but the fusion tends to even things out, as if the jazz component was smooth. B

Tarana: After the Disquiet (EP) (2011, self-released, EP): Indian drummer Ravish Momin, from Hyderabad, studied north Indian classical music, then went to Carnegie Mellon for an engineering degree. Has two albums on Clean Feed with different editions of his Trio Tarana, typically violin and oud. (The first, with Jason Kao Hwang and Shanir Ezra Blumenkranz, is excellent.) Here his group is down to two, a duo with Trina Basu on violin, recorded live at Bop Shop in Rochester. Four tracks, 34:06, available digitally at Bandcamp for $3. Something of a retreat, but he still gets most of the trio effect here, adding some electronics for diversity. B+(**)

Frank Tate: Thanks for the Memory: Frank Tate's Musical Tribute to Bobby Short (2011, Arbors): Bassist, b. 1943, has a couple albums since 1993, many more side credits going back to Zoot Sims in 1981, Ruby Braff in 1991, a lot of Arbors artists since then. Short is a name I barely recognize -- in fact, I missed him in putting together my database of people I should know about, something in need of a fix. B. 1924, d. 2005, played piano and sung standards, mostly working night clubs. He recorded close to two dozen albums from 1955 to 2001, including a series of songbooks in the 1970s (Noel Coward, Cole Porter, Gershwin, Rodgers & Hart; his Andy Razaf came out in 1987). Tate describes Short as "the most influential musician in his career." With Mike Renzi on piano and Joe Ascione on drums, Tate rounded up "a half-dozen of Bobby Short's saloon colleagues" to take two or three songs each: Barbara Carroll, Rebecca Kilgore, Daryl Sherman, Charles Cochran, Ronny Whyte, and Chris Gillespie. All classic songbook fare -- comfort food in the trade. B+(*) [Rhapsody]

3 Cohens: Family (2011, Anzic): Siblings Anat Cohen (tenor sax, clarinet), Avishai Cohen (trumpet), and Yuval Cohen (soprano sax) -- the former the best known, but the writing chores fell to the boys (Avishai 3, Yuval 2). The other five are presumably songs they vamped on around the old kibbutz campfire: "The Mooch," "Do You Know What It Means to Miss New Orleans," "On the Sunny Side of the Street," "Tiger Rag," and "Roll 'Em Pete." Rhythm section they picked up in New York -- Aaron Goldberg (piano), Matt Penman (bass), Gregory Hutchinson (drums) -- along with two-song singer Jon Hendricks, whose mannerisms have gotten creaky enough to be endearing. B+(**)

Tin/Bag: Bridges (2010 [2011], MabNotesMusic): Duo: Kris Tiner (trumpet) and Mike Baggetta (guitar). Third album together, the first under their names, the second a quartet as Tin/Bag. (Artwork uses a vertical bar here, which causes software problems for me so I'm sticking with the slash.) Six Tiner pieces, two by Baggetta, closes with "Just Like a Woman" by Bob Dylan. It all plays very tentative -- slow, indeterminate. Interesting how they tiptoe around Dylan's melody. Harder to appreciate that on their own less known material. B+(*)

Kevin Tkacz Trio: It's Not What You Think (2007 [2008], Piece of Work of Art): Bassist, based in Brooklyn. First (and evidently only) record, a piano trio with Bill Carrothers and Michael Sarin. Two songs credited to Tkacz, one to Rogers and Hart, the rest group improvs. Best thing I've heard by Carrothers in several years, probably because he gets a little dirty, as does the bass. B+(***)

Chandler Travis: Philharmonic Blows! (2009 [2010], Sonic Trout): Gray-beared guitarist-singer, back cover says he's 82, but I haven't found anywhere else that confirms that. AMG lists eight albums since 1993. Before that he was in a rock group called the Incredible Casuals: memorialized here in "The Day the Casuals Went to Sweden," easily the lousiest song here. What that song lacks is the squeaky, shrieking brass the albums opens and closes with, more than fulfilling the party graphics on the cover. B+(**)

Tribute to JJ Cale, Volume 1: The Vocal Sessions (2010, Zoho Roots): Cale, b. 1938, is a singer-songwriter from Oklahoma. He was best known in the 1970s: I panned Okie (1974) in my ancient Rekord Report, then didn't bother with him until I got a set of 1973-83 Unreleased Recordings in 2007 and slammed it too. He liked blues form but couldn't bring himself to play blues, scruples that don't bother the label's stable, so they mostly just play and shout louder: Swamp Cabbage, JJ Grey, Jimmy Hall, Rufus Huff, Greg Skaff, Dixie Tabernacle, nobody but the Persuasions you'd have heard of if not on the label's mailing list. I've been avoiding this, but it's pretty tolerable, with "Same Old Blues" markedly improved. Otherwise, the only choice cuts are by the Persuasions, who are way out of this league. Never got Volume 2: The Instrumental Sessions -- just as well with me. B-

Gianluigi Trovesi/Gianni Coscia: Frère Jacques: Round About Offenbach (2009 [2011], ECM): The leaders play clarinet and accordion, respectively. Trovesi, b. 1944, made an early mark in the avant-garde (mostly on alto sax), but since he joined ECM he's been picking around in his classical training, previously teaming with Coscia for a Round About Weill (and earlier, In Cerca di Cibo). Jacques Offenbach (1819-1880) was born in Cologne, son of a synagogue cantor, moved to Paris to study and remained in his new country, mostly writing popular operettas. About half of the music here comes from him, the rest by Trovesi and Coscia, much of it explicitly paired to an Offenbach piece. B+(**)

Tunnel Six: Lake Superior (2010 [2011], OA2): Sextet: two horns, piano plus guitar, bass and drums: Ben Dietschi (saxes), Chad McCullough (trumpet/flugelhorn), Andrew Oliver (piano), Brian Seligman (guitar), Ron Hynes (bass), Tyson Stubelek (drums). Only McCullough and Oliver are in my database. Only the drummer missed out on a writing credit (Dietschi, McCullough, and Seligman have two each). Group met at a Banff Centre jazz workshop, and recorded this in Portland. Pretty ingratiating as postbop goes, everyone well behaved and supportive. Couple dull spots but most bright and cheery. B+(**)

Ursa Minor: Showface (2011, Anthemusa): New York rock group fronted by singer Michelle Casillas, had a previous album in 2003. Doesn't belong here but someone sent me a copy, guitarist-producer Tony Scherr has something of a jazz rep, not sure that drummer Robert DiPietro doesn't ring a bell somewhere, and some of the guests definitely do (e.g., trombonist Ryan Keberle). The strings and French horns do little to alter the fact that this is a guitar band, the singer is mostly affectless but on a slow one turns on the charm. Seems like a nice group going nowhere. B+(*)

Freddy V: Easier Than It Looks (2008 [2011], Watersign): Saxophonist (tenor, alto), Fred Vigdor, basically an r&b guy, first album as such, with a band he calls Mo Pleasure. Background starts with playing sax and arranging horns for Average White Band, the most plainly soulful of the post-Allman white rock bands to emerge from the South in the 1970s -- a credit, I'd say, to the horns. A couple of soul vocals, a lot of tasty sax licks and easy going rhythmic raunch, which means it will be slotted with smooth jazz even though it's a cut above. AMG lists this as 2008, but the publicist swears the street date is Sept. 13, 2011. They do that. B

Freddy V: Easier Than It Looks (2008 [2011], Watersign): Two mistakes here: I associated Fred Vigdor's old Average White Band with the Southern rock of the 1970s when in fact the band hailed from Scotland. I also misidentified Mo Pleasure as the name of another Vigdor band; actually, Mo[rris] Pleasure started out playing bass for Ray Charles, and has since worked with Earth Wind & Fire and Michael Jackson -- well, also Najee.

Warren Vaché: Ballads and Other Cautionary Tales (2011, Arbors): Trad-leaning cornet player, reaches for the ballad songbook not so much because at 60 he's slowing down as he wants to enjoy the scenery. A few with just bass and drums, joining in pianist Tardo Hammer on 6 (of 12), trombonist John Allred on one of those, and tenor saxophonist Houston Person on three others. Person damn near steals the show. B+(**) [Rhapsody]

Dave Valentin: Pure Imagination (2011, High Note): Flute player, b. 1954 in Chelmsford, England; has a couple dozen albums since 1979, at least lately relying heavily on Latin rhythms which set his flute off nicely. He has a group here that can do that -- Bill O'Connell (piano), Ruben Rodriguez (bass), Robby Ameen (drums), and especially Richie Flores (percussion) -- and the opener "Smile" does just that. Afterwards it's hit and miss. B

André Vasconcellos: 2 (2009 [2011], Adventure Music): Bassist, from Brazil; second album, following one in 2004 called Observatorio. Wrote 7 of 8 songs, the odd one out by guitarist Ricardo Vasconcellos (relationship undetermined). Mostly quintet, with tenor saxophonist Josue Lopez making a big impression, Allen Pontes on drums, David Feldman or Renato Fonseca on piano, Ricardo Vasconcellos or Torcuato Mariano on guitar. Strong pulse from the bass driving the flow, prime solo spots on piano and guitar. No samba, no choro, more like postbop but organic. B+(***)

Vicious World: Plays the Music of Rufus Wainwright (2010 [2011], Spinaround): Leaders of this project are saxophonist Aaron Irwin (b. 1978 in Decatur, IL; has a couple FSNT albums; arranged 7 of 11 songs here) and trombonist Matthew McDonald (no idea; arranged the other 4 songs). The group also includes guitar (Sebastian Noelle), bass (Thomson Kneeland), drums (Danny Fischer), violin (Eliza Cho), and cello (Maria Jeffers). I know a great deal about Wainwright's parents, all the way down to "Rufus Is a Tit Man," but virtually nothing of his own music: tried his first album and never went back. The rock rhythms are straightforward, the guitar and bass structural; the trombone makes an especially adept lead instrument here, and the strings add essential texture. B+(***)

Geoff Vidal: She Likes That (2009 [2011], Arts and Music Factory): Tenor saxophonist, b. 1980, from New Orleans, based in New York since 2006. First album, a postbop quintet with trumpet, guitar, bass, and drums. Veers into fusion toward the end, with guitarist Joe Hundertmark taking charge. B

The Tommy Vig Orchestra 2012: Welcome to Hungary! (2011, Klasszikus Jazz): I have an advance CD, and a fairly thick booklet which is probably a proof copy, but which is so jumbled up I can make no sense of who plays what or what's going on here. Vig plays vibes, was b. 1938, studied at Bela Bartok Conservatory, fled Hungary in 1956, cut some records in US that seem to be regarded as instrumental pop. This is a big band with cimbalom and tarogato and a lot of horn power -- the guest performance by David Murray towering above all. Six bonus cuts without Murray show the band to be loud and brash, but not all that interesting. In order to rise above the background, Murray is little short of titanic. B+(*) [advance]

Ricardo Villalobos/Max Loderbauer: Re: ECM (2009 [2011], ECM, 2CD): Two electronics producers. Villalobos, b. 1970 in Chile, has more than a dozen albums since 2002. Loderbauer has nothing under his own name, but several dozen composer/producer credits. Both based in Berlin. This isn't a remix of ECM material; more an attempt to construct electronics frameworks around musical structures from various ECM records, starting on the classical end of the spectrum (Arvo Part, Alexander Knaifel) with a few jazz sources (Louis Sclavis, John Abercrombie, Paul Motian the best known). First disc leans toward industrial sounds but not intense; second is more pastoral until it eventually works in some choral voices. B+(*) [advance]

Alex Vittum: Prism (2010 [2011], Prefecture): Percussionist, based in San Francisco, half of the duo Tide Tables. Subtitled "solo works for electro-acoustic percussion." Describes Prism as "a signal processing software environment I developed in Max/MSP" to use with his drum kit. Interesting, the drumming more so than the electronics. Not much packaging for my copy: just a plastic sleeve and an insert. B+(*)

Larry Vuckovich: Somethin' Special (2011, Tetrachord): Pianist, b. 1936 in what was then Yugoslavia, moved to San Francisco in 1951 and developed a taste for bebop. A dozen albums since 1980. Plays two solos here, a couple of trio cuts, the rest adding Scott Hamilton and/or Noel Jewkes on tenor sax -- Jewkes takes one cut on his soprano. A fine pianist, and of course Hamilton is special. Don't know Jewkes, but aside from the soprano cut it isn't automatically clear where Hamilton leaves off and he picks up. B+(***)

Giancarlo Vulcano: Unfinished Spaces (2011, Distant Second): Guitarist, from Manhattan, also plays synthesizers here. Second album I know of, both soundtracks. This one has something to do with the Cuban National Art Schools, Cuban culture and history. Twenty short pieces, small vignettes that avoid silence, filling in atmosphere, mood, occasionally a bit of movement. Strings, sax (Jim Bruening), trumpet (Laurie Krein), percussion (Dafnis Prieto!). B+(**)

Greg Ward's Phonic Juggernaut (2011, Thirsty Ear): Alto saxophonist, b. 1982, based in Chicago, has a previous record by Greg Ward's Fitted Shards. This is a sax trio with Joe Sanders on bass and Damion Reid on drums. Wrote all but one cover from Andrew Bird. Freebop, nicely constructed, not many surprises. B+(*) [advance]

Freddie Washington: In the Moment (2009, RFW): Electric bassist; AMG lists him as Freddie "Ready Freddie" Washington, and if you don't know that good luck. First and only album, although his side credits listing runs to three pages, starting in 1977 with Patrice Rushen and 1979 with Herbie Hancock. Mild-mannered bass-led groove pieces, emphasis on mild. Some background vocals but nothing hysterical. B

Wellstone Conspiracy: Humble Origins (2010 [2011], Origin): Second album under this group name, although there was one previous listing out the four artists: Brent Jensen (soprano sax), Bill Anschell (piano), Jeff Johnson (bass), and John Bishop (drums). The first three write pieces: 5 for Anschell, 2 for Johnson, 1 for Jensen; the other is a Lennon-McCartney piece, "Fixing a Hole." Mainstream group, with Jensen continuing to impress on soprano, and everyone contributing to the seductive flow. B+(***)

Kenny Werner with the Brussels Jazz Orchestra: Institute of Higher Learning (2010 [2011], Half Note): Pianist, b. 1951, has a wide range of records since 1979. This one is a big band using his compositions (plus trad favorite "House of the Rising Sun") and his arrangements. I haven't run into BJO before: AMG lists 4 albums, their website offers 13 since 1999 for sale. Directed by saxophonist Frank Vaganée, a standard-sized big band with guitar but no piano -- guitarist Peter Hertmans gets the first solo, a dandy. Dedicated to Bob Brookmeyer. Liner notes by Maria Schneider. B+(**)

Westchester Jazz Orchestra: Maiden Voyage Suite (2011, WJO): Conventional big band, directed and conducted by Mike Holober, founded in 2003 with Holober joining in 2007. Second album. I don't doubt the musicianship -- they're close enough to NYC they can draw some jazz names -- but Herbie Hancock's compositions don't grab me. B

Kenny Wheeler: One of Many (2006 [2011], CAM Jazz): With John Taylor and Steve Swallow, as the front cover notes, senior citizens of the avant-garde, taking it easy but not making it too easy. Wheeler plays flugelhorn the whole way, as has been his habit lately. Past 80 now, but this was done a few years back. B+(***)

Ben Williams: State of Art (2011, Concord Jazz): Bassist, electric as well as acoustic. Won a Monk prize which came with a Concord record deal, and this debut is the record. Annoying that I can't find cut-by-cut credits, since he shuttles horns in and out, has John Robinson rap on one piece, uses a string quartet elsewhere. This leans toward easy electronic grooves, with Gerald Clayton favoring the Fender Rhodes, and possibly the leader his electric bass, but they're friendly and rather fun, with Jaleel Shaw and/or Marcus Strickland picking up the level on sax. I'll even applaud Christian Scott's trumpet solo on "The Lee Morgan Story" -- not because it reminds me of Morgan so much as because the rap puts me in a good mood even though the story is tragic. Just hard to think of Morgan without smiling. B+(**) [Rhapsody]

Jeff Williams: Another Time (2010 [2011], Whirlwind): Drummer, b. 1950 in Ohio, studied at Berklee with Alan Dawson; joined Dave Liebman and Richie Beirach in 1973, has done steady work as a sideman, with a handful of albums under his own name. He wrote 5 of 8 pieces here, the other three one each from his two-horn quartet mates: Duane Eubanks (trumpet), John O'Gallagher (alto sax), John Hébert (bass). Postbop tone, draws on the avant-garde without really going there. B+(*)

Marty Williams: Long Time Comin' (2010 [2011], In Moon Bay): Standards singer, plays piano, based in Bay Area, website claims 10 albums but can't find him on AMG. Also says he's a "Apple Certified Logic Pro" -- don't know what that is but it could well pay better than music. Gritty, distinctive voice; doesn't sound like much at first but I found it gaining on me. Eclectic bunch of songs, including some that almost never work out well, like the Beatles' "Come Together," Jon Hendricks' vocalese to "Monk's Dream," Bobby Hebb's cheezy "Sunny," and he gets traction on most of them; the can't fail "Love for Sale," of course, but also "Falling in Love Again" and "The Look of Love" and even "Compared to What." B+(**)

Anthony Wilson: Seasons: Live at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (2011, Goat Hill): The title cut is a four-part song cycle commission for guitar quartet -- Steve Cardenas, Julian Lage, and Chico Pinheiro help out -- running Winter to Autumn. After that each guitarist gets a solo piece, then one last group piece. The quartets sound like soft solos to me, with a slight Spanish/classical feel. The solos have about half the presence. Didn't watch the DVD. B-

Gerald Wilson Orchestra: Legacy (2011, Mack Avenue): First glance at the title had me wondering why at 92 he's finally looking back, but the legacy he plumbs here is built on pilfering bits of Stravinsky, Debussy, and Puccini. In that he's as clever as ever, but the latter half holds more interest: a seven-part suite called "Yes, Chicago Is . . ." -- logically, this follows on from his marvellous Detroit suite. His Orchestra keeps swelling -- six reeds, six trumpets, more solo power than he can possibly use. B+(***) [Rhapsody]

Mark Winkler: Sweet Spot (2011, Cafe Pacific): Vocalist, 11th (or 10th) album since 1985; writes (or co-writes) about half of his material, including a self-deprecating piece about a lounge pianist dreaming of Rio (reprised here so there are both east and west coast versions). B+(*)

Woody Witt: Pots and Kettles (2010 [2011], Blue Bamboo Music): Tenor saxophonist (also plays some soprano), born in Omaha, studied at University of Houston and UNT, based in Houston, teaching at Houston Community College. Second album, quartet with pianist Gary Norian (who co-produced and wrote 5 of 10 songs, to Witt's 3, with two Eddie Harris covers), bass and drums, plus "special guest" Chris Cortez (guitar) on three tracks. Postbop, nice tone, elegant, graceful. B+(*)

Andrea Wolper: Parallel Lives (2011, Jazzed Media): Singer, AMG says b. 1950 (but I don't quite believe that), from California, based in New York, has three albums since 2005, two books (one called Women's Rights, Human Rights: International Feminist Perspectives). I had little to say about her previous album, but looking back at my notes I'm struck by the musicians she lined up -- Ron Affif on guitar, Victor Lewis on drums, Frank London on trumpet -- but this time even more so. In fact, her website has a daring quote from yours truly arguing that any album with bassist Ken Filiano and/or drummer Michael TA Thompson "is practically guaranteed to be superb." So she's hired Filiano and Thompson, added Kris Davis (whom I've praised repeatedly) on piano, and Michael Howell on guitar -- didn't know him, but he's a Kansas City guy, has a couple of long-forgotten 1970s records, was a sideman on Art Blakey's Buhaina and Dizzy Gillespie's Bahiana in 1973-75. She doesn't push this band very hard, but they are impossible to fault, with Howell proving to be a tasty soloist. Wolper wrote 3 of 12 songs, one more than Joni Mitchell, one from Buffy Sainte-Marie (maybe she is my age), only a couple safely wedged in the canonical songbook. Her originals are more interesting than the covers, and while she doesn't blow you away as a singer, she carries the songs. B+(***)

Andréa Wood: Dhyana (2010 [2011], Wood): Title is a Buddhist term (can't do the macron accent over the first 'a' using my chosen codeset); has something to do with reflection/serenity. Singer, first album; wrote 1 of 11 songs, added lyrics to a Wayne Shorter melody for another, arranged the rest. From Washington, DC, one of those "musical families" where she started piano at five (although others play here). Spent three years of her childhood in Prague. Studied at Michigan State and Manhattan School of Music. Nice voice on a straight standard -- "I Only Have Eyes for You" is seductive, for a while. Don't care for the two Brazilian arrangements (yes, one's a Jobim). B

Sam Yahel: From Sun to Sun (2010 [2011], Origin): Plays piano and organ -- probably has many more organ credits in his career than piano, but lists piano here first. Surprisingly little biography available on web -- even on his own website once I hacked through the Flash: moved to New York in 1990, played with a lot of people; seventh album, has about two dozen side credits, with Norah Jones and Joshua Redman prominent. Trio with Matt Penman on bass, Jochen Rueckert (aka Rückert) on drums. Piano is snappy and assured; organ slinky, which is about right. B+(**)

Yeahwon (2010, ArtistShare): Vocalist Yeahwon Shin, from South Korea ("suburbs of Seoul"), moved to New York to study at New School. First album: aside from one Korean folk song, everything else is Brazilian, sung in Portuguese, with Yeahwon co-credited on one piece with Egberto Gismonti. Core group is Ben Street (bass), Jeff Ballard (drums), and either Kevin Hays or Alon Yavnai (piano), with producer Sun Chung on guitar (6 of 11 cuts), with Mark Turner (tenor sax) and Rob Curto (accordion) on one cut each, Gismonti on the "Epilogue," and various percussionists. I can see the attraction, but not the point. B

Denny Zeitlin: Labyrinth: Live Solo Piano (2008 [2011], Sunnyside): Pianist, b. 1938, has a couple dozen records since 1964. Three of last four have been solo, which strikes me as too many but he's deep within his own distinctive style. B+(*)

Miguel Zenón: Alma Adentro: The Puerto Rican Songbook (2011, Marsalis Music): Alto saxophonist, MacArthur Fellowship genius, seventh album since 2002, third specifically targeting the music of his native Puerto Rico. Tremendous player, his sax repeatedly soaring above his fine quartet -- Luis Perdomo (piano), Hans Glawischnig (bass), and Henry Cole (drums). I'm less pleased with the 10-piece wind ensemble conducted by Guillermo Klein -- flutes, clarinets, oboe, bassoon, both French and English horns -- that sometimes broadens the sound sweep and sometimes just warbles in the interstices. B+(***) [download]

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. Agogic (2010 [2011], Tables and Chairs) B+(***)
  3. Aida Severo (2007 [2009], Slam) B+(***)
  4. Ralph Alessi and This Against That: Wiry Strong (2008 [2011], Clean Feed) B+(***)
  5. Scott Amendola Trio: Lift (2010, Sazi) B+(***)
  6. Lynne Arriale: Convergence (2010 [2011], Motéma) B+(***)
  7. Clint Ashlock Big Band: New Jazz Order (2008 [2011], self-released) B+(***)
  8. Michaël Attias: Twines of Colesion (2008 [2010], Clean Feed) B+(***)
  9. Omer Avital: Free Forever (2007 [2011], Smalls) B+(***)
  10. BassDrumBone: The Other Parade (2011, Clean Feed) B+(***)
  11. Bebop Trio (2011, Creative Nation Music) B+(***)
  12. The Louie Belogenis Trio: Tiresias (2008 [2011], Porter) B+(***)
  13. Tim Berne: Insomnia (1997 [2011], Clean Feed) B+(***)
  14. Tim Berne/Jim Black/Nels Cline: The Veil (2009 [2011], Cryptogramophone) B+(***)
  15. Carlos Bica + Matéria-Prima (2008 [2010], Clean Feed) B+(***)
  16. Ketil Bjørnstad: Remembrance (2009 [2010], ECM) B+(***)
  17. Jim Black/Trevor Dunn/Oscar Noriega/Chris Speed: Endangered Blood (2010 [2011], Skirl) B+(***)
  18. BLOB: Earphonious Swamphony (2010, Innova) B+(***)
  19. Dan Block: Plays the Music of Duke Ellington: From His World to Mine (2009 [2010], Miles High) B+(***)
  20. Jaki Byard: A Matter of Black and White: Live at the Keystone Korner, Vol. 2 (1978-79 [2011], High Note) B+(***)
  21. The Chris Byars Octet: Lucky Strikes Again (2010 [2011], SteepleChase) A-
  22. Marco Cappelli Acoustic Trio: Les Nuages en France (2010 [2011], Mode/Avant) B+(***)
  23. Ralph Carney's Serious Jass Project: Seriously (2011, Smog Veil) B+(***)
  24. Chaise Lounge: Symphony Lounge (2010, Big Round) B+(***)
  25. Bruno Chevillon/Tim Berne: Old and Unwise (2010 [2011], Clean Feed) B+(***)
  26. Contact: Five on One (2010, Pirouet) B+(***)
  27. The Cookers: Cast the First Stone (2010 [2011], Plus Loin Music) B+(***)
  28. Mirio Cosottini/Andrea Melani/Tonino Miano/Alessio Pisani: Cardinal (2009, Grimedia Impressus) B+(***)
  29. Alexis Cuadrado: Noneto Ibérico (2009 [2011], Bju'ecords) A-
  30. Claire Daly Quintet: Mary Joyce Project: Nothing to Lose (2011, Daly Bread) B+(***)
  31. Miles Davis Quintet: Live Europe 1967: Bootleg Vol. 1 (1967 [2011], Columbia/Legacy, 3CD+DVD) A-
  32. Ernest Dawkins' New Horizons Ensemble: The Prairie Prophet (2010 [2011], Delmark) A-
  33. De Nazaten & James Carter: For Now (2009 [2011], Strotbrocck) A-
  34. Carlo De Rosa's Cross-Fade: Brain Dance (2009 [2011], Cuneiform) A-
  35. Ismael Dueñas Trio: Jazz Ateu (2009 [2010], Quadrant) A-
  36. Hilario Duran Trio: Motion (2010, Alma) B+(***)
  37. Echoes of Swing: Message From Mars (2010 [2011], Echoes of Swing) B+(***)
  38. Peter Epstein & Idée Fixe: Abstract Realism (2008 [2010], Origin) B+(***)
  39. Ellery Eskelin Trio: New York (2011, Prime Source) A-
  40. Farmers by Nature [Gerald Cleaver, William Parker, Craig Taborn]: Out of This World's Distortions (2010 [2011], AUM Fidelity) B+(***)
  41. John Fedchock NY Sextet: Live at the Red Sea Jazz Festival (2008 [2010], Capri) B+(***)
  42. Jake Fryer/Bud Shank Quintet: In Good Company (2009 [2011], Capri) A-
  43. Dave Glasser: Evolution (2010, Here Tiz) B+(***)
  44. Gord Grdina Trio with Mats Gustafsson: Barrel Fire (2009 [2010], Drip Audio) A-
  45. Bob Greene: St. Peter Street Strutters (1964 [2009], Delmark) B+(***)
  46. Matt Herskowitz: Jerusalem Trilogy (2009-10 [2010], Justin Time) B+(***)
  47. Anne Mette Iversen Quartet: Milo Songs (2011, Bju'ecords) B+(***)
  48. Joan Jeanrenaud/PC Muñoz: Pop-Pop (2010, Deconet) B+(***)
  49. Darren Johnston's Gone to Chicago: The Big Lift (2010 [2011], Porto Franco) B+(***)
  50. Lee Konitz: Insight (1989-95 [2011], Jazzwerkstatt) B+(***)
  51. Ernie Krivda: Blues for Pekar (2011, Capri) B+(***)
  52. Matt Lavelle: Goodbye New York, Hello World (2009 [2011], Music Now!) A-
  53. Jerry Leake & Randy Roos: Cubist Live (2010 [2011], Rhombus Publishing) A-
  54. The David Liebman Trio: Lieb Plays the Blues à la Trane (2008 [2010], Challenge) B+(***)
  55. Jon Lundbom & Big Five Chord: Quavers! Quavers! Quavers! Quavers! (2011, Hot Cup) B+(***)
  56. Brian Lynch: Unsung Heroes (2008-09 [2011], Hollistic Music Works) B+(***)
  57. Maïkotron Unit: Ex-Voto (2011, Jazz From Rant) A-
  58. Rebecca Martin: When I Was Long Ago (2010, Sunnyside) B+(***)
  59. Alexander McCabe: Quiz (2009-10 [2010], CAP) A-
  60. Sebastiano Meloni/Adriano Orrù/Tony Oxley: Improvised Pieces for Trio (2008 [2010], Big Round) B+(***)
  61. Sei Miguel/Pedro Gomes: Turbina Anthem (2008 [2011], NoBusiness) B+(***)
  62. Moon Hotel Lounge Project: Into the Ojalá (2010 [2011], Frosty Cordial) A-
  63. New York Standards Quartet: Unstandard (2010 [2011], Challenge) B+(***)
  64. Nordic Connect: Spirals (2008 [2011], ArtistShare) B+(***)
  65. NY Jazz Initiative: Mad About Thad (2010 [2011], Jazzheads) B+(***)
  66. Other Dimensions in Music featuring Fay Victor: Kaiso Stories (2010 [2011], Silkheart) B+(***)
  67. Ivo Perelman Quartet: The Hour of the Star (2010 [2011], Leo) B+(***)
  68. Adam Pieronczyk: Komeda: The Innocent Sorcerer (2009 [2011], Jazzwerkstatt) A-
  69. Joshua Redman/Aaron Parks/Matt Penman/Eric Harland: James Farm (2011, Nonesuch) B+(***)
  70. Claire Ritter: The Stream of Pearls Project (2009-10 [2011], Zoning) A-
  71. Roswell Rudd: The Incredible Honk (2011, Sunnyside) B+(***)
  72. Bobby Sanabria: Tito Puente Masterworks Live!!! (2008 [2011], Jazzheads) B+(***)
  73. Adam Schroeder: A Handful of Stars (2010, Capri) B+(***)
  74. Serafin: Love's Worst Crime (2010, Serafin) B+(***)
  75. Tommy Smith: Karma (2010 [2011], Spartacus) A-
  76. Wadada Leo Smith's Organic: Heart's Reflections (2011, Cuneiform, 2CD) A-
  77. Terell Stafford: This Side of Strayhorn (2010 [2011], MaxJazz) B+(***)
  78. Starlicker: Double Demon (2011, Delmark) A-
  79. Kevin Tkacz Trio: It's Not What You Think (2007 [2008], Piece of Work of Art) B+(***)
  80. Walt Weiskopf Quartet: Recorded Live April 8, 2008 Koger Hall University of South Carolina (2008 [2011], Capri) B+(***)
  81. Ezra Weiss: The Shirley Horn Suite (2010 [2011], Roark) B+(***)
  82. Mort Weiss: Mort Weiss Meets Bill Cunliffe (2010 [2011], SMS Jazz) B+(***)
  83. Kenny Werner: Balloons (2010 [2011], Half Note) B+(***)
  84. Howard Wiley and the Angola Project: 12 Gates to the City (2008 [2010], HNIC Music) B+(***)
  85. Zed Trio: Lost Transitions (2009 [2010], Ayler) B+(***)