Streamnotes: February 28, 2017

For the second time in three months I let the calendar flip over before posting this column, then had to backdate the post to match the allotted month. I guess I can blame February for not having enough days. It's not like I don't have a full load of albums below.

Still, no time to write a proper introduction. A few 2017 releases this time, more list scrounging from 2016, even a few 2015 stragglers.

Most of these are short notes/reviews based on streaming records from Napster (formerly Rhapsody; other sources are noted in brackets). They are snap judgments based on one or two plays, accumulated since my last post along these lines, back on January 28. Past reviews and more information are available here (9286 records).

Recent Releases

Rez Abbasi & Junction: Behind the Vibration (2015 [2016], Cuneiform): Pakistani-American guitarist, has dabbled in South Asian (and African) projects but much of his work is squarely within the jazz mainstream. Quartet with Mark Shim (tenor sax, midi wind-controller), Ben Stivers (keyboards, organ), and Kenny Grohowski (drums) -- a combo which hints of soul jazz without sinking into blues. B+(**) [bc]

Africans With Mainframes: K.M.T. (2016, Soul Jazz): Hieroglyphic Being (Jamal Moss) and Nolelan Reusse, first full-length album, title stands for Kemetic Modulating Textures (although Napster calls it Soul Jazz Records Presents Africans . . . -- I don't see K.M.T. on the cover). This is considered Chicago acid house. As Andy Beta wrote of Moss, "for every CD-R of synth squalls there is another full of manic drum machine polyrhythms." He brings his whole kit together here. A-

Oren Ambarchi: Hubris (2016, Editions Mego): Guitarist, percussionist, born in Australia, roots Iraqi Jewish, has fifty-some records since 1998. One piece split into three parts: a fast, complex drumbeat with distorted guitar, an impressive trick that deserves to run on for 40 minutes. A-

Angles 9: Disappeared Behind the Sun (2016 [2017], Clean Feed): Alto/tenor saxophonist Martin Küchen's nonet: three brass (notably Magnus Broo), a second sax (Eirik Hegdal on baritone), piano-bass-drums plus Mattias Ståhl on vibes. A powerhouse group but they seem to have trouble keeping in sync here -- can amaze when they do hold it together. B+(**) [cd] [Later: A-]

A$AP Ferg: Always Strive and Prosper (2016, Polo Grounds/RCA): Darold D. Brown Ferguson Jr., like others in the A$AP Mob collective adapted his name accordingly. Second album, packed with cameos without sounding overripe. B+(**)

Autolux: Pussy's Dead (2016. 30th Century/Columbia): LA-based shoegaze group, previous albums in 2004 and 2010 so they're not rushing things. On Danger Mouse's label, produced by Boots. Aesthetic summed up in lyric: "it's so so sad to be happy all the time." B+(***)

Ballister: Slag (2015 [2017], Aerophonic): Avant-sax trio, Dave Rempis (alto/tenor sax) out front, backed by Fred Lonberg-Holm (cello, electronics) and Paal Nilssen-Love (drums). First piece stormed out of the gate, so harsh and loud I had to turn it down to appreciate the drumming. Two more varied pieces followed, adding up to over an hour. B+(*) [bc]

Heather Bambrick: You'll Never Know (2016 [2017], self-released): Canadian standards singer, sixth album since 2003 (plus one as The Beehive Singers). Backed by piano, guitar, bass and drums, with splashes of trumpet and sax. As good as her songs; e.g., "Get Happy" does the trick. B+(**) [cd]

William Basinski: A Shadow in Time (2017, Temporary Residence): Avant-garde composer, works in electronics, has a couple dozen albums since 1998 and has developed a crossover following -- probably a subject for further research (I've only heard one previous album). Two pieces, 20:19 and 22:59, rather dense and a bit ponderous. B

Beans on Toast: Rolling Up the Hill (2015, Xtra Mile): English singer-songwriter Jay McAllister, a folkie more in the American mold of low budget songsters pursuing their political calling -- which in his case includes traveling and singing and drinking. One song calls for the return of Robin Hood ("we need to take what's rightfully ours"), but more typical is his commune where "a lot of nice people being nice to each other/a lot of fun people having fun with each other/a lot of good people being good to each other." A-

Beans on Toast: A Spanner in the Works (2016, Xtra Mile): He's released a record like clockwork every December 1 since 2009, which seems a bit too regular for something involving creativity. Indeed, he comes up somewhat short this time, the melodies suffering more than the outrage, since lord knows 2016 didn't lack for things to take offense at. B+(**)

Bentcousin: Bentcousin (2016, Team Love): Brighton [UK] band, twins Amelia and Pat Innit, "magically born a decade apart" (means in different decades, as their birth straddled the midnight between 1989 and 1990). Both sing, her backing heling him out. Light, folksy pop, even on "F*ck the Queen." B+(**)

Dierks Bentley: Black (2016, Capitol Nashville): Nashville star, ninth album, first two major label releases went platinum, four more gold, this his poorest selling album still briefly topped the country charts (his sixth album to do so). Going through the motions, co-wrote some of the songs, got the usual Nashville production, gave Maren Morris and Trombone Shorty guest shots. B

Gianni Bianchini: Type I (2016 [2017], self-released): Pianist-singer, web bio not very forthcoming but this was recorded in Austin, TX, where he's been known to teach (also in Quito, Ecuador). He plays three fast ones, then slows down and sings a ballad, then goes back and forth, the piano vibrant, the vocals (including one by Karen Tennison) not half bad. B+(**)

Joe Bourne: Upbeat and Sweet (2016 [2017], Summit): Fairly nondescript singer, skips the usual standards in favor of a batch of mostly '60s-'70s pop hits, selected with an unerring knack for things I never wanted to hear again, least of all sung by him -- e.g., "Magic Carpet Ride," "Heartache Tonight," "Just Like a Woman," "You've Got a Friend," "Don't Stop," "Wonderful Tonight." C [cd]

Chris Byars: Two Fives (2014 [2015], SteepleChase): Saxophonist, plays alto here but first distinguished himself on tenor, always a bebop purist, has done several tribute albums of late, this one starts with five originals, then five covers ("Danny Boy" the odd and weakest choice). Sextet: Stefano Doglioni (bass clarinet), John Mosca (trombone), Pasquale Grasso (guitar), Ari Roland (bass), Stefan Schatz (drums). Slippery and elegant. B+(**)

Chris Byars: The Music of Frank Strozier (2015 [2017], SteepleChase): Tribute to another alto saxophonist, b. 1937, still alive, cut a few albums 1960-62, and two more 1976-77 for Danish label SteepleChase. Septet, adding James Byars' oboe to the sextet above. All Strozier tunes, arranged by Byars, who like Strozier plays some flute. B+(**)

Laura Cannell: Simultaneous Flight Movement (2016, Brawl): British violinist, seven or eight records, one in 1997, the rest since 2012. This is solo, some recorder, not much jazz feel so somewhere between abstract folk and avant-classical? B+(*)

Loyle Carner: Yesterday's Gone (2017, AMF): British rapper, father "of Guyanese descent," first record, nothing exciting, although the title tune is catchy and I could imagine it done skiffle. B

The CCM Jazz Orchestra as James Bond: Nobody Does It Better (2013 [2017], Summit): CCM stands for College Conservatory of Music, part of the University of Cincinnati. They have a previous album called In Search of Garaj Mahal, where they cover music from the world fusion jam band. Seemed like a pretty bogus idea, but then I saw Steven Bernstein got a "featuring" credit (also credit for six of eight arrangements. The result isn't exactly Sex Mob Does Bond (a real title, from 2001): it's grander and grosser than that, with all the baggage a true big band can throw at music that deserves such treatment, if it deserves any at all. B+(**) [cd]

Chook Race: Around the House (2016, Trouble in Mind): Australian band, a dash of jangle pop in the alt-rock universe. B+(*)

City Yelps: Half Hour (2016, Odd Box): Garage punk trio from Leeds. Don't understand a word, but can't complain about the energy. B+(*)

Kweku Collins: Nat Love (Closed Sessions): Young (age 19) rapper from Evanston, Illinois, first album after an EP, goes for a dense rhythmic roll rather than a lot of words. B+(*)

CP Unit: Before the Heat Death (2016 [2017]. Clean Feed): Quartet: Chris Pitsiokos (alto sax), Brandon Seabrook (electric guitar), Tim Dahl (electric bass), Weasel Walter (drums). Basically post-rock, post-industrial fusion, less harsh than some of Seabrook's own albums, better beat too, and the sax sharpens the leads. Short at 29:01, but makes up for that in intensity. B+(***) [cd]

Allison Crutchfield: Tourist in This Town (2017, Merge): Singer-songwriter, solo debut after fronting Swearin' and earlier co-founding P.S. Eliot (with sister Katie, who went on to Waxahatchee). B+(**)

Tim Daisy: October Music Vol. 2: 7 Compositions for Duet (2016, Relay): Chicago avant drummer, composed seven pieces, each played with a different duet partner: Andrew Clinkman (guitar), Mars Williams (soprano sax), Fred Lonberg-Holm (cello/electronics), Ryan Packard (drums), Russ Johnson (trumpet), Aaron Zarzutzki (synthesizer), and Clark Sommers (bass). Gets something distinctive out of each. While the first three can be scratchy, the finale (where Daisy plays marimba and turntable) is almost pretty. B+(**) [bc]

Carla dal Forno: You Know What It's Like (2016, Blackest Ever Black): Singer-songwriter, from Australia, based in Berlin, mostly electronics. "The vocal-led pieces are interspersed with richly evocative instrumentals, like Eno's Another Green World reimagined in shades of brown and blue." In other words, much less appetizing, but not without interest. And short: eight cuts, 29:18. B+(*)

Death Grips: Bottomless Pit (2016, Third Worlds/Harvest): Thrash noise band that passes for hip-hop because they rap, probably because they'd have trouble keeping up singing. Over a handful of albums since 2011, they've moved from interesting to annoying to possesing a unique and vigorous sound, one I'm getting acclimated to. B+(*)

Jon De Lucia Group: As the River Sings (2014 [2017], Fresh Sound New Talent): New York-based saxophonist, originally from Massachusetts, plays alto sax, alto clarinet, clarinet, flute, and ruri box here, leading a quartet with electric guitar (Greg Ruggiero), acoustic bass (Chris Tordini), and drums (Tommy Crane). Nice tone and flow. B+(***) [cdr]

Olegario Diaz: Aleph in Chromatic (2015 [2016], SteepleChase): Pianist from Velezuela, studied in America, discography dates from 1992, last four albums on this Danish mainstream label. Mostly originals, formally postbop but with an extra percussionist (Nené Quintero), Alex Sipiagin flashy on trumpet, Bobby Franceschini versatile on tenor sax and flute. B+(**)

Élage Diouf: Melokáane (2015, Pump Up the World): From Senegal, born El Hadji Fall Diouf, toured as half of the Diouf Brothers before settling in Montreal and going solo. The fast ones remind me of N'Dour or Ade, and while he's certainly not in their league, he can sweep you away. A-

DJ Diamond: Footwork or Die (2016, |Duck N' Cover): Chicago DJ Karlis Griffin, third or fourth album. Maybe I'm confused but doesn't the concept behind footwork have something to do with moving one's feet? Lines repeat, squiggles intervene, beats pretty static. B-

Dvsn: Sept. 5th (2016, OVO Sound/Warner Brothers): Canadian r&b duo, singer Daniel Dayley and producer Anthony Paul Jefferies (dba Nineteen85). B+(*)

Mark Ernestus' Ndagga Rhythm Force: Yermande (2016, Ndagga): German DJ, owns a record store in Berlin that specializes in dub imports, released a couple previous albums with Senegalese drum collective Jeri-Jeri, this group growing out of that one. Not such an obvious "rhythm force," the drums mixed way down along with Mbene Diatta Seck's vocals -- yet somehow they draw you in. B+(**)

Bill Evans/Scottish National Jazz Orchestra: Beauty & the Beast (2011 [2016], Spartacus): Tommy Smith's main project for nearly a decade, although he takes a back seat here to the guest, who in turn leads on soprano rather than his usual tenor sax. Evans gained some recognition in the 1980s playing with Miles Davis, and has released twenty-some albums since, but I can't say as I've noticed him much. The piece itself was written by Smith, big band flourishes arrayed into a suite of seven parts. B+(**)

Factory Floor: 25 25 (2016, DFA): British duo, Gabriel Gurnsey (drum machines) and Nik Colk (guitar, electronics, machine-like vocals), aim at "post-industrial" -- I guess that means mechanics toned down to pastoral levels. Not much range but resonates with me. A-

Fantastic Negrito: The Last Days of Oakland (2016, Blackball Universe): Xavier Dphrepaulezz, father a Somali-Caribbean immigrant in Massachusetts, family moved to Oakland when he was 12. After an apprenticeship in drug dealing and robbery, he tried making his way as a musician, to much frustration until he won a prize at NPR for a video and wound up cutting this album of blues-funk -- probably best the straighter the blues, or the more they evoke Led Zeppelin. B+(***)

Nick Finzer: Hear & Now (2016 [2017], Outside In Music): Trombonist, at least one previous record, this a postbop sextet with Lucas Pino on tenor sax and bass clarinet, both guitar and piano, plus bass and drums. Bright and lively. B+(*) [cd]

The Flat Five: It's a World of Love and Hate (2016, Bloodshot): Billed as "a Chicago-based vocal super-group," the only name I recognize there is Kelly Hogan but maybe you'll have better luck: Nora O'Connor, Scott Ligon, Casey McDonough, Alex Hall. Very lightweight, sweet even. B-

Daniel Freedman: Imagine That (2016, Anzic): Drummer, New York native, first album, hornless quintet, the focus on worldly rhythm with Lionel Loueke (guitar), Jason Lindner (keyboards), Omer Avital (bass/oud), and Gitmar Gomes (percussion) -- perhaps the best showing I've heard from Loueke (although his vocals aren't exactly a plus). B+(***)

Satoko Fujii: Invisible Hand (2016 [2017], Cortez Sound, 2CD): One of the most prolific jazz pianists of the past two decades, lately it seems her piano has receded into her explosive big bands and odder avant-folk projects (where, among other things, she's distinguished herself on accordion). But this solo set -- two discs but only 87:33 -- is less a return to basics than a maturing reflection on her craft: where she used to get our attention with pyrotechnics, here she favors richly detailed melodies, and that works as well. A- [cd]

Joana Gama/Luís Fernandes/Richardo Jacinto: Harmonies (2016 [2017], Shhpuma): Portuguese pianist, unconventional trio with Jacinto on cello and both electronics. The music is "inspired" by Erik Satie, performed on his 150th anniversary, which may be reflected in its tight miniaturism, although its post-industrial aura is something else. B+(***) [cd]

Jean-Brice Godet: Lignes De Crêtes (2016 [2017], Clean Feed): Clarinet player, also credited with "radio, dictaphones," leads trio with Pascal Niggenkemper (double bass, objects) and Sylvain Darrifourcq (drums, percussion, zither). Four pieces: "No Border," "No Logo," "No God," "No Fear" -- a remarkable melange of sounds, though it takes some focus to catch them all. B+(***) [cd]

Frank Gratkowski/Alexey Kruglov/Simon Nabatov/Oleg Yudanov: Leo Records 35th Anniversary Moscow (2014 [2015], Leo): Russian emigré Leo Feigin established his avant-jazz label in London in 1979, and from the start had an inside track on the very underground jazz scene in Soviet Russia, most notably introducing the west the Ganelin Trio to the west. Three Russians in this quartet, two alto saxophonists, piano, and drums. Rough and rather angry, most emphatically the pianist. B+(*)

Josh Green & the Cyborg Orchestra: Telepathy & Bop (2016 [2017], self-released): A little short of a big band in the brass section (two each trumpet and trombone), five reeds less brassy too (two saxes, but bass clarinet instead of baritone; also flute and oboe, plus most double on clarinet), but the rhythm section adds accordion to guitar-piano-bass-drums, plus there's a string section. This gives the composer-arranger lots of options, and if you bother to listen closely enough you'll find lots of clever little details. B+(*) [cd]

Rich Halley/Carson Halley: The Wild (2015 [2017], Pine Eagle): Tenor saxophonist from Oregon, got my attention with his 2004 album Mountains and Plains and hasn't let up since. Duets with his drummer son bring his fierce creativity to the fore. A bit of otherworldly wood flute too. A- [cd]

The Hamilton Mixtape (2016, Atlantic): I limited my exposure to the Original Broadway Cast Recording, so never got caught up in Lin-Manuel Miranda's peculiar world. Indeed, I've long viewed Alexander Hamilton as a martinet who aspired to be Napoleon or at least one of his most trusted generals, so I have trouble picturing him as an abolitionist and champion of immigrants. Still, given that we now finally have a president as corrupt and vain as the villain of this play, Aaron Burr, I see some value in turning the tables. I should also note that freed from having to carry a narrative, Mixtape makes a fair case for some of the songs outlasting their context. B+(***)

Jesca Hoop: Memories Are Now (2017, Sub Pop): Singer-songwriter from California, seventh album since 2007, a name I've run across before but hadn't checked out. Reality-based (i.e., folk-ish), just not sure how well this reads as literature, but it impresses me musically, some pop hooks and rhythmic tricks, bits that sound like everyone from the Roches to Kate Bush and like no one else at all. A-

The Hotelier: Goodness (2016, Tiny Engines): Indie rock trio (guitar-bass-drums) from Worcester, MA. Third album, a little heavy on the drums and anguished in Christian Holden's vocals, but if you don't listen closely they sound a fair amount like Hold Steady. Cover art obscured by Napster, but no idea whether that's because nudity offends them, or it's just that the people naked aren't especially attractive. B+(*)

Injury Reserve: Live From the Dentist Office (2015, Las Fuegas): Hip-hop group from Tempe, Arizona, two rappers (Steppa J. Groggs and Ritchie With a T) and producer Parker Corey. First album. A bit scattered, although the most obvious titles ("Yo," "Wow") deliver the beats. B+(**) [sc]

Injury Reserve: Floss (2016, Las Fuegas): Arizona hip-hop trio, lead song is "Oh Shit!!!" and it makes for a pretty infectious sing-along. B+(***)

Kayo Dot: Plastic House on Base of Sky (2016, The Flenser): Experimental rock group from Boston, released their first album in 2003 on Tzadik and are up to ten now. This one topped one 2016 EOY list and was ignored by all the rest. Some kind of prog or psychedelia, time often uncertain, gloom and doom more common. B

Amirtha Kidambi/Elder Ones: Holy Science (2016, Northern Spy): Bandcamp page attributes this to the group, but the singer-songwriter's name appears first on the cover, in smaller print probably because it is longer. She has sung on several avant projects -- The Sound of Animals Fighting, Seven Teares, Darius Jones' The Oversoul Manual, Robert Ashley's Crash. Also plays harmonium here, with Matt Nelson (soprano sax), Brandon Lopez (bass), and Max Jaffe (drums). I know it takes considerable virtuosity to sing to such abstract music, and with that virtuosity comes operatic tics I can't stand, but it's semi-remarkable anyway. B+(*)

Dave King Trucking Company: Surrounded by the Night (2016, Sunnyside): Bad Plus/Happy Apple drummer, third album for this group: Eric Fratzke (guitar), Chris Morrissey (bass), Chris Speed (tenor sax/clarinet), Brandon Wozniak (tenor sax). Mostly postbop, but last cut rocks out. B+(**)

Kirk Knuffke/Jesse Stacken: Satie (2015 [2016], SteepleChase): Erik Satie is one of the few classical composers I've been able to listen to without wretching, partly, I'm sure, because I've never heard anything long or complicated -- mostly short piano miniatures. I suspect these cornet-piano duets take liberties, especially as I look at the timings. B

Kool A.D.: Official (2016, self-released, EP): Rapper Victor Vazquez, ex-Das Racist, releases albums in bunches -- I see ten releses for 2016, but this is the only one I've seen noticed elsewhere. Upbeat, cheerful, I guess they call that hyphy. Seven cuts, 26:20. B+(**) [bc]

Michel Lambert: Alom Mola (2016 [2017], Jazz From Rant): Canadian drummer, most often seen accompanying François Carrier, has a handful of records on his own. This one veers toward classical with its string quartet, but adds percussive roughness, lovely bits of piano (Alexandre Grogg) or sax (Michel Côté), and an intriguing vocal by Jeannette Lambert. B+(***) [cd]

Jihye Lee Orchestra: April (2016 [2017], self-released): Korean composer, studied at Berklee and is based in Boston, composed this to commemorate the 2014 Sewol ferry disaster. She leads a 28-piece orchestra made up of Berklee faculty -- can't read the fine print, but Sean Jones is featured (flugelhorn), and Lee is credited with voice (although I can't say as I noticed). Hype sheet describes this as "lavish, heart-wrenching inspiration" -- not my idea of a recommendation. B- [cd]

Okkyung Lee & Christian Marclay: Amalgam (2014 [2016], Northern Spy): Cello and turntables, one long (36:20) cut, the electronics even squeakier than the cello. B

Jens Lekman: Life Will See You Now (2016, Secretly Canadian): Swedish singer-songwriter, fourth album, has developed into quite the melodist -- reminds me of Paul Simon, both in his skill level and how derivative it all seems, although he could still pick up some rhythmic tricks. He doesn't annoy me like Simon -- seems like a nice, fairly well adjusted guy -- but I also find him easier to be indifferent about. B+(***)

Daniel Levin Quartet: Live at Firehouse 12 (2016 [2017], Clean Feed): Cellist, lines up a neat little chamber jazz quartet here with viola (Mat Maneri), bass (Torbjörn Zetterberg), with no drums but a splash of vibes (Matt Moran). B+(**) [cd]

James Brandon Lewis Trio: No Filter (2016, BNS Sessions): Tenor saxophonist, has a couple impressive albums on a major label, goes low rent here, just bass (Luke Stewart) and drums (Warren Trae Crudup III) to highlight his leads. But then he adds a little rap and scat, the former showing promise, the latter squandering it. B+(**)

Brian Lynch: Madera Latino (2012 [2016], Hollistic MusicWorks, 2CD): Subtitled "A Latin Jazz Interpretation on the Music of Woody Shaw." Trumpet player, has a strong Latin Jazz résumé, draws the support of eight additional trumpet players for this project -- scattered about, but (for example) the opener features Dave Douglas, Etienne Charles, and Diego Urcola. The band consists of the Curtis brothers, Zaccai (piano) and Luques (bass), plus a tag team of up to four percussionists (Pedrito Martinez, Little Johnny Rivero, and Anthony Carrilo on that first cut, but Obed Calvaire plays drums on most of the rest). The rhythm rarely reaches a rolling boil, but this is really a feast for trumpet(s). B+(***)

Martha: Blisters in the Pit of My Heart (2016, Dirtnap): Indie power pop band from County Durham in the north of England, Housemartins territory, self-described as "queer, vegan, and anarchist." Second album, not sure the politics are sharp and clear enough (certainly not up to Housemartins standards), but as group rock goes probably the best I've heard since Parquet Courts. A-

Mark Masters Ensemble: Blue Skylight (2015-16 [2017], Capri): Arranger, runs a non-profit called American Jazz Institute, has recorded close to a dozen albums built on various songbooks from Duke Ellington to Steely Dan. Here he turns his attention to Charles Mingus and Gerry Mulligan with a skeletal 7- or 9-piece big band (four saxes both ways, plus trumpet and trombone on 5/11 cuts. B+(**) [cd]

Chelsea McBride's Socialist Night School: The Twilight Fall (2016 [2017], Browntasaurus): Young (age 24) Toronto composer-conductor-tenor saxophonist, runs a 19-piece big band prominently featuring singer Alex Samaras. Impressed by the music, including a bit built around electric guitar/keyb/bass. Much less so the singer/songs. B+(*) [cd]

Leyla McCalla: A Day for the Hunter, a Day for the Prey (2016, Jazz Village): Folksinging cellist, born in New York, parents Haitian, former member of Carolina Chocolate Drops, second album, some songs in French or Haitian Creole. B+(**)

Cass McCombs: Mangy Love (2016, Anti-): Singer-songwriter from California, ninth album since 2003. Good natured, competent, not especially interesting. B

Merso: Red World (2016, Good to Die): Seattle "dusky post rock quartet," Tristan Sennholz plays guitar and sings. Cover looks prog, and they run the title cut on for 20:49, but it holds up fine. Should also note The Bernie Sanders 2016 EP, actually a two-cut single they released during the primary season. B+(**)

Billy Mintz: Ugly Beautiful (2015 [2017], Thirteenth Note, 2CD): Drummer, started out on avant albums with Vinny Golia, this is more mainstream, a sprawling project which shows many facets. Two tenor saxes (John Gross and Tony Malaby), Roberta Piket on piano and Hilliard Greene on bass, plus guest alto sax on one track. B+(**) [cd]

Moksha: The Beauty of an Arbitrary Moment (2016, Jazzland): Norway-based trio -- Oddrun Lilja Jonsdottir (guitar) does most of the writing, with percussionists Sanskriti Shrestha (tabla, bulbul tarang, voice) and Tore Flatjord (darbuka, djembe, shaker, dhol) -- debut album. Mostly Indian rhythms, the guitar works similar to a sitar. B+(*)

Donny Most: Mostly Swinging (2016 [2017], Summit): Small-time actor, had a cast role on Happy Days, has lately retooled himself into a Sinatra-esque saloon singer -- actually, his "My Darling Clementine" reminds me more of Bobby Darin, but I'm admitting he's credible, the band is big and brassy (Wayne Bergeron leads the trumpets, although they packed in a string section for good measure). B+(**) [cd]

Mostly Other People Do the Killing: Loafer's Hollow (2016 [2017], Hot Cup): Since Peter Evans left bassist Moppa Elliott's "bebop terrorist" quintet, their mischief has gravitating toward pre-bop (one hesitates to call it trad) jazz. And they've been picking up extra members: Ron Stabinsky at piano, Dave Taylor on bass trombone, Brandon Seabrook on banjo and electronics, and most notably Steven Bernstein on trumpet (with or without slide). A- [cd]

The MUH Trio [Roberto Magris/Frantisek Uhlir/Jaromir Helesic]: Prague After Dark (2016 [2017], JMood): Piano trio, bassist and drummer presumably picked up in Prague, although Uhlir came with two songs. Mostly Magris originals, but covers from Herbie Nichols and Don Pullen are telling, and add to a fine outing. B+(***) [cdr]

Tisziji Muñoz: Tathagata Guitar: Whisperings of Peace (2016, Anami Music): American guitarist, b. 1946 in Brooklyn, based in Schenectady, has many dozens of albums since 1978, could be a major SFFR. This one showed up in a EOY list, and I can't find any info or credits (although it seems to be stocked by dozens of retailers. With bass and drums, I think: three long pieces with ripping leads; still interesting in the middle piece when he lets up. B+(***)

Tisziji Muñoz: Heart Ground (2016, Anami Music): Another of the seven albums the guitarist released in 2016, this one adding John Medeski (on piano) to his rhythm section. While Medeski is fast and florid, that doesn't seem to help the guitar. B+(*)

Doug Munro and La Pompe Attack: The Harry Warren Songbook (2016 [2017], GotMusic): Guitarist, did a previous album called A Very Gypsy Christmas which suggests he's a Django Reinhardt acolyte. Group revolves through four sessions, including bass, sometimes violin, plus up to two more guitarists at any given time (four are credited, Howard Alden is the one you probably know). Picks through more than a dozen great songs, starting with "Lullaby of Birdland." B+(***) [cd]

Brad Myers & Michael Sharfe: Sanguinaria (Hopefulsongs) (2016 [2017], Colloquy): Guitar and bass, respectively, several variants each, percussion too. Mostly duo, but song songs have guests on drums and/or percussion. Intricate, pleasant, hopeful. B+(*) [cd]

Qasim Naqvi: Chronology (2016, New Amsterdam): Pakistani, based in Brooklyn where he plays drums in the avant-jazz piano trio Dawn of Midi, tries his hand at electronic music. Six cuts, no times given, strikes me as short. Uneventful too. B

Old 97's: Graveyard Whistling (2017, ATO): Rhett Miller's guitar band when he's not doing something solo, dating back to 1994, this album almost light and frothy, at least once you get past the Jesus/God songs and into "Irish Whiskey Pretty Girls." B+(***)

Oui' 3: Occupy Your Mind (2016 [2017], ITI): Quasi-fusion trio -- Billy Joe Wiseman (sitar, guitars, synth guitars), Lou Castro (fretted & fretless basses), Jim Xavier (drums) -- everyone sings some. Long suit is groove, making this listenable but not very interesting. B [cd]

Keith Oxman: East of the Village (2016 [2017], Capri): Tenor saxophonist, leads a trio with Jeff Jenkins on organ and Todd Reid on drums. Basically a soul jazz move, mostly bright and upbeat. B+(**) [cd]

Jason Palmer: Beauty 'N' Numbers: The Sudoku Suite (2015 [2016], SteepleChase): Trumpet player, leads a quartet with guitar (Mike Moreno), bass, and drums through 16 named sections, adding up to 75:76. Nice trumpet, nicely set up. B+(**)

Hannah Peel: Awake but Always Dreaming (2016, My Own Pleasure): Singer-songwriter from Northern Ireland, second album, electropop but rather glum. B

Florian Pellissier Quintet: Cap De Bonne Esperance (2016, Heavenly Sweetness): French pianist, discography goes back to 2006, fourth Quintet album, a standard alignment with trumpet, sax, bass, and drums. Fast ones boppish, slow ones seductive, throws in an uncredited vocal at the end ("What a Difference a Day Makes" -- a nice touch. B+(**)

Luis Perdomo: Spirits and Warriors (2016, Criss Cross): Venezuelan pianist, well established in Latin jazz but this is a pretty straightforward hard bop lineup: Alex Sipiagin (trumpet/flugelhorn), Mark Shim (tenor sax/EWI), Ugonna Okegwo (bass), Billy Hart (drums). Title piece is an original six-part suite, followed by covers of Clifford Jordan and Hermeto Pascoal. B+(**)

Awa Poulo: Poulo Warali (2016 [2017], Awesome Tapes From Africa): From southwestern Mali, Fulani, a language/people which spans a stretch of the sub-Saharan Sahel from Guinea to Nigeria. B+(**)

Noah Preminger: Meditations on Freedom (2016 [2017], self-released): Tenor saxophonist, has made a strong impression since his 2008 debut, leads a two-horn quartet here with Jason Palmer getting a lot of lead space on trumpet. Covers from Dylan, Sam Cooke, George Harrison and Bruce Hornsby, along with originals with titles like "We Have a Dream," "Women's March," "The 99 Percent," "Broken Treaties." B+(***) [cd]

Primal Scream: Chaosmosis (2016, First International/Ignition): Scottish band, founded in 1982. I've never heard their early albums, which I guess were something else, but from 1997's Vanishing Point on they've been an electropop band, indeed one that sounds like it came out of the 1980s, not as much fun as the Pet Shop Boys but a good deal deeper than Duran Duran. B+(**)

Quantic Presenta Flowering Inferno: 1000 Watts (2016, Tru Thoughts): Will Holland, DJ born in England, based in New York after several years in Colombia, has twenty albums under various aliases, this the third as Flowering Inferno, some sort of reggae/dub concept, slightly removed. Mostly instrumentals, pretty enjoyable; occasional vocals, like the title song, work too. B+(**)

Renegades of Jazz: Moyo Wangu (2016, Agogo): Led by David Hanke, German, spent childhood years in Tanzania. Starts closer to Africa, but in the end turns into little more than a good groove. B+(***)

The Reunion Project: Veranda (2016 [2017], Tapestry): Names listed on the front cover: Tiago Costa (piano), Edu Ribeiro (drums), Bruno Migotto (bass), Chico Pinheiro (guitar), Felipes Salles (tenor and soprano sax, flute, clarinet, bass clarinet), all Brazilians (though at least the best known ones, Pinheiro and Salles, have Boston connections). All contribute songs (as does Jerome Kern). Relaxed, sinuous beat with slinky guitar and tasteful sax. B+(**) [cd]

Stephen Riley & Peter Zak: Haunted Heart (2014 [2015], SteepleChase): Tenor saxophonist, mainstream, has recorded on SteepleChase since 2005, paired here with the pianist for bare bones duets. Riley blows softly, almost a whisper, containing the intimacy, which the piano complements nicely. B+(**)

Stephen Riley/Peter Zak: Deuce (2014 [2017], SteepleChase): More tenor sax/piano duets, recorded the same time as their previous Haunted Heart, this time working a few originals (three Riley, one Zak) into the standards mix. Riley may be the softest tenor I've ever heard, but the understated approach works, especially warming up a standard like "Without a Song." B+(***)

Carrie Rodriguez: Lola (2016, Luz): Singer-songwriter, born in Texas (as was her father, folksinger David Rodriguez), cut some records with Chip Taylor then moved on to a solo career. Mexican roots, of course, which she indulges in more than usual this time. B+(*)

Roosevelt: Roosevelt (2016, City Slang): Marius Lauber, German electropop singer-songwriter, constructs wry songs with lush synths. B+(*)

The Sadies: Northern Passages (2017, Yep Roc): Country-ish band from Toronto, been around since the mid-1990s. Memorable song title: "God Bless the Infidels." Forgettable guest star: Kurt Vile. B+(*)

Sampha: Process (2017, Young Turks): Sampha Sisay, born in London, original singer in SBTRKT, first album after two EPs. Somewhere between trip hop and nu soul, evidently very fashionable -- album has an 86 score at Metacritic -- although most of it slips right past me. B+(*)

Sao Paulo Underground: Cantos Invisiveis (2016, Cuneiform): Sister city group, shares Rob Mazurek (cornet, keyboards, percussion) with Chicago Underground, the locals being Mauricio Takara (mostly drums), Guilherme Granado (mostly keyboards), and Thomas Rohrer (rabeca, flutes, soprano sax, electronics, percussion). Dense, complex, intensely rhythmic, closer to hip-hop than to MPB but even that's a stretch. B+(**) [dl]

Scarcity of Tanks: Ringleader Lies (2016, Total Life Society): Cleveland postpunk group, 7th album since 2008, actually a rather massive effort with 22 songs (5 topping 4 minutes, the longest an unpunkish 5:56) and (even more unpunklike) 17 musicians on the credits list (mostly guitar-bass-drums, a couple keyboards, a bit of violin, some percussion -- recognizable names include Nels Cline, Lee Ranaldo, and Mike Watt). Still sounds punkish. B+(**)

Luke Sellick: Alchemist (2016 [2017], Cellar Live): Bassist, from "the rich and eclectic musical climate of Winnipeg, Canada," after a spell at Juilliard currently based in "Harlem, NYC." Relaxed, friendly postbop, with Andrew Renfroe on guitar, either of two drummers, and a rotating horde of horn players (tenor saxophonist Jimmy Greene probably the best known). B+(**) [cd]

Skee Mask: Shred (2016, Ilian Tape): DJ/producer from Munich, Germany, has managed thus far to keep his name private. First album after a couple singles, basically just sketchy rhythm tracks, slight variances in gloss. Still works fine. B+(**)

Tommy Smith Youth Jazz Orchestra: Effervescence (2016 [2017], Spartacus): Big band, a project of the Scottish tenor saxophonist, playing repertoire from Woody Herman and Dizzy Gillespie to Chick Corea, a very "youth jazz" thing to do. Smith isn't listed among the saxophonists, but as director and producer. B+(**)

Snakehips: All My Friends EP (2016, Sony Music, EP): British electronica duo, Oliver Lee and James Carter, second EP (four cuts, 13:34), shows off some impressive friends: Tinashe, Chance the Rapper, Anderson .Paak, Malika, Tory Lanez. Songs have some depth and resonance, too. B+(***)

Snakehips: Forever (Pt. II) EP (2015, Sony Music, EP): First EP, also four cuts, 14:37, makes a case for their electronic swish and song craft but the featured vocalists are less than famous: Kaleem Taylor, SYD, Sasha Keable, Daniella T.A.O.L. B+(*)

Sneaks: Gymnastics (2016, Merge, EP): DC group, singer Eva Moolchan, bass and drum machine, minimalist postpunk without anger or frenzy or even much flash, compressing ten songs into a rather satisfying 13:45. B+(*)

Dele Sosimi Meets Prince Fatty & Nostalgia 77: You No Fit Touch Am in Dub (2016, Wah Wah 45s): Afrobeat keyboardist, born in London, parents Nigerian, played with Fela (1979-86) and his successors, his 2015 album forming the base for this live dub remix. B+(**)

Dele Sosimi: You No Fit Touch Am (2015, Wah Wah 45s): The previous year's album: hold the dub echo, bring the guitar and horns forward, you're squarely in Afrobeat territory, even if the songs only run 6:10-9:04. Tuneful, political, learned a lot working with the Kuti clan. B+(***)

Hiromi Suda: Nagi (2015 [2017], BluJazz): Japanese singer, based in New York, third album, wrote six (of thirteen) songs, the rest Brazilian including two Jobims and one Veloso. The latter dominate the album, no small thanks to guitarist Romero Lubambo, with Anne Drummond (flute), Julian Shore (piano), bass and drums helping out. B+(*) [cd]

Thee Oh Sees: A Weird Exits (2016, Castle Face): Rock band from San Francisco, dates back to 1997 although their early albums were released as OCS (which seems to have had several meanings). They have a dozen albums since 2008, counting a sub-30-minute follow-up to this called An Odd Entrances. With its long instrumental jams and occasional whiffs of the SF bands who invented the genre, this probably qualifies as psychedelia. Easy to hear why they have a following, not that I'm so inclined. B+(*) [yt]

Throttle Elevator Music: IV (2014-16 [2016], Wide Hive): LA-based quintet, fourth album, can bounce between deep funk and avant noise, and are probably best when they do both. Bassist Matt Montgomery writes the songs, guitarist Gregory Howe produces, both occasionally play keyboards, but most notable are the horns: Erik Jekabson (trumpet, flugelhorn) and superstar Kamasi Washington (sax). B+(**)

Throttle Elevator Music: Retrorespective (2016 [2017], Wide Hive): Expecting a compilation -- not a bad idea given saxophonist Kamasi Washington's recent breakout stardom -- but the cover actually notes "New Songs From" and re-reading the title uncovered a twist. Group gets a new drummer (Thomas McCree) and adds guitarist Ava Mendoza, but more importantly they open up the throttle on the horns. B+(***)

Tinariwen: Elwan (2016, Anti-): From northeast Mali, which is to say the vast Saharan heartland, though they've long since moved on, finding a convivial desert studio in California near Joshua Tree National Park, convenient for various semi-famous musicians (only one I recognize is Kurt Vile) to drop in and dissolve into what's more than ever trance music. Hard to differentiate among their eight albums, but this one lacks the frenzy I recall, yet doesn't suffer for that. A-

Trouble Kaze: June (2016 [2017], Circum-Disc): Kaze was a Satoko Fujii project, with Natsuki Tamura (trumpet), Christian Pruvost (trumpet), and Peter Orrins (drums), with three albums together. This group doubles up on piano (Sophie Agnel) and drums (Didier Lasserre) as well as trumpet, and sounds like someone is mixing some electronics in. Joint credits, five untitled parts. I find the long sub-audible stretches annoying, but the noise (when it appears) isn't without merit. B+(*) [cd]

Yves Tumor: Serpent Music (2016, Pan): Sean Bowie, raised in Tennessee, based in Turin, Italy, second album, electronica that undulates suggestively, unable to get up and dance. B+(*)

Baron Tymas: Montréal (2015 [2017], Tymasmusic): Guitarist, third album, grooveful, Joshua Rager's piano adds to the lushness, guest vocal doesn't help, guest trumpet does. B+(*)

Ryley Walker: Golden Sings That Have Been Sung (2016, Dead Oceans): Singer-songwriter from Rockford, IL -- I keep forgetting that because he regularly scores much higher on British EOY lists. But then I also file him under folk, probably because of his first label (Tompkins Square) and that's clearly wrong, even if his songcraft is rooted in realism. Album ends with a 41:01 live version of "Sullen Mind" which sounds closer to jazz (excluding the rare vocals but with a noise crackup). Probably best to treat the latter as a free bonus (it fills up sides 3 & 4 of the LP). B+(*)

David Weiss & Point of Departure: Wake Up Call (2015 [2017], Ropeadope): Trumpet player, a postbop figure the New Jazz Composers Octet but a hard bopper with the Cookers, fourth album with Point of Departure although the band has no constants other than the leader, and the tenor sax (Myron Walden or JD Allen) and one of the guitar slots (Travis Reuter or Nir Felder) are split here -- Ben Eunson evidently plays throughout, and his blistering solo on the opener sets the pace, which remains torrid throughout. In fact, front cover is illustrated with guitar and trumpet, so that seems to be the concept. A- [cd]

The XX: I See You (2017, Young Turks): Most sources lowercase xx, although typographically the albums always looked to use multiplication signs if you want to get pedantic about it. Looks close enough to uppercase for me. Tough for me to judge: the hooks slip in with barely a notice, aside from one song ("On Hold") which will wind up among the year's most surefire hits. A-

Peter Zak: Standards (2014 [2016], SteepleChase): Pianist, from Ohio, based in New York, has about a dozen albums since 1989, this a trio with Jay Anderson (bass) and Billy Drummond (drums), playing ten standards. B+(*)

Recent Reissues, Compilations, Vault Discoveries

African Head Charge: Return of the Crocodile (1981-85 [2016], On-U Sound): Adrian Sherwood dub project, "unreleased tracks and version excursions" between their debut (My Life in a Hole in the Ground) and their best known (Off the Beaten Path). Mostly trivia, but "Low Protein Snack" is a choice cut. B+(**)

Bitori: Legend of Funana: The Forbidden Music of the Cape Verde Islands (1997 [2016], Analog Africa): Victor Tavares, who left Cabo Verde in the 1950s for Sao Tomé & Principe and returned in 1997 with an accordion, reviving a Cabo Verdean style that had been banned by the Portuguese colonial rulers. B+(***)

J Dilla: The Diary (2001-02 [2016], Mass Appeal/Pay Jay): James Yancey, died in 2006 at age 32 (thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura), better known as producer than rapper, although he raps on these tracks, meant to be his mainstream debut. Not sure how much was released at the time -- certainly the single "Fuck the Police," which comes with (but doesn't quite earn) a disclaimer. B+(*)

Doing it in Lagos: Boogie, Pop & Disco in 1980's Nigeria (1979-84 [2016], Soundway, 2CD): Uncertain about the years, but that's all the label talks about online. Deep dumpster diving, 21 artists and tracks I've never heard of, the fad of the moment being to mimic American pop, with Peter Abdul doing an amusing Michael Jackson. The disco is pretty mediocre, but this gets more interesting when they start tuning into P-Funk (e.g., Rik Asikpo's "Too Hot"). B

Anna Homler and Steve Moshier: Breadwoman & Other Tales (1985-93 [2016], RVNG Intl): Homler is a performance artist. She developed her Breadwoman character -- a face covered with a loaf of bread -- in 1982, and used it for her first album. Moshier is a composer, mostly working in Liquid Skin Ensemble. Hard to pin this down, a bit like Laurie Anderson only less witty, not to mention less catchy. B+(**)

Arthur Lipner: Two Hands One Heart: Best of Arthur Lipner (1990-2014 [2017], Malletworks Media, 2CD): Vibraphonist, also plays marimba, picks through nine albums here, divided into "acoustic" and "electric" discs. The former is predictably lighter, skimming on its groove, the latter similar with a few more twists. Makes for a couple hours of more than pleasant listening. B+(**) [cd]

Meridian Brothers V: El Advenimiento Del Castillo Mujer (2005 [2016], Discrepant): Vinyl reissue of the Colombian group's first album, recorded in Copenhagen by "core member" Eblis Alvarez, "abstract folk music" sounding remarkably disjointed -- recommended especially to fans of Tom Zé. A-

New York Noise: Dance Music From the New York Underground 1977-1982 (1977-82 [2016], Soul Jazz): Starts roughly where Brian Eno's No New York sessions left off -- Contortions and Mars included here, plus a later cut by DNA's Arto Lindsay -- and follows as "no wave" bands edge closer to a dance pulse, still keep it close and subtle -- no one here wants to be mistaken for disco. B+(**)

Joe Newman Sextet: The Happy Cats (1956 [2016], Fresh Sound): Trumpet player from New Orleans, played with Lionel Hampton, Illinois Jacquet, and for 13 years Count Basie with a couple dozen albums leading his own small groups (while not straying far: one of the best was called The Count's Men). With Frank Wess (tenor sax/flute), Frank Rehak (trombone), Johnny Acea (piano), Eddie Jones (bass), and Connie Kay (drums), plus some extra tracks. Easy swing, maybe too easy. B+(*)

Senegal 70: Sonic Gems and Previously Unreleased Recordings From the 70s (1970s [2015], Analog Africa): In 2009 Adamantios Kafetzis trekked to Senegal with a machine to digitize music which Moussa Diallo had recorded over four decades in Thiès, yielding "300 Senegalese songs that nobody had ever heard before." Five made the cut here, along with some less obscure period bands. Trivia, sure, but picks up over the second half. B+(**)

Sky Girl (1961-91 [2016], Efficient Space): Compiled by two French DJs, Julien Dechery and DJ Sundae, with fifteen songs I've never heard of, plays like a soundtrack to a relationship movie that isn't bad so much as achingly normal. B+(*)

Old Music

Anthony Braxton: Quintet (London) 2004: Live at the Royal Festival Hall (2004 [2005], Leo): Playing "Composition 343" (if you're counting), with Taylor Ho Bynum (trumpet), Mary Halvorson (guitar), Chris Dahlgren (bass), and Satoshi Takeishi (percussion). Took some extra volume to bring out the details, and most of what's interesting here is detail, as the piece doesn't exactly move. B+(**)

Anthony Braxton: Quartet (Moscow) 2008 (2008, Leo): Appears on Napster as Composition 367b, which is indeed the title of the main (70:04) piece, followed by a short (3:-1) "Encore." With Taylor Ho Bynum (cornet to valve trombone), Katherine Young (bassoon), and Mary Halvorson (electric guitar). Three horns skews the balance, especially as the guitar gets little solo space. The sort of abstraction that makes his compositions so difficult, with occasional flashes of the chops which can make them exciting. B+(**)

Avishai Cohen's Triveni: Dark Nights (2014, Anzic): Trumpet player from Israel, brother of Anat Cohen, not the bassist, probably has ten albums so far in various groups, this the third Triveni. Core group a trumpet trio with Omer Avital (bass) and Nasheet Waits (drums) although three tracks have guests: two each for Anat Cohen (clarinet) and Gerald Clayton (keyboards). Covers include "Goodbye Pork Pie Hat," "Lush Life," and with a Keren Ann vocal, "I Fall in Love Too Easily." B+(**) [bc]

James Luther Dickinson: Dixie Fried (1972, Atlantic): Memphis blues-rocker, died in 2009, Christgau liked (a little) his late albums but never weighed in on his debut (and only album up to 1997), expanded to 16 cuts and reissued by Light in the Attic in 2016. But Napster only offers 9 tracks, the original album. He draws his vocal clues and boogie moves from Jerry Lee Lewis, and they work best when he escapes the background singers that clutter up the first part of the album. Not a lost classic, but potential . . . botched. B

James Luther Dickinson: Jungle Jim and the Voodoo Tiger (2006, Memphis International): He spent the intervening decades producing and compiling records, collecting songs and letting his voice go to pot, playing in bands like Mudboy and the Neutrons and Raisins in the Sun. He released a live one in 1997 and a studio one in 2002, and finally landed on a label built for him. B+(**)

James Luther Dickinson: Dinosaurs Run in Circles (2009, Memphis International): Last album (unless you count the one that came out in 2012, three years post-mortem, I'm Just Dead I'm Not Gone). First time I really noticed his piano playing, probably because he's never taken it this easy before -- more Moon Mullican than Jerry Lee, and I'm happier for that. B+(**)

Jens Lekman: When I Said I Wanted to Be Your Dog (2004, Secretly Canadian): First album, seems low-budget and straightforward, quietly observant, a bit sweet. He sings the title like he's never heard of the Stooges, but the sentiment isn't as far removed as the music. B+(*)

Brian Lynch Sextet: Peer Pressure (1986 [1987], Criss Cross): First album, age 30, shows how well developed his trumpet was, a bright spot in an impressive postbop lineup: Ralph Moore (tenor sax), Jim Snidero (alto sax), Kirk Lightsey (piano), Jay Anderson (bass), Victor Lewis (drums). I was going to say no hint of his Latin Jazz interest, but then he took Horace Silver's "The Outlaw" out for a spin and got hooked. B+(**)

Brian Lynch Quintet: Back Room Blues (1989 [1990], Criss Cross): Effectively a hard bop record, powered by a superb retro rhythm section (David Hazeltine, Peter Washington, Lewis Nash), with potent Javon Jackson on tenor sax, though there's no doubt the leader is the man with the trumpet. B+(**)

Brian Lynch: Spheres of Influence (1997, Sharp Nine): Still trying to mix it up, with pianist David Kikoski the only other one on all tracks: half go postbop with Donald Harrison (alto sax), Essiet Essie (bass), and Jeff "Tain" Watts (drums); the other half go Latin with John Benitez (bass), Adam Cruz (drums), and Milton Cardona (congas), two of those cuts with an extra five-piece brass section. High point is a Harrison solo. B+(*)

Brian Lynch Latin Jazz Sextet: ConClave (2004 [2005], Criss Cross): The trumpeter's first explicit Latin Jazz group, although by this time he had played on several Eddie Palmieri albums. Two Cubans -- Ernesto Simpson and Roberto Quintero -- keep the percussion bubbling, with Boris Kozlov (bass), Luis Perdomo (piano), and Ralph Bowen (tenor sax). B+(**)

Brian Lynch: Unsung Heroes Vol. 2 (2008-09 [2013], Hollistic MusicWorks): Eleven songs, two by Lynch, the others by other trumpet players: Donald Byrd, Joe Gordon, Howard McGhee, Idrees Sulieman, Tommy Turrentine. Classic bop quintet, Vincent Herring on alto sax, Rob Schneiderman on piano. B+(**)

Brian Lynch and Spheres of Influence: ConClave Vol. 2 (2010 [2011], Criss Cross): Aside from the trumpet player, no continuity in the band from either of the previous albums referred to, but Yosvany Terry (alto sax), Manuel Valera (piano), Luques Curtis (bass), Justin Brown (drums) and Pedro Martinez (percussion) know their stuff. B+(**)

Rova: Long on Logic: Compositions by Fred Frith, Henry Kaiser, and Rova (1989 [1990], Sound Aspects): Saxophone quartet, date back to mid-1970s, going from soprano to baritone: Bruce Ackley, Steve Adams, Larry Ochs, John Raskin. Fred Frith composed and mixed the first three pieces, Henry Kaiser the fourth, all rigorously abstract B+(**) [bc]

Bob Wilber: Horns-a-Plenty (1994, Arbors): The horns are all in the leader's hands: he's credited with four saxes (tenor, alto, curved soprano, and straight soprano) and clarinet. Backed by piano (Johnny Varro), bass, and drums, playing a nice mix of originals and swing standards. B+(*)

The Bob Wilber/Dany Doriz Quintet: Memories of You: Lionel and Benny (1995 [1996], Black and Blue): Doriz is a French vibraphone player and sometime big band leader, so his affinity for Hampton is a given. Wilber gets a chance to air out his clarinet, evoking the small group sessions Goodman organized with Hampton in the late 1930s. B+(**)

Bob Wilber: Nostalgia (1996, Arbors): Playing soprano sax this time, which usually puts him in a Bechet frame of mind, but this is more relaxed, especially with Bucky Pizzarelli's laconic guitar, and Ralph Sutton hamming it up on piano. B+(**)

Bob Wilber/Dick Hyman: A Perfect Match: In Tribute to Johnny Hodges and Wild Bill Davis (1997 [1998], Arbors): Davis always struck me as a middling organ player, but he pioneered the instrument playing it in Louis Jordan's Tympany Five, made several records with legendary alto saxophonist Johnny Hodges in the 1960s, and played some with Duke Ellington just before/after Hodges' death. Of course, Wilber has no chance of matching Hodges, but Hyman's organ is a plus, and the group includes Britt Woodman on trombone and James Chirillo on guitar. The vintage Ellingtonia doesn't quite measure up, but "It's Only a Paper Moon" shines. B+(*)

Bob Wilber and the International March of Jazz All Stars: Everywhere You Go There's Jazz (1998 [1999], Arbors): You may quibble about the ten-piece band's star status -- Antti Sarpila, Bent Persson, and Lars Erstrand count as internationals (and possibly some others I'd have to look up -- Wilber was born in the US but lives in England, as does three-song singer Joanne Horton). Mixed blessings: the Ellingtonia Wilber loves tepid, but they jump all over "Mahogany Hall Stomp." B+(*)

Bob Wilber and the Tuxedo Big Band: Fletcher Henderson's Unrecorded Arrangements for Benny Goodman (2000, Arbors): Fine print reveals that the big band hails from Toulouse, France, but neither the label nor Discogs provides any names -- Arbors usually provides detailed booklets, and this is clearly a coup of sorts. What I can say is that the band is up to the challenge, as is Wilber's clarinet. A-

Bob Wilber and the Tuxedo Big Band: Rampage! (2011, Arbors): Returns direction of the Toulouse, France big band to Paul Cheron, on a program of Wilber arrangements and (mostly) originals. Not sure if it's the songs or the band, but they can't sustain their occasional brilliant flashes. B

Revised Grades

Sometimes further listening leads me to change an initial grade, usually either because I move on to a real copy, or because someone else's review or list makes me want to check it again:

American Honey [Original Motion Picture Soundtrack] (1974-2015 [2016], UME): [was B+(***)]: A- [cdr]

Additional Consumer News:

Previous grades on artists in the old music section.

  • Anthony Braxton: 53 other albums
  • Avishai Cohen: Introducing Triveni (2009 [2010], Anzic): B+(***)
  • Avishai Cohen: Triveni II (2012, Anzic): B+(**)
  • Avishai Cohen: Into the Silence (2015 [2016], ECM): B+(**)
  • James Luther Dickinson: Killers From Space (2007, Memphis International): B+(*)
  • Jens Lekman: Night Falls Over Kortedala (2007, Secretly Canadian): B+(*)
  • Jens Lekman: An Argument With Myself (2011, Secretly Canadian, EP): B+(***)
  • Jens Lekman: I Know What Love Isn't (2012, Secretly Canadian): A-
  • Brian Lynch: 24/7 (2002 [2005], Nagel Heyer): B+
  • Brian Lynch/Bill Charlap: Brian Lynch Meets Bill Charlap (2004, Sharp Nine): B+
  • Brian Lynch/Eddie Palmieri: Simpático (2005 [2006], ArtistShare): A-
  • Brian Lynch: Unsung Heroes (2008-2009 [2011], Hollistic Music Works): B+(***)
  • Brian Lynch/Emmet Cohen: Questioned Answer (2012 [2014], Hollistic MusicWorks): B+(**)
  • ROVA: Beat Kennel (1987, Black Saint) B-
  • ROVA: John Coltrane's Ascension (1995, Black Saint) B
  • ROVA:Orkestrova: Electric Ascension 2003 (2003 [2005], Atavistic): B
  • ROVA Saxophone Quartet: The Juke Box Suite (2006 [2007], Not Two): A-
  • ROVA & Nels Cline Singers: The Celestial Septet (2008 [2010], New World): B+(***)
  • Bob Wilber: Dancing on a Rainbow (1989, Circle): A
  • Bob Wilber and the Scott Hamilton Quartet (1977, Chiaroscuro): B
  • Bob Wilber: Bean (1994, Arbors) B+
  • Bob Wilber: More Never Recorded Arrangements for Benny Goodman, Volume Two (2002 [2003], Arbors): B+
  • Bob Wilber Is Here! (2010, Arbors): B+(**)
  • Bob Wilber and the Three Amigos (2012, Arbors): B+(***)


Everything streamed from Napster (ex Rhapsody), except as noted in brackets following the grade:

  • [cd] based on physical cd
  • [cdr] based on an advance or promo cd or cdr
  • [bc] available at
  • [sc] available at
  • [sp] available at
  • [yt] available at
  • [os] some other stream source
  • [dl] something I was able to download from the web; may be freely available, may be a bootleg someone made available, or may be a publicist promo