10 jazz discs you need

By JIM MACNIE  |  March 19, 2013

AMIR ELSAFFAR/HAFEZ MODIRZADEH | RADIF SUITE | PI
It's quick-moving quartet music that finds the trumpeter blending his interest in Iraqi maqam sounds with the tenor player's personalizations of the Persian dastgah vocab. But you don't need to be an expert on Middle Eastern culture to get off on this terrific program. The darting figures and singing melodies are more than a bit Ornetteish — meaning they're both freewheeling and fetching.

JASON MORAN | TEN | BLUE NOTE
Continuity breeds rapport and, as this arresting date by the pianist celebrates a decade of music-making by his Bandwagon trio, it becomes obvious that he's in full accord with bassist Taurus Mateen and drummer Nasheet Waits. Whether viewing Monk through a kaleidoscope or morphing Hendrix into a stimulating distraction, they bend history to hotwire the present. In the process, orthodoxy is warped a bit, and the fruits of teamwork become obvious.

STEVE CARDENAS | WEST OF MIDDLE | SUNNYSIDE
An imaginative improviser, the guitarist eschews high-flying antics for pithier maneuvers that stress the mischievous side of interplay. With bassist Ben Allison and drummer Rudy Royston helping him balance rock and swing rhythms, the essence of this set proves to be its potent chemistry.

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