The first jazz releases of 2012 have kicked the year off in remarkable fashion. Trumpeter Jeremy Pelt offers a dusky collection of ballads and blues. There's more trumpet with a Wynton Marsalis compilation that focuses on his life as a composer, along with Jimmy Owens' clear-eyed look at the works of Thelonious Monk. The set continues with some disarming efforts by an international trio of rock-, fusion- and avant-oriented pianists: U.K. crossover sensation Neil Cowley, Italian experimentalist Stefano Battaglia and Spanish newcomer Juan Galiardo. Last but certainly not least is the long-awaited follow-up to Hank Jones and Charlie Haden's 1995 record Steal Away. The new Come Sunday is a set of ethereal, elegant, deeply spiritual duets.
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