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by Seth Colter Walls

June 19, 2014

Top 10 Jazz Albums, June 2014

by Seth Colter Walls  |  June 19, 2014

Two legendary drummers give propulsion to the first two tracks in this month's mix of the best new jazz recordings. Andrew Cyrille -- beloved in contemporary-avant circles -- plays in a trio with bassist Ben Street and pianist Soren Kjaergaard on the album Syvmileskridt. Our playlist leads off with the engaging track "Tripple Skip." But be sure to note, later in the playlist, how Cyrille delights in playing some pure time on "Cyrillic Circle (In)."

For his part, Louis Hayes -- a man whose history includes sessions with Monk and Coltrane -- directs another session by the hard-swinging, late-period iteration of his Jazz Communicators group. Featuring (among others) saxophonist Abraham Burton, the ensemble takes its name seriously, and engages the listener at every turn. A Hayes original, "It's to You," is our first selection from the album (which has many other highlights, among them the burning closer "Village Greene").

Saxophone titans also figure in to this month's mix: Veteran master Lee Konitz turns in a fine new rendition of "In Your Own Sweet Way." And a newly unearthed archival set of the late Jimmy Giuffre's various 1965 working groups -- both of which featured Joe Chambers on drums -- is the rare crate-digging posthumous release that helps us hear a jazz legend anew. Our mix focuses on trio cuts, like "Angles" and "Syncopate." (The bass legend Richard Davis was also present in this group, in what was possibly his only appearance with Giuffre.)

Put all the above together with smoking modernist touches courtesy of saxophonist Ingrid Laubrock -- whose latest album was recorded by an octet that includes guitarist Mary Halvorson -- and the piano- and violin-led quartet of Sylvie Courvoisier and Mark Feldman, and you've got all the best takes on improv and swing. So click play, and start exploring everything, from the Latin-tinged tracks to experimental post-bop jams and beyond!

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