Sometimes you lead with the obvious: This was a good and varied month for jazz releases. To start with, the late saxophonist, composer and free-jazz master Sam Rivers, already dearly missed, came back to us courtesy of a double live album documenting the final reunion of his most famous trio (with Dave Holland and Barry Altschul).
Meantime, Brad Mehldau's trio covered Alice in Chains. The Bad Plus hit hard with a set of originals (and a newly electronic-aided toolkit). Fred Hersch continued his comeback with a strong album recorded at the Village Vanguard. Lee Konitz, still wittily evading expectations, turned a pickup band featuring Bill Frisell loose on some standards. And Dave Douglas brought two of his late '90s highlights back into the catalog with a timely reissue.
But the month wasn't all established names checking back in; a series of adventuresome releases from younger players proves they can hang with the legends. Violinist Adam Baldych brought a fine new band to the ACT Music + Vision label (home of Vijay Iyer). Clarinetist James Falzone joined forces with other members of Chicago's current scene to realize an ode to Brooklyn. And two guitarists turned in vastly different visions related to the continued absorption of post-rock in a modern jazz context (the fretless guy's take is, perhaps predictably, somewhat squiggly). Time to catch up with names both old and new.