Kenny Burrell


Be Yourself

(HighNote). It was just one live gig in New York, at Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola, but guitarist Kenny Burrell & friends make what is by any measure a dynamic set.

Bill Charlap & Renee Rosnes, Double Portrait (Blue Note). Ace pianists Bill Charlap and Renee Rosnes got married in 2007. And while they project quite different musical personalities - he a romantic tunesmith, she a boppish blur - their duet suggests yet a third, making this a potent partnership.

Fred Hersch Trio, Whirl (Palmetto). Every CD documents a moment. Pianist Fred Hersch developed AIDS-related dementia in early 2008; comatose for weeks, he lost virtually all motor function in his hands. This trio CD documents his recovery.

Keith Jarrett / Charlie Haden, Jasmine (ECM). Pianist Keith Jarrett and bassist Charlie Haden take you to the ultimate standards concert. Imagine if the composers of "Body & Soul" and others had kept writing.

Monkadelphia, Crepuscule (Dreambox Media). The greatest compliment is to take a master like Monk to new places, not stuff him as an exhibit. And this Philly-based quintet accomplishes that with stylish dissonance and bald humor.

Ken Peplowski, Noir Blue (Capri Records). Players who plumb the mainstream take a risk in jazz, namely boredom. But Ken Peplowski, wielding a clarinet and saxophone, makes it an honorable choice.

Odean Pope, Odean's List (In+Out). There is something elemental in the sound of composer and tenor saxophonist Odean Pope. The Philly native who earned his cred gigging with John Coltrane and Lee Morgan positively explodes on this octet recording on a German label.

Sid Simmons, Mike Boone & Byron Landham, Keep the Faith (Imani Records). The late Philly pianist Sid Simmons presides over this trio recording like the master he was. But so many guests take part that this also becomes a microcosm of the Philly scene as heard from the much-missed Ortlieb's Jazzhaus on North Third Street.

Trio Esperança, De Bach à Jobim (Dreyfus). Magic happens when these three sisters sing. Trio Esperança, founded in Rio de Janeiro in 1958, makes for one cool breeze of a Brazilian a cappella group.

Chucho Valdes, Chucho's Steps (Four Quarters). Cuban pianist Chucho Valdes presents his Afro-Cuban Messengers, paying homage to Dizzy Gillespie's big band and Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers and reminding everyone of Cuba's high place in jazz music.