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Russ Lossing Trio, Ways (ezz-thetics/Hat Hut)
With dynamics that range from whispery to occasionally riotous, and emphasizing the space between the notes as much as the notes themselves, this wholly improvised program featuring the piano wizard’s regular trio is a journey — to get lost in.
Kandace Springs, The Women Who Raised Me (Blue Note)
The velvet-voiced singer/keyboardist’s third album is a small-group jazz effort consisting of homages to artists ranging from Norah Jones (“The Nearness of You”) to Billie Holiday (“Strange Fruit”) to Bonnie Raitt (“I Can’t Make You Love Me”). Thoroughly satisfying, this is Springs’ most mature release.
Franco Ambrosetti Quintet, Long Waves (Unit)
At 76, the Swiss trumpeter/flugelhornist has retained his round, warm sound, which is on full display in this relaxed set of originals and standards (“Old Folks,” “On Green Dolphin Street”), backed by an elite foursome that includes Jack DeJohnette and John Scofield.
Emma Frank, Come Back (Justin Time)
More folkish singer/songwriter than jazz chanteuse, Brooklyn-based Frank’s collection of contemplative, down-tempo originals (and Wilco’s “Either Way”) showcases her gossamer voice, evoking equal parts vulnerability and assertiveness. Pianist Aaron Parks and a rhythm section provide unobtrusive support.
Delfeayo Marsalis Uptown Jazz Orchestra, Jazz Party (Troubadour Jazz)
An antidote to the lofty seriousness that marks most of today’s jazz, this 11-song set delivers unpretentious, joyful music performed by trombonist Marsalis and a big band (and guest singers). Buoyant swing, funk and New Orleans second-line grooves drive this horn-heavy bacchanal.
Matt Maneri Quartet, Dust (Sunnyside)
Maneri’s use of dark-toned viola in this chamber-jazz project fits the mood, where the nine pieces, all but indistinguishable, move at such a glacial pace that the result is sheer dreariness. Music to draw the blinds and brood by. - Eric Snider