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C. Andrew Hovan's Top Jazz Picks of 2006

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Trio Beyond
Saudades
ECM

John Scofield, Larry Goldings and Jack DeJohnette pay tribute to Tony Williams' Lifetime with a live set that catches this all-star trio at the peak of their collective powers.

Diana Krall
From This Moment On
Verve

Having lost her way the on last few albums due to a focus on her own material, Krall returns to a jazzy groove, covering the standards in her own sweet way with the jovial backing of the Clayton-Hamilton Big Band.

Brian Lynch/Eddie Palmieri Project
Simpatico
ArtistShare

A long time associate of Palmieri, trumpeter Lynch offers his own take on Latin jazz with a forward-thinking set that also sits squarely within the tradition.

Paul Samuels
Speak
Doc City

Samuels is a Cleveland-based drummer with a fine debut, featuring the B3 organ work of Dan Wall, that also covers many bases and highlights his versatility.

David Hazeltine
Alfie: The Burt Bacharach Songbook
Venus

Capitalizing on his significant gifts as an arranger, Hazeltine leads his piano trio through a fine recital that breathes new life into a collection of Bacharach trinkets.

Roy Ayers
West Coast Vibes
Mighty Quinn

Best known these days for his smooth jazz forays, Ayers flaunted his considerable jazz chops on this previously hard to come by set recorded in 1963.

Oliver Nelson
The Verve/Impulse Big Band Studio Sessions
Mosaic

One of the premier jazz arrangers of the 1960s and 1970s, Nelson was a prolific writer and some of his best and most overlooked work is collected on this must-have boxed set.

One For All
The Line Up
Sharp Nine

This hard bop collective featuring tenor saxophonist Eric Alexander has been around for ten years now and their most recent offering testifies to the continued viability of straight-ahead jazz.

Roy Hargrove
Nothing Serious
Verve

A return to his acoustic roots has been long in coming for Hargrove, and while it's short of being a major revelation, it's long on quality writing and inspired trumpet work.

Branford Marsalis
Braggtown
Marsalis Music

In the company of his working ensemble, Marsalis ups the ante with an ambitious program that at turns can be as cathartic as it is deeply moving.

Donald Fagen
Morph The Cat
Reprise

In only his third solo set in some 25 years, Fagen gets it right as usual, with an infectious set of memorable numbers that get the royal treatment by a crack set of musicians including jazz heavyweight Walt Weiskopf.


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