Hrayr Attarian's Best Releases of 2010: Female Instrumentalists

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More experienced editors before me have already posted their best choices for this past year. Instead of adding yet another list of some of the same, I would like to take a slightly different approach. Here are my top 10 picks for 2010, by female jazz instrumentalists:

Mary Halvorson Quintet

Saturn Sings

Firehouse 12

An alumnus of Anthony Braxton
Anthony Braxton
Anthony Braxton
b.1945
reeds
's, guitarist Mary Halvorson has, on this CD, created a unique set of pieces that strike the right balance between complex composition and unorthodox yet quite logical improvisation.

Allison Miller

Boom Tic Boom

Foxhaven

As energetic as an Elvin Jones
Elvin Jones
Elvin Jones
1927 - 2004
drums
album, while being as angular yet more uniquely modern, in its own way.

Junko Onishi
Junko Onishi
Junko Onishi
b.1967
piano


Baroque

Verve

Onishi displays her strong improvisational skills, in addition to superlative arranging and group leadership. She is accompanied by a stellar set of side musicians.

Melissa Aldana
Melissa Aldana
Melissa Aldana

sax, tenor


Free Fall

Inner Circle Music

A powerful yet mellifluous and sensitive new voice on the tenor saxophone.

Anat Fort
Anat Fort
Anat Fort
b.1970
piano
Trio

And If

ECM

An intellectually satisfying yet emotionally charged CD, the sounds of which echo in the memory long after the disc has stopped spinning.

Hailey Niswanger
Hailey Niswanger
Hailey Niswanger

sax, alto


Confeddie

Self Produced

A bold and lyrical alto saxophonist, whose advanced soloing bellies her young age.

Regina Carter
Regina Carter
Regina Carter
b.1966
violin


Reverse Thread

E1

The music of the African diaspora interpreted by virtuoso violinist Regina Carter, with an unusual lineup that includes kora and accordion.

Ingrid Laubrock
Ingrid Laubrock
Ingrid Laubrock
b.1970
saxophone


Anti-House

Intakt

Groovy, melodic and edgy avant-garde music.

Geri Allen
Geri Allen
Geri Allen
b.1957
piano


Flying Toward The Sound

Motema

One of the most idiosyncratic musicians and accomplished pianists. This is possibly her best work.

Sarah Manning
Sarah Manning
Sarah Manning

saxophone


Dandelion Clock

Posi-Tone

Sarah Manning has one of the most unique voices on the alto saxophone. Her inventive and clever pieces, and her complex solos, are a delight to hear. She is accompanied by bass phenomenon Linda Oh
Linda Oh
Linda Oh

bass
.

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