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Hrayr Attarian's Best Releases of 2010: Female Instrumentalists

Hrayr Attarian By

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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'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


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

Junko Onishi



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

Free Fall

Inner Circle Music

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

Anat Fort Trio

And If


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

Hailey Niswanger


Self Produced

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

Regina Carter

Reverse Thread


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

Ingrid Laubrock



Groovy, melodic and edgy avant-garde music.

Geri Allen

Flying Toward The Sound


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

Sarah Manning

Dandelion Clock


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.


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