Will Layman is a writer, teacher and musician living in the Washington, DC area. He has been a contributor to National Public Radio and WNYC's "Soundcheck" as a jazz critic. He plays rock, funk, and jazz in the bars and clubs in and near the nation's capital. His fiction and humor appear in print and online.
Jazz pianist Brad Mehldau creates another hybrid project built on a layering of keyboards, drums, woodwinds, voices, and strings—with a gloss of politics and religion along the edges. Occasionally brilliant.
Joel Ross is a young jazz star on the vibes with a working band in his Blue Note debut—working a vein that is modern but tied certainly back to a tradition that includes his inspiration, Bobby Hutcherson. Cracking good.
A wildly revised version of this venerable creative music ensemble makes a clean, beautiful new recording in the studio and live, with fresh music from Roscoe Mitchell and an argument that the original Art Ensemble of Chicago had everything to do with today's New Jazz.
Guitarist Ben Monder has created a quiet stunner: one disc of inventive solo guitar arrangements of standards, and then a second disc for his trio playing pop hits of the '60s and '70s in wonderful ways.
Drummer and composer Kendrick Scott has kept a finely balanced band together, pulling together many lovely strands of American music to create jazz that is easy to hear but also complex and compelling. A reason to believe.
A composer and woodwind player who is expertly walking the line between jazz and new music, Anna Webber has assembled a great band of improvisors to follow her mostly-brilliant treasure map in the new jazz.