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The Best of 2006: Music

6. Konono No. 1 at the Black Cat, July 21. The air conditioning went out, but this Congolese band's chiming electro-trance groove went on.

7. Scritti Politti, "White Bread Black Beer" and at Sonar on Nov. 8. The album is a lovely fusion of Green Gartside's musical interests, from punk to hip-hop to "Pet Sounds," delivered with an unprecedented sweetness. The first U.S. tour of the band's off-and-on 26-year career was equally impressive, even if it was shunted to Baltimore (where much of the small turnout was from Washington).

8. New York Dolls, "One Day It Will Please Us to Remember Even This." The original sense of abandon hasn't been entirely recouped, but the melodies are strong and the lyrics as pointed as ever, yielding the year's best secular-humanist broadside, "Dance Like a Monkey."

9. Spoils of NW, "Seeing Things" and around town. This local quartet plays brash neo-garage rock, sweetened with pop harmonies and deepened with a sense of loss that would make no sense to a '60s garage band.

10. Tom Verlaine, "Songs and Other Things" and at the 9:30 club May 15. On the album, many of the songs spiral from earthy to celestial while keeping a noisy sense of play; onstage, they all did.


1. Dave Holland Quintet, "Critical Mass." Despite a shift in lineup, the bassist's cunning ensemble, with its unlikely instrumentation and signature interplay, is in finely tuned shape, exploring a typically intriguing collection of tunes.

2. Trio Beyond, "Saudades." This was Jack DeJohnette's idea to salute his late friend, fellow drummer Tony Williams. The result, a jazz-fusion-fueled, double-CD concert recording featuring guitarist John Scofield and organist Larry Goldings, burns soulful and bright.

3. Andrew Hill, "Time Lines." Though it was released early in the year, few jazz recordings had more staying power than this wonderfully inventive session by the veteran pianist and his inspired bandmates, including saxophonist Greg Tardy and trumpeter Charles Tolliver.

4. Jane Bunnett, "Radio Guantánamo: Guantánamo Blues Project, Vol. 1." A potent mix of jazz and Cuban changui "blues," buoyed by the presence of several guests, this spirited CD aims to move listeners in more ways than one -- and never misses.

5. Mavis Staples at the second annual Duke Ellington Jazz Festival. In early October, Staples shook the Lincoln Theatre and everyone in it when she joined guitarist John Scofield's band and robustly capped a Ray Charles tribute.

6. John Coltrane, "Fearless Leader." Containing chronologically arranged recordings spanning 1957 to 1965, this indispensable six-CD collection is the first of three proposed box sets surveying Coltrane's Prestige output, and, if you have to choose, it's the one to get.

7. Bob Dylan, "Theme Time Radio Hour." With its deadpan assortment of curious anecdotes, bad jokes and vinyl treasures, this XM Radio broadcast is entertaining enough to smooth out any commute.

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