D.C.'s best jazz albums of 2010

Wednesday, December 22, 2010; 3:30 PM


"Diamond in the Rough"

As this spirited and spiritual CD proves, Nasar Abadey doesn't record his remarkable ensemble nearly often enough. In this session, the veteran drummer reveals his often overlooked gift for composing and arranging, aided by a deep talent pool of Washington-Baltimore musicians.


"Seize the Night"

If the singer-trombonist and big-band leader sounds particularly inspired on this now seductive, now swinging collection of original tunes and standards, it's no surprise: Felten is accompanied by a blue-chip combo featuring pianist Kenny Barron and drummer Jimmy Cobb.



The Venezuela-born pianist moved to Washington in 2000 and quickly distinguished himself here and elsewhere. "Circles" is worth hearing for Gonzalez's multifaceted compositions alone, but the CD also boasts an exceptional lineup that includes saxophonists Ron Blake and Azar Lawrence.



Baltimore-born pianist Cyrus Chestnut became a fixture on the local jazz scene long before recording a series of highly acclaimed CDs. His latest, the aptly titled "Journeys," is a terrific trio session that showcases his colorfully evocative compositions and gospel roots.



Not for jazz guitar fans only, "Schematic" illustrates Tom Lagana's affinity for the music of pianists Thelonious Monk and Bill Evans, among other influences. The original compositions further - and nimbly - underscore Lagana's eclectic tastes and six-string finesse.

- Mike Joyce

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