Albums of the year: Jazz

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The Independent Culture

Three American late-modernists reasserted themselves as world leaders. Charles Lloyd's Mirror provided a hard-won summary of his lyrical gifts, fluttering saxophone solos grounded by the expert team of Jason Moran, Reuben Rogers and Eric Harland.

Lloyd's onetime pianist Keith Jarrett returned to form in Jasmine, a home-recorded duo with the bassist Charlie Haden, who, with his band Quartet West, was also responsible for the grand, film noir-inspired Sophisticated Ladies.

For jazz that sounds as rhythmically spring-heeled as Kind of Blue, the French/African drummer Manu Katche's Third Round proved hard to beat, matching catchy original tunes to a cracking quartet featuring UK pianist Jason Rebello. Most interesting vocal album was Chamber Music Society by Esperanza Spalding. Amacord, by Trio Dolce Vita, made nine tunes by Fellini's composer Nino Rota into a magical suite for clarinet, cello, bass and subtle electronics. Also out of left-field, the British free-jazz Hammond organ trio Decoy collaborated with the veteran US saxophonist Joe McPhee on the tumultuous live-in-Dalston set Oto.

And the best soul reissue was the facsimile LP of Doris Duke's classic I'm a Loser.