Album: Matana Roberts, The Chicago Project (Central Control)

The Windy City's twin traditions of free jazz and post-rock are celebrated in this stunning debut by saxophonist Roberts, recorded by Tortoise's John McEntire and featuring guitarist Jeff Parker and sax-man Fred Anderson. What's so impressive is not just Roberts's chops and tunes, but the thought that's gone into making the album work as a whole. An opening Ayler-ish squall is followed by an elegant exchange with Parker which devolves into blues before leading into the first of three "Birdhouse". "Nomra" shows a sensitive side, while "Love Call" has real compositional density.