FELA RANSOME KUTI & HIS KOOLA LOBITOS Highlife Jazz And Afro Soul 1963-69 (P-Vine)
Not jazz strictly speaking, but this fab Japanese three-disc set of Fela Kuti's earliest known recordings is a marvel nonetheless, revealing how he put together the Afrobeat puzzle.
BEBO VALDES Bebo De Cuba (Calle 54)
This two-CD-plus-DVD package from Cuban piano maestro Bebo Valdes just scored him a Latin Grammy, and with such a stellar support cast, it's no surprise.
GERALDO FRISINA The Latin Kick (Schema)
Like his labelmate Nicola Conte, producer/remixer Geraldo Frisina has taken another giant step away from programming jazzy club confections to orchestrating storming acoustic jazz sessions. An end-to-end burner.
FIVE CORNERS QUINTET Chasin' The Jazz Gone By (Milan)
The ace Finnish combo stick with the Blue Note inspiration for their brilliant debut, loaded tight hard with swinging solos and boasting vocals from Mark Murphy on three tracks. Dope.
SOIL & PIMP SESSIONS Summer Goddess EP (Victor)
A ripping five-song EP from fearsome Tokyo combo Soil & Pimp Sessions that roars with a post-Trane intensity rarely heard in contemporary jazz. Nothing smooth about it.