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Picks and Pans Review: Spotlight on ... Hot New Jazz

updated 06/07/2010 at 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 06/07/2010 01:00AM

Whether gigging on HBO's Treme or Jimmy Fallon, these four artists make the genre cool all over again.

LENNY WHITE, ANOMALY

There's smooth jazz, and then there's the hard-hitting, backbeat-pounding jazz-rock fusion that this drummer wants to revive. Anomaly-the latest from the Return to Forever alum-is Led Zeppelin-loud, full of rousing improvisation, funk bass and searing guitar. Only the sporadic vocals mellow this energetic manifesto.

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REGINA CARTER, REVERSE THREAD

This jazz violinist could just as well perform Paganini or sit in with Mary J. Blige. Here she turns her eclectic talents to African folk music for a fresh yet traditional sound. Carter's impressive plucking and bowing techniques are enhanced by accordion, guitar and the harplike kora. The result conjures visions of storytellers and fiddlers.

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TROMBONE SHORTY, BACKATOWN

A trombonist, trumpeter and singer currently seen in Treme, this New Orleans native holds nothing back, dubbing his music "Supafunkrock." Just try listening to the explosive opener, "Hurricane Season," or any of these brassy tunes without dancing. Jamming with Shorty are Lenny Kravitz and pianist Allen Toussaint.

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CHRISTIAN SCOTT, YESTERDAY YOU SAID TOMORROW

It's no wonder this trumpeter scored a spot on Jimmy Fallon. He transforms the dense sonic adventuring of '60s-era Miles and Coltrane into a moody, polyrhythmic mix that brilliantly redefines tunes like Radiohead's "Eraser" and gives the originals hypnotic power.

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