Natural, Celso Fonseca (Six Degrees)

This release establishes Celso Fonseca as one of Brazil’s up and coming Bossa Nova stars. His compositions are elegant, graceful and sensual, ranging from cool bossas like “Bom Sinal” and “The Night We called it a Day” to upbeat insturmentals like “consolacao.” His rendition of “Ela e carioca” also stands out.

Asian Underground, Various Artists (Music Rough Guide)

This CD takes us on an exotic journey through the contemporary East Indian music scene in Britain. Beginning in the 1980s, Indians living in the United Kingdom began to mix western electronica with classical Indian music, creating a new musical genre. Never able to achieve long-lasting commercial success, these musical pioneers – aided by BBC radio play – nevertheless established a foothold in the British music scene.

While devoid of shrill Bollywood vocals, Asian underground is artfully suffused with Indian sitar, drums, flute, Hindi sound bites and technopop. The music is largely instrumental, but there are some beautiful vocal compositions such as “Fundamental,” “Debris” and “Out of Place.”

Suite for New York, D.D. Jackson (Justin Time)

D.D. Jackson’s effort at jazz fusion paying homage to New York City is an unremarkable effort. While there are flashes of brilliance such as “BQE” and “El Barrio,” this release veers towards dullness.

IF, Myriam Alter (Justin Time)

Jazz pianist Myriam Alter decided to stand this one out and instead directed a group of musicians to perform her compositions. What resulted is a tango flavoured jazz CD that is original and lush. The harmonic movements and instrumental techniques are symmetrical and flawless. In particular, Dino Saluzzi’s bandeoneon and John Ruocco’s clarinet work shines. With IF, Alter has left her indelible mark on jazz.