The new release pace slows in late summer, which makes it an ideal time to catch up with some jazz from the first half of the year. First up, that means checking in with veteran saxophonist Oliver Lake, who's had a rather active 2013. His new big band album, Wheels, brings choice new tunes (like "Philly Blues") as well as a perfectly hip cover of Outkast's "The Whole World." And Lake's side group, Trio 3, also scored a success this year, with tunes like "Refraction - Breakin' Glass" on the album of the same name. (In case you needed another reason to check it out, know that the album features Jason Moran on piano.)
But there's some brand-new stuff worth checking out, too: Chick Corea just debuted his new working band with the album The Vigil. Notably, the group features Marcus Gilmore on drums. (Ravi Coltrane also drops by during the track "Pledge for Peace.") Other acts on our list -- like John Scofield, The Brian Landrus Kaleidoscope and Jim Black's AlasNoAxis band -- can be directly traced to early Corea fusion experiments, so it's a great time to catch up with their recent records, too. Add in a pinch of pop-savvy vocals from Nancy Harms, plus the adventurous sound of pianist Kris Davis' new group, and you can call it a month! See you after Labor Day.