For Women in Jazz, a Year of Reckoning and Recognition 

Source: The New York Times.

Perhaps the most startling debut albums in jazz this year were “Fly or Die,” by the trumpeter Jaimie Branch, and “Mannequins,” by the drummer Kate Gentile. Ms. Gentile plays original compositions that are at once grimy and resonant, tightly layered and charged with momentum. Ms. Branch uses extended technique and blustery abstraction to a dizzying effect.

A mentor to Ms. Branch, the flutist Nicole Mitchell, 50, had a banner year herself. The highlight was “Mandorla Awakening II: Emerging Worlds,” an album recorded with her Black Earth Ensemble, an eight-piece band playing percussion, strings and reeds from traditions across the globe. The suite bears the markings of communal expression, with a sound that’s grounded and raw.

The cellist Tomeka Reid, another acolyte of Ms. Mitchell’s, spent her year playing high-profile gigs with her own projects as well as with luminaries like Anthony Braxton and Roscoe Mitchell. She released an album with the saxophonist Nick Mazzarella and one with Hear in Now, a powerful trio of female string players.

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