Largo (Warner Bros.)
Jazz piano virtuoso Mehldau laid his ninth album down over a mere six days with some of the finest musicians around. The scene is set perfectly for the rest of the album by “When It Rains,” which opens the disc with a simple piano and builds into a swirling jam of drums and stand-up bass. Produced by renowned L.A. musician Jon Brion, the sounds here are full, multilayered, and solid from start to finish.
LEE ANN WOMACK
Something Worth Leaving Behind (MCA Nashville)
In her follow-up to 2000’s triple-platinum I Hope You Dance, Womack returns with some numbers to get everybody on their feet. This sophomore effort for MCA Nashville finds this Jacksonville, Texas, native poised to have another multiplatinum seller by delivering the “new country” goods once again.
October Road (Columbia)
Everyone has a favorite fond memory of J.T.’s music. Maybe it’s listening to “Sweet Baby James” on the turntable of your folks’ first apartment or swaying to “Mexico” at an amphitheater on a warm summer evening. His first new studio disc in five years brings 12 new tracks sure to be the background music for generations to come. The title track features Ry Cooder on guitar. Taylor’s daughter, Sally, helps pop out with backing vocals on “My Traveling Star” and “Baby Buffalo.” Keep an ear out for his new-classic acoustic-driven personal-first single, “On the Fourth of July,” which is already making waves on the radio. — JAMES E. MAYFIELD