2 Soulive, Break Out (Concord) Though they put out a few albums previously, this New York City-formed trio still seems fresh on their first album for the Concord label. Guests such as Chaka Khan, Living Color singer Corey Glover, and Robert Randolph add to the perfect blend of jazz, soul, and hip-hop.
3 Sonya Kitchell, Words Came Back to Me (Velour) A 16-year-old singer from Massachusetts, Kitchell’s got great pipes, attitude, and music sensibility. Eleven original piano and acoustic-guitar-backed compositions reveal a talented and soulful voice.
ALSO NOTEWORTHY: The Sun, Blame It on the Youth (Warner Bros.); Hanna-McEuen, Hanna-McEuen (DreamWorks)