(Concord): ***

Finessing his proven formula — taking a big-band approach to contemporary pop hits — savvy bandleader Bradlee and a nimble ensemble deliver an entertaining concert set (recently aired on PBS). A horn-heavy arrangement of Chris Cornell’s “Black Hole Sun” falters (though it’s almost rescued by Haley Reinhart’s gutsy vocal); more successful are Casey Abrams’ tapdancing take on Rihanna’s “Umbrella,” Aubrey Logan’s brassy scat through Taylor Swift’s “Bad Blood,” and Lavance Colley’s dramatic reading of Beyoncé’s “Halo.”


(ECM): ****

Tunisian oudist Brahem teams with bassist Dave Holland, drummer Jack DeJohnette and pianist Django Bates for a deep, dreamy marriage of jazz improvisation and Arabic tradition. Only one track, the four-minute “La Passante,” clocks in under seven minutes, its pensive oud-piano exchanges offering some of the album’s most beautiful moments. Bates’ low notes and runs flesh out the drama intoned by Brahem’s brooding solo on “Persepolis’ Mirage,” against Holland and DeJohnette’s subtle push-pull dynamics. “The Recovered Road to Al-Sham” is another spacious oud-piano dialogue that rewards contemplative listening, its spare melodies expressing much across shifting time signatures and cultural expectations before all four players join in rhythmic resolve.


(self-released): ***

Expanding from her stripped-down onstage approach, the former music therapist offers uplifting messages like those that animated 2014’s “Go” while also examining her heart. “Lonely” and “Love Has Got Me Here” showcase her dynamic vocal and emotional range, the thundering “Same Blood” decries racism, and she soulfully champions empowerment with reggae-kissed groover “The Best of You,” “Burdens Down” and standout track “Do Nothin’” (“Do somethin’, say somethin’, be somethin’/ …I know you want to spread your wings in flight”). It’s more pop-oriented, not as loose as her live shows, but her message and commanding singing resonate.

ERIN ENDERLIN, Whiskeytown Crier

(Blue Slate): ***½

“Bartender, hit me/ My glass is half empty/ It has been since he’s been gone,” the Nashville tunesmith moans in her thick Arkansas drawl during “The Blues Are Alive & Well,” a stone country weeper that namechecks Keith Whitley and sounds like a classic Womack or Patty Loveless could have recorded. A confessional interpretation of Gram Parsons’ “Hickory Wind” nods to seminal influences, but Enderlin’s her own sharp-eyed songwriter; check out story songs “His Memory Walks on Water,” “Broken” and swampy murder ballad “Caroline.”