JAZZMEIA HORN, Love Liberation (Concord): ***

Rather than retrace socially conscious themes from her Grammy-nominated 2017 debut, “A Social Call,” the award-winning jazz stylist salutes female empowerment and resilience with playful original compositions like “Still Tryin’,” “Out the Window” and “Searchin’,” the latter two scatted with limber bravura that calls to mind Ella Fitzgerald in her prime. Other highlights: a lush reinvention of fellow Dallas native Erykah Badu’s “Green Eyes”; a lightly swinging “No More” (by Horn’s late mentor Jon Hendricks); and a graceful duet with drummer Jamison Ross on George Duke and Rachelle Farrell’s “Reflections of My Heart” — the album’s most melodically compelling track — that draws out Horn’s more vulnerable, sultry tones. theartistryofjazzhorn.com

THE COMMONHEART, Pressure (Jullian): ***½

The soul-rocking Pittsburgh octet’s messages of hope and conviction get a terrific boost from Motown-style arrangements and grooves, and frontman Clinton Clegg’s gritty preacherman vocal passion. Tales of real-life stress and loss (“Do Right,” the guitar-seared “Can’t Forget You” and title track) pulse with “we’re all in this together” resilience, and deepen this compelling set’s appeal. RIYL Lee Fields, Anderson East. Highlights: “Show Me to the Light” (“There’s got to be more than this”), “Nobody’s Listening,” “Wait” (“I ain’t no angel, I ain’t no saint/ I’m the one that will wait”). thecommonheart.com

ROB LAUFER, The Floating World (self-released): ***

Taking a break from his music director gig for the Wild Honey Orchestra’s starry benefit concerts, the thoughtful tunesmith delivers a smartly crafted, nicely produced collection of pop-rockers and ballads. Hooks are strong and melodies hummable from opener “Avalanche” through young love tale “Hippie Love,” with its hints of parental concern (and a theme repeated during the thumping “Bolt of Blue,” with its slaps at “hippie hypocrite minds”). Highlights: “Highway Machine,” “The Holding Sea,” the bittersweet title track. roblaufermusic.com

JESSE MALIN, Sunset Kids (Wicked Cool/the Orchard/Velvet Elk): ***½

Ghosts of relatives, Tom Petty and other beloved musicians hover lovingly around the New York rocker’s melodically gratifying new album. Lucinda Williams produced and also co-wrote two songs (including the reflective “Room 13”), and standout tracks like the guitar-churning “Shining Down” (“Keep on shining down on my life”), the yearning “Promises” and piano-teasing rocker “Meet Me at the End of the World Again” (gaining extra lift-off from Joseph Arthur’s harmonies) are animated by a bright, driving tension between gratitude and regret. jessemalin.com