Carmen Staaf

Chris Tobin / WBGO

When violinist Jenny Scheinman and drummer Allison Miller make music together, it can feel much like a parlor game.

Not so much for its simplicity, because it simply isn’t that — but rather in the sense of capturing all of your attention, the way a parlor game would have done before the distractions of a radio, a television or an internet.

Shervin Lainez

Sara Gazarek is, as every jazz singer ought to be, an original. 

John Rogers

Take Five celebrates albums by five amazing drummers whose music defies stereotype.

Craig Taborn Quartet
Bart Babinski / for ECM Records

Sometimes a theme emerges by chance, revealing itself in the moment. That’s true of this week’s installment of Take Five, featuring new music by a range of smart and searching pianists. A couple of these tracks are from brand-new albums, and a couple are from albums due later in the year. Each is an illustration of deep focus and alert chemistry, along with first-rate pianism.