Joy in Spite of Everything, Stefano Bollani

Those who love Bill Evans or Art Blakey will relish this disc, though Stefano Bollani has his own freewheeling improv stamp. Recorded in one day, and featuring guitarist Bill Frisell, Joy pulses with live energy. Bollani pilots his piano with sophisticated trills, rolls, and riffs.

Here, There and Everywhere, Anthony Molinaro

Many Beatles tribute discs fail be­cause the vocalists or players aren’t up to the task. But with this piano-based instrumental disc, Chicago’s Anthony Molinaro shatters barriers in refreshing ways. On the opening “Blackbird,” he manages to inject the melody with stride-piano infectiousness.

Blow, Louis Prima Jr. and the Witnesses

Is it rock? Swing? Boogie-woogie? Lou­is Prima Jr. (son of the famous comic swing artist) melodiously mixes all of the above. This music moves—often with greased-lightning groove, as on the instrumental title track and “Go, Let’s Go” (which features a frenetic guitar solo). The record has its touching moments, too, as when Prima Sr. and Jr.

You Should Be So Lucky, Benmont Tench

On his first solo album, Tom Petty’s keyboardist handles the songwriting and vocal duties admirably, his baritone sounding much like former Dire Straits frontman Mark Knopfler.

Tarpaper Sky, Rodney Crowell

Rodney Cro­well, longtime guitarist for Emmy­lou Harris, hit songwriter for Waylon Jen­nings and the Oak Ridge Boys, demonstrates artistic integrity here, refusing to cave to country-pop trends. Nothing here is calculated; the album was recorded live in a studio.