Best of 2013: Chris Barton picks Matana Roberts, Cécile McLorin Salvant

In this time when news is disseminated ever more quickly, we asked our critics to list the best of culture in 2013 in tweet form:

Vijay Iyer, Mike Ladd. "Holding It Down: The Veterans' Dreams Project": Jazz meets hip-hop and poetry to detail the costs of war. Haunting.


Charles Lloyd and Jason Moran, "Hagar's Song": A masterful duet-as-conversation, examining familiar and undiscovered ground with grace.

Matana Roberts, "Coin Coin Chapter Two: Mississippi Moonchile": Family history as social history in a swirling mix of free jazz, opera and spoken word. Challenging yet ultimately beautiful.

Albert Heath, "Tootie's Tempo": A clinic in jazz swing from one of the keepers of its heartbeat, backed by Ethan Iverson and Ben Street.

Craig Taborn Trio, "Chants": A first-call sideman delivers on the promise of his ethereal solo debut with arresting energy and atmosphere.

Dawn of Midi, "Dysnomia": Telepathic piano trio spins one ever-evolving, 47-minute song. Is it jazz? Who can say, but it's spellbinding.

Jonathan Finlayson, "Moment & the Message": A knotted but melodic puzzle with an off-centered drive from the Berkeley-born trumpeter.

Cécile McLorin Salvant, "Womanchild": Just try and find a more joyful album in 2013 than this 24-year-old singer's vintage jazz and blues.

Marc Cary Focus Trio, "Four Directions": A funky electro-acoustic split from a pianist who can draw from India, DC go-go and Betty Carter.

Ben Goldberg, "Unfold Ordinary Mind": Bay Area clarinetist anchors the bass for a gruff, melodic band featuring Nels Cline and Ches Smith.

Twitter: @chrisbarton