The Mexican-American singer Jenni Rivera died on Dec. 9 in a plane crash, two days before the release of her new compilation album “La Misma Gran Señora.” Obviously, the album was never intended as a valedictory.
Ms. Rivera, already a major hitmaker and television personality in the Spanish-speaking world, was very much on the rise; she was about to move into English-language film and network television. “La Misma Gran Señora” — “The Same Great Lady” — gathers songs from her albums over the last seven years and adds the title song, which was released as a single in October. And it makes abundantly clear why she was so beloved as a singer, symbol and spitfire. Outside her entertainment career, she was an advocate against domestic violence and for immigrant rights.
“La Misma Gran Señora” (Fonovisa) concentrates on the Mexican regional styles that Ms. Rivera chose to make her own. Nine of the album’s 13 songs are banda: Mexican songs, usually waltzes and polkas, backed by robust, oom-pahing brass bands. The arrangements, with trumpets cackling and clarinets fluttering above a droll sousaphone bass line, laugh their way through songs full of romance and heartbreak.
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Although Mexican pop singers, male and female, sometimes record with bandas or mariachi groups as genre projects, full-time banda was considered a man’s world until Ms. Rivera made it her core style. In the last decade Ms. Rivera also recorded mariachi and pop — bringing in string sections or pedal steel guitar — but as “La Misma Gran Señora” makes clear, she never left banda behind.
With a clear, dramatic voice that could hurtle toward fury or tears, Ms. Rivera presented herself, as the title of a 2005 album puts it, as “Parrandera, Rebelde y Atrevida”: “Party Girl, Rebel and Bold Girl.” More than that: she was not to be crossed.
Nearly every song on “La Misma Gran Señora” is flung at a man who’s leaving or has left her. It’s the emotional territory that has paid off for Adele, Pink, Taylor Swift, Alanis Morissette and Gloria Gaynor: anger overpowering heartache. And Ms. Rivera pitched her vengeance to grown-ups.
The title track — which was released within weeks after Ms. Rivera announced she was getting divorced from the baseball player Esteban Loaiza — taunts the singer’s ex by insisting, “I’ll go on being the great woman/You without me are worth nothing from now on.” It’s a follow-up to the title song of a 2009 album, “La Gran Señora,” a mariachi waltz that’s also included on this collection. “La Gran Señora” warned a younger rival that stealing her man would take more than “a pretty face” and “a body without stretch marks.”
Ms. Rivera goes from sobs to wrath in “Resulta,” advising the man to take his suitcase and go; in “No Vas a Creer” (“You Won’t Believe”), she gloats to a man that she’s already over him. And in “Que Me Vas a Dar” (“What Will You Give Me”), she drips sarcasm as she negotiates the terms of a potential reconciliation.
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Men weren’t her only targets. The album ends with “Ovarios” (“Ovaries”), an accordion-driven corrido from 2009 with a hip-hop attitude; it boasts about her fame and directly taunts, by nickname, her rivals among female singers. But that was a side trip. Ms. Rivera earned her fame as a woman determined to fight for her passions.
Duality is a natural preoccupation for jazz musicians. More than any other music, jazz encourages an understanding of opposing energies in productive harmony: individual and collective, composed and improvised, past and present, hot and cool. The saxophonist Jason Robinson has embraced this idea wholeheartedly, making it the hinge of his recent work, including a rugged and scintillating new album, “Tiresian Symmetry.”
Mr. Robinson is a bicoastal academic — an assistant professor of music at Amherst College who did his graduate work at the University of California, San Diego — with an artistic profile that skews emphatically avant-garde. But he isn’t just a sucker for the obscure: he also has a history of working with jam bands and reggae legends, and seems to consider his music in visceral and social as well as intellectual terms.
Which is helpful, given his apparent fondness for myths of antiquity. His previous album, released in 2010, was “The Two Faces of Janus,” inspired by the Roman god of gateways and beginnings. “Tiresian Symmetry” has an equivalent touchstone in Tiresias, the Greek prophet who, according to legend, walked the earth as both a man and a woman.
The album features Mr. Robinson’s Janus Ensemble, which has two drummers, George Schuller and Ches Smith; two multireedists, J. D. Parran and Marty Ehrlich; and two tuba players, Marcus Rojas and Bill Lowe. There’s also a bassist, Drew Gress, and a guitarist, Liberty Ellman, along with Mr. Robinson on tenor and soprano saxophones and alto flute.
The group, which is scheduled to perform at ShapeShifter Lab in Brooklyn on Tuesday night, bears an unabashed resemblance to Very Very Circus, a thrillingly freewheeling band led by the multireedist Henry Threadgill in the early 1990s (with Mr. Rojas in the ranks). The emulation is such that a solid chunk of the album’s opening track, “Stratum 3,” could pass convincingly for the real thing, all spindly funk drumming and rhinocerine tuba chatter. Trust this early impression and you think Mr. Robinson is chasing after shadows, especially given that Mr. Ellman is a member of Mr. Threadgill’s current band.
But the album, as it rumbles on, dispels that reservation almost sneakily. As a composer and arranger, Mr. Robinson likes to gather mass by accretion, stacking woodwind or brass lines over Mr. Gress’s unshakable grooves. The title track, which cruises along in seven-eighths meter — because of the importance of the number seven in the Tiresias myth, of course — shows his knack for reformatting the ensemble in shifting arrays of timbre. “Saros,” with its urgent counterpoint, and “Elbow Grease,” with its stop-start flourishes, reflect a basic shrewdness about rhythm.
And the album’s closer, “Cosmolographie,” begins with Mr. Robinson and Mr. Gress in a ruminative duet, before drums enter the frame, followed by the rest. Mr. Ellman fashions a quick and elegant solo, but then comes the track’s centerpiece, a braying-and-pecking collective improvisation by the reeds, both chaotic and in perfect order.