"Abstraction" is a musical palindrome with Coleman soloing over it. The "Criss Cross" variations have always been my favorite part of the album. The interplay between Dolphy and Coleman is jaw-dropping. And yeah, those early Blue Note recordings of Monk's are some of my favorites of his (I recommend going for the complete sessions but those "Genius of Modern Music" comps seem to have the best stuff).
Charles Mingus - Pithecanthropus Erectus
Mainly notable for establishing the sound most folks associate with Mingus but he clearly did much better later so I haven't bothered with this (or "The Clown", for that matter) in quite awhile. Forgot that the title track was *another* musical palindrome (I do know it's apparently supposed to represent the birth of early man though, hence the title).
Max Roach - M'Boom
I recently got another M'Boom album called "Collage" and think it's pretty much the same quality but tend to give the edge to this one. Neither is the type of thing I feel like listening to all that often but as you said, the atmosphere and tone color are pretty impressive. As some one who played drums and some of these other percussion instruments in a concert band setting, I may have more patience for this than most, though.
Lightnin' Hopkins - Live at Newport
Killer performance, maybe the best Hopkins I've heard. I certainly don't remember ever being this impressed with his guitar playing, that's for damn sure. Most of the set is solo but he's joined by a band for the last few numbers. At any rate, this ranks up there with the great live blues sets and is highly recommended to all fans.
Frank Zappa- Wazoo
Was daunted by the length (cue inappropriate joke which would made Frank proud) but finally caved and decided to listen to this and am glad I did. I mean, you can't really go wrong with live "Grand Wazoo" and "Waka/Jawaka" material, along with some other stuff that would eventually show up on "Lather" in different forms. Recommended to all fans of this period, which is arguably one of his best post of the post-original Mothers era.
Santana - Live at the Fillmore 1968
Embryonic set by the original lineup, decidedly more laid back than they would become. Indeed, ol' Carlos's energy level is noticeably higher than the rest of the band, which makes it even more obvious when he overplays (which he does have a tendency to do). So while this may lack the punch of the first 3 studio albums or, say, the Woodstock set, it's still a solid set by the first and best Santana lineup.
Grupo Folklórico y Experimental Nuevayorquino - Concepts in Unity
I'm the first to admit that I don't know shit about salsa music. In fact, my knowledge is basically limited to the "Buena Vista Social Club" soundtrack and its various offshoots released under individual artist names. And there's also the handful of times I've gone dancing at salsa clubs with friends, in which case I obviously never knew the names of the artists I was listening to. But this album here, it seems pretty special. Sure, the group name and album title maybe make it sound more ambitious and experimental (the latter term actually being included in the band name) than it actually is but the fusion of salsa with Afro cuban jazz is pretty thrilling. The musicians are given space to stretch and are truly impressive, especially the pianist and the various percussionists. The vocal harmonies, when they appear, also seem pretty unusual for this type of music. At any rate, this is some exploratory shit and I can't sit still while listening.
Charles Mingus - Let My Children Hear Music
Apparently Mingus claimed that this was his best album and though I definitely don't agree with that, I can understand why he felt that way, given its relatively late release date, ambitious scope and personal nature of the material. Along with "Black Saint" it is the Mingus album with the most prominent classical music influence but while "Black Saint" felt like a unified suite, this album is all over the map, ricocheting back and forth between tranquility and calamity and even including spoken word pieces and sound effects (the latter in the brilliantly titled "Don't Be Afraid, The Clown's Afraid Too"). It does sound a bit by-numbers at times which keeps me from considering this one of the man's absolute best but it is definitely a worthy addition to his discography and deserves a listen if you're already familiar with the earlier stuff.
The Mothers of Invention - Live At BBC
Since this was at the BBC, the sound quality is better than your typical bootleg quality and though the set is on the short side, the band do one of the best versions of "King Kong" I've heard. "In The Sky" is a harmless doo wop throwaway which actually works perfectly as an intentional anticlimax (just listen to how bored those horn players sound). Worth seeking out if you're a big Mothers fan.