Mary Halvorson performs a Tiny Desk Concert on Dec. 12, 2012. Ryan Smith/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Ryan Smith/NPR

Mary Halvorson's Saturn Sings is an abstract jazz cliff-dive inspired by Thelonious Monk, Sam Cooke and Robert Wyatt. Amani Willett hide caption

itoggle caption Amani Willett

Sonny Sharrock (pictured here with Linda Sharrock, then his wife) approach his guitar like Albert Ayler played his saxophone — fiercely, yet tenderly out of bounds. Courtesy of the artist hide caption

itoggle caption Courtesy of the artist