We are in a golden age for new jazz releases, and figuring out the right tunes to get into our playlists has been a true joy. Check out a couple of these highlights and be sure to let us know what you think of the new music. I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For quite some time, I’ve been using Jazz Night in America as a litmus test for what is on the way up in the jazz world. You can catch Jazz Night in America Saturdays at 10 p.m. and Tuesdays at 7 p.m. on Jazz88. Christian McBride and his staff seem to be ahead of the curve on who is making waves in the jazz world. This whole month, JNIA is focusing on a series they’re calling “Youngbloods,” celebrating jazz players who are under thirty years old. The first featured artist is the young vocalist, Samara Joy. I dug into what is available from Joy’s forthcoming record Linger Awhile (coming out Friday, September 16th). The tunes available show that Joy favors a straight-ahead sound, without sounding “retro” in the least. The music is of the moment, but certainly anchored in the sounds of classic jazz singers. The guitar from the Italian phenom Pasquale Grasso is also out of this world, with blindingly fast runs that sound inspired and musical.
I have spoken before about force-of-nature/tenor saxophone player, Shabaka Hutchings. I had the joy of seeing the final North American show for another one of his projects, Sons of Kemet. This group seems to be in for the long haul, and they’re back with a new album called Hyper-Dimensional Expansion Beam. If you like your jazz a bit psychedelic and electronic, but still teeming with human spirit and force, this is the group for you. We are looking forward to seeing what else is on the LP. It comes out on Impulse! September 23.
The only thing worse than a guitar player in a jazz band is two guitar players. I kid, I kid. Julian Lage teamed up with his trusty trio for this album, but they also invited Bill Frisell to help out. Throughout the record, what you can hear is this amazing conversation between Lage and Frisell. It’s clear there is some hierarchy–sometimes it’s Lage’s solo, sometimes Frisell takes the lead, but throughout the record, they are sharing a very human, conversation with the pauses, pacing, and reflection you’d expect from any great conversation. Throughout the album, Minnesota’s own Dave King is behind the kit and he’ll be on hand to play the show at the Dakota this Saturday, Sept. 17. You can check out my long-form interview with Julian Lage right here.
There’s some amazing jazz coming out of South Carolina right now, and Quentin Baxter seems to be behind most of it. He’s behind the kit on this outing, but also handles most of the writing. He’s got a set of tunes celebrating the seasons, and we jumped early on the vibe of “Fall.” I love seasonally-appropriate tunes and I hope this works its way into the canon alongside Coltrane’s “Equinox” and the standard “Autumn Leaves.”
Thanks for checking this out and if you have new music suggestions, or music suggestions in general, contact me at email@example.com
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