Rhythm Changes: New Music, January Edition

The state of the jazz union is good. We’ve got jazz artists all over the upcoming Grammy ceremony in early February, and according to Axios Gen Z is connecting with jazz in a big way. And even though historically January can be a bit of a lull for new releases, this year I’ve been getting tons of awesome music into rotation already. I wanted to highlight a couple of these new releases and I encourage you to dive in deeper with these artists. Buy some merch! Check them out live! Follow them on social media!

And if you are ever looking to hear these artists and more on our airwaves, the epicenter of our new music coverage  is the Noon Friday show This Just In. If you can’t check it out noon, catch the show on demand here.

If you have input about the music we’re playing, or ideas about what else we should be playing, let me know please! I can be reached at sean@jazz88.fm.

Yussef Dayes “Marching Band feat. Masego” from his album Black Classical Music Listen Here

I do my best to limit social media intake but sometimes you catch something that just brings you in and when I say Yussef Dayes jamming long distance with CARRTOONS on Instagram I wanted to know everything about this drummer. His playing was so enthusiastic and reactive. Sometimes I feel like you get one or the other: either a player is a dynamo full of spectacular moments, but they have only a fleeting connection to the musicians they are playing with OR they are attentive and responsive to their fellow players but never show that flash and muscle that make a song sing. Yussef has it all plus an incredible rolodex of guests like Masego to deliver some of the most exciting music to drop in the 2023.

Precarious Towers – “Tone Poem” from their album Ten Stories  Listen Here

In 2022 pianist Johannes Wallman brought together a group of players to record an album called “Precarious Towers”. The sessions went so good and the band had so much chemistry that they decided to form a group and name it Precarious Towers. On this second outing, the chemistry is palpable and it’s great to see more of the players contributing their own writing. I was particularly drawn to the tune “Tone Poem” penned by alto sax/flute phenom Sharel Cassity. Cassity’s writing and soloing on the tune hit some sort of ideal of soulful, understated and memorable.



Joel Ross – “Equinox” from his album Nublues Listen Here

As Blue Note begins their 85th year of existence they are doing it up! They have  the Blue Note Quintet out on the road right now, including an appearance at the Dakota on January 27. Joel Ross is front and center on that tour and he’s getting ready for his next Blue Note release on February 9.  Ross has been delivering the goods during his multi-album tenure on Blue Note with a great set of releases of almost exclusively original material. For his new effort he is widening his scope and diving deeper into the spirit and sound of the blues. Ross wisely doesn’t make this effort a “blues by the numbers” affair with a couple stock charts tossed in front of capable players. Instead Joel Ross endeavored to go deeper into the spirit and essence of the blues and he let his collaborators join him, with very little exacting guidance about what players are to do on each song. The result is a really inspired collection of classics, little known gems and a handful of originals that provide a timely, modern celebration of the sound and spirit of the blues.

Gregory Tardy  – “Will the Circle Be Unbroken” from his album In His Timing Listen Here

Long live the fiddle! Long live the licorice stick! Clarinets and violins; two instruments central to the story of jazz historically that get short shrift today. But on this new release from reedman Gregory Tardy, both shine. Regina Carter is on the outing providing the world class violin playing she is so well known for and Tardy is leading the band with his clarinet. Both instruments have such emotional range and to hear these two navigating beautiful compositions including “Will The Circle Be Unbroken”. . .it doesn’t get much better. I’ve got my fingers crossed that Tardy finds his way to the Twin Cities to support this record, I haven’t had the joy of seeing him live yet.

Thanks for checking out Rhythm Changes, and be sure to shoot an email over to sean@jazz88.fm if you have any input about our music programming!

-Sean McPherson

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