This Just In: A New Music Round Up – Friday January 26 from Music Director Sean McPherson

Greetings! Every Friday I’ll be bringing you some highlights of new music we are featuring here on Jazz88. This is all connected to This Just In, our weekly show that celebrates new jazz releases. You can catch This Just In, hosted by moi, on Fridays at Noon on 88.5 or catch it on your own schedule from our show page.

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

JC Sanford “Toy Tune” from his album New Past Listen Here

JC Sanford is one of the most active and collaborative players in our Twin Cities jazz scene. From behind his trombone he has brought together world class players to explore his compositions as well as unearth beautiful pieces from other writers. In this outing for Shifting Paradigm the main focus is Sanford’s own charts but we were taken with one of the two songs by other writers. “Toy Tune” is a Wayne Shorter piece that first appeared on his recorded in the 60s/released in the 80s album “Et Cetera”. Sanford is in great company to explore a Shorter gem with Anthony Cox, one of the most singularly talented artists to ever come out of the Twin Cities working the upright and his frequent collaborator Michael Cain at the piano bench. Together the trio take a patient but impassioned reading of the tune with inspired solos from all three.

Jun Iida – “Shiki No Uta” from his album Evergreen  Listen Here

The album Evergreen captures an artist in transition. After being a fixture on the West Coast jazz scene for half a decade Jun Iida (pron. June Eye-dah) is making his way to New York. But he made a pit stop in Los Angeles to record a breathtaking record. The point of departure for “Shiki No Uta” is a J-Pop anime tune but it rides completely different with a skittery drum groove offered up by Xavier Lecouturier. Add in some tasty Harmon mute trumpet work from Iida himself and you’ve got a beautiful grooving tune full of sass and melancholy, not an easy combination, but one that sits together just perfectly in this case.

Norah Jones – “Running” from her forthcoming album Visions Listen Here

She’s still got it. Norah Jones is back with her ninth album on March 8th and if the first single is any indication, I expect there will be plenty of gems to look forward to. In the press release Jones says that “Running” came to her in the middle of the night, jolted her half awake and she didn’t change much when she headed into the studio with drummer/producer Leon Michels to work on it. The tune has a live session on a boozy porch production feel which captures the freewheelin’ spirit of the writing. And if you can’t support heavy baritone sax presence blowing in to support chorus two.  . .I don’t know what to tell ya, we just like different things.

Darcy James Argue  – “Last Waltz from Levon” from his album Dynamic Maximum Tension Listen Here

It’s all in the title of the song: Darcy James Argue is sending some love over to Levon Helm the force of nature/drummer/best singer in the legendary group The Band. But even with that, when I heard the iconic bass walk-up from “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down” sneak into the arrangement I got goose bumps. It was one of those moments when you realize that at its best, jazz music can give you something new while bringing you deeper into something you already knew than even the original can. If you played me the first section of this tune I could barely imagine it’s connection to the music of Levon Helm and the Band. But as the instrumentation and the composition start to expand and intensify I slowly start to hear the Americana spirit that Helm imbued every moment of his career with. It’s an amazing journey and I’m excited that Argue has been nominated for a Large Jazz Ensemble Grammy this year. It’s a well deserved nomination considering the moving journey this record takes you on.

Thanks for checking out This Just In, and be sure to shoot an email over to if you have any input about our music programming!

-Sean McPherson

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