This Just In: A New Music Round Up – Friday March 15 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

Rabeca “Aquarium” from their new album Junk Listen Here

I don’t have the greatest feel on what the term “post-rock” means. What I do know is that that is frequently what the group Tortoise gets called. For me, Tortoise exemplifies an embrace of jazz textures and sensibilities by rock musicians without a strident announcement of “THIS IS JAZZ MUSIC, SIT DOWN CAUSE COMING UP NEXT IT’S JAZZ WITH A CAPITAL J”. Why am I telling you about Tortoise? We are talking about Rabeca after all. Well, to me Rabeca falls in line with the Tortoise style. I hear Steven Reich style melodies floating over frenetic rhythm tracks with arrangements that seem to have been decided by a coin flip in the best possible way. There is an exuberance and excitement about sound and instruments all across this new project from Rabeca that can be sorely lacking in a lot of modern music. And I always follow the rule of listening to a band when the drummer is named Satchel, so I really had no choice.

Khruangbin – “May Ninth” from their forthcoming album A La Sala  Listen Here

Were you hoping that the Meters and Mazzy Star might make a record together? So was I. I don’t know if that’s gonna happen, but we’ve got this new Khruangbin and it’s the closest we might get. In the past the vocals on Khruangbin tracks mostly felt like a welcome afterthought. The vocals might add a little texture or maybe just make the song more memorable. But it never served as the centerpiece.  In the case of May Ninth, the vocals win the day. They are still mixed a little low, but they carry a distinct melody and add in the melancholy, nostalgic flavor that pushes this song along. The new album comes April 5 and here’s to hoping they add a date in the Twin Cities this summer, as catching this song live in summertime seems like a real bucket-list experience.

Willie Morris – “The Imitation Game” from his album Attentive Listening Listen Here

A rising star in jazz, young tenor player Willie Morris is on his second album, Attentive Listening from Posi-Tone. On the album Morris quickly establishes himself as a proficient sax player but what comes through on the best tracks is his attention to detail, his soulfulness and his ability to play off of a rhythm section. The well oiled Positone machine that is Boris Kozlov on bass and Rudy Royston on drums dig in hard on the track “The Imitation Game” and Morris and the other soloists answer with a bubbling, rhythmic intensity that keeps me connected to the music much more than any scalar acrobatics every could.

Miki Yamanaka – “Song for Mary Lou” from her album Shades of Rainbow Listen Here

In the Bandcamp notes to Miki Yamanaka’s last record Shades of Rainbow she outlines how the record is a combination of the familiar with a new voice joining in the mix. Yamanaka has been palying for years with Tyrone Allen on bass and Jimmy Macbride on drums. That comfort and groove is apparent from note one on the disc. The wild card is tenor player Mark Turner who joined the group for a short tour before the session but didn’t have the years of history that the other players have with each other. That combination of comfortable and novel makes for a great sound throughout the release. The band sounds invigorated and enthusiastic but with the comfort and depth of feel that only comes from years of history on the bandstand. Nowhere does the formula shine better than on Yamanaka’s original “Song For Mary Lou” which serves as a tribute to one of her jazz heroes, Mary Lou Williams. Stellar work all around and a beautiful melody provided by Miki Yamanaka.

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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