This Just In: A New Music Round Up – Friday May 3 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, Fridays at noon on 88.5, or catch it on your own schedule from our on-demand 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

Kamasi Washington – “Prologue” from his new album Fearless Movement Listen Here

Can we discuss the epic in jazz? I promise you I will struggle to describe this but in general epic music makes me think of vastness, of large proportions, of huge canvasses. Epic is different than bombastic, epic is different than huge. For me the epic sound of jazz starts in a Philadelphia left hand that belonged to McCoy Tyner. From that left hand a universe of expansive, epic jazz came into being. Pharaoh Sanders took it further. The sounds of ECM players like Keith Jarrett did too. Maria Schneider’s in there. Lester Bowie. Sonny Sharrock, many more. For me, Washington’s skill is in the epic. It helps that the songs are long. It helps that the songs develop in breathtaking ways. But it’s not enough. What makes them epic is Kamasi Washington’s sense of purpose. He imbues his music with a level of inspiration, intensity and patience that from note one I know he’s the captain and I know I’m glad to be on the trip. Washington’s new album is out today. Washington plays in town on Saturday May 11 at the Fitzgerald Theater.

Dayna Stephens – “Bubbly” from his album Closer Than We Think  Listen Here

Major new talent alert! My friend Peter Leggett (also a very talented drummer) is often the first person to let me know about promising young jazz musicians and he gave me the heads up about young Emmanuel Michael. Peter’s brief description was “he’s a teenager from South Dakota who has taken in Bill Frisell and so much more from the world of jazz guitar and is putting his own mark on it”. And Peter was spot on. On this record Michael and the rest of the ensemble shine under the leadership of Dayna Stephens but I’ve mainly been hung up on the writing and playing Michael demonstrates on his tune “Bubbly”. Give it a listen! I think we’ll be tracking this man’s playing for decades to come.

Dan Pugach – “Bianca” from his new album Bianca  Listen Here

My man Peter Solomon has me on a mission to find more modern big band music and I’m delivering baby. Dan Pugach is an in-demand drummer working on the East coast and he and his big band nail it on this outing. The arrangement sound modern but still pack punch of the big bands we all know and love from yesteryear. The tune Bianca is on the gentle side but the band comes alive when they need to. Keep the big band sounds coming jazz players! We’re listening for them!

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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