This Just In: A New Music Round Up – Friday May 31 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 sean@jazz88.fm.

Davina and the Vagabonds – “Build Me Up Buttercup” from their new album, Shoot For The Moon Listen Here

Davina and the Vagabonds have rightfully built up a reputation as one of the most exhilarating live acts on the international jazz circuit. With two decades-plus of road experience, the Vagabonds faced unique challenges during the pandemic: How does a road band build and grow when touring is no longer an option? How does a good-time band navigate and document the categorically bad times we lived through? It seems the answers for Davina and the Vagabonds to both questions were the same: from within and with the tape rolling. On their new record, Shoot For The Moon, Davina pulls from a wider emotional spectrum then I’ve heard her offer up on previous releases. The highs are higher, the lows are lower, and the blues are more undeniable. In this case, I was drawn to an emotional high point–the group’s rendition of the classic 60s tune, “Build Me Up Buttercup.” The brassy bounce of the band sits against the sadness of the lyric and churns up that spirit that pulls at your heartstrings while imploring you to move the body your heart is powering.

Birckhead– “Cacao” from his new album, Cacao Listen Here

Have you ever heard a standup comedian artfully squeeze every potential angle out of a joke to the point where they have conjured all five varieties of laugh you possess out of you in minutes flat? I feel that same artful squeeze from saxophonist Brent Birckhead’s track “Cacao.” The song opens with Birckhead’s unadorned alto line, and from there, he and the band dress the line in different chords, grooves, and texture– all in the service of that first line. I have no notes–the band patiently and proficiently deliver us a beautiful universe harvested from that first seed. Boy, do I hate being dropped into the middle of a jazz song, only able to ascertain what scales the soloist liked the best at their conservatory. This song is the complete opposite; every soloist is in service of the melody, of the groove, and of each other. It’s rare, it’s memorable, and there’s more where that came from. The album is full of gems in the same vein.

Thanks for checking out This Just In, 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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