This Just In: A New Music Round Up – Friday June 7 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

The Neighborhood Quartet – “Hey Fellas” from their new album The Neighborhood Quartet Listen Here

The Neighborhood Quartet has been a beneath-the-radar Twin Cities mainstay for years, providing their sound on stages all across the metro. I was elated when I found out they were taking the step into commercially releasing an album, and when I heard the tune “Hey Fellas,” I knew they had found their stride. The tune is a joyous, casual sipper, with the relaxed gait of a group that moves to their own tempo. If you are looking for an ensemble that will leave you in deep contemplation for hours after the record is done spinning, LOOK ELSEWHERE! If, however, you want to hear a vibraphone-fronted quartet with some of the most groove and pocket-oriented players from our scene delivering inspired originals that sound like immediate classics, I’d say just stay in the Neighborhood.

Nduduzo Makhathini– “Water Spirits: Izinkonjana” from his new album, uNomkhubulwane Listen Here

My job at Jazz88 can numb me to the utter majesty that is music. I clock in to listen to players/writers/vocalists who have dedicated their lives to a noble pursuit, and I have the impossible job of determining how to present as much of this music in as honorable a way as possible. It’s a dream job, but it can overwhelm my ears with the bounty of greatness. But all numbness left when I got to track four of Nduduzo Mkhathini’s new album uNomkhubulwane. Francisco Mela entered softly on brushes at the thirty-five second mark and the goosebumps arrived. The same goosebumps from the first time I heard the soundtrack to Stand By Me; the goosebumps the first time my brother played me Electric Ladyland by Jimi Hendrix; the goosebumps hearing Keith Jarrett’s album, My Song. The goosebumps that come when an artist opens a portal you didn’t know existed inside your brain–you didn’t even know the artist was in your brain in the first place because they entered through your soul. Makhathini is a gifted pianist and writer, but on this album, he is something else. He is using the building blocks of a piano trio to conjure spirits and let them talk. Also, please read the liner notes. Makhathini explores the sacredness of water, the humanizing practice of dance, and the connections between the waters of the Atlantic and the history of the Atlantic slave-trade. The music is even more compelling with this context and point of departure.

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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