10 Albums You Need to Know: April 2024


From captivating compositions to virtuosic performances, these releases encompass a wide range of styles and showcase the creativity and artistry of today’s jazz musicians. Here is our curated selection of ten new jazz albums released this month (April 2024) that you need to know about.

 

Brian Bromberg, LaFaro (Be Squared)

In his latest album, bassist Brian Bromberg pays tribute to the legendary Scotty LaFaro, whose contributions to the classic Bill Evans Trio still reverberate to this day. LaFaro finds Bromberg sticking to upright basses and in the company of pianist Tom Zink and drummer Charles Ruggiero, as they perform a swinging program of classic compositions and one original track, “Scotty’s Song.” Release date: April 5.

 

José James, 1978 (Rainbow Blonde)

Vocalist José James expands on his musical boundaries on 1978, a new self-focused project highlighting his songwriting prowess, released on his Rainbow Blonde label. Delving into the essence of his birth year, James weaves together elements of the sound of the era and intertwines them with his jazz origins, creating a fusion that pays homage to past influences while embracing the present. Release date: April 5

 

Kandace Springs, Run Your Race (SRP)

After celebrating the legacy of iconic female vocalists with her 2020 album, The Women Who Raised Me, Kandace Springs showcases her own compositional prowess in a brand new album full of original songs. Run Your Race, named for her late father, track star and musician Kenneth “Scat” Springs, was produced by Kandace alongside Evan Rogers and Carl Sturken for SRP Records, which released Rihanna’s first seven albums. Release date: April 5.

 

Melissa Aldana, Echoes of the Inner Prophet (Blue Note)

Melissa Aldana follows her 2022 Blue Note debut, 12 Stars, with an intimate, searching project celebrating collaboration and community, Echoes of the Inner Prophet, which she describes via a press release as a “personal journey with an especially introspective point of view.” The record documents the evolution of her quintet and her ongoing artistic kinship with guitarist Lage Lund, who serves as her arranger and co-producer. Release date: April 5.

 

Nick Finzer, Legacy: A Centennial Celebration of JJ Johnson (Outside In)

Trombonist Nick Finzer commemorates the centennial of jazz legend JJ Johnson by presenting Legacy, a collection featuring arrangements of Johnson’s compositions, selections from his repertoire and Finzer’s original compositions. The project not only pays homage to Johnson’s enduring legacy but also reunites some of Johnson’s longstanding band members, including Renee Rosnes, Rufus Reid, and Lewis Nash. Release date: April 5.

 

Shabaka, Perceive Its Beauty, Acknowledge Its Grace (Impulse!)

Perceive Its Beauty, Acknowledge Its Grace marks the debut solo album by Shabaka, a.k.a. Shabaka Hutchings, who previously turned heads as the leader of such groups as The Comet Is Coming and Sons of Kemet. Having already established his incendiary style of saxophone playing, this new project finds him turning his energies towards a softer sound with woodwinds and flutes at the forefront, in a program also featuring stellar guest contributions from such artists as esperanza spalding, Brandee Younger, André 3000 and many more. Release date: April 12.

 

Bill Frisell, Orchestras (Blue Note)

Orchestras, produced by Lee Townsend and featuring sweeping arrangements and orchestration by Michael Gibbs, is a new double album documenting two concert hall engagements by guitar great Bill Frisell’s longstanding trio with bassist Thomas Morgan and drummer Rudy Royston. One performance showcases them alongside the nearly 60-piece Brussels Philharmonic, led by Alexander Hanson, while the other features them alongside the 11-piece Umbria Jazz Orchestra directed by Manuele Morabidini. Release date: April 19.

 

Fred Hersch, Silent, Listening (ECM)

Fred Hersch, the celebrated pianist, presents Silent, Listening, a highly individual musical endeavour that stands as a significant addition to ECM Records’ collection of groundbreaking solo piano recordings. This album skillfully weaves together songs and spontaneously crafted pieces, showcasing seven original creations alongside a selection of carefully curated standards. Release date: April 19.

 

Ghost-Note, Mustard n’Onions (Artistry/Mack Avenue)

Mustard n’Onions is the first album in six years by groove titans Ghost-Note, the band co-led by Snarky Puppy’s duo of drummer/keyboardist Robert Sput Searlight and percussionist Nate Worth. Presenting a story of the ensemble maturing, solidifying and finding their identity, the album also includes several guests, including Bernard Wright, whose performances on three tracks would be some of his final recorded appearances. Release date: April 19.

 

Charles McPherson, Reverence (Smoke Sessions)

Saxophonist Charles McPherson makes his Smoke Sessions debut with Reverence, an new album dedicated to Barry Harris, captured in front of a live audience at New York’s Smoke Jazz Club and featuring his quintet with Terell Stafford, Jeb Patton, David Wong, and Billy Drummond. Reverence is also the first of a series of live recordings scheduled for release to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Smoke Sessions Records and the 25th anniversary of Smoke Jazz Club. Release date: April 26.

 

Featured photo by Kory Thibeault.

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