10 Albums You Need to Know: August 2020

An exploration of the creative freedoms of the trio format; a top jazz vocalist’s return to original songwriting; the third installment of a four-part musical polymath’s magnum opus. All this and more on the list of ten albums out this month that you need to know about.

 

Eddie Daniels feat. Dave Grusin and Bob James, Night Kisses: A Tribute to Ivan Lins (Resonance)

Release date: August 7

Clarinetist Eddie Daniels heads a new project celebrating the legacy of legendary Brazilian songwriter Ivan Lins. Night Kisses reimagines some of the compositions from Lins’ acclaimed albums of the late ‘70s and early ‘80s, and also brings Daniels together with piano legends Dave Grusin and Bob James, along with a top-class trio and the GRAMMY-winning Harlem Quartet.

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Immanuel Wilkins, Omega (Blue Note)

Release date: August 7

Having turned heads on Joel Ross’s KingMaker, saxophonist Immanuel Wilkins debuts as a bandleader on Blue Note. Omega established him as a force to be reckoned with, reveling in the jazz tradition and drawing on the Black American experience as well as his profound Christianity. The album was produced by his mentor Jason Moran and features Wilkins’ quartet of Micah Thomas, Daryl Johns and Kweky Sumbry.

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Jaga Jazzist, Pyramid (Brainfeeder)

Release date: August 7

Led by multi-instrumentalist Lars Horntveth and his compositions, top Norwegian jazz octet Jaga Jazzist dives deep into its jazz, post-rock and psychedelia influences on their first self-released and most collaborative album to date. Pyramid, which marks their debut release on Brainfeeder, is a collection of four new long-form pieces and includes tributes to Isao Tomita and Fela Kuti.

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Bill Frisell, Valentine (Blue Note)

Release date: August 14

Guitar great Bill Frisell explores the creative freedom of the trio format on his new album, Valentine, alongside his longtime trio compadres bassist Thomas Morgan and drummer Rudy Royston. Making its Blue Note debut, this trio performs a wide-ranging program of Frisell compositions old and new as well as classics and standards, showcasing the profound musical relationship they have formed in their years of touring together.

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Jacob Collier, Djesse Vol. 3 (Hajanga)

Release date: August 14

According to polymath visionary Jacob Collier, the third installment of his fascinating magnum opus Djesse series is “when things get very real indeed.” Featuring several tout-worthy guest artists and defined by an eclectic and idiosyncratic blend of genres, Djesse Vol. 3 promises to be the most unconfined and collaborative display of Collier’s songwriting, performing and producing to date.

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John Beasley, MONK’estra Plays John Beasley (Mack Avenue)

Release date: August 21

John Beasley returns with a new incarnation of his MONK’estra, with which he reimagined iconic Thelonious Monk compositions over the course of two GRAMMY-nominated albums. This time, the large ensemble performs some of his own estimable compositions, along with works by Monk, Duke Ellington and Charlie Parker, and with Beasley himself playing piano on every track.

Nubya Garcia, SOURCE (Concord Jazz)

Release date: August 21

SOURCE marks the first official full-length album of innovative British saxophonist/composer Nubya Garcia, following two acclaimed EPs and her enthralling work with Nérija. Affirming her musicianship and composition skills, the music presented on this record is described as “multidimensional jazz,” and is layered with influences from soul to Afro-diasporic sound to dub-step and beyond.

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Gregory Porter, All Rise (Blue Note)

Release date: August 28

All Rise marks the return of superstar vocalist Gregory Porter to original songwriting for the first time since his GRAMMY-winning Take Me to the Alley from 2016. His lyrics and sophisticated, powerful booming baritone vocals are set to a stirring mix of jazz, soul, blues and gospel performed by his longtime band, a handpicked horn section, a 10-member choir and the London Symphony Orchestra Strings.

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Harold López-Nussa, Te Lo Dije (Mack Avenue)

Release date: August 28

Having mastered his blend of Afro-Cuban music and modern jazz, Havana-based pianist Harold López-Nussa spices things up by adding the contemporary sounds and influence of Songo and reggaeton to the mix on his joyful new album, Te lo Dije. His longtime quartet of Ruy Adrián López-Nussa, Julio César González and Mayquel González, plus lots of special guests, rise up to the challenge with glee.

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Jyoti, Mama, You Can Bet! (eOne/Some Otha Ship)

Release date: August 28

Mama, You Can Bet! is the third album of Georgia Anne Muldrow’s captivating solo jazz project, Jyoti, a name bestowed upon her by her spiritual mentor Alice Coltrane, whose influence is felt throughout the record. In addition to the entrancing and often probing, music landscapes she paints, this is the first Jyoti album to feature Muldrow’s vocals and includes a pair of remixed Charles Mingus compositions.

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HONORABLE MENTION: Regina Carter Freedom Band, Swing States: Harmony in Battle Ground (Tiger Turn/eOne)

Release date: July 31

Violinist Regina Carter leads a stellar ensemble with John Daversa, Jon Batiste, Alexis Cuadrado, Kabir Sehgal, and Harvey Mason on an apt release on the eve of the 2020 U.S. Election and in the wake of the COVID crisis and Black Lives Matter. Swing States reimagines 14 songs, each representing one of the “swing states,” in an attempt to illuminate the power of democracy through music.

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