10 Albums You Need to Know: December 2022

A previously unreleased Donald Byrd live recording; Satoko Fujii’s 100th album as a leader; music designed to reflect our mechanical universe. All this and more are in our list of ten new albums released this month (December 2022) that you need to know about!


3D Jazz Trio, 9 to 5 (DIVA Jazz)

3D Jazz Trio is formed by pianist Jackie Warren, bassist Amy Shook and drummer Sherrie Maricle, who met while playing in The DIVA Jazz Orchestra in 2014. Their latest album, 9 to 5, marks a continuation of their mission to “fiercely swing on purpose, with purpose,” on a wide-ranging program of creative arrangements, some of which have been part of the group’s repertoire for years, while others were created especially for this recording. Release date: December 2


Cory Smythe, Smoke Gets In Your Eyes (Pyroclastic)

Pianist/composer Cory Smythe explores the climate crisis through an abstracted American songbook classic on his new album, Smoke Gets In Your Eyes. The album consists of two halves, the first featuring pieces originally commissioned by Norway’s Trondheim Jazz Orchestra and the second comprising seven solo piano improvisations investigating the title song at a microscopic level, serving as an extended coda. Release date: December 2.


Laszlo Gardony, Close Connection (Sunnyside)

Internationally acclaimed Boston-based jazz pianist and composer Laszlo Gardony Laszlo Gardony embraces his Hungarian folk music and prog-rock roots on Close Connection, his 14th album as a leader. The record reunites him with his favorite rhythm tandem of bassist John Lockwood and drummer Yoron Israel on a set of original compositions and collective improvisations. Release date: December 2.


Lisa Hilton, Paradise Cove (Ruby Slippers)

Pianist/composer Lisa Hilton reflects a perceived need to create a state of grace amid today’s fast-moving times, offering a wide-ranging program of nine originals and covers on her 26th album as a leader, Paradise Cove. The album debuts her dynamic new L.I.L.O. Quartet featuring trumpeter Igmas Thomas, bassist Luques Curtis and drummer Obed Calvaire. Release date: December 2.


Natsuki Tamura and Ittetsu Takemura, Lightning (self-released)

Trumpeter/composer Natsuki Tamura and drummer Ittetsu Takemura team up as a duo for the first time on Lightning. Consisting of two high-spirited, adventurous extended tracks, Lightning is a digital-only release that finds the two musicians diving headlong into the music, resulting in what is described via a press release as an “uninhibited joyride of an album.” Release date: December 2.


James Casey, A Little Something for Everyone (12-23)

A Little Something for Everyone marks James Casey’s first studio release under his own name and is a four-track festive showcase of his diverse funk, jazz, gospel and R&B influences. Casey is a staple of the live music circuit as Trey Anastasio Band’s longtime saxophonist and this EP was recorded between chemotherapy treatments in Brooklyn. Profits from vinyl sales benefit colon cancer awareness, as he is currently battling a late-stage diagnosis. Release date: December 5.


Donald Byrd, Live: Cookin’ With Blue Note at Montreux (Blue Note)

Live: Cookin’ With Blue Note At Montreux captures a dynamic set with Donald Byrd leading a star-studded tentet at the 1973 Montreux Jazz Festival. Recorded at around the time of the release of his crossover hit fusion album, Black Byrd, this live performance gets its first official release on the day of what would have been the legendary trumpeter’s 90th birthday. Release date: December 9.


Raw Poetic, Space Beyond the Solar System (22nd Century Sound)

Space Beyond the Solar System is the latest concept album that culminated from a string of experiments between MC/lyricist Raw Poetic, a.k.a. Jason Moore, and producer Damu the Fudgemunk. Taking every influence and experience in their personal histories to extract ingredients for a groundbreaking artistic statement, this magnum opus is arguably their most comprehensive environment yet, featuring saxophone great Archie Shepp on selected tracks. Release date: December 9.


Satoko Fujii, Hyaku: One Hundred Dreams (Libra)

Satoko Fujii celebrates her 100th album as a leader with the release of Hyaku: One Hundred Dreams, an ambitious new composition celebrating a milestone very few musicians ever reach. For this landmark recording, the pianist/composer assembled a one-of-kind “dream band” with Wadada Leo Smith, Natsuki Tamura, Ingrid Laubrock, Sara Schoenbeck, Ikue Mori, Brandon Lopez, Tom Rainey, Chris Corsano. Release date: December 9.


Machina Mundi, Machina Mundi (Animal Music)

Machina Mundi, the latest project spearheaded by Lubos Soukup, showcases a “modern” side to his creative personality following his raw and intimate collection of duo performances on Levitas, which was released earlier this year. The new quartet makes its self-titled debut on this album, making extensive use of electronics, synths, keyboards and effects. Challenging yet accessible, this is music “designed to reflect our mechanical universe.” Release date: December 16.


Featured photo by Bryan Murray.

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