10 Albums You Need to Know: December 2023

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 (December 2023) that you need to know about!


Dave Wilson, Ephemeral (Thelonious)

New Zealand-based saxophonist Dave Wilson invites listeners on an exploratory journey across the nine tracks of his new album, Ephemeral. The record finds him crafting intricate textures and multi-layered grooves, showcasing his shapeshifting connection to his instrument of choice with an idiosyncratic fusion of improvisatory melodies and dynamic rhythmic impulses. Release date: December 1.


Dominik Schürmann Ensemble, A Seagull’s Serenade (self-released)

Dominik Schürmann, the celebrated Swiss bassist and composer, has realized a lifelong aspiration by arranging his compositions for a twelve-piece ensemble in his latest album, The Seagull’s Serenade. With contributions from esteemed musicians in the Swiss music scene, the album showcases a diverse program, firmly rooted in a profound appreciation for the swing, bebop, and hard bop eras. Release date: December 1.


Isaiah J. Thompson, A Guaraldi Holiday (Outside In/Jazz Bird)

Rising star pianist and composer Isaiah J. Thomspon offers his heartfelt homage to the diverse musical world of Vince Guaraldi with his latest release, A Guaraldi Holiday. This captivating collection, co-produced by Thompson and John Pizzarelli, comprises twelve fresh takes on Guaraldi’s works, each a masterful blend of nostalgia and artistic expression. Release date: December 1.


Lea Bertucci, Of Shadows and Substance (Cibachrome)

Composer, producer and saxophonist Lea Bertucci is renowned for her ability to articulate the connections between acoustic phenomena and biological resonance in her creative endeavors. Her latest musical project, Of Shadows and Substance, delves into dissonance, drone and dynamic compositions, augmented with a blend of strings, electronics, harp and percussions. Release date: December 1.

Lisa Hilton, Coincidental Moment (Ruby Slipper)

Lisa Hilton’s new album, Conicidental Moment, features nine original compositions and two cover tunes laced throughout with rich blue tones augmented by modal flights. Showcasing Hilton’s expressive touch on the piano, the album also spotlights her chemistry with her quartet mates, Igmar Thomas on trumpet, Luques Curtis on bass, and Rudy Royston on drums and percussion. Release date: December 1.


Joseph Branciforte and Theo Bleckmann, LP2 (Greyfade)

LP2 is the sophomore release from vocalist Theo Bleckmann and electronic musician/producer Joseph Branciforte. Marking an elegant evolution of their shared musical language, the album alloys Bleckmann’s otherworldly vocals with Branciforte’s extended electronic palette and detailed production with renewed textural invention and greater compositional scope. Release date: December 8.


Kenny G, Innocence (Concord)

Multi-platinum-selling saxophonist Kenny G honors the cultural and familial tradition of lullabies on his landmark 20th studio album, Innocence. The recording includes renditions of timeless pieces, such as “Rock-a-Bye Baby” and Harold Arlen’s “Over the Rainbow,” plus seven original Kenny G compositions. Release date: December 8.


Tsuyoshi Yamamoto Trio, A Shade of Blue (evosound)

Tsuyoshi Yamamoto, the renowned Japanese pianist with a remarkable career spanning over 50 albums and collaborations with such legends as Dizzy Gillespie and Elvin Jones, embarks on his evosound debut with a heartfelt tribute to the piano trio. A Shade of Blue serves as a fine showcase of the 76-year-old maestro’s piano virtuosity, offering new interpretations of beloved pieces from his extensive repertoire (the physical album is edition is available now). Digital album release date: December 8.


Ron Horton, A Prayer for Andrew (Newvelle)

Trumpet and flugelhorn master Ron Horton pays tribute to his friend and bandmate Andrew Hill with A Prayer for Andrew. The new album features powerful interpretations of Hill’s arrangements, as well as original works from Horton, performed with a star-studded sextet, including the late Frank Kimbrough on piano, Marty Ehrlich and John O’Gallagher, who split alto sax duties across the 13 tracks, Marc Mommas on tenor, Dean Johnson on bass, and Tim Horner on drums. Release date: December 14.

John Ellis Quartet, Bizet: Carmen in Jazz (Blue Room)

Renowned saxophonist and multi-reedist John Ellis embarks on a creative reinterpretation of George Bizet’s iconic opera, Carmen, through the lens of a jazz quartet. Bizet: Carmen in Jazz was originally commissioned by the St. Barts Music Festival and showcases Ellis in collaboration with an exceptional ensemble of fellow brilliant musicians and improvisers, pianist Gary Versace, bassist Ruben Rogers and drummer Jason Marsalis. Release date: December 22.


Featured photo by Zeph Colombatto.

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