10 Albums You Need to Know: January 2023

A celebration of the legacy of the Sun Ra Arkestra; an Afrofuturism-rooted meditation of life’s biggest questions and ideas; exciting duo recordings between some of today’s most exciting jazz artists. All this and more are in our list of ten albums released this month (January 2023) that you need to know about.


Fred Hersch and esperanza spalding, Alive at the Village Vanguard (Palmetto)

Alive at the Village Vanguard captures Fred Hersch and esperanza spalding in a live duet performance at the iconic New York City jazz venue. Together, they bring out distinctive aspects of their artistic personalities on an inspired program on which, as the pianist/composer puts it in a press release, “you can really feel the vitality of the room, of the audience and of our interplay.” Release date: January 6.


Chien Chien Lu & Richie Goods, Connected (self-released)

Connected is a multi-dimensional collaboration between jazz-funk bassist Richie Goods and in-demand vibraphonist Chien Chien Lu. Bridging the gap between their respective backgrounds and cementing their synergistic harmonic sensibilities, the two musicians offer imagery of love and hope via their profound and riveting musical conversation. Release date: January 13.


Marcus Strickland Twi-Life, The Universe’s Wildest Dream (Strick Muzik)

Marcus Strickland meditates on life’s biggest questions and ideas on The Universe’s Wildest Dream, his latest Twi-Life album. Rooted in Afrofuturism and released via his own Strick Muzik label, the record also encapsulates Black World Music via its invigorating mix of jazz, hip-hop, soul, Afro-Caribbean and African music. Release date: January 13.


Rachael & Vilray, I Love a Love Song! (Nonesuch)

Rachael & Vilray, the duo of singer/songwriter Rachael Price and guitarist/singer/songwriter Vilray, return with their second studio album, I Love a Love Song! All songs of its twelve-track program were written by Vilray except for the 1930s classic “Goodnight My Love,” and feature arrangements from Jacob Zimmerman. Release date: January 13.


Ed Cherry, Are We There Yet? (Cellar Live)

Ed Cherry continues his heartfelt salute to his formative influences and mentors in music on his latest album, Are We There Yet? This full-length release is also a formidable showcase of his fine, expressive musicianship and the melodic approach that he is renowned for, as well as his profound understanding of the blues. Release date: January 20.


Tyler Mitchell & Marshall Allen, Sun Ra’s Journey (Cellar)

Tyler Mitchell’s latest album is a celebration of the legacy of the Sun Ra Arkestra, featuring potent and innovative reworkings of some of the legendary ensemble’s classics. Sun Ra’s Journey also marks the bass luminary’s latest collaboration with saxophone legend Marshall Allen who, at 97 years old, shows no sign of slowing down. Release date: January 20.


Bill Laurance & Michael League, Where You Wish You Were (ACT)

Michael League and Bill Laurance reveal new, quieter sides of their musical personalities on their new collaborative album, Where You Wish You Were. The record captures an intimate dialogue between the two acclaimed artists with elements of jazz, Oriental and Mediterranean music that is also described via a press release as a “virtual place where you want to return again and again.” Release date: January 27.


Christina Galisatus, Without Night (Slow & Steady)

Without Night is the debut album from emerging Los Angeles pianist/composer Christina Galisatus. The album’s rich strand of folk-inspired chamber jazz blends emptional lyrical themes with stellar musicianship from some of the West Coast’s most exciting jazz artists of today. Release date: January 27.


Eyolf Dale, The Wayfarers (Edition)

Norwegian pianist/composer Eyolf Dale returns with a new album with long-term collaborators Per Zanussi on bass and Audun Kleive on drums. Following the success of their first trio album, Being, which was released in 2021, The Wayfarers finds the three musicians capturing the highs and lows of life on the road. Release date: January 27.


Lakecia Benjamin, Phoenix (Whirlwind)

Phoenix is the highly-anticipated new album in the musical evolution of saxophonist/composer Lakecia Benjamin. Produced by Terri Lyne Carrington, Phoenix finds her performing a program of mostly original compositions with a star-studded lineup of specially curated guests, including Dianne Reeves, Georgia Anne Muldrow and Patrice Rushen, among others. Release date: January 27.


Featured photo courtesy of Shore Fire Media.

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