10 Albums You Need to Know: July 2019

A swinging meditation on American ideals; a Rock and Roll Hall of Famer showing a different side of his creative personality; an exciting debut trio album. All this and more on this month’s list of ten albums you need to know about.


Jazz at Lincoln Center with Wynton Marsalis & St. Louis Symphony Orchestra Conducted by David Robertson, Wynton Marsalis’s Swing Symphony (Blue Engine)

Release date: July 1

Wynton Marsalis’ third symphony, Swing Symphony, is his musical meditation on American ideals inspired by such composers as George Gershwin, Duke Ellington and Leonard Bernstein, among others. Commissioned in 2010 by four different orchestras – the Berlin Philharmonic, the London Symphony Orchestra, the New York Philharmonic, and the Los Angeles Philharmonic – and has since been played all over the world. This new album of the same name captures a performance of this at once invigorating and elegiac work performed in 2018 by the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra and the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, conducted by maestro David Roberston, in front of a sold-out crowd in St. Louis’s Powell Hall. It is described as its definitive performance.


Peter Eldridge and Kenny Werner, Somewhere (Rosebud)

Release date: July 5

Singer/songwriter and musical alchemist Peter Eldridge teams up with piano legend Kenny Werner on his latest album, Somewhere. This new LP also includes a 20-piece string orchestra conducted by cellist Eugene Friesen, and a sound that pairs timeless romanticism with sophisticated modern harmony in a program of classic standards and clever originals, to serve as an antidote to the tumultuousness of current times. “We live in incredibly strange times,” says Eldridge via a press release, “so this music is trying to offset that and help people feel a few moments of hope. We hope it offers a balm to the spirit.”


Little Steven and The Interstellar Jazz Renegades, Lilyhammer: The Score (Wicked Cool/UMe)

Release date: July 12

Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Steven Van Zandt, a.k.a. Little Steven of Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band, reveals a different side of his creative personality in the two-volume collection of his score for Netflix’s groundbreaking first original series Lilyhammer. Arriving five years after the show ended, Lilyhammer: The Score features Van Zandt alongside The Interstellar Jazz Renegades – a loose collective of some of New York City’s finest musicians. Volume one features the ‘50s era New York songs Van Zandt wrote for the show (which he also starred in, co-wrote and co-produced); volume two is a more eclectic affair, featuring Norwegian folk music, rock, Latin jazz and more.


Victor Gould, Thoughts Become Things (Blue Room)

Release date: July 12

Pianist Victor Gould has firmly established himself as a new musical force to be reckoned with by making waves in the New York jazz scene and through his first two albums as a leader. On his third full-length outing, Thoughts Become Things, he illustrates the concept of people’s manifestations of their own future and how thoughts mold people’s realities, drawing on both the rich, involved ensemble sound of his 2016 debut Clockwork as well as the more piano-centric one of his sophomore Earthlings from 2018. A stellar ensemble including Jeremy Pelt, Godwin Louis, Dayna Stephens, Anne Drummond, Vicente Archer and Rodney Green helps him bring this mesmerizing vision to life.



Jeff Coffin & Dream Shanti, Music In Our Dreams (Ear Up)

Release date: July 22

Saxophonist Jeff Coffin’s Music in Our Dreams is a real musical wonderland of sonic explorations and groove, and the result of a collaboration between some of the finest musicians from the Eastern and Western hemispheres. By way of its innovative compositions, it presents music that honors both the richness of Indian classical and jazz, yet creates a unique sound all its own. Performing on this record are Coffin, Subrata Bhattacharya on tabla, Indrajit Banerjee on sitar, Carter Beauford on drums, Stefan Lessard on bass, Roy “Futureman” Wooten and Jordan Perlson on percussion, Chris Walters on piano and Ryoko Suzuki on harmonium. “These musicians blow me away with their art and their talent,” says Coffin via a statement. “I love how this project came out and how everyone’s personality really shines.”


Zach Brock, Matt Ulery, Jon Deitemyer, Wonderment (Woolgathering)

Release date: July 16

Violinist Zach Brock, bassist Matt Ulery and drummer Jon Deitemyer first played together in Chicago in 2005. Despite their almost 15-year musical relationship, they had only ever recorded one track as a trio – on Ulery’s 2014 LP In the Ivory – until now. Wonderment marks the debut full-length album of Brock, Ulery and Deitemyer as a trio. A collection of twelve original compositions covering a wide array of compositional and improvisatory ground, as well as a wide range of emotions, but always favoring sincerity, Wonderment stands as a coming together of separate journeys into one strong, long-awaited personal statement.


Houston Person, I’m Just a Lucky So and So (HighNote)

Release date: July 26

Saxophone master Houston Person’s new album, I’m Just a Lucky So and So, shows he’s still going strong at the prosperous age of 84. Guitarist Rodney Jones, featured on the LP, describes playing with him as an opportunity to experience the history of jazz in the present. Likewise, this new release is an opportunity for listeners to experience Person’s examination of the history of tradition of jazz and dance music via a program of jazz classics and Great American Songbook compositions – from the opening blues “Willow Weep for Me” to Duke Ellington’s title track and beyond – swinging in the company of first-class players Jones, trumpeter Eddie Allen, pianist Lafayette Harris, bassist Matthes Parrish and drummer Kenny Washington.


Robben Ford and Bill Evans, The Sun Room (earMUSIC)

Release date: July 26

Saxophone legend Bill Evans and bonafide guitar master Robben Evans have shared the stage and recorded together for many years. Their new outing, The Sun Room, sees them teaming up once again to create something that Evans describes via a press release as transcending musical boundaries yet still able to reach a wider audience. “To me, the music we created on The Sun Room is limitless,” he says. “I love blues, jazz, funk and this CD has all of that, performed at the highest level.” Joining them on this new album is a stellar rhythm section including bassist James Genus and drummer Keith Carlock.

Kenyatta Beasley The Frank Foster Songbook (Sony/The Orchard)

Release date: July 26

Trumpeter Kenyatta Beasley leads this album’s fiery core septet, plus special guests, through the compositions of his late mentor Frank Foster.  The Frank Foster Songbook was recorded live at Brooklyn’s Jazz 966 and the ensemble Beasley assembled was handpicked to exhibit the kind of dynamism Foster’s pieces called for. This ensemble was comprised of Dezron Douglas on bass, Keith Loftis on saxophone, Vincent Gardner on trombone, Mark Gross on saxophone, Anthony Wonsey on piano, Alvester Garnett on drums, Carla Cook on vocals, Mark Whitfield on guitar, and Eric Wyatt on saxophone.  Wynton Marsalis makes a special guest appearance to honor his late mentor, Frank Foster.


Steve Cole, Gratitude (Artistry Music)

Release date: July 26

Steve Cole, one of the most celebrated players in contemporary jazz, weaves gratefulness in the heartstrings of the music of his new album. Gratitude builds upon the winning formula of his previous hit albums, and the presence of his regular rhythm section plus longtime collaborator, fellow saxophonist David Mann, as co-producer. It also overflows with self-expression and healing power and is his way of showing appreciation for the supporters who helped him through some tough times, arriving as it does on the heels of a health scare in his family. “Joy is baked into the record and hopefully, it means as much to the listener as it does to me,” he says in a statement.


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