10 Albums You Need to Know: May 2024

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 (May 2024) that you need to know about.

Jack Walrath, Live at Smalls (Cellar)

Trumpeter, composer and arranger Jack Walrath has garnered acclaim for his collaborations with iconic figures like Ray Charles, Charles Mingus, Miles Davis and Quincy Jones. His latest album, Live at Smalls, reflects the culmination of his five-decade-long career, drawing upon a rich tapestry of musical experiences and demonstrating his versatility and breadth of influences, ranging from innovative explorations of blues traditions to the incorporation of diverse African sounds and concepts. Release date: May 3.


Kamasi Washington, Fearless Movement (Young)

Kamasi Washington turns his attention to dance, as he resumes his ongoing study of music as a means of connection with his latest album, Fearless Movement, his first since 2018’s Heaven and Earth. Offering a distinct blend of jazz, Latin, funk, classical, hip-hop and soul, Fearless Movement also includes contributions by Thundercat, Taj Austin, Ras Austin, Patrice Quinn, George Clinton, Andre 3000 and many more. Release date: May 3.


Luke Stewart’s Silt Trio, Unknown Rivers (Pi)

Bassist Luke Stewart, known for leading and co-leading acclaimed ensembles like Irreversible Entanglements and Blacks’ Myths, introduces his Pi Recordings debut, Unknown Rivers. Showcasing his Silt Trio with Brian Settles on tenor saxophone, the album finds the groups pushing greater emphasis on rhythmic acuity, drawing on the different approaches of its alternating drummers, Chad Taylor on four studio tracks and Trae Crudup on three live ones. Release date: May 3.


Nubiyan Twist, Find Your Flame (Strut)

Nine-piece powerhouse Nubiyan Twist weave together global grooves, soul and jazz, intertwining electronic elements, horn-led melodies and spontaneous improvisation on their vibrant fourth album. Find Your Flame, which finds the group welcoming vocalist Aziza Jaye to the forefront, is also peppered with impressive collaborations, including Nile Rodgers, Seun Kuti, corto.alto, Ria Moran and more. Release date: May 3.


Kirk Whalum, Epic Cool (Mack Avenue/Artistry)

Award-winning saxophonist Kirk Whalum embraces joy and soulfulness on his first new studio album in over five years, Epic Cool. Teaming with Greg Manning, Whalum showcases his compositional prowess and unique sense of groove, crafting a passionate album with cross-genre appeal that weaves a musical narrative across its eleven-track program. Release date: May 17.

Troy Roberts, Green Lights (Toy Robot)

Saxophonist Troy Roberts’ 16th full-length as a bandleader finds him leading a stellar quartet with John Patitucci on bass, Paul Bollenback on guitar and Jimmy Macbride on drums. Showcasing his remarkable ability to blend jazz and other contemporary genres, Green Lights features an all-original program, some newly written for this group and others being reimagined older pieces. Release date: May 6.


Morgan Guerin, Tales of the Facade (Candid)

In his latest album, Tales of the Facade, Morgan Guerin ventures beyond the confines of jazz, drawing inspiration from a diverse range of influences spanning from Wayne Shorter to Kendrick Lamar. Produced and composed entirely by the talented multi-instrumentalist, the album showcases Guerin’s virtuosic talents on saxophone, bass, electronic wind instrument (EWI), drums, and keys, and is rooted in his upbringing within a family of musicians, as well as his unwavering dedication to his craft. Release date: May 10.


Wadada Leo Smith and Amina Claudine Myers, Central Park’s Mosaics of Reservoir, Lake, Paths and Gardens (Red Hook)

Central Park’s Mosaics of Reservoir, Lake, Paths and Gardens marks the first recorded duo collaboration between Wadada Leo Smith and Amina Claudine Myers, as well as their first involvement since their early years as key members of the iconic Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM). With music drawing inspiration from the natural beauty of Central Park, the album represents a remarkable fusion of two kindred musical spirits and testifies to the transformative power of creative expression. Release date: May 10.


Magnus Öström & Dan Berglund, e.s.t. 30 (ACT)

Drummer Magnus Öström and bassist Dan Berglund teamed up with their esteemed musical companions for two momentous concerts in Stockholm, commemorating the 30th anniversary of the legendary Esbjörn Svensson Trio (e.s.t.) and honoring the cherished legacy of its late pianist and leader. Presenting a curated selection of revamped classics from the band’s timeless repertoire, e.s.t. 30 pays homage to the enduring influence of e.s.t.’s music and the exceptional talent of Öström and Berglund’s ensemble for this special occasion, including Joel Lyssarides, Magnus Lindgren, Verneri Pohjola, and Ulf Wakenius. Release date: May 31


Unessential Oils, Unessential Oils (Secret City)

Unessential Oils is the eponymous inaugural album of a fresh endeavor spearheaded by Warren Spicer, singer/songwriter of Canadian indie rock band Plants and Animals, and co-produced by Christophe Lamarche-Ledoux. Rooted in a blend of jazz, folk and Brazilian tropicalia influences, the project places significant emphasis on musicians’ performances via a program offering ample space for embellishments and improvisations to flourish. Release date: May 31.


Featured photo by B+.

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