10 Albums You Need to Know: October 2020

A long lost live album from the First Lady of Song; the return of an interplanetary ensemble; a record of kaleidoscopic music. All this and more on our list of jazz albums out this October 2020 that you need to know.


The Brianna Thomas Band, Everybody Knows (Breathline)

Release date: October 2

Brianna Thomas’ captivating vocal talents are on full display on her sophomore album, Everybody Knows, on which she presents a program of original compositions and reimagined classics. Produced by GRAMMY-winner Brian Bacchus, the new album is also a showcase for her band’s soulful sound, inspired by the lineup’s multicultural background.


The Dayna Stephens Quartet, Right Now! Live at the Village Vanguard (Contagious)

Release date: October 2

Saxophonist/composer Dayna Stephens performs works from his rich catalog and some new compositions alongside a stellar quartet featuring pianist Aaron Park, bassist Ben Street and drummer Gregory Hutchinson. Recorded live in February 2019 at New York City’s historic Village Vanguard, Right Now! also follows Stephens’ trio outing, Liberty, released earlier this year.


Ella Fitzgerald, The Berlin Lost Tapes (Verve)

Release date: October 2

A previously unheard live recording of Ella Fitzgerald in Berlin from 1962, in the midst of her most extensive European tour, two years after the release of her iconic Mack the Knife LP. Unearthed from the private collection of Verve founder Norman Granz, The Lost Berlin Tapes is a document of the First Lady of Song at the height of her popularity, performing hits and lesser-known gems with a trio led by pianist Paul Smith.


Ron Miles, Rainbow Sign (Blue Note)

Release date: October 9

Cornetist/composer Ron Miles makes his Blue Note debut as a leader with Rainbow Sign, much of which was composed as his father was passing away in 2017 and stands as a spiritual document of his journey from Earth to eternal peace. The album also reunites the band of his acclaimed I Am a Man from 2017, with Jason Moran, Bill Frisell, Thomas Morgan and Brian Blade.


Sun Ra Arkestra, Swirling (Strut)

Release date: October 9

Swirling is the first studio album by the Sun Ra Arkestra, under the direction of maestro Marshall Allen, in over 20 years. The record features new arrangements of the band’s staples, lesser-known gems and a swirling blues resurrected from Ra’s archives. Recorded at Rittenhouse Soundworks in Philadelphia with a lineup of long-standing members, including Danny Ray Thompson and Atakune, who have since passed away.


Joel Ross, Who Are You? (Blue Note)

Release date: October 23

Vibraphonist Joel Ross blends conceptual storytelling and musical creativity on his sophomore album, Who Are You?, produced by Walter Smith III. Here, he is joined as ever by his Good Vibes band and harpist Brandee Younger on five tracks. “This record is a culmination of our maturing – as people, as a band, within the music – it’s about figuring out who we are,” says Ross.


The Kaleidoscope Quintet, Dancing on the Edge (Dot Time)

Release date: October 23

The Kaleidoscope Quintet, co-led by saxophone legends Dave Liebman and Joe Lovano, make their Dot Time debut with this live album, originally recorded in 2013, on which the musicians’ distinctive voices come together as one. Dancing on the Edge features five cuts, including two originals apiece from Lovano and Liebman plus a take on the beloved standard, “There Is No Greater Love.”


Melody Gardot, Sunset in the Blue (Decca)

Release date: October 23

Melody Gardot celebrates her jazz roots on her new orchestral project, Sunset in the Blue, through a 13-track program blending originals and covers. Her first studio album in five years also marks the vocalist’s reunion with producer Larry Klein, arranger/composer Vince Mendoza and engineer Al Schmitt, and features a Latin-tinged duet with Sting.


Tino Contreras, La Noche de los Dioses (Brownswood)

Release date: October 23

Mexico’s most established and prolific jazz musician, master drummer Tino Contreras, continues to break new grounds at age 96 with his new, explorative record, La Noche de los Dioses. Here, he ruminates about life and humanity via seven profound recordings, joined by a host of noteworthy musicians, including his son Valentino Contreras on bass.


Keith Jarrett, Budapest Concert (ECM)

Release date: October 30

Budapest Concert is the second album to be issued from Keith Jarrett’s 2016 European tour by ECM Records. This is another showcase of his unparalleled and profoundly influential solo piano talents, this album was recorded at Budapest’s National Concert Hall in Hungary and follows the release of his acclaimed Munich 2016 concert.



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