10 Albums You Need to Know: October 2021

A legendary crooner’s final studio recording; a saxophone great’s previously unheard and “supreme” concert; a celebration of New York City’s thriving and diverse music scene. All this and more are in our list of 10 jazz albums out this month (October 2021) that you need to know about. 


Joe Farnsworth, City of Sounds (Smoke Sessions)

Release date: October 1

City of Sounds captures Joe Farnsworth’s February 2021 birthday-week concert at the Smoke Jazz & Supper Club with a superb trio featuring Kenny Barron and bassist Peter Washington. The album is the drummer’s heartfelt tribute to New York City’s thriving and diverse music scene via performances of Farnsworth and Barron compositions, as well as fresh reimaginings of cherry-picked standards and classics. Order City of Sounds here.


Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga, Love for Sale (Columbia/Interscope)

Release date: October 1

Vocalists Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga showcase the fabled Cole Porter songbook on their new full-length collaboration. Love for Sale features stellar duet and solo selections from both artists and also marks Bennett’s final studio recording. At the time of the sessions, Bennett had already been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, a condition the family made public in a disclosure earlier this year. Order Love for Sale here.


Craig Taborn, Shadow Plays (ECM)

Release date: October 8

Craig Taborn is set to release his first album as a leader in a decade, during which he appeared in acclaimed ensembles large and small, and refined and developed his approach to piano playing. His forthcoming ECM record, Shadow Plays, documents a live recital of free improvisation from the Mozart-Saal of the Wiener Konzerthaus in Austria, exploring sounds and silences, swirling colors, densities and forms, creating new music with both poetic imagination and an iron grip on his material. Order it here.


Hiromi, Silver Lining Suite (Concord Jazz)

Release date: October 8

Hiromi’s Silver Lining Suite is a tremulous, breathtaking blend of jazz, invention and classical composition, inspired by the trying times of the pandemic. “The morning will come,” she states via a press release. “The sun will rise again. That’s why I kept writing music. It shows my emotional journey through the pandemic.” The project pairs her virtuosic and emotive piano with a string quartet assembled by violinist Tatsuo Nishie, concertmaster of the New Japan Philharmonic. Order it here.


John Coltrane, A Love Supreme: Live in Seattle (Impulse!/UMe)

Release date: October 8

Impulse! will release a previously unheard, private recording of a rare nightclub performance by John Coltrane of his 1964 magnum opus, A Love Supreme. Recorded in 1965 on the culminating evening of a week-long run at The Penthouse in Seattle, A Love Supreme: Live in Seattle is a fascinating and rare performance of the full suite, marked by a looser and more improvisational approach and an overriding sense of communal participation. Order it here.


Mary LaRose, Out Here (little(i)music)

Release date: October 8

Jazz vocalese artists Mary LaRose’s Out Here is her first full-length project dedicated to the music of Eric Dolphy. It features vocal interpretations of some of the saxophone great’s staples performed with an ensemble of longstanding colleagues. “We really wanted to celebrate Dolphy’s spirit by celebrating our own musical spirits within the framework of these incredible tunes,” she explains via a press release. Order it here.


Kurt Elling feat. Charlie Hunter, SuperBlue (Edition)

Release date: October 8

Kurt Elling brings the groove on his funky, backbeat-driven collaboration with guitarist Charlie Hunter and two Butcher Brown members, drummer Corey Fonville and bassist/keyboardist DJ Harrison. SuperBlue is described as a torrent of boisterous funk, indelible beats and all-too-current lyrics and JAZZIZ’s Shaun Brady described it as “a mirror-image companion piece to Elling’s [GRAMMY-winning] Secrets Are the Best Stories.” Order SuperBlue here.


The Wonderful World of Louis Armstrong All Stars, A Gift to Pops (Verve)

Release date: October 15

A Gift to Pops is a new album by an A-list ensemble largely of stellar Crescent City musicians with special guests, including Wynton Marsalis and Common, going by the name of The Wonderful World of Louis Armstrong All Star. This heartfelt tribute to the jazz legend features new and inventive arrangements of music associated with Armstrong, from his early period to his late period. Order A Gift to Pops here.


Dave Meder, Unamuno Songs and Stories (Outside In)

Release date: October 29

Pianist/composer/educator Dave Meder’s Unamuno Songs and Stories is a response to recent sociopolitical turmoil in the U.S., using the writings of Spanish Civil War-era philosopher Miguel de Unamuno as a historical analogy. The music is performed by his trio with bassist Marty Jaffe and drummer Michael Piolet, plus special guests trumpeter Philip Dizack and alto saxophonist Miguel Zenón. Order it here.


Nicholas Payton, Smoke Sessions (Smoke Sessions)

Release date: October 29

With his forthcoming album, Smoke Sessions, multi-instrumentalist/composer Nicholas Payton realizes his long-cherished dream of leading a session with iconic bassist Ron Carter. The live album also features his longtime collaborator Karriem Riggins on drums and a few guest appearances by legendary saxophonist George Coleman. Order Smoke Sessions here.


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