10 new jazz albums you need to know about: February 2018

So much jazz, so little time. JAZZIZ.com takes a look at 10 of the hottest – and sweetest – new jazz albums that will be released in February 2018.

Chris Gall Trio – Cosmic Playground (Edition Collage)
Release date: February 2

German pianist Chris Gall consistently broadens the borders of jazz with leaps into the vast field of contemporary world and pop music. His trio includes his brother, drummer Peter Gall, and bassist Henning Sieverts. The tracks on their new album, Cosmic Playground, are described in an official statement as nonverbal stories: “Some of them have a cool tragedy, others almost nefarious cheerfulness, sometimes they come around a corner a bit bizarre, but now and then in great clarity.” Watch a teaser for Cosmic Playground on the player below:

GoGo Penguin – A Humdrum Star (Blue Note Records)
Release date: February 9

Jazz meets electronica in A Humdrum Star, the second album by GoGo Penguin for Blue Note Records. The Manchester-based trio includes bassist Nick Blacka, pianist Chris Illingworth, and drummer Rob Turner. “I think we felt even more liberated on this album,” explains Blacka on the label’s official website. “And I think there’s more of each of us on it.” Watch a teaser for A Humdrum Star in the player below:

Melody Gardot – Live in Europe (Decca Records)
Release date: February 9

Singer-songwriter Melody Gardot releases her first ever live album, Live in Europe, issued as a 2CD digipak and as a 3LP set. The album has personally been curated by Gardot herself and was recorded in a series of venues across the continent between 2012 and 2016. Live in Europe finds her playing such songs as “Baby I’m a Fool,” “My One and Only Thrill,” and “March for Mingus” with her touring band – drummer Charles Staab, saxophonist Irwin Hall, and bassist Sami Minaie. Watch the trailer for Live in Europe in the player below:

John Raymond & Real Feel – Joy Ride (Sunnyside Records)
Release date: February 9

Flugelhorn player John Raymond heads his bassless trio, Real Feel, which includes rising stars guitarist Gilad Hekselman and drummer Colin Stranahan. Joy Ride finds them showcasing fresh and free-wheeling takes on indie-rock and folk-rock songs. Tracks on the album include new readings of such well-known tunes as Paul Simon’s “I’d Do It For Your Love” and Bob Dylan’s “The Times They Are A-Changin’.” Watch the video of the title track from Joy Ride in the player below:

Snowpoet – Thought You Knew (Edition Records)
Release date: February 9

Thought You Knew is the second album from Snowpoet, the London-based band led by vocalist Lauren Kinsella and composer and multi-instrumentalist Chris Hyson. The new album follows the band’s eponymous 2016 debut. A press statement reads that with Thought You Knew, “the musical collaboration takes a big step up in terms of production, musical ideas, and execution. Blending sweet hook-laden vocal lines with warm and lush arrangements, the music is infectious, delicate, and tasteful.” Watch the trailer for the video of “The Therapist” from Thought You Knew in the player below:

Walter Smith III Trio – Twio (Whirlwind Records)
Release date: February 9

Twio is the upcoming album of saxophonist Walter Smith III. He is joined on six of the nine songs on the album by bassist Harish Raghavan and drummer Eric Harland; for the other four songs, Harland remains on traps while the bass chair is taken over by bassist Christian McBride; on two of the songs, Smith is joined by a second tenor sax, played by Joshua Redman. Songs featured on the album include covers of Thelonious Monk’s “Ask Me Now” and the Jerome Kern standard “Nobody Else But Me.” Listen to “Ask Me Now” from Twio in the player below:

Shinya Fukumori Trio – For 2 Akis (ECM)
Release date: February 16

For 2 Akis marks the ECM debut of the Japanese-French-German trio of drummer Shinya Fukumori, saxophonist Matthieu Bordenave, and pianist Walter Lang. Fukumori is also the leader and principal composer of the band. In an official statement, ECM calls him “an imaginative melodist at several levels, and the attention to timbre and detail and space which distinguishes his drumming is also reflected in the color-field of his free-floating ballads.” The album was produced by ECM label head Manfred Eicher.

Norma Winstone – Descansado – Songs – Songs for Films (ECM)
Release date: February 18

Descansado: Songs of Films is a creative journey into the world of cinema with new arrangements by Klaus Gesing and Glauco Venier of music by such composers as Nino Rota, Ennio Morricone, and Michel Legrand that was featured in the films of such directors as Martin Scorsese, Wim Wenders, Franco Zeffirelli and more. Several of the arrangements incorporate new words by Norma Winstone who, in addition to being one of the great jazz singers, has long been a sensitive lyricist.

Bob Holz – Visions: Coast to Coast Connection (MVD Audio)
Release date: February 28

Visions: Coast to Coast Connection is the third album from Bob Holz, one of the top jazz fusion drummers and composers on the scene today, and follows his 2017 release, Visions and Friends. The new album features compositions co-written by Holz; most were included on his earlier releases, but are presented here in very different versions, against a more dreamy soundscape. Visions: Coast to Coast Connection also features bassists Stanley Clarke and Ralphe Armstrong, and trumpeter Randy Brecker, among other musicians. Watch the promo video for Visions: Coast to Coast Connection in the player below:

Al DiMeola – Opus (earMUSIC)
Release date: February 23

Guitarist and composer Al DiMeola is a pioneer of blending world music, rock, and jazz. Opus reflects a period of great change in the artist’s private life and music. “With Opus, I wanted to further my compositional skills, as I think that the evolution of this part of my persona has labeled me more composer/guitarist that guitarist/composer,” explains DiMeola in an official statement. “At the same time, this record also marks a new era in my life. For the first time in my life, I have written music about being happy. I’m in a wonderful relationship with my wife, I have a baby girl and a beautiful family that inspires me every day. I believe it shows in the music.”


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