Al Di Meola, Brandee Younger, Brad Mehldau & More: The Week in Jazz

The Week in Jazz is your roundup of new and noteworthy stories from the jazz world. It’s a one-stop destination for the music news you need to know. Let’s take it from the top.



Recent Candid Records Reissues: Candid Records recently released recordings by some of the label’s most celebrated artists from the Nat Hentoff years, circa 1960-1961. Incarnations is a new release assembling rare and unreleased material from Charles Mingus’ landmark 1960 Candid sessions. Newport Rebels is the original studio recording by The Jazz Artists Guild, assembled by Mingus and Max Roach after their 1960 protest concert against the annual Newport Jazz Festival. Candid has also released an original mono version of We Insist!, Roach’s groundbreaking civil rights masterpiece, in celebration of the jazz legend’s centennial year.

Al Di Meola Announces New Album: Al Di Meola has announced the July 19 release of Twentyfour, his first new album since 2020’s Across the Universe. The announcement coincides with the release of the record’s first single, “Fandango,” which you can listen to via the player below. The song blends traditional flamenco with modern jazz sensibilities. Originally conceived as an acoustic project during the tumultuous times of the pandemic, the project eventually blossomed into what is defined via an official press release as “a masterpiece, brimming with intricately woven melodies, diverse instrumentation, and captivating highlights.”

Brandee Younger Receives NAACP Image Award: Celebrated harpist and composer Brandee Younger has received the NAACP Image Award for “Outstanding Jazz Album,” for her 2023 album Brand New Life. The Image Awards celebrate Black brilliance across several artistic fields. Brand New Life, released last year, combines original works from Younger, reinterpretations of legendary harpist Dorothy Ashby’s work, and previously unrecorded compositions by Ashby.

New Brad Mehldau Albums Out May 10: Nonesuch Records will release two new albums by celebrated pianist and composer Brad Mehldau on May 10. After Bach II and Après Fauré feature compositions by Mehldau alongside performances of works by J.S. Bach and Gabriel Fauré that inspired them. Listen to Mehldau’s “Between Bach” from After Bach II via the player below.

City of a Million Dreams at MoAD, San Francisco, June 8: Jason Berry’s film, City of a Million Dreams, exploring the history of New Orleans jazz funerals, will have a San Francisco premiere screening as part of a presentation at the Museum of the African Diaspora on June 8. A live round table discussion will follow this screening with the New Orleans-based filmmaker, author, and journalist Jason Berry and the film’s chief protagonist, the esteemed New Orleans musician and educator Dr. Michael White. The screening and discussion will also be in conjunction with MoAD’s Juneteenth Celebrations. More here


New Albums

Ol’ Burger Beats, 74: Out of Time (Coalmine): Norwegian producer and composer Ol’ Burger Beats’ new opus, 74: Out of Time, is a stunning exploration of sounds and eras, evocatively harkening back to the cultural, activist and musical scene of 1974 while reflecting the current state of affairs. Each track on the record was produced at 74 BPMs, forming the basis for the construction of jazzy instrumentals featuring some of hip-hop’s finest emcees and vocalists, enlisting the help of such artists as Fly Anakin, Awon, Quelle Chris, Pink Siifu and YUNGMORPHEUS, among others.

Arve Henriksen and Harmen Fraanje, The Touch of Time (ECM): The Touch of Time is an album of quietly lyrical investigations by Norwegian trumpeter Arve Henriksen and Dutch pianist Harmen Fraanje. Showcasing delicate melodies and textures, The Touch of Time was recorded on January 2023 at the Auditorio Stelio Molo in Lugano, Switzerland, and produced by Manfred Eicher.

Early Life Forms, Early Life Forms (W.E.R.F.): Early Life Forms is a new quartet fronted by Belgian guitarist and sound wizard Vitja Pauwels that draws on Latin,  jazz, Cuban, and rock with a touch of exoticism and cinematic explorations. Their idiosyncratic fusion is showcased on their recent self-titled debut, a one-off live show recorded with American guitarist Marc Ribot.

Mamiko Watanabe, Being Guided By the Light (Jojo): Pianist Mamiko Watanabe exhibits grace and intensity, showcasing an ongoing exploration in her debut album, Being Guided By the Light, where she collaborates with bassist Santi Debriano and drummer Billy Hart. The album, Watanabe says via a press release, “signifies to me my search and development in music [that] is constantly seeking new light.”


Live Music and Festival News

Free Latin American Music Festival at UIC, April 11-13: The University of Illinois Chicago’s (UIC) School of Theatre and Music has announced its first-ever Latin American Music Festival, a free community event hosted on its campus on April 11-13. The festival will spotlight mariachi, Latin jazz, folk music, and Latin American choral music over the course of three days. Its program will feature an international roster of artists, including Mariachi de la Universidad Veracruzana alongside Chicago favorites, including Sones De Mexico and Magdalena Delgado, and UIC student performers. More here.

Jazz at Lincoln Center 2024 Gala to Celebrate Tony Bennett: Jazz at Lincoln Center’s 2024 fundraising Gala will celebrate Tony Bennett and his contributions to jazz. The event will take place in the organization’s home, Frederick P. Rose Hall, located on Broadway at 60th Street, New York, New York, on April 17. The gala concert will feature the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis and special guests, including Rubén Blades, Kurt Elling, Bill Charlap, Bernadette Peters and many more. More here.

Charu Suri at Carnegie Hall, April 5: Pianist and composer Charu Suri will return to New York’s Carnegie Hall for the fourth time on April 5, becoming the first Indian artist to do so. Tickets here. In her upcoming performance, she will present music from her latest album, Rags & Ragas, and premiere “Lately,” a new song crafted in collaboration with singer Cassandra Kubinski. Listen to our recent JAZZIZ Podcast conversation with Charu Suri via the player below.

The Jazz Foundation of America Presents “A Great Night in Harlem” Fundraising Gala, March 28: The Jazz Foundation of America (JFA) will present its annual “A Great Night in Harlem” benefit gala on March 28 at The Apollo in New York City. Tickets here. The gala will help raise funds for JFA’s azz Musicians’ Emergency Fund, providing housing assistance, pro bono medical care, disaster relief and direct financial support to musicians in times of crisis. The event will be led by musical director Steve Jordan and feature performances by Bobby Weir, Dee Dee Bridgewater, the Sun Ra Arkestra, George Coleman, Jazzmeia Horn and many more. During the night, Richard D. Parsons will be honored with the Dr. Billy Taylor Humanitarian Award, and Marshall Allen and Chuck D will receive a Lifetime Achievement Award, and Al Foster, Billy Hart and Louis Hayes will receive the Titans of Jazz Award.


Featured photo courtesy of Crossover Media.

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