Amy Winehouse, PJ Morton, Toots Thielemans & 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.



NEC Announces 2022 Speaker and Honorary Degree Recipients for 151st Commencement Ceremony: The New England Conservatory (NEC) has announced singer/songwriter James Taylor as the commencement speaker and honorary recipient at the Conservatory’s 151st annual commencement exercises. The ceremony will be held in person on May 22 at the historic Jordan Hall and streamed online via NEC’s website. NEC will also bestow honorary Doctor of Music degrees on David Amram and Ella Jenkins. The ceremony also will include a special message from by Ukrainian cellist Denys Karachevtsev. More here.


Iconic Amy Winehouse Concert Released for the First Time: An iconic Amy Winehouse performance at Glastonbury Festival from 2007 will be issued for the first time ever as a 2-LP set on black vinyl, with an exclusive crystal clear edition available, on June 3 via UMe/Island Records/BBC. Live at Glastonbury 2007 features Winehouse performing some of her timeless hits, including from her award-winning Back to Black album.


Definitive Bill Frisell Autobiography Out Soon: A definitive biography on guitar master Bill Frisell will be released on May 24. The biography is titled Bill Frisell, Beautiful Dreamer: The Guitarist Who Changed the Sound of American Music and it was written by Philip Watson. Order it here. To mark the book’s release, a virtual conversation with Frisell and Watson will take place on May 22, and the guitarist will be performing a special book release concert on May 28 at Brooklyn’s Roulette.


Google Doodle Honors Toots Thielemans: Google Doodle celebrated Toots Thielemans on April 29, in honor of the 100th anniversary of his birth. The legendary Belgian musician is often regarded as the greatest jazz harmonica player and performed with such artists as Charlie Parker, Miles Davis, and George Shearing. He also composed several classic songs, including his signature tune “Bluesette.” He is also heard on several film soundtracks and TV commercials. After a stellar career, he retired in 2014 and died two years later in August 22, 2016.


New and Upcoming Albums

PJ Morton, Watch the Sun (Morton): PJ Morton’s Watch the Sun is a new album of all-original songs, which finds his songwriting and production delving further inward than ever before. “I’m being more honest, more authentic, more open than I’ve been in the past,” says Morton via a press release. Watch the Sun is out now and also features several special guests, including Stevie Wonder, Alex Isley, Nas, Wale and more.


Ranee Lee, Because You Loved Me (Justin Time): Ranee Lee, one of Canada’s premiere jazz vocalists, reimagines the songs of Quebec superstar Celine Dion in her new album, due out May 13. Because You Loved Me features insightful new arrangements in a jazz style of some of Dion’s music, including several of her biggest hits, such as “My Heart Will Go On,” “I’m Alive,” the title track and more.


Jùlio Resende, Fado Jazz (ACT): Portuguese pianist/composer Jùlio Resende blends the sound and expression of fado with the vocabulary of jazz on his new album, aptly titled Fado Jazz. The record, almost all the tracks of which are original compositions, was released on February 25, 2022, and marks Resende’s debut release on ACT Music. You can listen to our JAZZIZ Travel conversation with Resende via the player below.


Leonor Falcón, Imaga Mondo Vol. II (FalconGumba): Venezuela-born, New York-based violinist/violist Leonor Falcón has released her captivating follow-up to 2017’s Imaga Mondo on March 11. Imaga Mondo Vol. II is a genre-shifting record drawing inspiration both from the mythological and the fabular, using a sonic palette inspired by fantastic creatures and elements as a springboard for its musical palette.


Live Music and Festival News

Carlos Henriquez Presents “Monk Con Clave” at Jazz at Lincoln Center: GRAMMY-nominated bassist Carlos Henriquez will present his “Monk Con Clave” concert series from May 20-21 at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Rose Hall. The concert finds him exploring the brilliance of Thelonious Monk’s music through clave and swing rhythms, and musically directing the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra. Tickets here.

Detroit Jazz Festival Announces 2022 Lineup: This year’s Detroit Jazz Festival will take place over Labor Day weekend on September 2-5. The festival announced its 2022 lineup during a livestream preview that included a live performance from the 2022 Artist-in-Residence Chucho Valdés. The lineup includes Julian Lage, Donny McCaslin, Vijay Iyer Trio, Bill Frisell, Nubiya Garcia, Cécile McLorin Salvant, José James, John Scofield, Ethan Iverson and the all-female supergroup Artemis, among others. More here.


Barbès 20th Anniversary Celebrations in May: Brooklyn music venue Barbès will celebrate its 20th anniversary in May with a series of special shows, including as Rubias del Norte, Miramar, One Ring Zero, Brain Club, Frank London’s Klezmer Brass All Stars and more. There will also be a special Barbès Anniversary Party at (le) Poisson Rouge on May 15 with Red Baraat, Son Rompe Pera and more. Click here for more info.


West Coast Tour Launches New Rez Abbasi and Josh Feinberg Project: Guitarist Rez Abbasi and sitar virtuoso Josh Feinberg will launch their collaborative project Naya Baaz on a West Coast tour throughout the month of May. Tickets here. Naya Baaz is a quartet drawing on influences from Indian classical music, jazz and Western classical traditions. These dates will be followed by a recently-recorded album set to be released in the start of 2023. The lineup at these performances will also feature Jennifer Vincent on 5-string cello and Ernie Adams on drums and percussion.


Summerstage 2022 Season Lineup Announced: City Parks Foundation has announced the 2022 season of Capital One City Parks Foundation SummerStage. New York’s outdoor performing arts festival will bring nearly 90 free and benefit shows to Central Park and twelve neighborhood parks across five boroughs. Jazz legend Herbie Hancock and Keyon Harrold will be performing an opening night concert on June 11. The season will also include the 30th annual Charlie Parker Jazz Festival from August 30-August 28. More here.


Babyface and George Benson on 2023 Soul Train Cruise: The 10th Anniversary Voyage of The Soul Train Cruise will take place from January 29-February 5, 2023. The lineup of greats from the golden age of R&B will include Babyface and George Benson, both performing onboard for the first time ever. The cruise will depart from Ft. Lauderdale for Grand Turk, San Juan (Puerto Rico) and Half Moon Cay aboard the Holland America Line Nieuw Amsterdam. More here.

Featured photo by Laiken Joy.

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