Arooj Aftab, Bing Crosby, Wynton Marsalis & 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.



Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis Juneteenth Album Release: On the occasion of Juneteenth, Blue Engine will release Freedom, Justice, and Hope, a live recording of the Jazz at Lincoln Center’s multidisciplinary concert contextualizing jazz within Black Americans’ pursuit of equality. Featuring the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis, in creative collaboration with social justice activist and founder of The Equal Justice Initiative Bryan Stevenson, the recording features new arrangements of some of the most important protest songs in jazz history and new works by featured guest artists Endea Owens and Josh Evans. Freedom, Justice, and Hope will be available as a CD and on digital streaming platforms on June 14.

Bing Crosby Sings the Cole Porter Songbook in New Release: The Bing Crosby Estate has released Bing Crosby Sings the Cole Porter Songbook on all digital platforms via Primary Wave Music/Virgin Music. The full-length project brings together a collection of 14 of Crosby’s renditions of favorites from the renowned composer and songwriter, including “You’re the Top,” “I Get a Kick Out of You” and “Night and Day,” among others. Stream it via the player below.

J Jazz Book from BBE Music: On May 31, BBE Music will release J Jazz: Free and Modern Jazz from Japan 1954-1988, a large-format, limited-edition book charting the development of jazz in Japan from the modern jazz scene in the mid-to-late 1950s to its consolidation in the mid-to-late 1980s. The first of its kind published outside of Japan, this book is a collection of over 500 albums of free and modern jazz released in Japan during a period of radical transformation and constant reinvention. Compiled by Tony Higgins and Mike Peden, co-curators of BBE Music’s acclaimed J Jazz Masterclass Series, the book also features a foreword by Japanese jazz icon, Terumasa Hino.

New Arooj Aftab Video, Directed by Tessa Thompson: Arooj Aftab has shared the video for “Raat Ki Rani,” the lead single from her upcoming album, Night Reign, due out on May 31 via Verve Records. The video marks the directorial debut by actress Tessa Thompson and is produced by Kishori Rajan, who heads Thompson’s production company Viva Maude. Watch it via the player below.

Jazz Label Outside In Music Announces European Expansion: Outside In Music has launched its new sister imprint, Outside in Music EU. The new venture, curated by saxophonist and composer Shauli Einav, is dedicated to promoting and providing quality distribution for artists from across the European Union. The inaugural release for Outside in Music EU will be Israeli-German pianist Stav Goldberg’s Symphony of Water, due out on June 14.

Jazz Journalists Association Announces 2024 Jazz Award Winners: The Jazz Journalists Association recently announced the winners of its 29th annual JJA Awards for excellence in music and music journalism. Among top tier honors in the more than 40 categories of Awards presented are Jack DeJohnette, who received a Lifetime Achievement Award, and Joshua Redman, who won as Tenor Saxophonist of the Year and whose album, where are we, was named Best Album of the Year. Check out the full list of winners here.


New Albums

Christopher Zuar Orchestra, Exuberance (Tonal Conversations): Composer Christopher Zuar expands the ambition and scope of his impressive vision on his sophomore big band album, Exuberance, the much-anticipated follow-up to his 2016 debut, Musings. Developed five years in parallel with Zuar’s relationship with his now wife, animation filmmaker Anne Beal, its varied and multi-hued music is brought to life by his 22-piece Christopher Zuar Orchestra, conducted by Mike Holober.

John Dokes, Our Day (Swing Theory): Drawing on the influences of iconic predecessors such as Nat King Cole and Joe Williams, John Dokes revitalizes the rich realm of baritone jazz vocals in his sophisticated new album. Our Day showcases his unique interpretations of cherished standards and classics, alongside The George Gee Orchestra and with musical arrangements skillfully crafted by David Gibson.

Amina Figarova & Matsiko World Orphan Choir, Suite for Africa (AmFi): Suite for Africa is a new album by Azerbaijani-born, New York-based pianist and composer Amina Figarova in collaboration with the 24-piece choir, the Matsiko World Orphan Choir. The title three-movement suite, inspired by her experiences of meeting students during her travels to South Africa, is bracketed by five complementary Figarova originals inspired by African rhythms and the folk music traditions of the composer’s native Azerbaijan.

Natalie Cressman and Ian Faquini, Guinga (GroundUP): Guinga, the newest collaborative album from trombonist Natalie Cressman and guitarist Ian Faquini, presents 14 tracks honoring the renowned Brazilian guitarist and composer, Guinga. Delving into his distinctive style, the duo invites the esteemed songwriter to contribute to fresh compositions inspired by his work, while also offering reinterpretations of pieces from his extensive repertoire.


Live Music and Festival News

Amber Weekes Album Release Concert: Vocalist Amber Weekes will celebrate the release of her new album, A Lady With a Song, with a special concert performance at Catalina Jazz Club in Hollywood, California, on June 6. Tickets here. A Lady With a Song was produced and arranged by Mark Cargill and finds Weekes paying homage to one of her inspirations, Nancy Wilson. The album will be released on June 1 via Amber Inn Records.

Lineup Unveiled By Blue Note Jazz Festival for The Black Radio Experience: The official lineup for the 2024 Black Radio Experience, presented by Blue Note Jazz Festival with Artist in Residence Robert Glasper and hosted by Sway Calloway, has been unveiled. Headliners include John Legend, Jill Scott and André 3000, and performances by Andra Day, Common, Nile Rodgers, Ledisi and more. The festival aims to celebrate the rich tapestry of Black culture and will take place on August 30-September 1 at The Meritage Resort and Spa in Napa Valley, California. More here.

DC JazzFest Announces More Jazz Greats for 2024 Lineup: DC JazzFest has announced the addition of Stanley Clarke, Terri Lyne Carrington, Ron Carter, Nicholas Payton and Lakecia Benjamin to its 2024 DC JazzFest lineup. The festival is set to take place on multiple stages across Washington, D.C., on August 28-September 1, over Labor Day Weekend.

BMI Jazz Composers Workshop Presents 35th Annual Summer Showcase, June 5: The BMI Jazz Composers Workshop will present its 35th Annual Summer Showcase on June 5 at New York’s Marjorie S. Deane Little Theater. The evening will feature the BMI/New York Jazz Orchestra, a 17-piece modern repertory ensemble of leading New York musicians, performing eight new compositions developed in the workshop this season. The annual Charlie Parker Jazz Composition Prize and Manny Album Commission will be awarded to one of the new works. The evening will also feature a new commission from last year’s prize winner Joseph Herbst.

New York Guitar Festival, June 14-15: The World Music Institute will co-present the 25th anniversary New York Guitar Festival at Manhattan’s Kaufman Music Center on June 14-15. Its program spotlights a wealth of international talent and diverse guitar styles, including Marc Ribot with cellist Leyla McCalla, Lee Ranaldo, Yonatan Gat, Laraaji and Mamady Kouyate, and more.


Featured photo by Shreya Dev Dube.

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