Cameron Graves, Ella Fitzgerald, Marquis Hill & 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.



New Animated Video for Ella Fitzgerald Christmas Song: Verve has shared a new official animated video for Ella Fitzgerald’s version of “Frosty the Snowman” from her 1960 record Ella Wishes You a Swinging Christmas, her only full-length, holiday-themed album for the label. The video is directed by Lindsay Lee and David Calcano.

Freeman Vines Confronts Racial Terror in New Art Book: Musician/artist Freeman Vines has published his debut book, Hanging Tree Guitars, where he confronts racial terror thought art. The book is a collaboration with photographer Timothy Duffy and folklorist Zoe Van Buren. It features his work, mainly guitars, some of which are made from the wood of a tree believed to have been used for lynchings, and exposes lingering prejudices and unspoken boundaries in rural eastern North Carolina uncovered during an investigation of the region’s history.

Europe Jazz Network Announces Second Season of Webinars: Europe Jazz Network (EJN) has announced its second season of EJN Webinars, which begins tomorrow (November 25) and will continue every Tuesday until the end of 2020. The new six webinars will be streamed on EJN’s Facebook and YouTube channels and will remain available for watching on-demand. While the first series, held last spring, dealt with various aspects of the COVID-19 crisis, the new season enlarges the scope to analyze how the crisis can also present opportunities to rethink work methods within the music sector.

Outside In Launches Limited Edition Vinyl Series: New York City label Outside In Music has launched a new limited vinyl re-release series highlighting standout albums from its catalog. The albums of the initiative’s first year are Danny Janklow’s Worlds Collide (2019), Roxy Cross’ Roxy Cross Quintet (2019) and Nick Finzer’s Cast of Characters (2020). Each release will only print 100 copies, be printed on exclusive white vinyl and come hand-numbered.

Record Store Day Black Friday Returns: Record Store Day Black Friday returns to local independent stores worldwide this November 27. This year’s edition features an extensive list of releases, including music by Grover Washington, Jr., Dave Brubeck, Bill Evans and more. Click here to find out more about five Record Store Day Black Friday releases you need to know.

New Verve Vintage Christmas Albums Box Set: Verve has released a new vinyl box set, Verve Wishes You a Swinging Christmas, featuring four of its most classic holiday titles, each presented in their original packaging. The four albums are: Ella Fitzgerald’s Ella Wishes You a Swinging Christmas (1960), Kenny Burrell’s Have Yourself a Soulful Little Christmas (1966), Ramsey Lewis’ Sound of Christmas (1961) and Jimmy Smith’s Christmas ’64 (1964).

Billie at the 2020 Torino Film Festival: James Erskine’s biographical documentary on Billie Holiday, Billie, is screening at the 2020 Torino Film Festival in Italy, which has moved online in response to COVID-19. The film draws on its extensive access to 200 hours of never-before-heard audio interviews conducted by journalist Linda Lipnack Kiehl with Lady Day, part of her research for her definitive biography of the legendary jazz vocalist. The film will be accessible on from November 17 for 48 hours from the time of booking.


Album Announcements

Chico Mann, Double Life (Ubiquity): Double Life is a new, four-years-in-the-making solo album by multi-instrumentalist Chico Mann, also known as a member of Brooklyn Afrobeat band Antibalas. An exciting blend of psychedelic soul, blues and funk, Double Life was recorded as a jazz album and conceived, as he explains, as “a cheeky way of recontextualizing a cinematic approach I’ve adapted lately in my career.” The album was digitally released last Friday, November 20, via Ubiquity.

Cameron Graves, Seven (Artistry): Pianist/composer/vocalist Cameron Graves’ upcoming album, Seven, is conceptually inspired by his interest in theology, astrology, astronomy and martial arts, and showcases the music he’s architected, trash-jazz, which draws on influences from metal and hard rock. This 11-track program of new-gen jazz fusion features his core quartet and guest spots from fellow West Coast Get Down clique members and is due out on February 19.

Marquis Hill, Soul Sign (self-released): Trumpeter/composer/producer Marquis Hill has released a new 12-track musical journey, Soul Sign, presenting a jaw-dropping blend of jazz, spoken word and hip-hop. The album, released on November 13, is conceptually inspired by a collaboration with astrologers Mecca Woods and Boro the Lucky Libra, and each track is an impression of each sign of the Zodiac.

Dezron Douglas and Brandee Younger, Force Majeure (International Anthem): Bassist Dezron Douglas and harpist Brandee Younger will release their duo album debut on December 14. Force Majeure is a collection of 11 pieces performed across a series of live stream shows from their living room in Harlem, New York. The program features originals and covers, including compositions by such artists as John and Alice Coltrane, Kate Bush and more. The lead single is a take on Pharoah Sanders and Leon Thomas’ classic “The Creator Has a Master Plan.”

Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra, Bernstein Reimagined (MCG Jazz): The Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra explores the vast, diverse repertoire of legendary composer Leonard Bernstein. Bernstein Reimagined was originally commissioned in 2018, the year of Bernstein’s centennial, and includes lesser-known works by the composer, rarely performed in the key of jazz before, with new arrangements by Jay Ashby, Darryl Brenzel, Scott Silbert, Mike Tomaro and Steve Williams. Bernstein Reimagined is due out on January 29.


Live Music and Festival News

globalFEST Teams Up With NPR Music’s Tiny Desk Concert for 17th Edition: New York’s globalFEST has announced dates for its 17th edition set for January 11-14, 2021. This year, they will team up with NPR Music’s Tiny Desk concerts to present exclusive video performances, in a series entitled NPR Music’s Tiny Desk meets globalFEST. The series will feature 12 new artists, as well as four yet-to-be-announced globalFEST alums and will be hosted by African superstar Angélique Kidjo.

Virtual Detroit Jazz Festival a Success: Festival officials say the Detroit Jazz Festival‘s online edition drew in almost one million people across the globe. The event was streamed and broadcast on Labor Day weekend and moved online in response to the coronavirus pandemic. More than 40 hours of programming were shot live on three soundstages inside a carefully controlled environment at the Renaissance Center, with socially distanced crews and technicians producing the program from isolated spots, including hotel rooms.

2020 Hua Hin International Jazz Festival Returns: Hua Hin International Jazz Festival 2020 is set to take place in Hua Hin, Thailand, on December 4-5. The weekend-long festival will showcase different styles and eras of music with diverse jazz performances, including 50 of the most up-and-coming jazz performers and award-winning artists. No admission fee to the festival is required. 

2020 One Brooklyn Jazz Festival, December 4-13: This year’s One Brooklyn Jazz Festival will take place on December 4-13. The event is produced by the Central Brooklyn Jazz Consortium and is a blend of in-person, live stream and pre-recorded music for the holiday season. Performances are hosted by restaurants and cultural institutions located in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Clinton Hill, Crown Heights, East New York, Gowanus, and Lefferts Gardens.

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