Jazziz Discover

Enjoy listening to some of the best new jazz available in hi-res audio and with information about each featured album below. For subscribers only.

Chick Corea


“Someone To Watch Over Me”

(Concord Jazz)

On the cusp of 80, Chick Corea remains a master of communication — with audiences and, of course, with his piano. On the live double-album Plays (Concord Jazz), Corea briefly discusses the music he’s about to share before diving into the songbooks of Mozart, Gershwin, Bill Evans, Antonio Carlos Jobim and Thelonious Monk, alone at the piano. The sprawling collection, recorded at venues in Florida and Europe, also includes Corea’s improvised portraits as well as a selection of his beloved Children’s Songs. “I’m gonna begin with an improvisation that leads into a Mozart sonata,” he explains at the start of the first section. “Then, after that, I’m gonna put Gershwin together with Mozart, you know, as if the two of them sat down together to have a talk. In my mind, these two pieces mix together very well.” Corea proves his thesis as he launches into a lovely and emotional, but never maudlin, read of “Someone To Watch Over Me,” eroding the divisions between classical music, pop standard and dazzling jazz improvisation and providing a blueprint to the music he’s been creating for decades.

Sonny Rollins

In Holland

“Tune Up”


By 1967, Sonny Rollins was no stranger to European audiences. The saxophonist had been a frequent presence on the continent for about a decade when he traveled to the Netherlands and performed with the Dutch rhythm team of bassist Ruud Jacobs and drummer Han Bennink. Live and studio performances from that mini-tour, some unheard since then, have been released on the new two-disc (three-LP) set In Holland (Resonance), capturing a period during which Rollins was in the midst of a six-year recording hiatus. The trio plumbed Rollins’ repertoire, including standards as well as the original “Sonnymoon for Two” and a couple of Miles Davis songs Rollins had made his own, “Four” and “Tune Up.” Originally recorded on his 1957 release Newk’s Time, the latter number receives a sprightly update from the threesome, beginning with Bennink’s cracking snare-drum intro. Rollins, in excellent voice, unspools a trademark speed-of-thought improvisation over the galloping rhythms, at once edgy and incredibly tuneful. Jacobs and Bennink each have plenty of space to blow, the bassist unleashing a dexterous solo followed by the ever-creative drummer’s explosive yet textured solo. One of four performances captured during a studio session in Hilversum, the tracks were rediscovered and digitalized in 2017 by Dutch journalist and researcher Frank Jochemsen. The Resonance package includes detailed liner notes by Rollins biographer Aidan Levy, as well as photographs from the tour.

Christian Sands

Be Water


(Mack Avenue Records)

In an oft-quoted aphorism about adaptability, martial arts master Bruce Lee touted the mutability of good old H2O. “You put water into a cup, it becomes the cup,” he explained. “You put water into a bottle, it becomes the bottle. You put it in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Now water can flow, or it can crash. Be water, my friend.” This advice wasn’t lost on pianist and composer Christian Sands, whose latest recording, Be Water (Mack Avenue), utilizes the principles extolled by Lee in various musical settings. Sands and his rhythm team of bassist Yasushi Nakamura and drummer Clarence Penn remain at the center of the 10 tracks, which variously add guitar, electric piano, organ, horns and strings. However, the quietly exuberant “Crash” showcases the unadorned trio, with Nakamura’s resonant bass lines and Penn’s splashy cymbals providing depth and motion beneath Sands’ silvery shimmer, truly evoking the forward propulsion of a rushing river. Whether crashing or flowing, Sands’ piano retains its essential qualities of creative expression.

The Royal Bopsters

Party of Four

“On a Misty Night/Gipsy”


Following in the footsteps of Lambert, Hendrix and Ross and The Manhattan Transfer, The Royal Bopsters display a dazzling mastery of vocalese, a jazz idiom in which singers fit lyrics to instrumental jazz solos. The group’s latest recording, Party of Four (Motéma), also marks a sad milestone with the passing of alto vocalist Holli Ross (no relation to Annie Ross of L, H & R fame), who lost her battle with cancer earlier this year. Ross is in excellent voice throughout the album’s dozen tracks, blending with fellow Bopsters Amy London, Pete McGuinness and Dylan Pramuk on a set of classic tunes that include entries from Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn, George and Ira Gershwin, Harold Arlen and Johnny Mercer and Wayne Shorter and Doug Carn. Along the way, they expand the party to include venerable guest vocalists Sheila Jordan and Bob Dorough, as well as bassist Christian McBride, who features on Pramuk’s arrangement of a mash-up of Tadd Dameron’s “On a Misty Night” with Billy Reid’s “Gipsy.” The Bopsters’ silky harmonies and solos on the former mimic the Dameron big band sound, whereas their rendition of the latter makes use of Georgie Fame’s vocalese writing for a Chet Baker trumpet solo. Pianist Steve Schmidt and drummer Steve Williams, as throughout, provide superb rhythmic accompaniment. Party of Four is an excellent and engaging example of vocalese and a fitting tribute to Ross.

Conrad Herwig

Latin Side of Horace Silver

“Nica’s Dream”


For two and a half decades, trombonist Conrad Herwig has been putting an Afro-Latin spin on straightahead jazz with his “Latin Side of” recordings. For his latest project, The Latin Side of Horace Silver (Savant), Herwig dives into the songbook of the “Hardbop Grandpop,” whose grounding in the folk music of Cape Verde makes him an ideal subject for Afro-Latinization. Joined by a band of A-listers — saxophonists Igor Butman and Craig Handy, trumpeter Alex Sipiagin, pianist Bill O’Connell, bassist Ruben Rodriguez, drummer Robby Ameen and conguero Richie Flores — Herwig emphasizes the Latin rhythms of the Silver repertoire, reimagining classics such as “Song for My Father” and “Filthy McNasty,” with arranging assistance from O’Connell. The album kicks off with a sterling read of “Nica’s Dream,” as Flores’ congas drive the action on the bottom end, and the horns play in joyous unison. Maestro Herwig takes the first solo spot, setting a high bar for his band mates, which they reach with aplomb, cheered on by a live audience (remember those?). Similarly, the flag-waving opener is a hard act to follow, but Herwig and company (including pianist Michel Camilo, who guests on three tracks) are more than up to the task, providing fresh interpretations from a beloved songbook.

Rudresh Mahanthappa

Hero Trio



With Hero Trio (Whirlwind), saxophonist Rudresh Mahanthappa honors his influences and inspirations by offering updates of their classic works. As he notes in the liners, after 15 albums of original music, he was more than ready to re-examine the music that set him on his path. Of course, Charlie Parker and John Coltrane are represented, as are Sonny Rollins, Ornette Coleman and Lee Konitz, all of whom worked in the sax-trio format Mahanthappa hews to here. But he also includes scrupulously jazzified tunes by Stevie Wonder and June Carter Cash, recognizing their imprint on his aesthetic from outside the jazz world. Mahanthappa offers a two-fer with his mash-up of “Barbados” and “26-2,” numbers by Parker and Coltrane, respectively. The leader’s piquant alto maintains an edgy urgency throughout, as he balances atop a jagged rhythm supplied by bassist François Moutin and drummer Rudy Royston. While borrowing from the stylistic vocabulary established by Bird and Trane, Mahanthappa is hardly imitative; he and his rhythm team take a uniquely 21st-century approach to the jazz canon.

John Beasley's MONK'estra

M'ONKestra Plays John Beasley


(Mack Avenue Records)

On their previous albums, John Beasley’s MONK’estra offered imaginative takes on music from Thelonious Monk’s enduring songbook. For their third release, M’ONKestra Plays John Beasley (Mack Avenue), the band certainly evokes its namesake —they interpret a quartet of Monk classics — while also adding compositions by its piano-playing leader, who penned eight of the 14 tracks. Various permutations of the MONK’estra are featured throughout, from the full 16-piece big band to smaller ensembles, and utilize guests such as harmonicist Grègoire Maret, Hammond B3 wizard Joey DeFrancesco and vocalist Jubilant Sykes. Beasley pares down to a trio on his composition “Be.YOU.tiful,” a twinkling, bluesy gem, accompanied by bassist John Patitucci and drummer Vinnie Colaiuta. Unrushed by the rhythm section, Beasley luxuriates in mood and melody, his playing almost meditative as Patitucci shadows his steps and Colaiuta lays down a silvery scrim with brushes. As with other songs on the album, the tune powerfully calls to mind the era in which Monk thrived, while commenting on the man and his times through a 21st-century prism.

John Surman Lucian Ban Mat Maneri

Transylvanian Folk Songs

“The Dowry Song”


Early in the 20th century, Hungarian composer Béla Bartok began his investigations into the Romanian folk music of Transylvania. Traveling through the countryside, he made field recordings documenting the region’s indigenous music, eventually amassing more than 3,000 songs comprising six catalogues, which certainly had an imprint on his own work. One hundred years later, Lucian Ban, John Surman and Mat Maneri look to Bartok’s collections for inspiration on their release Transylvanian Folk Songs (Sunnyside). Pianist Ban, who grew up in Transylvania, has frequently found sustenance in the music of his homeland. Maneri, who grew up in Boston, also came to the music of Bartok early in his development, recognizing the folkloric connection to rock and modern classical music. After conceiving of a project that would launch from the Bartok field recordings, Ban and Maneri recruited master reedist John Surman, who grew up in the English countryside, as the third side to their triangle. Among the tunes they interpret, allowing plenty of space for personal expression, “The Dowry Song” opens the collection on a sprightly note. Surman’s edgy baritone saxophone engages in a stately dance with Ban’s rhythmic piano motif, the pair soon joined by Maneri’s stringent viola. The piece grows in intensity as it unfolds, whirling like revelers at a wedding who have enjoyed the free libations before quieting into somewhat somber reflection.

Liberty Ellman

Last Desert

“The Sip”


For 20 years, Liberty Ellman’s tart, taut guitar lines have provided an essential color to Henry Threadgill’s Zooid ensemble. So perhaps it’s inevitable that his latest solo recording, Last Desert (Pi), would bear some sonic echoes of his work with Threadgill, particularly in that Zooid bandmate Jose Davila joins him once again on tuba. Also returning to the guitarist’s side are saxophonist Steve Lehman, trumpeter Jonathan Finlayson, bassist Stephan Crump and drummer Damion Reid, all of whom appeared on his 2015 release Radiate. Ellman’s sparse and economical playing blends beautifully with the group sound, a carefully constructed tapestry in which texture and mood triumph over displays of individual virtuosity. Which isn’t to say that the players aren’t masterful, just that they’re willing to subsume their egos for the sake of the song. Such is the case with leadoff track “The Sip,” in which Ellman quietly begins the tune in conversation with Crump’s resonant bass notes before the horns slip into the mix. Reid lends pattering support, Davila’s low-end growl teases the ear, and Lehman and Finlayson offer eloquent unisons and solos. While understated, Ellman’s charismatic playing, whether at the fore or in support of his bandmates, proves that the most interesting voices aren’t necessarily the loudest or flashiest.

JD Allen

Toys/Die Dreaming

“The G Thing”


The trio setting has proven a particularly fertile one for tenor saxophonist JD Allen. His latest trio, with bassist Ian Kenselaar and drummer Nic Cacioppo, is a powerful iteration, as heard on 2019’s Barracoon and its followup, this year’s Toys/Die Dreaming (Savant). Allen remains a compelling voice on his instrument, recalling the examples of John Coltrane, Sonny Rollins and David Murray, while also forging a sound unique to the times that shaped the 47-year-old Detroit native. Demonstrating his ability to graft new branches onto his roots, Allen reconceptualizes the jazz standard “You’re My Thrill” in a thrillingly modern fashion, makes a granular examination of the ballad “I Should Care” and nods to even older antecedents with his volcanic closer, “Elegua (The Trickster),” named for a Yoruban deity. His composition “The G Thing” begins with an almost Rollins-on-the-Williamsburg-Bridge type of meditation, as he blows an introspective introductory statement shaded by Kenselaar and Cacioppo’s sensitive support. The tempo evolves into a sultry strut, as the rhythm team shifts into a brisk but unhurried trot. With bluesy brio, Allen evokes an urban, nocturnal excitement not unlike Rollins did with his “Alfie’s Theme.”

Monty Alexander

Love You Madly: Live at Bubba’s

“Arthur’s Theme”


South Florida jazz fans of a certain age have fond recollections of Bubba’s, a Fort Lauderdale nightspot that attracted jazz giants such as Ahmad Jamal, Sonny Stitt and Carmen McRae. Pianist Monty Alexander, who had moved to Miami from his native Kingston, Jamaica, as a teenager, was already an international star when he played the room with his quartet in 1982. Fortunately, the performances were captured on tape by Criteria Studios founder Mac Emmerman, the music comprising the new double-album release Love You Madly: Live at Bubba’s (Resonance). Culled from Alexander’s own collection, the tapes reveal the pianist at the peak of his powers, as he delves into a wide-ranging set that dips into jazz and Brazilian standards, blues and reggae, each expertly evinced by the pianist and his group. Doubling down on rhythm, Alexander is supported by drummer Duffy Jackson and percussionist Bobby Thomas Jr. (of Weather Report fame) as well as superb bassist Paul Berner, who had played with Lionel Hampton. Alexander has long been among the most engaging of performers, honing his communicative skills with audiences at hotels, bars and restaurants throughout South Florida. That charm is evident from the jump, as the pianist kicks off the set with an instrumental read of “Arthur’s Theme,” the hit from the then-new movie. Alexander and his rhythm team start out with loungey, laid-back swing, before taking improvisational flight into the Caribbean and Latin America for a heart-racing finish.

Richard Baratta

Music in Film: The Reel Deal

“Everybody’s Talkin”


Before becoming a Hollywood producer, Richard Baratta was a serious jazz drummer on the New York City scene of the 1970s and ’80s. Seeking a change, he moved out west and worked his way up the ladder in the film industry, eventually producing hit films such as Joker and The Irishman. But the music still called to him. After finding himself back on the bandstand alongside top talents such as Eric Alexander, Mike LeDonne and Marcus Printup, Baratta decided to trade the film set for the drum set once again. The Tenafly, New Jersey, resident put together a crack ensemble and hit the studio for what would be his debut recording, Music in Film: The Reel Deal (Savant). The concept was simple — he’d play music from films he’d loved or been involved in making. So the session includes the Bacharach-David title song from Alfie; tunes from the movie musicals Rent, West Side Story and The Sound of Music; themes from the big screen (The Godfather) and small (Peter Gunn); and even The Beatles’ “Come Together,” which was used in the film Across the Universe. Baratta and company bring a lively, almost blithe interpretation to Fred Neil’s wistful “Everybody’s Talkin’,” from the Oscar-winning Midnight Cowboy. Saxophonist Vincent Herring and guitarist Paul Bollenback deliver engaging solos over the unrelenting swing laid down by Baratta, pianist and arranger Bill O’Connell and bassist Michael Goetz. O’Connell also unleashes a corker of a solo, more than keeping pace with the swift-moving rhythm section.

Eddie Daniels

Night Kisses: A Tribute to Ivan Lins

“D’Aquilo Que Eu Sei”


Reed master Eddie Daniels follows his 2018 tribute to Egberto Gismonti with an album dedicated to the music of another compositional genius — Ivan Lins. Having started out as a tenor saxophonist, Daniels is widely celebrated for his clarinet playing; for Night Kisses: A Tribute to Ivan Lins (Resonance), he also adds flute to his arsenal, an instrument he hadn’t played in years. “I feel that the lightness and the spirituality of the flute gave the music another color,” he says in the album’s liner notes. “Even when the music is not so fast, it’s sparkly, it’s exciting.” That’s certainly the case with his version of Lins’ “D’Aquilo Que Eu Sei,” a tune on which Daniels’ breezy flute sails over the brisk strings of the Harlem Quartet and is bolstered by the jazz rhythm section of pianist Josh Nelson, bassist Kevin Axt and drummer Mauricio Zottarelli. The tune, from Lins’ 1981 album of the same name, carries a message of hope and reaffirmation for those who had fought against and triumphed over Brazil’s dictatorship; its title translates to “That Which I Know,” and Kuno Schmidt’s arrangement certainly bears an optimistic tone. In addition to Schmidt and Nelson, Bob James and Dave Grusin also lend their arranging and playing skills to the album, Daniels’ 30th since his 1966 debut.

Cory Weeds

O Sole Mio! Music From the Motherland

“Speak Softly, Love”

(Cellar Live/Reel to Real)

On his latest release, O Sole Mio! Music From the Motherland (Cellar Live/Reel to Real), alto saxophonist Cory Weeds celebrates the music of Italy, putting a jazz spin on some of the country’s best-loved songs, as well as favorites by Italian-American artists. Accompanied by organist Mike LeDonne’s established quintet — tenor saxophonist Eric Alexander, guitarist Peter Bernstein and drummer Joe Farnsworth — the Vancouver-born Weeds reinterprets classics such as the title track, as well as the Nino Rota composition “Speak Softly, Love.” The latter tune became a standard of sorts when it was featured in The Godfather and subsequently covered by the likes of Andy Williams and Al Martino. Naturally, Weeds and company inject a healthy dose of swing, the intertwining saxophones swirling around Hammond B3 atmospherics and an insistent backbeat. Each player receives ample time to stretch out, the solos all contributing to the sensuous feel of the track which calls to mind scenes from Francis Ford Coppola’s masterwork. Leave the gun. Take the cannoli.

Jim Snidero




Saxophonist Jim Snidero finds inspiration in Korean culture and philosophy on his latest album, Project-K (Savant). Having been married to a Korean woman for more than 20 years, it’s natural that the California-born Snidero might be influenced by the ancient civilization. After recently visiting his in-laws in Seoul, he completed writing the song cycle that graces the new release; in fact, the recording begins and ends with the sound of a prayer bowl that Snidero picked up on his trip. The saxophonist also recruited Do Yeon Kim, who plays the gayageum, a traditional Korean stringed instrument, throughout the recording, melding seamlessly with the five-piece jazz band on a set comprising mostly Snidero compositions. The quintet, sans gayageum, showcases a silky straightahead synergy on the tune “Jenga,” as Snidero and trumpeter Dave Douglas play tight unisons on the frontline. Pianist Orrin Evans offers a rippling solo, supported by bassist Linda May Han Oh and drummer Rudy Royston, before handing the proceedings back to the horns, who trade with one another, and with Royston, for a swinging ensemble sound. In this case, Snidero reimagines a Korean song — written by K-Pop artist Matt Heize — as if it were a 52nd Street staple.

Michael Dease

Never More Here

“I Wish I Knew”


Tribute albums needn’t be a collection of the honoree’s greatest hits. For example, trombonist Michael Dease decided to honor the legacy of Charlie Parker by interpreting songs by Bird’s disciples and devotees on his latest album, Never More Here (Posi-Tone). Along with the quintet that accompanied him on his 2017 release All These Hands, Dease dips into the songbooks of Jimmy Heath, Jackie McLean, JJ Johnson and John Lewis, as well as contemporaries Eric Alexander and Renee Rosnes, the latter of whom plays piano on the record. The quintet also plays a joyful rendition of Dr. Billy Taylor’s sanctified civil rights anthem “I Wish I Knew (How It Felt To Be Free),” with Dease and saxophonist Steve Wilson offering heartfelt testimony from the pulpit. Rosnes’ churchy chords maintain the feel of a Sunday service, as does the expert rhythm team of bassist Gerald Cannon and drummer Lewis Nash. The upbeat treatment of the tune provides an optimistic ray of light during dark times, as does the album’s title; it derives from Al Collins’ quote, after Bird’s passing at age 34, that the saxophonist was “never more here.”

Lee Konitz Nonet

Old Songs New

“In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning”


A longtime devotee and collaborator of Lee Konitz, saxophonist Ohad Talmor conceived of a project to spotlight the legendary altoist’s improvisational genius. The idea was to have Konitz play tunes he loved but, for the most part, had not previously recorded, utilizing his thoughts and feelings about the songs rather than written music. Talmor wrote charts for the backing musicians, Konitz’s nonet, and had the then 90-year-old saxophonist blow over the lush arrangements as the mood struck him. The sonic palette of the resultant release, Old Songs New (Sunnyside), harks back to the Birth of the Cool era Konitz helped usher in alongside Miles Davis, replete with the deep rich tones of alto flute, baritone sax and bass clarinet, as well as viola and cello. The tunes, too, suggest that time period, as Konitz musically reminisces on songbook staples such as “Foolin’ Myself,” “I Cover the Waterfront” and “This Is Always.” Tipping his fedora to Frank Sinatra, Konitz offers a pensive, twilit read of “In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning,” recalling the regret-laden rendition Ol’ Blue Eyes definitively rendered on his 1955 album of similar title. Talmor’s melancholy, string-laden arrangement sets off Konitz’s horn like a gem sparkling against dark velvet. The sessions took a few years to complete, but arrived in time for Konitz to see the album released; he passed away in April from COVID-19 complications.

Kassa Overall

I Think I'm Good

“Find Me”

(Brownswood Recordings)

Jazz and hip-hop have influenced one another for decades, with increasingly less resistance from either side of the equation in recent years. Among those for whom both genres are lingua franca, drummer and vocalist Kassa Overall has emerged as a singular presence. Having played drums with Geri Allen’s group for seven years, his jazz bona fides are impeccable. But at age 40, he also grew up with hip-hop as the default setting for pop music and a powerful means of expression. Overall’s full-length debut album, 2019’s critically acclaimed Go Get Ice Cream and Listen to Jazz, set the template for his followup, I Think I’m Good (Brownswood), a deeply personal meditation on his struggles with mental illness that also offers commentary on racial inequities and social justice. The Brooklyn-based artist’s blend of jazz and hip-hop is farily seamless on an album that includes performances by top jazz talents Vijay Iyer, Joel Ross, Theo Croker, Brandee Younger, Sullivan Fortner and Aaron Parks, as well as synth effects and rhythms that anchor the music in the 21st century. “Find Me” provides an excellent example of Overall’s hybrid, as he shares vocals with J Hoard. His drums and Stephan Crump’s acoustic bass provide a foundation for the engaging track, which also features Julius Rodriguez on piano and Morgan Guerin on electric wind instrument. Somehow, the song manages to communicate emotional urgency within a somewhat laid-back R&B context.

Grover Washington Jr.

Grover Live

“Sassy Stew”

(Lightyear Entertainment)

A decade ago, producer Jason Miles released Grover Live, a 1997 concert recording of the late Grover Washington Jr. captured at The Paramount Center for the Arts in Peekskill, New York. Now that recording is receiving the deluxe reissue treatment, as Lightyear Entertainment releases a two-LP, gold-colored-vinyl set. Recorded two years prior to his passing, the album finds the then-53-year-old saxophonist in full command of his instruments, as he switches among tenor, soprano, alto and baritone horns on a set of classics from his songbook. Washington’s lean septet supplies the grooves on songs spanning his nearly 25-year discography, including favorites such as “Winelight,” “Black Frost,” “Just the Two of Us,” and, encompassing all of Side 4, expansive takes on “Let It Flow (for Dr. J)” and “Mr. Magic.” He also revisits the sultry “Sassy Stew,” from his hit 1984 recording Inside Moves, his tenor sax dancing atop the funky foundations of bassist Gerald Veasley, drummer Steven Wolf and percussionist Pablo Batista. “‘Sassy Stew,’ ladies and gentlemen, thank you,” says the ever-engaging frontman at song’s end. And he urges a hand for the band, whom he jokingly calls “the orchestra.” Hearing Washington address the crowd, here and throughout the album, brings back affectionate memories of the saxophonist, who died in 1999.

Zoe Scott

Shades of Love


(Self Release)

With stars in her eyes, London-born vocalist Zoe Scott relocated to Rome at age 18, pursuing fame as an actress and singer-songwriter. She later moved to Los Angeles, where she established herself on the rock scene. Realizing that rock was limiting her artistic scope, Scott began to explore other genres. And when she heard Antonio Carlos Jobim’s music for the first time, she immediately felt a connection. That connection is warmly expressed on Shades of Love, Scott’s self-released album comprising bossa nova classics by Jobim, as well as a few pop and jazz standards performed in the bossa style. Wisely, she recruited some Brazilian-music experts for the session, including guitarist Torcuato Mariano, keyboardist Paulo Calasans, bassist Andre Vasconcelos and drummer Felipe Alves. And lending an imprimatur of authenticity, Jobim’s grandson, Daniel Jobim, takes the piano chair. Sweeping orchestration cushions Scott’s sultry, romantic read of “Wave,” a staple of the Jobim songbook. Sung in English, the bossa classic reveals Scott’s deep affinity with the genre.