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.
Chick Corea to Release Major Solo Album: Legendary pianist Chick Corea will release a major 2-CD/3-LP solo album titled Plays on August 28 via Concord Jazz. The album finds him exploring the lineage of great composers, from Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart to Thelonious Monk, from Antônio Carlos Jobim to Stevie Wonder and beyond. Well-known compositions by these diverse artists are featured in a captivating program that also includes some of Corea’s own compositions, including “The Yellow Nimbus” and miniature pieces from his 1984 album Children’s Songs.
William Parker Shares Preview Album of Upcoming 10-CD Box Set: Legendary free jazz bassist William Parker released Trencadís on May 15 exclusively on Bandcamp. This is a 10-track advance selection from his forthcoming 10-album box set entitled The Music of William Parker/Migration of Silence Into and Out of The Tone World (Volumes 1-10), due out August 14. The box set will present ten all-new, discrete yet interrelated albums created at Park West Studios in Brooklyn throughout the last 16 months. It will come in a deluxe clamshell box set with an extensive booklet on William Parker’s own Centering Records imprint, distributed by AUM Fidelity.
Ralph Peterson Expands The Messenger Legacy with Upcoming Album: Master drummer Ralph Peterson has done much over the years to keep the memory of Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers alive. His new release, Onward & Upward, is due out September 18th and brings together 14 former Jazz Messengers and three Legacy Messengers – including such names as Joanne Brackeen, Kevin Eubanks, Robin Eubanks, Jean Toussaint, Peter Washington and more, to name but a few. Peterson released the first single from his 25th album as a leader, “El Grito,” on May 20 in honor of his 58th birthday and you can listen to it via the player below.
Miles Davis Birthday Celebrations on SiriusXM and Instagram Live: The Miles Davis Estate and the Jazz Foundation of American will present “A Miles Davis Birthday Celebration,” a three-hour music special highlighting the music of the trumpet legend, tonight (May 22) on SiriusXM’s “Real Jazz” at 8 p.m. ET. The show, curated by SiriusXM’s Mark Ruffin and guest DJ’s Erin Davis, Vince Wilburn, Jr. (Miles Davis Estate) and Steve Jordan (JFA), will benefit and raise awareness of the COVID-19 Musician’s Emergency Fund from Jazz Foundation of America. Erin Davis and Vince Wilburn, Jr. will also host a Miles Davis Quarantine Birthday Party with an Instagram Takeover @milesdavis on May 26 from 12 noon – 4 p.m. PT.
Dutch Street Names After Famed Feminist Jazz Historian: Jazz historian/author/record producer Rosetta Reitz has been honored with a street dedicated to her in Leiden, Netherlands. Reitzstraat had been previously named after a leader in the Boer War, Francis W. Reitz. The decision to change the dedication was to rethink the role the Boers played as colonists and their close link of apartheid, and out of a desire to name more streets after women. Among her accomplishments, Rosetta Reitz established Rosetta Records in 1980. The label retrieved lost women’s blues and jazz and featured her liner notes, which presented a new view on the music from a woman’s perspective.
Charlie Rosen Gathers 664 Musicians in Latest 8-Bit Big Band Video: Bandleader/multi-instrumentalist Charlie Rosen has gathered possibly the largest ever virtual band for the latest user-generated video of his 8-Bit Big Band Project. The video features 664 musicians from all over the world, performing an original arrangement of “Lifelight” from Super Smash Brothers. As mentioned, this is part of Rosen’s 8-Bit Big Band project, with which he performs original big band arrangements of music from some of the world’s most beloved video games.
Unreleased Live Brecker Brothers Album Out Now: On March 20, Randy Brecker and Piloo Records released a historic 1980 live recording of the trumpeter’s seminal jazz fusion band he co-led with his late brother Michael Brecker, The Brecker Brothers. Live and Unreleased documents a live performance at the legendary Onkel Pö’s Carnegie Hall in Hamburg, Germany, and captures their unique blend of jazz, rock and funk. Guitarist Barry Finnerty, keyboardist Mark Gray, bassist Neil Jason and drummer Richie Morales are also featured on the album.
Joe Fiedler Dedicates Upcoming Release to Late Trombone Great Roswell Rudd: Jazz trombonist Joe Fiedler is also known for his work as music director/arranger for Sesame Street. His upcoming live album features his quartet, made up of three trombones and a tuba. The album is titled Joe Fiedler’s Big Sackbut – Live in Graz and is dedicated to the memory of his late friend/trombone pioneer Roswell Rudd, featuring new arrangements of three of Rudd’s compositions alongside originals and a version of “Devil Woman” by Charles Mingus.
Crosstown Arts Launches New Online Platform to Help Keep Memphis Musicians Afloat During COVID-19 Pandemic: Crosstown Arts – the nonprofit contemporary arts organization based in Memphis, Tennessee – is directing $5,000 to musicians who contributed new videos to its new online platforms, Against the Grain. The platform showcases made-at-home videos by Memphis musicians and more than 100 artists in all have submitted videos. The new initiative comes after previous efforts by Crosstown Arts to help keep musicians afloat. These included paying musicians for all the canceled concerts during the second half of March and contributing $25,000 to the Music Export Memphis COVID-19 relief fund.
Jazz Coalition Announces 51 Inaugural Commission Fund Grantees: The Jazz Coalition, an organization formed by jazz industry professionals to commission artists during the lockdown, has announced the first wave of awardees from its commission fund. 51 commissions have been awarded in total so far, and you can check out the full list of awardees on the Jazz Coalition’s website.
New Derrick Hodge Album Announced: Derrick Hodge is set to unleash his freest album to date. Color of Noize, due out June 26 on Blue Note, is his first record to use a live band throughout. It also reflects a melting pot of influences and finds him supplying bass, keys, guitar, and voice, as well as experimenting with composition. The album’s lead single is “Not Right Now” and you can listen to it via the player below.
New Release Cheat Sheet
Archie Shepp, Raw Poetic and Damu The Fudgemunk, Ocean Bridges (Redefinition)
Saxophonist/avant-garde jazz legend Archie Shepp teams up with his independent underground hip-hop artist nephew Raw Poetic on their first collaborative album. The music on Ocean Bridges was entirely improvised and, with Raw Poetic as the sole vocalist, presents a unique blend of hip-hop and jazz that transcends easy categorization.
Matthew Shipp, The Piano Equation (Tao Forms)
In this inaugural release of new label Tao Forms, pianist Matthew Shipp continues to create music where free jazz and modern classical intertwine on his new solo piano album. Blending various forms and styles, The Piano Equation is truly a work of wondrous inquisitive abstraction and a must for adventurous listeners.
The Spanish Harlem Orchestra, The Latin Jazz Project (Artist Share)
Universally acclaimed salsa ensemble, The Spanish Harlem Orchestra, released their first full-length album of transcendental Latin jazz. Their exciting endeavor also finds them teaming up with many top-tier jazz artists, including Kurt Elling, Dave Liebman, Miguel Zenón and many more.
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