Christian McBride, Makaya McCraven, David Bowie & 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.



Blue Note to Release New Dr. Lonnie Smith Album on Vinyl: Blue Note will release a 2-LP vinyl edition of Dr. Lonnie Smith’s new album, Breathe, released earlier this year. The album will be released on standard black vinyl and an exclusive color vinyl version will also be available on the Blue Note Store. The vinyl edition will be released on December 3 and includes an additional collaboration between the Hammond B-3 organ legend and rock icon Iggy Pop on “Move Your Hand,” also released as a standalone single. The song originally appeared on Smith’s 1969 live album of the same name. Pre-order Breathe on vinyl here.  


Listen to Charnett Moffett Trio’s Take on Gershwin’s “Summertime”: Renowned bass virtuoso Charnett Moffett released his first live trio recording on the last day of summer, September 22, via Motema. The EP, Charnett Moffett Trio LIVE, includes highlights of his July 25 concert with guitarist/vocalist Jana Herzen and drummer Corey Garcia at Yoshi’s in Oakland, California. The vibrant program opens with a free-form rendition of the Gershwin classic, “Summertime,” and you can watch a video of that performance via the player below. Order Charnett Moffett Trio LIVE here.


Special Edition David Bowie Stylophone: Dubreq celebrates David Bowie with the launch of a special edition Bowie Stylophone, the pocket synthesizer that he famously used in his breakthrough 1969 single, “Space Oddity.” Original track producer Tony Visconti said via an official statement that Bowie was one of the first to own a Stylophone and “to discover this new quite radical way of making music.” This limited edition of the fabled pocket synthesizer is a collaboration between The David Bowie Archive and Dubreq and was launched on September 16. You can order it here.


New Makaya McCraven Single, Kenny Burrell Remix: Chicago-based drummer/producer/beat scientist Makaya McCraven has shared the second single from his forthcoming album, Deciphering the Message, which finds him remixing Blue Note classics and will be released on November 19. The second single is “Autumn in New York (AKA Spring in Chicago),” which remakes guitarist Kenny Burrell’s romantic ballad from his 1958 album, Blue Lights, Vol. 1, into a hypnotic stomp of muted horns and soft vibes. Pre-order Deciphering the Message here.


Robin McKelle Shares Previously Unheard Track from Debut Album Recording Session: Vocalist Robin McKelle celebrated the 15th anniversary of her debut album, Introducing Robin McKelle, by sharing her big band version on Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings’ “How Do I Let a Good Man Down.” The song was arranged by Willie Murillo and features a killer sax solo by Mike Tucker. It was recorded on the original session but never released on the full-length album. You can listen to it via the player below.


Album Announcements

Christian McBride & Inside Straight, Live at the Village Vanguard (Mack Avenue): Christian McBride’s twelfth release on Mack Avenue documents his live performance at New York’s venerated Village Vanguard from December 2014 with his star-studded Inside Straight quintet, featuring Carl Allen, Steve Wilson, Eric Reed and Warren Wolf. A companion piece to his 2015 live trio recording of the same name, Live at the Village Vanguard is due out November 26, and marks Inside Straight’s first live release overall. Pre-order it here.


Lucy Yeghiazaryan and Vanisha Gould, In Her Words (self-released): New York-based vocalists/songwriters Lucy Yeghiazaryan and Vanisha Gould released their debut collaborative LP on September 24. In Her Words is a 12-track collection of original compositions and carefully curated standards, the central goal of which, as Yeghiazaryan explains via a press release, is “to utilize music as a means to openly discuss the joys and pains of being a woman.” The project was funded by a grant by the New York Foundation Arts 2020 Women’s Fund. Order In Her Words here.


Matthew Stevens, Pittsburgh (Whirlwind): Guitarist Matthew Stevens will release his new album, Pittsburgh, on October 1 via Whirlwind Recordings. The record finds him wholly unaccompanied on a 1956 Mahogany Martin 00-17 and presents eleven new original pieces brimming with invention and a warm, brilliant steel-string tone. Pre-order Pittsburgh here.


Champian Fulton and Stephen Fulton, Live from Lockdown (self-released): Live from Lockdown is a new collaborative album by pianist/vocalist Champian Fulton and her father, trumpeter/flugelhornist Stephen Fulton, released September 10. The 13-track collection features an exciting mix of classics and Fulton originals and takes the name of Fulton’s Sunday-evening webcast series, which took audiences by storm throughout the COVID-19 lockdown. Order it here.


Live Music and Festival News

Frost Music Live Premiere of All Without Words, October 2: Frost Music Live presents the world premiere of the live performance of All Without Words: Variations Inspired by Loren, composed by Justin Morell, inspired by his non-verbal autistic son and featured on trumpeter John Daversa’s latest record. The work, brought to life by Artistic Director Maria Schneider, will be performed on October 2 at the UM Gusman Concert Hall by the Henry Mancini Institute Orchestra and the Frost Choral Studies Choir, plus John Daversa himself on trumpet. The performance, which will be preceded by a pre-concert lecture, will also be livestreamed. More info here.


Virtual Detroit Jazz Festival Tops Two Million Viewers: The virtual edition of this year’s Detroit Jazz Festival attracted a global audience of more than two million viewers and listeners during Labor Day weekend, doubling the number of jazz fans who clicked on last year. An official press release also states that the Festival also saw a nearly 40% increase in the number of countries with viewers around the globe that enjoyed the livestream performances. This year’s programming included opening night followed by nearly 12 hours of continuous jazz performances per day and featured Dee Dee Bridgewater as the edition’s Artist-in-Residence. The vocalist headlined multiple performances during the festival, including an opening set with the protégé group, the Woodshed Network, and a closing night performance with her all-female big band, the Dee Dee Bridgewater Big Band.


Judy Wexler Upcoming East Coast Shows: West Coast vocalist Judy Wexler is set to perform two East Coast shows in early October, supported by an NYC trio. On October 6, she will be performing at Pangea in New York City, New York, and on October 9, she will be at The Side Door Jazz Club in Old Lyme, Connecticut. Wexler will sing the music of her new album, Back to the Garden, and 2019’s Crowded Heart. Order Back to the Garden here.


Matt Ulery Residency at Chicago’s The Hungry Brain: Bassist/composer/bandleader Matt Ulery will kick off the first outing of his weekly residency at Chicago’s The Hungry Brain on October 6. More info here. He will release his first-ever live recording, Delicate Charms Live at the Green Mill on Woolgathering Records on the same date. The LP presents six brand new Ulery compositions interpreted by five masterful musicians, including pianist Paul Bedal, drummer Quin Kirchner, alto saxophonist Greg Ward and trumpeter James Davis. Pre-order it here.

Festival International de Jazz de Montréal Shares Exclusive Videos: Several exclusive videos are now available online on the official website of the Festival International de Jazz de Montréal. These videos feature local talent – including Leif Vollebekk, Dominique Fils-Aimé, Zach Zoya, Kid Koala and Léonie Gray – performing in spectacular settings throughout the city of Montréal, Canada, and was produced in partnership with Cartes Postales de Montréal. The 41st edition of the Festival took place on September 15-19.


Like this article?  Get more when you subscribe.

Join Our Newsletter
Join thousands of other jazz enthusiasts and get new music, artists, album, events and more delivered to your inbox.

The Authoritative Voice in Jazz