Dr. Lonnie Smith, Mary Halvorson, Gregory Porter & 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.



Dr. Lonnie Smith Dies: Hammond B3 organ legend and NEA Jazz Master Dr. Lonnie Smith died last week at his home in Fr. Lauderdale, Florida. He was 79 years old. His death was confirmed by his manager Holly Case. The cause was pulmonary fibrosis. Smith was one of the funkiest and most inventive organists of all time. Earlier this year, he released his final album, Breathe, which is bookended by two captivating studio collaborations with rock icon Iggy Pop, who called him “the best musician I ever played with” on social media. “Doc was a musical genius who possessed a deep, funky groove and a wry, playful spirit,” says Blue Note President Don Was. “His mastery of the drawbars was equaled only by the warmth in his heart. He was a beautiful guy and all of us at Blue Note Records loved him a lot.”


Blue Note to Continue Classic Vinyl Reissue Series: Blue Note Records has announced the continuation of its Classic Vinyl Reissue Series. The new run of titles curated by Don Was and Cem Kurosman will span the many eras and styles of the label’s history, beginning with two hard bop treasures on November 19 –  6 Pieces of Silver by the Horace Silver Quintet from 1957 and The Big Beat by Art Blakey and The Jazz Messengers from 1960. Other themes explored by the series will include Bebop, Soul jazz, Post-Bop, Avant-Garde, The ’70s, The Rebirth and Hidden Gems.


Sonos Radio to Launch Impulse! Records and Erykah Badu Curated Staton: Sonos Radio will launch BADUBOTRON Radio and Impulse! Records Radio this Fall. BADUBOTRON Radio is a new station curated by the queen of neo-soul Erykah Badu, filled with psychedelic funk, retro soul, classic rock, spiritual jazz and experimental hip hop. Impulse! Records Radio is a new station commemorating the 60th-anniversary of the legendary jazz label and will be hosted by basketball legend/avid jazz fan/historian Kareen Abdul-Jabbar. Sonos has also announced plans to roll out additional sleep and holiday stations, alongside new premieres and seasons of its popular podcast-style shows.


New Graphic Novel Pays Tribute to Blue Note Records Legacy: Z2 Comics will release a new graphic novel paying tribute to the legacy of Blue Note Records. Enter the Blue is written and drawn by Dave Chisholm, known for his Charlie Parker graphic novel released in 2020. It is the story of one woman’s search for her own artistic courage, inspired by the magic of improvisation and innovation. “With a musician’s sensibility and a poet’s hand, Dan Chisholm has crafted a rare peek behind the curtain into the inner workings of jazz,” says Don Was, President of Blue Note Records, via a press release. “Enter the Blue eloquently explains the fearless creativity, innovative spirit, and artistic depth that has characterized the Blue Note tradition since 1939.” Enter the Blue will be released in January 2022 and you can pre-order it HERE.

New Allan Holdsworth Live Recording: Manifesto Records will release the fifth and latest release in its continuing series of classic live recordings by Allan Holdsworth on November 5. LEVERKUSEN 2010 documents the guitar great’s performance at the Leverkusen Jazztage Festival in Germany on November 9, 2010, with drummer Chad Wackerman and bassist Ernest Tibbs. The CD/DVD set offers audio and visual versions of the 10-song set, recorded and filmed in high-definition for German television. Pre-order LEVERKUSEN 2010 here.


Somi Announces New Release Date for Miriam Makeba Album: GRAMMY-nominated vocalist Somi’s album celebration of Miriam Makeba, Zenzile: The Reimagination of Miriam Makeba, will now be released on March 4, 2022, via Salon Africana. The new release date honors the album’s namesake on her exact birthday. The album finds Somi joined by an impressive cast of guest artists, including Ladysmith Black Mambazo, singer-songwriter Msaki, vocalist and activist Thandiswa Mazwai, jazz pianist-composer Nduduzo Makhathini and vocal star Gregory Porter.


Album Announcements

Gregory Porter, Still Rising (Blue Note): Vocalist Gregory Porter is set to release a massive new 34-track double-album of brand new songs, covers, duets and a handpicked selection of his much-loved favorites on November 5 via Blue Note Records. Still Rising celebrates a decade of success and also features several guest artists, including Moby, Jamie Cullum, Jeff Goldblum, Renée Fleming and many more. Check out the first single from the album, “Dry Bones,” written and produced by Troy Miller, via the player below. Pre-order Still Rising here.


Craig Taborn, Shadow Plays (ECM): Craig Taborn is set to release his first album as a leader in a decade, during which he appeared in acclaimed ensembles large and small, and refined and developed his approach to piano playing. His forthcoming ECM record, Shadow Plays, documents a live recital of free improvisation from the Mozart-Saal of the Wiener Konzerthaus in Austria and finds him exploring sounds and silences, swirling colors, densities and forms, creating new music with both poetic imagination and an iron grip on his material. Shadow Plays is out on October 8 and you can pre-order it HERE. 


Grant Richards, Ballyhoo (self-released): Pianist/composer Grant Richards dives deep into the Afro-Cuban tradition alongside his steadfast trio of bassist Damian Erskine and drummer Reinhardt Melz, plus special guest, percussionist Carmelo Torres. His celebratory and forward-looking new album Ballyhoo was released on September 24. “Generally, ‘ballyhoo’ is a fun word with a playful sound,” Richards says. “Its connotation of excitement is in keeping with the overall festive, celebratory mood of the album.” Order it here. 


Charged Particles with Todd Dickow, Live at the Baked Potato! (Summit): Bay Area jazz trio Charged Particles join forces with saxophonist Todd Dickow for a heartfelt tribute to the late great Michael Brecker. Live at the Baked Potato! captures their 2019 live performance and showcases the iconic saxophonist’s compositional prowess. Pre-order it here. The album will be released on October 8 on Summit Records, concurrently with Brecker’s biography, Ode to a Tenor Titan by Bill Milkowski.


Live Music and Festival News

José James Announces Christmas Tour: Jazz vocalist José James has announced a 13 date tour to support his first-ever Christmas album, Merry Christmas from José James, due out November 19. Pre-order it here. The tour will launch at SF Jazz in San Francisco on November 27 and conclude at New York’s City Winery on December 14. Stops also include Seattle, Portland, Santa Cruz, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Santa Fe, Minneapolis and Chicago. Click here for tour dates and information.


Richie Goods Announces Tour: Jazz-funk bass legend Richie Goods has announced his upcoming tour alongside his working band, The Goods Project, which includes pianist Shedrick Mitchell, guitarist Quintin Zoto and drummer Jaylen Petinaud. The tour will begin in early October, starting in Maryland and ending in the Midwest. Goods was a recipient of the 2021 Jazz Road touring grant and his most recent album with this group, My Left Hand Man: A Tribute to Mulgrew Miller, was released in 2019. Click here for the full schedule and ticket details.


Letizia Gambi at New York City’s Cutting Room, October 15: GRAMMY-nominated vocalist Letizia Gambi will perform two sets at New York City’s Cutting Room on October 15, alongside her longtime collaborator Lenny White. Together, they will perform several of their co-written original compositions and a selection of uniquely arranged covers, including a preview of new tracks from her upcoming album. “I’m excited to be back on the stage again,” Gambi shares via a press release. “I believe that live music is a magic cure. It heals the listener and the musician at the same time.” Tickets here.

Courtesy of Redwood Entertainment.


Keyon Harrold at San Francisco’s JAZZ@theEDGE Festival: Trumpeter Keyon Harrold is currently performing at the underground groove-fest JAZZ@theEDGE Festival at San Francisco’s Black Cat Jazz Supper Club. The “Keyon Harrold” Sessions kicked off on September 29 and will run through October 10. Its inspired sets find the trumpeter performing music from his critically acclaimed 2017 album Mugician, his forthcoming release Melancholy Aura and more. The performances feature his deft band alongside special guests, such as Georgia Anne Muldrow, Black Milk and Alex Isley, among others. Click here for more.


Mary Halvorson Three-Day Residency at NEC: New England Conservatory’s Contemporary Improvisation Department will host groundbreaking guitarist Mary Halvorson for a three-day residency on October 5-7. The residency will culminate in a concert featuring reinterpretations of her work in Joran Hall on October 7. Admission is free and open to the public. Tickets are required and available HERE. The concert will also be broadcast via the NEC website on October 22.


Arts for Art Presents Peace & Justice Celebration, October 8-15: Arts for Art, the organization dedicated to the promotion and advancement of free jazz improvised music and art, will present the Peace & Justice Celebration! at The Flamboyan at the Clemente in New York City on October 8-15. The celebration will include concert performances by such artists as Angelica Sanchez, Isaiah Collier, Matthew Shipp, Lafayette Gilchrist and many more. All artists and audience must be vaccinated. Click here for more information.


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