Esperanza Spalding, Wadada Leo Smith, Pat Martino & 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.



Pat Martino Dies: Renowned and influential Philadelphia jazz guitarist Pat Martino passed away on November 1, aged 80, after a long illness. Martino was known for the fluidity and speed of his playing. His career spanned six decades and a variety of styles. He also made a remarkable comeback, relearning to play his instrument after suffering a brain aneurysm in 1980. His death was announced on Facebook by his longtime manager, Joseph Donofrio.


Record Store Day Black Friday Releases Announced: Record Store Day has revealed the full list of exclusive Black Friday vinyl releases, which will be available at participating independent record stores around the world. Among the jazz-related releases announced is music by Chet Baker, Chick Corea and Lionel Hampton, Bill Evans and more. This year’s Record Store Day Black Friday will take place on November 26. More here.


Eliane Elias Shares Video with Chick Corea: Eliane Elias has shared a video of her duet piano performance with the late great Chick Corea from the recording session of her latest album Mirror Mirror, which was released earlier this year. The video finds them performing a version of the jazz standard “There Will Never Be Another You,” and you can watch it via the player below. Order Mirror Mirror here.


New Wadada Leo Smith Albums: TUM Records has announced the release of two new projects by iconic trumpeter/composer Wadada Leo Smith, both released on November 19. The first is The Chicago Symphonies, a four-disc collection of extended Smith compositions celebrating Chicago that finds him leading his Great Lakes Quartet with Henry Threadgill, John Lindberg and Jack DeJohnette. The second is A Love Sonnet for Billie Holiday, a tribute to Lady Day featuring him alongside DeJohnette and Vijay Iyer.


Jazz Exhibition Based on Pixar’s Soul Opens in New Orleans: A new exhibition on the history of jazz built by Disney’s Pixar Studio opened at the New Orleans Jazz Museum. The exhibition is titled “The Soul of Jazz: An American Adventure.” It debuted at the EPCOT Center earlier this year and will travel to the American Jazz Museum in Kansas City on December 10 and the National Jazz Museum in Harlem in February 2022. It is based on the Pixar animated film Soul and features the movie’s protagonist, Joe Gardner, as the guide for visitors. More here.


Watch Esperanza Spalding’s Latest Album: Esperanza Spalding’s latest album, Songwrights Apothecary Lab, is now viewable in its entirety as a visual album online HERE. The album is a collection of 12 songs (or “Formwelas”), each of which is designed to have a specific effect on the listener. The music was created alongside researchers, practitioners and musicians in a traveling creative space in different musical configurations and locations.


Johnathan Blake Discusses Blue Note Debut Album: Drummer/composer Johnathan Blake talked about his latest release and Blue Note Records full-length Homeward Bound with label president Don Was on the latest episode of “First Look,” which you can watch via the player below. The album is a celebration of life and legacy and is performed with his star-studded quintet Pentad. Order it here.


Album Announcements

Paul Taylor, And Now This! (Peak): Los Angeles-based saxophonist Paul Taylor continues his ongoing exploration of an expansive range of dynamic danceable grooves and intricate pop/electronica vibes on his new contemporary urban jazz record. And Now This!, created via the exchange of digital files between Taylor and his longtime collaborator, producer Dino Esposito, was released on November 5 via Peak Records. Order And Now This! here. 


Henry Cole, Buscando la Vida (La Musica Artesanal): Puerto Rican master drummer/composer Henry Cole’s new album showcases his signature “mestizo sound,” which synthesizes African, Indigenous and European influences in a contemporary jazz setting. Out on November 19 and commissioned by Chamber Music America’s New Jazz Works, Buscando La Vida is performed with his dynamic ensemble Villa Locura augmented by the renowned Metropole Orkest and an eclectic cast of top-notch collaborators, including Antibalas frontman Duke Amayo and MC Negro González. Pre-order it here.


Asaf Yuria, Exorcisms (Jojo): Israeli saxophonist Asaf Yuria assembles a sextet of New York’s finest to address the abstract and mysterious possibilities of music on his sophomore recording, Exorcisms, featuring a set of compositions dreamed up after his successful debut and tailored specifically to the sextet of New York’s finest he assembled for the project. “I’m looking for that mysterious condition in which the listeners and the musicians are immersed in the present moment,” says Yuria via a press release. “Then the music can really touch them.” Exorcisms was released on November 5 and you can order it HERE.


Matthew Shipp, Codebreaker (TAO Forms): Matthew Shipp continues to discover new territories on his introspective new solo piano LP, Codebreaker. “I’m interested in trying to wring all of the harmonics from the piano that I possibly can, and with that in mind, any set of harmonics has a set of melodic fragments that are implied,” explains Shipp via a press release. Codebreaker was released on November 5 via drummer Whit Dickey’s label TAO Forms. Order it here.


Live Music and Festival News

Big Ears Festival Announces 2022 Lineup: The Big Ears Festival will take place over a four-day weekend on March 24-27, 2022, in Knoxville, Tennessee. This year’s performers will include John Zorn, Sons of Kemet, the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, John Medeski, Julian Lage and more. According to a press release, the festival aims to create “an exhilarating and kaleidoscopic musical experience like none other.” More here.  


Michele Rosewoman Presents Collaborative, Multimedia Event at The Clemente, NYC, Nov. 11: Pianist/composer Michele Rosewoman will present “A Function at the Junction: Ancestral Bridge, Musical Streams” as part of Arts for Art’s Jazz Libre Events at New York City’s Clemente Soto Velez Center, Flamboyan Theater on November 11. More here. The event is a collaborative, multimedia event with live music performances, video documentation and panel discussions. The program features performances by Rosewoman’s New Yor-Uba ensemble, Francisco Mora Catlett’s Afro Horn and  Román Díaz’s Rumba Ensemble. The event will also be livestreamed through the HotHouseGlobal streaming platforms on December 18.


Erykah Badu to Headline Love Supreme Jazz Festival 2022: Erykah Badu will perform an exclusive headline show at next year’s Love Supreme Jazz Festival at Glynde Place in East Sussex, U.K., on July 1-3. This will be the queen of neo soul’s only British date of 2022. The Love Supreme Jazz Festival is set to return after a two-year hiatus on July 1-3, 2022. More info here.


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