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.
Iconic Jazz Artist Ed Sullivan Show Appearances Shared for Jazz Appreciation Month: Iconic clips and historic performances by jazz artists will be shared by The Ed Sullivan Show’s official YouTube channel throughout the month of April (Jazz Appreciation Month). These segments highlight appearances on the show by such greats as Rahsaan Roland Kirk, Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, Peggy Lee, Benny Goodman, Dave Brubeck Quartet and more. Visit the Ed Sullivan YouTube Channel here.
Frank Sinatra Concept Album Remastered Edition: On June 3, Frank Sinatra Enterprises and UMe will release a newly-mixed and remastered version of Frank Sinatra’s concept album Watertown, originally recorded in 1969 and released in 1970 via Reprise. Its concept unfolds as a personal tragedy about a working man with children whose wife suddenly leaves him. Originally released to mixed reviews, the record has since been re-evaluated as one of Sinatra’s finest LPs. The new edition of Watertown will be out on vinyl, CD and digital. In addition to a recreation of its original packaging, it comes with bonus tracks, new liner notes, essays and a track-by-track breakdown from the album’s songwriter/producer Bob Gaudio. Pre-order it here.
Additional Record Store Day 2022 Date Announced: This past weekend, Record Store Day returned to local independent record stores worldwide for its 15th-anniversary edition. Due to ongoing manufacturing delays, an additional RSD Drops date has been announced for June 18, 2022. More here. This year’s RSD Drops included several noteworthy jazz releases. Check out our specially curated list of five of them that you need to know about and listen to our podcast interview with Zev Feldman about Resonance Records’ Bill Evans and Charles Mingus RSD Drops via the player below.
The Staple Singers’ Iconic Soul Album Gets 50th Anniversary Edition Vinyl Treatment: Stax Records and Craft Recordings will release a 50th-anniversary edition of The Staple Singers’ iconic 1972 LP, Be Altitude: Respect Yourself, on June 24. The album features the band’s enduring hit singles “I’ll Take You There” and “Respect Yourself,” and instrumentation by the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section and the Memphis Horns. This special edition vinyl boasts all-analog remastering from the original stereo tapes by Jeff Powell at Take Out Vinyl. Pre-order it here.
Tedeschi Trucks Band Announce Epic Multimedia Project: I Am the Moon is an epic new multimedia project from Tedeschi Trucks Band, the 12-piece collective founded by guitarist Derek Trucks and singer/guitarist Susan Tedeschi. Inspired by a mythic Persian tale of star-crossed lovers, it will be presented over four albums released in successive months from June 3, totaling more than two hours of genre-defying, original music. In addition, a corresponding film directed by Alix Lambert will debut three days prior to each album’s release via the band’s YouTube channel. Watch the project trailer via the player below.
New and Upcoming Albums
James Singleton, Malabar (Sinking City): James Singleton, one of the most in-demand bassists in New Orleans for decades, makes his vinyl debut as a leader with his new album, Malabar, released on April 15 via Sinking City Records. The new LP is a sweeping statement balancing composition and experimentation, performed with a versatile and dynamic sextet, underlined by loops and rumbling textures. A press release describes it as “an adventurous romp that falls somewhere between Conference of the Birds and Rob Mazurek’s Exploding Star Orchestra.”
Joey Alexander, Origin (Mack Avenue): Pianist/bandleader/composer Joey Alexander will release Origin, his first full-length recording featuring all originals on May 20. The album, which also marks his Mack Avenue debut, features longtime collaborators Larry Grenadier and Kendrick Scott, plus special guests Gilad Hekselman and Chris Potter.
Nicholas Payton, Smoke Sessions (Remixed) (Smoke Sessions): On his new EP, trumpeter/keyboardist Nicholas Payton transforms the music of his 2021 all-acoustic trio album with bass legend Ron Carter and drummer Karriem Riggins, Smoke Sessions. Smoke Sessions (Remixed), out now, features genre-blending remixes of four of its tracks by Riggins and Tomoki Sanders, plus special guest Isaiah Sharkey. Order it here.
Nduduzo Makhathini, In the Spirit of Ntu (Blue Note Africa): Visionary South African pianist/composer Nduduzo Makhathini will release In the Spirit of Ntu, his milestone tenth studio album, on May 27. The ten-track collection finds him condensing the thematic, sonic and conceptual notions explored throughout his oeuvre up to this point. The music is performed with an ensemble of some of South Africa’s most exciting young musicians, while the LP marks the very first release on the newly-formed imprint, Blue Note Africa.
The Grace Fox Big Band, Eleven O’ Seven (Next Level): Rising trumpeter Grace Fox, currently a student at the Manhattan School of Music, presents modern arrangements of innovative, insightful and hopeful compositions for a brighter future on her debut album, Eleven O’ Seven was released on March 11 and marks the debut of her multigenerational and multiethnic all-female ensemble, the Grace Fox Big Band.
Live Music and Festival News
Montreux Jazz Festival Launches NFT Collection: Montreux Media Ventures, the subsidiary media company of the Montreux Jazz Festival, will launch their first NFT artwork collection in an exclusive partnership with OneOf. The NFT collection will feature the works of Montreux Jazz Festival alumni artists who have designed previous versions of the festival’s iconic poster. The collection will officially launch on April 29 with a free NFT available for fans and featuring exclusive works from Montreux Jazz Festival artist alumnus Camille Walala and Greg Guillemin. More here.
SJZ New Works Fest 2022, April 21-May 8: San Jose Jazz has announced the SJZ New Works Fest 2022, featuring World Premieres of commissioned works from nine standout SF Bay Area artist grantees of the SJZ Jazz Aid Fund. The live performance will take place at the downtown San Jose performance venue, The SJZ Break Room, from April 21-May 8. Check out the full lineup here. General admission tickets are $10 for the live shows, and free live streams of each concert will be available on Facebook and YouTube. Tickets here.
Blue Note Jazz Festival Napa Valley, July 30-31: The inaugural edition of the Blue Note Jazz Festival Napa Valley will take place at the Charles Krug Winery in St. Helena, California on July 30-31. Robert Glasper will serve as the Festival’s Artist-in-Residence and his set, hosted by Dave Chappelle, will include performances by special guests Erykah Badu, Ledisi, D Smoke, Terrace Martin and BJ the Chicago Kid. The two-day, three-stage festival will feature performances by Maxwell, yasiin bey & Talib Kweli reuniting as Black Star and Thundercat, among many others. More here.
EFG London Jazz Festival Announces First Wave of Acts: The EFG London Jazz Festival will celebrate its 30th birthday this year with over 300 shows throughout the English capital in November 2022. The first names of artists performing at the festival have been announced and include Abdullah Ibrahim, Melody Gardot and Jan Garbarek Group, Dianne Reeves and Edmar Castaneda & Grégoire Maret. As previously announced, the EFG London Jazz Festival will also be presenting a special summer series this year with love performances by Herbie Hancock, Brad Mehldau and Marisa Monte, among others.
Featured photo courtesy of UMe.
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