Frank Zappa, Frank Sinatra, Thundercat & 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.



New Short Film Celebrates 60 Years of Impulse! Records: Famed director/photographer Atiba Jefferson has created an engaging mini-doc celebrating the 60-year history and legacy of influential jazz label Impulse! Records. 6 on 60 features insightful interviews with Ahmad Jamal, Brandee Younger, Shabaka Hutchings, Henry Rollins, Ray Barbee and Flea. Watch it via the player below.


50th Anniversary Edition of Frank Zappa’s 200 Motels: The Zappa Trust/UMe will release a 2-LP 200 Motels – 50th Anniversary Edition on December 17, in celebration of the film and soundtrack’s golden anniversary. A 6-LP Super Deluxe Edition will also be available, including unreleased and rare material in addition to the newly-remastered original soundtrack. The 6-LP edition will be housed in a 64-page hardcover book and comes with all sorts of goodies. Order it here.


Arooj Aftab Signs To Verve: Brooklyn-based, Pakistani singer/songwriter Arooj Aftab has signed to the iconic Verve Records for both her current album, Vulture Prince, and future recordings. Aftab recently received GRAMMY nominations for Best Global Music Performance and Best New Artist. Vulture Prince was released earlier this year and you can order it HERE.


Three Newvelle Vinyl-Only Classics Now on Digital Platforms: Three classic Newvelle Records releases were made available across digital platforms for the first time on December 10. They are Frank Kimbrough’s Meantime (2015), Aruan Ortiz’s Cuban Nocturne (2017) and Steve Cardenas’ Charlie and Paul (2018). These LPs were previously available on vinyl only.


American Pianists Association Call for Jazz Nominations: The Call for Nominations for the American Pianists Association’s 2023 jazz competition is now open and will close on December 20. The winner of the 2023 jazz competition will be awarded the Cole Porter Fellowship, valued at more than $200,000. Past jazz winners include Emmet Cohen, Sullivan Fortner, Aaron Diehl, Dan Tepfer, and Adam Birnbaum. Click here to nominate.


Motown Gospel Signs The Baylor Project: Motown Gospel has signed four-time GRAMMY-nominated duo The Baylor Project to an exclusive distribution agreement, in partnership with their artist-owned label, Be A Light. The Baylor Project recently received their fourth GRAMMY nomination for their latest album, Generations, which was made available on all streaming platforms on December 10. Listen to it via the player below.


Blue Note To Release First-Ever Tone Poet Vinyl Box Set: Blue Note will release Round Trip: Ornette Coleman on Blue Note on January 28. This will be the first box-set released as part of the label’s Tone Poet Audiophile Vinyl Reissue Series. The 6-LP set includes all six Blue Note albums the iconoclastic saxophonist/composer appeared on in the late ’60s, five of them as a leader and one as a sideman on a session led by Jackie McLean. Pre-order it here.


Frank Sinatra Holiday Favorite Gets New Animated Video: A new emotional animated video has been shared for Frank Sinatra’s poignant performance of holiday favorite “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.” Watch it via the player below. The video is directed by graphic novelist and founder of Fantoons Animation Studios David Calcano with Ala Nunu.


Massive Collection of Lennie Tristano Private Recordings Out Soon: Dot Time and Mosaic partner for the first time to release Lennie Tristano Personal Recordings 1946-1970 on December 20. This limited-edition 6-CD set chronicles over 20 years of creative output from the jazz luminary Lennie Tristano via over 70 private recordings, documenting the pianist solo and alongside several notable outfits throughout the course of his career. Order it here.


Album Announcements

Fred Hersch, Breath By Breath (Palmetto): Pianist/composer Fred Hersch is set to release Breath By Breath on January 7 via Palmetto. This will be his first full-length pairing a jazz piano trio with a string quartet. The bulk of the record is an eight-movement suite reflecting on different aspects of his mindfulness meditation practice. Pre-save Breath By Breath here.


Dieter Ilg, Dedication (ACT): German-born double-bassist Dieter Ilg’s forthcoming solo full-length, Dedication, finds him alone in the studio, creating music in the moment in an intimate dialogue with his instrument. The record, described via a press release as “a manifesto for the freedom of jazz,” will be released on January 29 via ACT Music. Pre-order it here.

Jacqueline Kerrod, 17 Days in December (Orenda): 17 Days in December is a set of mesmerizing solo harp improvisations from Jacqueline Kerrod. The album results from a month-long series of daily improvisations on acoustic and electric harp that she undertook in the basement of her home at the height of the COVID lockdown. “In retrospect, these 17 improvisations feel like a personal celebration,” Kerrod says. “I want to continue reveling in that feeling, alone and with others, in whatever forms that may take.” Order it here.


Dave Young, Mantra (Modica): Dave Young, one of Canada’s most celebrated bassists and a first-call musician for the likes of Oscar Peterson, Tommy Flanagan, Kenny Barron and many more, released his 16th album as a leader. Mantra presents six of his original compositions alongside those by the likes of Thelonious Monk, Woody Shaw and Horace Silver, performed with his sextet and guests. Order it here.


Live Music and Festival News

Thundercat Forthcoming European Tour: In addition to currently being on his North American tour, bass virtuoso Thundercat has announced dates for his forthcoming European tour behind his GRAMMY-winning album, It Is What It Is. Check out all upcoming dates here. In addition, Thundercat recently released “Satellite,” his slow and soulful track featuring Louis Cole and Genevieve Artadi, and included on Issa Rae’s HBO series, “Insecure.” Listen to it via the player below.


Kurt Elling Confirms More U.S. and European Shows: Kurt Elling has confirmed additional U.S. and European tour dates, including a special SuperBlue show at New York’s Winter Jazzfest. Click here to check out all upcoming tour dates. SuperBlue, the celebrated vocalist’s most recent album, received a GRAMMY nomination for Best Jazz Vocal Album. Listen to it via the player below.


Michele Rosewoman’s “A Function at the Junction” Free International Broadcast Debut: Michele Rosewoman’s cross-cultural showcase “A Function at the Junction: Ancestral Bridge, Musical Streams” will air for free via HotHouse’s online streaming platforms on December 18. The two-night extravaganza, curated by the pianist/composer and presented by Arts for Arts on November 11, features performances by acclaimed artists paying homage to the African spiritual traditions that have survived to this day. More here.


“Happy Holidays With Denise Donatelli” Livestream Concert, December 16: The Los Angeles Jazz Society will present a free holiday livestream concert by Denise Donatelli on December 16, as part of its Los Angeles Jazz Society Presents series. The concert will feature the acclaimed vocalis alongside pianist Larry Goldings, guitarist Larry Koonse and bassist Kevin Axt. You can reserve your spot for free or with a small donation HERE.


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