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.
Stanley Cowell Dies: Innovative and influential jazz pianist Stanley Cowell passed away on December 17, aged 79. The co-founder of Strata-East Records was known for his innovative music and fusion of jazz tradition with avant-garde, classical and African music, and had more than 30 recordings as a leader. Cowell died from a condition known as a hypovolemic shock in a Delaware hospital.
Danny Jonokuchi & The Revisionists Win The First Ever Count Basie Great American Swing Contest: Primary Wave Music Publishing and the Count Basie Estate have announced Danny Jonokuchi & The Revisionists as winners of the first-ever Count Basie Great American Swing Contest for their version of the classic “One O’Clock Jump.” The contest was launched in September and asked jazz musicians to submit their unique covers of one of five Count Basie classics. The winner was chosen out of over 30 entries by an esteemed panel including Stefon Harris, Branford Marsalis and Christian McBride.
Zappa Europe-wide Theatrical Release Announced: Piece of Magic Entertainment has announced the Europe-wide theatrical release of the new major documentary on Frank Zappa. The film, simply titled Zappa, will be released in European cinemas from March 2021, local COVID-19 conditions permitting and excluding the United Kingdom, Ireland, German-speaking territories and Poland. Zappa is directed by Alex Winter, who is best known as Bill in the Bill & Ted films and has also had a long career as a documentarian.
Surrealist Choral “Jingle Bells” from Italy: Decanteron is a collective of seven different Italian Roman choirs that convened to record a bluesy take on “Jingle Bells” in a minor key. Its surrealist aura is both fun and particularly apt to the tumult of current times. The collective features over 230 voices in total from Coro Cantering, Il Coro che non c’è, Coro della Collina, Le Mani Avanti, Minuscolo Spazio Vocale, Occhi Chiusi In Mare Aperto, Coro Zenzero, and is coordinated by Dodo Versino, founder of Anonima Armonisti.
Gary Bartz, Ali Shaheed Muhammad and Adrian Younge, Gary Bartz JID 006 (Jazz Is Dead): Gary Bartz, who recently turned 80, has announced the release of Gary Bartz JID 006, his first album in eight years. The legendary saxophonist’s new record will be a collaboration with producers Adrian Younge and Ali Shaheed Muhammad for their Jazz Is Dead label, and is due out on April 2. “He’s a luminary that has contributed so much to music culture, for decades,” says Young about Bartz. “His musical ability is expanding with age and we’re honored to be a part of his world.”
The Generations Quartet, Invitation (self-released): Saxophonist Dave Liebman has announced Invitation, the debut recording from The Generations Quartet. The band’s lineup represents three different generations conversing in the foundational language of familiar jazz standards, a project described via the press release as “yet another example of music’s power to unify.” Produced by Albert “Sonny” Murray and John Aveni, Invitation is due out on January 29, 2021.
Various Artists, Down Home Blues: Miami, Atlanta and the South Eastern States: Blues in the Alley (Wienerworld): A three-disc set featuring 83 tracks by 29 different artists who were influential in continuing and developing the tradition of the blues in the Southeast. Highlights include early recordings by Ray Charles, Earl Hooker and Jerry McCay, as well as tracks by Richard Armstrong, W.C. Baker and more, all remastered. The set, accompanied by a 78-page book, is the fifth in Wienerworld’s Down Home Blues series, exploring the unique regions of the African American blues scene.
Hasaan Ibn Ali, Metaphysics: The Lost Atlantic Album (Omnivore): Jazz pianist Hasaan Ibn Ali’s Metaphysics: The Lost Atlantic Album has been found and will be released on March 5, 2021, via Omnivore. This never-before-issued 1965 recording was shelved by Atlantic after Ali was incarcerated on a narcotics possession and later thought destroyed. Finally seeing the light of day with audio restored from long-lost acetate copies of the sessions, Metaphysics will also include liner notes by Alan Sukoenig and Lewis Porter.
Larry Coryell & Philip Catherine, Jazz at Berlin Philharmonic XI – The Last Call (ACT): Larry Coryell’s final recording, The Last Call, finds him alongside longtime collaborator and fellow guitar icon Philip Catherine in a duo and in a quintet. This release documents their last concert together as part of the Jazz at Berlin Philharmonic series from February 29, 2017, four weeks prior to Coryell’s passing. The album will be released via ACT on February 19, 2021.
Live Music and Festival News
Hiromi New Year’s Eve Solo Concert Livestream: Dazzling jazz pianist/composer Hiromi will perform a special live stream solo concert from Tokyo. The show is titled “Blue Note New York New Year’s Eve Countdown” and will take place on December 31 at 11 p.m. ET. All proceeds from this special event will benefit Blue Note New York. Click here for tickets and more information.
15th jazzahead goes online: The 15th edition of jazzahead!, the annual trade fair and festival for jazz held in the German city of Bremen, will largely take place online with a year’s delay from April 29-May 2, 2021. The program will include digital networking opportunities, panels, workshops and more. In addition, jazzahead! has also announced that its partner country will be Canada, and that the festival showcase concerts will mostly be produced in Bremen for digital streaming. Click here for more information and registration.
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