George Benson, Patti Austin, Dave Brubeck & 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 Historical Georgia Sea Island Singers Album: On June 14, Smithsonian Folkways will release The Complete Friends of Old-Time Music Concert, taken from a concert in April 1965, in the midst of the Civil Rights Era, and featuring Bessie Jones, John Davis & The Georgia Sea Island Singers with Mississippi Fred McDowell and Ed Young. This release presents a historic look at the intersection of Black folk traditions and civil rights activism and showcases the haunting songs of the Georgia Sea Island Singers, performing folk songs and spirituals from the Gullah culture.

Next Jazz Legacy Announces 2024 Cohort of Emerging Women and Non-Binary Awardees: Next Jazz Legacy, chaired by Terri Lyne Carrington, has announced the seven emerging women and non-binary jazz musicians who make up its 2024 cohort of awardees. The program, now in its third year, is curated by New Music USA and the Berklee Institute of Jazz and Gender Justice and aims to tackle gender and racial inequalities by offering intergenerational apprenticeship, mentorship and professional development opportunities to individuals who have been historically underrepresented in jazz. More here.

Miguel Zenón and esperanza spalding Receive 2024 Doris Duke Artist Award: Miguel Zenón and esperanza spalding are among the six artists to have received a 2024 Doris Duke Artist Award from The Doris Duke Foundation for their exceptional achievement in jazz. Established in 2012, the Doris Duke Artist Award is the largest prize in the United States specifically dedicated to individual performing artists, each awardee will receive $525,000 in unrestricted funds and an incentive of up to $25,000 to save for retirement. More here.

Long-Lost George Benson Orchestral Album Out Soon: George Benson will release a long-lost orchestral album this summer, his first since returing to Warner Music Group earlier this year. Dreams Do Come True: When George Benson Meets Robert Farnon will be available on June 14 from Rhino and dates back to 1989, when Benson collaborated with composer and arranger Robert Farnon and his orchestra. The record features lush arrangements of American standards and pop classics interpreted by Benson’s solful vocals and fluid guitar work. Listen to “Love Is Blue” from the album via the player below.

John Minnock’s Final Album Released: Dot Time Records has released A Different Riff: Minnock Sings Shire, the fourth and final studio released by vocalist John Minnock. Released posthumously, following Minnock’s untimely passing in February, A Different Riff is the artist’s heartfelt tribute to the great composer David Shire, and reprises the vocalist’s artistic partnership with Dave Liebman, who co-produced the record along with Shire.

Brubeck Collection at Wilton Library Launches Digital Archive: The Brubeck Collection at Wilton Library in Wilton, Connecticut, has launched its interactive digital archive, making its 22,000+ item collection available and easily searchable for the first time to everyone worldwide. The collection was established by Brubeck and his wife Iola and the new digital archive features more than a thousand digitized photos, unreleased music and recordings, scores, documents and more. Explore the Brubeck Collection here.


New Albums

Obed Calvaire, 150 Million Gold Francs (Ropeadope): Drummer Obed Calvaire’s latest album, 150 Million Gold Francs, is a spirited celebration of the profound richness of the land and culture of Haiti. Joining Calvaire on his journey is a unique assemblage of mostly Haitian and Haitian-American musicians, alto saxophonist Godwin Louis, keyboardists Harold St. Louis and Sullivan Fortner, guitarist Dener Ceide, and bassists Addi Lafosse and Jonathan Michel.

Bill Laurance & The Untold Orchestra, Bloom (ACT): Pianist and composer Bill Laurance, best known for his work with GRAMMY-winning group Snarky Puppy, makes his debut as a bandleader for European label ACT Music with Bloom. A visionary project featuring an 18-piece string orchestra, Bloom finds Laurence blending his powerful classical background with jazz and pop sensibilities.

Tomeka Reid, 3+3 (Cuneiform): Cellist and composer Tomeka Reid explores new improvisational math with 3+3, her adventurous new project as a leader and featuring Jason Roebke on bass Tomas Fujiwara on drums and Mary Halvorson on guitar. The album comprises three long-form pieces flowing together like a set the group plays in concert and capturing the ensemble moving in a constantly evolving conversation.

The Jamie Baum Septet+, What Times Are These (Sunnyside): In her fifth recording with her flagship ensemble, The Jamie Baum Septet+, renowned flautist Jamie Baum presents her first exploration of spoken word and art song. Conceived just after the COVID pandemic lockdowns, What Times Are These comprises ten originals, seven of which respond to works by a cohort of eminent 20th and 21st-century female poets, interpreted by special guest vocalists Theo Bleckmann, Sara Serpa, Aubrey Johnson and KOKAYI.


Live Music and Festival News

SFJAZZ Gala 2024 Honoring Patti Austin, May 9: Singer and songwriter Patti Austin will be celebrated with the SFJAZZ Lifetime Achievement Award at the SFJAZZ Gala 2024, the organization’s biggest fundraiser of the year, which will take place on May 9 at the SFJAZZ Center in San Francisco, California. This will be the first Gala produced by SFJAZZ Executive Artistic Director Terence Blanchard, who has put together an all-star lineup to celebrate Austin, including Ledisi, PJ Morton, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Siedah Garrett and more. More here.

Christopher Zuar Orchestra Album Release Concert: Christopher Zuar will celebrate his new big band album, Exuberance, on May 10 via Tonal Conversations, and will be celebrating the release with a multimedia album release concert on May 11 at New York City’s Sheen Center for Thought and Culture. Tickets here. The album is interpreted by his 22-piece Christopher Zuar Orchestra, conducted by Mike Holober, and was developed in parallel with Zuar’s relationship with his now-wife, animation filmmaker Anne Beal.


11,000+ NYC Students Participate in Interactive Link Up Concerts at Carnegie Hall: More than 11,000 New York City-area students will travel to Carnegie Hall to take part in one of six concerts in the Stern Auditorium/Perelman Stage on May 21-23, as part of Carnegie Hall’s music education program, Link Up. The theme of this year’s program is Link Up: The Orchestra Swings, an interactive program developed by Carnegie Hall’s Weill Music Institute exploring the elements of rhythm, form, improvisation and communication that make music swing. The concert program, hosted by 15-year-old Broadway actress Emiko Dunn, features Daniel Bartholomew-Poyser conducting the Link Up Orchestra and trumpeter Sean Jones leading the Link Up Big Band, as well as other dynamic performers and music educators. More here.

Dianne Reeves, Chucho Valdés and Joe Lovano at The 92nd Street Y, New York, May 16: Vocalist Dianne Reeves, pianist Chucho Valdés and saxophonist Joe Lovano in concert will perform in their only joint appearance in New York City at The 92nd Street Y, New York, on May 16. Tickets here. Titled “Duets,” the concert will find the three artists performing in pairings, showcasing their artistry in stunning new ways.


Featured photo: Matt Furman © Rhino/WMG

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