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.
Herbie Hancock Received George Peabody Medal: Jazz legend Herbie Hancock received the George Peabody Medal for Outstanding Contributions to Music in America on at Peabody Conservatory’s 2022 Graduation Ceremony on May 25. The George Peabody is the highest honor bestowed by the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University and has been presented annually since the 1980s. Hancock was presented with the Medal by Fred Bronstein, Dean of the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University.
Long-Lost Tony Williams Recording Coming Soon: M.I.G. will release a rare 1980 trio studio recording by innovative jazz drummer Tony Williams with keyboardist Tom Grant and bassist Patrick O’Hearn. Play or Die features five original tracks and was recorded in two days, while Williams was on tour. M.I.G. will release the rediscovered and remastered record on July 22, with a limited vinyl edition scheduled to be released in late 2022.
Charles Lloyd to Release Trio Album Series: Charles Lloyd will release Trio of Trios, a series of three albums featuring the legendary saxophonist in a different trio setting, via Blue Note Records. Trios: Chapel with Bill Frisell and Thomas Morgan is due out June 24; Trios: Ocean with Gerald Clayton and Anthony Wilson is due out August 26 and Trios: Sacred Thread with Julian Lage and Zakir Hussain is due out August 28. The three albums will also be available as a 3-LP boxset.
Lizz Wright Launches Independent Record Company: Acclaimed vocalist Lizz Wright is launching her independent record company, Blues & Greens Records. The label venture is designed to forge an innovative business model where artists are positioned to build sustainable and wholesome careers. The label will launch with the June 15 release of Holding Space, a 11-song collection capturing Wright and her band live in Berlin, Germany, which closed out their 2018 European summer tour.
Sons of Kemet Announce Breakup: Sons of Kemet, the acclaimed jazz group led by Shabaka Hutchings, have announced that their forthcoming concerts will be their last via an official statement on social media. The statement reads: “This year will be the last chance to see us in the form to which you’ve grown accustomed. After 10 years we have decided that from the end of our scheduled 2022 shows we will be closing this chapter of the band’s life for the foreseeable future. We’re excited to play our remaining gigs for you and to make this summer a fitting send-off.”
Bill Charlap on JAZZIZ Travel: Piano great Bill Charlap is the latest guest in our JAZZIZ Travel podcast series. Charlap talks with us about his latest album with the Bill Charlap Trio, Street of Dreams, released late last year via Blue Note Records. He also speaks about the legacy of Leonard Bernstein and what the upcoming edition of 92NY’s Jazz in July series has in store. Listen to the podcast conversation via the player below.
New and Upcoming Albums
Jazzrausch Bigband, Emergenz (ACT): German Jazzrausch Bigband’s idiosyncratic blend of jazz and techno is reaffirmed and evolves on their latest full-length, Emergenz, released on May 27. Here, the ensemble returns with more pulsating grooves and powerful horns, while also incorporating elements of minimal music, drum’n’bass, literature and stronger jazz influences.
Nduduzo Makhathini, In the Spirit of Ntu (Blue Note Africa): Visionary South African pianist/composer Nduduzo Makhathini released 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.
Fergus McCreadie, Forest Floor (Edition): Scottish pianist Fergus McCreadie continues to blend the folk music traditions of his native land with the vocabulary of jazz on his anticipated new trio album. Forest Floor, released on April 8 via Edition Records, both builds on themes explored in 2021’s Cairn and marks a further evolution in the artist’s music, which McCreadie defines via a statement as “more developed and rounded.”
Oded Tzur, Isabela (ECM): Saxophonist Oded Tzur blends raga and jazz on his forthcoming album, Isabela. Once again joining Oded on his musical journey are pianist Nitai Hershkovits, bassist Petros Klampanis and drummer Johnathan Blake, who infuse the leader’s inventions with effortless musicianship and vivid imagination. Isabela was released on May 13 via ECM.
Live Music and Festival News
Jazz Across the Americas at Chelsea Factory: National Sawdust and its co-founder/artistic director, composer Paola Prestini, partner with Chelsea Factory and the Afro Latin Jazz Alliance for the two-night production of Jazz Across the Americas: An Afro Caribbean Experience. The event will take place on June 16-17 and will feature GRAMMY-winning composer/pianist Arturo O’Farrill and his 18-piece Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra, plus special guests Emeline Michel, Yasser Tejeda and Godwin Louis.
2022 DCJazzPrix Finalists Announced: The DC Jazz Festival has announced the 2022 DCJazzPrix finalists. They are Akua Allrich & The Tribe, Jalen Baker Quartet and the Julieta Eugenio Trio. Each of the three finalists will perform on Saturday, September 3, 2022 during the DCJazzPrix Finals at Union Stage, as part of the 18th Annual DC JazzFest. More here.
BMI Jazz Composers Workshop Showcase at Dizzy’s Club, June 13: The BMI Jazz Composers Workshop will present the best big band and jazz orchestra compositions produced throughout the year at its 33rs Summer Showcase Concert. Two sets will be held on June 13 at Dizzy’s Club in New York City, each featuring the BMI/New York Jazz Orchestra, performing eight new compositions, four performed during each set, developed in the workshop this season. Additionally, both sets will feature the new commissions from last year’s prize winners, Tracy Yang and Chuck Iwanusa.
2022 Carnegie Hall Citywide Concert Series: Carnegie Hall has announced the lineup for the summer 2022 season of Carnegie Hall Citywide, the Hall’s free concert series bringing live music across New York City. The program showcases renowned local artists performing a variety of musical genres, including jazz, classical, Latin music, folk and more. The 2022 performers’ lineup includes the Afro Latin Jazz Ensemble (July 1), The Baylor Project (July 8), the Squirrel Nit Zuppers (July 15) and more.
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