Jazz Chart Update: Week of September 9

The soundtrack to the 2017 video game Cuphead was the No. 1 album in the Billboard Jazz Charts this week. (Photo: Courtesy StudioMDHR)

While many may have wagered to guess which album would have dethroned Michael Buble for the No. 1 spot on the Billboard Chart this week, few would have thought that the feat would be accomplished by a video game soundtrack Yes, you read that sentence correctly. Selected Songs from StudioMDHR’s Cuphead: Don’t Deal with the Devil has dethroned  Buble’s perennial chart-topper Love to become the No. 1 jazz album on Billboard. And while jazz fans might be scratching their heads as to what, exactly, Cuphead is, video game fans are far less surprised. The game, which was released in 2017 on Microsoft Windows and X-Box One, features the characters Cuphead and Mugman as they complete various challenges and battle increasingly difficult bosses. Graphically, it was designed using the “wet noodle” style of animation prevalent in Disney and Fleischer cartoons of the 1930s. Also contributing to that aesthetic is the game’s soundtrack, which was performed by an 18-piece orchestra and scored by Canadian percussionist Kristofer Maddigan, who won a Juno Award (the Canadian equivalent of a Grammy) for the effort in 2018. A sequel to the game, with additional music by Maddigan, is set for release in 2020. Other newcomers to the list include vocalists Sara Gazarek, Veronica Swift and Eliane Elias. Below is the complete Top 10 list:

1. Selected Songs from StudioMDHR’s Cuphead: Don’t Deal with the Devil, Kristofer Maddigan





2. Love, Michael Bublé





3. Thirsty Ghost, Sara Gazarek





4. Love Stories, Eliane Elias





5. Follow the Leader, Jonathan Hay and Benny Reid featuring Mike Smith




6. CrossroadsRick Braun





7. Confessions, Veronica Swift





8. Love and Liberation, Jazzmeia Horn





9. Dave Koz & Friends: Summer Horns II From A To Z, Dave Koz





10. Live from Newport Jazz, James Carter Organ Trio





No such surprises shook up the JazzWeek Radio Chart, which monitors album spins as reported by radio stations. In fact, the chart experienced minimal internal movement, with just a handful of albums trading places in the Top 10. Twenty-eight-year-old Jazzmeia Horn climbed into the No. 2 spot with her assured sophomore album Love and Liberation, while Veronica Swift scooted up a spot to No. 7 with her new album Confessions. But the biggest case of musical chairs came from Jamaican-American pianist Monty Alexander, whose new album Wareika Hill: RastaMonk Vibrations, swapped the No. 10 spot for this week’s No. 4. The album re-imagines the music of Thelonious Monk through the lens of reggae, ska, calypso and dup-step (You can listen to our podcast interview with Alexander here). Below are the Top 10 albums:

1. Partners In Time, Mike LeDonne





2. Love and Liberation, Jazzmeia Horn





3. This I Dig of You, Jimmy Cobb





4. Wareika Hill: RastaMonk Vibrations, Monty Alexander





5. Antidote, Chick Corea and The Spanish Heart Band

6. I’m All Smiles, George Cables





7. Confessions, Veronica Swift





8. The Keys of Cool, Riche Cole/Tony Monaco





9. Samba Jazz Alley, Antonio Adolfo





10. The Rhythm of Invention, Wayne Wallace Latin Jazz Quintet

That’s it for this week’s jazz chart update. Check back next week to see if you’re favorite new album ade the list. 

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