JAZZIZ Editors’ Choice: Arooj Aftab, Donny McCaslin, Fred Hersch & More

The editors of JAZZIZ have the good fortune of being able to listen to new music before it’s officially released in stores and streaming platforms. And because we’re always listening to new tunes, we always know just what to recommend. That’s why we’ll bring you a roundup of ten songs each week, featuring music from our favorite new albums, singles and other tunes that may have flown under your radar.

This week’s playlist opens with “Raat Ki Rani,” the lead single from Arooj Aftab’s new album, Night Reign, the follow-up to her acclaimed and award-winning album, Vulture Prince. “Pillow Talk” is a dramatically sultry tune from Kirk Whalum’s new album, Epic Cool, his first new studio full-length in five years. “Things Will Fall Apart” is the lead single from nothing, Louis Cole’s full-length collaboration with the Dutch Metropole Orkest conducted by Jules Buckley, which will be released on August 9 via Brainfeeder. Donny McCaslin continues his journey of musical exploration and innovations, the foundations of which he laid down with 2023’s I Want More, with his latest single, “KID.”

Fred Hersch offers his take on Billy Strayhorn’s “Star-Crossed Lovers” in his latest solo piano album, Silent, Listening, which we included in our list of ten new albums released in April 2024 that you need to know about. “Ups and Downs” is the opening track from Following the Sun, the new album by French vibraphonist Alexis Valet, recorded in New York City with a quintet featuring Dayna Stephens, Aaron Parks, Joe Martin and Kush Abadey. Vocalist and composer Alyssa Allgood offers a homage to Betty Carter in her original composition “Burn (For Betty)” from her latest album, From Here.

“Wheels Up” is one of the original compositions from singer/songwriter John Korbel’s new album, Falling Feels Like Flying. Pianist John Escreet opens his new album, the epicenter of your dreams, with “call it what it is,” which showcases the versatility of his exceptional quartet with saxophonist Mark Turner, bassist Eric Revis and drummer Damion Reid. TRIAD, comprising Dominick Farinacci on trumpet, Michael Ward-Bergeman on accordion and Christian Tamburr on marimba, share their take on the Screamin’ Jay Hawkins’ classic, “I Put a Spell on You,” featuring special guests Shenel Johns on vocals and Jamey Haddad on percussions, to close this week’s playlist.

Listen to this week’s JAZZIZ Editors’ Choice Playlist via the player below.

Featured photo: Shreya Dev Dube

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