JAZZIZ Editors’ Choice: Kenny Barron, Bill Laurance, Nduduzo Makhathini & 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 begins with Andrew Bird immersing himself in his love of the Great American Songbook with his trio on his latest album, Sunday Morning Put-On, which includes a take on “I Fall in Love Too Easily.” Kenny Barron reinterprets his composition “Scratch,” which the composer introduced as the title track to a 1985 trio record, with a new intergenerational quintet featuring Immanuel Wilkins, Steve Nelson, Kiyoshi Kitagawa and Johnathan Blake on his new album, Beyond This Place. Lee Ritenour and Dave Grusin continue their famed collaboration with Brasil, including a take on Milton Nascimento’s “Cravo e Canela.”

“Insecurities,” featuring Moses Sumney, is a track from Shabaka’s debut solo album, Perceive Its Beauty, Acknowledge Its Grace, which finds him turning his energies towards a softer sound with woodwinds and flutes at the forefront. “Happy Feelin’” is the second single from Nigel Hall and DJ Harrison’s tribute to Earth, Wind & Fire, The Burning Bush: A Journey Through the Music of Earth, Wind & Fire. Dean De Benedictis continues to explore the margin between electronic soundscapes and full-band sensibilities on the first album of his improvisational jazz outfit Stratos Ensemble since 2016, Freeing Form, kicking off with “Together in Flames.”

Pianist Fergus McCreadie reunites with his trio of David Bowden and Stephen Henderson for Stream, an album weaving Scottish folklore with contemporary jazz, opening with “Storm.” Saxophonist Owen Broder kicks off Hodges: Front and Center, Vol. 2, the second volume of his tribute to alto great Johnny Hodges, with a take on “Used to Be Duke,” the title track from Hodges’ 1956 album. “Bloom” is the title track from Bill Laurance’s new album, featuring an 18-piece string orchestra and finding him blending his powerful classical background with jazz and pop sensibilities. Closing our playlist is “Omnyama,” the lead track from uNomkhubulwane, the upcoming third Blue Note album by Nduduzo Makhathini that pays homage to the Zulu Goddess uNomkhubulwane and explores Africa’s tragic history of oppression.

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

Featured photo by Axel Wolstenholme.

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