JAZZIZ Editors’ Choice: Kurt Elling, Isaiah J. Thompson, Samara Joy & 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 Monday, featuring music from our favorite new albums, singles and other tunes that may have flown under your radar. And, for good measure, we’ll be throwing in some “golden oldies” as well…

We open this week’s playlist with “Speak Joy,” a single from saxophonist/composer Ben Wendel, whose upcoming multilayered new album features a special guest on every one of its tracks. “Speak Joy” features Elena Pinderhughes. “The IT Department” announces pianist Isaiah J. Thompson’s first live album, The Power of the Spirit, a hard-swinging affair recorded at Dizzy’s Club and capturing a pivotal moment in the young artist’s evolution. Kurt Elling has released a new single from his upcoming covers EP, Guilty Pleasures, with guitarist Charlie Hunter and drummer Nate Smith: a new rendition of Al Jarreau’s “Boogie Down.”

Yamäya, a collective of London and Brighton-based musicians with a deep-shared love of Fela Kuti, have shared “Senegal,” the title track from their debut album, praising the virtues of Africa. “Lonely Nocturne” is a track from Stirrings Still, a new album of intimate duets for voice and guitar by Eric Hoffman and Ken Hatfield. The song hails from Hatfield’s 2013 monumental homage For Langston, a jazz song cycle in which he set poems by Langston Hughes to music arranged for a sextet; here it is reimagined for baritone voice and guitar. Bassist Leon Lee Dorsey shared his snappy rendition of Prince’s “Thieves in the Temple” from his latest album, Cantaloupe Island.

Rising star vocalist Samara Joy recently shared her breathtaking version of Adele’s hit song “Someone Like You” as a Spotify Single. Musicians Arooj Aftab, Vijay Iyer and Shahzad Ismaily have shared a preview of their upcoming collaborative album, Love in Exile, due out on March 24. Soul-jazz saxophonist Shawn Radford has shared “Forever,” the sultry new single that he wrote with Ashley Jemison and Derek “DOA” Allen. Closing our playlist is “Theo Says” from Theo Croker’s new collaborative EP with singer/songwriter Ego Ella May, By the Way.

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

Featured photo by Lawrence Sumulong.

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