JAZZIZ Editors’ Choice: Lakecia Benjamin, Kenny Barron, Mette Henriette & 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…

This week’s playlist opens with Kenny Barron, stretching his signature lyricism into every corner of Billy Strayhorn’s “Daydream,” one of the tracks from his recently-released The Source, his first solo piano album in over 40 years. “Daybreak” is the title track from Nicholas Brust’s new album. “You can hear the sun coming out with bursts of energy, followed by the day’s first shadow,” says the saxophonist about the track. “In the Middle” is an instrumental funk jam from Orlando Julius & The HeliocentricsJaiyede Afro, originally released in 2014 and back in stock via Strut Records.

Lakecia Benjamin highlights pianist Patrice Rushen’s multi-genre aptitude with “Jubilation,” honoring an artist who teaches other women how to rise up to an immense degree. This is one of the tracks from the saxophonist’s latest album, Phoenix. Brazilian singer/songwriters Delia Fischer and Ricardo Bacelar pay tribute to Gilberto Gil on their new album, Andar com Gil. The record features Gil himself in a rare guest appearance on the album track “Prece (Prayer).” The title track from Drifting, the latest album of trio conversations by saxophonist/composer Mette Henriette, features a rich palette of timbres within far-reaching, un-repetitive structures.

“Future Shaman” is a preview from Rob Mazurek’s new Exploding Star Orchestra full-length release, Lightning Dreamers, which will be released on March 31. “Mirage” is the second single from Empty Hands, the upcoming debut album by Kingo Halla, a.k.a. Henry Nozuka, fusing jazz, soul, and psychedelia into alternative R&B atmospheres that fully support his silky smooth falsetto vocals. “Eloquence” by Matters Unknown and featuring Miryam Solomon is the second single from Blue Note’s upcoming Transmissions From Total Refreshment Centre, an eclectic new compilation featuring a wide range of artists who are part of London’s vibrant Total Refreshment Center community. Our conclusive track is keyboard Myron McKinley’s tribute to Earth, Wind & Fire with a version of “Imagination” from his new album, Sound Alchemist.

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

Featured image by Elizabeth Leitzell.

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