JAZZIZ Editors’ Choice: Matthew Whitaker, Christine Jensen, Scott Mayo & 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 vocalist Andy James offering a funky twist on the Dave Brubeck classic, “Take Five,” penned with Paul Desmond and with lyrics by Carmen McRae, from James’ new album, Let Me See Your Heart. Matthew Whitaker honors organ greats on his LP, On Their Shoulders, including a version of Jimmy Smith’s “The Organ Grinder’s Swing.” Norwegian singer/songwriter Susanna blends jazz and art-pop on “Everyone Knows” from Meditations on Love. “Bazooka Zoo” is a dynamic composition by Apifera, featuring Nitai Hershkovits, Yuvi Havkin (Rejoicer), Amir Bresler and Yonatan Albalak, who meld their different musical backgrounds into an ever-evolving style that fits between genres.

Celebrated family gospel trio Staples Jr. Singers announced the June 14 release of Searching, their first album in almost 50 years, by sharing its lead single, “Living in a World of Sin.” Saxophonist Scott Mayo pays homage to the rhythmic allure and energy of Brazil with Meu Brasil, featuring the standout track, “Samba Gringo,” which testifies to his seamless fusion of contemporary cultures and influences. “The Worst Is Yet To Come” is a hauntingly beautiful ballad from Nefeli Fasouli’s self-released Phases.

“Skyline” is the opening track from guitarist Phil Sargent’s new album, A New Day, which you can find out more about by listening to our recent JAZZIZ Podcast conversation with the artist. PJ Morton collaborates with the Soweto Spiritual Singers on “Simunye (We Are One),” a track from his forthcoming album, Cape Town to Cairo, fully written and recorded in a 30-day journey through South Africa, Nigeria, Ghana and Egypt. Canadian saxophonist and composer Christine Jensen closes our playlist with “Fantasy on Blue,” featuring her Jazz Orchestra and her sister Ingrid Jensen on trumpet. The track was a commission to celebrate the 60th anniversary of Miles Davis’ seminal work, Kind of Blue, and is included in her forthcoming album, Harbour.

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

Featured photo courtesy of Hollis King.

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