JAZZIZ Editors’ Choice: Meshell Ndegeocello, Jun Iida, José James & 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 “Departure Guide of the 7 Sisters,” a track from Red Hot and Ra: The Magic City, a new Sun Ra-influenced album produced and arranged by Meshell Ndegeocello. “Say Wow” is a single from Blue Lab Beats’ new album, Blue Eclipse, and the song features Jay Prince and IDK. Trombonist Nick Finzer celebrates J.J. Johnson’s centennial with Legacy, his new album, including a take on Johnson’s beloved piece, “Lament.” “Zapateado Niño Ricardo” is a track from a forthcoming collection of AI-restored earliest recordings of flamenco masters Paco de Lucía and his older brother Pepe de Lucía, Pepito y Paquito, which will be released on May 31 via BMG.

On “38th & Chicago” from his latest album, 1978, José James expresses his outrage and heartbreak surrounding the murder of George Floyd. Trumpeter and composer Jun Iida pays tribute to his Japanese heritage with a unique version of “Akatombo,” a popular song that Iida’s mother taught him, from his latest album, Evergreen. Click here to listen to our recent JAZZIZ Podcast conversation with the artist. Renowned trumpeter Sefi Zisling returns with a new jazz-funk single, “Brothers,” which announces the June 14 release of his new album, The Librarian.

Nancy Erickson Lamont‘s new album, Through the Passages, opens with “Tick Tock,” a song she wrote about the anxiety caused by the COVID lockdown. Alan Braufman‘s forthcoming album, Infinite Love Infinite Tears, includes “Brooklyn,” composed on a walk from Bed-Stuy to Clinton Hill after attending a concert at Sistas’ Place, and awash with textures of West African highlife and Afro-Caribbean music. Closing our playlist is “We Are All from the Same Stream,” the first single from Jihye Lee‘s forthcoming large ensemble album, Infinite Connections, which finds her fusing traditional Korean rhythms with contemporary orchestral jazz to create a profound cross-cultural meditation on life, womanhood and the ties that bind humanity.

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

Featured photo by Steve Korn.

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