The Week in Jazz is your roundup of new and noteworthy stories from the jazz world. It’s a one-stop destination for the music news you need to know. Let’s take it from the top.
Support for Jimmy Cobb: Serena Cobb, daughter of Jimmy Cobb, has created a GoFundMe campaign to support his legendary drummer father, who just celebrated his 91st birthday. She writes: “Mentally and spiritually my father is as youthful and energetic as ever, but for the past 2 years he’s been dealing with some medical issues that have been causing severe challenges for him physically. Unfortunately, he has been unable to receive proper treatment due to financial struggles.” To help Cobb in this time of need, visit his page on GoFundMe.
Boney James Pays Tribute to Late Bill Withers on Facebook Live Session: Saxophonist Boney James paid tribute to the legendary Bill Withers by performing “Ain’t No Sunshine” last Frida on his Facebook Live session. The GRAMMY-nominated artists had a long history with the song and commented: “Sad news today about the passing of Bill Withers. One of my first hits was a recording of ‘Ain’t No Sunshine,’ a perfect song. I was very fortunate to meet him and he was so gracious. My thoughts are with his family today.”
Reggie Workman Awarded 2020 Guggenheim Fellowship: Reggie Workman has been awarded a 2020 Guggenheim Fellowship for music composition in tandem with choreographer Maya Milenovic Workman. The bassist, who was also recently named a 2020 NEW Jazz Master, is a part of a diverse group of 175 writers, scholars, artists and scientists receiving the award, which is intended to support already-proven talents in their development of new projects and research.
Dave Stryker to Release New Album with Bob Mintzer and WDR Big Band: Guitarist Dave Stryker has collaborated with arranger Bob Mintzer and the WDR Big Band on a unique project titled Blue Soul. The CD will be released on June 5 via Strikezone and feature big band arrangements of some of Stryker’s previous works. “Bob is one of the best musicians and people I know,” said Stryker. “I’ve been a fan of his playing since my early days in New York City, and to get the chance to have Bob arrange and play my music with the incredible WDR Big Band is a huge thrill and honor.”
New Marvin Gaye Vinyl-Only Release Out Now: Motown/UMe has released More Trouble, a vinyl-only collection of alternate and extended versions of tracks from Marvin Gaye’s 12th studio album, Trouble Man – the soundtrack album for the 1972 cult film of the same name. The tracks were culled from a previously-released 40th anniversary expanded version of More Trouble and are released for the first time ever on vinyl. The music was mixed in hi-res from original 16-track session reels and presented in a gatefold jacket decorated with a brand new photo of the Prince of Soul on the cover.
New Documentary About Famed Japanese Jazz Spot to Premiere in May: A new documentary film about a revered jazz cafe in Ichinoseki, Japan, is set to premiere in late May. Jazz Kissa Basie: Swifty no Ballad is directed by Tetsuya Hoshino and looks back on five decades of the jazz spot managed by 77-year-old Shoji Sugawara, who goes by the name of Swifty. The film features interviews and wealth of archive footage, including live performances by Elvin Jones and leading Japanese jazz artists. The film will premiere in Tokyo on May 29 before going nationwide and the producers said they intend to promote it at international film festivals.
The Gig: Live Music & More
Triskel Arts Center and IMC Present Piece By Piece: Improvised Music Company (IMC) and the Triskel Arts Center in Cork, Ireland, are coming together to host a weekly sequence of online solo performances featuring leading Irish improvisers, beginning today, April 10. The series will be broadcast via IMC’s YouTube channel, as well as IMC’s and Triskel’s social media platforms, beginning with a live solo performance from guitarist/electronic improviser Shane Latimer.
Jack Kleinsinger Announces Plans for Bucky Pizzarelli Highlights in Jazz Tribute: Highlights in Jazz producer Jack Kleinsinger has announced plans to produce a concert to pay tribute to Bucky Pizzarelli as part of the 49th season of Highlight in Jazz. The revered jazz guitar master died on April 1 due to coronavirus complications. He was 94-years-old. Highlights in Jazz is New York City’s longest-running jazz concert series.
The Festival Guide
Montreux Jazz Festival Opens its Archive to the Public During Lockdown: The Montreux Jazz Festival has made 50 of its historic concerts available to watch online for free via concert and music documentary streaming site Qello. The content will be available to stream until April 13. This year’s Montreux Jazz Festival is still scheduled to take place in Switzerland on July 3-18, though organizers are keeping a close eye on the pandemic situation.
Südtirol Jazzfestival Canceled: The Südtirol Jazzfestival, which was originally slated to take place on June 25-July 4 in South Tyrol, Italy, has been canceled for the first time in its 38-year history in light of the coronavirus outbreak. The international event has officially been postponed to 2021, when it will take place across more than 40 locations in the Italian region, and introduce festivalgoers to new trends from the European jazz scene.
New Release Cheat Sheet
Andy Milne and Unison, The reMISSION (Sunnyside)
Pianist/composer Andy Milne’s The reMISSION marks his first foray exploring the powerful intimacy of a piano trio setting. The album draws inspiration from some major recent live events – including beating a cancer diagnosis – and finds him performing original material with his newly-formed Unison trio, alongside drummer Clarence Penn and bassist John Hébert.
Arturo O’Farrill and the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra, Four Questions (ZOHO)
Pianist/composer Arturo O’Farrill continues to speak truth to the great injustices occurring across the globe via music on his new LP, Four Questions, with his 18-piece Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra. The title composition also features Dr. Cornel West as guest/soloist/conductor/percussionist and was inspired by African American civil rights activist/author W.E.B. DuBois’ 1902 book, The Soul of Black Folk.
The Gordon Grdina Septet, Resist (Irabagast)
Guitarist/oudist Gordon Grdina calls for resistance to injustice on his brand new suite that musically veers from the lush and intimate to the violently abstract. Resist features his septet – combining his longstanding trio and his East Van Strings quartet – plus acclaimed multi-reedist Jon Irabagon.
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