Jon Batiste, International Jazz Day, Flying Lotus & More: The Week in Jazz

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.



International Jazz Day 2021 Celebrates 10th Anniversary: April 30 marks the 10th Anniversary of International Jazz Day, the world’s largest annual celebration of jazz. It will feature a program of performances, educational workshops, community service projects, virtual gatherings and more in all 50 U.S. states and more than 190 countries. The day will culminate in an All-Star Global Concert. “Our International Jazz Day community has displayed incredible resilience, creativity, ingenuity and compassion throughout the immense challenges of the past year,” said Institute of Jazz Chairman Herbie Hancock. “While the global pandemic continues to make life difficult for so many around the world, the example of organizers from Nepal to Mexico to Cameroon inspires us to greet this historic 10th Anniversary milestone with joy, courage and hope for the future of jazz.”


Jon Batiste Wins Oscar: Jon Batiste, Trent Reznor and Atticus Finch, the trio of composers behind Disney-Pixar’s Soul, have won the Oscar for best original score. This is only the second time a Black composer has won this award in the category’s 86-year-history, following Herbie Hancock’s win for his music for 1986’s Round Midnight. Soul also won the Oscar for Best Animated Feature. Batiste’s new album, We Are, was released earlier this year and you can order it here.


Craft Announces Peanuts Classic Vinyl Reissue: Craft has announced a vinyl reissue of the Peanuts classic, A Boy Named Charlie Brown, in stores July 16. The LP features nine evocative cues from the Vince Guaraldi Trio. Aside from newly remastered audio, the LP will come with eight collectible baseball cards showcasing Charlie Brown’s team of misfits, including Snoopy, Linus and other Peanuts characters, complete with corresponding stats. Pre-order it here. In addition, one of the most memorable tracks off the album, “Baseball Theme,” will be available for the very first time as a standalone, 7-inch single exclusively for Record Store Day 2021.


Flying Lotus Shares Songs from Yasuke Score: Flying Lotus has shared two singles from his score for the Netflix original anime series, Yasuke. “Black Gold” features Thundercat, while “Between Memories” features Niki Randa. Yasuke is described as an anime series exploring the intersection between anime and Black culture. In addition to providing the music, Flying Lotus is the show’s consultant and executive producer.


Luther Vandross “Never Too Much” Video Upgraded to HD: In celebration of the legacy of Luther Vandross’s 70th birthday anniversary, the classic video for his 1981 debut solo single “Never Too Music” has been upgraded to HD. You can watch it via the player below. The much-missed iconic American singer/songwriter/producer would have turned 70 on April 20, 2021, and on this date, Google joined the celebration with an original Google Doodle animation.


Nubya Garcia Record Store Day 2021 Exclusive: London-based saxophonist/composer Nubya Garcia will release SOURCE ≡ OUR DANCE, a remix 12” EP presented on turquoise blue with black colored vinyl on June 12 as a Record Store Day exclusive via Concord Jazz. The release features four remix tracks from Garcia’s celebrated debut album SOURCE, released last year, reimagined through collaborations with Makaya McCraven, DJ Tahira, Mark de Clive-Lowe and Shy One.


Qwest TV Shares Jazz for Beginners Curated Playlist: Quincy Jones’ video streaming hub Qwest TV has just released a curated playlist in celebration of Jazz Appreciation Month. The playlist is titled The Beginner’s Guide To Jazz and aims to introduce newcomers to jazz, providing a snapshot of its most eminent practitioners, including music by such artists as Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, John Coltrane, Thelonious Monk, Chick Corea, Dave Brubeck and more. Click here for more.


Album Announcements

Tom Kennedy, Stories (Autumn Hill): Bassist/composer Tom Kennedy’s forthcoming sixth album as a leader, Stories, is a musical scrapbook of impressions of captivating takes from his tours through Australia, China, Europe and the U.S. “They’re very personal memories,” he says via a press release. “It’s like emotional GPS.” To breathe life into these new pieces, he enlisted St. Louis friends, Dave Weckl, Roger Guth Jay Oliver and other brilliant players whose paths he’s crossed along the way. Stories is due out June 11 via Autumn Hill Records.


Nnenna Freelon, Time Traveler (Origin): Time Traveler, out May 21, is vocalist Nenna Freelon’s eleventh album and her first studio recording in more than a decade. The new release is an intimate expression of love for her late husband, architect Philip Freelon, who passed from ALS in 2019, and presents a captivating mix of classic standards, jazz-infused reimaginings of ’70s soul hits and originals that were a part of the soundtrack of their life together. Pre-order here.


Anthony Braxton, Quartet (Standards) 2020 (New Braxton House): The Tri-Centric Foundation and New Braxton House Records will release Anthony Braxton’s Quartet (Standards) 2020 on June 18. This is a 13-CD deluxe box set documenting Braxton’s European tour in January last year, comprising 67 tracks representing decades of American music and performed with a stellar ensemble of British musicians.


Roy Brooks, Understanding (Reel to Real): Understanding, documenting a blazing 1970 concert recording with Detroit-born master percussionist Roy Brooks leading a gifted quintet with Woody Shaw, Carlos Garnett, Harold Mabern and Cecil McBee, will be issued on Reel to Real as a 3-LP set on July 17, and as a 2-CD set and digitally on July 23. All proceeds from the release will go directly to the Detroit Sound Conservancy, a nonprofit devoted to the preservation, education, conservation and place keeping of Detroit’s musical heritage.


Live Music and Festival News

International Jazz Day All-Star Global Concert: The 10th Anniversary of International Jazz Day will take place on April 30 with thousands of worldwide programs and culminate in an All-Star Global Concert presented as a live webcast on April 30, 5 p.m. EDT, from New York, Los Angeles, UNESCO Headquarters in Paris, Cape Town, Moscow, Tokyo, Rio de Janeiro and other cities around the globe. The event will be hosted by Michael Douglas from United Nations Headquarters in New York and feature performances from an array of jazz icons representing more than 20 countries. The concert will be presented as a live webcast via YouTube, Facebook,, UN Web TV, UNESCO and U.S. State Department outlets. Click here for more.


PBS Celebrates International Jazz Day’s 10th Anniversary: Following this year’s International Jazz Day All-Star Global Concert, viewers across the United States can tune in to the International Jazz Day 10th Anniversary Celebration on PBS for a look back at the past decade of International Jazz Day. The program will premiere nationally at 9/8c on April 30 and feature moments from Jazz Day concerts of previous years, including such legendary artists as Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin and more.


GBH and JazzBoston Team Up to Celebrate International Jazz Day: GBH and JazzBoston will present JazzNOW: No Borders, a free live virtual concert event hosted by GBH’s Eric Jackson and featuring the international Jazz World Trio, with Argentinian drummer Guillermo Nojechowicz, Swedish bassist Bruno Råberg and South African pianist Witness Matlou. The event will take place on April 30 at 8 p.m. EST, in celebration of International Jazz Day. The video performance streams to the GBH website.


Noah Haidu Celebrates Keith Jarrett: Pianist Noah Haidu, bassist Todd Coolman and drummer Billy Hart will perform a livestream concert from Baltimore’s An Die Musik on May 8 at 3 p.m. EDT in celebration of Keith Jarrett’s 76th birthday. Click here for more information. The concert also marks the release of Haidu’s new trio album on Sunnyside, SLOWLY: Song for Keith Jarrett, with music written for and inspired by Jarrett, out on May 7. Pre-order it here.


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