Jon Batiste, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Joe Chambers & 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.



Jon Batiste Shares New Single and Video: Jon Batiste showcases his vocal range on his joyful new single, “I Need You,” from his forthcoming album, We Are, which will be released on March 19 via Verve. The new single accompanied by a new video, which includes nods to the likes of Little Richard and James Brown. Directed by Alan Ferguson, it also sees the multi-GRAMMY nominated bandleader fronting a high-octane ensemble of dancers choreographed by Jemel McWilliams. Preorder We Are here.


The Broad Launches Video Series on Musical Influences of Jean-Michel Basquiat: In honor of its five-year anniversary, Los Angeles contemporary art museum The Broad has launched a video series dedicated to famed New York City artist Jean-Michel Basquiat and the impact of jazz, punk and no wave music on his now iconic style. The series is titled Decorated Time: The Musical Influences of Jean-Michel Basquiat. The first segment focuses on jazz and bebop and is produced by Quincy Jones Productions. It features Terrace Martin as well as input from Quincy Jones himself. You can watch it via the player below.


Samantha Sidley Covers Disney Classic: Jazz vocalist Samantha Sidley shared her haunting, sensual version of “A Dream Is a Wish Your Heart Makes” from the classic Disney animated feature, Cinderella, which she calls her favorite. “I arranged the song so it would feel trippy and retro – like an atomic aged dream,” she explains. “It’s one of my favorite songs to sing.” This single is a follow-up to her 2019 queer jazz album Interior Person, featuring the lesbian anthem “I Like Girls.”


Album Announcements

Futari, Beyond (Libra): Beyond, released on January 22, marks the 15-years-in-the-making debut of Futari. A duo of pianist/composer Satoko Fujii and vibraphonist Taiko Saito. The uncommon instrumentation allows these two fearless explorers of new sounds to share much lyrical intensity. Together, they devote much of their improvising on Beyond to shaping poignant melodic phrases and abstract sounds into haunting, atmospheric performances. Order Beyond here.


The Lasso, 2121 (Mello): Detroit multi-instrumentalist/producer The Lasso brings together a genre-bending orchestra mixing art rap, midwest and desert soul with a twist of funk on his new album, 2121, due out on February 19 via Mello Music Group. The album features several notable players, including A. Billie Free, Rachele Eve, Fat Tony and The Saxsquatch, among others, and is conceptually inspired by concepts of looping history and the progression of time. You can listen to its title track and its first single via the player below, and click here to preorder it.


Kari Kirkland, Wild Is the Wind (Slea Head): Vocalist Kari Kirkland’s peripatetic history includes being a former Ironman Triathlete competitor and flying trapeze/aerial bungee artist. On February 26, she will release her debut album, Wild Is the Wind, via Slea Head, featuring sultry, sensual and jazz-inflected renditions of a selection of cross-musical songs. The album is produced/arranged by acclaimed pianist Shelly Berg and also features guest appearances by John Daversa and the much-missed Roy Hargrove.


Joe Chambers, Samba de Maracatu (Blue Note): Multi-instrumentalist Joe Chambers is set to make his Blue Note return with Samba de Maracatu, a nine-song set of original compositions, standards and pieces by Wayne Shorter, Bobby Hutcherson and Horace Silver. The album sees him performing drums, vibraphone and percussion with Brad Merritt and Steve Haines, and includes a guest appearance from rapper MC Parrain on one of the tracks. Samba de Maracatu is out on February 21 and its Brazilian flavored title track has been shared ahead of its release. Preorder Samba de Maracatu here.


Live Music and Festival News

Jazztopad Presents The Great Improvisation Livestream Series: Poland’s Jazztopad Festival, in partnership with Polish Cultural Institute New York, is presenting The Great Improvisation series online, livestreamed from the National Forum of Music in Wroclaw. The series, which kicked off with a performance by Lukasz Ojdana on January 16, which you can watch via the player below. Now, it will continue through February with performances by the Radek Nowicki Quartet (February 13) and vocal/bass duo Maniucha & Ksawery (February 19). Click here for more info.


New Stephane Wrembel Album Release Concert: Award-winning guitarist Stephane Wrembel and his band performed a special release show for their new album, The Django Experiment VI. The album was released on Water Is Life and celebrates the legacy of legendary guitarist Django Reinhardt on the 111th anniversary of his birth. The show was streamed from Caffé Lena in Saratoga Springs, New York, and you can watch it via the player below. Order The Django Experiment VI here.


Svetlana Announces 2021 Tour: Vocalist/songwriter/bandleader Svetlana has announced an upcoming, socially-distanced tour in support of her latest project, Night at the Movies, that will be released on vinyl this April. The tour was made possible thanks to a grant from Jazz Road, a national initiative of South Arts that supports small tours for emerging and mid-career artists. The tour will kick off with a performance at the Pawley Island Festival of Music and Art in South Carolina on February 9. Click here for more dates.


Featured photo: PRNewsfoto/Verve Label Group

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