Jon Batiste, Roy Ayers, Collective Soul & 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.


Jazz School: Education News

New Educational Website for Jazz Vocalists Launched: Jazz vocalist Alexis Cole has launched a new educational website,, that connects vocal students with professional jazz vocalists and skilled jazz educators for unique virtual vocal classes. Online learning opportunities on range from reading articles and watching curated educational videos, to participating in masterclasses, online private or group lessons, as well as small-group classes with a diverse array of jazz vocalists and educators who specialize in different aspects of musical education. The site also includes a subscription masterclass series and an educational resources page and forum.



Jon Batiste Shares New Song, “We Are”: GRAMMY-nominated artist/Colbert bandleader/activist Jon Batiste has shared a new single, “We Are,” from his forthcoming album. The song also features the marching band from his alma mater, the St. Augustine High School Marching 100 and New Orleans-based Gospel Soul Children choir. Batiste has also been an integral voice during recent protests in New York and on June 6, he led “We Are: A Peaceful Protest March With Music,” where he was followed by a brass band, dancers, musicians and an estimated 5,000 fellow New Yorkers.

Bandcamp Waives Fees on Juneteenth for Racial Justice: Bandcamp has announced that it will be donating 100% of their share of sales for 24 hours today, on Juneteenth (June 19), to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund to support racial justice and in support of Black Lives Matter. Bandcamp has also pledged that it will repeat the event hereafter, as well as donate an additional $30,000 per year to partner with organizations that fight for racial justice and create opportunities for people of color.

Doo-Wop Classics Revisited in Brand New Vinyl Soundtrack Album: Lakeshore Records is set to release Streetlight Harmonies – Original Motion Picture Soundtrack on vinyl on July 3. The album contains cover versions of classic Doo-Wop songs of iconic artists, whose lives and backstories are explored in the documentary of the same name, directed by Brent Wilson. These songs are performed by such artists as Koryn Hawthorne, La La Brooks, Charlie Thomas and more. Click here to pre-order.

Mike Fahie Merges Classical and Jazz Idioms in Upcoming Album: New York City-based trombonist Mike Fahie merges classical music and jazz in his upcoming album with his Jazz Orchestra, Urban(e). The album features arrangements of work by such composers as Puccini, Chopin and Stravinsky, interpreted by his large ensemble through a jazz lens with subtle undertones of blues, rock and soul. Urban(e) will be released on all platforms on August 28 via Greenleaf Music.

Matt Rollings Releases New Single Featuring Alison Krauss: Piano virtuoso Matt Rollings has released a new single from his forthcoming album, Matt Rollings Mosaic. “Stay” is a beautiful ballad co-written with Drew McKeon and “The Voice” winner Alison Krauss, who originally released it back in 2016. Matt Rollings Mosaic marks the pianist’s first solo album in 30 years and features such guests as The Blind Boys of Alabama, Lyle Lovett, Willie Nelson and many more. It will be released on August 14 via Dualtone. Click here to preorder.

Liberty Ellman Debuts New Trio in New EP: Jazz guitarist Liberty Ellman releases today a new four-song EP titled Water Walkers, showcasing two new original compositions and two covers. Water Walkers also marks the debut of Ellman’s new trio with longtime collaborators, Stephan Crump and Damion Reid, and places more direct focus on his unique playing style. The EP is released as part of Pi Recordings’ “This Is Now: Love in the Time of COVID” series.

Teodross Avery Presents a Deep Study of Thelonious Monk Music in Forthcoming Album: Saxophonist Teodross Avery presents a deep study of Thelonious Monk’s music on his ninth release as a leader. Harlem Stories: The Music of Thelonious Monk features reimaginings of Monk compositions, performed with two different quartets – the first operating telepathically, the latter conversationally. The 10-song program includes such tracks as “Monk’s Dream,” “Ruby, My Dear” and “Pannonica,” among others. Harlem Stories will be released on August 21 via WJ3 Records.

Craft Recordings to Reissue Collective Soul’s “Blue Album”: Craft Recordings has announced a 25th-anniversary reissue of Collective Soul’s self-titled sophomore album, also affectionately referred to as “The Blue Album.” Originally released in 1995, Collective Soul followed the band’s acclaimed 1993 debut, Hints, Allegations and Things Left Unsaid, and would go on to become their highest-selling title. This special reissue will be available on CD and across digital platforms on August 7 and will include six bonus tracks, plus liner notes from music journalist Jeff Slate, with new insights from the band’s frontman and guiding creative force, Ed Roland.

Khruangbin Share New Single and Animated Accompanying Video: Khruangbin – the trio of Laura Lee Ochoa (bass), Mark Speer (guitar), and Donald “DJ” Johnson (drums) – present new single, “Pelota,” alongside its accompanying video, directed by Hugo Rodrigues Rodriguez, written by Alvaro Sotomayor and produced by Glassworks Creative Studio. The track is off of their highly-anticipated new album, Mordechai, out next Friday, June 26 via Dead Oceans in association with Night Time Stories.


The Gig: Live Music & More

Special EFX Resume Their Concert Tour Tonight, June 19: GRAMMY-nominated world music/contemporary jazz band Special EFX are set to resume their concert tour in support of their new release, All Stars. The band will take to the stage of Southern California jazz hotspot Spaghettini today, June 19, in front of half the capacity of normal in order to comply with Orange County restrictions. The concert will also be streamed live via Spaghettini’s Facebook page. 

Flushing Town Hall Live-Streaming Jimmy Heath Tribute Tonight: Flushing Town Hall will be live-streaming a special tribute event celebrating the life and legacy of Jimmy Heath, who passed away January at the age of 93. The event will be live-streamed tonight, June 19, at 7 p.m. on Flushing Town Hall’s Facebook page and feature excerpts from a previous concert by the Queens Jazz Orchestra, testimonials from family and friends, snapshots of Mr. Heath throughout his career, and several performances by his former colleagues. It will also raise funds to support the Jimmy Heath Fund at Queens College.


The Festival Guide

DCJazzFest From Home, June 21-29: Live From Our Living Rooms is presenting DCJazzFest from Home, in collaboration with the DC Jazz Festival. The online festival and fundraiser will run on June 21-29, featuring a fully-virtual schedule of artists performing lives from their homes – including DeeDee Bridgewater, Regina Carter, John Clayton and many more. The series will raise relief funds for D.C.-area musicians who have lost their primary source income due to the COVID-19 pandemic. For more information, click here.


New Release Cheat Sheet

Roy Ayers, Roy Ayers: Jazz Is Dead 002 (Jazz Is Dead)

Jazz Funk pioneer Roy Ayers releases today his first studio album in 18 years. This is an eight-track collaborative effort that finds the vibraphone great working alongside producer Adrian Younge and A Tribe Called Quest’s turntablist/co-producer Ali Shaheed Muhammad.

Rudresh Mahanthappa, Hero Trio (Whirlwind)

Saxophonist Rudresh Mahanthappa celebrates some of his musical heroes on his 16th album as a leader, Hero Trio. The record finds him leading a cordless trio of longtime collaborators and together they perform his imaginative arrangements of compositions by Sonny Rollins, Stevie Wonder, Charlie Parkers and more.

Micah Thomas, Tide (self-released)

Pianist Micah Thomas, dubbed by Aaron Parks as “one of the most exciting musicians of his generation,” releases his debut album – a suite-like program of lyrically engrossing originals. Tide was recorded live at New York’s Kitano and features him alongside bassist Dean Torrey and drummer Kyle Benford.


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