Laufey, Blue Note, Sun Ra & 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.



Blue Note Records Celebrates 85th Anniversary: In 2024, the 85th anniversary of Blue Note Records will be marked with a series of celebratory events. The Blue Note Quintet, featuring some of the label’s most acclaimed emerging talents, will embark on an extensive tour. The Francis Wolff Collection will offer and showcase exquisite collector’s items and host art photography exhibitions celebrating the legacy of label co-founder and photographer Francis Wolff. The Blue Note Review vinyl boxset subscription series will make a return, alongside the highly acclaimed Tone Poet Vinyl and Classic Vinyl reissue series. The year also promises an array of exciting new Blue Note releases from renowned artists such as Charles Lloyd, Joel Ross, Melissa Aldana, Ethan Iverson, Immanuel Wilkins, Norah Jones and many more.

New Omar Sosa Documentary: Omar Sosa’s 88 Well-Tuned Drums, a documentary on the life and music of pianist and composer Omar Sosa, will be released on VOD streaming platforms in the United States on March 15, 2024, with a Blu-Ray release to follow in April 2024. An accompanying soundtrack album comprising Sosa recordings featured in the film is also slated to be released in April 2024 on Otá Records. Sosa will celebrate both on a Spring Tour, bringing his Quarteto Americanos to Miami, Seattle, Oakland, Santa Cruz, Los Angeles and New York. Click here for all upcoming tour dates.

Laufey Wins Icelandic Optimism Award: On January 3, Singer/songwriter Laufey received the 2023 Icelandic Optimism Award, which recognizes Icelandic artists who inspire their surrounding community. The award was granted by Iceland’s President Guðni Th. Jóhannesson, who stated: “I am proud to present the annual Icelandic Optimist Award to singer-songwriter Laufey, whose music has taken the world by storm.” Watch our JAZZIZ Not What You Think conversation with Laufey via the player below.


New Albums

Palle Mikkelborg, Jakob Bro, Marilyn Mazur, Strands (ECM): Trumpeter Palle Mikkelborg, guitarist Jakob Bro and percussionist Marilyn Mazur, prominent musicians representing three different generations in Danish jazz, unite in the evocative album Strands. This texturally spacious and emotionally charged new album was recorded at the Danish Radio Concert Hall in Copenhagen in February 2023.

Dave Wilson, Ephemeral (Thelonious): New Zealand-based saxophonist Dave Wilson invites listeners on an exploratory journey across the nine tracks of his new album, Ephemeral. The record finds him crafting intricate textures and multi-layered grooves, showcasing his shapeshifting connection to his instrument of choice with an idiosyncratic fusion of improvisatory melodies and dynamic rhythmic impulses.

Muriel Grossmann, Devotion (Third Man): Devotion, the latest album by Austrian jazz saxophonist and composer Muriel Grossmann, is influenced by her Buddhist meditation practice. With its modern and diverse collection of seven tracks, the album showcases Grossmann’s fluid saxophone skills, anchoring each piece in a variety of genres. 

Lea Bertucci, Of Shadows and Substance (Cibachrome): Composer, producer and saxophonist Lea Bertucci is renowned for her ability to articulate the connections between acoustic phenomena and biological resonance in her creative endeavors. Her latest musical project, Of Shadows and Substance, delves into dissonance, drone and dynamic compositions, augmented with a blend of strings, electronics, harp and percussions.


Live Music and Festival News

21st globalFEST, January 14: The 21st edition of New York’s globalFEST will take place at the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts (LCPA) on January 14, 2024, as part of Lincoln Center Presents. Artists from around the world will be performing across three stages inside the David Geffen Hall, celebrating musical traditions, cutting-edge sounds and encouraging discoveries. The lineup features Yasser Tejeda’s new spin on Afro-Dominican roots and jazz, The Villalobos Brothers’ fusion of Mexican folk with jazz and classical music, South African superstar Thandiswa Mazwai and more. Click here for the full lineup.

NYC Winter Jazzfest Celebrates the Poetry of Sun Ra: My Words Are Music: A Celebration of Sun Ra’s Poetry is an event celebrating the poetry of Sun Ra that will take place during NYC Winter Jazzfest at Nublu on January 16. Tickets here. The event celebrates the spoken word album of the same name that was released in August 2023 via Omni Sound, will be hosted by Mahogany L. Browne and Jive Poetic, and feature Carl Hancock Rux, Moor Mother and Abiodun Oyewole of The Last Poets.

Houston Person and Emmet Cohen at New York’s Smoke Jazz Club: Tenor saxophonist Houston Person will be joining Emmet Cohen and his organ trio for a special performance at New York’s Smoke Jazz Club on January 10. Tickets here. Cohen and Person recently collaborated on the fifth volume of Cohen’s Master Legacy Series, which we included in our list of ten albums released in November 2023 that you need to know about.

Arts for Art presents Out Music Festival: Arts for Art will present the first edition of its Out Music Festival – The Future is Pissed! at the Theater for the New City, New York City, on January 29-February 4. The festival centers around featured artists pushing forward their work to convey a message of hope amid societal and political distress. Featured artists will include Tony Malaby, Tomeka Reid, William Parker, James Brandon Lewis and many more. More here.

Niña Pastori to Extend Her U.S. Tour: World-renowned flamenco vocalist Niña Pastori has announced that she will extend her United States tour, which will kick off at New York’s Town Hall in April 25 and include stops in Washington, Miami and Orlando. Check out all tour dates here. The tour is in support of her latest album, Camino, which recently won the Best Flamenco Music Album category at the Latin GRAMMYs, held on November 16 in Seville, Spain.


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