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.
2021 Blues Music Award Winners Announced: The Blues Foundation announced the winners of the 2021 Blues Music Award this past weekend during a virtually broadcast ceremony. Shemekia Copeland was the show’s big winner, snagging three awards, including the coveted B.B. King Entertainer of the Year Award, Contemporary Female Artist Award and Contemporary Blues Album Award for Uncivil War. Other winners at this year’s ceremony include Mike Zito, Christone “Kingfish” Ingram and more. Check out the full list of winners here.
Phil Ranelin Signs With Third Side Music: Legendary trombonist Phil Ranelin, who recently celebrated his 82nd birthday, has signed his first-ever publishing deal in his decades-long career with Third Side Music. Ranelin is known as an unsung hero of the Detroit underground jazz scene, as the founder of Tribe Records and for working with the likes of Freddie Hubbard, Roy Ayers, Billy Higgins and Horace Tapscott. “Phil Ranelin is hands down one of the greatest musicians alive,” says Third Side Music’s Alex Kelman. “He has dedicated his life to the pursuit of excellence in creativity, originality and spiritually and it’s a real honor to be the first-ever publisher he’s chosen to work with.”
Epic Lee Morgan Quintet Collection out July 30: Blue Note Records has announced a July 30 release date for Lee Morgan’s The Complete Live at the Lighthouse, an expansive collection presenting for the first time ever all 12 sets of music from the legendary trumpeter’s quintet with saxophonist Bennie Maupin, pianist Harold Mabern, bassist Jymie Merritt and drummer Mickey Roker, recorded during their historic engagement at The Lighthouse in Hermosa Beach, California, on July 10-12, 1970. This definitive edition produced by Zev Feldman and David Weiss will be available as an 8-CD set and a limited-edition 12-LP all-analog 180g vinyl set that encompasses 33 performances including more than 4 hours of previously unreleased music. Order it here.
Qwest TV Joins Xfinity On Demand: Qwest TV, the premium music video hub co-founded by Quincy Jones and Reza Ackbaraly, launched on Comcast Xfinity. This is Qwest TV’s U.S. debut on a major cable network. As part of Xfinity’s celebration of Black Music Month, Quincy Jones has curated a special playlist shining a light on African American artists and music, which will be featured in the Black Experience section Xfinity launched in February 2021. Black Experience channel showcases the best in Black storytelling and was endorsed by the African American Film Critics Association.
Ed Sullivan Show‘s YouTube Channel Celebrates Ella Fitzgerald: The Ed Sullivan Show‘s official YouTube channel pays tribute to the legendary Ella Fitzgerald this month by featuring clips and historic performances by the First Lady of Song from the show on its specially curated playlist. Fitzgerald appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show eight times in total and performed such songs as “You’d Better Love Me Now,” “My Last Affair” and “Hotta Chocolatta,” among others.
Alice Coltrane, Kirtan: Turiya Sings (Impulse!/UMe): An album of rare and never-before-heard devotional songs by spiritual jazz legend Alice Coltrane, recorded in the early ’80s, is due out on July 16 via Impulse!/UMe. Kirtan: Turiya Sings is part of the Impulse! label’s 60th-anniversary celebrations and was produced by Alice’s son Ravi Coltrane. The tracklist includes Alice Coltrane’s solo voice-and-organ recordings. Pre-order Kirtan: Turiya Sings here.
The Philadelphia Orchestra Conducted by Cristian Măcelaru, Blues Symphony (Blue Engine): Blue Engine has released the first recording of Blues Symphony (Symphony No. 2), composed by Wynton Marsalis. The piece takes the 12-bar blues and explodes it into a lyrical, kaleidoscopic history of American music. It is performed here by The Philadelphia Orchestra, under the direction of conductor Cristian Măcelaru. The album is available now exclusively on all digital platforms.
Dave McMurray, Grateful Dedication (Blue Note): Saxophonist Dave McMurray has announced a July 16 release date for Grateful Dedication, his sophomore release for Blue Note Records. On his new full-length, McMurray takes his gritty, soulful Detroit sound and reimagines the flower empowered songs of San Francisco icons the Grateful Dead. “The more I listened, the more I knew these songs would eventually become a vehicle for my jazz expression,” says McMurray via a press release. Pre-order Grateful Dedication here.
Emil de Waal, Vente (April): Vente, out July 2, is the sixth album from the long-running collaboration between drummer Emil de Waal, veteran clarinetist Elith “Nulle” Nykjær, multi-instrumentalist Gustaf Ljunggren and Hammond organist Dan Hemmer. The album, named after the Danish word for “wait,” is a free-spirited collection of songs running a wide spectrum, showcasing influences of trad jazz, country music, organ-led grooves and a tinge of nostalgia. Pre-order Vente here.
Live Music and Festival News
Montreux Jazz Festival Announces 2021 Lineup: Montreux Jazz Festival has announced the program for this year’s festival, set to take place on July 2-17 in Montreux, Switzerland. Jazz artists scheduled to perform at the iconic 16-date event include Nubya Garcia, Alfa Mist, Nubiyan Twist, the Yussef Dayes Trio and Fred Hersch, among others. This year, Montreux will also debut Scene Du Lac, a brand new main stage built on the lake. For fans unable to experience the festival in-person, the Scene Du Lac stage will livestreamed free of charge via music video platform Qello Concerts by Stingray. Click here for more.
New York Guitar Festival to Honor Julian Bream: The 2021 New York Guitar Festival will pay tribute to the iconic classical guitarist Julian Bream, the GRAMMY-winning artist who passed last year at age 87, with an online series of concerts beginning July 14. This year’s series “Remembering Julian Bream” includes commissions by a group of stellar classical guitarists, lutenists and composers, and three video performances will premiere each day from July 14-20 via the New York Guitar Festival YouTube channel.
Capital One City Parks Foundation SummerStage 2021 Lineup Announced: New York’s City Parks Foundations has announced the return of live, in-person performances for this summer’s Capital One City Parks Foundation SummerStage, kicking off with a performance by the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis in Central Park on June 17. Performances will be livestreamed here. In addition, the return of the annual Charlie Parker Jazz Festival is also scheduled for two days at Harlem’s Marcus Garvey Park/Richard Rodgers Amphitheater in August. Check out a digital season brochure here.
Santi Debriano to Perform New Album Live on June 13: Bassist Santi Debriano is set to perform his new album, Flash of the Spirit, on June 13 at 2 p.m. EST. The event will be livestreamed by Studio 111 Brooklyn. It will feature several special guests and will be hosted by author T.J. English. Click here for more. Flash of the Spirit was released this past January via Truth Revolution Records and is described as a personal recording inspired by the artist’s life between worlds — his native country Panama, and America. Order it here.
Lafayette Gilchrist at Virtual Spring Jazz Brunch, June 13: Gilchrist, Maryland’s largest provider of serious illness and end-of-life care, will hold its fifth annual Spring Jazz Brunch on Sunday, June 13. The event will benefit Gilchrist’s Baltimore City inpatient hospice center and feature acclaimed Baltimore-based jazz pianist/composer Lafayette Gilchrist. The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra’s OrchKids will also perform. Click here for more.
Blue Note Jazz Club Brings Eclectic Programming to Miami This June: New York City’s iconic Blue Note Jazz Club is celebrating the return of live music this month via a limited series of shows at the North Beach Bandshell in Miami Beach. The series kicked off this past weekend and continues through June 12 and June 26 with performances by Robert Glasper and Big Freedia and The Soul Rebels featuring Cimafunk. Click here for tickets.
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