Louis Armstrong, Soul Café, Hiromi & More: New Release Cheat Sheet

If you’re looking for some great new music to discover this weekend, look no further than our weekly New Release Cheat Sheet. 


New Songs and Videos

Soul Café, “Step Aside” [Song Premiere]

“Step Aside” is the title track from a new album by Soul Café, a vibrant fusion ensemble led by guitarist/composer Ed “Mr. Ed” Starrett that has been thrilling audiences in the St. Louis area for more than 20 years. This is a landmark album in their history, as it presents a wholly original program and marks their first full-length outing following Starrett’s decade-long battle with lymphocytic leukemia. “We as a band are stepping aside from what we have done in the past and bringing more of our own compositions and identity to the forefront,” explains Starrett. “We had most of the original tunes completed but we needed the title track to reflect a new direction of our creative flow.” Step Aside is due out on October 15 via Autumn Hill Records.


Orquesta Akokán, “El Inflador”

Cuban big band Orquesta Akokán continues to explore, develop and expand their country’s rich rhythmic palette and repertoire on their forthcoming album, 16 Rayos, due out October 22 on Daptone Records. Their new single, “El Inflador,” which refers to a person with a big ego who wants to stand out above everyone else. It is a rumba in the big band style of ’40s and ’50s Machito and Mario Bauza music with a slight John Barry. Pre-order 16 Rayos here. In addition to the new LP, Orquesta Akokán will return to the road for worldwide touring in Spring of 2022.


The Wonderful World of Louis Armstrong All Stars, “The Peanut Vendor” feat. Wynton Marsalis

A Gift to Pops is a forthcoming album by an A-list ensemble with special guests including Wynton Marsalis and Common, going by the name of The Wonderful World of Louis Armstrong All Stars. They will be releasing their tribute album to the great musician and his continuing legacy on October 15 via Verve Records. The album features new and inventive arrangements of music associated with Armstrong, from his early to his late period. The LP’s take on “The Peanut Vendor,” first recorded by the jazz legend in 1930, has been shared as an album lead track ahead of its release. This version features Wynton Marsalis on trumpet. Pre-order A Gift to Pops here.


Hiromi, “Someday”

Hiromi has shared “Someday,” the new single from her forthcoming Silver Lining Suite, due out October 8 via Telarc. The 2-LP release was inspired by the emotional toll of the pandemic and offers a breathtaking blend of jazz invention and classical composition. The suite is performed by the piano virtuoso alongside a string quartet assembled by violinist Tatsuo Nishie, concertmaster of the New Japan Philharmonic. Pre-order Silver Lining Suite here.


New Albums

Helen Sung, Quartet+ (Sunnyside)

Pianist/composer Helen Sung celebrates women composers with Quartet+, a vibrant new album combining her all-star quartet with the GRAMMY-winning Harlem Quartet. Quartet+ co-produced by violin master Regina Carter and features Sung’s own original compositions alongside pieces by Geri Allen, Carla Bley, Toshiko Akiyoshi, Mary Lou Williams, and Marian McPartland. Order Quartet+ here.


Pasquale Grasso, Pasquale Plays Duke (Sony Music Masterworks)

Guitar virtuoso Pasquale Grasso celebrates the legacy of Duke Ellington on his latest album, Pasquale Plays Duke, released on September 17 and out via Sony Music Masterworks. The record, which follows a string of Solo Ballads EPs released in the first part of 2021, features him alongside bassist Art Roland and drummer Keith Balla, plus special guest vocalists Sheila Jordan and Samara Joy. Order it here.


Sheila Jordan, Come Love: Lost Session 1960 (Capri)

Capri releases a previously unknown 1960 recording by vocalist and NEA Jazz Master Sheila Jordan. Recently discovered on acetate, Come Love: Lost Sessions 1960 presents the singer in a nascent but instantly recognizable form on a set of standards. The session predates her historic 1963 Blue Note debut, Portrait of Sheila, making this the singular vocalist’s earliest-known recorded session. Order it here.


Featured photo courtesy of Verve Records.

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