Louis Armstrong, Warren Wolf, Chet Baker, & 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.



First-Ever Official Video for Louis Armstrong Classic: Verve/UMe have shared the first-ever official music video for Louis Armstrong’s signature song, “What a Wonderful World.” Originally released in 1967 on ABC Records, the song was written by George David Weiss and Bob Thiele. It ranks today as Verve’s top streamed jazz track across leading global streaming services. The video was created by UMe’s content team and animation studio Springtime Jellyfish and features stunning handcrafted stop-motion animation celebrating the beauty of our world.

Craft Latino to Reissue Ray Barretto Masterpiece on Vinyl for the First Time Since Original Release: On October 23, Craft Latino will reissue Ray Barretto’s 1970 album Barretto Power on vinyl for the first time since its original release. The new edition comes out in celebration of the album’s 50th anniversary. Barretto Power was the first in a series of genre-defining Afro-Caribbean albums released by the conguero/bandleader and with which he established his characteristic funky, Latin soul and salsa style, becoming one of the key artists of the New York salsa explosion. This vinyl reissue boasts all-analog mastering by Kevin Gray at Cohearent Audio and has been manufactured at Memphis Record Pressing.

Unreleased Chet Baker Album Out Soon: A previously unreleased Chet Baker album titled Salt Peanuts is set to be released digitally and on CD on November 20 via Sleepy Night Records. The album was originally recorded live at a show from his 1981 European tour and named after the club in Cologne, Germany, where he and his band played. This is the first time the Prince of Cool’s Salt Peanuts will be available officially, having been available as a bootleg only up to now.

Unheard Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings Covers Compilation Out Soon: Daptone Records has announced the digital release of Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Rendition Was In), a collection of covers by Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings due out on October 23. The compilation includes five previously unheard covers as well as fan favorites previously released in various formats. Among them, lead single “Signed Sealed Delivered I’m Yours,” which you can listen to via the player below.

JazzDanmark Is the Recipient of the EJN Award for Music & Community 2020: JazzDanmark was awarded the Europe Jazz Network (EJN) Award for Music & Community in recognition of their outstanding achievements in the area of music and community. The winner was announced on September 10, during the EJN General Assembly of Members, which took place online on September 10. The award is bestowed annually by the EJN to a European organization that successfully tackles the issue of social inclusion in its communities via programs and initiatives. JazzDanmark is the Danish national organization that supports and promotes the growth and value of Danish jazz both within Denmark and abroad.

Dave Liebman and Joe Lovano to Release Co-Led Live Album: The Kaleidoscope Quintet, co-led by Dave Liebman and Joe Lovano, are set to release their Dot Time debut on October 23. Dancing on the Edge is a live album originally recorded in 2013. It features the saxophone legends co-leading a band with vocalist Judi Silvano, bassist Tony Marino and drummer Michael Stephans. Conceptually informed by the ever-changing patterns and colors of a kaleidoscope, the band’s distinctive voices come together as one performing five cuts on the record: two composed by Lovano and Liebman apiece and a lively rendition of the beloved standard “There Is No Greater Love.”

Earth, Wind & Fire Share New “September” Remix: Earth, Wind & Fire have shared a new version of their classic song “September,” remixed by acclaimed production master Eric Kupper. The remix, out in collaboration with Legacy Recordings, comes 42 years after the song’s original release and is accompanied by a brand new video. “When I first heard the mastered final mix of ‘September,’ at our private listening party back in the day,” said the band’s legendary vocalist Philip Bailey,  “I would never have guessed that such a simple catchy song as it is, and was, would become an all-time global favorite for generations.”

Documentary on Harlem’s Iconic Apollo Theater Wins Emmy: The Apollo won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Documentary or Nonfiction Special on September 14. This is an HBO documentary directed by Roger Ross Williams that looks at the history of Harlem’s Apollo Theater while following Apollo’s inaugural staging of Ta-Nehisi Coates’ acclaimed Between the World and Me. The documentary also features a segment on the all-star concert in celebration of the music of Ella Fitzgerald that was documented on Concord Jazz’s Ella 100: Live at the Apollo!, released earlier this year.

Cecile McLorin Salvant Creates Music Video for Ella Fitzgerald Song: Multi-talented artist Cecile McLorin Salvant has created an animated music video for Ella Fitzgerald’s version of “Taking a Chance on Love,” and you can watch it via the player below. Shared as a single last week, the song is included on Ella Fitzgerald: The Berlin Lost Tapes, an unreleased live album that documents a 1955 live concert by the First Lady of Song in Berlin, Germany. The album will be released by Verve on October 2.

Tino Contreras to Release New Album: Tino Contreras, Mexico’s most established and prolific jazz musician, is set to release a new explorative album. La Noche de los Dioses, out on October 23 through Brownswood, finds him ruminating about life and humanity via seven new recordings. Here, the drummer is joined by a host of musicians including his son, Valentino Contreras, on bass. Listen to the lead track from the album, “El Sacrificio,” via the player below. 


The Gig: Live Music & More

Smooth Jazz Viral Sensation Saxsquatch Announces Socially Distanced U.S. Tour: Saxsquatch, the mysterious saxophone-loving creature and latest smooth jazz viral sensation, has announced a socially distanced, country-wide tour of the United States. The tour will showcase the fusion of jazz and electronica that he has turned heads with over the past months through music, videos and live-streamed performances. It is titled Saxual Healing and will kick off at The Mousetrap in Indianapolis, Indiana, on October 23. More dates will be announced soon.

Terence Blanchard Keynote Speaker at the Vancouver International Film Festival: Terence Blanchard will be a keynote speaker at the Vancouver International Film Festival’s VIFF Amp, an annual summit dedicated to music in film and television. This year, the event will be streamed online on October 3-4. Other keynote speakers include Nora Felder, Morgan Rhodes, Madonna Wade-Reed and Meshell Ndegeocello. Earlier this month, Blanchard was honored with the Campari Passion for Film Award at the Venice International Film Festival, in recognition of his work in film and his long-standing collaboration with filmmaker Spike Lee.

Sylvie Courvoisier to Release New Album and Perform Virtual Release Show: Pianist Sylvie Courvoisier will be performing a special virtual release show for her new trio album, Free Hoops, with bassist Drew Gress and drummer Kenny Wollesen. The album will be released on September 18 via Intakt Records. The release show will be streamed on Roulette Intermedium on September 30 at 8 p.m. You can listen to “Requiem D’un Songe” from Free Hoops via the player below.

Dayna Stephens to Release New Live Album: Saxophonist Dayna Stephens will release Right Now! Live at the Village Vanguard on October 2 via his Contagious Music label. The album finds him leading a quartet with Aaron Parks, Ben Street and Gregory Hutchinson. It was recorded live at the famed New York jazz venue in February 2019. Stephens will return to the Vanguard for a special live stream performance on October 2-3, as part of the venue’s series, “Live Streaming at the Vanguard.”

The Festival Guide

Detroit’s Annual Concert of Colors Announces Headliners: Detroit’s 28th annual Concert of Colors, the largest free world music and diversity festival in the Midwest, will take place on October 6-11. Live performances will be streamed online from the Detroit Film Theatre at the Detroit Film Institute of Arts in response to the coronavirus pandemic. This year’s lineup will be headlined by Roy Ayers with special guest Jessica Care Moore and The Don Was Detroit All-Star Revue.


New Release Cheat Sheet

Raphaël Pannier, Faune (French Paradox/L’Autre Distribution)

Faine is Paris-born drummer/composer Raphaël Pannier’s debut. Produced by his mentor Miguel Zenòn, it finds him leading a trio with pianist Aaron Goldberg and bassist François Moutin. The music marks a coming together of worlds and Pannier’s own formative cultures, blending American drum tradition and strong rhythmic control with a French melodic and harmonic imprint.


Joe Farnsworth with Wynton Marsalis, Time to Swing (Smoke Sessions)

On Time to Swing, renowned drummer Joe Farnsworth assembles a stellar lineup of modern jazz giants. Five of its songs are trio recordings with pianist Kenny Barron and bassist Peter Washington and on the other four, the band is joined by jazz icon Wynton Marsalis. A must-have for straight-ahead jazz fans everywhere, Time to Swing also marks Farnsworth’s debut album for Smoke Sessions.


Warren Wolf, Christmas Vibes (Mack Avenue)

Christmas season starts early this year, courtesy of vibraphone maestro Warren Wolf and his new album, in which he reinterprets holiday classics and offers an original Christmas song all his own. Along with spotlighting his virtuosity on his instrument of choice, Christmas Vibes finds him performing all the piano and keyboard parts, with vocalists Micah Thomas, Allison Bordlemay and Christie Dashiell joining the party at various points.


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