Maria Schneider, John Coltrane, Kendrick Scott: 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

Maria Schneider Named Artistic Director of Henry Mancini Institute: The Frost School of Music at the University of Miami has announced the appointment of 5-time Grammy Award-winning artist and 2019 NEA Jazz Master Maria Schneider as artistic director of the Frost School’s Henry Mancini Institute. Her appointment will be a school-wide residency crossing and blending musical genres. Schneider, who attended the Frost School of Music in 1983, is scheduled to be in residence for a week in the spring of 2019, the fall of 2019 and the spring of 2020.

Note-Worthy

Bolden Original Motion Picture Soundtrack Album Out Soon: Blue Engine Records will release the Bolden original motion picture soundtrack on April 19 on CD and all major digital platforms. The album features music composed, arranged and performed by Wynton Marsalis for Bolden, directed by Dan Pritzker, out in U.S. theaters on May 3. The film imagines the compelling, powerful and tragic journey of cornetist Buddy Bolden, the unsung American hero who helped develop jazz. It stars Gary Carr in the title role. Watch the trailer for the film via the player below.

Decca Records Celebrates 90th Anniversary: Decca Records is one of the most iconic record labels in the world. Formed in Britain on February 28, 1929, it has been home to countless legendary musicians and many great jazz artists over the years, from Billie Holiday to Gregory Porter. Decca will be celebrating its nine decades of excellence with a number of special releases, events, concerts and more taking place across Europe. Click here to find out more.

Box Set Celebrates the 60th Anniversary of John Coltrane’s Prestige Recordings: Craft Recordings is releasing a new box set, Coltrane ’58: The Prestige Recordings, celebrating the 60th anniversary of John Coltrane’s 1958 recordings for Prestige Records, on March 29. The set chronicles all 37 tracks from the jazz pioneer in his breakout year, session by session, in the order they were created. The timely release of Coltrane ’58 also marks the 70th year since the founding of Prestige Records. The vinyl box set includes eight 180-gram LPs, remastered from the analog original tapes, and a 40-page portfolio-style book of extensive liner notes, rare ephemera and historical photographs. The 5-CD edition, containing a 76-page book, is a faithful replica of the 8-LP vinyl box. Watch the unboxing via the player below.

New Music from Kendrick Scott Oracle on Blue Note: Drummer-composer Kendrick Scott and his long-time running working group, Oracle, will release their new album A Wall Becomes a Bridge via Blue Note on April 5, four years after releasing their label debut, We Are the Drum. The title of the album refers to the period of self-doubt Scott had to overcome in order to make it, but also has another meaning. “A wall is a provocation,” he explains, adding that he “loves to create things for conversations. So I also wanted the idea to speak about a certain president.”

The Gig: Live Music & More

Nat King Cole’s 100th Birthday Celebration at Flushing Town Hall: Singer-songwriter Sachal Vasanandi and a group of New York’s top musicians – pianist Shai Maestro, bassist Reuben Rogers and bassist Obed Calvaire – will bring the music of Nat King Cole to life at New York’s Flushing Town Hall on March 15. The event is titled “Unforgettable: The Music of Nat King Cole,” and it is set to take place two days before what would have been Nat King Cole’s 100th birthday.

The Festival Circuit

Smithsonian Folkways’ New Box Set Looks at 50 Years of New Orleans Jazz Fest: Smithsonian Folkways will release a comprehensive box set of live recordings from the over 50-year history of the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival on May 10. The 5xCD Jazz Fest: The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival set features live music from 1974 to 2016 by such celebrated artists as Trombone Shorty, Allen Toussaint, Terence Blanchard, the Preservation Hall Jazz Band and many others. The music is accompanied by a 135-page book, filled with exclusive photographs drawn from the archives of the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation.

New Release Cheat Sheet

Jim Snidero, Waves of Calm (Savant Records)

Waves of Calm is arguably saxophonist Jim Snidero’s most personal album to date. It is dedicated to his father’s struggle with the late stages of a specific strain or Parkinson’s disease marked by periods of intense hallucinations followed by extreme calm. Snidero emphasizes restrained and careful solos on the three ballads and other uptempo funk romps of Waves of Calm. Reflecting on the theme of the album, he says: “I’ve been playing saxophone for a long time, so I could easily play a lot more notes. But I’ve been so attracted to Miles lately, and as I get older that way of playing a ballad, where you’re just looking for the right note at the right moment, searching for that one perfect thing – it’s all you need.”

Steve Davis, Correlations (Smoke Sessions Records)

Steve Davis is one of the most acclaimed trombonists of his generation. He has been a member of some of jazz’s premiere ensembles, including Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers and Chick Corea’s Origins, among many others. On his new album, Correlations, he debuts his new sextet with a set of inspired new tunes and classic compositions from jazz masters and mentors. It is an album galvanized by tradition, but also pushing forward. The sextet includes saxophonist Wayne Escoffery trumpet and flugelhorn player Joshua Bruneau, pianist Xavier Davis, bassist Dezron Douglas and drummer Jonathan Barber, and Correlations was recorded live in New York at Sear Sound’s Studio C.

Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe, Gnomes and Badgers (Seven Spheres Records)

Gnomes and Badgers is the first album by Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe in five years. Led by saxophonist-vocalist Karl Denson, the band merges funk, soul, jazz, blues and more. The energy and spirit of the album are contagious, while Denson’s songwriting speaks to a larger message of fellowship. “As a writer and a human being, I’m affected by what goes on around me,” he says. “I’ve always been interested in politics and what I’m seeing now just disturbs me … Somebody needs to say something, and hopefully, I can say it in a way that will make people reconsider how they think about things.”

Featured photo by Whit Lane.

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