Melissa Aldana, Matthew Whitaker, Christian McBride & 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.



Craft Record Store Day 2022 Releases: Craft will be releasing a wealth of special edition vinyl on Record Store Day, April 23. Among them, a special reissue of Art Pepper’s historic 1957 album, Art Pepper Meets the Rhythm Section and Vince Guaraldi’s single, “Baseball Theme,” from Jazz Impressions of a Boy Named Charlie Brown, his evocative soundtrack to a never-released documentary about PEANUTS from 1964. Craft will also release music from the Jazz Dispensary catalog, Collective Soul and Esther Marrow, among others, this Record Store Day. Check out all Record Store Day 2022 releases here.


Melissa Aldana Discusses New Album on “First Look”: Saxophonist/composer Melissa Aldana spoke about her new album, 12 Stars, with Blue Note President Don Was on the latest episode of “First Look,” which you can watch via the player below. The album was released on March 4 via Blue Note Records. It is produced by Lage Lund, who is also featured on guitar alongside Sullivan Fortner on piano, Pablo Menares on bass, and Kush Abadey on drums. 12 Stars is one of the albums we included in our list of ten albums released this month that you need to know about. Order it here.


David Wertman Sun Ensemble Deluxe Edition Reissue: BBE Music will release the first-ever reissue of jazz bassist David Wertman’s rare 1983 Sun Ensemble LP, Wide Eye Culture. The record was originally recorded five years after the release of his Sun Ensemble debut, Earthly Delights. It will be presented here as a deluxe expanded edition with eight bonus tracks, drawn from two rare 1981 flexi-discs and one 1982 two-track ’45. The Wide Eye Culture deluxe reissue will be available on CD, digital and as a 3-LP edition. Pre-order it here.


Candid Records Officially Relaunches: Iconic jazz label Candid Records will officially relaunch with reissues of five historic albums on CD and streaming services, April 15, and on vinyl, June 24. The albums to be reissued are: Charles Mingus, Charles Mingus Presents Charles Mingus (1960); Max Roach, We Insist! (1960); Lightning Hopkins, Lightnin’ in New York (1960); Abbey Lincoln, Straight Ahead (1961); and Otis Spann, Otis Spann is the Blues (1960). Pre-order all titles here.


Norah Jones Shares Previously Unreleased Demo: Singer/songwriter Norah Jones has shared her early demo, “Spring Can Really Hang You Up the Most.” This is one of the 22 previously unreleased tracks from a forthcoming 20th anniversary Super Deluxe edition of her seminal album, Come Away With Me, which will be released on April 29 via Blue Note Records. Listen to the track via the player below and pre-order the Super Deluxe Edition HERE.


Matthew Whitaker Documentary: Pianist/composer Matthew Whitaker chronicles his odds-defying childhood and journey from jazz prodigy to multi-disciplinary musical innovator in a new All Arts documentary from Steven Tabakin. The documentary, titled Matthew Whitaker: About Tomorrow, will premiere on April 3, on the musician’s 21st birthday. More here.


Album Announcements

A. Billi Free & The Lasso, Holy Body Roll (Mello): Singer/songwriter A. Billi Free’s full-length collaboration with renowned Michigan producer The Lasso is an idiosyncratic mix of future funk, jazz, R&B and soul. Holy Body Roll, released on March 11, is enriched by The Lasso’s production team of instrumentalists, including saxophonist The Saxsquatch, cellist Jordan Hamilton and pianist Grayson Nye. Order it here.


Spencer Day, Broadway By Day (Club44): On Broadway By Day, chart-topping jazz-pop singer/songwriter Spencer Day reimagines classic Broadway songs with surprising and creative genre-blurring arrangements from swing to Latin. Released on February 25, this is Day’s debut album on Club44 and features special guests Jane Monheit and Dave Koz. Order it here.


Christian McBride, The Q Sessions (Mack Avenue): Christian McBride partnered with Qobuz last year to produce The Q Sessions EP, featuring three performances played in a quartet with saxophonist Marcus Strickland, drummer Eric Harland, and guitarist Mike Stern. Originally released exclusively through Qobuz, the project is now available across all platforms via Mack Avenue Records and you can listen to it via the player below.


Walter Smith III & Matthew Stevens, In Common III (Whirlwind): Saxophonist Walter Smith III and guitarist Matthew Stevens will release the latest full-length of their In Common project, which finds them interacting with different improvisational musicians from all corners of the scene. In Common III, released on March 11, features NEA Jazz Masters Dave Holland and Terry Lyne Carrington, as well as acclaimed pianist Kris Davis. Order it here.


Live Music and Festival News

San Jose Jazz Board of Directors Announce New Round of SJZ Jazz Aid Fund Grants: The San Jose Jazz Board of Directors announced $27,000 for individual grants to 27 San Francisco Ba Area musicians. The grant are part of its continuing commissions-based initiative SJZ Jazz Aid Fund, set up to help Bay Area musicians in the midst of the ongoing, devastating effects of the pandemic. The grantees present a diverse cross-section of Bay Area’s jazz scene and nine of these artists will premiere new commissions live at the 2nd New Works Fest at the SJZ Break Room in downtown San Jose, California, on April 22-May 8. More here.


Gilad Hekselman at New York’s Village Vanguard, March 29-April 3: Guitarist Gilad Hekselman has announced that he will be playing a run of shows at New York’s famed Village Vanguard ahead of the released of his adventurous new album, Far Star. The shows will take place on March 29-April 3. Tickets here. Hekselman’s new album, Far Star, will be released on May 13 via Edition Records, including in a limited edition orange vinyl. Pre-order it here.


Burnt Sugar Conduction Performance at Carnegie Hall’s Afrofuturism Festival: Burnt Sugar, the Arkestra Chamber, will perform an original conduction (a conducted improvisation) alongside young musicians on April 3 in Zankel Hall. Tickets here. The performance is the capstone for their residency at New York’s Carnegie Hall, as they will work with rising musicians on conductions, composition and more in a one-of-a-kind workshop earlier in the week. The ensemble’s residency is part of Carnegie Hall’s Afrofuturism Festival.


Princeton University Jazz Festival, April 27-30: Jazz at Princeton University, helmed by acclaimed saxophonist/composer Rudresh Mahanthappa, has announced the return of the Princeton University Jazz Festival. Presented in conjunction with Jazz Appreciation Month, the event will take place on April 27-30 and feature guest artists Gilad Hekselman, Alexa Tarantino, Seamus Blake and Tony Malaby performing with student ensembles. More here.


Birdland Jazz Club and Flymachine Announce Collaborative Partnership: New York’s Birdland Jazz Club has announced a new partnership with Flymachine, a pioneering virtual venue for live entertainment. The partnership will provide streaming access to a selection of Birdland’s renowned live acts. Streaming services will be available for mainstage events every Thursday, we will as Frank Vignola’s weekly guitar night on Wednesday, downstairs in the Birdland Theater.

Featured photo by Rob Davidson.

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