Miles Davis, Record Store Day, Questlove: 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.


New Miles Davis Collection Celebrates the Birth of the Cool: Blue Note/UMe will release The Complete Birth of the Cool, a collection celebrating the legacy of the Miles Davis Nonet, on May 17. The collection marks the 70th anniversary of the initial sessions for the legendary 1957 album Birth of the Cool, which originally compiled eleven tracks recorded by Davis’ Nonet – an ensemble of legendary rotating musicians including Gerry Mulligan, Lee Konitz, Gunther Schuller, J.J. Johnson and many more – for Capitol Records over the course of three sessions during 1949 and 1950. The Complete Birth of the Cool includes, for the first time ever, all of the Nonet’s live and studio recordings on vinyl, in a 2xLP set that comes with a booklet with archival photographs and an extensive new essay by the Grammy-winning American music historian Ashley Kahn.

Records Store Day to Take Place Worldwide This Saturday: Records Store Day, the internationally celebrated day of vinyl records dedicated to supporting independent stores, will take place in several cities around the world this Saturday, April 13. This year’s extensive list of jazz releases includes records by Herbie Hancock, Bill Evans, Louis Armstrong and Wes Montgomery. Click here to read our list of the ten jazz Record Store Day 2019 releases we believe you need to know about.

Questlove Added to ASCAP “I Create Music” EXPO Lineup: Musician, composer and member of The Roots, Questlove, has been added to the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publisher’s (ASCAP) “I Create Music” EXPO, the only music conference completely dedicated to music creation that will take place May 2-4 at the Loews Hollywood Hotel in Los Angeles, California. Questlove will take part in a keynote conversation with Oscar-winning composer and ASCAP Chairman of the Board and President, Paul Williams, and will be recognized with the ASCAP Creative Voice Award, a special honor presented to ASCAP members whose significant career achievements are equally informed by their creative spirit and by their contributions to the role that a creator can play in the community.

Terence Blanchard to Be Named BMI Icon: Trumpeter-composer Terence Blanchard will be named a BMI Icon at the 35th annual BMI Film, TV and Visual Media Awards in recognition of his significant contribution to the cinematic community, at a private event held May 15 at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills, California. Blanchard has composed music for several films, the most famous of which resulted from his longtime collaboration with filmmaker Spike Lee. “As a composer, Terence Blanchard’s music is steeped in jazz, but he’s also an incredibly versatile artist whose works range from film to Broadway to opera and back again,” said BMI Vice President Creative – Film, TV & Visual Media, Doreen Ringer-Ross. “His emotionally compelling scores make sociological statements about sensitive cultural issues faced by many, both past and present. We’re thrilled to name Terence a BMI Icon and celebrate the best in music for film, television and visual media.”

The Gig: Live Music & More

Herbie Hancock and Kamasi Washington Join Forces for North American Tour: Two of the biggest names in jazz – piano legend Herbie Hancock and saxophonist extraordinaire Kamasi Washington – will join forces for a North American tour co-headlining this summer. The initial slew of dates starts in Vienna, Virginia, on July 30 and ends in Berkeley, California, on August 23. Tickets go on sale to the general public today, April 12. Click here to find out more.

International Jazz Day All-Star Global Concert Lineup Announced: The 8th International Jazz Day will be celebrated in more than 180 countries around the world on April 29-30, and culminate in an All-Star Global Concert, which is set to take place this year at Melbourne Arts Centre’s Hamer Hall in Melbourne, Australia. The concert will feature an international roster of artists, with pianist Herbie Hancock and trumpeter James Morrison serving as artistic co-directors, and it will be webcast via YouTube, the United Nations and UNESCO to millions of people worldwide. The international lineup includes Dee Dee Bridgewater, Till Brönner, Antonio Sánchez, Chico Pinheiro and Kurt Elling, among many others.

New Release Cheat Sheet

Mark Guiliana, BEAT MUSIC! BEAT MUSIC! BEAT MUSIC! (Motéma Music)

Drummer-composer Mark Guiliana’s Beat Music is an ensemble of forward-thinking musicians who share a passion for electronic music, genre-defying and in-the-moment creativity. Their new album, BEAT MUSIC! BEAT MUSIC! BEAT MUSIC! traverses the world of electronic and acoustic music and explores the possibilities that such exploration creates. The end result is at once personal and communal; while the music on BEAT MUSIC! BEAT MUSIC! BEAT MUSIC! is through-composed by Guiliana, it draws from the extensive interactions with his fellow musicians and finds each of his collaborators bringing a distinctive voice to the eclectic mix. “Even when I’m asking the musicians in Beat Music to play a part, I’m still very much asking them to play it in the way they play,” Guiliana explains. “No decision I could make would be better than what these guys choose to do; they really bring the music to life.”

Bill Frisell and Thomas Morgan, Epistrophy (ECM Records)

Epistrophy captures the spellbinding chemistry shared by guitarist Bill Frisell and bassist Thomas Morgan in an intimate setting. Named after Thelonious Monk’s 1957 funky, angular composition, the album was recorded at New York City’s famed Village Vanguard in 2016 – the same year they released their first duo LP Small Town – and features a bundle of great interpretations of a wide range of tunes, including the aforementioned title track, Frank Sinatra’s hit “In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning,” and “Mumbo Jumbo,” which was written by Paul Motian, an artist they both know very well. Another highlight from Epistrophy worth noting is the enthusiastic take on John Barry’s “You Only Live Twice,” which feels like the partner-track to Frisell and Morgan’s version of another immortal 007 theme song, “Goldfinger,” from their previous record Small Town.

Eric Reed, Everybody Gets the Blues (Smoke Sessions)

There’s something reassuring about the title of veteran pianist Eric Reed’s new album, Everybody Gets the Blues, an album on which he not only revitalizes the gospel roots of his passion for jazz but also draws strength from music to face down struggles both personal and global – whether via original compositions or by reimagining works of a wide range of artists, bridging the generations between Cedar Walton and Stevie Wonder, as if wanting to uncover hidden truths within their art. To help him on this quest, the pianist assembled a top-class group, including saxophonist Tim Green, drummer McClenty Hunter and bassist Mike Gurrola. “I always look for answers in the past,” Reed says. “What is there in history that I can draw from? Who else has gone through what I’m going through? Who has felt what I’m feeling? That helps me to answer the questions that I have in life right now.”

Featured photo by Guy Le Querrec.

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