Miles Davis, Vince Mendoza, Chick Corea: 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

Temple University Commissions New Vince Mendoza Work: Grammy-winning composer/arranger/conductor Vince Mendoza‘s week-long residency at Temple University this past March culminated with the world premiere and recording of Constant Renaissance, a new work inspired by Philadelphia’s history with jazz and its connection to innovation, reinvention and rebirth. The recording will be available August 2 on the College’s own label, MCM&D Records, and features trumpeter Terell Stafford, alto-saxophonist Dick Oatts and the Temple University Studio Orchestra. Constant Renaissance was commissioned by Temple University’s Boyer College of Music and Dance, which regularly commissions major composers to write or arrange new pieces for student ensembles.

Frost School of Music Dean Shelly Berg (left) and Japanese performing artist Yoshiki welcome students and visitors to a masterclass at Maurice Gusman Concert Hall at the University of Miami. (Photo: Courtesy Frost School of Music)

Japanese Superstar Yoshiki Visits the University of Miami: Yoshiki — the composer, pianist, rock drummer and leader of the rock group X Japan, and one of Japan’s most prominent recording artists and performers — made a rare appearance at the Frost School of Music at the University of Miami on Thursday, June 27, to present the school with a donation of $150K on behalf of his non-profit 501(c)(3) organization, the Yoshiki Foundation America. In recognition of this generation gift, Shelly Berg, the dean of the Frost School of Music and a frequent collaborator with Yoshiki, announced that he will rename his office suite in Yoshiki’s honor. The presentation was followed by a masterclass in which Yoshiki, who is about to release his first album with X Japan in 22 years, shared anecdotes from his nearly 30-year career as one of Japan’s leading rock artists and dispensed musical advice such as, “Play every concert as if it is your last.”

Note-Worthy

Lost Miles Davis Album Out Soon: Miles Davis’ previously unissued 1985 album Rubberband is finally to be released on September 6 via Warner Bros.  The project, which was set to feature guests Al Jarreau and Chaka Khan, was scrapped in favor of Tutu, which was released in 1986. The LP includes eleven tracks and was completed by its original producers and Davis’ nephew Vince Wilburn Jr, with new vocal contributions from Lalah Hathaway and Ledisi. Its music finds the trumpet legend exploring funk and soul grooves alongside his then-newly formed studio group of keyboardists Adam Holzman, Neil Larsen and Wayne Linsey, percussionist Steve Reid, saxophonist Glen Burris, and Wilburn, Jr. on drums.

New Strut Compilation Explores Rare Indian Ocean Sounds: Strut Records will release Alefa Madagascar: Salegy, Soukous & Soul from the Red Island 1974-1984 on September 6. The compilation, available now to pre-order, is the first of its kind, documenting the unique Salegy, soukous and soul blends on the island during the ’70s and ’80s. Alefa Madagascar showcases the rich variety of sounds during this period, including music by such artists as Roger Georges, Jean Kely et Basth, and Los Matadores, among others. It was mastered by The Carvery and features cover artwork by top illustrator Lewis Heriz.

Resonance Shares Unreleased Bill Evans and Wes Montgomery Archival Discoveries: On June 21, Resonance Records shared Smile With Your Heart: The Best of Bill Evans on Resonance and Wes’s Best: The Best of Wes Montgomery on Resonance. Both recordings were previously unreleased and are part of the leading archival jazz specialists’ recently inaugurates series of samplers, the Takao Fujioka Collection. Both albums feature the eye-catching artwork and design of Takao Fujioka, editor of the Japanese jazz journal Way Out West, and will be available on all digital platforms today, June 28.

Vic Juris Needs Our Help: Jazz guitar great Vic Juris was diagnosed with metastatic liver cancer and is currently at St. Barnabas Medical Center in Livingston, New Jersey, receiving medical treatment. His wife, Kate Baker, has reached out to the great music community and friends for donations, as Juris’ medical insurance only covers part of his needed treatment and it will be a long time before he will be able to work again. Click here to visit the crowdfunding page that has been set up for donations.

The Gig: Live Music & More

Jazzmobile Launches New Jazz Residency at Minton’s Playhouse in Harlem: Jazzmobile – the oldest not-for-profit arts organization created just for jazz in the United States – and Harlem Jazz Enterprises have entered into a new partnership to present live music at the iconic Minton’s Playhouse jazz club in Harlem, New York. This open-ended residency will begin on Independence Day with pianist Nat Adderley, Jr. and will continue every Thursday evening with a world-class jazz band. The summer lineup will be announced at the opening celebration on July 4.

New Release Cheat Sheet

Chick Corea & The Spanish Heart Band, Antidote (Concord Jazz)

Antidote is pianist/composer Chick Corea’s new flamenco album with his Spanish Heart Band. The title draws from Corea’s thought that music and art are “a kind of antidote to the dark side of life.” Released via Concord Jazz, the new LP includes reinterpretations of songs from Corea’s classic albums My Spanish Heart (1976) and Touchstone (1982), plus new compositions and notable guest appearances by vocalists Rubén Blades, Gayle Moran Corea and Maria Blanca. Chick Corea & The Spanish Heart Band will go on a concert tour in Europe this summer, culminating in a single North American date on August 3 at the 50th annual Concord Jazz Festival.

Mindi Abair and the Boneshakers, No Good Deed (Pretty Good for a Girl)

No Good Deed is the new album by Grammy Award-nominated saxophonist/vocalist/composer Mindi Abair and her band, The Boneshakers. The new LP is an invigorating mix of blues, rock and jazz, capturing the live performance energy of Abair and her band, and it is due out via Abair’s Pretty Good for a Girl Records. “We’ve got a lot of years together as a band,” says Abair via a press release. “And what you hear on No Good Deed drips of me and the Boneshakers but also unveils variations of where the band can go. We pushed into other spaces that we’re really comfortable in — we just hadn’t shown them to the world yet.”

Lauren Henderson, Alma Oscura (Brontosaurus)

Vocalist/composer/arranger Lauren Henderson returns with a new project, her fifth album since her 2011 self-titled debut. The compositions on Alma Oscura – which translates as “dark soul” – are strongly inflected with jazz, Latin, soul and fusion elements, and are sung both in English and Spanish, with Henderson’s voice conveying great emotional depth and bittersweet longing. “The project is an exploration of culture, the poisons of social norms, race relations and the complexities navigated through society as we encounter love and death,” she explains via a press release.

Featured photo courtesy of Miles Davis Facebook.

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