Nat King Cole, Arturo O’Farrill, Louis Armstrong & 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.



Louis Armstrong House Museum Launches Armstrong Now!: The Louis Armstrong House Museum is launching a new interdisciplinary creative project called Armstrong Now!, featuring works by contemporary artists inspired by and responding to the newly-digitized Armstrong Archives. The initiative’s inaugural Artists-In-Residence are Ulysses Owens Jr. and Alain Lauture, who will be working alongside this year’s Filmmakers-in-Residence are Tyrel Hunt and Xhosa Fray-Chinn. Their residency will culminate with a public performance and viewing of that will take place in the Fall of 2022.

Noriko Miyamoto Vinyl Reissue: BBE Music presents the first official release of Japanese female vocalist Noriko Miyamoto’s 1978 debut album, Push. A collaboration with bassist/composer Isao Suzuki, who produced the record, Push also captures the soul-jazz fusion that was popular on the J Jazz scene of the time. The record is released on vinyl, CD and digital as part of BBE Music’s ongoing J Jazz Masterclass Series and will be out on August 12.

Helen Sung Wins BMI’s Charlie Parker Composition Prize: Helen Sung received the Charlie Parker Composition Prize at the 33rd Annual BMI Jazz Composers Workshop Summer Showcase, held in Dizzy’s Club, New York City, on June 13. The event showcased the best new big band and jazz orchestra compositions created during the workshop during the 2021-2022 season. In addition with receiving the Charlie Parker Composition Prize for her “Jazz Portraits: II. Wayne Shorter,” Sung was also awarded the $3000 Manny Albam commission to compose a new piece that will premiere at next year’s showcase.

Photo credit: Ezekiel Jeremiah for BMI.

Barney Kessel Contemporary Records Reissue: Guitarist Barney Kessel’s The Poll Winners from 1957 was reissued on vinyl by Craft Recordings as part of its ongoing 70th-anniversary celebration of the legacy of Contemporary Records. The nine-track album also features drummer Shelly Manne and bassist Ray Browne. Its release follows the series’ reissue of Art Pepper’s +Eleven: Modern Jazz Classics.

New Volume of Nat King Cole Rarities Released Digitally: Capitol/UMe recently released the second volume of Nat King Cole rarities digitally, as part of its From the Capitol Vaults series dedicated to the legendary artist. This second volume includes 14 additional tracks, all but one of which have been previously unavailable digitally, from 1953-1959. Listen to it via the player below.


New and Upcoming Albums

Luis Deniz, El Tinajón (Modica): Saxophonist Luis Deniz presents a coalescence of his cultural influences from Cuba, Florida and Canada on his eclectic and introspective debut album as a leader, El Tinajón, released on May 27. “To me, music is about people, and songs should reflect emotions,” reflects the artist. “That was the main goal I wanted to achieve here.”

Esthesis Quartet, Esthesis Quartet (Orenda): Esthesis Quartet is the sensory, whimsical and expansive self-titled debut statement from a new creative quartet formed by pianist Dawn Clement, flutist Elsa Nilsson, bassist Emma Dayhuff and drummer Tina Raymond. The record features original compositions modeled by tactile sensitivity and exploratory improvisation and is available now via Orenda Records.

Dave Douglas, Secular Psalms (Greenleaf): Secular Psalms is Dave Douglas’ new suite of ten pieces with cellist Tomeka Reid and a wide array of sounds ranging from Medieval instruments to modern-day electronics. This evocative piece was commissioned by the city of Ghent, Belgium, for the 600th anniversary of Hubert and Jan van Eyck’s Ghent Altarpiece and combines music old and new into a contemporary clash of the sacred and the profane.

Chicago Soul Jazz Collective, On the Way To Be Free (JMarq): The Chicago Soul Jazz Collective, co-led by saxophonist John Fournier and trumpeter Marques Carroll, team up with vocalist Dee Alexander on their third album, On the Way To Be Free. Released on April 13, the record nine hopeful and uplifting compositions imbued with the fight for freedom and a search for solace, eight of which were composed by Fournier.


Live Music and Festival News

Christina Beaudry-Cárdenas Receives Festival International de Jazz de Montréal Award: Christina Beaudry-Cárdenas will receive the Festival International de Jazz de Montréal’s Oliver Jones Award on July 9, during a show presented as part of Le Studio TD Entrée Libre series. The drummer will present a fusion of jazz and Peruvian music with her project Pizca, featuring a mix of standards from both musical styles along with arrangements inspired by great legends and her own creations.

Blue Note Jazz Festival Napa Valley Announces Third Date: The Blue Note Jazz Festival Napa Valley has announced a third date of programming, due to overwhelming demand. The festival’s third date will take place on Friday, July 29, with Robert Glasper’s residency additions including Dinner Party (with Terrace Martin and Kamasi Washington) and Snoop Dogg. Additional headliners include Chaka Khan, Alex Isley, Madlib, Kenny Garrett and many more.

Chico Freeman To Premiere Extended Suite Celebrating Family Legacy: Chico Freeman has composed a new extended suite celebrating his grandmother Earle Kree Freeman, grandfather George Freeman Sr., father Von Freeman, and uncles George and Bruz Freeman. The piece is orchestrated by John Kordalewksi and will be performed by the 19-piece Chico Freeman Orchestra, premiering at the Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts at the University of Chicago on June 23. Tickets here.

San Jose Jazz Summer Fest Announces More Headliners: The San Jose Jazz Summer Fest 2022 will take place on August 12-14. The festival has announced two new headliners who will take to The Sobrato Organization Main Stage on August 13. Charlie Wilson and Leela James will join an illustrious lineup including Ledisi, Stanley Clarke, Durand Jones & The Indications, Keyon Harrold, Cameron Graves and many more.

Arturo O’Farrill Presents Fandango At The Wall at St. Ann’s Warehouse in Brooklyn Bridge Park in July: Arturo O’Farrill and his Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra, plus a stellar array of guests, will celebrate the son jarocho music of Veracruz in Fandango at the Wall, a free concert in Brooklyn Bridge Park on July 9. The special live concert will launch St. Ann’s Warehouse‘s second post-shutdown season of large-scale outdoor performance and public art presentations addressing humanitarian issues and is inspired by the historic Fandango Fronterizo Festival.

Charleston Gaillard Premiere of New Ballet Celebrating Hazel Scott: The Charleston Gaillard Center will premiere a new ballet by the Dance Theatre of Harlem, inspired by the life of jazz pianist/civil rights activist Hazel Scott. The shows, featuring guest musicians from the Charleston Symphony, will take place on October 20-21 and are part of the Charleston Gaillard Center’s recently-announced 2022-2023 artistic season, the first by new CEO Lissa Frenkel. Check out all scheduled events here.

PJ Morton Announces More Tour Dates: PJ Morton has announced new shows for his four-month-long North American tour in support of his new album, Watch the Sun. The tour now spans over 40 dates between this summer and fall. Check out all tour dates here. The acclaimed singer/songwriter also recently released a brand new music video for Watch the Sun‘s “On My Way,” featuring El DeBarge.

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