New Music Monday: Melissa Gardiner, Champion Jack Dupree, Allen Toussaint & More

Looking for some Monday Motivation? We’ve got you covered. From tiny lights to hot tears, here are five new songs that you can listen to right now to start your week the right way.

Johnathan Blake, “Bedrum”

Johnathan Blake is one of the most accomplished drummers of his generation, and “Bedrum” shows that he is also a force of nature. This is one of the two solo-drum tracks from Blake’s new double-album Trion; an explosive and joyful percussive showcase that clocks in at almost three minutes. The rest of Trion is an invigorating exploration of the possibilities of the drum-sax-bass trio, with Blake playing alongside two other masters of their own instruments: saxophonist Chris Potter and Linda May Han Oh. Recorded live before a thrilled audience at New York City’s Jazz Gallery, Trion, out now, is the second release from Jimmy Katz’s Giant Step Arts, a non-profit with the single mission to help modern jazz innovators create their art free of commercial pressure.

Romain Collin, “Tiny Lights That Move and Speak”

Pianist-composer Romain Collin’s fourth album, Tiny Lights…, will be released in three different parts, each of which will be released on a different date – April 12, May 3 and May 24 –  and include music, videos and other digital material. More than a traditional album, Tiny Lights… feels like a multimedia work, the result of interaction between various arts and driven by the fictional narrative of a protagonist’s violent journey to transcendence and Collin’s lifelong compulsion to manifest a universe not only of sounds but textures. This exclusive premiere of the video for the powerfully atmospheric “Tiny Lights That Move and Speak,” on which Collin explores vocal loops and electronics, previews the extent of this visionary experiment, with filmmaker Matthew Palmer visually matching the emotions of the music to construct a feverish, surrealist vision. “Tiny Lights That Move and Speak” also features drummer Obed Calvaire and guitarist Matthew Stevens.

Melissa Gardiner, “Slowly”

Melissa Gardiner is known as one of the most technically creative and emotionally powerful trombonists today. On her latest single, her original composition “Slowly,” she showcases her skills as a vocalist as she addresses the delicate theme of domestic violence and sings a timely story of strength, resilience and bravery through such lines as “Circumstance has got me paralyzed / I’m searching for a way out / I’m trapped under gazing eyes / I’m moving slowly, slowly.” “Slowly,” also featuring the world-renowned Ingrid Jensen on trumpet, will be included on Gardiner’s forthcoming full-length studio album, Empowered, which is scheduled for release at the end of May.

Claude Fontaine, “Hot Tears”

Following the hypnotic, Bossa Nova-inspired “Pretending He Was You” and much like the previous “Cry for Another,” singer-songwriter Claude Fontaine’s new single “Hot Tears” is a nod to the early ’70s Studio One, Trojan and Treasure Isle records of Jamaica. It finds Fontaine’s vocals marked by a type of hopelessness, singing such lines as “Hot tears in my coffee, cold sheets in my bed / If he really loved me, he’d be here instead,” over muted percussions and flutters of trumpet, painting a timeless portrayal of unrequited and addictive “bad” love. “Hot Tears” is the third single from the singer-songwriter’s self-titled debut album, out April 26 via Innovative Leisure, and featuring contributions from, among others, legendary guitarist Tony Chin.

Champion Jack Dupree and Allen Toussaint, “Bring Me Flowers While I’m Living/Rub a Little Boogie”

Smithsonian Folkways recently shared a newly digitized video from the 1991 New Orleans Jazz Festival of an impromptu piano duet by Allen Toussaint and Champion Jack Dupree, performing “Bring Me Flowers While I’m Living” before sliding into a boogie-woogie, trading off parts before an astonished audience. The video was previously released on a long-unavailable VHS; found in the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation Archive and uploaded to the internet, it may now be readily greeted by a worldwide audience willing to be blown away by two iconic artists doing what they loved doing best. The video also serves as somewhat of a taster for the Smithsonian’s forthcoming huge box-set celebrating the history of the New Orleans Jazz Festival. Out May 10, Jazz Fest compiles live recordings taken at the festival from 1974 to 2016, including songs from Dupree and Toussaint and such other iconic artists as Trombone Shorty, Irma Thomas, The Preservation Hall Jazz Band and many more.

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