Nina Simone, jaimie branch, Betty Davis & 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.



Newly Discovered Nina Simone Set: As part of a year-long celebration of Nina Simone’s 90th birthday, Verve Records and UMe will release You’ve Got To Learn, a newly-discovered recording of the artist at the 1966 Newport Jazz Festival, set for release July 21. The album’s first single, “Mississippi Goddam,” has been shared and is accompanied by a stylized lyric video that you can watch via the player below.

Betty Davis Reissues: On August 25, Light in the Attic will reisue four career-spanning Betty Davis albums in celebration of the 50th-anniversary of the Queen of Funk’s self-titled album. Titles include Betty Davis (1973), They Say I’m Different (1974), Is It Love Or Desire? (recorded in 1976, released in 2009), as well as the first-ever vinyl release of Crashin’ From Passion, which captures Davis’ final 1979 sessions. All four tiles were produced in close collaboration with Davis, who sadly passed away in 2022.

New jaimie branch Album and Video: International Anthem has announced the posthumous release of jaimie branch’s Fly or Die Fly or Die Fly or Die ((world war)), the third and final entry in the late genre-defying trumpeter’s Fly or Die series of albums. The record will be released on August 25, just days after the one-year anniversary of branch’s passing, and its announcement comes with the release of its preview track, “take over the world,” accompanied by a video directed by Emmy-winning filmmaker Jon Philpot, which you can watch via the player below.

Symphonic Jazz Orchestra Announced George Duke Commissioning Prize Competition: The Symphonic Jazz Orchestra (SJO), led by music director and SJO founder Mitch Glickman, has announced the 8th Annual George Duke Commissioning Prize Competition. The competition was established in 2022 and honors the legacy of the late legendary musician/composer George Duke, who passed away in 2013. The competition, which returns after a hiatus due to the COVID pandemic, is open to all composers and the submission deadline for the $5,000 prize is August 15. More here.


New Albums

Vince Mendoza & Metropole Orkest, Olympians (Modern): Vince Mendoza reunites with longtime collaborator Metropole Orkest on Olympians, a select collection of the composer/conductor’s works written for the orchestra over their 28-year collaboration. The album, available now, also features special guests Dianne Reeves, Cécile McLorin Salvant, Chris Potter, David Binney, Alex Acuña and Ramon Stagnaro.

Linda May Han Oh, The Glass Hours (Biophilia): The Glass Hours showcases the further evolution of Linda May Han Oh’s compositional voice and her gift for exploring societal issues in a personal, intimate form. The new recording finds the GRAMMY-winning artists scaling back to a quintet of five uniquely gifted and innovative musicians: Sara Serpa, Mark Turner, Fabian Almazan and Obed Calvaire, the latter rejoining Oh for the first time since her 2009 debut, Entry.

Doug Beavers, Luna (Circle 9): Trombonist/composer Doug Beavers explores the rhythmic varieties of Afro-Latin, R&B and Soul styles on Luna, which marks the Spanish Harlem Orchestra member’s sixth recording as a bandleader, due out on June 30. While his previous recording, Sol, focused on blending these styles with salsa, on Luna, Beavers’ focal point is Latin jazz.

FlamenKora, FlamenKora (Motéma): FlamenKora is the self-titled debut album from a new trio uniting West African Mande music with authentic Spanish flamenco guitar and American/Euro jazz trumpet. This transglobal collaboration features German-born, New York-based trumpeter Volker Goetze, Senegalese-born, Paris-based kora master/vocalist Ali Boulo Cissoko and rising star Madrid flamenco guitar sensation, Alejandro Moreno.


Live Music and Festival News

2023 DCJazzPrix Finalists Announced: The DC Jazz Festival has announced the three bands selected as the 2023 DCJazzPrix finalists, the international competition created to recognize and support top jazz band talent. All finalists will perform on September 2, during the DCJazzPrix Finals at Union Stage, as part of the 19th Annual DC JazzFest. The finalists are Birckhead (Baltimore, Maryland), Ember (Brooklyn, New York) and New Jazz Underground (New York, New York). 

San Jose Jazz Summer Fest 2023, August 11-13: San Jose Jazz Summer Fest 2023 returns for its 33rd festival season from August 11-13 in and around Plaza de César Chavez Park in downtown San Jose, California. The festival will present 100 acts across eight indoor and outdoor stages with acclaimed headliners on The Sobrato Organization Main Stage, including Cimafunk and La Tribu, Pete Rock & The Soul Brothers, Gregory Porter and Marcus Miller, among others. More here.

16th Annual Angel City Jazz Festival Announces Final 2023 Lineup: The Angel City Jazz Festival will take place from October 13-29 at diverse and popular venues across Los Angeles, California. Presented by Angel City Arts, this year’s event will host 17 concerts and kick off with a special 100th-anniversary tribute to the musical legacy of Sam Rivers, featuring a 13-piece ensemble with special guest sax legend Billy Harper led by arranger/composer Max Masters. Also scheduled to perform are Linda May Han Oh & Fabian Almazan, the Kirk Knuffke Trio, the Destiny Muhammad Trio with Teodross Avery and many more. More here.

Europe Jazz Conference 2023 Registrations Now Open: Registrations are now open for all participants for the 9th European Jazz Conference, which will take place from September 14-17 in Marseille, France. The Conference is co-organized by Europe Jazz Network and Marseille Jazz des Cinq Continents. Register and find out more about the Conference events and concerts here.

Featured photo credit: Ben Semisch, courtesy of Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts.

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