Norah Jones, Leonard Cohen, Django Reinhardt: 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.

Note-Worthy

New Norah Jones Collection of Singles Out April 12: Norah Jones will release Begin Again, a new collection of singles gathering seven eclectic songs that she has recorded over the past year, including with collaborators Jeff Tweedy and Thomas Bartlett. Begin Again will be released on April 12 via Blue Note Records. It was produced by Jones and features her on lead vocals, piano and organ, with Brian Blade on drums, Christopher Thomas on bass, Dave Guy on trumpet and Leon Thomas on saxophone.

Leonard Cohen Exhibition at the Jewish Museum: New York’s Jewish Museum will host “Leonard Cohen: A Crack in Everything,” a contemporary art exhibition inspired by the life and work of Leonard Cohen, on April 12-September 8. The exhibition includes commissioned works by a range of international artists who have been inspired by Cohen’s life and work, as well as a video projection showcasing the singer-songwriter’s own drawings and a multimedia gallery. “Leonard Cohen: A Crack in Everything” is organized by the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal, where it made its debut, and it is the first exhibition devoted to Cohen’s legacy and imagination.

2019 Juno Awards Jazz Winners: The 2019 winners of the Juno Awards, the awards presented annually to Canadian musical artists and bands to acknowledge their artistic and technical achievements in all aspects of music, were announced on March 16, including those of the three jazz categories. Andy Milne & Dapp Theory’s The Season of Being won Best Jazz Group Album, Robi Botos’ Old Soul won Best Jazz Solo Album, and Laila Biali’s self-titled LP won Best Jazz Vocal Album.

The Gig: Live Music & More

Stephane Wrembel’s Tribute to Django Reinhardt Returns to New York City: French guitarist Stephane Wrembel returns to New York City’s Town Hall with “Django a Gogo 2019: A Celebration of Guitar Mastery Through the Music of Django Reinhardt” on April 27. The program of the show features a new international all-star cast in the Django Reinhardt style and will not only feature Reinhardt’s classics and originals inspired by the guitar legend’s works but also an unusual glimpse at his solo projects, which Wrembel has been compiling, transcribing and recording for Django l’impressioniste, an album scheduled for future release. The Town Hall concert will serve in part as a presentation of Wrembel’s latest album, The Django Experiment IV, released on his own Water Is Life label on January 23, on what would have been Reinhardt’s 109th birthday.

Duduka Da Fonseca’s 68th Birthday Celebration at Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola: Drummer Duduka Da Fonseca celebrates his 68th birthday by performing a series of concerts at New York City’s Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola on March 28-31. These samba showcases will feature the music of Antonio Carlos Jobim, and find the veteran musician playing with a band featuring two fellow legends of the music: pianist Helio Alves and vocalist Maucha Adnet.

Over 75 Musicians Top-Flight Jazz Musicians to Perform on Blue Note at Sea 2020 Cruise: For the 4th consecutive season, Blue Note Jazz Clubs and Blue Note Records are collaborating with Entertainment Cruise Productions to bring many of the world’s most renowned contemporary jazz musicians together for Blue Note at Sea 2020, a weeklong luxury cruise that sails through the Caribbean from January 25 through February 1, 202. Hosted by Marcus Miller, Robert Glasper and Don Was, the cruise will feature performances by over 75 top-flight jazz musicians, including Kamasi Washington, Christian McBride, Gregory Porter, Cyrille Aimée and Emmet Cohen, among others. Saxophonist Eric Marienthal serves as the music director for the cruise.

New Release Cheat Sheet

Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah, Ancestral Recall (Ropeadope/Stretch Music)

With Ancestral Recall, trumpeter-composer Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah continues his mission of unifying people via musical and cultural voices by tearing down the sonic and social constructs that separate then, melding together various different influences and sounds from the African Diaspora and beyond to create a trademark sound of his own. “It is time we created a sound that dispels singular narratives of entire peoples and looks to finally represent the wealth of narratives found throughout the American experience,” he explains. “An experience that shows all forms of expression in sound are valid, as all people are.” Ancestral Recall features collaborations with such fellow innovative artists as Chris Turner, Mike Larry Draw, Elena Pinderhughes and many more.

The Rippingtons, Open Road (Peak Records/Entertainment One)

For over three decades, The Rippingtons have been topping the world of contemporary jazz. The group was founded by guitarist-composer Russ Freeman in 1985 and it has been the main vehicle for his genre-defying musical vision and pursuits since then. Open Road, their first new studio album in three years, finds The Rippingtons going back to basics, privileging great melodies, dynamic arrangements and virtuoso playing while, at the same time, taking advantage of and experimenting with modern techniques and new technologies. The end result evokes a sensation of freedom and journeys to exotic places, a feeling embodied by the band’s mascot, the “Jazz Cat” featured on the cover art of Open Road.

Patrice Jégou, If It Ain’t Love (Prairie Star Records)

If It Ain’t Love is the new, musically diverse new album by Canadian-born former figure skater turned singer Patrice Jégou, and it is a collection of new takes on jazz and pop tunes that encompasses big band and huge orchestral arrangements, power ballads and a cappella adaptations. Recorded at LA’s legendary Capitol and United Recording Studios, If It Ain’t Love finds Jégou backed by a cast of A-list musicians, including The Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra and the award-winning vocal group Take 6, plus orchestral arrangements by Jorge Calanadrelli, John Clayton, Mark Kibble, David Paich and Mike Lang. “For this album, only the best would do,” the vocalist explains via a press release.

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