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.
Classic Warp Albums Now Available on Bandcamp: Since their inception in 1989, Warp Records have been at the vanguard of electronic music and championed original voices, defiant of easy categorization. Now, classic titles from their fabled catalog are available on Bandcamp, including releases by Aphex Twins, Boards of Canada, Flying Lotus and more. Find out more here.
Limited Edition Ella Fitzgerald Jiggy: To celebrate the release of Ella Fitzgerald’s The Lost Berlin Tapes from the treasure chest of Norman Granz, Verve has teamed up with Jiggy to offer a limited edition puzzle featuring original art by Italian artist Marta Cubeddu. Each 500-piece Ella puzzle comes in a reusable drawstring bag, box and includes a puzzle glue to preserve your masterpiece. Order it here.
New Orleans Music Documentary Released Digitally: Mercury Studios has announced the digital release of New Orleans music documentary Up from the Streets: New Orleans: The City of Music. Produced/directed by Michael Murphy and hosted by trumpeter/composer Terence Blanchard, the film dissects the evolution of the city’s music, from early innovations in jazz through R&B and funk. The film’s digital release follows a successful U.S. virtual cinema run, which helped raise over $10,000 for The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation’s Jazz & Heritage Music Relief Fund. More info here.
UMe Shares Lofi Remixes of Holiday Classics: UMe has shared Lofi remixes of classic Christmas and wintery songs from legendary artists, including Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, The Temptations and more. The eight-track mixtape is titled Lofi Holiday Mixtape and available to stream at all streaming services.
Archie Shepp and Jason Moran, Let My People Go (Archieball): Jazz legend Archie Shepp and acclaimed pianist Jason Moran will release Let My People Go on February 5 via Archieball, which gathers a number of their duet performances from 2017 and 2018. The announcement comes with the release of the album’s lead single, a version of the traditional spiritual “Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child,” with Shepp doubling on vocals and saxophone.
Staci Griesbach, My Shania Twain Songbook (self-released): Vocalist Staci Griesbach introduces country music icon Shania Twain’s catalog to jazz. On My Shania Twain Songbook, out on December 18, she collaborates with top jazz names to create jazz versions of a selection from Twain’s 1995 hit record The Woman in Me, which celebrates its 25th anniversary this year. More info here.
Multiquarium Big Band ft. Biréli Lagrène, Remembering Jaco (Naive/Believe): The Multiquarium Big Band, led by French guitarist/bassist Biréli Lagrène, have released an album celebrating the legacy of the legendary Jaco Pastorius. Remembering Jaco features reworkings of many of his best-loved songs, including from his Weather Report days, and with Lagrène on fretless bass. The album was released on October 16 via Naive/Believe.
Pat Metheny, Road to the Sun (BMG): Pat Metheny will release Road to the Sun, his debut album for BMG Modern Recordings, on March 5. The album highlights his compositional prowess, with music performed by five of the world’s leading guitarists: Jason Vieaux and the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet. “Improvising and composing are related activities that happen at wildly different temperatures,” says Metheny. “But at the same time, ideally, the kinds of things that I love as a listener and a music lover are what I aspire to represent, regardless of how they come to be.”
Yussef Dayes, Welcome to the Hills (Cashmere Thoughts): London percussionist/producer Yussef Dayes has released Welcome to the Hills, a live album recorded in Copenhagen in July 2019, which was his last with longtime collaborators Rocco Palladino and Charlie Stacey before the pandemic. The album showcases the spellbinding atmosphere of the trio’s live performances.
Live Music and Festival News
New Jazz Anthem Brings Together Acclaimed Roster to Fight for Social Justice: “Say Their Names” is a new four-movement composition bringing together an acclaimed roster of roots creators and contemporary jazz artists to protest the senseless killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and countless other black men and women. The piece was composed and arranged by Ethan Sultry and raises awareness for Macy Gray’s MyGood, a non-profit founded earlier this year as an effort to families who have lost loved ones due to police brutality. Click here to download and donate to mygood.org.
The Marco Pignataro Jazztet with Strings + Special Guests, December 18: The Consulate General of Italy in Boston has announced a special virtual concert, “Passione – Canto Italiano,” featuring saxophonist Marco Pignataro’s Jazztet with Strings and special guests, including bassist John Patitucci and others. The concert will feature inspiring new arrangements of celebrated Italian music and Neapolitan classics commissioned exclusively for this special event. Recorded live at the WGBH Fraser Performance Studio in Boston, the event will be broadcast here on December 18 at 6 p.m. ET.
Kurt Elling to Host Free Virtual Concert for Unity, December 18: Kurt Elling and Atlanta Television Journalist Shaunya Chavis will host a free virtual concert supporting the unified campaigns of Reverend Raphael Warnock and John Ossoff for U.S. Senate on December 18 at 9 p.m. ET. The special event is titled “Blue Holiday” and will feature a star-studded lineup of performers including Patti Austin, Branford Marsalis, Cecile McLorin Salvant, Brad Mehldau, Take 6 and more. Stream the event here.
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