Ramsey Lewis, Elvin Jones, Jon Batiste & 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.



Ramsey Lewis Dies: Pianist/composer and NEA Jazz Master Ramsey Lewis died peacefully at his home in Chicago on the morning of September 12. He was 87. Lewis broke through in a big way in 1965 with the early crossover smash, “The In Crowd,” and throughout his career, he performed and recorded in a remarkable variety of musical settings. Among his many honors were five honorary doctorate degrees and an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Jazz Artist. Click here to read more about Lewis and listen to our podcast conversation with the jazz great.

Di Meola, Ponty and Clarke Live Recording Gets First Ever CD Release: Mercury Studios will release Rite of Strings: Live at the Montreux Jazz Festival 1994 on October 28. Previously released only on DVD in 2005, the album documents the brilliant interplay between virtuoso musicians Al Di Meola, Jean-Luc Ponty and Stanley Clarke. The nine-track two-CD set features such deep cuts as “Renaissance” and “Memory Canyon,” along with six others.

Espen Eriksen on JAZZIZ Podcast: Last week, we shared the latest episode of our brand new JAZZIZ Podcast series, brought to you in conjunction with our JAZZIZ Vinyl Club subscription service. The latest episode of the series is a conversation with Norwegian pianist/composer Espen Eriksen, known for his work with the acclaimed Espen Eriksen Trio. The group released a live collaboration with saxophonist Andy Sheppard, In the Mountains, earlier this year on Rune Grammofon. Listen to the podcast via the player below.

Delfeayo Marsalis Appointed 2022-23 Artist-in-Residence at University of Hartford’s Hartt School: Trombonist/producer and NEA Jazz Master Delfeayo Marsalis the 2022-23 Artist-in-Residence for the Jackie McLean Institute of Jazz Studies at the University of Hartford’s Hartt School. “I am honored and thrilled to be part of the distinguished Jackie McLean Institute of Jazz Studies,” says Marsalis via a press release. “I look forward to engaging with the students for the academic year. We’re going to keep it real, old school, and help these youngsters prepare to carry on Jackie McLean’s mission and passion for the music we all love so much.”

Previously Unissued Elvin Jones Live Recordings Out Soon: Blue Note has announced the release of a previously unissued recording of Elvin Jones’ quartet. Revival: Live at Pookie’s Pub captures the drummer’s emergence as a bandleader at a little-known club in New York City, where he had a weekly residency after leaving John Coltrane’s band in 1966. The album, which features Joe Farrell on tenor saxophone, Billy Greene on piano, and Wilbur Little on bass, will be released on November 18.

Debut ONO Album Gets First Ever Digital Release: Kate Cincinnati, the 1982 debut full-length album by long-running experimental gospel Chicago group ONO, will be released digitally for the first time on November 18 via American Dreams. The release, showcasing the trio composed of bandleader P. Michael Grego, multi-instrumentalist Ric Graham, and enigmatic frontperson Travis, marks the album’s 40th anniversary. Kate Cincinnati was originally self-released in 1982 in an edition of 300 tapes alongside an accompanying libretto/zine.


New and Upcoming Albums

Julia Hülsmann Quartet, The Next Door (ECM): Julia Hülsmann showcases her unique pianistic voice on her latest release, The Next Door, which features the quartet from her acclaimed 2019 album, Not Far From Here, with tenor saxophonist Uli Kempendorff, Heinrich Köbberling on drums, Marc Muellbauer on bass. Each member contributes original material to The Next Door, recorded in the South of France in March 2022 and was released on August 26 via ECM, as the band sets out to embark on a European tour.

Joy Lapps, Girl in the Yard (self-released): Instrumentalist/composer Joy Lapps showcases her mastery of the steelpan on Girl in the Yard, her fifth release as a leader and debut full-length. The record exclusively features original music and arrangements, informed by a vibrant palette of styles and paying tribute to the many women who have supported her success in the Steelband movement.

Charles Stepney, Step on Step (International Anthem): International Anthem released Step on Step, a double-LP album of recordings by the late legend Charles Stepney, the multi-instrumentalist/songwriter/arranger best known for his work with such artists as Earth, Wind & Fire, Deniece Williams, Ramsey Lewis and more. The music in this collection was created by Stepney alone, in the basement of his home on the Southside of Chicago, sometime in the late ’60s and early ’70s, before his untimely death in 1976. Step on Step was released on vinyl, CD, cassette and digital on September 9.

Gard Nilssen Acoustic Unity, Elastic Wave (ECM): Acclaimed Norwegian drummer Gard Nilssen showcases dynamic interaction, a swinging sense of pulse and boldly etched themes on Elastic Wave. The record also introduces his new dynamic trio, Acoustic Unity, with saxophonist/clarinettist André Roligheten and bassist Petter Eldh. Elastic Wave was released on July 15.


Live Music and Festival News

Jon Batiste’s American Symphony Carnegie Hall Premiere: Jon Batiste will premiere his latest opus, American Symphony, at New York’s Carnegie Hall on September 22. Batiste’s new work is described as the culmination of more than a century of Black brilliance, as the Oscar-winning composer salutes musical visionaries, reimagining and redefining the symphonic concert experience. This performance concludes his Perspectives series and features artists of all genres, reflecting the melting pot that is American life and democracy.

Satoko Fujii to Record Landmark 100th Album Live in NYC Tonight: Pianist/composer Satoko Fujii returns to New York City tonight, September 20, for the live concert recording of her 100th album at the Dimenna Center in Manhattan. Hyaku: One Hundred Dreams features Fujii with Wadada Leo Smith, Natsuki Tamura, Ingrid Laubrock, Sara Schoenbeck, Ikue Mori, Brandon Lopez, Tom Rainey and Chris Corsano. Tickets here.

First Robtober 2022 Guests Announced: New York City’s Blue Note Jazz Club has unveiled the first wave of special guests for Robert Glasper’s 4th annual Robtober residency. Lalah Hathaway, yasiin bey, Terrace Martin, Isaiah Sharkey, Alex Isley, Pino Palladino, and many more will join Glasper during his fall Blue Note run on October 4-November 6. Glasper will perform a total of 52 shows across 26 nights, including Halloween weekend. More special guests will be announced in the upcoming weeks. More here.

Chucho Valdés La Creación U.S. Tour Continues: Chucho Valdés launched the U.S. tour of La Creación over Labor Day Weekend at the Detroit Jazz Festival. The tour’s next stop will be California, Boston, Washington D.C. and Chicago. A four-movement suite for big band and vocals, La Creación explores the story of creation according to the Afro-Cuban Santería religion over Labor Day Weekend at the Detroit Jazz Festival. Check out all upcoming tour dates here.

Featured photo by David Needleman.

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