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.
Wayne Shorter Remembers Jazz Messengers’ First Tour of Japan: Legendary saxophonist Wayne Shorter remembers being on Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers’ first tour of Japan in 1961 on the latest episode of “First Look” with Don Was. A Tokyo date from the tour is captured in First Flight to Tokyo: The Lost 1961 Recordings, recently released on Blue Note Records. The recording captures one of the group’s great lineups with drummer Art Blakey, trumpeter Lee Morgan, pianist Bobby Timmons, bassist Jymie Merritt and Shorter. Order it here.
Reservoir Announces Publishing Deal With Michael League: Reservoir Media has announced a worldwide publishing deal with Michael League and his internationally acclaimed Snarky Puppy. As part of the deal, Reservoir will also represent League’s GroundUP Music, which is the label and publishing home for many of Snarky Puppy’s members, collaborators and larger musical family. On the new deal with Reservoir, League said, “I couldn’t be more excited to open a new door not just for myself, but for all of my friends and fellow writers at GroundUP Music, as we join together with the incredibly hard-working and motivated team at Reservoir. I have no doubt that this will take our music to new places and fresh ears.”
UMe Shares New Official Videos for Holiday Classics: UMe has teamed up with legendary artists and estates to create official animated videos for some of the most beloved holiday classics. These include songs by Dean Martin, Bing Crosby, Ella Fitzgerald, Nat “King” Cole and Frank Sinatra, among others. The videos span a variety of styles and themes, and feature animators from all over the world putting their spin on the holidays. Check them out via the playlist below.
Winners of Danish Music Awards Jazz 2021 Announced: On December 6, JazzDanmark announced the winners of the 2021 Danish Music Awards Jazz during a ceremony held at Bremen House in Copenhagen. The ceremony was attended in person by 600 people and broadcast live on television and radio. Japanese-born pianist Makiko Hirabayashi’s Weavers top honors as the Jazz Release of the Year. Other winners include Jesper Thorn, Astrid Angberg and All Too Human, among others.
Eleanor Ward Appointed as JPN Network Development Director: The Jazz Promotion Network (JPN), the only UK and Ireland-wide network of jazz industry professionals, has appointed Eleanor Ward as Network Development Director. The appointment follows the success of the 2021 JPN Conference and comes as the organization embarks on an exciting period of change. As stated on an official press release, Ward will lead on a sectoral consultation project, develop new activity plans and oversee major funding bids to help shape the future direction of JPN.
Tyler Mitchell Featuring Marshall Allen, Dancing Shadows (Mahakala): Bassist Tyler Mitchell and saxophonist Marshall Allen, who worked together in the Sun Ra Arkestra in the ’80s, reunited on a new project described as “the perfect synthesis of freedom and constraint, hard bop and pure sonic texture.” Dancing Shadows, out January 28 via Mahakala Music, features sextet renditions of compositions by Mitchell, Allen, Sun Ra and a take on Thelonious Monk’s “Skippy.” Pre-order it here.
Bill O’Connell, A Change Is Gonna Come (Savant): Pianist/composer/arranger Bill O’Connell will release a new album of impassioned music reacting to rampant racial and political injustice and the turmoil of these times of pandemic. A Change Is Gonna Come, due out January 28, finds him leading a quintet and departing from Latin jazz to embrace a more straight-ahead jazz idiom. Pre-order it here.
Nori, Nori (Go Stop): Austin-based Neo Jazz quintet Nori have released a self-titled compilation of ten of their favorite songs, which they wrote from 2015 to 2021. These songs showcase their diverse sound and pointed lyrics, addressing important topical themes of identity, activism, racial tensions, racism and love. Nori was released on December 3 and also marks their first-ever vinyl release. Order it here.
Darrell Katz, Galeanthropology (JCA): Composer/arranger Darrell Katz released a new album with his unique drummerless OddSong ensemble, featuring four saxophones, violin, marimba and voice. Galeanthropology showcases their unique artistic vision through original songs and fresh renditions of pop classics and jazz standards. Galeanthrolpology was released on November 19 on JCA Recordings.
Live Music and Festival News
Ron Carter’s 85th Birthday at Carnegie Hall in May: A special event celebrating the life, legacy and 85th birthday of bass legend Ron Carter is set to take place on May 10 at New York’s Carnegie Hall. Tickets here. The event will feature performances by Carter-led groups in trio, quartet and nonet combinations, exploring material from his illustrious six-decade career. Special guests are scheduled to perform, including Stanley Clarke and Buster Williams. NBC newscaster Lester Holt will serve as emcee.
Norah Jones on PBS Holiday Special, December 21: Norah Jones will be performing on the PBS holiday special, “In Performance at the White House: Spirit of the Season.” The special will air on December 21. It will be hosted by Jennifer Garner and feature remarks by President Joseph R. Biden and Dr. Jill Biden. Jones recently released her first holiday-themed full-length, I Dream of Christmas, now also available in a digital Deluxe Edition including three additional tracks, via Blue Note Records. Order it here.
Rick Braun New Year’s Celebration in Tucson: Trumpeter Rick Braun will headline his annual new year’s celebration at JW Marriott Starr Pass Resort in Tucson, Arizona, on December 30-31. He will co-headline the soiree with Richard Elliot and Selina Albright. Vincent Ingala and Eric Darius will also perform. The festivities will kick off on Thursday, December 30, with a golf tournament that will raise money for families affected by autism. Tickets here.
2022 San Sebastian Jazz Festival Lineup Announced: The 57th San Sebastian Jazz Festival of Spain will take place on July 21-25, 2022. The festival has already announced headliners who will perform at two of the festival’s major venues, the Plaza de la Trinidad and the Kursaal Auditorium. They are Herbie Hancock, Iggy Pop, Diana Krall, Gregory Porter, Amina Claudine Myers, Hiromi, Yann Tiersen, Kurt Elling, Calexico, Steve Coleman, Louis Cole, Lakecia Benjamin and Miho Hazama. More here.
Bill Charlap Trio Celebrates Leonard Bernstein in NJPAC Concert, January 29: The Bill Charlap Trio will celebrate the songs of acclaimed theatre score composer Leonard Bernstein in a January 29 concert at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark, New Jersey. Tickets here. The event will be hosted by Ted Chapin and feature author Jamie Bernstein, sharing stories and memories from her recent book, Famous Father Girl: A Memoir of Growing Up Bernstein.
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