Roy Hargrove, Shabaka, Nate Najar & 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.



Sarah Vaughan International Jazz Vocal Competition Registration Now Open: The New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) has announced the opening of the 11th Annual Sarah Vaughan Jazz Vocal Competition. Solo vocalists around the world are encouraged to submit their entries before September 6, 2022. Five finalists will be chosen to perform and compete in front of a live audience at a performance on the NJPAC stage on November 20. Register here.

Plínio Fernandes Signs with Decca Gold: Decca Gold has announced the signing of 27-year-old Brazilian classical guitarist Plínio Fernandes. Plínio will release his major-label debut solo album, Saudade, on July 8. On signing with Decca Gold, Fernandes says via a statement: “It’s really a dream come true: the opportunity to be signed by Decca Gold. All my heroes recorded for the label, especially Andrés Segovia. Being the one chosen to carry through that legacy is amazing, but such a responsibility.”

New Roy Hargrove Documentary to Premiere at Tribeca: The 2022 Tribeca Festival has announced the world premiere of Hargrove, a vérité style documentary chronicling the final year of trumpet legend Roy Hargrove’s life. The documentary marks the directorial debut of Eliane Henri and is executive produced by Janine Sherman Barrois and Erykah Badu. The world premiere screening will take place on June 12 and will be followed by a Q&A session moderated by critic Nelson George.

New Jason Miles Autobiography: Keyboardist/composer Jason Miles, a pioneer of synthesizer technology in jazz and music at large, documents his life in music on his recently-released autobiography. The Extraordinary Journey of Jason Miles follows the arc of his career, including his many projects as a bandleader and his collaborations with countless great artists, including Miles Davis, Luther Vandross, Michael Brecker, George Benson, Whitney Houston and many more.

Arts for Art Presents Vision Festival Art Show: From June 16-30, Arts for Art will present a Vision Festival Art Show, hosted in The Clemente’s LES Gallery and La Plaza in New York. The art shows will highlight the visual talents of Wadada Leo Smith, and Oliver Lake, who typically receive recognition solely for their music. The exhibition will also showcase works by Amir Bey, William Parker and Patricia Nicholson.

2022 IBC Winners Announced: The winners of this year’s International Blues Challenge (IBC), which took place on May 9 at the Orpheum Theatre in Memphis, Tennessee, have been announced. French band The Wacky Jugs won the IBC’s Band Division, while Phoenix artist Eric Ramsey triumphed in the Solo/Duo Division. Find out more about all 2022 IBC Challengers HERE.

John A. Lomax’s Historic South Carolina Recordings Available Freely Online: The American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress, the Association for Cultural Equity and the Charles Joyner Institute for Gullah and African Studies at Coastal Carolina University have shared the entirety of John A. Lomax’s South Carolina Recordings. Made between 1934 and 1940 under the aegis of the Library of Congress’ Archive of Folk Songs, these recordings are accompanied by extensive metadata and document a diversity of folk and vernacular music in the Palmetto State. Only a fraction of these recordings have ever been published but the collection is now available for free HERE.

Savage Content Launches New Head-To-Head Jazz Trivia Series: Savage Content has launched a new web series, Jazzology, where guests will compete head-to-head, testing their jazz knowledge for a cash prize. “It’s a great 20-minute break in the day and regardless of your level of jazz knowledge, our multiple-choice format gives everyone an opportunity to get it right,” says show producer Adam Savage. The series is hosted by the esteemed Willard Jenkins and is available to stream HERE.

Laura Anglade, “Precy Jardin” [Song Premiere]: Vocalist Laura Anglade shares her take on “Precy Jardin,” a song composed by French singer/songwriter Barbara in honor of her beloved house in the countryside. Premiering below, this is one of the tracks from her new release, Venez donc chez moi, due out May 20. This duo collaboration is also an homage of sorts to Anglade’s France and features jazz versions of French classic chansons made famous by Maurice Chevalier, Boris Vian, Edith Piaf, and Jacques Brel to name a few.


New and Upcoming Albums

High Pulp, Pursuit of Ends (ANTI-): Seattle experimental jazz act High Pulp’s music draws on a wide range of genres, including bebop, punk rock, shoegaze, hip-hop and electronic music. On April 15, they released their first album, Pursuit Of Ends. Both vintage and futuristic, its songs offer a balance of meticulousness with visceral spontaneity, showcasing raw power and virtuosic performances.

Shabaka, Afrikan Culture (Impulse!): Shabaka Hutchings, now professionally known as Shabaka, will release his first major-label solo project, Afrikan Culture, on May 20 via Impulse! Entirely written by Shabaka, the eight-track digital-only EP showcases him on various wind instruments and focuses on the aural meditative space, taking the listener on a sonically healing journey.

Melissa Aldana, 12 Stars (Blue Note): Saxophonist/composer Melissa Aldana makes her Blue Note debut as a leader on her new quintet full-length, 12 Stars, released on March 4. Produced by guitarist Lage Lund, the LP was conceptually inspired by the symbols and tradition of tarot and showcases the Santiago-born, Brooklyn-based artist at her most contemplative and lyrical.

Jon Balke, Hafla (ECM): Norwegian keyboardist Jon Balke celebrates the concept of coexistence and cooperation on Hafla, which will be released on April 22. This is his third album with his ensemble Siwan, launched in 2007 as a meeting point for musicians of strikingly different backgrounds and experiences.


Nate Najar, Jazz Samba Pra Sempre (Blue Line): Jazz guitarist Nate Najar pays tribute to Charlie Byrd and Stan Getz’s historic 1962 album, Jazz Samba, which celebrates its 60th anniversary this year. Najar’s Jazz Samba Pra Sempre, out June 17, is a loving tribute to the seminal bossa nova recording and offers a showcase of his own virtuosity and elegance.


Live Music and Festival News

John Schott Reconsiders Immortal Thelonious Monk Ballad: Bay Area guitarist/composer John Schott and an all-star group of musicians will perform an eight-hour exegesis of one of Thelonious Monk’s most famous ballads, “‘Round Midnight.” The musicians will use Jewish approaches to textual commentary as a framing principle for their improvisation, with each of the 48 measures of “‘Round Midnight” stretched to 10 minutes in length. This extended experience will be performed live in San Francisco at Light Rail Studios and streamed online as the centerpiece of DAWN, a bold reimagining of the Jewish holiday of Shavuot by the national arts and culture non-profit Reboot. More here.

2022 Syracuse Jazz Festival, June 23-25: The 2022 edition of the Syracuse Jazz Fest will return to Downtown Syracuse, New York, from June 23-June 25. The festival is presented by Amazon and will feature performances by international and national artists on the festival’s Clinton Square Outdoor Stage, as well as other venues across Syracuse. 2022 festival headliners include Marilyn McCoo & Billy Davis Jr., David Sanborn, Sheila Jordan, Harvie S & Roni Ben-Hur and more.

Brooklyn Conservatory of Music’s Open Stages, May 21: The Brooklyn Conservatory of Music’s free Open Stages music festival will take place on May 21. More than 30 musical acts will take the festival’s 15 stages, including highlight performances by Binky Griptite, Yasser Tejeda and Claudia Acuna. This year, the festival will host more than 200 musicians, including classical musicians, marching bands, R&B acts, teen rock bands, ensembles and student groups from all of BKCM’s programs.

The 92nd Street Y Announces Jazz in July 2022: The 92nd Street Y has announced the 37th season of New York City’s summer jazz festival, Jazz in July, which will take place over the course of four nights between July 21 and July 28. In addition to Artistic Director Bill Charlap, the lineup includes Joshua Redman, Kenny Barron, Joe Lovano, Chris Potter and many more. Concerts on July 21, 26, and 28 will be streamed online and available for 72 hours from the time of broadcast.

Featured photo: Gareth Jarvis

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