Terence Blanchard, Thundercat, Max Roach & 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.



APAP To Honor Terence Blanchard: The Association of Performing Arts (APAP) has announced Terence Blanchard among the eight outstanding individuals who will receive APAP Awards on January 15, 2024, at the New York Hilton Midtown. The awards celebrate and recognize trailblazers and visionaries in the performing arts field and are part of a ceremony traditionally held at the annual APAP|NYC conference. More here.

Janet Evra on JAZZIZ Podcast: We recently shared our JAZZIZ Podcast conversation with singer, bassist and composer Janet Evra. Listen to it via the player below. Evra talked with us about her celebration of the French songwriting tradition and the unique charm of the French capital on her latest album, Meet Me in Paris, her recently released collection of covers and two original compositions.

New Collection of Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra Holiday Music: Blue Engine Records has released a new collection of holiday music by the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis. Big Band Holidays III, produced and arranged by Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra member, trumpeter and composer Marcus Printum, is an eight-song collection featuring music recorded over the past decade during the Jazz at Lincoln Center’s titular holiday series and spotlights an intergenerational roster of guest vocalists, including Catherine Russell, Denzal Sinclaire, Vuyo Sotashe and more.

Lettuce Put a Funky Spin on Grateful Dead Hit Song: Psychedelic funk outfit Lettuce released their rendition of the 1978 Grateful Dead classic, “Shakedown Street,” ahead of the band’s performance at the Dead Ahead in Riviera Cancún, Mexico, on January 12-15. The band has also released an accompanying video to the song, created by Sunbronx, that you can watch via the player below.

Thundercat to Release 10th Anniversary Edition of Apocalypse: Thundercat will release a celebratory 10th-anniversary edition of his 2013 album, Apocalypse, on March 1 via Brainfeeder. The new edition contains two previously unreleased tracks, “Before I loved myself ‘I’ pooped my ankles (true)” recorded with Austin Peralta and Taylor Graves, and “Paris” (with Mono/Poly). The deluxe LP also features special rainbow holographic artwork housed inside a transparent PVC outer slipcase complete with an “x-ray” holographic skull print.


New Albums

Idris Ackamoor & The Pyramids, Afro Futuristic Dreams (Strut): Afro Futuristic Dreams, released on September 22, marks the first major studio album by Idris Ackamoor & The Pyramids in over three years. The record showcases the band’s continued evolution, as they fearlessly incorporate elaborate orchestral arrangements, featuring strings sections and captivating choral elements, into their signature Afro-jazz sound.

Emmet Cohen and Houston Person, Master Legacy Series Vol. 5 (Bandstand Presents): Pianist Emmet Cohen teams up with saxophonist Houston Person on the fifth volume of his Master Legacy Series, each instalment of which exhibits the intergenerational transfer of knowledge, history and tradition of jazz. The project has featured many musical legends, including George Coleman, Benny Golson, Albert “Tootie” Heath, Ron Carter and Jimmy Cobb.

Rasmus Oppenhagen Krogh, Until Then (April): Until Then is the third album by Danish guitarist/composer Rasmus Oppenhagen Krogh, created in close collaboration with producer/drummer/sound designer Rasmus Juncker. The album is grounded in the contemporary Nordic noir sound and its ten tracks offer a sonic exploration of the coming together of jazz musicianship and contemporary pop/rock production techniques.

Gonzalo Rubalcaba, Borrowed Roses (Top Stop): Pianist Gonzalo Rubalcaba offers his distinctive take on twelve standards and popular songs on his new solo album, Borrowed Roses. Released on September 15, the album marks Rubalcaba’s third solo piano album and his first-ever devoted entirely to the canons of the Great American and Great Jazz Songbooks.


Live Music and Festival News

81st Birthday Celebrations for Billy Harper and Al Foster at Smoke Jazz Club: New York City’s Smoke Jazz Club will celebrate the 81st birthdays of tenor saxophonist Billy Harper and drummer Al Foster on January 2024. Harper will lead his quintet with trumpeter Freddie Hendrix, pianist Francesca Tanksley, bassist Dezron Douglas, and drummer Aaron Scott on January 18-21. Al Foster will perform with an ensemble featuring tenor saxophonist Chris Potter, trumpeter Nicholas Payton, pianist Kevin Hays, and bassist Vicente Archer on January 24-28. Tickets here.

Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn’s Nutcracker at Chicago’s Auditorium Theatre: The complete cast world premiere of Sugar Hill: The Ellington/Strayhorn Nutcracker will be playing at Chicago’s Auditorium Theatre on December 20-30. This jazz-steeped reimagining of the classic tale and famous ballet features a libretto and concept by Jessica Swan, the music of Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn, and is directed with choreography by Joshua Bergasse. Tickets here.

New Jersey Performing Arts Center Announces Max Roach Centennial Celebration: On January 26, 2024, the New Jersey Performing Arts Center will commemorate Max Roach’s centennial with a concert showcasing We Insist!: Max Roach’s Freedom Now Suite, featuring Cassandra Wilson and reimagined in collaboration with Jazz at Lincoln Center. The celebration will also include a screening of the newly produced documentary about the artist’s life, titled Max Roach: The Drum Also Waltzes. The screening will be followed by a panel discussion with Max Roach’s son, Raoul Roach, and the film’s directors and producers Sam Pollard and Ben Shapiro. Tickets here.

Chelsea Table + Stage January Jazz Weekend: New York’s Chelsea Table + Stage will celebrate a special January Jazz Weekend with six different shows from January 12-14, 2024. The weekend will feature performances by Camille Thurman with The Darrell Green Quartet, Alphonso Horne and The Gotham Kings, Mike Davis and The New Wonders, Billy Stritch, Gabrielle Stravelli, Jumaane Smith, and Nicole Zuraitis. Tickets here.


Featured photo courtesy of NJPAC.

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