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.
Gibson Limited-Edition B.B. King Guitar Available Worldwide: Gibson commemorates the legendary B.B. King and his landmark album, Live at the Regal, with the B.B. King “Live at the Regal” ES-335 guitar. The American instrument brand and its Custom Shop Murphy Lab have created a perfect replica of the guitar used for this record in the original Argentine Grey Sunburst Finish that was commissioned by the artist. Order it here.
Long-Awaited Whitney Houston Gospel Project: Gaither Music Group, Arista/Legacy Recordings and The Estate of Whitney E. Houston will release I Go to the Rock, a new collection of music spotlighting the great vocalist’s gospel side. The album includes gospel songs from the soundtracks of The Preacher’s Wife, Sparkle and The Bodyguard, as well as six never-before-released songs from as early as 1981. The album will be released on March 24 and a corresponding TV special will air on multiple TV networks, including UPtv and AspireTV on the same date.
Maria Schneider and Wadada Leo Smith Elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters: Trailblazing composer and orchestra leader Maria Schneider, and iconic trumpeter and composer Wadada Leo Smith, have been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the renowned honor society of the country’s leading architects, artists, composers and writers. Schneider and Smith are part of the 19 new members and four honorary members to be inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters during its annual Ceremonial on May 24, 2023.
ECM Launches New Website: ECM Records has launched a newly redesigned website with refashioned filter functions and a new visual aesthetic. The new website makes it easier to navigate ECM’s shop and find out about its artists and albums in a more comprehensive way.
Previously Unreleased Chet Baker Recordings Out Soon: Jazz Detective will release a new collection of a previously unheard set of studio performances recorded in the Netherlands by legendary trumpeter Chet Baker. Blue Room: The 1979 VARA Studio Sessions in Holland is produced by Zev Feldman. The album will be released as a limited 2-LP set on Record Store Day on April 22, and will also later be made available on CD/digital on April 28.
New and Upcoming Albums
Wu-Lu, LOGGERHEAD (Warp): A dystopian soundtrack to our troubled times, LOGGERHEAD is also South London multi-instrumentalist/producer Wu-Lu’s debut album, due out July on Warp. Mordant and intense, the genre-defying LP draws on a dizzying array of influences, blurring boundaries between metal, indie, jazz, screamo and more.
Dhafer Youssef, Street of Minarets (Back Beat Edition): Tunisian oud master/vocalist Dhafer Youssef continues to build a bridge between Indian, Arabic and Western classical and jazz music on his tenth album, Street of Minarets. The recently-released record, his tenth studio album, is written by the artist to his teenage self and features special guest appearances from Herbie Hancock and Dave Holland.
Emilio Teubal, Futuro (self-released): Argentine pianist/composer Emilio Teubal offers an eclectic, modern collection of singular music on his sixth album as a leader, Futuro, released on February 17. Performed with his newly-formed Post-Trio and special guests, its program represents Teubal’s rumination and contemplation about loss, grieving and, of course, the future.
East Axis, No Subject (Mack Avenue/Brother Mister): No Subject is the sophomore album by improvisational New York City jazz quartet East Axis, released on January 27 via Mack Avenue/Brother Mister. This is the group’s first album with multi-reedist Scott Robinson, joining founding members Matthew Shipp on piano, Kevin Ray on bass and Gerald Cleaver on drums.
Live Music and Festival News
Ladysmith Black Mambazo to Return to New York City: Legendary South African choral group Ladysmith Black Mambazo will return to New York City for their first area performance since 2018 in a concert at 92NY on March 18. The GRAMMY-winning ensemble, once called by Nelson Mandela “South Africa’s cultural ambassadors to the world,” came to global fame when the collaborated with Paul Simon on his 1986 smash hit, Graceland. Tickets here.
15 Finalists to Compete in 28th Annual Essentially Ellington High School Jazz Band Festival: Marcus Printup, trumpeter with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, announced the 15 finalists for Jazz at Lincoln Center’s 28th annual Essentially Ellington High School Jazz Band Competition & Festival, set to take place on May 11-13, 2023. This premier event will feature the top 15 high school-aged jazz bands from across the country as they perform and compete at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Frederick P. Rose Hall in New York City. Watch a video of the announcement via the player below.
Trombone Shorty Announces Summer Tour: Trombone Shorty has announced a major tour for this summer, which will begin in June on the East Coast and continue throughout July and August with concerts in the Midwest and West Coast. In addition to this summer headlining tour, Trombone Shorty will also be performing the closing set at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival this May. Check out all coming tour dates here.
Isaiah J. Thompson Celebrates New Album at Dizzy’s Club, March 16-17: Rising star pianist Isaiah J. Thompson will celebrate the release of his new album, The Power of the Spirit, in concert at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Dizzy’s Club on March 16-17. Tickets here. The album was released on March 17 and marks the pianist’s first-ever live concert.
Featured photo courtesy of the Netherlands Institute of Sound and Image (NIBG)
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