Van Morrison, Marvin Gaye, Spyro Gyra: 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.


Denson, Pilon and Blade To Release New Guitar Trio Album: Bassist/composer Jeff Denson, guitarist Romain Pilon and drummer Brian Blade are releasing a new collaborative post-bop album titled Between Two Worlds. The album includes ten original compositions, five each by Denson and Pilon. “As musicians, we float between two worlds,” writes Denson in the liner notes, in reference to the LP’s title. “One, a physical plane and the other a powerful reality that can only be found with the most open of ears, hearts and minds.” Between Two Worlds is due out October 25 via Ridgeway Records.

Van Morrison Announces New Album: Singer/songwriter Van Morrison has announced that he will release a new album, Three Chords & The Truth, on October 25 via Exile/Caroline International. This will be his sixth LP in four years. Morrison wrote all the songs on the album, with the exception of “If We Wait for Mountains,” which he co-wrote with Don Black. The announcement comes with the release of the first single from the album, “Days Gone By,” which you can listen to via the player below.

Francesco Guerri to Release New Solo Cello Album: Italian cellist Francesco Guerri obliterates the line between contemporary classical music and free improvisation on his new solo cello album, Su Mimmi non si spara!, his third album. The LP is due out October 25 via RareNoiseRecords and finds him unleashing all his expressive power on his musical instrument of choice. “I think that my music should be understandable to a child,” Guerri explains via a press release. “When you play solo, the only other person involved is the listener, so I always try to be communicative to the audience.”

Watch New Video for Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On”: Motown Records have shared the first official video for Marvin Gaye’s song, “What’s Going On,” originally released in 1971. The video was shared as part of the label’s 60th birthday and made its premiere at the 2019 Congressional Black Caucus Annual Legislative Conference last week. It is a meditation on societal issues directed by Savanah Leaf and features a mix of archival footage with new material shot by Leaf in Michigan in 2019. The video for “What’s Going On” is the first commissioned by Universal Music as part of its “Never Made” series.

The Gig: Live Music & More

Spyro Gyra to Kick Off Month-Long Concert Trek in Support of New Album: Spyro Gyra will be touring the world this month in support of the release of their new album, Vinyl Tap. The tour will kick off at the Cancun Jazz Festival in Mexico on October 23 and take them to Ireland, England, Netherlands, Bahrain, Italy, Germany and Israel before playing a string of U.S. dates. Vinyl Tap was released on October 11 via Amherst Records and we included it on the list of new jazz albums out this month that you need to know about.

Carnegie Hall’s Series Honors Jazz Impresario George T. Wein: Carnegie Hall’s Shape of Jazz series opens tonight with a slightly revised name: The Joyce and George T. Wein Shape of Jazz. The name change was made in honor of George T. Wein, the jazz impresario who founded the Newport Jazz Festival and other acclaimed events and was named an NEA Jazz Master in 2005. “It’s a realization of the meaning of my life to have this series at Carnegie Hall named in honor of my wife and me,” said Wein, now 93. The series is set to include such artists as Lionel Loueke, Joey Alexander, Brian Skonberg, Kurt Rosenwinkel and Theo Croker, among others. For more information, visit Carnegie Hall’s website.

U.K.’s Ronnie Scott’s Goes to Dubai: Ronnie Scott’s All Stars, the sensational house band of London’s iconic Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club, will be performing at the Dubai Opera on November 22. The band features a stellar lineup including such artists as Emma Smith, Pete Long, Chris Draper and more. Together, they will be taking audiences on a journey through the last 60 years of jazz, exploring the music and stories behind London’s famed jazz club, which was founded in 1959.

The Festival Guide

Winter Jazzfest Announces First Wave of Confirmed Guests: NYC’s Winter Jazzfest will take place on January 9-18. The first wave of confirmed artists has been announced. This year’s artist in residence is drummer/composer Mark Guiliana, who will present multiple projects during the course of the festival. Brazilian singer/guitarist Seu Jorge is also set to perform at this year’s Winter Jazzfest. There will also be celebrations of the jazz legacy of Detroit and the late great trumpeter Marcus Belgrave, and a special event marking the centennial of drum legend Art Blakey featuring over a dozen drummers. Winter Jazzfest will also be hosting for the fourth time a British jazz showcase, featuring Moses Boyd, Kokoroko, Sarathy Korwar, Poppy Ajudha. More shows, talks and events are will be announced soon.

New Release Cheat Sheet

Kenny Barron and Mulgrew Miller, The Art of Piano Duo – Live (Groovin High)

In 2005 and 2011, piano masters Kenny Barron and Mulgrew Miller were paired up in special duo performances – one in 2005, two in 2011. Finally, these rare live recordings will be available on a new, three-disc set titled The Art of Piano Duo – Live, which comes six years after Miller’s unfortunate passing. The program on each of these concerts finds Barron and Miller covering the full range of the jazz canon, performing works by such luminaries and legends as Charlie Parker, Duke Ellington, Thelonious Monk and many others in a duet or solo, and further cementing their own reputations as two of the foremost pianists and song interpreters of the 21st century in the process.

Rez Abbasi, A Throw of Dice (Whirlwind)

A Throw of Dice is the music album by guitarist Rez Abbasi and it also marks his first film score. The music was created by him for an Indian/German film from 1929 titled A Throw of Dice (Romance of India) and commissioned in 2017 by David Spelman, curator of the New York Guitar Festival. This music reflects Abbasi’s own jazz, western classical and rock music personality, and the album features his group, The Silent Ensemble, with saxophonist/flutist Pawan Benjamin, bassist/cellist Jennifer Vincent, Carnatic percussionist Rohan Krishnamurthy and drummer Jake Goldbas.

Jan Garbarek and The Hillard Ensemble, Remember me, my dear (ECM)

In 1994, Norwegian saxophonist Jan Garbarek and early music vocal group, The Hillard Ensemble, joined forces to create Officium. This would become one of ECM’s most successful albums of all time and would be followed by two more collaborative LPs. Now comes Remember me, my dear, recorded live during their final tour in October 2014. Here, Garbarek/Hillard explore together a wide range of material composed by such greats as Pérotin, Guillaume le Rouge, Arvo Part and more. In doing so, they reassert the importance and transcendental power of their unique exploration of sound, with its mixture of early music, contemporary composition and improvisation.

Featured photo courtesy of Marvin Gaye/Facebook.

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