Vijay Iyer, Louis Armstrong, Cindy Blackman Santana & 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.



Vijay Iyer Releases Debut Recording as Orchestral Composer: Trouble marks Vijay Iyer’s debut as an orchestral composer, showcasing his high-minded yet emotionally expressive approach to music-making with a program of holistic musical responses to living in times of struggle. The record also marks Iyer’s collaboration with the GRAMMY-winning Boston Modern Orchestra Project, approaching its landmark 100th album, led by conductor Gil Rose.

Jontavious Willis New Album and Singles: GRAMMY-nominated singer, songwriter and guitarist Jontavious Willis has announced the release of his new album, West Georgia Blues, by sharing its first two singles, “West Georgia Blues” and “Keep Your Worries on the Dance Floor,” which you can listen to via the player below. West Georgia Blues is described via a press release as a continuation of Willis’ mission to “reinvigorate today’s Blues with the spirit of the past,” and will be released on August 16 via Strolling Bones Records.

AfroPop to Premiere Roy Hargrove Documentary: AfroPoP: The Ultimate Cultural Exchange celebrates Black Music Month with the premiere of Hargrove, premiering on June 28 as an AfroPop special, streaming on the WORLD YouTube channel, and Directed by Eliane Henri and executive produced by Erykah Badu and Janine Sherman Barrois, the documentary follows Roy Hargrove battling illness to charm audiences during a European summer tour, which unexpectedly ended up being his last world tour.

Iconic Louis Armstrong Track Receives Five Times Platinum Certification: Louis Armstrong’s “What a Wonderful World” has been officially certified five times platinum by the RIAA, signifying over five million sales in the US since its original 1967 release. This milestone precedes the upcoming release of Louis in London, which captures Armstrong’s unforgettable performance at London’s BBC Studios on July 2, 1968. In celebration, Verve has released the official performance video of this track, available to watch via the player below.

New Kurt Rosenwinkel Book and Live Album: On June 10, Heartcore Records released Kurt Rosenwinkel: Ultimate Book of Compositions, a volume of charts for Rosenwinkel’s unreleased songs, containing over 150 compositions compiled as digital scores and parts in traditional notation and guitar tablature. In conjunction with the book release, on July 26, Heartcore will also launch The Next Step Band (Live at Smalls 1996), immortalizing a memorable performance at Smalls Jazz Club with Rosenwinkel performing six dynamic compositions alongside tenor saxophonist Mark Turner, bassist Ben Street, and drummer Jeff Ballard.


New Albums

David Murray, Francesca (Intakt): Saxophonist and composer David Murray reintroduces audiences to his compositional prowess and muscular sound with Francesca, featuring his quartet comprising Marta Sanchez on piano, Luke Stewart on bass, and Russell Carter on drums. Recorded at Hardstudios in Winterthur, Switzerland, Francesca is a reflection of the quartet’s profound camaraderie and their dedication to exploring each composition with depth and nuance.

Samuel Torres, A Dance for Birds (self-released): Colombian percussionist and composer Samuel Torres presents A Dance for Birds, a nine-movement suite commissioned by Chamber Music America. Weaving a narrative of migration that is expertly interpreted by his Latin Chamber Ensemble, this new work is a fascinating fusion of Afro-Latin rhythms, jazz and classical music that defies musical stereotypes.

Chick Corea and Béla Fleck, Remembrance (Béla Fleck/Thirty Tigers): Remembrance, the final duo album by Chick Corea and Béla Fleck, features a program of tracks recorded both live in concert, during the duo’s final tour dates in 2019 and via sound files traded during the COVID pandemic. Serving as a final document of the profound creative and personal rapport shared between the two artists, Remembrance features three previously unreleased Corea compositions and five short free improvisations that Fleck augmented with written music.

Modney, Ascending Primes (Pyroclastic): Violinist and composer Modney presents an original collection of music bridging complex composition and daring improvisation on his new album. Titled Ascending Primes, the record features collaborations with leading figures in contemporary classical music such as Anna Webber, Nate Wooley, Ben LaMar Gay, Cory Smythe, Charmaine Lee and others.


Live Music and Festival News

Cindy Blackman Santana 2024 Tour Dates: Drummer and bandleader Cindy Blackman Santana will hit the road this year with her ensemble, the Cindy Blackman Santana Band, for multiple shows in Philadelphia, Washington D.C., New York City and beyond. “I’m thrilled to bring my band to the East Coast,” Blackman Santana says via an official statement. “We’re excited to connect with the audience and share the energy and passion we bring to the music.” Click here for all upcoming tour dates.

Canadian Jazz Collective Make Dizzy’s Club Debut for Canada Day: The Canadian Jazz Collective will debut at New York’s Dizzy’s Club at Jazz at Lincoln Center on July 1 for a special Canada Day celebration. Tickets here. Last year, the ensemble released their debut studio recording, Septology – The Black Forest Session on HGBS Blue Records. Saxophonist Rich Perry, guitarist Lorne Lofsky and trumpeter Derrick Gardner front this innovative septet.

Kiki Valera y su Son Cubano at Joe’s Pub, July 5: Kiki Valera y su Son Cubano will be appearing at New York’s Joe’s Pub on July 5, performing two sets of Cuban music (7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.) in celebration of the release of their latest album, Vacilón Santiaguero. Tickets here. Valera is one of Cuba’s foremost cuatro guitar virtuosos and Vacilón Santiaguero marks his second U.S. solo release after many years as director of La Familia Valera Miranda in Santiago de Cuba.

3rd International MoonJune Music Festival in Guadamur, Spain, September 19-22: Mr. MoooJune, a.k.a. Leonardo Pavkovic, will present the 3rd Annual International MoonJune Music Festival, celebrating progressive and adventurous music, in the village of Guadamur, Spain, on September 19-22. The event will feature a globe-spanning cast of musicians exclusively from the MoonJune Music Booking and MoonJune Records rosters, including the David Cross Band, Dr. Bill Buford, The Wrong Object and Boris Savoldelli, among others. More here.

Kavita Shah Confirms New Tour Dates: Vocalist, composer and educator Kavita Shah has confirmed new tour dates celebrating her latest album, Cape Verdean Blues, available on Folkalist Records. Beginning with a return to Cape Verde to perform at the Mindel Jazz Fest in August, Shah will visit cities across the United States, including Chicago, Boulder, New York City and more. Click here for all upcoming tour dates.


Featured photo: BBC Photo Archive.

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