Vijay Iyer, Nina Simone, Jamie Cullum & 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.



Verve Test Pressings Sale Happening Now: Extremely limited quantities of select test pressings, including from Ella Fitzgerald, Diana Krall, Bill Evans and more, are now available on Verve Records’ online store. Test pressings are used to verify the quality of a vinyl release before it is officially pressed and are much sought after by music collectors and music fanatics everywhere. Shop for them here.


New Christmas Music from Jamie Cullum: Singer/songwriter/pianist Jamie Cullum is set to release a deluxe repack of his 2020 holiday album, The Pianoman at Christmas, on November 29 via Blue Note Records. The new edition completes last year’s release with 13 tracks – covers of classic Christmas songs and two originals – including the lead single “Christmas Don’t Let Me Down.” Pre-order The Pianoman at Christmas – The Complete Edition here.


Wayne Shorter, Kris Davis and Danilo Pérez Receive Doris Duke Artist Awards: The Doris Duke Charitable Foundation announced last week Wayne Shorter, Kris Davis and Danilo Pérez among the recipients of the 2021 Doris Duke Artist Award in recognition of their ongoing innovation and impact in the field of jazz. The honor comes with an award of $275,000 that is both investment in and celebration of the artists’ ongoing contributions to the fields of dance, jazz, and theater. Find out more here.


Gibson Celebrates Chuck Berry’s 95th Birthday: Gibson has announced the release of a limited edition Chuck Berry 1970s ES-355 guitar in Wine Red. The announcement came in conjunction with the rock and roll icon and guitar hero’s 95th birthday celebration on October 18. This is a meticulous recreation of Berry’s go-to guitar, a 1978 Gibson ES-355. Order it here.

New Single from Becca Stevens, Gisela João, Justin Stanton, Louis Cato and Michael League: Becca Stevens, Gisela João, Justin Stanton, Louis Cato and Michael League have shared a new single, “The Call,” and its accompanying video, which you can watch via the player below. “The Call” is a single from the group’s forthcoming collaborative full-length, Mirrors, out November 12 via GroundUP Music. Pre-order it here.


Reservoir Signs Madison McFerrin to a Worldwide Admin Deal: Reservoir Media has signed singer/songwriter Madison McFerrin to a worldwide publishing deal that includes her entire catalog and future works. “I’m excited to take my career as a singer, songwriter and producer to the next level through joining the dynamic roster at Reservoir,” said McFerrin via a press release. “In addition to the stellar group of artists, I’m equally grateful to join forces with such a talented and diverse, women-led team of music industry pros.”


Nina Simone 1959 Compilation Gets Reissue Treatment: On December 3, Bethlehem/BMG will reissue a 1959 compilation titled Nina Simone and Her Friends on vinyl, CD and digital platforms. Originally released in 1959, Nina Simone and Her Friends featured four unreleased tracks from Nina Simone’s 1957 Little Girl Blue recording session, plus recordings by Carmen McRae and Chris O’Connor. The new deluxe edition comes with a fresh stereo master. Pre-order it here.


Album Announcements

Kansas Smitty’s, Plunderphonia (7K!): On Plunderphonia, Kansas Smitty’s bandleader Giacomo Smith delves deep into the early jazz catalog of artists who have inspired him, “plundering” 1920s themes and melodies and ingeniously reimagining them for contemporary musicians and contemporary ears. The album is due out on October 29. “The far reaching vision of this record is to try to be as bold as Jelly Roll was in his composing and to rise to the occasion,” explains Smith. Pre-order Plunderphonia here.

Apifera, 6 Visits (Stones Throw): Electronic jazz quartet Apifera will release a new EP of covers, 6 Visits, on November 10 via Stones Throw. The EP offers a glimpse into their “musical DNA” via an eclectic range of covers of compositions by the likes of Massive Attack, Sergei Prokofiev and Duke Ellington. “Beyond the Sunrays,” which you can listen to via the player below, is a blend of the jazz pianist McCoy Tyner’s composition with the stunning orchestration of Madlib’s remix version of the same track. Pre-order 6 Visits here.


Ayumi Tanaka Trio, Subaqueous Silence (ECM): Japanese pianist Ayumi Tanaka investigates the link between Norwegian jazz and the Japanese music tradition on his strikingly original debut statement as a leader for ECM. Subaqueous Silence is due out October 29 and also debuts Tanaka’s new piano trio with bassist Christian Meaas Svendsen and drummer Per Oddvar Johansen. Pre-order it here.


Sylvie Courvoisier and Mary Halvorson, Searching for the Disappeared Hour (Pyroclastic): Pianist Sylvie Courvoisier and guitarist Mary Halvorson are two of the most distinctive voices in creative music today. On Searching for the Disappeared Hour, they take stunning advantage of the chemistry and familiarity forged during tours of Europe and the United States. This is their second duo full-length, following Crop Circles from 2017. Searching for the Disappeared Hour is out on October 29 and you can pre-order it HERE.


Live Music and Festival News

Alfa Mist Announces New EP and First U.S. Tour: Experimental London jazz artist Alfa Mist will release a new two-song EP on November 17, titled Two For Mistake. Pre-order it here. A vinyl release of Two For Mistake is also scheduled for March 2022. In addition, he has also announced his first-ever U.S. tour dates, which will take place in May 2022. Find out more here.


Vijay Iyer Trio European Tour Begins: Pianist Vijay Iyer is set to embark on a 14-date tour of Europe with drummer Tyshawn Sorey and bassist Linda May Han Oh on November 3. Check out all upcoming tour dates here. Iyer’s trio released the acclaimed album Uneasy earlier this year via ECM and shared a video for the album track “Touba” last week. The video was filmed during the Uneasy recording sessions that took place at the end of 2019. You can watch it via the player below.


H.E.R. Surprise Appearance at Robert Glasper’s Robtober Residency: Vocalist H.E.R. made a surprise appearance at Robert Glasper’s Blue Note residency in New York City on October 15, where she performed a live take on “Better Than I Imagined” alongside Glasper and Meshell Ndegeocello. Watch the performance via the player below. Find out more information about Robert Glasper’s Robtober Residency at New York City’s Blue Note HERE.


Jaga Jazzist to Leave Earth: Norwegian experimental jazz band Jaga Jazzist have announced a new livestream show for December 7. The show is billed as the world’s first “sci-fi livestream show,” and it is titled “Jaga Jazzist Leave Earth.” Find out more here. The band will also be releasing a brand new remix album, Pyramid Remix, on November 5 via Brainfeeder Records, which features Lindstrøm, Prins Thomas, André Bratten, Paul Bender and more. Pre-order it here.


Freda Payne Album and Memoir Release Concert at Birdland: GRAMMY-nominated R&B and jazz vocalist Freda Payne will celebrate the release of her latest album, Let There Be Love, with a show at New York’s Birdland on November 22. Tickets here. The chanteuse will also celebrate the release of her new book, Band of Gold: A Memoir, written with Mark Bego and featuring an introduction by Mary Wilson of The Supremes.


Featured photo by Craig Marsden.

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