Jazz Album of the Week

May 3, 2021. Depending on what you’re most susceptible to, Sachal Vasandani’s Midnight Shelter will either break your heart or rock you to sleep. If you stay with it through all 11 singer-songwriterly tunes, chances are you’ll experience both.

April 26, 2021. Multi-instrumentalist Joe Chambers made his name as a drummer on some of Blue Note Records’ most celebrated albums of the mid-to-late 1960s. But it’s his vibraphone playing here—bobbing and weaving in a synchronized courtship with pianist Brad Merritt worthy of David Attenborough narration—that’s foregrounded on Samba de Maracatu, his first release as a leader for the famed jazz label since 1998’s Mirrors.

April 19, 2021. Unless you’re a serious jazz wonk or an avid auditor of Philadelphia’s jazz history, you’re probably not that familiar with a pianist named Hasaan Ibn Ali. The fact that he was known by his musician peers as the "Legendary Hasaan" both belies this relative obscurity and clarifies the esteem in which he was held for a near-maniacal work ethic and a musicality thought to be ahead of its time.

April 12, 2021. Trigger warning: If having too much fun listening to music tends to send you spiraling out of control, take caution with Emmet Cohen’s Future Stride. With his natural feel and an ability to draw from a massive store of repertoire, it’s easy to see—and hear—why Cohen’s been a fast-rising star for a while now.

April 5, 2021. West coaster George Kahn is one of those melodic, easy-swinging pianists that sometimes gets lost in the shuffle. He’s not edgy, nor experimental; he appropriates liberally from the Great American Songbook. He’s unabashedly straight-ahead, which, in this day and age, might be a revolutionary act in itself.

March 29, 2021. This Bitter Earth, Veronica Swift’s sophomore release from Mack Avenue Records, takes on issues of weighty social concern. Most everyone’s doing that now, it seems—and, hey, that’s probably a good thing. But the reason this album succeeds is because Swift was a preeminent vocal stylist before and still is.

March 22, 2021. Many of us have spent the last week reminiscing about what it was we were doing exactly one year ago. Memories are popping up on our social media accounts about the shutdown and the search for hand sanitizer, and we look at them and try to figure out how an entire year has passed. So much has happened, and composer, guitarist and Philly native Monnette Sudler has managed to touch on the many moods of the past 12 months on Stay Strong. 

March 15, 2021. With a grand stroke of prescience, NEA Jazz Master Maria Schneider crafted a double album about being polarized by the demands of a digital society and longing for human connection, all before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

March 9, 2021. Kendrah Butler-Waters' love for jazz, composition, arranging, and performative musicality shines throughout her debut solo album, Faith Walk.

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