Jazz Albums of the Week

Every week on the air there's a special focus on one particular jazz album. Check them all out here!

June 7, 2021. If you have any questions about where vocalist Allan Harris grew up or for whom he sings, you haven’t heard Kate’s Soulfood yet. One listen to the silky baritone’s 14th album as a leader will leave no doubt; Harris represents that same historic slice of Upper Manhattan that he honored all pandemic long with his popular weekly livestream Harlem after Dark.

May 31, 2021. It takes a lot to ground a squadron of fighter jets when they’ve got a mission to fulfill; the same goes for the Airmen of Note, the United States Air Force Band’s premier jazz ensemble. Especially when they’ve secured featured guests like Peter Bernstein (electric guitar) and Chris Potter (tenor sax).

May 24, 2021. Drummer Ralph Peterson, the Art Blakey acolyte and former Jazz Messenger with a large-and-in-charge physical and musical presence on the bandstand and an outsize personality to match, died earlier this year, months shy of his 59th birthday; he’d been fighting cancer for the last six years. But you would've never know it.

May 17, 2021. Pianist Yoko Miwa moved from Kobe, Japan to Boston in 1997 almost on a lark. She planned to study maybe a year at Berklee College of Music, where she’d won a scholarship, and then return home. Except she made a home in Boston and, nearly a quarter century later, still hasn’t left.

May 10, 2021. As is so often the case with musicians whose artistry is refined well beyond their years, vocalist and trombonist Hailey Brinnel, 25, is both the product of great educators (she’s an alumna of Temple University’s jazz studies program) and, now, an educator herself—a perfect rising star to spotlight on the heels of this year’s National Teacher Appreciation 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.

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